Part One: David Gay’s ‘Principles’ as displayed in his book Eternal Justification

(I cannot comment line for line on this scandalous work as I would then have to write double the amount that Gay writes and quote much unedifying waffle. I thus comment in brief on Gay’s ‘Principles’ and shall follow up with further essays.)

Eternal justification netted

     Yesterday, I came across a freebie in the Internet entitled Eternal Justification. As I have long wondered what that phrase could mean and have never been convinced by various expositions of what it signifies, I downloaded the essay and discovered it was by David Gay and dated 2010. Now Brother Gay is to be commended for putting his books and essays online free of charge instead of withholding from the public material which they would probably not encounter should they have to meet publishers’ costs and profits and authors’ royalties.

     After scrolling down several blank pages from the title Eternal Justification, a subtitle appeared as Gospel Preaching to Sinners Marred by Hyper-Calvinism so this gave me some indication of what to expect. As David Gay has changed what he calls his ‘position’ radically and often in the last few decades, I wondered whether this essay was written whilst Gay was in his Banner of Truth stage or in his NCT stage or when he was setting all his hope on a Secret Rapture and other eschatological adventures all of which has taken his gaze from the Scriptures. In spite of his title and subtitle, I found it impossible to discern what Gay’s fictive view of justification really is and what gospel Gay has for sinners. The Hyper-Calvinism he depicts I have never encountered though David Gay has called me a Hyper-Calvinist long enough.

     On reading Gay’s provocative work one quickly realizes that it is not so much his title which intrigues him, whatever it may mean, but it is the chance he sees, under yet another ill-described heading to continue his decade-long vendetta against John Gill who was one of the greatest masters of theology since the 16th century and has not been bettered since he received his Heavenly laurels in 1771. Gay seems to be as unaware of what John Gill preached and taught as he was decades ago. Indeed, he has wrapped himself up in false accusations glued together by false doctrine to such an extent that he cannot escape from his own cocoon.

     I believe David Gay is a member of the Baptist body, although his Baptist teaching is most unorthodox. But can this man who has great difficulty with Latin, even greater difficulty with Greek and seems to be quite outside the fold of Hebrew scholars dare to defy his greater and better as a Bible exegete? He appears to be too busy ‘correcting’ his brethren in Christ to understand what they are talking about! Gay reminds me of the poor talking donkey in Narnia who was forced to wear a dead lion’s skin and be announced as Aslan himself! The donkey had a good heart as Aslan recognized but his trouble was that he gave in to stronger negative forces.

Elected and justified from eternity in time

     My readers will know Gill’s position which is certainly not Gay’s mock-up attempt to understand it. Gill usually called this Justification from Eternity against the opposition of critics who held and still hold to Justification in Eternity (vide Gay’s position as described in Eternal Justification). This would appear to be a trifling difference but ‘from Eternity’ to me means God’s permanent action in time from Eternity from whence he is always justifying His elect whereas the ‘in Eternity’ teaching of Gay leaves the sinner in time out of the activation process of God in eternity. This is because Gay speaks of a ‘past eternity’ which is at best nonsense and at its worst Deistic. Eternity has no past, present or future. It is never-time bound but always everlasting. Gay is in error here as Christ has been at work since creation began reconciling the world to Himself. There is no reconciliation without justification. I could not recall Gill ever using the meaningless phrase ‘eternity past’ so I passed all Gill’s digitalized works (a massive amount) through my checker. I still found none. I did a search through Gay’s comparatively small book and found over 30 references to ‘eternity past’ allegedly in Gill’s works which were merely the product of Gay’s fantasy. He finds that ‘all is fair in love and war’. Gay has no love for Gill but is hard at war with his righteous view of justification.

     So, too, I would object to the idea of election being made solely ‘in eternity’. Surely Gill’s point is that we are elected from eternity in time through the vicarious death and resurrection of Christ in time. I have always disagreed with the so-called Calvinistic idea of an election which separates God’s acts in eternity from their activation in time. This is not how eternity and time work from the Bible’s point of view. The bulk of Reformers, especially Bullinger, show that election in a ‘past eternity’ is an incorrect view as we are elected in Christ who died for us in time when eternity impinged on time in both senses of the phrase.

As Gay rejects the Covenant of Grace in both Testaments, he rejects God’s teaching on justification and election

     Sadly, however, Gay does not believe in Christ’s harvesting a people for Himself within the Covenant of Grace in the Old Testament. Indeed, Gay believes that the Old Testament only knew a Law Covenant. God’s revelations to Job, Abraham, David and the prophets were all merely on a law basis. As we shall see, Brother Gay is still law-bound today.

Gay and Hyper-Calvinism

     So now, under his camouflage cape of Eternal Justification, whatever he means by the term, Gay is merely striving, once again to re-create a mock Gill as a Hyper-Calvinist, though what he means by that term is difficult to gather from his arguments. However, given the normal interpretation of Hyper-Calvinism on the topic of election and justification, Gay is a Hyper-Calvinist himself and an Antinomian to boot because he rejects both the Biblical doctrines of election and justification as also the legal purpose of the Law and its function within the Covenant of Grace as God’s agent of grace. Indeed, now he denies the pan-Biblical Covenant of Grace all together!

