Baptist Classics in 2010

January 2, 2010

I will be participating in the following reading club this year in 2010!  I hope you might join me in participating in “A Year of Baptist Classics.” The information is reprinted here from the blog of The Institute of Reformed Baptist Studies:

Can you name the Baptist pastor who served one church for over 50 years, and left us a marvelous testimony of his faith? Did you know that a famous Baptist wrote a book similar to The Pilgrim’s Progress, and that it was also a best seller? Who was the young Baptist pastor who dedicated himself to missions only to be prevented from going?  What foreign missionary became a Baptist, while on his way to the mission field, through careful study of Scripture?

You will find the answers to these questions by spending 2010 in the company of 11 classic Baptist books (July and August are combined). We are pleased to announce A Year with Baptist Classics, a reading program designed to encourage worship of our great God, to help Christians grow in their faith, and to introduce outstanding books and authors from Baptist history. By reading one book each month, you will be deeply blessed, have a greater understanding of the Christian life, and learn of the Lord’s kind dealings with others.

Solid Ground Christian Books is working together with Dr. James Renihan, Professor at The Institute of Reformed Baptist Studies, in Escondido, California to encourage the brethren to take a year to read eleven books from those committed to the Doctrines of Grace and the Baptist Faith. We are offering at least a 40% Discount off each of the eleven titles, and a 55% discount off the entire Baptist Classics Pack when ordered together.

Here are the books we have chosen:

January –  Benjamin Keach The Travels of True Godliness This is a work, written in the style of The Pilgrim’s Progress, tracing the growth, struggles and temptations faced by ‘True Godliness.’ It is an enjoyable journey depicting the path of growth in holiness.
February – Andrew Fuller: A Heart for Missions (Pearce Bio) One of the best Christian biographies ever written! Samuel Pearce was the Baptist version of Robert Murray McCheyne–a young pastor known for godliness and zeal whose life was brief but impact was profound.
March – Hercules Collins Devoted to the Service of the Temple A mighty man of God, Hercules Collins was a pastor of a very large London Congregation during the 17th century. This little book very helpfully collects some of his wonderful doctrinal and devotional writings.
April – Adoniram Judson On Christan Baptism The Congregational Missionary Society was shocked when its first missionary, Adoniram Judson, adopted credobaptist views while on his way to serve in India. In this book, Judson demonstrates the nature of Christian baptism.
May – Southern Baptist Sermons on Sovereignty and Responsibility American Baptist history is full of great preachers. Here is a collection of sermons by Southern worthies, expounding vital topics; by Basil Manly, Sr., W.B. Johnson, R.B.C. Howell & Richard Fuller.
June – John Broadus: Jesus of Nazareth Our Lord Jesus is wonderfully presented by another great Southern preacher, John Broadus.
July/August – Benjamin Beddome’s Exposition of the Baptist Catechism Here is a gem, long out of print, but recently reprinted. Theology is made practical by this pastor from the village of Bourton-on-the-Water in the English Cotswolds.
September – Andrew Fuller: The Backslider Christians struggle with sin–this is a fact. We need to consider this truth, learn about its dangers, and find the right method of recovery. This book will help.
October – John Bunyan: Come and Welcome to Jesus Christ We can’t neglect Bunyan! In this book, he calls us to find our full satisfaction in Jesus Christ.
November – Benjamin Keach: The Marrow of True Justification We live in a day when the doctrine of justification by faith alone is under attack. One of our fathers, Benjamin Keach, ably explains this doctrine here. This is the heart of the gospel.
December – Charles Spurgeon: Sermons on Men or Women of the Bible What a great way to conclude the year! As always, Spurgeon shows us how the men and women of the Bible point us to Jesus Christ.

Join us in 2010 as we learn from these servants of our Lord Jesus Christ. See Solid Ground Christian Books’ website.


