John Gill (theologian)
John Gill (23 November 1697 – 14 October 1771) was an English Baptist pastor, biblical scholar, and theologian who held to a firm Calvinistic soteriology. Born in Kettering, Northamptonshire, he attended Kettering Grammar School where he mastered the Latin classics and learned Greek by age 11. He continued self-study in everything from logic to Hebrew, his love for the latter remaining throughout his life.
Early life and education
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At the age of about 12, Gill heard a sermon from his pastor, William Wallis, on the text, "And the Lord called unto Adam, and said unto him, where art thou?" (Genesis 3:9). The message stayed with Gill and eventually led to his conversion. It was not until seven years later that he made a public profession when he was 18.
His first pastoral work was as an intern assisting John Davis at Higham Ferrers in 1718 at age 21. He became pastor at the Strict Baptist church at Goat Yard Chapel, Horsleydown, Southwark in 1719. His pastorate lasted 51 years. In 1757 his congregation needed larger premises and moved to a Carter Lane, St. Olave’s Street, Southwark. This Baptist church was once pastored by Benjamin Keach and would later become the New Park Street Chapel and then the Metropolitan Tabernacle pastored by Charles Spurgeon.
- The Doctrine of the Trinity Stated and Vindicated (London, 1731)
- The Cause of God and Truth (4 parts, 1735–8), a retort to Daniel Whitby's Five Points
- An Exposition of the New Testament (3 vols., 1746–8), which with his Exposition of the Old Testament (6 vols., 1748–63) forms his magnum opus
- A Collection of Sermons and Tracts
- A Dissertation Concerning the Antiquity of the Hebrew Language, Letters, Vowel-Points, and Accents (1767)
- A Body of Doctrinal Divinity (1767)
- A Body of Practical Divinity (1770).
John Gill was the first major writing Baptist theologian, his work retaining influence into the 21st century. Gill's relationship with hyper-Calvinism in English Baptist life is a matter of debate. Peter Toon has argued that Gill was himself a hyper-Calvinist, which would make Gill the father of Baptist hyper-Calvinism. Tom Nettles has argued that Gill was not a hyper-Calvinist himself, which would make him merely a precursor and hero to Baptist hyper-Calvinists.
- John Gill, "A Dissertation Concerning the Antiquity of the Hebrew Language, Letters, Vowel-Points and Accents", Vol. 3, p. 429.
- Daniel, Curt. Hyper-Calvinism and John Gill. Unpublished Ph.D. dissertation, University of Edinburgh, 1983.
- Ella, George (1995). John Gill and the Cause of God and Truth. Eggleston, England: Go-Publications.
- Murray, Iain H. Spurgeon v. Hyper-Calvinism: The Battle for Gospel Preaching. Banner of Truth, 2000. ISBN 0-85151-692-0
- Nettles, Thomas J. (1986). By His Grace and for His Glory: A Historical, Theological, and Practical Study of the Doctrines of Grace in Baptist Life. Grand Rapids: Baker Books. ISBN 0-8010-6742-1
- Oliver, Robert W. History of the English Calvinistic Baptists: 1771–1892. Banner of Truth, 2006. ISBN 0-85151-920-2
- Peter Toon, The Emergence of Hyper-Calvinism in English Nonconformity, 1689-1765. London: The Olive Tree, 1967.
- Rippon, John (1838). Brief Memoir of the Life and Writings of the Reverend John Gill. Reprint: Hess Publications, 1998. ISBN 0-87377-920-7
- John Gill's Exposition of the Old and New Testaments — his magnum opus
- The John Gill Archive — containing most of Gill's published works, including many sermons and tracts, The Cause of God and Truth, A Body of Doctrinal Divinity, and A Body of Practical Divinity, and Solomon's Song.
This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: Jackson, Samuel Macauley, ed. (1914). "article name needed". New Schaff–Herzog Encyclopedia of Religious Knowledge (third ed.). London and New York: Funk and Wagnalls.
|Pastor of the New Park Street Chapel