Cowper Bicentenary

Essay Based on My Work Paradise and Poetry: An In-Depth Study of William Cowper’s Poetic Mind.      Although William Cowper has always been regarded as a fitting subject for comment and research ever since his death 200 years ago, work done on the poet has been mainly biographical. Even this biographical work has tended to be very limited as its main subject has most often been the nervous breakdowns which occurred at roughly ten-year intervals during the adult life of the poet.      Biographers have tended to view Cowper’s work as been primarily done under the influence of these times of acute depression and even insanity. The general picture left with any student who seeks to understand Cowper through the eyes of these… Full Article

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The Fifteenth Haamstede Conference

     The annual Dutch Haamstede Conference, held in Garderen, which draws some 160 pastors, evangelists and teachers has become a spiritual home for me and a highlight of each year. The conferences I occasionally visit in Scandinavia, Germany, North America and England are edifying and instructive, but there is just nothing to compare with the deep spirituality, warm fellowship, eager optimism and high academic standard found amongst the Dutch brethren. A particular joy this year was to see the large number of young pastors who hold to the doctrines of grace and the evangelistic responsibility placed on their shoulders.      However, the conference started on a sad note with the announcement that Pastor P. den Butter, a true… Full Article

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Joseph Bellamy and True Religion Delineated

     Writing a hundred years ago, Benjamin Warfield looked on the New Divinity teaching of Jonathan Edwards Jun., Samuel Hopkins and Joseph Bellamy as a lost cause. He felt it had forsaken all traces of Calvinism for Pelagianism, becoming the staple fare of Arminians. He looked upon it as an evangelistic, revivalist movement quite void of a Christian gospel with its rejection of the satisfaction of Christ and the doctrine of imputation and perversion of Edwards Sen.’s philosophical distinction between man’s natural and moral inability.  He thought it could only result in creating havoc in the churches.      Today, there is a renewed fascination with this school, initially because of its historical association with Jonathan… Full Article

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New Focus Interview on Hyper-Calvinism

Antinomian Hyper-Calvinism versus the Law and the Gospel: A New Focus Interview with George M. Ella Q. The 18th century controversy regarding Hyper-Calvinism and Antinomianism seems to have emerged again in recent years and, although your book William Huntington: Pastor of Providence has been welcomed by many, a few voices maintain that you have opened old wounds and should have let sleeping dogs lie. A. Wounds caused by cries of Hyper-Calvinism have long been open and much salt has been rubbed in them in recent years. The once sleeping dogs of Antinomianism have been barking loudly for all to hear for some time. My aim in reviving Huntington’s teaching on the full Law and the full Gospel, as also my publications on Cowper, Gill and… Full Article

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Reformation Today and Justification from Eternity

      The March/April, 1999 number of Reformation Today features four articles on John Gill. The first, entitled John Gill – a Sketch of his Life, is a succinctly written biography of Gill’s faithful and productive life in the service of the gospel. Next, Editor Errol Hulse continues with John Gill – An Appreciation, presented as a review of The Life and Thought of John Gill (1697-1771), (ed. Michael Haykin).  Here, Hulse ignores the facts of Gill’s own testimony to make what he calls ‘a fair assessment of the damage which emanated from his errors.’ Thus, though the book Hulse reviews chiefly depicts Gill as a great evangelist and soul-winner, Hulse’s one-sided critique is centred on Gill’s supposed Hyper-Calvinism and… Full Article

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Johann Gerhard Oncken: Germany’s Baptist Pioneer

The ‘Enlightenment’ that brought a deluge of immorality      The French occupation of Germany under Napoleon’s Dictatorship caused political, social and religious unrest which lasted well into the present century. The Corsican upstart conscripted Germans and compelled them to suppress their fellow-countrymen or forfeit their lives. One man by the name of Oncken, a citizen of Varel in present Schleswig-Holstein, decided to resist the tyrannical French and campaigned to overthrow the occupational forces. Napoleon’s spies, however, were everywhere and Onckenwas compelled to flee to England to carry on his work of liberation in exile. On January 26th, 1800, a son was born to the ex-patriate whom, in God’s providence, he was… Full Article

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A Sinner Becomes a Saint: William Huntington’s Conversion

     One evening, Huntington was sitting by the fireside reading his Bible when he came across the words, “At that day ye shall know that I am in my Father, and ye in me, and I in you,” John 14:20.  These words were at first incomprehensible to Huntington as he had not experienced being ‘in Christ’ and being thus a new creature. “There must be some secret  between Christ and those whom He will save, that I am ignorant of,” he exclaimed. As he thought on these things all his sins paraded themselves before him and all his false hope disappeared in a twinkling. Great conviction came upon him but his first thoughts were of hatred to God for putting him in such a position. He shouted out to his wife  in great fear, “Molly, I… Full Article

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Whose Righteousness Saves Us?

“This is his name whereby he shall be called, THE LORD OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS.” Jeremiah 23:6 “…… to them that have obtained like precious faith with us through the righteousness of God and our Saviour Jesus Christ.” II Peter 1:1      Present day evangelicals tend to believe that the fierce Calvinist-Arminian controversy of the eighteenth century was merely a question of whether God chose the elect or the elect chose God. This is an oversimplification.  Then the point of discussion was not so much the broad question “Who are the elect?” as the more basic question “Whom does God consider righteous?” Our brethren in those days were more interested in the means of salvation rather than the outcome. How the… Full Article

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John Gill and the Cause of God and Truth

     So often when speaking about the work of the Holy Spirit which infused the churches with new life in the 18th century, mention is made of Anglican stalwarts such as Whitefield, Hervey, Toplady and Romaine. The works of these men through God’s sovereign grace cannot be praised enough but the fact that recent biographers have highlighted their activities has tended to give the impression that other denominations, such as the Baptists, were quite inactive during this period. This is by no means the case as the testimony of John Gill shows.      John Gill was born in 1697 in the town of Kettering and became a member of the Particular Baptist church there before being called to the pastorate at Goat Yard Chapel, Horselydown,… Full Article

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John Gill and His Successors

     The witness and teaching of Dr John Gill (1697-1771) so impressed his friends Augustus Toplady and James Hervey that they maintained his work would still be of great importance to future generations. This also became the conviction of John Rippon (1750-1836) and Charles Haddon Spurgeon (1834-1892), Gill’s more well-known successors to his pastorate, but it was also the testimony of those who served for shorter periods at Carter Lane such as John Martin, Benjamin Francis and John Fawcett. The witness of these faithful men of God has helped point generations to Gill’s works which have subsequently enriched their lives.      The present evangelical establishment is apparently striving to unite Calvinism with Arminianism,… Full Article

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