     So my readers will understand my interest in hearing what Gay had to say about Eternal Justification in relation to Hyper-Calvinism, especially as both terms are overworked and over-loaded these days and seem to mean radically different things to different schools of thought. I have never thought myself drawn to any of them, although Gay, since his time with the Banner of Truth men, has always declared that I was riddled with such nonsense. Indeed Gay has published two collections of fake-news and ‘alternative’ facts against me and gives me a hefty bashing in the work now under consideration. I once called his imaginative fantasy ‘Science Fiction’. This was wrong. There is no science, academic acumen or theological proficiency in his utterances so all that is left is fiction.

Gay’s Glossary

     Gay starts off his work with a glossary of terms as he uses them. They are all somewhat off the mark. I do not agree with his first definition of ‘duty faith’ because it does not deal with the dutiful exercise of faith after reception. One can only dutifully use what one has been given in matters of faith. This has nothing to do with one’s responsibilities as a sinner under condemnation. It is the law that condemns not faith-giving grace.

     I cannot accept his second definition of a free offer as it is obviously not Gay’s position. He limits the ‘offer’ here to an ‘invitation’ which is not the way Gay has defined the term previously and in this form who would disagree with it? As in his previous works, but especially in the one now under consideration, Gay turns a smiling salesman’s face on his readers only to re-interpret what he has said in NewSpeak terms later. Sadly, there are a few whom he has fooled in this way as my incoming correspondence shows. However Gill clearly outlines in his works that it is better not to use the term ‘free offer’ as it has become full of false content, particularly, nowadays as used by David Gay and the Banner of Truth/ Founders’ Journal section. I feel it is most unfair of Gay here not to put into his definition the new meaning he uses for it. Throughout this book, he often condemns Gill for believing what he believes himself but he denies that Gill means the same thing as he is continually putting false ideas into his mock-up of Gill.

     In his third definition Gay refers again to ‘Hyper-Calvinists’ and claims:

‘According to hyper-Calvinists, a sensible or seeking sinner is a regenerate sinner who, conscious of his sin and need of salvation, repents, and desires Christ. He is not trusting Christ, however.’

     In my exchanges with Gay I have repeatedly asked for clarification on this point but Gay feels the point is beyond discussion. I have never, ever heard that a sensible or seeking sinner is a regenerate sinner who does not trust in Christ. This is a contradiction in terms if ever there was one! In the language of our Reformers and such as Bunyan, Gill and even Fuller, whom Gay usually follows, a sinner is made sensible to his plight when the Holy Spirit works on his soul and he is forced to cry out ‘What shall I do to be saved.’ I advised Gay to look into the works of Gill’s Reformed, evangelical contemporaries and even the works of literary giants such as Jane Austin but in vain. Gay’s idea of a regenerate sensible or seeking sinner who nevertheless does not trust in Christ is absolutely devoid of sense and sensibility.

     Of Hyper-Calvinists Gay further says:

‘The hyper-Calvinistic doctrine of eternal justification is this: the elect are actually justified in God’s decree in eternity, actually justified with and in Christ in his death on the cross and in his resurrection. When the sensible sinner believes, he receives the manifestation (confirmation, revelation, realisation), of his eternal justification, in his conscience. But he is no more justified after believing than before. He never was under the wrath of God. Whereas before believing, he had no assurance that he was right with God, he now has the felt sense of it.’

Who believes such a thing?

     Again, I have never come across such a belief in anyone though I have studied church history, theology, practical divinity, homiletics, hermeneutics and pastoral care at six different European Universities and have taught in colleges, schools, churches and private houses all over Europe and the United States, meeting up with all kinds of odd views. Where are these ogres? I shall join Gay and ask them to stand up and be counted. Once more, Gay has not thought through his own theology. He mentions Peter Naylor’s arguments against Gill in his Picking up Pins for the Lord, which I have renamed Dropping Clangers for the Unwary to Trip Over. Gay will remember that Naylor’s argument against Gill is that he speaks of God’s condemnation of all who are in Adam which includes the elect until Christ gives them the New Birth. It appears at first (intentional?) sight here that Naylor, and in association Gay, believe that the elect were never in Adam. So why do not Naylor and Gay expect all the elect born on earth to live forever on earth and never die in their human state? As so often, Gay takes much of this back as the book goes on but it becomes more and more obvious that Gay believes that all symptoms of Adam have physically left the Christian.

     I go into this matter in depth in the book Gay professes to have read and mention and refute Naylor in some 30 pages. The idea that Gill taught that the sinner was no more justified after conversion than before has merely grown in Gay’s negative imagination. He has obviously not read Gill on the changes in a sinner when Christ comes into his life. As to the other ‘terms’ which Gay lists in his Glossary, they could have been given more meaning and less speculation. Gay has obviously prepared his NewSpeak glossary to put his readers into the right mood to read on in defiance of Gill’s clear gospel. I trust Gay’s readers will not allow Gay’s glossy glossary to dazzle their eyes.

