Strict and Particular

William Gadsby

I’ve added a new confession on the What Baptists Believe page. It is the confession of a Strict and Particular Baptist group known as the Gospel Standard Baptists. These men of the Lord include such Baptist greats as: hymnwriter William Gadsby, JC Philpot, and John Warburton. They publish what may be the longest running magazine (same name) published in England. I’ve heard about this group by listening to various church history lectures over the past several years, but don’t know very much about them.

[WARNING: The following quote has been sanitized for your protection. Note: Abraham’s Seed blog does not endorse the governmental theory of the atonement]

I’m sure I tend to be way too Fullerite for these good brothers, but I respect their stand, and I’m interested in investigating what these men have to say.


You can learn a little history of this Baptist group at this link: Strict and Particular

The articles of faith are linked: HERE

See also, this site: Strict Baptists

12 thoughts on “Strict and Particular

    • Oh no!!!! …and I have the ‘Andrew Fuller Center’ at SBTS as one of my blogroll links. What is going on here? I think I’ve been duped…

      I am not a Fullerite – I only meant to say – in hyper-calvinist language – that I believe the gospel should be preached to every man and every man should be commanded to repent and trust Christ.

      I’m going to edit my remark above.

    • The Fuller Center has been removed from the blog roll. What was I to expect from men that hold the seminary in such high regard?

      ‘Tis a shame!

      Thank you for you vigilance, Captain!

      • Are you referring to the Andrew Fuller Center sponsored by Southern Baptist Theological Seminary? I bet it was named before the Calvinists took back over, but it looks for the most part to contain generally helpful materials. Perhaps an inquiry to the folks who run it would be in order, to see why Reformed Baptists would want to continue to promote his materials, so that you can’t be blamed for throwing out the baby with the bath water.

        Here’s an interesting paragraph about Fuller’s view on the atonement from some book on Google Books:

        “Fuller seemingly derived from his Particular Baptist roots some adherence to penal substitution as the central meaning of Christ’s atonement, although he avoided the subject in his personal confession of faith. In refuting Socinianism he insisted that the love of God is the “cause” of the atonement and not that the death of Christ obtained the love of God. In writing to John Ryland, he denied “that God for one moment was angry or displeased with” Jesus. Since “imputation ought not to be confounded with transfer,” then “all that is transferred in the imputation of sin is its penal effects,” and thus Jesus himself was not guilty of the sins of the elect—a view that Fuller attributed to Tobias Crisp. In answering the Deists, Fuller asserted that “debt” and “ransom” are terms “borrowed from pecuniary transactions” and used “metaphorically.” “As sin is not a pecuniary, but a moral debt, so the atonement for it is not a pecuniary, but a moral ransom.” Along with this honed penal substitutionary view Fuller came to embrace aspects of the governmental or penal example theory, first set forth by the Dutch jurist Hugo Grotius (1583-1645), according to which the necessity for the death of Jesus lay in the rectoral duties of the benevolent God and his intention to discourage human sin by the public exhibition of his subjection of his Son to cruel death. The governmental theory was most likely mediated to Fuller through certain New England theologians who had embraced it: Joseph Bellamy (1719-1790), Samuel Hopkins (1721-1803), Stephen West (1735-1819), and Jonathan Edwards, Jr. (1745-1801). Hence Fuller wrote:

        “The incapacity of God to show mercy without an atonement, is no other than that of a righteous governor, who, whatever good-will he may bear to an offender, cannot admit the thought of passing by the offense, without some public expression of his displeasure against it; that, while mercy triumphs, it may not be at the expense of law and equity, and of the general good.” (Baptist Theology: A Four Century Study, pages 179-180)

      • Worthy quote, Cap’n. Good research. Google books is a gold mine!

        I’m troubled to see such names as Jonathan Edwards (Jr?), Samuel Hopkins (student of Jonathan Edwards Sr), and Tobias Crisp listed as those who affirm this doctrine.

