Fuller The Non-Calvinist?
by Tom Nettles
Editorial note: This is the first post in a series on Andrew Fuller’s theology. Here is the series so far: Fuller the Non-Calvinist? (Part 1), Fullerite: Doctrine of Inability (Part 2), Fuller and Irresistible Grace (Part 3), Fuller and the Atonement – 1/4 (Part 4), Fuller and the Atonement – 2/4 (Part 5), Fuller and the Atonement – 3/4 (Part 6), and Fuller and the Atonement 4/4 (Part 7).
It has been very entertaining recently to see the name and theology of Andrew Fuller set forth as one whose doctrinal pilgrimage served as a corrective to the Calvinism of the late eighteenth century. His position is supposed to be a model to shame present-day Calvinists for holding so tenaciously to the distinctive tenets of historical confessional Calvinism. If these brothers would embrace the full system of Andrew Fuller, that would virtually end the present polemical engagement on this issue. In fact, in future theological discussion, such an event would significantly rearrange the constituent members of the discussion and give an entirely different tone to the interchange. Recently, Fuller has been presented as a “moderate” Calvinist. Fuller was not unfamiliar with that term and even aligned himself on the issue. When a contemporary asked him about the ranges of Calvinism within Baptist life, Fuller responded, “There are three by which we commonly describe; namely, the high, the moderate, and the strict Calvinists.” The High Calvinists he considered as antinomian “more Calvinistic than Calvin himself.” They considered Fuller an Arminian, a characterization he firmly rejected. The moderate Calvinists were “half Arminian, or as they are called with us, Baxterians.” Those who….
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