     Furthermore, Gay appears to be totally unfamiliar with Gill’s works which clearly refute him almost throughout. This is especially clear when we read Gill on conversion; preaching repentance and faith and on the work of the Holy Spirit on both sinners and saints. I have not read all Gill’s commentaries yet, but I have read and reread all his other published works. I cannot help believing that Gay has culled very much of what he says out of my books on Gill, as he mentions my writings so often when trying to denigrate Gill. Gay includes me so deeply in his anti-Gill vendetta that he often does not note who wrote what. He not only twists and tears statements out of the context of Gill’s original works but out of my representations of them, too. Again, I shall comment on this fad of Gay’s when we come to such passages.

     Gay, in a former book against me, told his readers not to read my books but take Gay at his word. Those who read Gay, he believes, find out what Ella believes better than Ella himself. I do ask all those who are puzzled by Gay’s ‘fake news’ to read my works which Gay mentions, especially those dealing with the doctrine of justification by faith which has been taught in Reformed theology since French Reformers discovered this truth and published on it almost 15 years before Luther. Well-read readers and those sound in Reformed theology will see that Gay makes a fictive hash out of meat he has never tasted.

Gay’s Principles

     Under the heading ‘What is Eternal Justification’, Gay does not answer his question but begins with what he calls his ‘Principles’ which are his reasons for not accepting what he calls Hyper-Calvinism. This was a disappointment as I had expected Gay to explain what the title of his essay meant so that readers could follow the author better. However, Gay comes nowhere in defining Hyper-Calvinism either but he gives his readers some inkling as to what he thinks ‘Hypers’ believe. Had we a clear definition to work on, Gay might have been more understandable.

What is justification?

     Gay’s next heading under Principles is What Is Justification? He starts by saying what justification does not mean, that is ‘to make righteous’ but instead of saying why, he gives us a lecture on legal procedures without outlining those of the Biblical period. However, the Biblical word for ‘justification’ means literally to make righteous or just and I have checked ten European languages on their Bible translations and where English has ‘to justify’ they spell the word out ‘to make righteous’. As Gay often comments on Latin words, I presume he has analysed what the roots of this word mean. Furthermore, ‘to justify’, from iustificare, carries the meaning, even in Latin jurisprudence, of making upright, making complete. It also means to show compassion to; to let clemency reign and to make suitable. All these meanings are to be found in the Greek word dikaiosuné. This was the reason for my debate in the nineties and after the turn of the century with the Banner of Truth who merely defined justification in legal and metaphorical terms. This is why I also goggled at Gay’s remark that Gill believed in an ‘as if’, pro forma justification whereas Gill sees Christ at work making just men truly righteous. This is because, as we read in Romans 3:21-26, Scripture clearly teaches that in justification we are dealing with Grace and not Law. Furthermore, it is the imputation of God’s righteous by faith in Christ which makes us just and not the imputation of some legal sentence or decree. Surely Gay cannot believe that God opens the doors of Heaven to sin performing beings? God makes His just men righteous in preparation for the Heavenly occasion with His own righteousness. Therefore our ‘Crown of Righteousness’ will be the real thing and not made of ‘as if’ plastic’! God’s Word says:

‘But now the righteousness of God without the law is manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets; Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference: For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God; Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus: Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God; To declare, I say, at this time his righteousness: that he might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus.’

      A fitting commentary on this is Galatians 2:16 which reads:

‘Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of the Lord Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified.’

     This truth is crowned in Galatians 2: 20 where we read:

‘I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me. I do not frustrate the grace of God: for if righteousness come by the law, then Christ is dead in vain.’

     Thus to discuss righteousness in legal terms only and mean thereby the righteousness of the Holy Trinity is to place the Godhead eternally under law.

     So often, when Gay scolds Gill, he is really scolding himself. This has also to do with the idea, popular in Gay’s Banner of Truth days that the imputed righteousness Christ gives us is merely symbolic but not real. I have dealt with this error in depth on this website. I believe that Christ’s righteousness shared with His people is real. So I cannot agree with Gay here that every time we hear of justification in the gospel we must only understand it in a sense totally foreign to the gospel that is as being legal and forensic. Even Christ’s laying Himself under the law cannot be called a mere matter of legalism because God so loved the world that he gave His own Son to accomplish this great act of Grace. It is this righteousness which was the dominant factor in the Covenant of Grace throughout the Bible. In Old English and Middle English studies one comes across the original spelling and etymology of ‘righteous’. It is derived from the term to make ‘rihtwis’ which means to make ‘just and wise’. Right knowledge of the language of Scripture often makes good theologians.

The righteousness of Christ

     Under this ‘Principle’ Gay, wishing to shock his readers tells us that the righteousness of Christ is not once mentioned in Scripture. Then he waffles on about Christ’s active and passive obedience and declares Christ to be passive when He is very active indeed. True, Christ suffered untold agony but it was His active will and desire to save His people that spurred Him on. Then Gay strives to tell us that Christ’s justifying righteous, too, was only a legal matter, though it is the Divine righteousness that we are talking about. Here we can understand Gay’s new writings in which he says that the Covenant law has been silenced, obliterated and ‘sacked’ (Gay’s term) and we have all to do with a New Law for saints only. What sinners may get up to without the law to check them is apparently nobody’s business according to Gay.

