On Friday, 21st March 2014, Dr. Matthew Hyde delivered the annual lecture for the Strict Baptist Historical Society at Bethesda Chapel.[1] After the lecture, he and I shared a brief exchange on the subject of high-calvinism and nineteenth-century Strict Baptist pastors. Since one of these pastors, John Hazelton, had been connected with the church that I pastor,[2] his name naturally came up. Subsequent to our chat, Dr. Hyde graciously gave me one of his copies of William Styles’, “John Hazelton: A Memoir”.

I believe Baptists should be familiar with the life and ministry of John Hazelton for three reasons:

First, the life and ministry of John Hazelton is worth knowing because he was one of the leading Baptist ministers in the city of London during the nineteenth-century.

I will illustrate this point by quoting from two historic documents. The first document is the minute book of Bethesda Chapel, where Hazelton was among five other Strict Baptist pastors overseeing the organisation of the church. The second document is the minute book of an Association of Strict Baptist Churches, where Hazelton assumed a leading role in the proceedings. As will be seen, the documents are historically linked, in that the inception of the Association is traced to the 4th anniversary service of Bethesda Chapel. In addition, the first pastor of Bethesda Chapel, David Crumpton, served as the first Chairman of the Association.

1. Bethesda Chapel, Minute Book, April 4th, 1866.[3]

In the autumn of the year 1865, a few persons holding Strict Communion,[4] and Particular Baptist principles,[5] desiring the edification of their own minds, the spread of the truths and principles they prized and loved, and the salvation of precious souls, made arrangements with the Committee of the “Working Men’s Association,” then occupying the Large room in Stormont House, Bayswater Road, London, W., for its use on Sundays for Divine worship. One of these persons, having incidentally heard of Mr. D. Crumpton, a minister, who had for some years been pastor of the Particular Baptist Church at Salendine Nook, Huddersfield, Yorkshire, but had come to London intending to “rest awhile,” (Mk 6:31) and only to minister occasionally, as the Lord should direct, wrote to him, inviting him to come and speak to them the word of the Lord, in Stormont House, the first Sabbath in November, 1865. The invitation was accepted, and week by week renewed, until it became evident, by the steady increase of the congregation, and the edification derived from his ministry, that the whole was of God; and eventually, after prayerful consideration, it was decided to form a Strict Communion, Particular Baptist Church, and to invite Mr. Crumpton to be the pastor; which was done on Wednesday, April 4th, 1866. Accordingly, special services were held in the “United Methodist Free Church”, Queens Road, Bayswater. The order of these services were as follows:

At half past two o’clock in the afternoon, Bro. Kurtis of Hayes, gave out the well known hymn, “Kindred in Christ for His Dear Sake”. These sweet words having been sung, Bro. Box of Woolwich, read the Word of God and earnestly implored the Divine aid and blessing. After again singing Bro. Hazelton of Chadwell Street Chapel, Pentonville, described in a very able and Scriptural manner “the nature and order of a Gospel church”, and at the close of his address, asked “what had led them to wish to form a Christian church” and, “what principles they intended to adopt as the basis of their union”. These questions being satisfactorily answered by two of the friends, he requested those persons wishing to form a church to stand up, and to give to each other the right hand of fellowship, which they did. Bro. Box then gave to each on behalf of the sister churches in London, the right hand of fellowship, wishing them, in a very hearty manner “God’s special presence and blessing”.

Another hymn having been sung, Bro. Higham of Great College Street Chapel of Camden Town described, “the deacon’s office” as laid down in God’s Holy Word, a portion of which he read, and then spoke very practically and affectionately of its duties and after which, the church elected by ballot five brethren to that office, whose names he announced and asked them, “If they accepted the appointment?” To which they replied, “they did hoping for God’s help.” Bro. Dickerson of Little Alie Street Chapel, Whitechapel, then rose and after a very few suitable words, observed, “that they as a church had elected their deacons, but in the Bible we read of pastors as well as deacons, and that he had been requested to superintend that afternoon the election of their pastor.” The church then unanimously and heartily expressed their wish for Bro. David Crumpton to be their pastor, and he having consented, and also given brief, but interesting accounts of his conversion to God, and call to the ministry, the ministers present “gave to him on their own, and their brethren’s behalf, the right hand of fellowship, and a very cordial welcome among the pastors and churches in London, assuring him of their earnest desire that he, and the people of his charge may prosper, and be abundantly blessed of God.” This solemn service was then concluded by singing and prayer, and the friends adjourned to the school room where tea was provided.

