But the first determined and direct assault against the HyperCalvinistic and Antinomian views prevalent at the time amongst the Baptists was in a book published by Fuller in 1785 and entitled The Gospel Worthy of All Acceptation, or the Duty of Sinners to Believe in Jesus Christ. Indeed, on considering the eminently scriptural and evangelical tone of this book it is almost incredible that it was the cause of such controversy. His purpose is to prove the obligation upon all men to believe whatsoever God declares and to obey whatsoever he commands, so that the moral law obliges all to whom the gospel is preached to exercise faith in Christ insomuch that it demands obedience to every declaration by God of his will. As Fuller deals with this point, he shows that the inability of man to conform in all points to God’s will, and therefore to the commandment to believe, is entirely a moral inability arising only from the corrupt nature of his heart and his enmity towards God, and not from any deficiency in his faculties or in the necessary natural abilities. Instead of excusing man for his unbelief and disobedience and releasing him from any obligation, this failure therefore only serves to increase the atrocity of his behaviour and to augment his guilt. Having proved the obligation that lies upon all who have heard, or have had opportunity to hear, the gospel to believe it, he then proceeds to answer the objections which are often put forward against this view: objections arising from the nature of man’s original holiness; the nature of predestination and the election of grace; man’s inability; the activity of the Spirit; and the necessity of a divine principle in order to believe. He very ably argues that the correct scriptural understanding of all these points is consistent with a belief in the general invitation of the gospel and in the duty of all to believe it.

Owen Thomas, The Atonement Controversy in Welsh Theological Literature & Debate 1707-1841, tran. John Aaron (Edinburgh: The Banner of Truth, 2002), 131-132. [First published in 1874.]

Credit to Bob Schilling for the find.

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