     After reading time and time again that the righteousness of Christ is merely legal but not ‘intrinsic’, I stopped commenting on Gay’s howlers in this section. One cannot make a person righteous by throwing the law at him.

      I cannot stand such a so called ‘Christian’ theology which is worse than the worst Judaism. I shall move on to Gay’s next Principle hoping better things are to come.

Union with Christ

     Some hope!!! Gay sees our union with Christ as a legal arrangement whereby we keep the Law in Christ. I would like to know which of Gay’s two laws Gay (His so-called Old Law and his so-called New Law) is speaking about but to view our beautiful union with Christ as a mere legal ‘as if’ arrangement is terrible. Oh for the deep, deep love of Jesus and His inherent, intrinsic, natural, spiritual righteousness of which both Testaments speak! Our union with Christ is based on His love and graceful care for us. If we followed Gay, there would be no true righteousness for us to prepare ourselves for eternity and no true union with Christ. But worst of all though Christ is our righteousness, there would be no known and experienced righteousness in Christ but a mere clever lawyer. That Christ is indeed our Advocate is explained by the fact that He is eternally making intersession for His Bride. This is not Law but Grace. By Grace are we saved and not by Law!

Christ vastly more than a sin-offering

     The text Gay now gives us (11 Cor 20) is the Bible’s greatest testimony that Jesus, who knew no sin, has become sin for us. Gay quotes this but adds totally unnecessarily, that there is a footnote in some modern translation somewhere which says that amartian means sin-offering. This was the idea that was propagated by those in the Banner of Truth and Founders’ Journal organisations in by-gone years. So Gay is wishing to keep to Old Testament shadows to lead us into union with the New Testament reality of Christ our Saviour, Lord and King. He thus reduces the Lord Jesus down to the level of an Old Testament bullock or sheep. We should therefore re-translate this glorious text as ‘For he hath made him to be sin-offering for us, who knew no sin-offering, that we might be made the righteousness of God in him. Note, we are talking about the righteousness of God Himself which was never a legal-righteousness. Christ’s mediates the righteousness of God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit and Gay calls this a ‘legal declaration’. Love and grace saved. Our names were written in the Lamb’s Book of life and not on a lawyer’s chitty. The Lord of Righteousness Himself became not a sin-offering but that to which all sin-offerings pointed – to sin itself to redeem His flock. Christ did not give us a make-believe righteousness but has made us partakers of the Divine Nature. How about that, Brother Gay?

     Many years ago, I remember reading an atrocious book by Gay in which I found incorrect historical data on every page. I noticed a review of this work in a Baptist magazine which described Gay’s view of God as ‘blasphemy’. The truth is that Gay, since his youth, has stepped into one theological cow-flap after another, always thinking his boots were still bright and shiny with which he could kick at the straw puppets he made of other men. Now he has landed in the so-called New-Covenant Theology flap with both feet but not as a fellowship in Christ but as a law-system. I cannot feel that those NCT men who have their roots in personal Christian fellowship with Christ can feel happy at being burdened by a wiseacre who merely uses them as a step into another cow-flap to other system of laws, old and new. As I said in another article referring to Gay’s ‘Progress’, where will he end up next?

Gay now gives us under the heading Principles a sub-heading entitled:

The Four Aspects of Justification

No such thing as eternity past

Here again, Gay beats about the bush but also causing false alarms amongst both unbelievers and believers. Concerning justification, he asks:

‘Now, how can a sinner be justified in eternity past, justified in the death and resurrection of Christ, justified by faith and yet be justified in eternity to come? We must not dismiss this question as trying to be clever with words.’

     Gay’s question is not merely far from being ‘clever with words’ it is irreconcilable with anything ‘clever’ apart from in the derogative ‘clever Dick’ sense. Eternity has no past, present and future but is where our timeless God dwells and from where He exercises His rule of the world. God in Christ who looks after our world is the same yesterday, today and forever. This is why Gill affirms that when God says let there be light, there is light and when He says let David Gay be justified in Christ, David Gay is justified in Christ. Gay must, however, agree with Gill that God’s will to justify is enacted in time. I know this is what Gay will not admit in Gill’s case, but then Gay has not understood Gill one bit. I have counted at least 30 references to eternity past in this relatively small book of Gay’s. In Gill’s vast Body of Divinity, I have never come across it once, nor in his commentaries and lectures. This is indeed nothing but Gay’s ‘fixed idea’.

Seeming contradictions

     Now Gay comes with his ‘tension theory’ made popular by the BOT with Errol Hulse to the fore. Instead of getting down to his ‘four stages’ Gay will have us believe in Scriptural paradoxes which God will make plain some day, but others see none. Who is Gay trying to bamboozle? But Gay insists that there are apparent disagreements in Scripture but we must think of them as if they were rail tracks wide apart at our feet running parallel. Why? Where are these apparent contradictions which run parallel? The Scriptures Gay quotes reveal a harmonious gospel. But Gay is not finished. He adds:

‘One final illustration from the railway: On a long straight stretch of track, the rails do meet – in the infinite distance. All seeming contradictions will be resolved in eternity!’

     What a thought! Railway lines always run parallel and if we think they meet at some indefinite end, we fool ourselves. There is, however, a most comfortable mono-rail used in some countries, especially in tourist areas. Our Scriptures are also monodic with one song throughout.

