“The Glorious Work Of The Reformation”: Andrew Fuller And The Imitation Of Martin Luther -- By: Michael A. G. Haykin

Journal: Southern Baptist Journal of Theology
Volume: SBJT 21:4 (Winter 2017)
Article: “The Glorious Work Of The Reformation”: Andrew Fuller And The Imitation Of Martin Luther
Author: Michael A. G. Haykin

“The Glorious Work Of The Reformation”: Andrew Fuller And The Imitation Of Martin Luther1

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), The God Who Draws Near: An Introduction to Biblical Spirituality (Evangelical Press, 2007), Rediscovering the Church Fathers: Who They Were and How They Shaped the Church (Crossway, 2011), and Patrick of Ireland: His Life and Impact (Christian Focus, 2014).

It is ironic that Martin Luther’s memory in English-speaking circles in the two centuries or so after his death was cherished largely by men and women whom the German Reformer would have regarded probably as “fanatics.” As J. Wayne Baker has noted, it was high Calvinists like John Saltmarsh (died 1647), Henry Denne (died ca. 1660), and John Bunyan (1628-1688), the latter two figures also Baptists to boot, who especially admired Luther as the herald of justification by grace alone.2 During the 1640s, at the height of what should be regarded as the first Antinomian controversy—the second being in the 1690s—Saltmarsh noted that he could have cited Luther in favor of his position on God’s grace, but he observed, “He is now lookt [sic] on by some as one that is both over-quoted, and over-writ Free-grace.”3 Two decades later, however, Bunyan was not afraid of going public in his autobiographical Grace

Abounding to the Chief of Sinners (1666), about the utterly central role that Luther and his commentary on Galatians had played in enabling him to find a stable faith: “Methinks I must let fall before all men, I do prefer this book of Mr Luther upon the Galatians (excepting the Holy Bible) before all the books that ever I have seen, as most fit for a wounded conscience.”4 By the bicentennial of Luther’s death in 1683, though, such admiration of Luther was increasingly that of an embattled minority. Moralism not only dominated Anglican pulpits, but even among Dissenting authors like Richard Baxter (1615-1691) there was the opinion that Luther had sometimes expressed himself carelessly ...

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