Many of our readers are already acquainted with Dr. Michael Haykin. In November, 2013, on the occasion of Haykin’s 60th birthday, friends presented him with a festschrift: The Pure Flame of Devotion: The History of Christian Spirituality — Essays in Honor of Michael A.G. Haykin, edited by Stephen Weaver and Ian Hugh Clary (Joshua Press, 2013). The essays reflect areas of Haykin’s own interest and work, and it provides essays on twenty-one important figures and other subjects related to church history. We are pleased today to discuss this book with the editors, Stephen Weaver and Ian Clary. Both Weaver and Clary have worked closely with Dr. Haykin, and so today’s interview adds a bit more personal touch.
Books At a Glance (Fred Zaspel):
First, thank you, Ian and Steve, for this labor of love. Dr. Michael Haykin serves on our Board of Reference here at Books At a Glance, and he has supported this endeavor since its earliest discussion phase. He is a dear friend, a wonderful Christian brother, a first-rate historian, and a faithful servant of Christ. We have great affection for him, we are thankful for his friendship, and we applaud your decision to produce this festschrift in his honor.
For our readers who may not be acquainted with him, please give us a sketch of Dr. Haykin’s background and career.
Ian and Steve:
We want to thank you, Fred, for being involved with the Festschrift from the beginning. Your contribution on Warfield’s spirituality is solid. Dr. Haykin counts you as a good friend, and we are thrilled to have you on board.
Michael Haykin was born and raised in England to a Kurdish father and Irish mother. He moved to Canada while he was young and grew up not far from Hamilton, Ontario. In his teens he identified as a Marxist revolutionary and held to those ideals until he moved to London, Ontario, to do an undergrad in philosophy. He later transferred to and graduated from the University of Toronto. Around this time he came to Christ, and wound up doing graduate studies at Wycliffe College, University of Toronto. Due to the influence of a couple of key professors, he became interested in patristic pneumatology. He wrote his doctoral dissertation on that theme.
After graduation, and marriage to Alison, he began teaching at Central Baptist Seminary in Toronto and was there confronted with the need to explore Baptist history. He taught at Central until it merged with another school to form Heritage College and Seminary in Cambridge, Ontario. He would eventually leave Heritage to found Joshua Press (our publisher), and then to become the Principal of Toronto Baptist Seminary. He remained at that post until 2007 when he went full-time at Southern Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky, where he currently teaches.
Dr. Haykin still lives near Hamilton, and serves churches in Canada and the US through an active conference ministry. He writes voluminously, and teaches at a number of institutions both here and abroad. Most recently he has become involved with the Munster Bible College in Cork, Ireland.
His life work is to bring to readers’ awareness the wonders of church history. He is particularly enamored with the group of men involved with sending William Carey to India, in particular the Baptist theologian Andrew Fuller. Dr. Haykin is spear-heading the Andrew Fuller Works project that will see a seventeen volume complete works of Fuller published with Walter de Gruyter. The first volume is scheduled to be published next year.
He and Alison have two children, Victoria and Nigel, who share in their father’s academic gifts. Both of them are pursuing studies in classics at McMaster University.
Books At a Glance:
Please tell us something of your own relationship and history with Dr. Haykin. How did you come to take on this project? How long was it in the making?
I first met Dr. Haykin in my hometown of Windsor, Ontario, at an extension campus for Heritage College in the year 2000. He came down on weekends to teach Church History II, dealing with the Reformation and Puritans. I had just come to embrace the doctrines of grace, so I was blown away by what he taught. This also lit a candle under my feet for church history, a subject I have pursued since then.
I initially started to work with Dr. Haykin on what was then called the Jonathan Edwards Center for Reformed Spirituality, now the Andrew Fuller Center. Not long after I began to work with him, he became Principal of Toronto Baptist Seminary, so I moved to Toronto to become his research and administrative assistant. I traveled quite extensively with him, mostly through Ontario, New England, and memorably to the UK in 2004. I highly recommend touring Cambridge, Oxford, Bath, Glasgow, Edinburgh, Belfast and Dublin with an historian like him!
Dr. Haykin’s hand has shaped me in ways beyond what I am aware. He supervised my dissertation on James Ussher’s Christology, he and I edited a journal called Eusebeia where I learned how to write, he has given me opportunities to lecture and teach for him, and has been an all-around great friend. I owe him more than I can repay.
I initially thought of the project in May 2011 and I knew immediately that Steve would be the perfect guy to work on it with. Both of us have similar experiences in our friendship with Dr. Haykin, and judging by the quality of Steve’s work, I knew he would make the book awesome. It was a pleasure working with Steve—I’ll miss all of our Skype conversations! We even roomed together in Cleveland where we met in the basement of Alistair Begg’s church to work on the manuscript!
The project took two and a half years to complete. Because Festschrifts don’t often sell well, we decided to make it function like a textbook. Everybody that we asked to contribute jumped at the offer—we like to think it was because of us, but of course it was because of the high respect that Dr. Haykin commands!
Dr. Haykin and I first became acquainted through an email correspondence that I initiated in February of 2006. I asked Haykin about possible topics for me to pursue in Baptist studies for a ThM thesis. He recommended the theology of Hercules Collins (among other topics) and I eventually co-edited a book with him on Collins and ultimately did my PhD on Collins due to Haykin’s influence. Shortly after our initial email correspondence, we met in person at the first Together for the Gospel in Louisville, KY in April of 2006. Since that time I have known Dr. Haykin as a teacher, mentor, and friend. For the past five years, I have served as Dr. Haykin’s research assistant. We have worked together at Southern Seminary to put on an annual major history conference and publish materials promoting the study of Baptist history.
This book project started with Ian Clary and his idea to do this to honor Dr. Haykin on his 60th birthday. After first checking to make sure that a Festschrift for one’s 60th birthday was appropriate, I quickly agreed to be a part of the project. It was a joy to work with Ian as we both have had similar interactions with Dr. Haykin and we both appreciate his investment in our lives individually. Although Dr. Haykin was not my doctoral supervisor (he served on the committee), he invested hours answering my questions and providing constructive feedback that gave me confidence to write the dissertation.
Dr. Haykin and I have studied together, written together, taught together, eaten together, traveled together, and laughed together. The more I have gotten to know him, my respect for him has only increased. It was an inestimable honor to be able to work with Ian on producing this book in Dr. Haykin’s honor.
Books At a Glance:
What, in your opinion, have been the major contributions Dr. Haykin has made in his teaching and writing ministry?
Dr. Haykin has made many contributions through his ministry, but I will highlight two. The first is his conscious determination to deepen the relationship between the academy and the church. As I pursued academic education early on, he pressed me to be involved in the local church and not to write as an ivory tower theologian. This has always stuck with me, and I am more and more convinced of the importance of his advice. Second, he has always stressed the importance of spirituality, both in terms of recapturing it for evangelicals, and through his personal example. I wrote a review of his book The God Who Draws Near for DiscerningReader.com some years ago where I noted how Dr. Haykin exemplified the practical components of the book in his own life. One of my fondest memories of him was sitting in the Royal Oxford hotel in Oxford, England—you’d think it was quite the regal place, don’t worry, it wasn’t!—where we read scripture and prayed before bed at night. His is a sincere faith, and that bleeds through into his scholarship.
Steve: Dr. Haykin has the special ability to be able to write and speak to two audiences—the church and the academy. His academic credentials are beyond reproach, but it is his ability to translate his work as a historian into the language of the people in the churches that is perhaps his greatest legacy. Dr. Haykin believes strongly in the idea of a “usable past” that has lessons for today. Our theme verse for the volume is one that we learned from Dr. Haykin applies to the study of church history. “Remember your leaders, those who spoke to you the word of God. Consider the outcome of their way of life, and imitate their faith.” Hebrews 13:7. Dr. Haykin believes that this is a divine command for Christians to consider the Christian leaders who have gone on before. For Christians to be able to do this, they must be taught who these Christian leaders are. Dr. Haykin has devoted his life to making these leaders and their stories known.
Books At a Glance:
Please explain the topic for this book and your reasons for choosing it as the topic for this festschrift.
Ian and Steve:
Dr. Haykin has written and edited a number of books dealing with either the Holy Spirit or Christian spirituality—in the final chapter of the book Pastor Clint Humfrey calls Dr. Haykin a “historian of the Spirit.” This, coupled with his love of church history, made it apparent to us that we should do a book on the history of spirituality. The later chapters, as with Dr. Haykin’s interests, are slanted towards evangelical and Reformed spirituality, but we sought to give an introduction to the broad sweeps of church history, from the patristic period to today. Basically, the scope of his scholarly industry is reflected in the chapters of the Festschrift.
Books At a Glance:
The 23 chapters in this book are by various authors. Were these authors chosen only because of their expertise in their given topics, or do they all also have personal connections with Dr. Haykin?
Ian and Steve:
The two components we wanted to include for authors were both their expertise in church history and spirituality, and some personal connection with Dr. Haykin. Only one author had not personally met Dr. Haykin. Most are fairly close friends, or former students. We wanted to have a strong personal element to the book, even in the details. For instance, the photograph of Ian on the dust-jacket of the hardcover was taken by a good friend of ours named Robert Krochenski in Vancouver, BC. Ian likes the thought of Rob being involved, even in a small way. We should also mention that Janice Van Eck of Joshua Press, and a close personal friend of Dr. Haykin’s, poured hours and hours of work into this project. She really should be listed as a third editor! Additionally, all the individuals who helped with the proofing of this volume have close connections to Dr. Haykin.
Books At a Glance:
For our readers who would like to pursue Dr. Haykin’s work, where would you suggest they begin?
Ian and Steve:
We think that readers should start with the selection of letters by Andrew Fuller that Dr. Haykin edited called The Armies of the Lamb. It hits on a number of important themes for Dr. Haykin including spirituality, the “long eighteenth century,” and his hero Andrew Fuller. Dr. Haykin’s introductory essay captures a lot of his emphases. We would also recommend his Rediscovering the Church Fathers, which is not only an introduction to patristics, but sets forth for students a model of how to do church history. He is part of a larger renaissance of patristic study for evangelicals, and so this book plays an important historiographical role. For a practical approach to biblical spirituality, which also utilizes Dr. Haykin’s encyclopedic knowledge of church history, we recommend The God Who Draws Near. This volume is an often overlooked, but extremely helpful work for introducing a Christian to the spiritual disciplines.
Buy the books
THE PURE FLAME OF DEVOTION, THE HISTORY OF CHRISTIAN SPIRITUALITY, edited by G. Stephen Weaver Jr. and Ian Hugh Clary