The Admission Of Unbaptized Persons To The Lord’s Supper, Inconsistent With The New Testament -- By: Andrew Fuller

Journal: Southern Baptist Journal of Theology
Volume: SBJT 17:2 (Summer 2013)
Article: The Admission Of Unbaptized Persons To The Lord’s Supper, Inconsistent With The New Testament
Author: Andrew Fuller


The Admission Of Unbaptized Persons To
The Lord’s Supper, Inconsistent With The New Testament

Andrew Fuller

edited and introduced by Michael A. G. Haykin

Michael A. G. Haykin is Professor of Church History and Biblical Spirituality at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary.

He is also Adjunct Professor of Church History and Spirituality at Toronto Baptist Seminary in Ontario, Canada. Dr. Haykin is the author of many books, including “At the Pure Fountain of Thy Word”: Andrew Fuller As an Apologist (Paternoster Press, 2004), Jonathan Edwards: The Holy Spirit in Revival (Evangelical Press, 2005), and The God Who Draws Near: An Introduction to Biblical Spirituality (Evangelical Press, 2007), and Rediscovering the Church Fathers: Who They Were and How They Shaped the Church (Crossway, 2011).

Introduction

The issue of who may participate at the Lord’s Supper was a matter about which the majority of English Particular Baptists, the community of Andrew Fuller, had been largely in agreement since their origins in the mid-17th century: only those who had been baptized as believers should partake of the Lord’s Table. However, there had always been a small stream of dissent from this perspective.1 In the 17th century, Baptists like John Bunyan (1628-1688) and Henry Jessey (1601-1663) had maintained a position of both open communion and open membership. Bunyan himself had defended his position at length and with a certain vehemence in a major controversy with the London Baptist community in the 1670s and 1680s.2 In the following century, the debate was opened afresh when John Collett Ryland (1723-1792) and Daniel Turner (1710-1798) both published pleas for open communion in 1772, which were answered six years later by the doughty Abraham Booth (1734-1806), whom Fuller regarded as “the first counselor of our denomination.”3 Booth’s answer was entitled An Apology for the Baptists and it settled the issue until the 1810s. By that time, Fuller was conscious that times were changing and there was a growing openness to an open communion position—one of his closest friends, John Ryland, Jr. (1753-1825), for instance, embraced such a position. He was also aware that Robert Hall, Jr. (1764-1831), the brilliant son of one of his mentors, was getting ready to publish a defence of open communion. So it was in 1814 that Fuller drew up the following tract. As it turned out, Hall did not publish on the issue until after Fuller’s death in May, 1815. When Hall did so with his Terms of ...

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