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Spurgeon Commenting on the Hypercalvinism of John Gill

January 21, 2009

Turretinfan, in his zeal, has once again made the allegation that Gill was not a hypercalvinist. He once again implies that others are just making this up.

Well, the thing is, it’s not the case that we just made up this accusation.


For good, sound, massive, sober sense in commenting, who can excel Gill? Very seldom does he allow himself to be run away with by imagination, except now and then when he tries to open up a parable, and finds a meaning in every circumstances and minute detail; or when he falls upong a text which is not congenial with his creed, and hacks and hews terribly to bring the word of God into a more systematic shape. Gill is the Coryphaeus of hyper-Calvinism, but if his followers never went beyond their master, they would not go very far astray.

Spurgeon, Commenting on Commentaries, p., 9.

Seth has posted some of this over at his blog. Here now is the whole comment.

There are other scholars, such as Peter Toon who have long before now made this same claim. For example, see his entry on Hypercalvinism in The New Dictionary of Theology. You can also see his work online: The Emergence of Hyper-Calvinism in English Nonconformity. There are plenty of tracts and works on this, some dating to the 19thC. Even the PRC consider Gill hypercalvinist, because of his denial of duty-faith. Gill said no sinner is called to directly trust on Christ for his salvation. Rather, he can only be called to a natural and external repentance.  You can see some of my earlier posts on Gill here and here and here.

I have to say, someone who admits to not having read Curt Daniels’ thesis on Gill really should learn to keep quiet. Me thinks she protests too much. :-)


4 Comments leave one →
  1. January 21, 2009 5:12 pm

    hmmm another name for hyper-calvinism is Gillism.

  2. Flynn permalink*
    January 21, 2009 10:39 pm

    Hey there,

    Gill is one trajectory of hypercalvinism. Another is that of Herman Hoeksema. And here we have an interesting of connections: Hoeksema influenced Gordon Clark, who influenced John Gerstner. John Robbins is Clark’s successor. Robert Reymond was a student of Clark. Places on the WWW like the Predestination Network and the Puritanboard have all been influenced by Clark’s writings.

    Clark introduced hypercalvinism into modern American Presbyterian circles. In Reformed Baptist circles, a fusion has happened. With the reprinting of Gill’s works, along with some of Pinks early works, with the influence of Clark and Hoeksema, hypercalvinism has been reseeding itself in those circles. For these reasons, the Banner of Truth Trust, has worked hard to respond to this resurgent hypercalvinism. Both Erroll Hulse and Iain Murray have tried to confront it head on.

    Alas, its still on the rise.


  3. January 22, 2009 7:49 am

    From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
    Jump to: navigation, search

    Coryphaeus, or Koryphaios (Greek ????????? koryphaîos, from ?????? koryph??, the top of the head), in Attic drama, the leader of the chorus. Hence the term (sometimes in an Anglicized form “coryphe”) is used for the chief or leader of any company or movement. The coryphaeus spoke for all the rest, whenever the chorus took part in the action, in quality of a person of the drama, during the course of the acts.

    The term has passed into a general name for the chief or principal of any company, corporation, sect, opinion, etc. Thus, Eustathius of Antioch is called the coryphaeus of the First Council of Nicaea; and Cicero calls Zeno the coryphaeus of the Stoics.

    The Apostle Peter is often entitled Coryphaeus in Christian iconography.

    In 1856 in the university of Oxford there was founded the office of Coryphaeus or Praecentor, whose duty it was to lead the musical performances directed by the Choragus. The office ceased to exist in 1899.

    Josef Stalin was also specifically referred to as Coryphaeus during the time of the Personality Cult in the USSR.

  4. Robert permalink
    February 18, 2009 11:03 am

    The problem with the idea of “duty-faith” is that the advocates of this theology charge God with requiring something of men which He has clearly not given to all men for Paul says “all men have not faith.” If all men are to believe in Jesus Christ then why does this same Jesus state in John 10:26, “But ye believe not, because ye are not of my sheep?” Notice the cause and effect here. These did not believe because there were not the Lord’s sheep. Now, if those that advocate the necessity of belief in order to become a sheep are correct, then the wording would be reversed, but that is not the case. For God to require something of every man in existence without exception and then not give to some the ability to believe seems inconsistent to me. Call it “Hyper-Calvinism” if you wish, I’ll simply call it what the bible teaches.

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