Tuesday, May 23, 2006

History and Heresies of Hardshell Baptists, chapter 7

Here is chapter seven of the series on Hardshell Baptists by Brother Bob Ross.


Charles

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From: Pilgrimpub@aol.com
Subject: #7 -- JOHN GILL -- NOT A HARDSHELL or HYBRID CALVINIST [05/19/06]
HISTORY AND HERESIES OF HARDSHELLISM, #7 [05/19--2006]

Chapter Seven:

JOHN GILL -- NOT A HARDSHELL or HYBRID CALVINIST

Famous Baptist Pastor, Scholar, and Commentator Lived Before "Primitive Baptist Church" Originated


Dr. John Gill (1697-1771) pastored in London at the church later pastored by C. H. Spurgeon. He is one of the most famous Baptists in English history.

In recent years, the massive works of John Gill, a tremendous Baptist figure of the 18th century, have been republished. Gill's large multi-volume COMMENTARY and his 1023-page, double-column, BODY OF DIVINITY, have been on the market for quite sometime, and his answer to the Arminian system's champion, Daniel Whitby, entitled, CAUSE OF GOD AND TRUTH, was reprinted several years ago. We consider all three of these works to be of great value and usefulness.

Some few men have brought charges against Gill that are inaccurate. Some have alleged that he advocates Hardshellism. In fact, one brother published a paper in which he said that Gill "might well be called the father of that anti-missionary movement which we sometimes term hardshellism."

Another brother has copied and published this statement, giving it wider circulation. I questioned one of these brethren as to these attacks on Gill, and found that they have been made because certain men have supposedly been "led into Hardshellism" as a result of reading Gill's works. But this appears to be a "non sequitur," for I know many others who have read Gill and have no Hardshellism in their views. The fact is, some Hardshells who turned away somewhat from regular Hardshellism about the use of "means" referred to Dr. Gill in support of their views. This was the case with Elder W. E. Screws in the last century, who was taken to task for his views and his use of Dr. Gill by William Crouse, a defender of the anti-means Hardshell position. (See Crouse on Regeneration).

William Crouse said: "The purpose Elder Screws had in making quotations from Gill's commentary was to show that Gill believed and taught that God uses the ministry and the gospel as means and instrumentalities in the work of regeneration. That this was Dr. Gill's teaching in the above quotation there can be no doubt. Indeed he says that Paul's ministry was made 'an effectual means OF their regeneration.'"

Further, in chapter two of his book, William Crouse opens the chapter by saying:

"Dr. John Gill, when he wrote his commentary of the Bible, held to the doctrine of gospel regeneration -- that God regenerates His elect through the means or instrumentality of the preached word. After careful investigation we feel sure his interpretation of certain scriptures relative to the gospel and regeneration will admit of no other construction.

"In every effort that has been made to reform our faith Dr. Gill's Commentary has been used against us to prove that American Primitive Baptists have departed from old time Baptist faith and have therefore ceased to be the 'original' Baptists. If it were necessary for us to accept all interpretations given by Dr. Gill in his commentary in order for us to be 'original' or Primitive Baptists, there might be some merit in the contention of our adversaries. But the faith of Primitive Baptists of America does not rest upon the belief of Dr. Gill. And the fact that our opponents are always driven to his commentary for proof is evidence that American Primitive Baptists have NOT held the idea of the gospel as a means, or that sinners are regenerated by, with, or through the preached word."

This is plainly a concession on the part of William Crouse that Dr. Gill's Commentary was contrary to the views of Hardshells.

But then Crouse goes on in his book to concoct the allegation that Dr. Gill later "forsook that position" when he wrote his Body of Divinity. In order to attempt the substantiation of this allegation, he quotes Dr. Gill in a piecemeal manner, stopping just at the point where Dr. Gill was about to comment on the instrumental "means" used by the Holy Spirit. Here is the part Crouse failed to quote from page 534 of Gill's Body of Divinity:

"Though after all it seems plain, that the ministry of the word is the vehicle in which the Spirit of God conveys himself and his grace into the hearts of men; which is done when the word comes not in word only, but in power, and in the Holy Ghost; and works effectually, and is the power of God unto salvation; then faith comes by hearing, and ministers are instruments by whom, at least, men are encouraged to believe: 'received ye the Spirit', says the apostle, 'by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith': #Ga 3:2 that is, by the preaching of the law, or by the preaching of the gospel? by the latter, no doubt."

I wrote to the Hardshells who have the piecemeal quotation by Crouse on their website, and the gentleman who replied said, "I do not have time at present to formulate a proper response but I hope to do so, shortly." So far, he has not explained why William Crouse did not give the complete view of John Gill on the matter of "means," and that was several years ago.

Some Hardshells may think they find Hardshellism in Gill's writings, but such thinking is the same as that which thinks it finds Hardshellism in the Bible. If they read Gill in a piecemeal manner, like he was quoted by William Crouse, then those who believe Hardshellism may find something with which they can agree; but that is the only way.

John Gill was a Creedal Calvinist, not a Hardshell or Hybrid Calvinist. The Hardshells deny that the Gospel has anything to do with calling sinners unto salvation. They say that the Gospel is to be preached to those already "regenerated" for the purpose of saving their lives, and not to dead sinners in order to bring them by faith to life in Christ. Hardshellism teaches that men are called by the Spirit alone, apart from the preaching or reading of the Word of God.

Creedal Calvinists teach that the Gospel is used of God in calling people to salvation. II Thessalonians 2:14 states that those "chosen" are those who are "called by the Gospel." It is the Spirit alone who is the "efficient cause," yes; but the Bible teaches that the preaching of the Gospel is used of the Spirit in performing His work.

This is what John Gill taught. And to vindicate Gill of these false charges, I have selected a few comments from Gill's works to show his true position. These quotations have to do with the place of the gospel and ministers in bringing sinners to salvation.

It will be seen from these quotations that Gill, and the Baptists of his time, were not of the "Primitive Baptist order." He uses both "regeneration" and "conversion" in referring to the new birth, not to two distinct experiences. Despite the fact some Hardshells say they like Gill, he is not in their "camp."

From Gill's Commentary

There are an innumerable number of clear statements in Gill's massive commentary that could be quoted to show his position. But our pages could not contain all that he has said on this point, so we must content ourselves with only a select few. Note carefully these quotations.

Commenting on Proverbs 11:30:
Again Christ's ministers are called 'fishers' of men, and are said to 'catch' men, Matt. 4:19, Luke 4:10; and which they do by casting and spreading the net of the Gospel; the Gospel is the net; the world is the sea into which it is cast: where natural men are in their element, as fishes in the sea; the casting of the net is the preaching of the Gospel; and by means of this souls are caught and gathered in to Christ and his churches, Matt. 13:47 (Volume 3, page 28).

Commenting on Mark 16:16:
'To every creature,' that is, to every man; and particularly the Gentiles, as distinguished from the Jews, are often intended by this phase . . . Now to these, Christ would have the Gospel preached, as well as to the Jews; even to all, without distinction of people, Jews and Gentiles, Barbarians, Scythians, bond and free, male and female, rich and poor, greater or lesser sinners, even to all mankind (Volume 5, page 401).

Romans 1:16:
It (the gospel) is the power of God organically or instrumentally; as it is a means made use of by God in quickening DEAD sinners, enlightening blind eyes, unstopping deaf ears, softening hard hearts, and making of enemies friends (Volume 6, pages 5, 6).

Romans 10:14:
On this passage, Gill says that "it was absolutely necessary that the Gospel should be preached to the Gentiles, as well as to the Jews." He goes on to say, "There is no hearing of Christ, and salvation by him, without the preaching of the Gospel; the usual and ordinary way of hearing from God, and of Christ, is by the ministry of the word: this shows not only the necessity and usefulness of the Gospel ministry, but also points out the subject-matter of it, which is Christ, and him crucified" (Vol. 6, page 90).

Romans 10:17:
'So then faith cometh by hearing' & c. That is, by preaching; for the word hearing is used in the same sense as in the preceding verse; and designs the report of the Gospel, or the preaching of the word, which is the means God makes use of to convey faith into the hearts of his people; for preachers are ministers, or instruments, by whom others believe (Vol. 6, p. 9).

I Corinthians 1:18:
'It (the Gospel) is the power of God;' organically or instrumentally; it being the means of quickening them when DEAD in sin, of enlightening their dark minds, or unstopping their deaf ears, of softening their hard hearts, and of enemies making them friends to God, Christ, and his people: and it is likewise so declaratively, there being a wonderful display of the power of God in the ministration of it; as may be seen when observed who were the first preachers of it, men of no figure in life, of no education, illiterate mechanics, very mean and abject; into these earthen vessels were put the treasure of the Gospel, that the excellency of the power might appear to be of God, and not man (Volume 6, page 155).

