John Hazelton[1] (1822-1888) was a high-calvinist and strict-communion Baptist pastor[2], whose 35 year ministry with the church meeting at Chadwell Street, London, resulted in a congregation that became one of the leading Strict Baptist (SB) churches during the first fifty years of the 20th century. Like most SB’s, Hazelton stood aloof from the ministry of Charles Spurgeon. In many respects, Spurgeon may be regarded as the father of the Reformed Baptist movement—he espoused many of the features that identify this new breed of brethren. Although many Reformed Baptists trace their lineage to the SB’s, this is an illegitimate link. As the sermons of Hazelton will illustrate, the SB’s were unsympathetic to the heretical teachings of Andrew Fuller. Indeed, the SB’s stood with the doctrines espoused by Spurgeon’s predecessor, the renown scholar and beloved pastor, John Gill. This is plainly demonstrated by the ‘Articles of Faith’ subscribed to by many SB churches—they generally adopted/adapted Gill’s Carter Lane Declaration 1757.

On a personal note, I am the pastor of a SB congregation whose constituting service on the 4th April 1866 was led in part by John Hazelton. Mr. David Crumpton, the first pastor of the church, forged a ministerial alliance with Hazelton, which eventually led to the organisation of the Metropolitan Association of Strict Baptist Churches, now known as the Association of Grace Baptist Churches, South East. Sadly, the churches now belonging to this Association no longer subscribe to a high-calvinist position, neither do all the churches observe a strict table. To my knowledge, the church I pastor is the only congregation within the Association which reflects the central teachings held forth by the SB’s. It was therefore a great honour, when Peter Meney of Egglesburn Baptist Church, Co. Durham, presented to me a nicely bound copy of John Gill’s Body of Divinity, signed by John Hazelton.

In service of the Lord,

Jared Smith

[1] Special thanks to Matthew Hyde, who gave me a copy of W. J. Style’s, “John Hazelton: A Memoir”. It is from this volume the photo of Hazelton has been acquired.
[2] John Hazelton was the father of another Strict Baptist pastor, John E. Hazelton.


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