When they all had eaten and were satisfied, they reassembled in the chapel, at half past six o’clock in the evening, when Bro. Frith of New Bexley Kent gave out the hymns, and Bro. Kurtis read and prayed, then Bro. Dickerson addressed the pastor, in a very affectionate manner expressing his conviction, “that it was the Gospel attended with the power of the Holy Spirit, that could alone benefit souls, and he believed his brother Crumpton would be content to preach ‘Christ crucified’ being persuaded that the ‘old story’ of the cross had still power to save.” Bro. Hazelton then addressed the church on “its duties to itself, its pastor and the world,” and in a very profitable way, entered into several weighty things. Another hymn having been sung, Bro. Higham spoke to the congregation on “the only way of salvation,” affectionately assuring them “that there was no other name under heaven, given among men, whereby they must be saved, but the name Christ Jesus.”

These interesting services were concluded by the pastor, administering the Lord’s Supper to the infant church, to the members of the Strict Communion Baptist Churches, to the members of nearly 70 persons, uniting in this act of remembrance of the Saviour’s dying love. Thus closed the meetings of this solemn day. The attendance was good, and the spirit, tone, and subject matter of each address was all that could be desired. Evidently “God was in our midst.” May His best blessings ever rest upon this church and upon all the churches in Christ Jesus throughout the world and in all ages. Amen and Amen.

2. Metropolitan Association of Strict Baptist Churches, Minute Book, February 3rd, 1871.[6]

A strong desire for closer union among the Strict Baptist Churches in London and its suburbs has long been felt by the ministers and others. At the Anniversary Services of the Church in Silver-street Chapel, Notting-hill,[7] last November, this desire was publicly expressed by some of the ministers present. Subsequently, several of them met at Mr. Anderson’s, Deptford, and it was thought desirable to convene a meeting of ministers, which was held in the vestry of Salem Chapel, Meard’s-court, on Friday, January 27th, 1871. The following persons attended:—Ministers,—Messrs. Alderson, Anderson, Bracher, Briscoe, Crumpton, Curtis, Dearsley, Griffin, Griffeth, Hazelton, Osmond, Parsons, Waterer, Webb and Wilkins. Also Deacons,—Messrs. Hoddy, Linforth, and W. Kennard. Communications expressing approval have also been received from Messrs. Box, Carpenter, Cousens, Evans, Flack, Foreman, Hall, Higham, Meeres, Moyle and Sankey; and it is expected that several other ministers and churches will unite. At the above named meeting, Mr. Crumpton was unanimously requested to preside, and Mr. Briscoe to take minutes of the meeting. After prayer by Mr Anderson, for Divine guidance and blessing, it was unanimously and most cordially decided that the following Resolutions, with a Circular of Invitation to the several churches then represented by the presence of their pastors, or expressing approval, be drawn up by Messrs. Crumpton and Briscoe, and printed, and by them, as Chairman and Secretary, pro tem., signed on behalf of the Meeting, and forwarded to the said churches, with a request that they, in church-meeting duly assembled, would appoint person as their Messengers, according to the ratio named in Rule 4, and authorize them, in conjunction with their Pastors (if any), to attend the Adjourned Meeting, to be held (D.V.) in Soho Chapel, Oxford Street, on Friday, the 10th day of March, 1871, at 3 o’clock in the afternoon, and fully instruct and empower them to act for, and on their behalf, that the proposed Association may then and there be duly formed, and the churches thus be visibly (and God grant really and beneficially) united, that they may prosper and strive together for the furtherance of the gospel.

In pursuance of the above, the Resolutions, are now forwarded to the churches, for their consideration and approval; and it is affectionately requested that they will appoint Messengers to represent them at the Adjourned Meeting.

Praying the Lord to grant the Churches unity, peace, and prosperity, we subscribe ourselves,

Their servants, for Jesus’ sake,

D. Crumpton, Chairman; J. T. Briscoe, Secretary. Pro temp.

London, Feb. 3, 1871.

RESOLUTIONS

I. That an Association of Particular Baptist Churches, in and around London, holding Strict Communion principles, be formed and called, “The Metropolitan Association of Strict Baptist Churches.”