        As a Baptist, we hold Andrew Fuller and William Carey in high regard, as those are the men who spawned the modern missionary movement. I’ve thought of Andrew Fuller as no more than a evangelical Calvinist. Too bad…

        From the Andrew Fuller Center, I’ve found a short work, by Michael Haykin, on Fuller which can be found HERE. A relevant quote follows:

        “In a letter to his close friend John Ryland, Jr. (1753–1825), written on April 21, 1794, Fuller thanked his friend for sending him a copy of “Dr. Edwards [i.e. Jonathan Edwards, Jr.] on Free Grace and Atonement.” He had read it “with great pleasure. I suppose I read it sometime ago; but I never relished it so well before.” The following January, Fuller informed John Sutcliff that he had just received a package of pamphlets from the younger Edwards. Among them was Stephen West’s The Scripture Doctrine of the Atonement Proposed to Careful Examination (1785), a book that helped to make popular the governmental theory of the atonement among certain sectors of New England Calvinism. So precious did Fuller regard this item by West, that he told Sutcliff, “I w[oul]d not take 1/1 [a guinea]” for it.

        Fuller subsequently embraced certain aspects of the New Divinity’s governmentalism,30 but he did not accept everything that he read in the books and pamphlets of his New England mentors.31 In the letter to Ryland, for instance, in which he praised the younger Edwards’ book on the death of Christ, he admitted: “I do not coincide with every thing it contains.”

  1. Gentlemen,

    Excellent discussion.

    I only found Abraham’s Seed this morning.

    Having read some critiques of Fuller in the past I have been less than settled with regard to his soteriology. At the end of the day, however, it seems to me that he did not finally hold to particular redemption nor to penal substitution.

    I recently ran across a summary on Fuller and submit it for your review. I’d be most interested to know your thoughts.

    Soli Deo Gloria!

    • First of all, I’m pleased to make your e-cquaintance, Greg. I appreciate the post you’ve linked to here. The work is very interesting, especially the part about Fuller’s works having been sold at Metropolitan Tabernacle. It sounds like the early stages of New England generalism and universalism worked their way into the English Particular Baptist movement and some brothers were wise enough to see the problem and that split the movement. You certainly cannot be a ‘Particular’ Baptist if you don’t believe in Particular-ism.

      The work referenced in that blog post is: A DEFENCE OF PARTICULAR REDEMPTION by WILLIAM RUSHTON, 1831.

      Charles Hodge’s critique of the belief is: The Governmental Theory.

      A wikipedia summary is: Governmental theory of atonement

      Charles Finney’s Defense is: God’s Moral Government

      I hope to read up on these when I get a chance and post a summary.

  2. Andrew,

    I am pleased to make your e-cquaintance as well.

    I am thankful to our Lord that in his providence I was led to your blog earlier today. I’m looking forward to browsing through the rich resources you have compiled and following your posts and comments.

    Thank you for the link to Rushton’s work. I’m excited to have an opportunity to read it. I did a very quick survey and found Dr. Gill referenced. I suspect that Mr. Rushton and I will have much in common.

    May our sovereign Lord continue to bless you as you proclaim his glorious gospel.

    • Andrew,

      Thanks for pointing out Rushton’s “A Defense of Particular Redemption”. I had never read the book. I just finished it this evening.

      In my opinion, it is a tremendously positive statement of the doctrines of grace. It is an even more powerful refutation of every type of indefinite atonement theory, specifically Fullerism.

      I found a PDF version of the book and downloaded it. I use a free PDF softwaretool to to highlight and underline and can save the marked up document.

      Here is the link to the PDF:

      I plan to post the link to the book on my blog in the next day or two.

      God bless you brother. Keep up the good work.

  3. Hindsight…

    In hindsight, I think I should have described myself as a ‘Marrow Man’, rather than a ‘Fullerite’.

    Now John, don’t go “diggin’ up no dirt” on my man Rev. Thomas Boston.


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