The cause of Christ and truth: Arguments for the deity of Christ in the anti-Socinian writings of John Gill, Dan Taylor, and Andrew Fuller
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SubjectJesus Christ Divinity.
Gill, John, 1697-1771.
Fuller, Andrew, 1754-1815.
Taylor, Dan, 1738-1816.
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This thesis examines the arguments for the deity of Christ in the anti-Socinian writings of three Baptist pioneers: John Gill, Dan Taylor, and Andrew Fuller. Chapter 1 examines the origins and doctrines of Socinianism, both in its Polish and British forms. Historical founders of Socinianism, such as Laelius and Faustus Socinus, were studied, as well as the beginnings of Unitarianism in Britain. Chapter 2 discusses the arguments for the deity of Christ in the writings of John Gill (1697-1771). It highlights the use of arguments for the eternal Sonship of Christ as used in many of his works, especially The Trinity Stated and Vindicated . Chapter 3 examines the arguments used for the deity of Christ in writings of Dan Taylor, founder of the New Connection of General Baptists. It also highlights the historical background of the controversies of the General Baptists, especially involving Matthew Caffyn. Chapter 4 discusses the arguments for the deity of Christ in the specifically anti-Socinian of Andrew Fuller. Fuller wrote courageously against Socinian luminaries such as Dr. Joseph Priestley and Dr. Joshua Toulmin. Chapter 5 compares and contrasts the methods and theologies of these three men, showing the great deal of harmony between them as well as the disconcerting contradictions, especially on the subject of the Trinity. This work argues that these three men used different arguments for the deity of Christ for different reasons. Gill used classical, creedal, and Augustinian arguments that relied heavily on the eternal relationships between the persons of the Trinity. Taylor used simpler arguments, based on the historicity and reliability of the biblical text and its apostolic witnesses. Finally, Andrew Fuller argued directly against the foundation of Socinianism, arguing that the Socinian view of the deity of Christ directly contradicted their emphasis on ethics and morals.