The Renaissance In Andrew Fuller Studies: A Bibliographic Essay -- By: Nathan A. Finn

Journal: Southern Baptist Journal of Theology
Volume: SBJT 17:2 (Summer 2013)
Article: The Renaissance In Andrew Fuller Studies: A Bibliographic Essay
Author: Nathan A. Finn

The Renaissance In Andrew Fuller Studies: A Bibliographic Essay

Nathan A. Finn

Nathan A. Finn is Associate Professor of Historical Theology and Baptist Studies at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary where he received his Ph.D. and has served on the faculty since 2006.

Dr. Finn is the editor of Domestic Slavery: The Correspondence of Richard Fuller and Francis Wayland (Mercer University Press, 2008) and Ministry By His Grace and For His Glory: Essays in Honor of Thomas J. Nettles (Founders Press, 2011). He has also contributed to numerous books and journals, including such journals as Journal of Baptist Studies, Puritan Reformed Journal, Midwestern Journal of Theology, and Baptist History and Heritage. Dr. Finn and his family are members of the First Baptist Church of Durham, NC.


In 2007, John Piper gave his customary biographical talk at the annual Desiring God Conference for Pastors. His topic that year was Andrew Fuller (1754-1815), a figure considerably less well-known than previous subjects such as Athanasius, Augustine, Martin Luther, John Calvin, J. Gresham Machen, and Martyn Lloyd- Jones. In his talk, Piper argued that Fuller played a key role in bringing theological renewal to the British Particular Baptists in the late eighteenth century. That renewal, in turn, helped to launch the modern missions movement, led by Fuller’s friend William Carey. For Piper, Fuller was a faithful pastor-theologian who espoused a missions-minded evangelical Calvinism and successfully challenged virtually every major theological error of his day. In many ways, he was a Baptist version of Piper’s personal theological hero, Jonathan Edwards. Piper’s talk was subsequently published as I Will Go Down If You Will Hold the Rope (2012).2 By all appearances, Fuller had finally arrived. The momentum had been building for years.

Andrew Fuller was the most important Baptist theologian in the years between the ministries of John Gill (1697-1771) and Charles Spurgeon (1834-1892). He was part of a group of likeminded friends that included John Ryland, Jr. (1753-1825), John Sutcliff (1752-1814), Samuel Pearce (1766-1799), Robert Hall, Jr. (1764– 1831), and William Carey (1761-1834). These men, but especially Fuller himself, emerged as the fountainhead of a soteriological movement among the British Particular Baptists that came to be called “Fullerism.” Over the course of a generation, the so-called moderate Calvinism associated with Fuller became the mainstream understanding of salvation among a majority of Particular Baptists, as well as other broadly Calvinistic British eva...

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