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JOHN GILL & JONATHAN EDWARDS

“To see Him, the King, in his beauty, is a ravishing sight, and which fills [the soul] with joy unspeakable and full of glory.” Sounds like Jonathan Edwards, right? Or another one of the divines from his affective stream of piety?

No. It is from the much-maligned John Gill (d.1771). See his Body of Divinity, p.777.

There is much more in Gill than dry-as-dust theology—there is life and power and joy in Christ. While I do not deny there are some theological problems with his Calvinism, at its heart it was drawn from the same well as Edwards’.

Someone needs to compare the theology of Edwards and Gill. I am amazed that no one ever has.

Thanks Michael

Ever since I entered the world of Gill scholarship, guided by your wonderful Brill volume *(which ought to be reprinted in paperback!), I've been amazed at the way most other scholarship has continued to perpetuate the old myths. Barry Howson's recent article in Eusebia has illustrated the incredible complexity of his eschatological thinking. We need much more of this kind of scholarship - especially focusing on his Christ-centered vision.

I agree with Crawford 100%, about the myths and the Brill volume! Now here's a question for one who is both a Baptist and Patristics historian: has anyone ever studied Gill's use of the church fathers in his writings? Is there even enough usage to justify a study? I have been thinking recently about how Baptists seem to (by and large) ignore the fathers, and I figured if any Baptist theologian really engaged them, it was probably Gill. Any thoughts?

Amen, Crawford.

Nathan:

There is more than enough to study in Gill on his use of the Fathers. He used them prolifically in his THE CAUSE OF GOD AND TRUTH, and his BODY OF DIVINITY also makes use of them. In this regard he is one of the last of the Reformed scholastic theologians, men like van Mastricht.

Thanks for the post, Nathan.

Michael.

I can't tell you how often I've been warned against Gill, heard him maligned, etc.!

Yet, even with his problems, I've found his insights to be biblical, experientially useful, historically informed, and pastorally sensitive. I make sure to read Gill's commentary on any passage I preach.

I love his references to scholarship/traditions from antiquity.

Pastor Shane:

I also usually consult Gill on a biblical etxt I might be speaking on. Whether or not one always agrees with him, he is a worthy commentator to use regularly.

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