Tobias Crisp

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Tobias Crisp D.D. (1600–1643) was an English clergyman and reputed antinomian. In the end he proved a divisive figure for English Calvinists, with a serious controversy arising from the republication of his works in the 1690s.[1]


He was the third son of Ellis Crisp, once sheriff of London, who died in 1625, and was born in 1600 in Bread Street, London. His elder brother was Sir Nicholas Crisp. After leaving Eton College he matriculated at Christ's College, Cambridge, remaining at Cambridge until he had taken his B.A., when he removed to Balliol College, Oxford, graduating M.A. in 1626.[2] About this time he married Mary, daughter of Rowland Wilson, a London merchant, an M.P. and future member of the council of state, by whom he had thirteen children.

In 1627 he was presented to the rectory of Newington Butts, from which he was removed a few months later on account of having been a party to a simoniacal contract. Later in the same year he was presented to the rectory of Brinkworth in Wiltshire, where he became popular as preacher and host. When he obtained the degree of D.D. is not known, but it was before 1642, when he was compelled to leave his rectory because of persecution by royalist soldiers.

He retired to London in August 1642. While at Brinkworth he had been suspected of antinomianism, and as soon as his opinions became known from his preaching in London, his theories on the doctrine of free grace were bitterly attacked. Towards the close of this year he held a controversy on this subject with fifty-two opponents.[3] He died of smallpox on 27 February 1643, and was buried in St. Mildred's Church, Bread Street.


After his death his discourses were published by Robert Lancaster under the title Christ alone Exalted, in editions from 1643. In 1690 his Works were republished with additions by one of his sons, and again in 1755 by John Gill, minister of Carter Lane Baptist Chapel, near Tooley Street.


  1. ^ Barry H. Howson, Erroneous and Schismatical Opinions: The Questions of Orthodoxy Regarding the Theology of Hanserd Knollys (c. 1599-1691) (2001), p. 158.
  2. ^ "Crispe, Tobias (CRSP620T)". A Cambridge Alumni Database. University of Cambridge. 
  3. ^ An account is given in Nelson's Life of Bishop Bull, pp. 260, 270. Robert Nelson, Life of Dr George Bull Late Lord Bishop of St David's Oxford: OUP (1846, but written 1713)


 This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain"Crisp, Tobias". Dictionary of National Biography. London: Smith, Elder & Co. 1885–1900. 

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