SBTS establishes center for study of Baptist history and thought

Communications Staff — May 24, 2007

The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary is the home of a new center that will promote the study of Baptist history and doctrine.

The Andrew Fuller Center for Baptist Studies will be headed by noted church historian Michael A.G. Haykin, who was appointed last week as professor of church history and biblical spirituality at Southern.

The center is named in honor of Andrew Fuller (1754-1815), an early 19th century British Baptist pastor/theologian who opposed aberrant doctrine among Baptists in England and was instrumental in the founding of the Baptist Missionary Society. Fuller was a contemporary of William Carey, founder of the modern international missions movement.

“When English Baptist life was threatened by the winter chill of hyper-Calvinism, Andrew Fuller warmed the churches with the free offer of the Gospel, and thus fueled the modern missions movement,” said Russell D. Moore, dean of the School of Theology and senior vice president for academic administration.

“The Fuller Center will exist to promote a Baptist theology that equips churches and pastors to both contend for the faith and plead for the lost. The Fuller Center will hold conferences on the campus of Southern Seminary, beginning with the August conference on Andrew Fuller, and will publish materials including a journal and Internet-based resources on warm-hearted convictional Baptist theology.”

The center will hold its inaugural event, the Andrew Fuller—The Reader conference, Aug. 27-28 on Southern’s campus. The conference will examine the influence of giants of Christian thought such as John Owen and Jonathan Edwards on Fuller’s theology. Speakers will include Haykin, Moore, Tom Nettles and Carl Trueman.

The center will hold one major conference each year plus other events that examine various aspects of Baptist history. It will also be tied to the publication of a critical edition of the works of Andrew Fuller. Twice each year, the Andrew Fuller Center will also publish Eusebeia, a journal that will carry articles and book reviews related to Baptist history and thought.

“The center will be a vehicle whereby scholars, pastors, Christian leaders, and interested lay people can reflect on what it has meant to be Baptist in years gone by and draw wisdom from the past on how to live as a Baptist today,” Haykin said. “It has some very exciting possibilities.”

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