     This nonsense talk is merely a most unnecessary lumbering up for Gay’s most confusing ‘Four points’ of justification. His start, however, is promising. He says:

‘Getting back to the main theme, however: the New Testament speaks of justification in four aspects. God, because of his grace, on the basis of his grace, justifies, declares righteous, all those sinners who trust the merits, the person and the work of his Son, the Lord Jesus Christ. Such sinners are one with Christ. He bore all their sin. They bear all his righteousness. God in Christ decreed it all in eternity, accomplished it on the cross and in the resurrection, and by his Spirit applies it to the elect sinner at the point of faith. And, finally, it can be properly said that all the elect will be ultimately justified when Christ return:’

     Gay has found one aspect more than Gill and five aspects less than Witsius which Gill pared down somewhat, it is admitted. But what has all this to do with ‘tensions’ in Scripture? However, this statement would be a good basis in striving to reconcile the two camps in which Gay has divided his brethren. Gill would certainly accept the bulk of what Gay says here but would perhaps question Gay’s constant idea of God putting God’s decree into cold-storage before other justifying events happen. Gill would plead for a more direct outworking of justification. However, Gay rather spoils this testimony to God’s work from eternity by adding ‘All of it was purposed in eternity past’. When in time was that? Gay continues:

‘In terms of human logic, they may seem inconsistent. Yet, in terms of biblical revelation, it all makes perfect sense – as long as we allow each statement to bear the weight God has given it in Scripture, and do not warp any aspect of any statement to make it all fit together with our pre-conceived ideas of logical consistency, in order to preserve our theological system.’

      Why does Gay always seek to obscure the united testimony of Scripture with such comments? Given that we do not base our faith on human logic what would appear illogical here? For God to act according to His nature appears perfectly logical to me. Gay, however, would think it wrong to use ‘preconceived ideas of logical consistency’, whatever he means by that term but would it not also be wrong for Gay to have ‘preconceived ideas of logical inconsistency’ himself’. I admit, I do not know what Gay is getting at. Gay will insist on repeatedly emphasizing God’s actions in ‘past eternity’ which Gay seems to mean has no time relevance but in speaking of ‘past’ he cannot be speaking of eternity which is timeless with no beginning and end. God is ever active and after decreeing justification did not take a two thousand year snooze before the Incarnation.

      Gay formulates his next Principle by the question: What is Eternal Justification?

Alleged confusion between election and justification?

     Again, Gay waffles on at first without answering his own question and makes a new attack on his favourite windmill Hyper-Calvinism. Gay’s first point against his ‘Hypers’ is that they confuse election and justification; he does not tell us with what. I suppose he means that ‘Hypers’ merge the two features in their synergistic understanding of salvation. To which I answer, ‘Why not?’ Surprisingly Gay then cites Gill who certainly did not believe in eternal justification as depicted, though most muddled and unclearly, by Gay. Nor did Gill come anywhere near Gay’s representation of Hyper-Calvinism. However, Gay loves this tingle-tangle with Gill that has gone on for decades without his understanding Gill one bit better. Here, I must ask why Gay is against the idea of God justifying his elect and why does Gay deny (as on page 42) that God’s will to justify His elect is His elects’ justification? I shuddered at Gay’s most ungodly statement that basing justification on God’s will to that end was a ‘perversion’.

Gay’s scissors work

     Gay explains this by arguing that Gill leaves out Christ’s part in the work of justification. What Gay really means is that he has cut out what Gill says of Christ’s work out of his citations of Gill on justification. He ought to read Gill on the imputed righteousness of Christ in Justification, too! Gay will find Christ’s work in justifying the ungodly outlined in detail in my book which he, nevertheless ignores as it does not fit into his minimalized Christianity. Normal readers of Gill will see that Gill places election and justification centrally in Christ’s atoning work and not as some Reformed people do in the idea that God elected a certain ‘remnant’ to eternal life before He arranged for Christ’s death. This is because Gay, like these other supposedly ‘Reformed’ people are Deists at heart and do not believe that Christ was always in the world reconciling the world to Himself. But this is sadly typical of Gay as I know from the two books he has written against my theology. He makes a lop-sided argument of his brethren’s views and presents this as the entire picture without tackling his victims’ more balanced and synergized position. Gill views the ever-present God as always being at work from eternity in time. Gay has not the insight into eternity which Gill has and thus makes so many blunders. He can only view eternity as if it were time stretched out with historical dots on it here and there.

Election not justification leads to faith – so Gay

     Then comes the big hammer from Gay on page 45 where he declares ‘It is election – not justification that leads to faith.’ Gay adds, ‘I am not splitting hairs’. He is not just splitting hairs, he is cutting God’s one plan of salvation into parts, none of which he apparently understands as he does not understand the whole. So God gives His elect faith and then justifies them. Are then the elect not also children of Adam and thus have sinned and fallen short of the Glory of God? It is at conversion that God grants us justifying faith, whilst we are still at enmity with Him. This is why Gill teaches that we are actually justified in the courts of God and made conscience of this when conversion comes directly from God whose Tribune is from eternity. This is where again Gay who appears to have had little Latin and less Greek though he gives us bizarre ‘translations’ as I have commented on elsewhere, trips up over Gill’s scholarly definitions such as in foro Dei; in foro mundi and in foro conscientiae. Gay declares this to be ‘rubbish’ and thinks Gill is merely talking about those who have ‘a good conscience’ (p. 55). This might be the case but it is not the full gospel which Gill gives.

