A Theological and Historical Examination of John Gill's Soteriology in Relation to Eighteenth-Century Hyper-Calvinism
MetadataShow full item record
This dissertation is a theological and historical examination of John Gill's soteriology that argues against classifying him as a Hyper-Calvinist. Gill's complex theology, as well as the difficulty of defining Hyper-Calvinism, argues against labeling Gill as such. Chapter 1 is a survey of historical evaluations of Gill concerning his relationship to Hyper-Calvinism. Evidence is presented showing that many of the evaluations are suspect due to a historiographically-biased paradigm. Chapter 2 surveys numerous approaches to defining Hyper-Calvinism. This displays the incredible lack of agreement on a definition and therefore is problematic concerning labeling Gill as a Hyper-Calvinist. A working definition is suggested, based on an evaluation of the Modem Question controversy. Chapter 3 examines eternal aspects of Gill's soteriology. It is argued that while foundational to Gill's soteriology, these aspects are not the totality of his soteriologyand thus he remains within the confines of historic Calvinism. Chapter 4 examines God-ward aspects of Gill's soteriology. His view of the love and grace of God is presented, especially concerning the discriminating aspects between the elect and non-elect. Chapter 5 examines the anthropological aspects of Gill's soteriology, specifically dealing with man's responsibility. The complex nature of this aspect shows the difficulty of the issue. On this point Gill does show some affinity with Hyper-Calvinism. However, his nuanced position cautions against a simple categorization of his position as Hyper-Calvinism. Chapter 6 examines the legal aspects of Gill's soteriology, specifically the issue of Antinomianism. Gill is easily defended against the charge of either doctrinal or practical Antinomianism. Chapter 7 deals with evangelistic aspects of Gill's soteriology, specifically his view concerning the offer of the gospel. Careful examination of this aspect shows that while Gill rejected the idea of "offering" the gospel, he accepted the idea of preaching the gospel to all. Chapter 8 deals with practical aspects of Gill's soteriology. Issues of Gill's view of evangelism and missions, as well as his relationship to the perceived decline of Particular Baptists in eighteenth century England are examined. Chapter 9 sets forth some proposals resulting from the study.