I Corinthians 4:15:
'For in Christ Jesus have I begotten you through the Gospel;' which is to be understood of regeneration, a being born again, and from above; of being quickened when dead in trespasses and sins; of having Christ formed in the soul; of being made a partaker of the Divine nature, and a new creature: which the apostle ascribes to himself, not as the efficient cause thereof, for regeneration is not of men but of God; not of the will of the flesh, of a man's own free-will and power, nor of the will of any other man, or minister; but of the sovereign will, grace, and mercy of God, Father, Son, and Spirit.

The Father of Christ begets us again according to his abundant mercy; and the Son quickens whom he will; and we are born again of water and of the Spirit, of the grace of the Spirit; hence the washing of regeneration, and renewing work, are ascribed to him; but the apostle speaks this of himself, only as the instrument or means, which God made use of in doing this work upon the hearts of his people; and which the other phrases show; for he is said to do it 'in Christ;' he preached Christ unto them, and salvation by him, and the necessity of faith in him; he directed them to him to believe in him, and was the means of bringing of them to the faith of Christ:
And it was the power and grace of Christ accompanying his ministry, which made it an effectual means of their regeneration and conversion; and which were brought about 'through the Gospel;' not through the preaching of the law; for though by that is the knowledge of sin, and convictions may be wrought by such means; yet these leave nothing but a sense of wrath and damnation; nor is the law any other than a killing letter; no regeneration, no quickening grace, no faith nor holiness come this way, but through the preaching the Gospel; in and through which, as a vehicle, the Spirit of God conveys himself into the heart, as a Spirit of regeneration and faith; and God of his own will and rich mercy, by the word of truth, by the Gospel of grace and truth, which came by Christ, so called in distinction from the law which came by Moses, begets us again as his new creatures; which shows the usefulness of the Gospel ministry, and in what account Gospel ministers are to be had, who are spiritual fathers, or the instruments of the conversion of men (Volume 6, page 174).

I Corinthians 1:21:
This (preaching), through efficacious grace, becomes the means of regenerating and quickening men, showing them their need of salvation, and where it is, and of working faith in them to look to Christ for it (Vol. 6, p. 156).

I Corinthians 4:20:
Gill says that the "power" spoken of in this verse has reference to "the powerful efficacy of the Spirit, attending the preaching of the Gospel to the quickening of dead sinners, the enlightening of blind eyes, and unstopping of deaf ears; the softening of hard hearts, the delivering of persons from the slavery of sin and Satan, the transforming and renewing of them both inwardly and outwardly (Vol. 6, p. 176).

I Corinthians 9:22:
'That I might by all means save some;' that is, that he might be the means of saving some of Jews and Gentiles, and of all sorts of men; by preaching the Gospel of salvation to them, and by directing them to Christ, the only Saviour of lost sinners; thus he explains what he means by so often saying that he might 'gain' them (Volume 6, page 208).

I Corinthians 15:2:
It (the Gospel) was the means of their salvation, and had been made the power of God unto salvation to them. Salvation is inseparably connected with true faith in Christ as a Saviour, etc. (Volume 6, page 255).

II Corinthians 3:6:
It (the Gospel) is a means in the hand of the Spirit of God, of quickening dead sinners, of healing the deadly wounds of sin, of showing the way of life by Christ, and of working faith in the soul, to look to him, and live upon him; etc. (Vol. 6, p. 293).

II Corinthians 10:16:
'To preach the Gospel in the regions beyond you,' etc. Here the apostle clearly expresses what he hoped for, and explains what he meant by being enlarged according to rule; namely, that he should be at liberty to preach the Gospel elsewhere; and hoped he should be directed by the providence of God, to carry it into the more remote and distant parts of the world, whereas yet Christ had not been named," etc. (Volume 6, page 336).

Galatians 4:13:
'I preached the Gospel unto you at the first;' not the law, but the Gospel; and this he did at his first entrance among them, and was the first that preached it to them; and was the means of their conversion: and therefore, being their spiritual father, they ought to be as he was, and follow him as they had for an example (Volume 6, page 394).

James 1:18:
Gill says that "the Word of truth" of this passage means "The Gospel, which is the word of truth, and truth itself, and contains nothing but truth; and by this souls are begotten and born again; see Eph. 1:13, I Pet. 1:23; and hence ministers of it are accounted spiritual fathers. Faith, and every other grace in regeneration, and even the Spirit himself, the Regenerator, come this way (Volume 6, page 783).

I Peter 1:23:
Gill says that "the word of God" of this verse is "the Gospel, the word of truth, which is made use of as a means of begetting souls again (Volume 6, page 783).
From Other Works

On page 372 of Gill's Body of Divinity, in his discussion of the Gospel, the third point of his outline is, "The effects of the gospel when attended with the power and Spirit of God." Under this point, Gill says:

1. The regeneration of men, who are said to be born again by the word of God, and to be begotten again with the word of truth, I Pet. 1:23, James 1:18; hence ministers of the gospel are represented as spiritual fathers, I Cor. 4:15.
2. As in regeneration, souls are quickened by the Spirit and grace of God, this is ascribed to the gospel as an instrument, hence it is called the Spirit which giveth life, and said to be the savor of life unto life, 2 Cor. 2:16 and 3:6.
3. The gospel is frequently spoken of as a light, a great light, a glorious light; and so is in the hands of the Spirit a means of enlightening the dark minds of men into the mysteries of grace, and the method of salvation; 'the entrance of thy word giveth light, it giveth understanding unto the simple,' Psalm 119:130. The Spirit of God gives the gospel an entrance into the heart, being opened by him to attend unto it; and when it has an entrance, it gives light into a man's self, his state and condition, and into the way of life by Christ; it is a glass in which the glory of Christ, and of the riches of his grace, may be seen.

In his discussion of effectual calling (Body of Divinity, page 539), Gill clearly states that the ministry of the Word and the call by it "have to do with unregenerate sinners." He explains this is as follows:

They may, and should be called upon to attend the outward means of grace, and to make use of them; to read the holy scriptures, which have been the means of conversion of some; to hear the word, and wait on the ministry of it, which may be blessed unto them, for the effectual calling of them. And it is a part of the ministry of the word to lay before men their fallen, miserable, lost, and undone estate by nature; to open to them the nature of sin, its pollution and guilt, and the sad consequences of it; to inform them of their incapacity to make atonement for it; and of their impotence and inability to do what is spiritually good; and of the insufficiency of their own righteousness to justify them in the sight of God; and they are to be made acquainted, that salvation is alone by Christ, and not other ways; and the fullness, freeness, and suitableness of this salvation, are to be preached before them; and the whole to be left to the Spirit of God, to make application of it as he shall think fit.

In his article on the public ministry of the Word (Body of Divinity, page 926), Gill states:

This (the ministry) is not a device of men for sinister ends, and with selfish and lucrative views; but is by the appointment of Christ, who ordered his disciples, that what they heard in the ear, they should 'preach upon the housetops;' that is, in the most public manner; and therefore sent them into all the world, to preach the gospel to every creature under heaven; and accordingly the apostle Paul, that eminent minister of the word, preached it publicly, as well as from house to house, and even from Jerusalem about to Illyricum.

In this same article, on page 931, Gill makes this strong statement as to the ministry of the Word:

2. The ministry of the word is for the conversion of sinners; without which churches would not be increased nor supported, and must in course fail, and come to nothing: but the hand of the Lord being with his ministers, many in every age believe and turn to the Lord, and are added to the churches; by which means they are kept up and preserved: and hence it is necessary in the ministers of the word, to set forth the lost and miserable estate and condition of men by nature, the danger they are in, the necessity of regeneration and repentance, and of a better righteousness than their own, and of faith in Christ; which things are blessed for the turning of men from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God.

On pages 533 and 534 of his Body of Divinity, this mighty writer, dealing with the subject of regeneration, says:

Fourthly, The instrumental cause of regeneration, if it may be so called, are the word of God, and the ministers of it; hence regenerate persons are said to be 'born again by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever,' I Pet. 1:23; and again, 'of his own will begat he us with the word of truth,' Jam. 1:18 . . . ministers of the gospel are not only represented as ministers and instruments by whom others believe, but as spiritual fathers; 'though you have ten thousand instructors in Christ,' says the apostle to the Corinthians, I Cor. 4:15, 'yet have ye not many fathers, for in Christ Jesus I have begotten you through the gospel.'