II. That the Churches now present in the person of their pastor or other representative, be invited, in connection with others endorsing the basis and rules, to form the said Association.

III. “That the following be the DOCTRINAL BASIS of the Association:—

1. The equality and distinct personality of the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost in the unity of the Godhead.

2. Eternal and personal election unto salvation.

3. The fall of all mankind in Adam—their guilt and condemnation—together with their entire and universal depravity, by which they are utterly alienated from God, and are unable in and of themselves to turn to him.

4. Particular redemption by the vicarious sacrifice of Christ.

5. Justification by grace, through faith, by the imputed righteousness of our Lord Jesus Christ.

6. Regeneration and sanctification by the direct agency of the Holy Spirit, through the instrumentality of Divine truth.[8]

7. The absolute necessity for a holy life, as the result of true faith and the evidence of regeneration.

8. The final perseverance of true believers.

9. The resurrection of the dead and the universal judgment.

10. The everlasting punishment of the wicked, and the everlasting happiness of the righteous.

11. The duty of preaching the gospel to every creature of the fallen race of Adam.

12. The necessity of immersion on a profession of repentance and faith, in order to church fellowship and admission to the Lord’s-table.

13. The congregational order of the churches.

IV. That the following be the OBJECTS of the Association:—

1. To promote the unity, edification, and prosperity of the Churches.

2. To devise and employ means for extending the Cause of God in London and its suburbs.

V. That the following be the RULES and REGULATIONS of the Association:—

1. That, to promote the objects of the Association, meetings for mutual prayer, consultation, exhortation, public preaching and the despatch of business, be held at such times and places as shall be agreed upon—one such meeting in each year to be the Annual Meeting of the Association.

2. That the Anniversary Services be extended to two days or parts of them—the former day to be occupied in the transaction of the necessary business of the Association, the latter in public services.

3. That two ministers be appointed to preach at each Anniversary—one to be chosen by the Association at a previous meeting, and the other by the church in connection with which the services are held. In each case a second preacher to be appointed, in case of failure.

4. That the parties entitled to vote on any question be the following:—1. The pastors of the associated churches. 2. Messengers appointed by the churches (or in case of failure their substitutes) in the following proportions:—under 100 members, two; 100 to 200 members, three; 200 or more members, four; beyond which number no increase of representatives will be allowed.

5. That each of the associated churches send an annual letter descriptive of its state; and that any church neglecting to send such letter for two successive years be written to: and if it neglect the third year without a justifiable reason, it be considered as no longer belonging to the Association.

6. That each church connected with this Association make an annual contribution to defray its incidental expenses, and to form a fund for the assistance of weak churches and for the promotion of the kingdom of Christ by the preaching of the gospel and the establishment of new Interests in connection with the denomination.

7. That every church wishing to join this Association send a written application to that effect, stating its agreement with the doctrinal basis and rules thereof: such application to be presented at the annual meeting twelve months prior to voting on the question, and that the reception of such church shall be approved by not less that three-fourths of the representatives present.

One cannot read these very interesting accounts, and miss the leading role served by John Hazelton (be sure to read footnote #8). He was a respected minister among his peers and an influential figure among the Strict Baptist churches. Surely such a testimony is worth examining in greater detail.

Second, the life and ministry of John Hazelton is worth knowing because he is among a gallant group of Baptist ministers who tenaciously subscribed to a high view of Sovereign Grace.

You are familiar with the life and ministry of Charles Spurgeon, but have you ever heard of the following names?—William Gadsby of Manchester, John Kershaw of Rochdale, John Warburton of Trowbridge in Wiltshire, J.C. Philpot of Stamford, James Wells of Surrey Tabernacle, John Stevens of London’s West End, John Foreman in Dorset Square, David Crumpton of Notting-hill, John Gadsby, editor of The Gospel Standard, Charles Banks, editor of The Earthen Vessel and William Styles, who wrote a manual of Strict Baptist Theology.[9] To this list may be added John Gill, whose Body of Divinity and Bible Commentary sets out in blazing language the glory of God in sovereign grace. These men would have never forged an associational alliance with Spurgeon, or men of his ilk, namely because he was not a Strict Baptist, neither was he a High-calvinist. This is somewhat ironic, since Spurgeon became pastor of the same church pastored by John Gill, just over 80 years after Gill’s death. Yet stranger still, in our present day, Spurgeon’s name is about the only nineteenth-century Calvinistic Baptist minister with whom “professing” Strict/Particular Baptists (Reformed Baptists) are familiar. And, even where the more well known High-calvinists such as Gadbsy and Gill are recognised, they are seldom read or quoted. Of course, the charge that is brought against this group of ministers is that their High-calvinism (or ‘hyper’ as some like to label it) is an extreme position that stifles godly living and evangelistic fervour. In response to this charge, Dr. Kenneth Dix offers the following conclusion in his fascinating article on “Varieties of High Calvinism Among Nineteenth-Century Particular Baptists”:[10]

