02 October 2005

The Real and Make-believe Errors of John Gill (Intro)

On more than one occasion I have had the opportunity to debate informally the doctrine of election with various friends and acquaintances of the Arminian and so-called Biblicist persuasions. Often those who disdain unconditional election say that it destroys evangelism. At this point in the argument, I have found it helpful to have a person I could point to as an example of someone who has taken my position too far and ignored the Biblical evidence. This tactic is helpful in showing by means of a foil that the traditional Calvinistic system really does pay attention to the text of Scripture and the various emphases of Biblical authors. "There are some who think that God's sovereignty negates our responsibility to preach the gospel," I say, "but that is not real Calvinism. That's Hyper-Calvinism." The unenviable position of historical example has typically fallen to a prolific Particular Baptist of the eighteenth century, John Gill.
Recently I have become slightly more acquainted with Gill's writings and with a glowing biography written by John Rippon, his immediate successor at the church where Gill pastored. My findings, still somewhat unruminated, follow.

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