This refutes the Hardshell distinction between "regeneration" and "conversion." Gill's view makes both terms apply to the "new birth."
Under the discussion entitled, "Of Faith in God and in Christ," our worthy author, referring to faith in God the Father as the one who chose His people to salvation, says:

This election of God is to be known by the gospel coming not in word only, but in power, by being effectually called, for 'whom he did predestinate, them he also called,' and by their having the faith of God's elect, for 'as many as were ordained to eternal life believed,' Rom. 8:30, Act 13:48 (page 733).

On page 741 of the same chapter, Gill makes the following remark:

'The belief of the truth,' of Christ, who is the truth, and of the gospel of truth, that comes by him, is the means through which God has chosen men to salvation.

Again, in the same chapter, on page 743:

Thirdly, the Word and ministers of it are the usual means and instruments of faith in the hand of God, and are used by him; the end of the word being written is, that men 'might believe that Jesus is the Christ the Son of God.' John 20:31; and the word preached is, 'the word of faith;' and so called, with other reasons, because faith comes by it, Rom. 10:8, 17; this has often been the effect and consequence of hearing the word preached, Acts 17:4 and 18:8, and the ministers of it are the instruments by whom and through whose word, doctrine, and ministry, others believe, John 1:17, 20, I Cor. 3:5, but this is only when it is attended with the power and Spirit of God, I Cor. 2:4, 5.

On page 871, Gill refers to the ministry of the word or preaching of the Gospel as "the means appointed of God for the gathering in his elect ones, for the number of them in conversion."
In his answer to the Arminian Whitby (Cause of God and Truth, page 87), this notable advocate of Creedal Calvinism, remarks on a statement by the free-willer:

Which observations are very just; but are so far from militating against the doctrine of absolute election, that they establish it; since according to them, not only the end but the means, the death of Christ, the preaching of the gospel, and calling men by it, are appointed and fixed, which infallibly succeed to bring about the end, eternal salvation.

These quotations make it quite clear that Gill's position regarding the place of the gospel and the gospel ministry is the position of Creedal Calvinism and not the position taken by the "Primitive Baptist" denomination nor by the advocates of Hybrid Calvinism.
_________________________________

Articles previously published:

#1 - "Hardshellism" - A Modern Cult and an Enemy of the Gospel
of Christ
#2 - Which Primitive Baptist Faction is the "Original Church"?
#3 - The Original Issue in the Anti-Missionism Movement Was on
Methods, Not Theology
#4 - The "Old Baptists" and the Old Baptist Faith
#5 - Hardshellism's Diluting the Baptist Confession of Faith
#6 - Hardshell Doctrine is Pelagianism in a 19th Century Package

18 Comments:

At Tuesday, May 23, 2006 11:11:00 PM, Anonymous Bob L. Ross said...

STEPHEN CHARNOCK ON THE NECESSITY OF THE GOSPEL

Bob to Charles
:

Thank you, Charles, for posting my article #7 on Hardshellism. This information on the Hardshell cult is significant due to its relation to and refutation of the "born again before faith" heresy.

This heresy leads to the denial of the NECESSITY of the Gospel in regeneration as demonstrated in the Primitive Baptist or Hardshell cult since its origin in 1832, as it is likewise demonstrated in the sects which advocate pedo-regeneration, or the regeneration of infants without the Gospel.

Your work on this blog in calling attention to the representatives of this heresy -- such as Thomas Schreiner, R. C. Sproul, John Frame, Wayne Grudem, Mark Dever, the Founders, Southern Seminary, James White, W. G. T. Shedd, Louis Berkhof, etc. -- plus posting the opposing views of Creedal Calvinists such as John Calvin, John Gill, C. H. Spurgeon, James Boyce, B. H. Carroll, John L. Dagg, the 1644 London Confession, the 1689 London Confession, the New Hampshire Confession, the subsequent 20th century Baptist Confessions including the 2000 Baptist Faith and Message -- is a unique and invaluable source of theological information for those who are not disciples of the pedo-regenerationists and the "born again before faith" advocates and promoters.

You have stood up for the truth against the current promoters of this false teaching including such as Alan Kurschner, Scott Morgan, Gene Bridges, Al Mohler, Tom Ascol, James White, and others.

Who knows how far-reaching and influential this blog is in behalf of the Gospel as that one and only instrument (Romans 1:16) by which the Holy Spirit begets sinners in the New Birth thru faith in Jesus Christ?

In this connection, I want to call attention to an excerpt from that great 17th century Puritan author, STEPHEN CHARNOCK, whose work is utterly devastating to the "born again before faith" heresy.

Concerning the necessary role of the Gospel as the instrument used by the Holy Spirit in regeneration, Charnock here shows why it is that the Gospel, or some means which has the same matter as the preached or written Gospel, is an essential to the New Birth.

>>
It is therefore a necessary instrument.

[1.] In regard of the reasonable creature there must be some declaration. God does not ordinarily work but by means, and does not produce anything without them which may be done with them. . . . So according to the method God has set of men's actions, it is necessary that this regeneration should be by some word as an instrument, for God has given understanding and will to man.

We cannot understand anything, or will anything, but what is proposed to us by some external object; as our eye can see nothing but what is without us, our hand take nothing but what is without us, so it is necessary that God by the word should set before us those things which our understandings may apprehend, and our wills embrace.

Now we believe things as we conceive them true, or not believe them as we conceive them false. We love, desire, delight in things, as we conceive them honest or profitable; we hate, we refuse, or grieve, as we conceive them dishonest, or troublesome, or hurtful to us; whatever we are changed by in our understandings, wills, and affections, is represented to us under some of these considerations. To make an alteration in us according to our nature of understanding, will, and affection, it is necessary there should be some declaration of things under those considerations of true, good, delightful, &c., in the highest manner, to make a choice change in every faculty of the soul, and without this a man cannot be changed as a rational creature; he will otherwise have a change he knows not why, nor to what end, nor upon what consideration, which is an inconceivable change in a rational creature.

[2.] It is necessary the revelation of this gospel we have should be made. There is a necessity of some revelation, for no man can see that which is not visible, or hear that which has no sound, or know that which is not declared. There is also a necessity of the revelation of this gospel, since faith is a great part of this work. How can any man believe that God is good in Christ, without knowing that he has so declared himself?

Since the Spirit takes of Christ's, and shows it to us, there must be a revelation of Christ, and the goodness of God in Christ, before we can believe. Though the manner of this revelation may be different, and the Spirit may renew in an extraordinary manner, yet this is the instrument whereby all spiritual begettings are wrought; the manner may be by visions, dreams, by reading or hearing, yet still it is the gospel which is revealed; the matter revealed is the same, though the formal revelation or manner may be different.

Paul's regeneration was by a vision, for at that vision of the light, and that voice of Christ, I suppose him to be renewed, because of that full resignation of his will to Christ, Acts ix. 6, yet the matter of the revelation was the same, that Christ was the Messiah, for so Paul understands it, in giving him the title of Lord. Though God may communicate himself without the written word to some that have it not, yet according to his appointment, not without a revelation of what is in that word.
>>

http://www.ccel.org/c/charnock/instr_regen/instr_regen.html

 
At Wednesday, May 24, 2006 11:07:00 AM, Blogger Charles said...

Brother Bob, Hello!

If only the students at the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary were taught the biblical doctrine of regeneration by Charnock instead of the Reformed view of John Frame, Wayne Grudem, R. C. Sproul and Thomas Schreiner.

Charnock said, "it is necessary that this regeneration should be by some word as an instrument, for God has given understanding and will to man."

What infant has "understanding and will"? None! Yet the hybrid/hyper/extreme Reformed Calvinists say that infants may be regenerated even before they are born.

Charnock said, "it is necessary that God by the word should set before us those things which our understandings may apprehend, and our wills embrace." Opposing Charnock is John Frame. When asked "What doctrines must one believe to be saved," Frame responded by saying, "None. I hold the Reformed view that children in infancy, even before birth, can be regenerated and saved, presumably before they have any conscious doctrinal beliefs."

The Reformed view is madness! No wonder "Dr." James White runs from you like a scalded dog when asked about it.

Charles

 
At Wednesday, May 24, 2006 4:12:00 PM, Anonymous Bob L. Ross said...

REFORMED VIEW
Charles said...


The Reformed view is madness!

Bob to Charles:

And this is what is so consternating about "madness" of some Baptists who want to use the word "Reformed" of their theology.

Do they REALLY know what is behind that word "Reformed" -- such as the heresy of pedo-regeneration and even fetal-regeneration?

This heresy is just one step removed from the idea of an "elect seed" regenerated and justified in past eternity!

I noticed that Gene Bridges lists a number of things he identifies as "hyper-Calvinism," but he does not touch on pedo-regeneration and fetal-regeneration. Perhaps such heresies don't qualify as "hyper-Calvinism"?