Canadian Baptist Historical Society Meeting – 2010

November 5, 2009

Canadian Baptist Historical Society Annual Meeting

Saturday March 6, 2010

at

McMaster Divinity College
1280 Main Street West
Hamilton, ON L8S4K1

The Canadian Baptist Historical Society (CBHS) traces its origins back to the nineteenth century when Baptists passionate about their heritage began a process of preserving critical documents and studying the Baptist presence in Ontario and Quebec. Its primary focus is on the history of all Baptists in the Canadian context, but the study of Baptists around the globe is also a part of its mandate. Scholars, pastors, students and those interested in Baptist history are all warmly invited to attend meetings of the society. The CBHS is always interested in paper proposals for its meetings, and if you have a proposal for next year’s meeting please send it to Gord Heath.

The CBHS has also recently started to publish a series of books on Baptist history. Volume one will be Baptists and Public Life in Canada (anticipated publication in 2010). Two other volumes are anticipated in 2011 and 2012.

Future locations will be Tyndale Seminary (2011), Toronto Baptist Seminary (2012) and Heritage Seminary (2013).

Schedule

9:30-10:00am

Business

10:00-11:00

Paper: Kirk Wellum, “The Life and Times of Caleb Evans (1737-1791)”

11:00-11:15

Break

11:15-12:15

Paper: Sharon Bowler, “Answering A Call to Keep Them Up: Jonathan Woolverton (1811-1883), A Physician and Educator in Upper Canada”

12:15

Lunch (at a local restaurant)

CBHS Executive:

President: Michael Haykin
Vice President: Mark Steinacher
Treasurer: Paul Wilson
Secretary: Gord Heath

For further information on the annual meeting, please contact:

Gord Heath
McMaster Divinity College
McMaster University
1280 Main Street West
Hamilton, ON, L8S 4K1
Tel. 905-525-9140 ext.26409
Fax. 905-577-4782
gheath@mcmaster.ca




Baptist Spirituality Conference

July 17, 2009

For those church history or Baptist history buffs out there, seriously consider taking in the upcoming The Andrew Fuller Center for Baptist Studies conference on the theme of “Baptist Spirituality.” More details about registration and such can be found here.

The speakers for the schedule are excellent. I seriously recommend you give consideration to attending this event August 24-25 at the beautiful campus of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, Louisville, KY. Here’s the schedule:

Monday, August 24

7:30-8:45 am Registration

9:00 am Plenary session 1: Crawford Gribben
“Irish Baptist Piety in the 17th Century”

10:25 am Plenary session 2: Robert Strivens
“The Piety of English Dissent: Philip Doddridge and 18th Century Baptists”

11:45am Plenary session 3: Gerald Priest
“A. C. Dixon: Exemplar of Fundamentalist Spirituality”

1:00-2:30 pm Lunch Break: conference participants on their own

2:30 pm-4:45 pm Parallel Sessions

1. ENGLISH BAPTIST PIETY IN THE 17TH AND 18TH CENTURIES (Chair: Paul Brewster)
a. J. Stephen Yuille “Saving Faith Discovered in Three Heavenly Conferences: A Look at the Pastoral Ministry of a 17th Century Baptist Pastor”
b. Steve Weaver “Piety in 17th Century Baptist Pastoral Ministry as Seen in Three Funeral Sermons”
c. Allen Mickle “A Fountain of Gardens, a Well of Living Waters”: A Survey of Christian Spirituality from John Gill’s (1697-1771) Exposition of the Book of Solomon’s Song
d. Josh Carmichael “The Hymns of Anne Steele: Baptist Spirituality in Verse”

2. BAPTIST PIETY IN 19TH CENTURY GREAT BRITAIN (Chair: Michael Haykin)
a.  Michael Haykin, “Spirituality in the Marriage of Samuel and Sarah Pearce”
b. Terry Wilder “The Life, Thought, and Preaching of 19th Century Scottish Baptist, Peter Grant”
c.  Ian Clary “Alexander Carson: A Plea for Further Study”
d.  Jeff Straub “C.H. Spurgeon—Mr. Greatheart with a Great Heart for God!”

