“So Valuable A Life…”: A Biographical Sketch Of Andrew Fuller (1754-1815) -- By: Peter J. Morden

Journal: Southern Baptist Journal of Theology
Volume: SBJT 17:1 (Spring 2013)
Article: “So Valuable A Life…”: A Biographical Sketch Of Andrew Fuller (1754-1815)
Author: Peter J. Morden


“So Valuable A Life…”:
A Biographical Sketch Of Andrew Fuller (1754-1815)

Peter J. Morden

Peter J. Morden is Tutor in Church History and Spirituality, and Chaplain, Spurgeon’s College, London, England.

Dr. Morden is also a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society and a Fellow of the Centre for Baptist History and Heritage, Regent’s Park College, Oxford. He is the author of a number of books, including Offering Christ to the World: Andrew Fuller (1854-1815) and the Revival of Eighteenth-Century Particular Baptist Life (Paternoster, 2003), C. H. Spurgeon: The People’s Preacher (CWR, 2009), “Communion with Christ and his People”: The Spirituality of C. H. Spurgeon (1834-92) (Oxford: Regent’s Park, 2010), and John Bunyan: The People’s Pilgrim (CWR, 2013).

Introduction

Soon after the formation of the Baptist Missionary Society (BMS) in 1792, Andrew Fuller was in London in his capacity as the Society’s secretary, trying to solicit much needed funding for this new venture in overseas mission. One of the people he approached was Richard Cecil, a leading evangelical Anglican clergyman. Cecil refused to give any money and also spoke in “slighting terms” of the Particular Baptist denomination to which Fuller belonged. Cecil was prepared, however, to make an exception of the writer of the theological treatise The Gospel Worthy of All Acceptation. This he described, without knowing that he was speaking to its author, as “one of the most masterly productions I know.” When Fuller replied that this was in fact his own work, Cecil “rose from his chair, expressed the most eager apologies and earnestly pressed a subscription.” But the visitor had been stung and initially refused to accept it. “You do not give in faith!” he protested. In concluding his account of this episode, Fuller’s son and biographer, Andrew Gunton Fuller, recorded that “it was not without considerable persuasion that the perhaps too sensitive collector could be induced to receive the money.”1

As this incident suggests, Andrew Fuller was one of the foremost English Baptist ministers of his day. He was probably best known by his contemporaries and by subsequent generations for the reasons just highlighted: he was the secretary of the BMS from its inception until his death and the author of The Gospel Worthy, a seminal work advocating evangelical Calvinism. But Fuller also published on a wide range of other theological and apologetic subjects, as well as spending the whole of his ministry as a local church pastor. This sketch

seeks to trace the m...

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