17 comments on “Andrew Fuller on the Content of Saving Faith [Nathan Finn] | The Confessing Baptist

  1. Are you sure you like Fuller? Some claim he became opposed to Calvinsm ~

    He failed logic. Lumpkins quotes Allen quoting Morden* on Fuller:

    ALLEN: …proof for Fuller’s shift can also be found in a comparison of the first and second editions of Gospel Worthy where he discusses particular redemption. I own both of these works and have compared them carefully. The section on particular redemption in the first edition is almost completely rewritten in the second edition. All references to particular redemption in the sense that Christ suffered only for the sins of the elect are excised by Fuller. Fuller abandoned his Owenic pecuniary (commercial) argument that Jesus’ death was a literal debt payment. This commercial argument by Owen is one of the linchpin arguments for limited atonement.

    As Morden correctly noted, Fuller now argued against Owen’s concept of Christ’s death as a literal debt payment, stating that if Christ’s death were a literal debt payment, “then it would be inconsistent, not only with ‘indefinite invitations’ but also with ‘free forgiveness of sin’, for sinners in the Bible were directed to apply for forgiveness as supplicants rather than claimants.” Fuller believed, as Morden confirmed, that no inconsistency ensued from this “special design” in the death of Christ in its application to the elect and that all men everywhere were under obligation to repent and believe the gospel. Only if limited atonement in the Owenic sense is maintained is there an inconsistency.

    This theological issue is of immense importance to our discussion of preaching and the Great Commission. The death of Christ for the sins of all people and not just the elect becomes the ground for the indiscriminate preaching of the gospel and the “bold proclamation” to the whole world. “Fuller both clarified and modified his theology of salvation between the years 1785 and 1801, years in which this theology was a crucial motor for change in the life of the Particular Baptist denomination. The most important change was his shift from a limited to a general view of the atonement during his dispute with the Evangelical Arminian Dan Taylor.”

    * Peter Morden, Offering Christ to the World: Andrew Fuller (1754–1815) and the Revival of Eighteenth Century Particular Baptist Life.


  2. Lumpy: FULLERISM OR CALVINISM? SBC is the former, apparently.


    Andrew Fuller’s alternative to Calvinistic missiology — the young, self-taught theologian struck the match which fueled the firestorm on English soil beginning the necessary but difficult move away from the crusty, spiritually stale Hyper-Calvinism embodied in Particular Baptists like John Gill.

    Calvin’s under-developed missiology cancels out any rightful place Calvinism may legitimately claim among modern Baptists who are, as he has argued, more the descendants of Andrew Fuller than John Calvin.


  3. Finally, Fuller himself from The Gospel Worthy of All Acceptation:

    “If the atonement of Christ were considered as the literal payment of a debt … it might, for aught I know, be inconsistent with indefinite invitations. … On the other hand, if the atonement of Christ proceed not on the principle of commercial, but of moral justice, or justice as it relates to crime – if its grand object were to express the Divine displeasure against sin, (Rom. viii. 3,) … if it be in itself equal to the salvation of the whole world, were the whole world to embrace it … no such inconsistency can justly be ascribed to it.”

    “The facts afford proof that Christ, by his death, opened a door of hope to sinners of the human race as sinners; affording a ground for their being invited, without distinction, to believe and be saved.”

    “I apprehend, then, that many important mistakes have arisen from considering the interposition of Christ under the notion of paying a debt. … Sin is a debt only in a metaphorical sense; properly speaking it is a crime, and satisfaction for it requires to be made not on pecuniary, but on moral principles. The reason of this difference is easily perceived. Debts are transferable, but crimes are not.”

    “If the satisfaction of Christ was in itself sufficient for the whole world, there is no further propriety in asking, ‘Whose sins were imputed to Christ?’ Or, ‘For whom did He die as a substitute?’ Than as it is thereby inquired, ‘Who are the persons whom He intended finally to save?’ … In short, we must either acknowledge an objective fulness in Christ’s atonement, sufficient for the salvation of the whole world to believe in Him; or, in opposition to the Scripture and common sense, confine our invitation to believe, to such persons as have believed already.”

    “If satisfaction was made on the principle of debtor and creditor, and that which was paid was just of sufficient value to liquidate a given number of sins, and to redeem a certain number of sinners, and no more, it should seem that it could not be duty of any but the elect, nor theirs till it was revealed to them that they were of the elect, to rely upon it.”

    No wonder Fuller’s conditionalism and universalism are embraced by Arminians! 😦


  4. Would you say Christ’s sacrifice was sufficient to save all, if God had chosen to do so? I must admit this is a tricky question for determinists such as you and I, and I have gone back and forth on how best to view sin and its payment.


  5. This was very edifying and helpful as I considered this years ago: http://archive.org/details/atonement00hodg

    Particularly “Part II, The Design or Intended Application of the Atonement.”

    Of course, the question is moot, as God designed the atonement to pay for all the sins of all his elect. He chose to do such, just as he chose to make the sky blue & the grass green, and other colors were not options, given his immutability. Of course, had he been differently composed (disposed), they would have been colored differently. He is not and they are not.

    It IS tricky, and we mustn’t go beyond what is written (or “by good & necessary consequence…”), or we’re into the ‘How-many-angels-can-dance-on-the-head-of-a-pin?’ kind of thing.


  6. Oh I definitely (pardon the pun) believe God’s intent was to save only the elect. I do not accept the view that God has mutually exclusive wills, with one stronger than the other (Piper, for example). I know R.C. Sproul rejects the “sufficient for all, efficacious for the elect” formula, but I have yet to actually get around to listening to him on the subject.


  7. Well, Piper follows the Fullers Andy & Danny, doesn’t he?

    I can’t recall if I’ve heard R.C. on this, but you’ll not find a better logician or exegete than A. Alexander, methinks.


  8. Are you saying they’re theologically related? I don’t think Andrew was guilty of half the dangerous stuff Daniel is, but I’m sure there’s overlap somewhere, just like there’s overlap with us, too…


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