 
At Thursday, May 25, 2006 1:34:00 PM, Anonymous Bob L. Ross said...

GILL vs MURRAY

Bob to Charles:

There is a vain and irresponsible attempt by pedo-regenerationist IAIN MURRAY of the Banner of Truth Trust to discredit the late Dr. JOHN GILL (1697-1771) as a "Hyper-Calvinist."

Murray even alters the writing of Dr. Gill in order to add error to error in his vain attempt. This is done on page 128 of Murray's book, Spurgeon v. Hyper-Calvinism, published by the Banner of Truth Trust in 1995.

I wrote to Murray at the BTT to inquire if this was a misprint, but received no reply.

If it was not a misprint, then Murray has knowingly changed Dr. Gill's own language to make Dr. Gill say something which he actually does not say. Murray changes the word "nature" to read "race," and this helps makes it appear that Dr. Gill was "hyper."

Why would Murray want to paint Dr. Gill as a "Hyper-Calvinist"? Note --

Dr. Gill was a deadly opponent of infant baptism, and certainly opposed to the pedo-regeneration heresy that the elect are born again in infancy. Murray holds to both of these heresies, and does not appreciate the views of Dr. Gill.

Murray promotes both infant baptism and the heresy that the elect are "regenerated" in infancy. Murray also heads the publishing company which publishes Louis Berkhof's Systematic Theology, a veritable "Reformed" textbook for both pedo-baptism and pedo-regenerationism. Reading Dr. Gill would tend to discredit Berkhof's views which are promoted by Murray and the BTT.

Murray is an advocate of the Hybrid Calvinist heresy that both infants and adults are "regenerated" by a "direct operation" of the Holy Spirit apart from and without the necessary use of the Word of God as a means, whereas Dr. Gill taught the Creedal Calvinist view, as seen in the numerous quotations which are given in my article #7 on Hardshellism. Is this why Murray wanted to discredit Dr. Gill?

Murray is not only embellished and promoted by the Founders Ministries, he is the virtual "father" of the Founders via his influence on the late Ernest Reisingerwho led in the actual establishing of the Founders.

Reisinger first became a protege and promoter of Murray shortly after the Banner of Truth Trust was established in 1957. Soon afterwards, Reisinger formed "Puritan Publications" in Carlisle, Pennsylvania to serve an outlet for BTT publications in the United States. This outlet eventually became the business branch of the Banner of Truth Trust in the US and changed its name accordingly.

Murray influenced Reisinger both theologically and practically, and these influences are perpetuated by the Founders. The "born again before faith" heresy, the promoting of Berkhof's theology, the anti-invitationalism, the de-emphasis on the baptism of young professors, and the presbyterian view on "elders" are all traceable to Murray's influence.

 
At Saturday, June 17, 2006 7:37:00 PM, Anonymous Bob Chism said...

June 17, 2005

Dear Calvinist Flyswatter,

I find your blog very interesting and illuminating though I can't agree with your conclusion that faith must precede regeneration. I would like to share with you a portion of Gill's Body which seems to refute a position you have taken regarding the use of the Word of God in regeneration. In your blog about Gill and Hardshellism, you have the following:

"This is plainly a concession on the part of William Crouse that Dr. Gill's Commentary was contrary to the views of Hardshells.

But then Crouse goes on in his book to concoct the allegation that Dr. Gill later "forsook that position" when he wrote his Body of Divinity. In order to attempt the substantiation of this allegation, he quotes Dr. Gill in a piecemeal manner, stopping just at the point where Dr. Gill was about to comment on the instrumental "means" used by the Holy Spirit. Here is the part Crouse failed to quote from page 534 of Gill's Body of Divinity:

"Though after all it seems plain, that the ministry of the word is the vehicle in which the Spirit of God conveys himself and his grace into the hearts of men; which is done when the word comes not in word only, but in power, and in the Holy Ghost; and works effectually, and is the power of God unto salvation; then faith comes by hearing, and ministers are instruments by whom, at least, men are encouraged to believe: 'received ye the Spirit', says the apostle, 'by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith': #Ga 3:2 that is, by the preaching of the law, or by the preaching of the gospel? by the latter, no doubt."

Furthermore, you have an extensive list of quotations from Gill's Commentary which support a gospel regeneration view.

I would like to direct your attention to Gill's article on Regeneration in his Body of Divinity where he explains that the Word is not used in regeneration.

Gill says, " ...yet this instrumentality of the word in regeneration seems not so agreeable to the principle of grace implanted in the soul in regeneration, and to be understood with respect to that; since that is done by immediate infusion, and is represented as a creation; and now as God made no use of any instrument in the first and old creation, so neither does it seem so agreeable that he should use any in the new creation; wherefore this is rather to be understood of the exertion of the principle of grace, and the drawing it forth into act and exercise; which is excited and encouraged by the ministry of the word, by which it appears that a man is born again."

Take note that Gill wrote his Divinity later in life after he had completed his commentary, and he seems to have recanted his earlier views of gospel regeneration.

I just wanted to share this with you so that you will have a more complete appreciation of Gill's views.

I am one of those Calvinists who believe in the need for regeneration before faith, conversion, or sanctification. I base my belief in part on the Lord's words that we can't see the kingdom of God or enter the kingdom until born again. I read Gill like I do any other man; with an eye toward the Word of God. Gill can be wrong, and so can I. Hey, so can you too.

Sincerely,
Bob Chism
West Fork, AR
thechisms@hotmail.com

 
At Sunday, June 18, 2006 12:44:00 AM, Anonymous Bob L. Ross said...

CHISM'S ERROR ON GILL

Hardshell Bob Chism has borrowed the mistake of William Crouse about John Gill. Crouse quotes Gill PIECEMEAL and then alleges his own distortion of what John Gill taught.

This, in fact, is the very quotation I mentioned in my article and showed the part Crouse omitted which appears IMMEDIATELY AFTER the material where Crouse cut-off quoting from Gill.

Here is the part Crouse failed to quote from page 534 of Gill's Body of Divinity:

"Though after all it seems plain, that the ministry of the word is the vehicle in which the Spirit of God conveys himself and his grace into the hearts of men; which is done when the word comes not in word only, but in power, and in the Holy Ghost; and works effectually, and is the power of God unto salvation; then faith comes by hearing, and ministers are instruments by whom, at least, men are encouraged to believe: 'received ye the Spirit', says the apostle, 'by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith': #Ga 3:2 that is, by the preaching of the law, or by the preaching of the gospel? by the latter, no doubt."

Here is the the entire quote from the Internet. The part Crouse quotes is in italics, while the part which Crouse omits is in bold:

>>
Fourthly, The instrumental cause of regeneration, if it may be so called, are the word of God, and the ministers of it; hence regenerate persons are said to be "born again by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever" (1 Pet. 1:23), and again, "of his own will begat he us with the word of truth" (James 1:18), unless by the Word in these passages should be meant the Eternal Logos, or essential Word of God, Christ Jesus, since logoV is used in both places; though ministers of the gospel are not only represented as ministers and instruments by whom others believe, but as spiritual fathers; "though you have ten thousand instructors in Christ", says the apostle to the Corinthians (1 Cor. 4:15), "yet have ye not many fathers, for in Christ Jesus I have begotten you through the gospel"; so he speaks of his son Onesimus, whom he had "begotten in his bonds" (Philemon 1:10) yet

[Crouse excerpt below:]
this instrumentality of the word in regeneration seems not so agreeable to the principle of grace implanted in the soul in regeneration, and to be understood with respect to that; since that is done by immediate infusion, and is represented as a creation; and now as God made no use of any instrument in the first and old creation, so neither does it seem so agreeable that he should use any in the new creation: wherefore this is rather to be understood of the exertion of the principle of grace, and the drawing it forth into act and exercise; which is excited and encouraged by the ministry of the word, by which it appears that a man is born again; so the three thousand first converts, and the jailor, were first regenerated, or had the principle of grace wrought in their souls by the Spirit of God, and then were directed and encouraged by the ministry of the apostles to repent and believe in Christ: whereby it became manifest that they were born again.

[Omitted by Crouse:]

Though after all it seems plain, that the ministry of the word is the vehicle in which the Spirit of God conveys himself and his grace into the hearts of men; which is done when the word comes not in word only, but in power, and in the Holy Ghost; and works effectually, and is the power of God unto salvation; then faith comes by hearing, and ministers are instruments by whom, at least, men are encouraged to believe: "received ye the Spirit", says the apostle, "by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith": (Gal. 3:2), that is, by the preaching of the law, or by the preaching of the gospel? by the latter, no doubt.
>>

What Gill is simply teaching is that the actual efficient "power" in regeneration is all of the Spirit, while the Word is His instrument -- both being simultaneous.

