I have forgotten for which publication I wrote this letter.
Sir: Prof. Harmon’s recent critique of my Law and Gospel in the Theology of Andrew Fuller (Fall, 2001.) is inaccurate, lacking the objectivity of a scholar.
I do not argue that Fuller sought to modify extreme Calvinism but point out that Fuller was often more High Calvinist than a number of his friends and foes, including Gill and Huntington. Prof. Harmon ranks the latter two with High Calvinists although they were both Sublapsarians. Fuller grew up in an extreme High-Calvinist, Antinomian and Johnsonian church and pastored it for some time. His Hyper-Calvinistic teaching that the full gospel was for believers only never left him and would have shocked Gill who believed in preaching the whole gospel to all. He certainly shocked Huntington, a free-offer man in the Marrow Men sense. It was sturdy Dan Taylor of the New Connection who warned Fuller that he had departed from Calvinism. Balanced Calvinist Abraham Booth told Fuller that he was ‘lost’ due to his New Divinity teaching and rejection of imputed righteousness. Fuller’s debt to Latitudinarians and New Divinity, acknowledged by Haykin, is apparent from his works, his arguments being often taken verbatim from them. Any scholar would see at a glance, for instance, that The Gospel Worthy reflects the theology and words of Bellamy’s True Religion Delineated, to a high degree.
Harmon’s accusation that I view Nettles, whom I greatly respect, and Haykin with whom I work closely, as infidels, is plain slander. These brethren and myself have been theological sparring partners on occasions, but we have been happily preserved from using Harmon’s invectives.
Harmon’s recommendation of Arthur Kirkby’s work contra Ella suggests that he never read beyond my Introduction. Kirkby’s most balanced thesis, which I recommend in my work, was the basis of my studies on Fuller. I consulted Dr. Kirkby personally on two occasions for guidance. Kirkby argues in his thesis that one can sum up Fuller’s theology of salvation in the slogan “I can if I will”. My work shows that Kirkby was absolutely right. If Harmon agrees with Kirkby here, he agrees with me!
Harmon, without a shadow of proof, ranks me amongst the extreme Hyper Calvinists where I do not belong at all. My theology is akin to that of Bucer, from whom Calvin obtained the best of his system, and the English Edwardian Reformation which bore fruit in the Canons of Dort.
George M. Ella, Mülheim
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