3. BAPTIST PIETY IN 19TH CENTURY NORTH AMERICA (Chair: Jeff Robinson)
a.  Aaron Menikoff “Do Baptists Hold to the Spirituality of the Church? A Historical Look at the Causes and Consequences of the Nineteenth-Century Temperance Movement”
b.  Roger Duke “The Pietistic Thought of Basil Manly, Jr.”
c.  Gordon Heath “Canadian Baptists and Late-Victorian imperial Spirituality”
d.  Jeff Robinson “The Piety of Henry Holcombe Tucker”

6:15 pm Dinner (Banquet Provided for all Conference Registrants and Speakers)

8:15 pm: Plenary session 4: Greg Thornbury
“Baptist Spirituality and Theological Education”

Tuesday, August 25

10:00 am SBTS Convocation

11:40 am Plenary session 5: Tom Nettles
“The Piety of James Petigru Boyce”

12:50-2:30pm Lunch Break: conference participants on their own

2:30-3:30pm Plenary session 6: Greg Wills
“Relevance, Severity, and Spiritual Power in Baptist Piety”

3:40-4:50 pm Plenary session 7: Kevin Smith
“A Distracted Piety: African-American Baptists”

5:00-6:45 Dinner Break: conference participants on their own

BONUS SESSION:

6:45 pm “Spirituality of Historic Baptist Hymnody: A Hymn Sing”

7:45 pm Plenary session 9: Malcolm Yarnell
“ „We Believe with the Heart and with the Mouth Confess‟: The Engaging Piety of John
Smyth and the Early General Baptists”

9:00 pm “Reformed and Anabaptist: Strength and Shortcomings of Two Traditions”
A Late Night Discussion between Drs. Yarnell and Haykin


Samuel Pearce (1766-1799) – Missionary Piety

January 26, 2009

Samuel Pearce (1766-1799), Minister of Cannon Street Baptist Church and member of the Baptist Missionary Society, is a neglected figure in history. This wonderfully spiritual man motivated more to the ministry of missions through his young life, than many did during their whole lives.

I wanted you to be made aware of an excellent little paper, “Swallowed Up in God: The Impact of Samuel PEarce on Modern Missions” by Adam Covington. Please read and digest and be challenged by this brief overview of Pearce’s life and ministry and legacy. You can find it here as the most recent White Paper here at The Center for Theological Research at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary.


Book Review – Materials Toward a History of Feet Washing Among the Baptists

December 22, 2008

Materials Toward a History of Feet Washing Among the Baptists. By R. L. Vaughn. Mount Enterprise, TX: Waymark Publications, 2008, 232 pp., $21.99, paper back.

 

Baptists are well-known for holding two commands of the Lord as specific ordinances to be performed in the context of the local church on an ongoing basis. Believer’s baptism by immersion sets Baptists apart from many other groups who practice paedobaptism. The Lord’s Supper is practiced yet debate over who may partake and how often it is to be practiced exists over it. Yet, who would have thought that foot washing is an ordinance practiced by many Baptists in the past and still practiced by some today? R. L. Vaughn has provided the church of Christ with a fascinating collection of primary source materials regarding the practice of feet washing among Baptists. I myself as someone who pursues Baptist history with a passion, was surprised at how many groups practiced some form of feet washing.

 

The book first gives a biblical overview of feet washing from both the Old and New Testaments and proceeds to survey the topic of feet washing from the beginning of the church to approximately 1500 AD. He then progresses to looking at feet washing among the continental Anabaptists, and in the British Isles and finally making it to North America. He then begins to survey the use of feet washing by different groups including Particular Baptists, Free Christian Baptists, Free Will Baptists, General Baptists, Primitive Baptists, Regular Baptists, Separate Baptists, Seventh Day Baptists, Two-Seed-in-the-Spirit Predestinarian Baptists, Union Baptists, and United Baptists. Then he helpfully moves beyond looking at feet washing by groups to feet washing by geographical regions. This most extensive area deals with America but there is also a treatment of Canada and Mexico as well. He then provides a survey of feet washing among Baptists in other areas of the world.

