Fox founded the Sunday school
William Fox called a meeting on August 30, 1785, for the purpose of organizing a “Sunday School Society.” He must be considered the architect behind the Bible-centeredSunday school of modern times. It was resolved unanimously “that it is the opinion of this meeting that great benefit would accrue to the community at large from the adoption of such a measure, and that a Society be formed for carrying the same into immediate effect.” Fox was a Baptist layman, “who was a godly member of the Baptist church in Prescott street, where he enjoyed the able and spiritual ministry of the eminent Abraham Booth,“ However, the concept of having Sunday school just for children has added to the lack of emphasis on adult training in the Sunday school hour in Great Britain and Canada. Historians commonly agree that prior to Fox and his Bible hour on Sunday, it was the Anglican, Robert Raikes of Glouchester, England, that actually started the “Sunday school” in 1780. However it had no special spiritual significance, it had social benefits for underprivileged boys who were working during the week in the sweat shops. Raikes hired teachers to instruct the lads in reading and writing. There were no child labor laws in England and these children were not privileged to receive an education. What Raikes did surely was of great benefit, but as Mary, what Fox chose was surely “that good part which shall not be taken away from him.” When we think of the impact of the Sunday school historically on America, we cannot help but pause and thank God for the vision of William Fox. Missionaries are serving around the world and pastors here in our own land.
Dr. Greg J. Dixon: From: This Day in Baptist History Vol. I: Cummins/Thompson, pp. 358-59.
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He refused a license to preach
1628 – Is the traditional birth date of John Bunyan; the “immortal tinker” and “glorious dreamer”, as historians call him, was born in the village of Elstow, near Bedford, England. In 1644 he was drafted into the army, and in June 1645 he returned to his home of Bedford. He said that he was vile in his youth, but about 1649 married a poor girl who brought with her two books, The plain man’s Pathway to Heaven, and The Practice of Piety. One day he overheard some women talking about spiritual matters and he entered in, but was no match for them. They were members of a little Baptist congregation in Bedford whose pastor was John Gifford to whom they introduced the tinker. Gifford immersed Bunyan after he had endured a lengthy and trying period of deep seated, emotional conviction, when the Lord spoke sweet peace to his heart. He explains it in his book, Grace Abounding to the Chief of Sinners (1666). In 1660 while preaching in a farmhouse near Ampthill, Bunyan was arrested, tried, and imprisoned. He spent the next twelve years in the Bedford jail. He could have been released at anytime if he had only taken a license from the Church of England to preach. In 1672 he was released by the Declaration of Indulgence, and at that time he became a licensed preacher and Pastor by the Baptist church at Bedford. The next year the Edict was cancelled and he was rearrested and imprisoned again for six months. Some believe that it was at this time that the famed Pilgrim’s Progress was written. He served as pastor for 16 years until his death and is buried at Bunhill Fields, the dissenter’s Westminster Abbey. [This Day in Baptist History II: Cummins and Thompson, BJU Press: Greenville, S.C. 2000 A.D. pp. 651-53. Alfred W. Light, Bunhill Fields London: C.J. Farncombe & Sons, Ltd., 1915)., pp. 17-18.]
Prepared by Dr. Greg J. Dixon
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