“The Utterance Of A Full Heart”: The Pastoral Wisdom Of Andrew Fuller -- By: Paul Brewster

Journal: Southern Baptist Journal of Theology
Volume: SBJT 17:1 (Spring 2013)
Article: “The Utterance Of A Full Heart”: The Pastoral Wisdom Of Andrew Fuller
Author: Paul Brewster


“The Utterance Of A Full Heart”:
The Pastoral Wisdom Of Andrew Fuller

Paul Brewster

Paul Brewster serves as the senior pastor at Ryker’s Ridge Baptist Church, Madison, Indiana. This church maintains an active mission presence in several countries, including ongoing partnerships in India.

Dr. Brewster earned his M.Div. at New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary (1989) and his Ph.D. at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary (2007). He is the author of a theological and biographical study of Andrew Fuller: Andrew Fuller: Model Pastor Theologian (B&H, 2010). Dr. Brewster and his wife, Debbie, are parents to four grown children.

After my first decade as a pastor, I went through a period of ministerial soul-searching. The rural churches I led relied on revivals and special events as their primary evangelistic tools. Reflecting back on a handful of these events, it was clear that many public decisions for Christ had been registered, but, if measured against New Testament metrics, few actual conversions had taken place. For a time, I tried to convince myself that there was nothing wrong with my pastoral methodology; there was only failure in properly following up with the new believers. So, after the next special event where decisions to follow Christ were made, I led the church in a very thorough attempt to follow up personally with those who had made public professions of faith in our services. The results were less than encouraging, as hardly a single one of the many who had supposedly been converted showed the faintest signs of actual spiritual life in Christ.

The upshot of these experiences was a decision to reexamine the foundations of my ministry. I decided to look less at what was going on in the churches around me—because their results were often similar to mine as far as I could see—and more at what had gone on in churches in the past, especially in times of spiritual awakening when there were examples of effectual gospel ministry. In the course of this quest, I read an article by D. M. Lloyd-Jones (1899-1981) on the Sandemanians.1 I was struck by the key question with which the Sandemanians and their theological opponents wrestled: what is the nature of saving faith? I also recognized elements of the Sandemanian view in certain tools and methods used in my own ministry. Lloyd-Jones, in his typical fashion, laid out a logical, thorough, and persuasive case as to how Sandemanian sentiments had survived the centuries in new guises and were becoming a bane to the contemporary church as well. He pointed out that the weakness of

the Sandemanian theological system had be...

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