Thursday, February 13, 2014


I can never remember reading about any light being shone in understanding theological matters, no matter how orthodox, without there being, at least some, charges of heresy, or something similar. There seems to be a tendency to jump to conclusions about what someone says or writes, without careful examination of the teaching, or facts.

That has certainly been true historically, and still true today, especially in regard to the New Covenant, which, some seem to think is a new thing.

During the latter few years I've sometimes been amused by the knee-jerk negative comments, but, more often concerned for those (some in "high places") who make them, when they, who ought to know better, get themselves worked up about something without careful investigation.

I am a firm believer in the great doctrines of grace as espoused in the Great Reformation, but, I abhor the loveless, ungracious way in which disagreement is handled, by and often poorly informed and pettishly, and petulantly, voiced, by those who share my doctrinal convictions.

A chap, by the name of David H J Gay has recently published a book called “Four Antinomians Tried and Vindicated”

It can be read online/downloaded at the following site:

The book looks at the lives and charges which were leveled at these three men; John Saltmarsh, Tobias Crisp and John Eaton, names which are not familiar to many today, yet well known in 17th century Calvinistic circles.

Saltmarsh, Crisp and Eaton were labelled Antinomians by 17th century Calvinistic Puritans who got their tails in a twist because of the writing and preaching of these men. They were was dismissed as heretical and highly dangerous.  The disappointing aspect of what happened to these fellows, is that under the guise of concern, much ignorance was being shown. Even more disappointing is the fact that this behavior is still going on today.

From the beginning Gay warns the reader, “.....if, without looking into the matter for yourself, you are prepared to accept the verdict of the aforesaid Reformed writers, then this book is not for you. If, however, having read the small print, you are still disposed to take the risk, read on. If you do, and if your experience is anything like mine, your heart will be warmed. Your eyes will be opened to what you have been missing. In perusing the works of these four 'antinomians', I have found Christ, and the free grace of God in justification, set before me in a way I had not known before. As a consequence, I have come to realise that, as a believer, being in Christ makes me far richer than ever I had thought. For decades, I have had a dry, technical, academic -- altogether too low and impoverished -- view of justification. I simply had not realised how vast a treasure we believers have in Christâs free justification of us. Time and again, of course, I had sung: 'How vast the treasure we possess' and 'How vast the benefits divine which we in Christ possess!', but I had simply not appreciated what I was singing about! In producing this volume, that has been changed; permanently, I hope. What is more, I have found these four men, as the New Testament, repeatedly calling me to godliness. But -- and here's the rub -- I have found them telling me again and again that sanctification is not by the law. No! They have one theme, the theme of the New Testament. Which is? Christ is all! These men have driven me to Christ, and made me see that I must look to him â not to the law, not to my works, but to Christ -- for everything: for justification, sanctification, assurance and glorification. And for this these men should be commended, not vilified. In publishing this volume, therefore, besides doing good to others, I hope I have gone some way towards repaying the great debt I owe them”.

I cannot help wondering what some would demand from those who ought to be embraced as brethren, and what would be understood as actually causing one to be a brother/sister in Christ.

C. H. Spurgeon obviously had a much more Scriptural, view of the words of fellows such as these, as he observed, "Antinomianism was the term applied to the teaching of Dr. Tobias Crisp... He was called an Antinomian, but the term was misapplied." Pages 123-124. The Sword and The Trowel. (London: Passmore and Alabaster, 1887).

The Prince of Preachers commented again, saying, "Never was there a sounder divine than Crisp, and never one who preached the gospel more fully to all under heaven." Page 104. The Reverend C. H. Spurgeon's Anecdotes and Stories, Oliver Creyton, Editor. (London). 

Even the presiding officer at the Westminster Assembly, spoke positively of Crisp. It was William Twisse, who remarked that he had, "read Dr. Crisp's Sermons, and could give no reason why they were opposed, but because so many were converted by his preaching”; he added. I think rather pointedly, “so few by ours." Pages 67 in John Rippon's, A Brief Memoir of the Life and Writings of John Gill. (London: J. Bennett, 1838).

To crown the expressions of honour, Thomas Cole, the Principal of St. Mary's Hall, Oxford, in 1656, said,"If I had only one hundred pounds in the world, and Dr. Crisp's book could not be procured for less than fifty, I would give that sum rather than be without it; I have found more satisfaction in it, than in all the books in the world, except the Bible." Pages vii. "Memoir of the Life of Tobias Crisp." 

Heretical and highly dangerous. Huh?

Crisps sermons, “Christ Alone Exalted, With explanatory notes by John Gill, The New Covenant of Free Grace” can be read, or, downloaded at:

John Gill wrote this of Tobias Crisp:

 “........... being far from pride, vanity, and self-conceitedness, and full of meekness, lowliness, and tender-heartedness; whereby it appeared, that the gospel of Christ had a very great influence upon his soul, and which engaged him to preach it freely …... but reproach and persecution, his doctrine being falsely charged with Antinomianism …....”

How I wish these words could be said of any of us who dare to be so quick with word and pen.

Neither John Saltmarsh, Tobias Crisp or John Eaton were antinomians, but they did understand what it means to live under the New Covenant ratified by the life, death and resurrection of our Lord, Jesus Christ, which, by the way is no new fad, but the old truth,of Ephesians 2:8,9, intended from creation.

By the way: A good read can be found here!