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The Bristol Academy and the Education of Ministers in Eighteenth-Century England (1758–1791)

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Chapter Summary

This chapter deals with the theological education of Particular Baptists in the eighteenth-century, with a particular focus on the Bristol Academy under the leadership of Hugh Evans (1712-1781) and Caleb Evans (17311791) in order to illustrate the way Particular Baptists approached theological education during that era. It particularly shows three things in detail. First, in spite of the persisting suspicion of ministerial education among many Baptists in the eighteenth century, the Bristol Academy was convinced of the necessity of formal theological education for the preparation of ministers. Second, even though it stressed the academic learning for the ministerial candidates, the Baptist Academy at Bristol regarded the cultivation of Christian piety as the student's first and leading priority. Third, the Bristol Academy's evangelistic practice and fervor indicates that the criticism of the eighteenth century Particular Baptists as poorly educated Hyper-Calvinists cannot be warranted at all.

Keywords: academic learning; Bristol academy; Caleb Evans; eighteenth-century England; Hugh Evans; hyper-Calvinists; ministerial education



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