He says "the Spirit CONVEYS HIMSELF" into the hearts of men by the "vehicle" of the Word.

This would therefore deny any "direct operation" apart from the Word of God.

There is no evidence whatsoever that Gill changed his view on regeneration in his writings. This is a Hardshell imposition, nothing more nor less.

 
At Sunday, June 18, 2006 11:49:00 AM, Anonymous Bob L. Ross said...

STRAIGHTENING THE CHISM TRAIL on JOHN GILL

In reply to further comments by Hardshell Bob Chism:

Dr. Gill's quote in the "Body of Divinity" makes it "plain" that "after all" (which generally means all other considerations or ideas are set aside or comprehended), the Spirit "conveys" Himself and His grace into the hearts of men by the "VEHICLE" of the Word.

Brother Chism therefore is not in agreement with Gill, for he thinks the preliminary work of the Spirit is done apart from the "ministry of the word."

Brother Chism has allowed himself to be mislead by the Hardshell Baptists who have always been enemies of preaching the Gospel to lost souls.

GILL'S VIEW "AFTER ALL" IS "PLAIN" -- but if we had been left to Brother Chism's use of Gill, we would -- "after all" -- never know that Gill believed the following --


"Though after all it seems plain, that the ministry of the word is the vehicle in which the Spirit of God conveys himself and his grace into the hearts of men; which is done when the word comes not in word only, but in power, and in the Holy Ghost; and works effectually, and is the power of God unto salvation; then faith comes by hearing, and ministers are instruments by whom, at least, men are encouraged to believe: 'received ye the Spirit', says the apostle, 'by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith': #Ga 3:2 that is, by the preaching of the law, or by the preaching of the gospel? by the latter, no doubt."

The idea that John Gill "changed" is a device of men often found in those who have creative imaginations in the effort to somehow transform their wishful thinking into reality.

Brother Chism would be further helped on John Gill, if he would accept what Gill says, on Effectual Calling in the same "Body of Divinity," page 543: --

>>
Christ stands in the gospel ministry, at the door of men’s hearts, and knocks and calls; and having the key of the house of David, he opens the heart by his power and grace, and lets himself in; and in this way, and by this means, the Spirit, and his graces, are received; men are called both to grace and glory by the gospel (Gal. 1:6; 2 Thess. 2:14).
>>

The foregoing perhaps rarely, if ever, occurs in a Hardshell ministry where the Gospel is not addressed to the unregenerate, calling upon them to believe and be saved. Hardshells do not believe that God raises the dead, as it were, by the quickening of the Spirit as He uses the Word of God.

 
At Monday, June 19, 2006 10:49:00 AM, Anonymous Bob Chism said...

June 19, 2006

Dear Calvinistflyswatter:

I take note that Mr. Ross is fond of the use of pejorative terms to strengthen his argument. He knows nothing of me or my beliefs other than what I have recently communicated to him. Furthermore, he suggests that I am unwilling to consider Gill’s language elsewhere in his writings. I have no qualms about placing all Gill said on the issue of regeneration side by side for a closer look. I ultimately seek to agree with the teaching of the Bible- not Gill. I will not discount the fact that Gill uses language in places which is supportive of gospel regeneration,. Though in looking at Gill’s belief about regeneration, it seems fairly plain to me that Gill, in his article on Regeneration in his Body, exhibited a belief opposed to gospel regeneration.

Mr. Ross would do well to note the examples Gill mentions in his Body of Divinity on Regeneration which show that Gill believed that a work of God preceded the preaching of the gospel and which is opposed to the idea that the gospel effected the change rather than God’s direct creative work. Gill says,

"...and now as God made no use of any instrument in the first and old creation, so neither does it seem so agreeable that he should use any in the new creation: wherefore this is rather to be understood of the exertion of the principle of grace, and the drawing it forth into act and exercise; which is excited and encouraged by the ministry of the word, by which it appears that a man is born again; so the three thousand first converts, and the jailor, were first regenerated, or had the principle of grace wrought in their souls by the Spirit of God, and then were directed and encouraged by the ministry of the apostles to repent and believe in Christ: whereby it became manifest that they were born again."

If Gill didn't believe that the three thousand and the jailor were "first regenerated" and "then were directed and encouraged by the ministry of the apostles" then why would he say it? Yet, we find Gill doing that very thing. Regardless of what Gill elsewhere says, he mentions at least these two cases here of direct regeneration. I see this as God giving them eyes to see and ears to hear.

I’d like to make a few comments about the quotation from Gill which Mr. Ross used. It comes from the same passage of Gill’s Body as the quote I used above.

"Though after all it seems plain, that the ministry of the word is the vehicle in which the Spirit of God conveys himself and his grace into the hearts of men; which is done when the word comes not in word only, but in power, and in the Holy Ghost; and works effectually, and is the power of God unto salvation; then faith comes by hearing, and ministers are instruments by whom, at least, men are encouraged to believe: 'received ye the Spirit', says the apostle, 'by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith': #Ga 3:2 that is, by the preaching of the law, or by the preaching of the gospel? by the latter, no doubt."

I believe Gill is right that the Word is “the vehicle in which the Spirit conveys himself.” I just don’t believe that Gill is talking about the “infusion of life” here or that would have blatantly contradicted what he had just said. I see this as Gill’s elucidation of the work of the Spirit following the direct regenerative act of God. Gill says that “ministers are instruments by whom, at least, men are encouraged to believe.”

In separate emails to Mr. Ross, I explained my belief that the Parable of the Sower shows that the ground must be identified as and must exhibit the qualities of “good” before the seed (Word) is able to bring forth good , lasting fruit. I read this preparation of the ground as an act of God prior to the preaching of the gospel- even if by milliseconds before the preached word is effectual.

A final note is in order. I emailed Mr. Ross separately and told him that I have never read William Crouse’s book so I could not have “borrowed” from Crouse. I read the expositions of other men, and then draw my own conclusions, as I’m sure that Mr. Ross does. I don’t for a moment believe that Mr. Ross is being misled by the writings of other men. I just think his reading of Gill at the above location is wrong.

I thank you for this forum.

Bob Chism

 
At Monday, June 19, 2006 6:04:00 PM, Anonymous Bob L. Ross said...

GILL CHISELS CONFUSION OUT OF CHISM

In an email to me, Bob Chism accuses John Gill of "recanting" his views. Chismy says --


>>
As for the quote you mention from Gill, it seems that Gill was still struggling with his
recantation of his belief in gospel regeneration
because what he says in his article on regeneration in his Body of Divinity specifically excludes the use of the Word as an instrument.

Thanks,

Bob Chism
>>


In the first place, Chism must think we are terribly naive to swallow his notion that Gill "recanted" what he taught in his Commentary yet never bothered to even so much as mention that "recantation" in his subsequent Body of Divinity. Does Chism really expect us to believe such a distorted idea?

It evidently remained for the 19th century Hardshell William H. Crouse to concoct and inform us that Gill "recanted" -- all without anything from Gill confessing to such an alleged recantation.

Second, the expression "gospel regeneration" is derived from the Hardshells, not John Gill. Gill taught "Spirit regeneration," and the Gospel was the means or instrumentality which was used by the Spirit but the Gospel itself did not do the regenerating. The efficient power in regeneration is the Spirit who accompanies the Gospel, according to Gill.

Wherever Gill refers to regeneration taking place, it is in the context of the preaching of the Gospel with the Spirit applying the power. Here are a few more excerpts which demonstrate Gill's views which are expressed in his "Body of Divinity," the same views expressed in his Commentary:


JOHN GILL AND HIS TEACHINGS ON "MEANS"
IN HIS "BODY OF DIVINITY"


I have recently had some email from a gentleman who tries to put John Gill into the Hardshell camp on the new birth. He admits that Gill taught the normal Baptist creedal view in his Commentary, but he erroneously alleges that Gill later recanted his views, a conclusion supposedly based on what Gill wrote in his Body of Divinity. He offers no evidence of any such recantation, an idea proposed years ago by Hardshell William H. Crouse.

This is an utterly ridiculous idea, and is a device often used by those who are given to "wishful thinking" about some writer whom they are trying to distort. The following brief excerpts from Gill 's Body of Divinity will demonstrate what he taught about the place of the Word, the Gospel, or "means" in the new birth.

I am selecting portions which precisely and specifically emphasize "means" or "instrumentality" in the new birth. Gill taught that the "efficient" power is all of the Spirit, yet he also taught that the Spirit uses "means" when He puts forth His power.

