From 2010: We should keep in mind that it’s not a clear cut issue, “Gill’s relationship with hyper-Calvinism is a matter of academic debate.”

Quote: First, this view applied to Gill is an anachronism as the idea of saving faith being the known duty and within the natural ability of all men reached its fullest expression amongst the Baptists in 1785 with the publication of Andrew Fuller`s controversial book The Gospel Worthy of All Acceptation. Gill, however, died in 1771 thus obviously having nothing to do with the debate that tore the Baptist churches apart after the book was published.

The second reason is that during the earlier part of the 18th century the view of what came to be called ´duty-faith`, formerly propagated by Anglican Latitudinarians such as Tillotson , was gaining ground amongst the Independents but Gill, a staunch Baptist, maintained he did not take part in this debate . Even Andrew Fuller believed that Gill did not enter into the controversy and John Ryland Jnr, quoting Gill`s The Cause of God and Truth, argued that Gill never wrote on the subject of ´the Modern Question ` and exonerates him from taking the usual Hyper-Calvinist stand. John Rippon assumes that Gill did enter the debate in later life because of certain ´corrections` he made to his book The Cause of God and Truth. Rippon, however, does not state what these ´corrections`, are and how they might have applied to the debate in question .

When Gill denies man’s ability to repent he’s not saying that it’s not their duty to do so but that, “the power and liberty of the will of man to come to Christ , that they rather declare the perverseness and stubbornness of it; that man has no desire, inclination, or will, to go to Christ for life, but rather go anywhere else, than to him. Man is stout-hearted, and far from the righteousness of Christ, and submission to it; is not subject to the law of God, nor the Gospel of Christ; nor can he be, till God works in him both to will and to do of his good pleasure; or until he is made willing in the day of his power. No one can come to Christ, except the Father draw him; nor has he a will to it, unless it is wrought in him .” [quoted from the Ella article linked below]

The hyper Calvinist will conclude that since they can’t/won’t come to Christ they can’t be expected to do so.

The Confessions:

“This saving repentance is an evangelical grace, whereby a person, being by the Holy Spirit made sensible of the manifold evils of his sin, doth, by faith in Christ, humble himself for it with godly sorrow, detestation of it, and self-abhorrency, praying for pardon and strength of grace, with a purpose and endeavor, by supplies of the Spirit, to walk before God unto all wellpleasing in all things. Zech. 12:10; Acts 11:18; Ezek. 36:31; 2 Cor. 7:11; Ps. 119:6, 128.” Tabular Comparison of 1646 WCF and 1689 LBCF

I think Gill’s views are high but within the Confessional realm of Reformed theology, the Confession does not deny duty faith but makes it clear that “saving repentance is an evangelical grace” using Gill’s term “sensible” to describe the work of the Spirit.

A few places to look:

Tom Nettles says of Gill, “He has doubtless been judged more harshly and even maliciously than any man of comparable repute in Baptist history.” Many have called John Gill a hyper-Calvinist who denied the need to preach the gospel to the lost. I will not seek to answer that question in this forum. Read Tom Nettles By His Grace and For His Glory, pages 73-107, for a thorough and balanced discussion of this issue

John Gill – The Baptist Page – Portraits

It’s not a settled issue:

“Gill’s relationship with hyper-Calvinism is a matter of academic debate.”

(John Gill (theologian – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia)

A little more:

Nettles finds one place where Gill “appears to hold the hyper-Calvinist view,” in that “Theoretically Gill held that the non-elect were not obligated to evangelical obedience, because the necessity of such obedience did not exist in unfallen humanity as deposited in Adam” (226). Nettles demonstrates, however, that this view did not work its way into Gill’s own practice (227). Gill disputed with Wesley, but he “did not differ in any essential theological category from the Grand Itinerant, George Whitefield” (241).

Some took hold of Gill’s “theoretical” answer, and as a result they did not call sinners to repentance. They reasoned like Grantham: sinners are not obligated to do what they are unable to do (247–48). Helped by Jonathan Edwards’ distinction between Natural Inability—what one is physically unable to do, and Moral Inability—what one is unable to do because one is unwilling to do it (the Gospel does not call people to do what they are physically incapable of doing but to what they volitionally refuse to do)—Andrew Fuller wrote The Gospel Worthy of All Acceptation, which argued for “the congruity between divine sovereignty and human responsibility” (250). Like their Baptist forefathers, Fuller joined with John Ryland Jr. and William Carey in the opinion that “the affirmative side of the Modern Question [the Gospel should be indiscriminately proclaimed and all called to believe it] was fully consistent with the strictest Calvinism” (290). These three men who held to “the strictest Calvinism” initiated the modern missions movement. Clearly “strict Calvinism” is not to be equated with “hyper-Calvinism,” which Fuller rejects as “false Calvinism” (245). There is an important point here. Hyper-Calvinism is a specific theological position. It seems today that some non-Calvinists are ready to label anyone who appears to be less evangelistic than they think themselves to be as hyper-Calvinistic. The rejection of manipulative methods and coercive techniques in favor of boldly proclaiming the pure Gospel and trusting the Spirit to quicken hearts is not less evangelistic but more so (compare Paul’s practice in 1 Cor 2:1–5).

