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Prominent during the eighteenth century were the ministries of men like George Whitefield and John Wesley. But there are other stories, in their own way no less important, which are worth retrieving from this paradigmatic age of revival. One of them is the account of Thomas Davis (1734–1796), a faithful pastor and diligent evangelist who was instrumental in the remarkable renewal of the Particular Baptist cause at Reading.
This is the first title in a planned series of small biographies of 18th century Christians in the British Isles whose lives are long forgotten or regarded as marginal.
During Davis’s ministry the church grew, he planted other churches, and prepared young men for Christian service. Michael Haykin vividly describes the doctrinal debates and strict behaviour of the age and just as clearly depicts the fervent spirituality of the Evangelical Revival.
— Prof David Bebbington, Emeritus Professor of History, University of Stirling
This fine study has all the usual hallmarks of Professor Haykin’s writing. It is well researched, theologically astute, and wonderfully accessible. Further, there are many challenges and encouragements for Christians today.
— Rev Dr Peter Morden, Senior Pastor, Cornerstone Baptist Church, Leeds.
Michael Haykin’s conviction that there are “no little people” drives this brilliant investigation of an almost entirely forgotten eighteenth-century Particular Baptist minister. As an historian, Professor Haykin does an outstanding job of reconstructing a complex religious culture from the close reading of a small number of sources. As a Christian, he understands why this effort matters, and how much we can learn from, and be encouraged by, the achievements of the manifold grace of God.
— Prof Crawford Gribben, Professor of History, Queen’s University Belfast
In this study, Michael Haykin brings to bear all his research skills on what might seem at first sight a mere page in provincial history—but it is significant for that alone, for Baptist historiography needs more non-London and more non-great-name-focused analysis.
— Prof John HY Briggs, Senior Research Fellow in Church History; Professor Emeritus, University of Birmingham
At the centre of the dramatic action this time round is a previously obscure circle of 18th century Particular Baptist ministers that had Thomas Davis of Reading at its centre. Familiar themes such as antinomianism, credobaptism, high Calvinism, and revival are revisited but in a way that sheds fresh light on the issues rather than muddying the waters further. This is a scholarly work written with warmth and clarity that will be of interest to anyone with a heart for the work of the Lord and a willingness to learn from the past.
— Rev Gary Brady, Pastor, Childs Hill Baptist Church, London
Michael Haykin gives us a fascinating glimpse into a little-known aspect of Particular Baptist life at that time and the work of the Holy Spirit in reviving Baptist causes in Georgian Berkshire.
— Rev Dr Robert Strivens, Pastor, Bradford on Avon Baptist Church