Book Reviews -- By: Anonymous

Journal: Reformed Baptist Theological Review
Volume: RBTR 04:1 (Jan 2007)
Article: Book Reviews
Author: Anonymous

Book Reviews

Readers will understand that we are not able to supply these books.

Continuity and Change: Evangelical Calvinism among eighteenth-century Baptist ministers trained at Bristol Academy, 1660-1791, Roger Hayden1 (Baptist Historical Society, 2006),

reviewed by Austin A. Walker2

This book is about eighteenth-century Particular Baptists (PBs) and challenges the commonly held view that the hyper-Calvinism of the three Johns in London (John Gill, John Skepp, and John Brine) was representative of this group of Dissenters. Dr. Hayden provides us with a close study of Bernard Foskett (1685-1758), Hugh Evans (1731-1781), and his son Caleb Evans (1737-1791), and of the influence of the Broadmead Baptist Church, the Western Association, and the Bristol Academy in particular. He argues that these men, and those trained by them, represented evangelical Calvinism (unlike Gill, Skepp, and Brine). He maintains that the three Bristol men had a much greater influence among PBs than has been previously recognised by Baptist historians. He writes to put the record straight.

The history of the Broadmead Baptist Church, the Western Association, and the Academy makes fascinating and informative reading. Hayden records how the Western Association failed to embrace the distinctives of evangelical Calvinism as expressed in the 2ndLCF for a period of forty years after its adoption by the national assembly of 1689. Once Foskett came to Bristol, it took him twelve years to secure this confession of faith as the standard of doctrine of the Association. This was a vital step in securing evangelical Calvinism as the basis for future developments. By this decision, General Baptists, Arminians, and Unitarians were excluded from the Association. Bristol Academy became a key center as Foskett began to train men for the ministry. He set the pattern not only for his lifetime but for Hugh and Caleb Evans at

Broadmead and the Academy. Together they molded the theology and ministry of at least 188 men in PB churches in England and Wales between 1720 and 1791. Only five of these men exercised a ministry in London.

Hayden is also persuaded that the importance of association life among the eighteenth-century PBs has been neglected. Concentration on the London churches has resulted in this lack of appreciation. In London there was no association of churches. Instead ministers gathered in “elitist” coffee-houses and organised the London Particular Baptist Fund. He notes that these London ministers did not have the same commitment to the 2<...

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