“The nineteenth-century Strict Baptists believed the distinctive doctrines they held so firmly were rooted in scripture. They were also fully persuaded that in the stand they were making for restricted communion, and against free offer/duty faith teaching, they were doing the will of God. They were convinced that high-Calvinism was Biblical truth.

The assumption is commonly made that high-Calvinism destroys or stifles all efforts to promote missionary or evangelistic endeavour. In the case of the Strict Baptists in Suffolk, in London, in many other parts of the country, and in a good measure in the life and witness of Gadsby, this was not true. These men certainly refused to offer the gospel, but they still proclaimed it: they studiously avoided calling on men to believe, but they clearly taught the necessity of faith. They may not have said ‘whosoever will’, but one of their favourite hymns was ‘Come ye sinners, poor and wretched’.”

Henceforth, I believe it is time the life and ministries of these unknown Baptist pastors be revived and circulated. Baptists should know their history, and those subscribing to sovereign grace should know their true heritage.

Third, the life and ministry of John Hazelton is worth knowing because he has much to teach this generation of professing Christians who like to call themselves Reformed Baptists.[11]

The appellation “Reformed Baptists” is a self-labelling modern marvel—it is an oxymoron. The two names largely stand opposed to each other on historical and doctrinal grounds. Historically, Baptists trace their roots to the church organised by Christ in Jerusalem during the first century—they were never spawned from the Roman Church, nor are they aligned with the divergent parties belonging to Protestants, Puritans and Reformers. Doctrinally, Baptists derive their teachings from the simplicity of Scripture, taking a high view of inspiration, grace, congregational order and governance—they do not depend upon the teachings of the Reformers, whether it be that of Luther, Calvin, Zwingli or Knox. In fact, such is the incongruity of the two labels that it must be enquired when and how this unholy matrimony came about. As I have quoted in full the historic documents of a Strict Baptist church’s origin (Bethesda Chapel), together with the commencement of the Metropolitan Association of Strict Baptist Churches, it seems appropriate to focus on this Association of churches in search for an answer. Here is what Dr. Kenneth Dix writes in his “Sketch of Baptist History”:

“Immediately following the Second World War the National Strict Baptist Federation was formed, with a view to bringing the churches into closer union. This was later integrated with the National Assembly of SB Pastors and Deacons (now Grace Assembly). A new Affirmation of Faith was published in 1966.

‘The Christian’s Pathway’, which for many years had printed a monthly Directory of the churches, ceased publication in 1969. A few months later ‘The Gospel Herald’ was replaced by a new magazine named ‘Grace’. Since then the term Grace Baptist has tended to supplant the more traditional Strict Baptist. Restricted communion is now less rigidly observed than it once was, and there is far greater freedom on calling sinners to repent and believe. Another change adopted in many churches has been to replace pastor and deacons with elders and deacons.”[12]

Please note the following points from Dr. Dix’s statement:

(1) The name ‘Strict’ is changed to ‘Grace’.

The name ‘Grace’ now represents nothing different from the label ‘Reformed’. This is affirmed by the Association of Grace Baptist Churches South East, in their Handbook 2015:

“Our churches stand in the theological heritage of Reformed Baptists. This heritage includes such documents as the Baptist Confessions of 1644 and 1689, The New Hampshire Confession of Faith and the 1966 Affirmation- We Believe.”

(2) The ‘Grace’, or ‘Reformed’, churches have adopted the pernicious teachings of Fullerism.

Duty-faith and the Free-offer reside at the very heart of their perversion of the gospel message. This is affirmed by an article uploaded to “Theopedia”:[13]

“The Grace Baptist Assembly churches represent a modification of Strict Baptists close to the “Fullerism” of the 18th century. These English churches additionally meet together in three regional associations – Association of Grace Baptist Churches (East Anglia), Association of Grace Baptist Churches (East Midlands), Association of Grace Baptist Churches (South East) – and one fellowship – the Fellowship of Northern Particular Baptist Churches. The Gospel Standard Strict Baptists, remains the closest to the roots of the movement, both theologically and practically…They stand faithful in their opposition to Fuller’s modified Calvinism, open membership and open communion.”

(3) Restricted Communion is now less rigidly observed.

At one time the common practice of inviting others to sit at the Table outside of the local membership was based squarely on ‘same faith and order’, accompanied by a letter of recommendation[14]—the general policy now is an open table, with no letter required. This is affirmed by an article written by Paul Spear, Secretary of the Association of Grace Baptist Churches South East:[15]

“There are at least two different understandings/applications of the strict membership/strict table position. Communion may be only for baptised members of the specific church in question or it may be open to baptised members of other churches who are visiting. Sometimes the latter will permit those with paedobaptist convictions who are visiting as an acknowledgement that we are united with them on many other matters. The latter is most common in association churches. In the past a letter of recommendation may have been required but this practice seems to have ceased.”

(4) Pastor and deacons are replaced with elders and deacons.

Indeed, this is a leading feature of all Reformed Baptists—it is asserted that each church must be overseen by a plurality of elders. This is affirmed in an email received from Dr. Kenneth Dix, after he explained the historic position on the matter:[16]

“I have no evidence to even suggest that an eldership ever existed in Strict Baptist circles. Until the 1960’s it was always ‘pastor and deacons’…I have long held to the view that the change to an eldership was made all too quickly, without properly thinking through its implications. If the membership are to submit to an eldership, then what becomes of the concept, so dear to independency, that rule and authority rests in the gathered church, in ‘the congregational order of churches inviolate’, as it was often expressed…I do agree with you that our forebears were far too much influenced by the Reformers, or by the Presbyterians. I also share the view, rather sadly, that the ‘Grace Churches’ have become entirely entrenched in their view of eldership.”[17]

(5) ‘The Gospel Herald’ was replaced by a new magazine named ‘Grace’, and the ‘The Christian’s Pathway’ ceased publication in 1969.

What isn’t mentioned is that ‘The Christian’s Pathway’ was replaced in 1970 by ‘Reformation Today’, edited by Erroll Hulse. The account is recorded on its website:[18]

“Stanley Hogwood was son-in-law of the well-known pastor Benjamin Warburton in Brighton. On Warburton’s decease Stanley inherited the editorship of the denominational month magazine The Christians’ Pathway. In 1970 the editorship passed to Erroll who turned The Christians’ Pathway magazine into Reformation Today.”

And then there is a reference to another magazine called the ‘Banner of Truth’:[19]

“While studying at London Bible College from 1954 to 1960 they [Erroll and Lyn Hulse] attended Westminster Chapel and received tremendous benefit from the ministry of Dr Martyn Lloyd-Jones. They lived at the Foreign Missions Club where they met a life long friend Iain Murray who in 1957 invited Erroll to become the business manager of a new publishing house called the Banner of Truth.”

According to a private conversation I had with Dr. Dix, he believed the origin of the Reformed Baptist Movement can be traced to these magazines, together with the leadership and influence of men such as Erroll Hulse, Iain Murray and Martyn Lloyd-Jones. Indeed, once the impact these magazines and men have had among the Particular Baptist churches is examined, one is compelled to seriously consider the idea. And, lest there be any doubt as to the design of these publications, consider the purpose for which each exists:

“Reformation Today is a bi-monthly journal by Baptists for Baptists, applying the teachings of the Bible to the life of our churches to bring reformation and spiritual refreshment. The magazine is founded on the London Baptist Confession of Faith of 1689, and links together those who are concerned to see reformation in our churches, and an appreciation of our reformed and puritan heritage.”[20]

“The object of the Charity [The Banner of Truth Trust] is to promote in such parts of the world as the Trustees may decide the better knowledge and understanding of the doctrines of the Christian faith as taught by the Protestant Reformers and English Puritans.”[21]