 

He helpfully includes arguments against feet washing by Calvin, Owen, Dagg, B.H. Carroll, and others. He then includes many appendices in order to helpfully provide more information for the eager researcher in exploring this strange but important area of Baptist history.

 

The major value of this work is very simply that it provides in one location so many varied and helpful primary source materials related to feet washing and Baptists. Instead of being isolated incidents in the history of the Baptists there were many who claimed the name Baptist that practiced feet washing as an ordinance. Vaughn’s comments are few but where they are found they are helpful. I have found this to be an excellent volume and it has really broadened my views when it comes to Baptist history and feet washing. It has not convinced me of feet washing as an ordinance for the church today but it has opened my eyes to the many Baptists that have seen it this way. And if many of practiced the intent behind feet washing on a regular basis then perhaps we would have more loving churches.

 

This is a very helpful book for those studying Baptist history or the history of feet washing in general. It is highly recommended and I hope it has a wide readership. Brother Vaughn is to be commended for preparing this excellent resource.


3rd Annual Andrew Fuller Center for Baptist Studies Conference

December 4, 2008

Be sure to mark on your calendar the 3rd Annual Andrew Fuller Center for Baptist Studies Conference being held at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, KY from August 24-25, 2009. This looks to be a great conference!

The theme is “Baptist Spirituality: Historical Perspectives.”

The plenary sessions are as follows (the parallel papers will be added later):

Monday August 24

9:00 AM – Crawford Gribben – “Irish Baptist Piety in the 17th Century”

10:25 AM – Michael Haykin – “Welsh Baptist Piety in the 17th and 18th Centuries”

11:45 AM – Robert Strivens – “The Piety of English Dissent: Philip Doddridge and Eighteenth-Century Baptists”

8:40 PM – Greg Thornbury – “Baptist Spirituality and Theological Education”

Tuesday August 25

8:45 AM – Kevin Smith – “African-American Baptist Piety”

11:30 AM – Tom Nettles – “The Piety of James Petigru Boyce”

2:15 PM – Greg Wills – “Relevance, Severity, and Spiritual Power in Baptist Piety”

3:30 PM – Gerald Priest – “Fundamental Baptists and the Holy Life”

7:15 PM – Jason Lee – “The Piety of John Smyth”

8:30 PM – Malcolm Yarnell – “17th and 18th Century General Baptist Piety: Its Significance for Today”


A Reissue of the Prayer Call

July 15, 2008

Prayer is the effectual means for accomplishing the will of God in this age. What does this mean? It means that God uses our prayers as ordained means for accomplishing His end. This means that prayer is the lifeblood of the church. It is through prayer, not through marketing agendas, that God brings revival and fresh movings of the Holy Spirit. Historically this has always been the case. It was always through renewed efforts of prayer amongst the churches that God used to move the Spirit and bring revival with men and women repenting and turning to Jesus Christ.

John Sutcliff of Olney (1752-1814) was the pastof of the Baptist church in Olney, Buckinghamshire. He was a close friend of Andrew Fuller (1754-1815) and helped in the formation of the Baptist Missionary Society which sent out William Carey (1764-1831) to India. In 1784 Sutcliff recommended that the churches in the Northamptonshire Association  add to their services a monthly prayer meeting devoted to seeking revival from God. He had been influenced by the great Jonathan Edwards (1703-1758) work, An Humble Attempt to Promote Explicit Agreement and visible Union of God’s people in Extraordinary Prayer for the Revival of Religion and the Advancement of Christ’s Kingdom on Earth, Pursuant to Scripture-Promises and Prophecies Concerning the Last Time (1748).

Sutcliffe called the churches to set aside the first Monday of every month to pray for God’s outpouring of His Holy Spirit and the resultant revival in Great Britain.