Gay rejects Gill’s teaching concerning all sinners before conversion being ‘in Adam’.

     Gill teaches that the elect, as unsaved sinners are still under God’s wrath because of their Adamic nature but God gives faith to them that they might appropriate His justifying saving grace. This is denied by many so-called Hyper-Calvinists who believe that the elect are never under condemnation. This appears to be Gay’s position as he feels that the elect can never be under God’s wrath.

      Our author now cites a work entitled Gill and Justification which he associates with my name. I spent some time at my computer and surfing the internet to find an article I had written under that title as I had written a number on justification, but in vain. I then looked at the pagination Gay gives in a footnote and found the place he was referring to in my book John Gill and Justification from Eternity: A Tercentenary Appreciation 16-97-1997 where I quoted both the Old Testament and the New to show that while we were yet sinners Christ died for the ungodly. Gay’s readers would perhaps not have been able to check this owing to Gay’s altering my title. Gay cannot accept this clear testimony of Scripture which I give. I note that he uses Peter Naylor to back him up in his criticism against Gill’s Biblical approach but Naylor did not believe in this doctrine either, arguing that it was a ‘one-off’ idea and we must consider it in the light of other passages in Scripture which obviously do not follow. However, later in his book which I shall comment on in that section, Gay appears to accept the doctrine.

     As I showed in the pages from John Gill and Justification from Eternity, which Gay leaves uncommented, we find this clearly defined doctrine to which Gill held in Romans 3:26; 4:5; and 5:6 and foretold in numerous Old Testament passages. Isaiah, especially chapter 45, has always been helpful to me in understanding this matter. Also Gay’s slip-of-the-tongue on page 43 that Gill believed that justification had nothing to do with faith, would, if it were not a slip-of-the-tongue be pure libel. This reminds me of Gay’s constant remark in his two books against me that I do not believe in preaching repentance and faith but merely ‘Law repentance’. He had merely erased my many proofs and quotes where I maintained that sinners were commanded by God to ‘repent and believe the gospel’. Now Gay has moved his allegiance to the NCT who now tell me that I am wrong to preach repentance and faith altogether because, as far as they are concerned, these are ‘law works’. It is always difficult to pin down David Gay as he is always changing his ‘position’ as his You Tube C.V. shows.

     So, too, on page 52, when Gay discusses I Cor. 6:11, he involves me in debunking Gill concerning the word ‘now’ which is not in the text. Here, Gay becomes terribly muddled and quotes both Gill and myself quite out of context so that what he says is not a bona fide quote. Though he scolds Gill for his attitude to the word ‘now’, he has wrenched the term out of the context of my book where I am dealing with Turretin, i.e. so the use of the word ‘now’ was Turretin’s, not Gill’s, but Gay has left Turretin completely out of his attack on Gill. I refer to Turretin and Gill’s use of him in many pages of my book. In the wider context Gill is dealing with ‘Justification as an Immanent Act’ and The Doctrine of Justification Stated and Maintained’ in which works Gay will find much that he leaves out of Gill’s detailed thoughts. The immediate context is Turretin’s argument in his Institutes that he who is not converted is in a state of damnation. Gill argues that even the elect are in Adam and thus under God’s wrath but in Christ they are declared free of condemnation. This is one of many Biblical doctrines which Gill takes up which is denied by Gay and his mentor Naylor. This is why Gay cannot understand Gill on Romans Seven and Eight and blames him for being a Hyper-Calvinist for holding to Paul’s exegesis. Actually, as we shall see, it is Gay who is confused about adding a ‘now’ to the text which Gay renders:

‘And such were some of you. But you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord and by the Spirit of God’

     Here Gay alters the tenses of the original, though I cannot see how it suits his purpose. I can safely say that had Gay left the Greek without altering it, Gill would have been one mind with him. Besides, Gay’s meaning in altering the Greek text would, of course, be rendered meaningless if ‘now’ were added. It would read ‘now you were washed’ etc. If we take the text as it stands in the Greek with the addition of ‘now’, it would read, ‘now you are washed’, which would make sense and thus be acceptable to Gill, and me, but the addition is not necessary. Surely Paul was addressing the Corinthians in their then present state and not telling them what they might have been a few minutes ago or a number of years ago or in ‘eternity past’!

     So what did Gay think of this? I quote him verbatim:

‘George M. Ella said Gill noted the absence of ‘now’ in the Greek. And so he claimed, the kind of argument I have put forward is ‘irrelevant’. End of story!

    Oh?

     Let me say at once that Gill and Ella were quite right about the Greek. As you will have noticed, reader, in both the NKJV and AV the ‘now’ does not appear. From a purely literal point of view, this is quite right. The ‘now’ is not in the Greek. But that is not all there is to be said about it – not by a long chalk. Gill’s deduction was simplistic. In fact, he missed the entire sense and force of the context. His talk of ‘irrelevant’ was the real irrelevance’ (we note that Gill was saying that Turretin’s innuendo was ‘irrelevant’ which Gay has missed.)

