June 19, 2011

Tom Ascol on John Gill and Hyper-Calvinism

Nettles has demonstrated that statements can be found within Gill that seem blatantly to distinguish the Horslydown pastor's views from those who specifically deny duty-faith.[4] It must be admitted that Gill is not completely consistent on this point (see pp. 118–23 above). The few concessions to duty-faith which are found in his writings, however, should be regarded as exceptions to his theological system and not reflective of his general sentiments. Gill's exposition of the covenant of grace provides justification for closely identifying his views with the hyper-Calvinist position on this question.

By unequivocally denying conditions for man in the covenant of grace, Gill distinguishes his views from the plain sense and intention of classic Federalism. He also undercut the theological justification for regarding faith as a required duty of anyone--even the elect. The effective excision of men as responsible participants in the covenant places Gill much closer to the unabashed hyper-Calvinists of his day than to genuine federal theologians like Owen and Witsius (see pp. 189–192 above).
4. Nettles, By His Grace, pp. 94–99.
Thomas Kennedy Ascol, The Doctrine of Grace: A Critical Analysis of Federalism in the Theologies of John Gill and Andrew Fuller (PhD diss, Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, 1989), 260–261.

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