LOUISVILLE, Ky. (BP)–Southern Baptist Theological Seminary has added Michael A.G. Haykin to its faculty to help launch the seminary’s new Ph.D. and D.Min. programs in biblical spirituality.
Haykin, a prolific author and noted scholar in areas of early church history, Baptist history and Christian spirituality, will join the faculty as professor of biblical spirituality and church history. He also will head the seminary’s Andrew Fuller Center for Baptist Studies and will supervise doctoral candidates primarily studying the early church fathers.
Haykin has served as principal and professor of church history and spirituality at the Toronto Baptist Seminary in Toronto, Canada, since 2003.
He will team with Don Whitney, associate professor of biblical spirituality, in pioneering the new program offering both a doctor of philosophy and doctor of ministry in biblical spirituality.
“Dr. Haykin’s scholarly firepower and personal piety make him precisely the man to lead, along with Don Whitney, the only concentration of its kind on biblical spirituality in the evangelical world,” said Russell D. Moore, dean of the Southern Seminary’s school of theology and senior vice president for academic administration.
“In a day when spiritual formation in the academy, and even in many of our churches, veers from dead rationalism to hyper-mystical enthusiasm, Dr. Haykin’s combination of a Spirit-renewed mind and a Spirit-filled heart is exactly what is needed to set the pace to train pastors to lead congregations toward biblical discipleship,” Moore said.
Haykin has written numerous books on church history, historical theology and Baptist history including “Kiffin, Knollys and Keach: Rediscovering Our English Baptist Heritage,” “Jonathan Edwards: The Holy Spirit in Revival” and “The Revived Puritan: The Spirituality of George Whitefield.”
Prior to teaching in Toronto, Haykin was a professor at Heritage Theological Seminary in Cambridge, Ontario, from 1993-99 and at Central Baptist Seminary in Toronto from 1982-93.
“I am thrilled with the appointment for many reasons,” Haykin said. “What the Lord has been doing in the past 15 years or so at Southern Seminary makes it a thrilling place, spiritually and academically, to be. I am thrilled to be joining men as colleagues whom I deeply admire and some of whom I count among my closest friends. And I thrilled about the quality of students that I have seen at the school.”
Raised a Roman Catholic, Haykin turned to Christ in 1974 from of a leftist brand of New Age spirituality. Sensing a call to ministry, he attended Wycliffe College at the University of Toronto from 1974-82, earning a doctorate in patristics (early church fathers).
It is important for Christians to study the writings of the church fathers, Haykin noted, because they were the first interpreters of Scripture.
“For that reason their witness cannot be ignored,” he said. “The doctrine of the Trinity, for example, was hammered out by them. From its New Testament witness, the resultant creedal statement, the Niceno-Constantinopolitan Creed, stands as a landmark theologically.
“On the other hand, they cannot be placed on the level of Scripture — Holy Scripture stands above them and their thought must be measured by the Word of God.”
Haykin and his wife Alison married in 1976 and have two children, Victoria and Nigel.
Moore said Haykin’s broad expertise in history and biblical spirituality is known across the evangelical world.
“I sometimes wonder if Michael Haykin is one scholar or a conspiracy of brilliant minds masquerading as one man,” Moore said. “After all, he is a pacesetter in the very different fields of spiritual formation, Baptist studies, patristic history and beyond. He is one of the most recognized scholars in the world in each of these fields, having written and lectured extensively in each area, even while serving as a seminary administrator, popular conference speaker and leader within the Canadian Baptist churches.”