     In the first place, the argument does not require the ‘now’. I haven’t used it. But the fact is, before faith, the Corinthians were not justified, and after faith they were.’

      Here Gay is again guilty of shoddy quoting. His footnote referring to page 110 of my work on Justification from Eternity reveals that under point 10 in discussing arguments against Justification from Eternity I mention Turretin’s use of ‘now’ which Gill does not find in the Greek. Though Gay says rather patronizingly that ‘Gill and Ella were quite right about the Greek’, I do not refer to the Greek myself and Gill is referring to Turretin’s addition to the Greek of a νυν. Gill points out that Turretin’s alteration to the text is irrelevant because it neither adds to nor takes away any of the meaning. This is also Gay’s position but Gay feels he is free to make such a deduction himself but Gill and Ella not. Again, this condemnation of what others believe though he believes it himself is typical of Gay’s polemic. I do stress here three aspects of justification in Gill’s theology which Gay would seem to accept. I also stated on the same page:

‘Gill uses ‘eternal justification’ when quoting what his critics call the doctrine. (Cave Gay!). He believed in ‘justification from eternity which is not technically the same. Those who hold to justification from eternity accept a threefold manifestation in justification in foro dei, in foro conscientiae and in foro mundii. Those who use the term ‘eternal justification i.e. mostly Gill’s opponents, usually either do not take note of these distinctions or deny them’.

     I refer my readers on the page Gay cites to look up Gill’s Body of Divinity for his ‘Of Justification as an Immanent Act’ giving the pagination. I can only presume Gay has not done so. Gill’s position is far more agreeable with Scripture than Gay’s as the latter speaks of a justification ‘in’ eternity and then one in time, imagining a time-lap between the one and the other. Gill sees justification as an immediate impingement on time in one Divine action from eternity. Indeed, there is a time-lag in Gay’s understanding of our eternally active God which makes him come up with the most bizarre theological statements.

     Gay appears not to be at all familiar with Gill’s actual works and bases much of his speculative comments on my works which he cites over 30 times. Though I believe I have represented Gill correctly, Gay feels somehow that ‘bashing’ Ella is the same as bashing Gill. He thus uses me as a wax effigy into which he thrusts his anti-Gill voodoo pins.

Checking Gay’s ‘Greek’

     In other translations with which I have dealt in New Focus and on my Website, Gay has shown that he cannot handle what Greek students call the aorist and middle voice forms of verbs as in 1 Cor 6:11. In principle, as stand alones, they are tenseless but take their tense from, for example, adverbs of time or tenses in the same sentence or sense structure. The latter, I would say deals with what the Corinthian believers ‘are’ in the context and not ‘were’. So Gay’s ‘were washed’; ‘were sanctified’; ‘were justified’ would refer to some unmentioned time in the past and not to the Corinthians’ present state which Paul is addressing. But there is another meaning here that might interest those who wish to extract every bit of information from God’s word. Gill was such a person and I must admit I am after teaching translators for very many years. The Middle Voice as used in I Cor 6 is really a mixture of an active, active-passive, passive state under one action (at least at a given time). So ‘wash’, in the 2. Aorist, middle voice, would mean an awareness of one’s washed state and an experience of partaking actively and passively in the action. Surely this is exactly what Gill is getting at, especially in his dealings with Turretin which I describe and Gay ignores. We are not just passively ‘washed’ without any notice on our part but God’s justification makes sure that the justified one is actually and actively engaged in the process through his consciousness engendered by the faith applied as a free gift from God. Gay condemns such thinking as ‘rubbish’ because he has no knowledge of these facts. Things out of his mind are out of his sight, to reverse the adage. Gay invariably uses the imperfect to translate aorists. I do not know why but it might be some inkling he has that imperfects are augmented just like some aorists, but this does not give the aorists a tense, nor are all aorists augmented. Besides, they are formed in different ways, many from old verb forms which were already redundant in Paul’s age. However, looking into the etymology of these forms has helped me understand aorists better. I sincerely recommend such a study to Gay.

     Referring to the same text Gay rebukes Gill strongly for not considering what the Corinthians were before Paul addressed them after their conversion but Gill says exactly what Paul says here. Gay will not have this because, he says, he knew what Gill was thinking and:

‘Gill wanted to confine everything to eternity past. The apostle was dealing with men and women in the actual here and now of time. As we shall see, this is not the only occasion when Gill wanted to fight off all thought of ‘time’, ‘now’.’

     Now this is totally and utterly unfair. Indeed scandalous. It is Gay who puts the tense of this present passage in the past and Gill who maintains the text ‘as written’. Furthermore Gill never dabbles in ‘eternity past’ which is Gay’s private fetish. Though Gay has wrenched Gill here quite out of his context, and declared Gill’s commentary to be ‘rubbish’ the better theologian says here:

‘And such were some of you. Not all, but some of them; and of these everyone was not guilty of all these crimes; but some had been guilty of one, and others of another; so that they had been all committed by one or another of them. The Corinthians were a people very much given to uncleanness and luxury, without measure, which was the ruin of their state: and among these wicked people God had some chosen vessels of salvation; who are put in mind of their former state, partly for their present humiliation, when they considered what they once were, no better than others, but children of wrath, even as others; and partly to observe to them, and the more to illustrate and magnify the grace of God in their conversion, pardon, justification, and salvation; as also to point out to them the obligations that lay upon them to live otherwise now than they formerly did.’