The prayer call was circulated to the churches in the association in the 1784 circular letter. Most likely attributed to Sutcliff, he wrote regarding the prayer call:

The grand object in prayer is to be, that the Holy Spirit may be poured down on our ministers and churches, that sinenrs may be converted, the saints edified, the interest of religion revived, and the name of God glorified. At the same time remember, we trust you will nto confine your requests to your own societies or to your own immediate connection; let the whole interest of the Redeemer be affectionately rememberd, and the spread of the gospel to the most distant parts of the habitable globe be the object of your most fervent requests. We shall rejoice if any other Christian societies of our own or other denomination will unite with us, and do now invite them most cordially to join heart and hand in the attempt.

Who can tell what the consequences of such an united effort in prayer may be! Let us plead with God the many gracious promises of His word, which relate to the future success of His gospel. He has said, “I will yet for this be inquired of by the hosue of Israel, to do it for them, I will increase them with men like a flock” (Ezekiel 36:37). Surely we have love enough for Zion to set apart one hour at a time, twelve times in a year, to seek her welfare. (The Nature, Evidences, and Advantages, of Humility [Circular Letter of the Northamptonshire Association, 1784], p. 12).

So, my call today is to recommit to prayer for the outpouring of the Spirit and the bringing of revival. I call all pastors to institute at least an hour of prayer in their churches the first Monday of every month for the purpose of revival. God can use this prayer to accomplish His will. Do you want to see revival today in North America and around the world? Then we must as a people pray! Let us come together and seek the Lord’s face! Let us ask Him to bless us and use us to bring people to Christ!

 I want men everywhere to lift up holy hands in prayer, without anger or disputing. (1 Tim 2:8)

Pray continually. (1 Thess 5:17)

And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints. (Eph 6:18)


Annual Andrew Fuller Center for Baptist Studies Conference

May 4, 2008

Steave Weaver, the extraordinary PhD student at SBTS, pastor of Farmdale Baptist Church, and new Administrative Assistant of The Andrew Fuller Center for Baptist Studies located at SBTS, has posted a reminder about the upcoming Andrew Fuller conference in Louisville, KY on August 25-26, 2008. You can see the update and a brochure of the conference here.

Make sure you are there and here me present my paper, “‘An Uncongenial Soil’: Thomas Patient (d.1666) and the Irish Baptists.”


Which Baptist History Text?

April 15, 2008

Which Baptist History text would you use to teach your people or your students the tradition of our forefathers and foremothers? When my former boss Michael Haykin was picking his text to use for his Baptist History class at SBTS this semester we had a brief discussion about what was the best Baptist History textbook. Is McBeth too long? Is Torbet too short? Is Oliver too specific?

What are your thoughts? This obviously presumes you would have your students reading primary source material, but what would you have them read when it comes to secondary material? What do you feel is the best Baptist History textbook?


John Gill (1697-1771), Defender of the Trinity in the English Enlightenment

January 15, 2008

Here’s some information extracted from my PhD research proposal. This will help for you to see where I hope to go with my dissertation.

Overall Aim

The overall aim of this dissertation is to examine the theological structure and exegetical details of the response of John Gill, the leading British Particular Baptist theologian of his era, to the challenge of the English Enlightenment, especially as it relates to the doctrine of the Trinity. From the perspective of Reformed orthodoxy, the English Enlightenment gave rise to a number of heterodox perspectives on the Trinity. Gill sought to provide a robust defence of a traditional orthodox teaching in the face of these heterodoxies, specifically in The Doctrine of the Trinity Stated and Vindicated which was published in two editions (1731 and 1752).

Specific Objectives

In order to accomplish the aim of this dissertation a number of objectives will need to be met.

First, a chapter surveying and evaluating the secondary literature on Gill will be necessary to put the work of this dissertation into context. A biographical chapter on John Gill will follow so as to introduce the reader to him and his life and contributions to theology. Third, an historical survey of heterodox views of the Trinity during the English Enlightenment will be outlined so as to provide the context in which Gill wrote his defence of orthodox teaching. Fourth, a detailed study of the theological structure of Gill’s work, The Doctrine of the Trinity Stated and Vindicated (1731/1752) will be developed to specifically see how Gill responded to the Enlightenment arguments concerning the Trinity. Fifth, there will be a chapter which will show how Gill developed his arguments in defence of the Trinity through solid biblical exegesis and through his understanding of the early church fathers on this issue. Finally, a concluding chapter will show how Gill’s Trinitarianism was maintained throughout his career as a Reformed theologian.