I suspect every Reformed Baptist minister, especially those ministering in Great Britain, holds in highest esteem the objectives of these respective publications. Henceforth, it appears Dr. Dix was on the right track. Is it not this inordinate obsession with Protestants and Puritans that has led to this new breed of brethren that call themselves Reformed Baptists? Perhaps if Erroll Hulse and Iain Murray focused on republishing the out-of-print works of our Baptist forefathers, the type of confusion that now exists in Baptist churches would have been avoided.[22]

Note: Aside from the points made by Dr. Dix in his “Sketch of Baptist History”, I had originally added a few thoughts of my own. However, upon further reflection, the words of the Apostle Paul suggested I follow another course—Romans 12:18: “If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men.” Henceforth, in an effort to mitigate unnecessary controversy, I have removed these ‘few thoughts’. In any case, Dr. Dix has identified some of the principal teachings of the Reformed Baptists and has suggested an interesting path leading to their origin.

Here is the challenge Reformed Baptists can received from the life and ministry of John Hazelton—they do not need to compromise their Baptist heritage in order to subscribe to sovereign grace. John Hazelton was a true Baptist and a consistent Calvinist—but he was no ‘Reformer’. The purity of his doctrine and legacy of his ministry outshines the brightest witness among the Reformed Baptists. The greatest need of this day is not ‘Reformed’ Baptists, but simply ‘Conformed’ Baptists—conformity to the Word of God and our Baptist values.

It is my sincere prayer the Lord will rescue the Strict/Particular Baptist witness[23] by reviving the unadulterated gospel of sovereign grace in the hearts of His people. In some measure, however small, I hope William Styles’ Memoir of John Hazelton will serve a role in this purpose. I forthwith upload the fifteen chapters with much joy and anticipation towards that prospect.