The Baptists, vol. 1 of 3, by Tom Nettles « For His Renown

Another one:

A Hyper-Calvinist, Gill`s major critics say, does not believe that God calls indiscriminately all who hear about Christ to believe in Him. They say this, holding that man is obliged as a matter of duty to trust in Christ as a condition of salvation. It is odd that this opinion is often closely associated with Gill for several reasons. First, this view applied to Gill is an anachronism as the idea of saving faith being the known duty and within the natural ability of all men reached its fullest expression amongst the Baptists in 1785 with the publication of Andrew Fuller`s controversial book The Gospel Worthy of All Acceptation. Gill, however, died in 1771 thus obviously having nothing to do with the debate that tore the Baptist churches apart after the book was published. The second reason is that during the earlier part of the 18th century the view of what came to be called ´duty-faith`, formerly propagated by Anglican Latitudinarians such as Tillotson , was gaining ground amongst the Independents but Gill, a staunch Baptist, maintained he did not take part in this debate . Even Andrew Fuller believed that Gill did not enter into the controversy and John Ryland Jnr, quoting Gill`s The Cause of God and Truth, argued that Gill never wrote on the subject of ´the Modern Question ` and exonerates him from taking the usual Hyper-Calvinist stand . John Rippon assumes that Gill did enter the debate in later life because of certain ´corrections` he made to his book The Cause of God and Truth. Rippon, however, does not state what these ´corrections`, are and how they might have applied to the debate in question .

In The Cause of God Gill clearly stresses the Christian duty, under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, to call and command sinners to repent . All men are naturally bound to repent, argues Gill, because they have naturally broken the law. Commanding them to repent is putting them under the curse of the law which they have broken in their natural state. To Gill, this is a law-ordained need for repentance in the legal sense. What man has broken, he has a duty to mend. This does not mean, however, that man can mend what he has broken and obtain legal righteousness, but he is still a debtor to the law for having broken it. The law forces its demands on every one because all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. What Gill calls evangelical repentance, is for him another matter. He sees this as a turning form sin to receive pardon in Christ. This kind of turning from sin to Christ can only come about by a sovereign act of God`s goodness which leads to true repentance and Gospel righteousness.

Calvin taught likewise that there was an ´antithesis between Legal and Gospel (i.e. evangelical) righteousness`. Quoting Romans 10:5-9, he argues that there is a righteousness which is according to the Law described by Moses, “that the man who doeth those things shall live by them”. This is quite different to the righteousness of faith which says, “If thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.”

John_Gill_and_Hyper-Calvinism

Some have attributed to Gill to be the first systematizer of a Baptist Hyper-Calvinist theology. Others have argued that Gill was in fact not a Hyper-Calvinist. Regardless, it was during Gill’s time period when the Particular Baptist Churches began their decline into Hyper-Calvinism. Gill did believe in eternal justification (that the elect were justified in eternity past) and did not seem to appeal to all in the same way that further generations of Evangelical Calvinists did, but it seems difficult to say that Gill was undeniably in fact a Hyper-Calvinist. Instead, most likely, Hyper-Calvinists used Gill’s theology and went past him to solidify their own theology.

Brief Biography of John Gill (1697-1771) « Working out Salvation with Fear and Trembling

Nettles says that Daniel started with the assumption that Gill was a hyper-Calvinist, and then defined hyper-Calvinism from Gill. For ages, people have said that Gill was a hyper-Calvinist without offering any proof from the writings or sermons of Gill (or at least not in context), and people simply accept what they are told.

Another reason people mistakenly believe that Gill was a hyper-Calvinist is they do not read his supposed anti-free offer comments in the context in which they were written. Usually, in these cases, he was writing against universal salvation. He did not deny that ministers should urge sinners to believe. He simply said that this external call in and of itself can do nothing. There must also be the irresistable internal call of the Holy Spirit as well.

The Sane Asylum: Another John Gill Post

New Focus | That the purpose of God according to election might stand

New Focus Interview on Hyper-Calvinism

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