Explanation of Need for Dissertation

The orthodox teaching of the Trinity remained unchallenged from the time of the Ancient church until the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries with the rise of the English Enlightenment. Through the Socinian and Arian denials of the Trinity, this anti-trinitarian thinking began to pervade conservative Christianity. It became necessary for religious leaders to confront this teaching. The stalwart Particular Baptist theologian John Gill rose to the challenge to defend Trinitarianism. It was through Gill that Particular Baptist were spared this departure into anti-trinitarianism.

Even though Gill is known as one of the greatest theologians of the Baptist tradition, very little has been actually written on him or his thought. And what has been done on Gill has focused on his understanding of salvation, especially in the debate as to whether Gill was a hyper-Calvinist or not (see the issue below in my brief biography of Gill). Gill’s thought goes far beyond soteriology and issues of Calvinism. This self-taught theologian truly was a giant amongst men when it came to the exegesis and exposition of Scripture and his understanding of theology. Therefore, it is necessary to study Gill more in depth and less on the area of soteriology. Gill’s work on the Trinity is masterfully developed especially as it interacts with Enlightenment denials of the Trinity. It is a model of biblical and historical exegesis and needs to be studied further.

With the current historical fascination with the Enlightenment and Enlightenment thinking it behooves the historian to understand better the Enlightenment and specifically their argumentation against various areas of orthodox Christian theology. Their argumentation in denial of the Trinity is of extreme importance, and therefore, needs to be studied, and the argumentation of those against the Enlightenment thinkers needs to be explored. This is where this study comes in. It is important to put this debate over the Trinity into historical context and understand a key thinker like Gill who was responding to this debate. Since so little is actually written on Gill, this dissertation will fill a much needed gap in Gill studies and hopefully Enlightenment thought studies as well.

Historical and Scholarly Context of Dissertation

Gertrude Himmelfarb has shown that there was not some monolithic movement called the Enlightenment, but that different countries had their own Enlightenments. France had quite a different Enlightenment than England for instance.[1] England’s Enlightenment was more moderate than France’s. Yet, it had its own particular challenges. While France moved toward atheism, England moved into areas of Arianism. This “Age of Reason” denied much of the supernatural from the Scriptures and believed that their embracing of logic and reason could eliminate that which was based upon “faith” which included much of what was distinctive to orthodox theology like the doctrine of the Trinity. And while Trinitarians were more learned than their anti-trinitarian enemies, the anti-trinitarians were better writers and thus lead to the continued denial of much of what was distinctively orthodox Christianity.[2]

In fact, both Socinianism and Arianism in England in the late 17th and 18th century began to dismiss the doctrine of the Trinity as an invention of the early church and an unnecessary adoption of Greek logical thinking to theology. Samuel Clarke in particular of the Arian controversy wrote his Scripture Doctrine of the Trinity (1712) which had Arian tendencies. This particular controversy came to a head in the Salter’s Hall Synod (1719).[3] Here Presbyterians, Independents, Particular and General Baptist met to discuss whether ministers could be asked to subscribe to a Trinitarian creed. The Presbyterians and General Baptists voting no, moved into areas of Unitarianism and other heretical doctrines. The Independents and Particular Baptists though voted yes and remained faithful to orthodox Trinitarian doctrine.Yet, these Trinitarian controversies created confusion amongst many individuals. Isaac Watts (1674–1748), the hymn-writer, for instance near the end of his life, re-wrote a number of his works and never did seem to have a clear understanding of orthodox Trinitarianism.[5] Robert Robinson (1735–1790), the Baptist pastor and hymn-writer, seemed to deny Trinitarian theology near the end of his life as well.[6] The issue of the Trinity is incredibly important even today as many continue to deny this core theological doctrine.

