The Passion And Doctrine Of Andrew Fuller In “The Gospel Worthy Of All Acceptation” -- By: Thomas J. Nettles

Journal: Southern Baptist Journal of Theology
Volume: SBJT 17:2 (Summer 2013)
Article: The Passion And Doctrine Of Andrew Fuller In “The Gospel Worthy Of All Acceptation”
Author: Thomas J. Nettles

The Passion And Doctrine Of Andrew Fuller In “The Gospel Worthy Of All Acceptation”

Thomas J. Nettles

Thomas J. Nettles is Professor of Historical Theology at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary.

He is widely regarded as one of the foremost Baptist historians in America. He previously taught at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, Mid-America Baptist Theological Seminary, and Trinity Evangelical Divinity School. Along with numerous journal articles, Dr. Nettles is the author or editor of numerous books, including Baptists and the Bible (co-authored with L. Russ Bush, B&H Academic, 1999), By His Grace and for His Glory (Cor Meum Tibi, 2002), The Baptists (3 vols., Christian Focus, 2005), James Petigru Boyce: A Southern Baptist Statesman (P&R, 2009), and Whomever He Wills (co-edited with Matthew Barrett, Founders Press, 2012).

A Biographical Context

Andrew Fuller (1754-1815) lived in the shade of the subject matter of The Gospel Worthy of All Acceptation for virtually his entire life. He was born at Wicken in Cambridgeshire. In 1761 the Fullers moved to Soham where Fuller stayed until he removed to Kettering in October 1782. His earliest religious impressions were in the context of the high Calvinism to which he sought to provide a corrective. His pastor, Mr. Eve, has been subjected to a good deal of condescending judgment based on Fuller’s brief characterizations. As Fuller recalled his first religious impressions, he was devoid of conviction and did not consider himself at all concerned in the issue of faith for “the preaching I attended was not adapted to awaken my conscience.”1 Fuller noted, nevertheless, that the light he had received, “I know not how,” would not allow him to go into sin with the ease that he observed in other boys his age. The most likely source of his “light” was the preaching of his pastor, Mr. Eve, who, though he had little to say to the unconverted, evidently preached Scripture, which worked as silently and as unobtrusively as the morning dawn in awakening cases of conscience in Fuller. He revealed that he thought on “the doctrines of Christianity,” which he must have learned, at least in part, from Eve. He also read books by Bunyan and Ralph Erskine.2

For some years he had extreme swings of conviction, depression, reform, impressions of being converted, backsliding, sin, coldness, and deadness.3 In November 1769, Fuller ventured his soul upon Christ not knowing if he had any warrant so to do, but felt its necessity even if his presumption meant rejection and pe...

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