The second sesson of the True Church Conference 2010 “The Quagmire of Hyper-Calvinism” was led by Dr. Michael Haykin.
The text Dr. Haykin used was Titus 3:1-8. Dr. Haykin began with the story of William Carey. The question in Carey’s mind was if the great commission was binding to all ministers to the end of time? Was baptism for believers only? Was it our job to make disciples today? He was called an “enthusiast” for asking these questions. Translate that as the word “fanatic” today. Carey’s colleagues and superiors ridiculed him for thinking he could preach to those in foreign nations. And yet Carey did just this. Carey had his friends, Carey had his supports (John Rylands, Jr.), and Carey had his detractors.
Dr. Haykin moved into a discussion of John Gill and his views of the matter of spreading the gospel. Some time was spent going over the biography of John Gill and also discussing the state of the church (Anglican and Baptist) during Gill’s time. Then Haykin began his discussion of Gill’s positions that have lead to claims of him being a hyper-Calvinist. Gill was a defender of the five points of Calvinism.
There were three points to this presentation.
1. The everlasting counsel (or Covenant of Peace) among the Trinity to save sinners
Gill had a problem with previous theologians because they had the eternal counsel only between the Father and Son. Gill argued that the Holy Spirit was just as involved. Because it is the Spirit who performs the work of regeneration. Without including the Spirit, it is possible to claim that man has something to do with his own salvation. Gill also saw this as important because there were people who wanted to deny the existence of the Trinity.
2. God’s justification before the foundation of the earth
Justification comes from eternity past. Faith of the person does not have any impact on a person’s justification. This would say that a person who is not saved but will be saved is already justified and not under the wrath of God. Gill did not separate election from justification. This would lead to claims that Gill was an antinomian. Therefore, the question for Gill was “Am I among the elect?” This leads to introspection and not focus on evangelism. The Second London Confession rejects eternal justification.
3. The free offer of the gospel
Gill rejected the idea of the free universal offer of the gospel to all men. How did the ideas of John Gill affect the church in his day? Gill is responding to the ideas of the Enlightenment and the moralism of the Anglican church. The ejection of the Puritans from the Church of England 1662 resulted in the loss of the gospel in the Anglican Church. England needed revival, but revival did not come from the Baptists. Revival eventually came from the Church of England, through the evangelistic efforts of the Methodists (Whitefield, Howell Harris). The Baptists were in their warm meeting houses while Whitefield was in the fields preaching to the multitudes. Baptist churches were stagnant while the revival in England flourished.