Breakout Session – 5
Baptist Devotional and Piety
Much emphasis has been placed on spirituality in the last 25 years or so.
English Baptist – 17th Century to the death of Andrew Fuller (written by Michael Haykin, given by Steve Weaver)
Baptist emerged from different traditions and that will be brought to light in their writings through the century
John Bunyan – open communion Baptist, Pilgrims Progress, Grace Abounding to the Chief of Sinners, The Holy War, I Will Pray with the Spirit. Genuine prayer can only be had by the assistant of the Holy Spirit. There is no man or church in the world who can come to God in prayer except for assistance by the Holy Spirit – who can reveal the Father. Sin would drive a man from God, but the Spirit draws the man to God for mercy.
Benjamin Keach (very important guy this week) – He produced many works during his time in London. His writings, while not primarily devotional in nature, are replete with spirituality. Gospel Mysteries Unveiled was sermons he preached during the last 15 years of his life. Wars with the Devils was an analogical work to rival Bunyan’s.
Hercules Collins – a persecuted pastor, furnished the face of affliction – imprisoned for this unconformity. Counsel for the Living - Job 3, A Voice from Prison – Rev 3.11 – the contentedness of the one who has Christ – has everything.
Thomas Wilcox – next to nothing is none, but he was imprisoned for not wanting to give up his beliefs, “sudden death, sudden glory” was on his tombstone. One of his books was taken from one of my fave passages in Psalms 81.16 (honey from the rock).
Samuel Pierce – contemp of Andrew Fuller, whom he called a “man of outstanding spirituality.” A Life of Pierce in which he referred to him as another Brainerd – referring to David Brainerd who also died young, but had a great love for the saving of sinners. Pierce as a model of holy love, christocentrism, missiology was the theme of this book by Fuller.
Baptist Devos in the South – Nathan Finn
19th Century South
Where do Baptists derive their Spirituality (besides the Bible)? They used a number of sources: (books, sermons, letters, periodicals)
Devotional = print or online media that informs us and helps us in our Spirituality. Are devotional writings separate from theological writings? Foster and Smith provide a better definition. The definition used today will be:
“Strengthening and motivating to pious actions”
Books: Basil Manly received Hart’s library including Edwards, Gill, and Fuller. The Doctrine of Prayer; The Way of Salvation, Carpenter’s Son, The Seal of Heaven, Soul Prosperity, biographical works on Carey and the Judsons
Sermons or Tracts: Furman, Brantley, Dagg (John 3.5), Fuller (John 12.32), Manly, The Mirror; The Baptist Library; “The Backslider”;
Circular Letters (brief works in interest to a certain church or association): Mercer address family religion, spiritual nurture of children, punctuality, and proper Sabbath observance. Mercer later addressed Sabbath observance – every Sunday. Cook
Baptist Periodicals: a significant medium for information on missions, missionaries, and theological issues. Baptist state papers played a significant role in education of pastors. The above could all be found in these periodicals. Topics included: family worship (religion), “the family is a theatre of religious piety”, Sabbath observance, 6 in one year in one state paper (GA), how to preach/topics, “The Duty of the Gospel Ministry”, Spurgeon’s sermons were reprinted, “Christian Patience”, “Perfect Through Suffering”; personal holiness and evangelism; “The Moral Power of the Pulpit”; “The Saint’s Everlasting Rest”
You can tell some main things from all these writings:
These Baptists were fundamentally Biblicists – saturated with the Word.
Their theology was basically Calvinistic in nature.
SB Piety was missionary in nature, both to pastors and lay people.
It was experiential, and the goal was to facilitate their spiritual growth.
These papers given by Weaver and Finn give many examples of ways to avoid “chronological snobbery” in our reading. That is what Piper and Lewis consider those who only read books published in one decade or time frame.