     Now what is Hyper- Calvinistic here? Where, does Gill confine everything to eternity past here? He simply states that these ‘vessels of mercy’ at Corinth had been released from their former state as children of wrath and cleansed from all sin and stain. The meaning of ‘vessels of mercy’ I should think will be obvious to enlightened Christians as it is a constantly referred to piece of imagery in Scripture. What Gay makes of the term is ‘all my eye and Peggy Martin’! He will have no mercy on such vessels. Gill is speaking of normal conversion as is also Paul. Look at Gay on pages 53 and 54 and see what a show he makes of his wild, aggressive, negative fantasy. Look also at a similar passage 1 Col 3:9 where Paul says:

‘Lie not one to another, seeing that ye have put off the old man with his deeds.’

     Gill comments:

‘But now you also put off all these things, &c’ Intimating, that now since they were converted and delivered out of the former state in which they were once, and professed not to walk and live in sin, it became them to separate, remove, and put at a distance from them all sins, and every vice, to lay them aside as dead weights upon them, and put them off as filthy garments; for such sins are never to be put on, and cleaved to again as formerly.’1

     Here again, as so often, Gill explains that even the elect must confess their sins, repent and believe whereas Gay declares that Gill sees no need for repentance and belief in the already justified elect in ‘eternity past’. In my childhood my sister, brothers and I played a game where we put ‘eg’ before every vowel and talked like this nineteen to the dozen whilst others listened bewildered. That was great fun. Gay has a new game which is not funny at all. In front of and behind every utterance of Gill’s on election and justification, he places ‘in eternity past’. This is Gay’s own ‘fixed idea’.

The ventriloquist and his dummy

     What comes next in his misuse of Gill reminds me of a ventriloquist and his dummy. Gay parks an ill-defined effigy of Gill on his knee and has Gill say the most idiotic things and then he answers these farcical sayings with words of Gay’s wisdom. The odd thing is that Gay at times, gives answers of which Gill would approve, and often contradicts himself to the benefit of Gill’s teaching which, as Gay does not understand through lack of earnest study, he sometimes goes Gill’s way rather than the Gay way he has dictated for us to go. Where, however, Gay claims so often that Gill is contradicting himself, it is where Gay has put false words into his puppet’s mouth and thus the contradiction is of Gay’s own invention. Gay merely misuses Gill as a mouth-piece through which to utter his own mixed-up thoughts. When I studied Psychology, we called this either cognitive distortion or cognitive dissonance. The Bible puts it better: ‘Ever learning and never able to come to knowledge of the truth’. To back up this statement I refer to the book under review and Gay’s ‘Testimony’ on You Tube.

Gay sums up his differences with Gill

     In this section Gay goes to great efforts to show the major distinction between Gill and himself. Gill’s position is, he claims quite wrongly, that in eternity past (that impossible term again), Gill would have all the elect decreed at once and at the same time all of the elect justified at once. On the other hand, Gay would have all the elect decreed at once but all the elect justified at different times in time. Both ideas, of course, are not Scriptural. Gill never speaks of a time in eternity when all the elect are given their status. Eternity is not bound by time. Time is merely a creative fiat of God until Christ’s Bride, God’s people, those converted and born again, are gathered in. Man’s sin is a product of time but God’s grace is not. There is no time in eternity when all God’s people were elected, but the elect are given their status in Christ who is reconciling the world to Himself both within time and from eternity. God is never ruled by time as it is His own creation. Nor is he ruled by eternity as eternity is only there because of God’s Eternal Being.

      So, too, the idea that Gill will have God justify all the elect in one past time in eternity is merely Gay’s misunderstanding. Gill’s works, as I have sought to show from my books and essays on Gill clearly teach that justification is pronounced from the courts of God from eternity which is activated in time, seen from the receiving end throughout the history of salvation. Gay’s view of justification has not such Biblical guarantees. He looks to his election in a fake time, and rambles on about the different stages a sinner goes through by being justified without actually being justified starting from ‘past eternity’ and finishing at conversion. Gill never teaches that one can be justified and not justified at the same time. This is Gay’s strange logic. Gill teaches justification direct. Gay is embedded in his fifth dimension or parallel world of a timed eternity which would make a nice science-fiction book. When confronting Gill, Gay always finds him stable and up-to-date and that gets his goat.

To be continued.

PS: Footnotes are mostly omitted because of length but can be obtained from me directly. Though Gay tells his readers not to read my works, I recommend that all download his freebie so that they can follow my comments.

Please excuse my quaint English of yesteryear as I have spent by far the greatest part of my life since my youth speaking other languages.

  1. John Gill and Justification from Eternity, p.170, Gill’s Commentary Vol ix, p. 199.