My recent book review of A. Chadwick Mauldin's work entitled, Fullerism as Opposed to Calvinism inspired a follow-up piece citing Dr. David Allen's helpful analysis of Andrew Fuller's theological shift from Hyper-Calvinism to High Calvinism to Moderate Calvinism. In a chapter entitled "Preaching for a Great Commission Resurgence” found in The Great Commission Resurgence: Fulfilling God’s Mandate in our Time, edited by Chuck Lawless and Adam Greenway (B&H, 2010, pp.281-298), Dr. Allen expounds on Andrew Fuller and his move away from what had become the theological norm of English Particular Baptists...>>>
Dr. Allen writes...
...Let us return to consider the case of one of our most famous and celebrated Baptist forefathers, Andrew Fuller. Growing up amidst the stifling influence of 18th century hyper-Calvinism, Fuller saw first-hand its debilitating effects on preaching, evangelism and missions. Through a careful study of the Scriptures and the influence of John Bunyan and Jonathan Edwards,3 Fuller moved away from hyper-Calvinism and developed two key theses that he argued brilliantly in his famous work The Gospel Worthy of All Acceptation.4 First is the duty of all sinners to believe the gospel. All sinners should be encouraged through preaching to believe in Christ. Second, Fuller argued that it is the duty of preachers to offer the gospel to all people. Thus, preachers should make every effort to exhort everyone to believe in Christ.5 Key to understanding Fuller’s two theses is the influence of Jonathan Edwards concerning the natural ability of sinners to respond to the gospel but their moral inability to do so.6 This Edwardsean distinction provided Fuller with the theological groundwork for his Gospel Worthy.
One of the most fascinating aspects of Fuller’s Gospel Worthy concerns the influence of the General Baptist Dan Taylor on Fuller’s view of the extent of the atonement. In the first edition of Fuller’s Gospel Worthy, published in 1785, it is evident that he was committed to particular redemption (limited atonement) in the Owenic sense of that term.7 However, following his debates with Dan Taylor, Fuller was persuaded that particular redemption in the sense of limited substitution did not comport with Scripture.
Taylor had argued the case for universal atonement and that universal invitations for sinners to believe the gospel could only be properly grounded in a universal provision in Christ’s death.8 Taylor continued to point out that if limited atonement were true, then there is no provision at all for the non-elect in the death of Christ. God could not command something of sinners that is naturally impossible for them to do. Fuller felt the brunt of this argument and could not answer it. He later confessed in 1803: “I tried to answer my opponent . . . but I could not. I found not merely his reasonings, but the Scriptures themselves, standing in my way.”9 Morden pointed out how Fuller, in his reply to Dan Taylor, “stated his revised position on the atonement clearly and openly.”10 Morden’s conclusion is striking and important for the discussion to follow: Fuller’s view of the extent of the atonement “could now properly be called ‘general.’”11 As a Calvinist, Fuller’s concept of redemption was still “particular” in the sense that the particularity was now located not in the extent of the atonement, but in the design and application of the atonement.
Fuller believed the elect were determined in the elective purpose of God in eternity past. For Fuller, a universal atonement “safeguarded the basis upon which the all-important universal calls to repentance and faith could be made.”12 Everyone has the natural ability to respond to the gospel call “because not only did they have the natural powers enabling them to do so, but there was, potentially, provision for them in the death of Christ.”13 Proof of Fuller’s shift on the extent of the atonement can be found in his Reply to Philanthropos where he admitted he had been mistaken about the terms “ransom” and “propitiation” being applied only to those who were among the elect. Now these terms were “applicable to all mankind in general . . . ,” an admission which clearly shows Fuller had abandoned limited substitution/atonement.14
Additional proof for Fuller’s shift can also be found in a comparison of the first and second editions of Gospel Worthy where he discusses particular redemption.15 I own both of these works and have compared them carefully. The section on particular redemption in the first edition is almost completely rewritten in the second edition.16 All references to particular redemption in the sense that Christ suffered only for the sins of the elect are excised by Fuller. Fuller abandoned his Owenic pecuniary (commercial) argument that Jesus’ death was a literal debt payment. This commercial argument by Owen is one of the linchpin arguments for limited atonement.
As Morden correctly noted, Fuller now argued against Owen’s concept of Christ’s death as a literal debt payment, stating that if Christ’s death were a literal debt payment, “then it would be inconsistent, not only with ