FORT WORTH, Texas (SWBTS) – Using the historical account of an English Baptist band of brothers at the close of the 18th and beginning of the 19th centuries, Michael Haykin praised the virtue of close Christian friendships in the cause of Christ, Jan. 20. Haykin, who serves as professor of church history and biblical spirituality at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, spoke on the topic in chapel on the campus of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary.
During his chapel lecture, Haykin pointed to close friendships among Baptists like William Carey, Samuel Pearce, Andrew Fuller, John Sutcliff and John Ryland that served as a catalyst for spiritual renewal across England and “the simultaneous launching of the modern missions movement” in the early 19th century.
“When it comes to things like missionary advance, revival and Reformation,” Haykin said, “they are rarely—if ever—wrought by a single individual alone, contrary to the impression that is given to us by popular church history. Collegiality is central to times of spiritual blessing.
“When God does a great work, he binds together men and women of like convictions and makes them one heart and one soul.”
Haykin lamented the church’s tendency to mirror the culture in dismissing the value of friendship. Genuine Christian community, he said, serves as a testimony to the culture about the power of the gospel to unite unlikely companions.
“What we’re talking about is the depth of friendship that should exist in Christian communities,” Haykin said. “Our culture is not one that provides great encouragement for the nurture of deep, long-lasting, satisfying friendships. These things take time; they take sacrifice; they take energy. Our culture is far more interested in taking and getting than sacrificing and giving.”
Christian community, Haykin said, depends on deep, abiding friendships. He challenged seminary students and professors to model this in their individual lives and in their churches.
“I’m pleading with you that you build your life into the lives of others, as deep friends, bound together as one heart and one soul that God might do great things through you for His glory.”
Watch, listen or download Haykin’s chapel message at