Author:

Jared Smith

Jared Smith was born in Wimbledon, London and became a Christian when he was eight years old. He has been the pastor of Bethesda Baptist Church, Kensington Place, since 1999. The church was established in 1866 by baptized believers who subscribed to Restricted Communion and Particular Redemption. These founding doctrines remain core values of the church, as does the Authorised Version and pastoral oversight. Jared seeks to promote these values among churches today.

Website: www.expoundit.com

John Piper subscribes to the view that the atonement of Christ is sufficient in its worth to save the non-elect, but efficient in its application to save only those who believe. This gobbledygook is derived from the teachings of Andrew Fuller, who sought to retain the free offer of the gospel, while subscribing to the doctrine of Particular Redemption. To that end, Fuller argued that the atonement of Christ is universal in its value, capable of covering the sins of the entire human race (elect and non-elect). He also maintained that the atonement is particular in its application, covering only the sins of those who savingly believe on Christ. In this way, Fuller could sincerely offer the gospel to the non-elect, for he believed the atonement of Christ was hypothetically sufficient for them. Piper underscores this teaching:

“On the extent of the atonement, Fuller found himself again defending the Scripture against High Calvinists and Arminians who both thought that “particular redemption” made the free offer of the gospel to all illogical. His position is that the death of Christ is not to be conceived of “commercially” in the sense that it purchased effectually a limited number such that if more believed they could not be atoned for. On the other hand, if the atonement of Christ proceed not on the principle of commercial, but of moral justice, or justice as it relates to crime — if its grand object were to express the divine displeasure against sin (Romans 8:3) and so to render the exercise of mercy, in all the ways wherein sovereign wisdom should determine to apply it, consistent with righteousness (Romans 3:25) — if it be in itself equal to the salvation of the whole world, were the whole world to embrace it—and if the peculiarity which attends it consists not in its insufficiency to save more than are saved, but in the sovereignty of its application—no such inconsistency can justly be ascribed to it (Works, Vol., II, pp. 373–374 Emphasis added).”

“In other words, the limitation of the atonement lies not in the sufficiency of its worth to save all the sinners in the world, but in the design of God to apply that infinite sufficiency to those whom he chooses.”

First, The Free Offer Of The Gospel.

It should be pointed out, that while Fullerites believe the gospel should be freely offered, yet they do not offer it freely. They offer it on condition that the sinner savingly believe and repent. This is to impose a tax on the gospel, making faith and repentance the duty of unregenerate sinners. A duty-faith and duty-repentance gospel cannot be offered freely, because it is not a free gospel that is offered.

It should also be pointed out, there is a difference between freely offering the gospel and freely preaching the gospel. The scriptures speak about…

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In an effort to ‘prove’ the killing effects of High-calvinism, John Piper directs attention to the decline of the Particular Baptist churches between 1718 and 1760:

“Fuller, who only knew High Calvinism in his early ministry, said in 1774, “I . . . durst not, for some years, address an invitation to the unconverted to come to Jesus” (Quoted from John Ryland’s biography in Ibid., p. 103.). He went on to say, “I conceive there is scarcely a minister amongst us whose preaching has not been more or less influenced by the lethargic systems of the age” (Works, Vol., II, p. 387.). The price had been huge: in the forty years after 1718; the Particular Baptists declined from 220 congregations to 150 (Morden Offering Christ, p. 8.).”

If this decline was the result of the killing effects of High-calvinism, then why were there more than 500 High-calvinist Baptist churches in England at the turn of the 20th century? Kenneth Dix, in his book, “Strict and…

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John Piper points out:

“One of Fuller’s critics, John Martin, Pastor at Grafton Street, Westminster wrote, “Sinners in my opinion, are more frequently converted, and believers more commonly edified, by a narrative of facts concerning Jesus Christ, and by a clear, connected statement of the doctrines of grace, and blessings of the gospel, than by all the expectations and expostulations that were ever invented. (Quoted in Morden, Offering Christ, p. 57.) But in fact, the Hyper-Calvinists were not passionately telling the narrative of the gospel story to the lost and were opposed to the new mission to India. Peter Morden points out that “The prevalence of high Calvinism had led not only to a refusal to ‘offer Christ’ but also to a general suspicion of all human ‘means’, such as ministerial training and associating” (Morden, Offering Christ, p. 45). The effect of this rationalistic distortion of the biblical Calvinism was that the churches were lifeless and the denomination of the Particular Baptists was dying.”

Baptist historian Kenneth Dix would disagree with this characterization of High-Calvinism and the Particular Baptists. In an article entitled, “Varieties Of High-Calvinism Among Nineteenth Century Particular Baptists”, Dix wrote:

“The nineteenth-century Strict Baptists believed the distinctive doctrines they held so firmly were rooted in scripture. They were also fully persuaded that in the stand they were making for restricted communion, and against free offer/duty faith teaching, they were doing the will of God. They were convinced that high-Calvinism was Biblical truth. The assumption is commonly made that high-Calvinism destroys or stifles all efforts to promote missionary or evangelistic endeavour. In the case of the Strict Baptists in…”

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John Piper asserts:

“Fuller himself certainly saw Gill as a High Calvinist responsible for much of the evangelistic deadness among his fellow Particular Baptists.”

There is an article written by George Ella called, “Exaggerated Claims Concerning Andrew Fuller And False Information Regarding ‘High-Calvinists’”. Ella points out:

“1795-1835 was a time of widespread revival with Anglican Robert Hawker preaching to thousands, Independent William Huntington equalled his efforts and Baptist William Gadsby founding 45-50 churches filled with new converts. The Particular Baptists were not inactive in this time but…

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Speaking of John Wesley and George Whitefield, John Piper points out:

“The Particular Baptists did not like either of these evangelical leaders. Wesley was not a Calvinist, and Whitefield’s Calvinism was suspect, to say the least, because of the kind of evangelistic preaching he did. The Particular Baptists spoke derisively of Whitefield’s ‘Arminian dialect’.”

One of the leading figures among the Particular Baptists was Pastor-Theologian John Gill. The teachings of Gill are representative of the High-Calvinism to which Piper refers. In George Ella’s book, “John Gill, And The Cause Of God And Truth”, he makes the following observation on page 184:

“It is very difficult to conceive that anyone familiar with the ministry of John Gill could accuse him of being without vigour in preaching the gospel to sinful man. Thomas Wright called Gill ‘the profoundest preacher’, claiming that ‘Dr Gill’s voice rose clear and distinct above the…

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