A servant of the TriUne Jehovah,

Jared Smith

——————————-
[1] SBHS Annual Lecture: “Gadsby’s” – 200 Years of a Hymn Book and its Influence. Dr. Hyde has also authored a book on the same subject which may be obtained here: Gadsby’s: The Story of a Hymnbook.
[2] Bethesda Baptist Church, or Bethesda Chapel. I was inducted as pastor in 1999.
[3] The church was initially called Silver-street Chapel. After the purchase of a building, the name was changed to Bethesda Chapel. The church is in possession of the original minute books. Special thanks to the congregation for allowing access to these documents.
[4] Strict Communion. This title refers to the Communion Table restricted to church members of like faith and order. These churches generally practiced “Close” Communion, rather than “Closed” Communion.
[5] Particular Baptist. This title refers to the work of Christ’s redeeming grace restricted to the elect of God, otherwise known as Particular Redemption. As the blood of Christ is designed only for the vessels of honour, so Christ made provision for their salvation alone.
[6] The Association was initially called the Metropolitan Association of Strict Baptist Churches (MASBC). During the latter half of the twentieth-century, the name “Strict” was replaced with “Grace”, and the Association is now called The Association of Grace Baptist Churches South East (AGBCSE). Special thanks to Paul Spear, the Association Secretary, for allowing access to these documents.
[7] Lest it should escape attention, Silver-street chapel was the church organised by John Hazelton, pastored by David Crumpton and is now called Bethesda Chapel.
[8] A handwritten footnote in red ink reads: “See additions to article 6 Doct Basis and a new article on the rules—page 11”. On page 11 of the minutes, there is a reference to the additional statement for the Doctrinal Basis, which proceedings took place at Soho Chapel, Oxford Street, Friday, March 10, 1871, at 3 o’clock in the afternoon. The record reads: “Mr. Hazelton in directing attention to the doctrinal basis, suggested the following addition to Art. 6—‘And that saving faith is not a legal duty but the sovereign and precious gift of God.’ The mover and seconder agreeing to add the same to their motion it was unanimously carried. Mr. Crumpton moved, Mr. Hazelton seconded and it was unanimously resolved. That should a Minister or Church depart from the Doctrinal Basis of the Association he or it be excluded on proof of the fact.” Of course, if this rule were enforced today, there would be few churches left in the Association. It is clear that Hazelton assumed a leading role in these meetings. His addition to the Doctrinal Basis is comparable to a wise and prudent father foreseeing danger and setting up safeguards to protect his children. Understanding the pernicious nature of Fullerite heresy, he ensured no such teaching could creep into the Association. That his position and counsel was highly respected and followed is evident by his peers’ unanimous approval.
[9] Kenneth Dix, “Varieties of High Calvinism Among Nineteenth-Century Particular Baptists”. Baptist Quarterly 38.2 (April 1999): Pages 56-69.
[10] Ibid.
[11] Don Fortner preached a sermon on Sunday morning, November 2, 1997, entitled “Five Subtle Heresies of Reformed Doctrine”. He pointed out, “There is one form of religion that is even more subtle than Arminianism and just as deadly, one form of religion which more subtly promotes the mixture of works with grace than any other. That is what men call Reformed Theology, or the Reformed Faith, or Reformed Doctrine…In recent years a denomination has arisen called Reformed Baptists. In reality, for the most part, they are not Baptists at all, but just ducking Presbyterians. They hold to reformed theology in all areas except baptism.”
[12] Kenneth Dix wrote: “The 1966 Affirmation is described on its cover as a ‘Strict Baptist Affirmation of Faith’. On what right did those who framed this Affirmation have to say this, when as I have said, the basic Strict Baptist, and indeed the Particular Baptist position, has always been that of pastor and deacons?”—Email between Jared Smith and Kenneth Dix, October 18, 2010.
[13] Theopedia: Strict Baptists
[14] Kevin Price, the Presiding Minister of Zoar Particular Baptist Chapel, Bradford, is a Committee member of the Strict Baptist Historical Society. He does not recall the Northern churches observing the practice of exchanging ‘letters of recommendation’, but acknowledges this may have been practiced by the chapels in the South. He makes an excellent point that members of the Northern congregations generally considered it important to observe the Table in one’s own church, and therefore the question of visitors at communion seldom arose.
[15] Paul Spear: “Are We Still Strict Baptists?”
[16] Email between Jared Smith and Kenneth Dix, October 18, 2010.
[17] The whole premise of an elected eldership in churches is flawed. The term ‘elder’ has been misunderstood and therefore misappropriated. A summary of my view on the subject may be found here: Seven Reasons Why Churches Should Not Appoint Elders
[18] Reformation Today: Erroll Hulse
[19] Reformation Today: About
[20] Reformation Today: Erroll Hulse
[21] The Banner of Truth: Its Story
[22] Jack Hoad, “The Baptist”. Grace Publications Trust, 1986, Page 142. “Despite the immense amount of Christian literature published in Britain today, but a very small proportion of it remains true to the historic baptist heritage.” This is a pungent observation given by a Reformed Baptist—is this a confession that publishers such as The Banner of Truth Trust have been putting out an excessive amount of ‘Reformed’ material, at the exclusion of the ‘historic Baptist heritage’?
[23] William Styles, “A Guide to Church Fellowship, as Maintained by Primitive, or Strict and Particular Baptists”, 1902. On pages 78 and 79, under the general heading, “Duty-Faith is Denied by All Strict and Particular Baptists”, the following statement is found:
“Duty-faith is the doctrine that it is the duty of natural men to exercise spiritual Faith in the Lord Jesus, and so to obtain salvation. Its emphatic denial is a distinguishing feature of the Strict and Particular section of the Baptist denomination.
It is variously expressed by different moderate Calvinists, but the following extract from the “Declaration” of the “Truths believed and held” by the “Home Counties Baptist Association,” formed at Guilford, in October, 1877, may be accepted as embodying the belief of most of the brethren who differ from us on the point—Article 8: “The duty of all men to whom the Gospel is made known to believe and receive it.”
The view of the Strict and Particular Baptists is thus expressed in the statement of the Doctrinal Basis of the “Metropolitan Association of Strict Baptist Churches,” which has also been adopted as expressing the principles of the “Strict Baptist Mission:”—Article 6: “Regeneration and sanctification by the direct agency of the Holy Spirit, through the instrumentality of Divine truth; and that saving Faith is not a legal duty, but the sovereign and gracious gift of God.”
These declarations are evidently meant to be decisive and final. A preacher who does not insist that it is the duty of unregenerate persons who hear the Gospel from his lips to believe and receive it, has no right to associate with the estimable brethren who are connected with the “Home Counties Baptist Association.” On the other hand, a minister who believes that spiritual Faith is a duty incumbent upon all natural men who hear the Gospel, is not a Strict and Particular Baptist, (according to the received usage of the term) and ought not, in common honesty, to call himself one.”



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