Hardshells admit that John Gill taught this in his Commentary, but they imagine that he changed in his Body of Divinity. These selections indicate that Gill taught the same thing in both his Commentary and in his Body of Divinity:

>>
Regeneration is expressed by being quickened. As there is a quickening time in natural generation; so there is in regeneration; "You hath he quickened" (Eph. 2:1). Previous to regeneration, men are dead while they live; though corporally alive, are morally dead, dead in a moral sense, as to spiritual things, in all the powers and faculties of their souls; they have no more knowledge of them, affection for them, will to them, or power to perform them, than a dead man has with respect to things natural; but in regeneration, a principle of spiritual life is infused; that is a time of life when the Lord SPEAKS life into them, and produces it in them (page 530). [Notice, The Lord "speaks," which Gill says is His Word or Gospel].

Regeneration is signified by "Christ being formed in the heart" (Gal. 4:19), his image is stamped in regeneration; not the image of the first Adam, but of the second Adam; for the new man is after the image of him who has anew created it, which is the image of Christ; to be conformed to which God's elect are predestinated, and which takes place in regeneration (Rom. 8:29; Col. 3:10) (page 531). [Gill taught that Christ dwells in the heart by faith, and that regeneration involves the creation of that faith by the Word or Gospel.].

There are also several terms, or words, by which the grace of regeneration is expressed; as by grace itself; not as that signifies the love and favour of God towards his people, or the blessings of grace bestowed upon them; but internal grace, the work of grace in the heart; and which consists of the various graces of the Spirit implanted there; as FAITH, hope, and love: such as are begotten again, are begotten to a lively hope, and have it, and believe in the Son of God; and love him that begot, and him that is begotten (1 Pet. 1:3; 1 John 5:1) (page 531). [Notice that the "grace of regeneration" is said by Gill to implant "faith, hope, and love" in the recipient].

It is also signified by "seed" (1 John 3:9). "Whosoever is born of God—his seed remaineth in him"; which is the principle of grace infused in regeneration; and as seed contains in it virtually, all that after proceeds from it, the blade, stalk, ear, and full corn in the ear; so the first principle of grace implanted in the heart, seminally CONTAINS ALL THE GRACE which afterwards appears, and all the fruits, effects, acts, and exercises of it.

It is an "implantation" of that grace in the hearts of men which was not there before; FAITH is one part of it, said to be "not of ourselves", but the gift of God; (page 533). [Notice that Gill makes "faith" a "part" of that "grace" implanted in the heart].

Secondly, the efficient cause of regeneration is God only; hence we so often read, "which were born of God", and "whosoever and whatsoever is born of God" (John 1:13; 1 John 3:9; 1 John 5:1, 4), and this is true of God, Father, Son, and Spirit, who have each a concern in regeneration.1. God the Father, who is the Father of Christ; he as such begets men again according to his abundant mercy (1 Pet. 1:3), and as the Father of lights, of his own sovereign will and pleasure, REGENERATES WITH THE WORD OF TRUTH; and as light was one of the first things in the old creation, so in the new creation, or regeneration, light is the first thing sprung in the heart by the Father and fountain of light (James 1:17,18), and as the Father of men by adoption he regenerates; (page 533). [How could anyone mistake Gill's view after reading that the Father "regenerates with the Word of Truth"? Only a "Hardshall mind" could ever be so blind to Gill's teaching.]

God the Son has also a concern in regeneration, and so great a concern, that they who am born again are said to be "born of him", that is, Christ; for no other is spoken of in the context (1 John 2:29), he is the "resurrection and the life"; the author of the spiritual resurrection to a spiritual life, which is no other than regeneration; he quickens whom he will, as the Father does; and it is through his powerful VOICE IN THE GOSPEL, that the DEAD in sin hear and live; (page 533). [This is that truth which the Hardshells try to discredit by referring to it as "gospel regeneration" -- clearly taught here by Gill']

The instrumental cause of regeneration, if it may be so called, are the word of God, and the ministers of it; hence regenerate persons are said to be "born again by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever" (1 Pet. 1:23), and again, "of his own will begat he us with the word of truth" (James 1:18), (page 533).

Ministers of the gospel are not only represented as ministers and instruments by whom others believe, but as spiritual fathers; "though you have ten thousand instructors in Christ", says the apostle to the Corinthians (1 Cor. 4:15), "yet have ye not many fathers, for in Christ Jesus I have begotten you through the gospel"; so he speaks of his son Onesimus, whom he had "begotten in his bonds" (Philemon 1:10) (page 533).

Though after all it seems plain, that the ministry of the word is the vehicle in which the Spirit of God conveys himself and his grace into the hearts of men; which is done when the WORD comes not in word only, but in power, and in the Holy Ghost; and works effectually, and is the power of God unto salvation; then faith comes by hearing, and ministers are instruments by whom, at least, men are encouraged to believe: "received ye the Spirit", says the apostle, "by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith": (Gal. 3:2), that is, by the preaching of the law, or by the preaching of the gospel? by the latter, no doubt (page 534). [This plainly shows that Gill taught that "dead sinners" hear the Word and are begotten to faith by the accompanying power of the Holy Spirit.]

They may, and should be called upon to attend the outward means of grace, and to make use of them; to read the Holy Scriptures, which have been the means of the conversion of some; to hear the word, and wait on the ministry of it, which may be blessed unto them, for the effectual calling of them (page 539).

The instrumental cause, or rather means of the effectual calling, is the ministry of the word. Sometimes, indeed, it is brought about by some remarkable providence, and without the word; but generally it is by it; "Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God". Christ stands in the gospel ministry, at the door of men’s hearts, and knocks and calls; and having the key of the house of David, he opens the heart by his power and grace, and lets himself in; and in this way, and by this means, the Spirit, and his graces, are received; men are called both to grace and glory BY THE GOSPEL (Gal. 1:6; 2 Thess. 2:14) (page 543).

Thirdly, the word and ministers of it are the usual means and instruments of faith in the hand of God, and are used by him; the end of the word being written is, that men "might believe that Jesus is the Christ the Son of God" (John 20:31), and the word preached is, the word of faith; and so called, with other reasons, because faith comes by it (Rom. 10:8,17), this has often been the effect and consequence of hearing the word preached (Acts 17:4; 18:8), and the ministers of it are the instruments by whom and through whose word, doctrine, and ministry, others believe (John 1:17,20; 1 Cor. 3:5), but this is only when it is attended with the power and Spirit of God (1 Cor. 2:4,5) (page 743).

Eternal life and salvation are connected with faith; yea, it is life eternal to know Christ, that is, to believe in him; nay, he that believes in him "has everlasting life" (John 17:3; 6:47), not that faith is the procuring and meritorious cause of it; for "eternal life is the gift of God through Jesus Christ our Lord", and faith looks unto the mercy of Christ for it (Rom. 6:23; Jude 1:21) (page 744).
>>

The Hardshells who really understand Gill, such as Gilbert Beebe, abandoned identity with Gill on the New Birth. The paragons of the idea that the Truth has no relation to the work of the Holy Spirit in the New Birth have all generally disowned Dr. Gill. In my own book store, two notable Hardshell preachers of their time, Elders Cook and Keaton, told me that they did not share Dr. Gill's views on the relation of the Truth and the work of the Spirit in the New Birth. They said they could only "go with him so far with Gill."

BEEBE was one of the "fathers" of the anti-means Hardshell split from Baptists in 1832, and he wrote articles disavowing John Gill (Editorials, Vol. 1, page 230, 231). While the Hardshells find the "use" of Gill of great practicality when confuting outright "Arminians" on a subject like election, they back-off of Gill when the matter of the relation of the Truth to the Work of the Spirit is at issue. On this matter, Gilbert Beebe and other Hardshells completely disavow the views of Gill, and opt for their theory of "direct voice regeneration," misusing John 5:25 as the "prooftext" (Beebe, Editorials, Vol. 1, pages 99, 383, 699; Vol. 2, pages 9, 673, 677-78; Vol. 4, page 21).

 
At Monday, June 19, 2006 8:47:00 PM, Anonymous Bob L. Ross said...

MORE COMMENTS FROM JOHN GILL ON THE RELATION
OF THE GOSPEL IN THE NEW BIRTH


The following are a few more comments from John Gill's Body of Divinity which demonstrate that Gill taught the same doctrine in this work as he taught in his massive Commentary.

These remarks further refute the ridiculous idea that Gill "recanted" his views in his Commentary, as alleged by some Hardshells who repudiate what they call "gospel regeneration."

>>
Thirdly, The effects of the gospel when attended with the power and Spirit of God. 1. The regeneration of men, who are said to be born again by the word of God, and to be begotten again with the word of truth (1 Pet. 1:23; Jam. 1:18), hence ministers of the gospel are represented as spiritual fathers (1 Cor. 4:15).

2. As in regeneration souls are quickened by the Spirit and grace of God, this is ascribed to the gospel as an instrument, hence it is called the Spirit which giveth life, and said to be the savior of life unto life (2 Cor. 2:16; 3:6).

3. The gospel is frequently spoken of as a light, a great light, a glorious light; and so is in the hands of the Spirit a means of enlightening the dark minds of men into the mysteries of grace, and the method of salvation; "the entrance of thy word giveth light, it giveth understanding unto the simple" (Ps 119:130). The Spirit of God gives the gospel an entrance into the heart, being opened by him to attend unto it; and when it has an entrance, it gives light into a man’s self, his state and condition, and into the way of life by Christ; it is a glass in which the glory of Christ, and of the riches of his grace, may be seen.

4. By it faith in Christ comes, and is ingenerated in the heart by the Spirit of God attending it; hence among other reasons, it is called "the word of faith;" and ministers, by preaching it, are instruments of confirming and increasing faith, and of perfecting what is lacking in it (Rom. 10:8,17; 1 Thess. 3:10)(pages 374, 375).

. . . .all this must be understood of the gospel, not as producing these effects of itself, but as it comes, not in word only, but with the power and in the demonstration of the Spirit; when it is sent forth out of Zion as the rod of God’s strength, and it becomes the power of God unto salvation (1 Thess. 1:5,8; Ps. 110:2; Rom. 1:16) (page 375).

. . .  it is a blessing of the covenant of grace, which flows from electing love, is a gift of God’s free grace, the operation of the Spirit of God, comes by the hearing of faith, or the word of faith, as a means, that is, the gospel; for which reason, among others, the gospel is so called; and it is that which points out Christ, the object of faith; and directs and encourages sensible sinners under a divine influence to exercise it on him; its language is, "believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved" (Acts 16:31) (page 376).
>>

MY COMMENTS:

The Hardshell who accused Gill of "recantation" has written to me again, but he offers no statement of a "recantation" from John Gill. He admits that such an idea is his own conclusion, and not something that Gill stated. He says --

>>
My conclusions are mine.  You don't have to agree, but you can't reasonably accuse me of being unethical for anything I've said. I disagree with you, but don't believe you are being unethical in your reading.

As for my belief that Gill recanted, I can only say that it seems reasonable to me when this statement on the instrumentality of regeneration is compared with some of Gill's earlier writing in his Commentary in which he took a pro gospel regeneration position.
>>

I replied as follows:

This is a false assertion.

I referred to you "using your mind" to concoct something which John Gill never expressed -- that he recanted.

I still say it is likely that you borrowed such an idea from the Hardshells, with whom it seems to have arisen. I have never seen such an idea attributed to Gill except by the Hardshells, who are in the habit of perverting Gill, not to mention our Baptist Confessions of Faith. -- Bob L. Ross
 
It is not at all surprising to me that one who can read the Bible and allegedly find Hardshellism taught therein could also somehow manage to find whatever he wishes to find in John Gill.

But the fact remains, Gill never taught what the writer calls "gospel regeneration" in either his Commentary nor his Body of Divinity. In both sources he taught that all the regenerating power is of the Spirit, and that this power is exerted in conjunction with the Word or Gospel. In the sense of the power in the new birth, Gill "excluded" the Gospel as the "efficient cause," but Gill did not exclude the Gospel as the "means" used by the Spirit when He produced the new birth. He did not teach that Gospel, as such, regenerates, but that the Spirit regenerates in conjunction with the Word or Gospel.

 
At Monday, June 19, 2006 11:59:00 PM, Anonymous Bob L. Ross said...

GILL ON HOW GOD "SPEAKS LIFE"

Bob to Charles:

In John Gill's Body of Divinity, he says "in regeneration, a principle of spiritual life is infused; that is a time of life when the Lord SPEAKS life into them, and produces it in them (page 530).

Also, he says "it is through his powerful VOICE IN THE GOSPEL, that the DEAD in sin hear and live; (page 533).

This is the same view Gill presents in his Commentary on John 5:25, and shows how the Lord "speaks life" to the dead sinner:

>>
So then by the "dead" are meant such who are dead in trespasses and sins; who are separated from God, alienated from the life of God, and in whom the image of God is defaced; who are dead in all the powers and faculties of their souls, to that which is spiritually good; and are without spiritual breath, sense, feeling, and motion. And by "the voice" of Christ is intended his GOSPEL, which is a voice of love, grace, and mercy, of life and liberty, of peace, pardon, righteousness, and salvation by him; and which being attended with his power, is the MEANS of quickening dead sinners; who may be said to hear it, when it comes not in word only, but in power, and works effectually in them; and is spirit and life, and the power of God unto salvation to them; when they receive it, understand, believe, and obey it: and such persons "shall live"; comfortably, pleasantly, and delightfully, a life of faith on Christ, a life of communion with him, and shall live eternally with him hereafter (Commentary on John 5:25).
>>

Since Gill in his Body of Divinity says the Lord "speaks life" to the "dead," this is perfectly consistent with his comments on John 5:25 where he says that "dead" sinners hear the "voice of Christ" which is the Gospel.

Is it any wonder that Hardshells who understand Gill repudiate him?

 
At Tuesday, June 20, 2006 9:07:00 AM, Anonymous Bob Chism said...

June 20, 2006

Dear Calvinistflyswatter,

I have privately exchanged several emails with Mr. Ross on his position regarding John Gill‘s views of regeneration. In one of them, I had written the following portion I reproduce below. Mr. Ross has not yet responded to the arguments I presented, and, in fact, he has said that he will not respond to anymore of my emails. In fairness to your readers, I ask that you post them. If my reading of Gill is wrong, it won’t be the first time I’ve misread something. I understand that Gill many times uses language that can only be read as supportive of a position that the gospel is an instrumental cause of regeneration, but we still have to deal with the full passage below that contains language that seems to contradict that view. In my email to Mr. Ross, I wrote,

“As for my belief that Gill recanted, I can only say that it seems reasonable to me when this statement on the instrumentality of regeneration is compared with some of Gill's earlier writing in his Commentary in which he took a pro gospel regeneration position. For the sake of completeness, I will reproduce the entire section of his article on the instrumentality of regeneration from his Body of Divinity and use bold print for those sections that show that Gill did not believe the preached gospel directly caused regeneration. The passage from Gill reads as follows. I have placed in bold print the words I believe show that Gill was speaking against gospel regeneration. Gill said,

‘Fourthly, The instrumental cause of regeneration, if it may be so called, are the word of God, and the ministers of it; hence regenerate persons are said to be “born again by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever” (1 Pet. 1:23), and again, “of his own will begat he us with the word of truth” (James 1:18), unless by the Word in these passages should be meant the Eternal Logos, or essential Word of God, Christ Jesus, since λογος is used in both places; though ministers of the gospel are not only represented as ministers and instruments by whom others believe, but as spiritual fathers; “though you have ten thousand instructors in Christ”, says the apostle to the Corinthians (1 Cor. 4:15), “yet have ye not many fathers, for in Christ Jesus I have begotten you through the gospel”; so he speaks of his son Onesimus, whom he had “begotten in his bonds” (Philemon 1:10) yet this instrumentality of the word in regeneration seems not so agreeable to the principle of grace implanted in the soul in regeneration, and to be understood with respect to that; since that is done by immediate infusion, and is represented as a creation; and now as God made no use of any instrument in the first and old creation, so neither does it seem so agreeable that he should use any in the new creation: wherefore this is rather to be understood of the exertion of the principle of grace, and the drawing it forth into act and exercise; which is excited and encouraged by the ministry of the word, by which it appears that a man is born again; so the three thousand first converts, and the jailor, were first regenerated, or had the principle of grace wrought in their souls by the Spirit of God, and then were directed and encouraged by the ministry of the apostles to repent and believe in Christ: whereby it became manifest that they were born again. Though after all it seems plain, that the ministry of the word is the vehicle in which the Spirit of God conveys himself and his grace into the hearts of men; which is done when the word comes not in word only, but in power, and in the Holy Ghost; and works effectually, and is the power of God unto salvation; then faith comes by hearing, and ministers are instruments by whom, at least, men are encouraged to believe: “received ye the Spirit”, says the apostle, “by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith”: (Gal. 3:2), that is, by the preaching of the law, or by the preaching of the gospel? by the latter, no doubt.’