While there is continued interest in the doctrine of the Trinity, there has been a failure to really understand the English Enlightenment denial of the Trinity and the continued orthodox affirmation and defence of the Trinity during this time. For instance, in his recent detailed work on the Trinity, Robert Letham argues that conservative Reformed theologians have contributed little to the doctrine of the Trinity since the time of John Calvin (1509–1564) until the twentieth century.[7] Yet, the defence of the Trinity in the seventeenth and eighteenth century is a crucial part of the story of the church’s teaching on this crucial doctrine.

John Gill (1697–1771) amongst the Particular Baptists vigorous defence of the Trinity as it had been held since the early church is important in the discussion of the Trinity in the eighteenth century. Muller writes, “Among the British writers of the late orthodox era, the Particular Baptist John Gill stands out as a defender of the doctrine of the Trinity as ‘a doctrine of pure revelation’ to the setting aside of all but biblical argumentation and patristic usage.”[8] With the rise of interest in Enlightenment studies and Enlightenment thinking on religious issues and doctrine, it is important to look at the orthodox response to English Enlightenment thinking, especially on an issue as important as the Trinity. Gill is such a person that must be studied. Not only did he study the Scriptures and the early church in his defence of the Trinity, he lived out his ministry with a complete commitment to the orthodox doctrine of the Trinity. His biographer John Rippon (1751–1836) and the pastor who followed him at his Carter Lane Church wrote of him regarding the influence his thinking on the Trinity had on his ministry. He writes,

The Doctor not only watched over his people, “with great affection, fidelity, and love;” but he also watched his pulpit also. He would not, if he knew it, admit any one to preach for him, who was either cold-hearted to the doctrine of the Trinity; or who denied the divine filiation of the Son of God; or who objected to conclude his prayers with the usual doxology to Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, as three equal Persons in the one Jehovah. Sabellians, Arians, and Socinians, he considered as real enemies of the cross of Christ. They dared not ask him to preach, nor could he in conscience, permit them to officiate for him. He conceived that, by this uniformity of conduct, he adorned the pastoral office.[9]


[1] Getrude Himmelfarb, The Roads to Modernity: The British, French, and American Enlightenments (Essex, England: Vintage Books, 2005).
[2]See Philip Dixon, ‘Nice and Hot Disputes’: The Doctrine of the Trinity in the Seventeenth Century (London/New York: T&T Clark, 2003), p. 215.
[3] For more on this see Roger Thomas, “The Non-Subscription Controversy amongst Dissenters in 1719: the Salter’s Hall Debate,” Journal of Ecclesiastical History 4 (1953): 162–186.
[4]See Arthur Paul Davis, Isaac Watts: His Life and Works (Published PhD Dissertation, Columbia University, 1943), pp. 109–126.
[5]See Two Original Letters by the Late Mr. Robert Robinson (London: J. Marsom, 1802). For the whole story of Robinson’s life see Graham W. Hughes, With Freedom Fired: The Story of Robert Robinson, Cambridge Nonconformist (London: Carey Kingsgate Press, 1955).
[6] Robert Letham, The Trinity: In Scripture, History, Theology, and Worship (Phillipsburg, NJ: P&R Publishing, 2004), pp. ix–x.
[7] Richard A. Muller, The Triunity of God in his Post-Reformation Reformed Dogmatics, 4 vols. (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books, 2003), IV, 140. Despite the lack of scholarly study in the Baptist stream of historical theology, Gill can rightly be included in the stream of other Post-Reformation Reformed theologians and thus is important to be studied in and of himself (see Richard A. Muller, “John Gill and the Reformed Tradition: A Study in the Reception of Protestant Orthodoxy in the Eighteenth Century,” in Michael A. G. Haykin, ed., The Life and Thought of John Gill (1697–1771): A Tercentennial Appreciation (Leiden, The Netherlands: E. J. Brill, 2007): 51–68. See especially pp. 55–56.
[8] John Rippon, A Brief Memoir of the Life and Writings (Reprint ed., Harrisonburg, VA: Gano Books, 1992), 127–128. Emphasis in original.