When I studied under Dr. Michael Haykin’s class in Baptist History, one of his super-many requirements was to read a book about a Baptist minister during the eighteenth century plus to write a reflection about it. There were options either to choose Samuel Pearce or Andrew Fuller’s work. I chose Samuel Pearce’s works:* letters to his friends, and his wife, then I wrote a reflection paper about its content (different from a book reflection).
However, I knew that someday it would be beneficial for me if I will also read Andrew Fuller’s work. With that, I bought the second book and kept it in my personal library.
Indeed, the time came, and I had to learn more about being a pastor since I have transitioned from seminary training and academic writing to a pastoral ministry in New Jersey. Providentially, I brought Andrew Fuller’s ordination sermons compiled and edited by Michael Haykin and Brian Croft entitled Being A Pastor: A Conversation with Andrew Fuller.
As I was reading it, each sermon was hitting the marks I needed and filling the gaps in my understanding of being a pastor. I had a brief pastoral experience, and I knew I did not serve well. I was not faithful enough in the ministry given to me by God back then. That’s why this time, I hope and pray, by His grace, and through the wisdom of the early faithful ministers of God, I will be faithful in the task that I have in NJ.
It is my joy to share the top ten quotes I deem necessary for pastors to hear (or read), especially the young pastors, of Fuller from his sermons. I was desperate to make comments on the quotations, but I realized that I will just leave it pure, unadulterated. The quotations are in the context of ordination sermons preached by Fuller to various ministers between the late eighteenth and early nineteenth century. Here you go:
- “Dare to teach unwelcome truths. Study not to offend any man. Yet, keep not back important truth, even if it do offend.” (126)
- “My brother, study divine truth as a Christian and not merely as a minister.” (123)
- “Walking with God in the closet is a grand means, with his blessing, of illuminating our minds and warming our hearts.” (118)
- “It is good to read the lives of holy men; and the more holy they have been the better.” (67)
- “Read the lives of good men—the lives of such men as God has distinguished for gifts, and graces, and usefulness…. Example has a great influence.” (117)
- “Gospel is a message of love, and therefore it ought to be preached with great affection.” (83)
- “Hundreds of ministers have been ruined by indulging a thirst for the character of the great man, while they have neglected the far superior character of the good man.” (70) on Barnabas in Acts 11:24
- “Faithfulness is absolutely required of a servant of Christ. You are not required to be successful: your Lord and Master was not very successful; but he was faithful, and so must you be.” (220)
- “Watch over your own soul, as well as the souls of your people…. Know your weakness, and depend upon Christ’s all-sufficiency.” (235-6)
- “Souls are perishing around you; and though you cannot make an atonement for the people’s sins, yet you can publish one, made by our great High Priest; and, receiving and exhibiting this atonement, you may hope to save yourself and them that hear you.” (180)
Soli Deo Gloria!
Andrew Fuller Michael Haykin and Brian Croft, Being a Pastor: A Conversation with Andrew Fuller (Darlington, Co Durham: EP Books, 2019) – quotations above are from here.
The Complete Works of the Rev. Andrew Fuller, ed. Joseph Belcher (1845; repr. Harrisonburg, VA: Sprinkle Publications, 1988), 3 volumes.
*Michael A.G. Haykin, ed., Joy Unspeakable and Full of Glory: The Piety of Samuel and Sarah Pearce (Ontario, Canada: Joshua Press, 2012).