If you believe this passage is teaching gospel regeneration, I would like an explanation of what you believe Mr. Gill is saying when he
1. specifically says that the instrumentality of regeneration is not by the Word.
2. specifically says that regeneration is done by "immediate infusion".
3. specifically says that regeneration is a "creation" accomplished without an instrument.
4. specifically identifies the "ministry of the word" as the exciter and encourager of the principle of grace wrought in the soul by the Spirit.
5. specifically says, "the three thousand first converts, and the jailor, were first regenerated, or had the principle of grace wrought in their souls by the Spirit of God, and then were directed and encouraged by the ministry of the apostles to repent and believe in Christ: whereby it became manifest that they were born again."

I understand that Gill continued after the portion I highlighted, but the words "Though after all" don't suggest that he is discounting what he had just written. I believe that he was explaining what the preached word accomplished- an encouragement to believe.
Please inform me what you believe about the highlighted portion. I know what you believe about the other words. I don't think that I have to tell someone like you who is well acquainted with Gill's writing that Gill used extremely complex and convoluted sentences which have to be deciphered. I'm doing my best as I'm sure that you are. It would be nice if you included your explanation of the five points I shown from Gill's words in the article you are writing.

Even though we disagree, I want to thank you for taking time with this discussion we are having.

In sincere search for the truth,
Bob Chism’

Calvinistflyswatter, maybe one of your other readers have something to say in response.

Thanks,

Bob Chism

 
At Tuesday, June 20, 2006 2:53:00 PM, Anonymous Bob L. Ross said...

CHISM CHICANERY

Bob to Charles:

In regard to Hardshell Bob Chism, I have a limit, Charles, to my patience with those who make charges but fail to give credible evidence for their allegations. Therefore, I told Bob Chism that I would no longer respond to him, since he persists in demonstrating irresponsibility with respect to his unjustified allegations about John Gill.

(1) What Chism calls "gospel regeneration" was NEVER taught by Gill. This is Hardshell nomenclature, or terminology, used within the Hardshell cult in their distorting of and misrepresenting the Creedal Baptist view in the 1689 London Confession on Effectual Calling. The Confession teaches effectual calling is by both the Word and the Spirit -- a view which is rejected and denounced by Hardshells and referred to disparagingly as "gospel regeneration."

John Gill taught the Creedal view, that regeneration is by the Holy Spirit as the efficient power, accompanied by the Word or Gospel. That is not "gospel regeneration," but Spirit regeneration. It is simply traditional Hardshellism to misrepresent it by saying we teach that the gospel itself regenerates.

Chism has offered no proof whatsoever that Gill ever used the expression, "gospel regeneration," much less offering any proof that Gill taught that the gospel itself regenerated anyone.

(2) Chism has obvioiusly been influenced by other Hardshell sources who concocted the allegation that John Gill "recanted" his position, but NEVER BOTHERED TO TELL ANYONE! Can you imagine a man of John Gill's stature recanting his view on the new birth, but never bothering to tell anyone, leaving it to the Hardshells years later to "discover" this supposed "recantation"?

Chism wants us to believe that such a "recantation" idea was hatched in his own mind, which apparently simply means that he does not want to acknowledge where he really got it. I never met a Hardshell yet who had an "original" thought, and Chism does not appear to be an exception.

The idea that Gill "recanted" is a distortion which had its orgin among Hardshells, supposedly based on their "interpretation" of Gill's writings. If you think they are delusionary on their interpretation of Gill, you ought to read some of their phantasmagorical "interpretations" of the Bible itself! They are rivaled only by the Campbellites in perverting Scripture.

I have allowed Gill to speak for himself in regard to how the Lord "speaks life" to dead sinners, and Gill says that Christ's "voice" in doing this is "the Gospel."

How, or in what manner, Chism imagines spiritual life is imparted by the Spirit is yet to be revealed. If he can tell us, he will have done what no Hardshell has been able to do at this point in time.

The Hardshells have been working on this since at least 1832, and they have yet to come up with a satisfactory explanation. I've read several "testimonies" in their periodicals which put a great empasis upon "dreams" and other emotional "feelings" of various sorts by which these Hardshells say they get some "comfort" that they may be saved, but nothing seems to be reliable or satisfying to these people. They still remain in doubt. An assurance of salvation among the Hardshells is about as "scarce as hen's teeth."

 
At Tuesday, June 20, 2006 3:02:00 PM, Anonymous Bob L. Ross said...

GILL REFERENCES CHARNOCK

Bob to Charles:

Further evidence of John Gill's view on the new birth, Charles, is the fact that he references to Stephen Charnock (Body of Divinity, page 545).

Charnock's work is available at --

A Discourse of the Word, the Instrument of Regeneration
http://www.ccel.org/
c/charnock/instr_regen/
instr_regen.html

 
At Tuesday, June 20, 2006 4:48:00 PM, Blogger Charles said...

TO BROTHER BOB CHISM:
Please take off blog any further discussion on the subject of John Gill. Time constraints prevent me from reading it all and I think all has been said that needs to be said.

TO BROTHER BOB ROSS:
You wrote, Can you imagine a man of John Gill's stature recanting his view on the new birth, but never bothering to tell anyone, leaving it to the Hardshells years later to "discover" this supposed "recantation"?

That's almost as bad as believing that the "real" gospel was found years later in the Da Vinci code!

 
At Tuesday, June 20, 2006 7:00:00 PM, Anonymous Bob Chism said...

June 20, 2006 (5:50 P.M.)

Mr. Calvinistflyswatter,

I won't post anything to your blog again, but I'd like to part with this.
It seems that you and Mr. Ross put on a good show of trying to be serious students of the Bible, but when the going gets rough, you leave. Have it your way, sir. This is after all your blog.

Mr. Ross still hasn't explained what Gill meant in his Body of Divinity. I suspect he never will.

By the way, Gill did tell us that he changed his mind. Compare his comments in his Commentary concerning regeneration, and his comments on the instrumentality of regeneration in his Body of Divinity. That is all I need offer. He told us.

Thanks again, and I will not post again on your blog. The Lord be with you.

Bob Chism

 
At Tuesday, June 20, 2006 8:51:00 PM, Blogger Charles said...

Bob Chism, Hello!

You're welcome to post again. I just feel that after posting over 2,300 words on The Calvinist Flyswatter, you have had ample opportunity to make your point about John Gill by now.

In addition to what you have posted here you also have argued your point with Brother Bob Ross via email.

Enough is enough. Let it go and let's move on.

Charles

 
At Tuesday, June 20, 2006 10:16:00 PM, Anonymous Bob L. Ross said...

CHISM PUT FOOT IN MOUTH
Bob Chism said...


By the way, Gill did tell us that he changed his mind. Compare his comments in his Commentary concerning regeneration, and his comments on the instrumentality of regeneration in his Body of Divinity. That is all I need offer. He told us.

After utterly failing to show that Gill ever taught (1) "gospel regeneration," and (2) that Gill "recanted," Chism finally ventured a vain "explanation" in a recent email to me.

Since he failed to come up with any recanting by Gill, Chism used his own crafty ingenuity to manufacture a
"recantation" on Gill's behalf, and he says (above)"That is all I need to offer."

In other words, Charles, CHISM ADMITS HE HAS NOTHING ELSE TO OFFER FROM JOHN GILL ABOUT A RECANTATION!

The entire fantasy was brewed in Chiam's own cooker.

But it has BACKFIRED on him. He is burned by his own brew. Here is what he said in an email, in lieu of his failure to find in John Gill anything about any "recanting:"

"When a later statement is inconsistent with or contradictory to an earlier statement, that is a recantation."

That "cooks his goose," Charles. His feathers are plucked.

Here is my comment to Chism:

If this is the case, then you have a problem, for Gill, based on your idea, immediately "recanted" what you allege constitutes a "recantation."

Furthermore, he reiterates that same "recantation" in subsequent chapters in his Body of Divinity.

Here is Gill's "recantation" of the alleged "recantation:"

>>
THOUGH AFTER ALL it seems plain, that the ministry of the word is the VEHICLE in which the Spirit of God conveys himself and his grace into the hearts of men; which is done when the WORD comes not in word only, but in power, and in the Holy Ghost; and works effectually, and is the power of God unto salvation; then faith comes by hearing, and ministers are instruments by whom, at least, men are encouraged to believe: "received ye the Spirit", says the apostle, "by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith": (Gal. 3:2), that is, by the preaching of the law, or by the preaching of the gospel? by the latter, no doubt (page 534).
>>

After all, it seems plain, that if Gill "recanted" in the words cited by Chism, then Gill IMMEDIATELY recanted the alleged "recantation," according to Chism's very own cococted definition of a "recantation."

It is nice when a fellow puts his foot into his mouth to the extent that he refutes himself by his own chicanery!

 

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