Questions 1-3: (SW – Sam Waldron, CD – Curt Daniel)
SW: “You wrote your dissertation for the University of Edinburgh in 1983 on “Hyper-Calvinism and John Gill.” That’s an interesting choice–especially way back then at the beginnings of the Reformed Baptist movement. Why did you choose this subject?”
CD: “I chose the subject of Hyper-Calvinism for my dissertation because it would give me the opportunity to study pertinent issues that I was hammering out in my own theology. There was relatively little current literature on the subject at the time. Having been involved in evangelism as a young Christian (I was saved at 20 and began my doctoral studies at 24), I was curious as to how and why some Calvinists misused the doctrines of grace in order to stultify evangelism.”
SW: “Do you believe that Gill was a Hyper-Calvinist? On what basis? And exactly what do you mean by this?”
CD: “John Gill has been considered the main Hyper-Calvinist by many writers. I showed that he fit the definition—he denied the free offer, and duty faith, restricted common grace, and denied the universal saving will of God in the gospel. The purpose of my dissertation was not just to define Hyper-Calvinism, but also to investigate it and explain it. I was not allowed by my professors to refute Hyper-Calvinism, but I did show how Fuller and others did so. I plan to write a long book on Hyper-Calvinism in which I will refute it.”
SW: “Why is it important to understand correctly the issues you addressed in your dissertation?”
CD: “It is still important to consider these issues because Hyper-Calvinism is still with us. It has always been a tiny movement, but its proponents are quite vocal on the internet and in print. Some young Calvinists are attracted to it because of an over-reaction to Arminian abuses.”
Part 3 coming soon.