Wednesday, December 31, 2008

John Gill: Advocate of the Use of Means in Evangelism?

John Gill is usually considered to be the father of the hyper-Calvinistic Baptists. There is a very long tradition of calling Gill a hyper-Calvinist. A 900 page dissertation has even been done on the subject of Gill and hyper-Calvinism. However, my own reading of Gill has uncovered several passages that make me question this common assumption. I will not argue one way or the other, because honestly the issue is very technical and it is not the specific area of his theology that I am studying, but I want to post a few quotes from Gill here just for others to see--and you can judge for yourself whether John Gill was a hyper-Calvinist:

From His Commentary on Song of Solomon II:14:
It is reported of the dove, that it will allure wild doves by its familiar converses into the dove-house with it: those who are called by grace, will use all proper ways and methods to allure and gain others to Christ, and to compliance with his ways and ordinances, as the church does the daughters of Jerusalem in this Song.

Do these sound like the words of someone who doesn't think that evangelism matters? Do they sound like the words of someone who opposes evangelism? It seems very clear to me that in this passage, Gill was advocating the proper "use of means for the propagation of the gospel to the heathen."


Anonymous said...

I am not sure I know what the standard agreed-upon definition is of hyper-c. Any suggestions?


jfile said...

That's the problem. It seems that those who disagree about whether Gill was a hyper-Calvinist are using differing definitions of what that is. I haven't gotten to read this yet, but I have been refered to a recent primer on the subject: