John Gill: Heretic (1)

“Let us therefore, as many as be perfect, be thus minded: and if in any thing ye be otherwise minded, God shall reveal even this unto you” (Philippians 3:15).

Paul, in verse 2 warns the Philippian believers about “dogs” and those of the “concision [party].” From verse 3 we see that those “dogs” whom Paul warned about were those who did NOT glory in Christ Jesus and who DID trust in flesh. Those dogs who glory and trust in the flesh rather than Christ are hostile and enemies of the cross of Christ (verse 18). Those whom Paul called down the anathema of God upon (Galatians 1:8-9) could certainly be described as “dogs” and “enemies of the cross of Christ.” With this brief preface let’s see what Gill has to say regarding Philippians 3:15:

“… and if in anything ye be otherwise minded; as to seek for justification by the works of the law, or partly by Christ and partly by the law, and to imagine and expect perfection in this life:

God shall reveal even this unto you; such errors will be made manifest sooner or later; the day will declare them, and such wood, hay, and stubble, will be burnt up by the fire, which will reveal every man’s work” (1 Corinthians 3:12. Gill’s commentary on the whole Bible).

Gill believed that the errors of justification by the works of the law or justification partly by Christ and partly by the law or perfectionism were “wood, hay, and stubble.” And just to make sure, let us see what Gill said about “wood, hay, and stubble” in 1 Corinthians 3:12:

“wood, hay, stubble; by which are meant, not heretical doctrines, damnable heresies, such as are diametrically opposite to, and overturn the foundation; for one and the same man builds the former, as these, and is himself saved at last; neither of which is true, of such that deliver doctrines of devils” (Gill’s commentary on the whole Bible).

1 Corinthians 3:11 says that Jesus Christ is the only foundation. Gill believed that the errors of justification by the works of the law or justification partly by Christ and partly by the law or perfectionism were NOT heretical doctrines, damnable heresies, doctrines of devils, such as are diametrically opposite to, and overturn the foundation!

Justification by works of the law does not overturn the foundation of Jesus Christ according to Gill. I am hard-pressed to think of any modern day inclusivist liberal theologian who could say it better than Gill did. Incredible.

Those who thought differently in verse 15 — to whom Paul said God would “also reveal this to you” — are obviously not the dogs in verse 2 or those who are enemies of the cross in verse 18! Those who are being warned about dogs are NOT like-minded with the dogs. Those who think differently in verse 15 do not think differently than Paul as to the sole ground of acceptance before God. Those who think differently about the ground of acceptance before God are the dogs (Philippians 3:2) and those who were anathematized (Galatians 1:8-9).

Gill’s belief is that those self-righteous religionists in Galatians 1:8-9, Philippians 3:2, 18 are not anathema at all, but who will at last be saved. Gill contradicts the apostle Paul. For Paul calls these doctrines damnable heresy and antithetical to the gospel of Christ, while the irenic and charitable Gill calls them “wood, hay, and stubble.” Paul says that those who believe and preach such insidious heresy are under God’s wrath and curse (cf. Galatians 1:8-9). Gill says they will be saved at last.

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