Fuller, Andrew

Fuller, Andrew
( 17 5 4-1815 )
   founder of the worldwide Protestant missionary endeavor
   English Baptist minister Andrew Fuller helped lay the theological and practical groundwork for the first Baptist missionary efforts in the late 18th century. Fuller was born on a farm on February 5, 1754, at Wicken, Cambridgeshire, England. He had a conversion experience in 1769 and the following year was baptized and joined a Baptist church at Solam. Self-educated, in 1775 he was ordained and assumed the pastorate of the Solam church. In 1782, he moved to Kettering, Northamptonshire, and served the Baptist church there until his death.
   Fuller's Baptist community was dominated by an extreme Calvinist doctrine of predestination, and thus evangelism was not a priority. At the same time, the growing Wesleyan Methodist movement derived from Arminianism was teaching that God's free grace had been planted in the hearts of all people. Fuller, mindful of his own youthful conversion and of the biblical command to preach the Gospel to all people, began to modify his Calvinism to make a place for preaching to the unbelieving public. He explored these ideas in his 1781 book, The Gospel of Christ Worthy of All Acceptation. Though he was careful to distinguish his Calvinism from an explicit Arminian approach, his views sparked intense controversy among his Baptist colleagues.
   In 1787, Fuller baptized William Carey, who five years later published his pamphlet An Enquiry into the Obligations of Christians to Use Means for the Conversion of the Heathens. Carey pressed his views at Fuller's church, where in 1793 the Baptist Missionary Society (BMS) took shape. The BMS was the first of a set of British denominational missionary societies that emerged in that era, and which became the backbone of the global spread of Protestantism.
   While Carey left for india as the BMS's first missionary, Fuller stayed behind to build support. He served as secretary of the BMS until his death from tuberculosis on May 7, 1815.
   See also Baptists.
   Further reading:
   ■ George M. Ella, Law & Gospel in the Theology of Andrew Fuller (Eggleston, Colo./Durham, Ireland: Go Publications, 1996)
   ■ Andrew Fuller, Complete Works of the Rev. Andrew Fuller, 2 vols. (Boston: Lincoln, Edmands, 1833; new ed.: Harrisonburg, Va.: Sprinkle Publications, 1988)
   ■ Timothy George and David S. Dockery, eds., Baptist Theologians (Nashville, Tenn.: Broadman Press, 1990)
   ■ Gilbert Laws, Andrew Fuller (London: Carey Press, 1942).

Encyclopedia of Protestantism. . 2005.

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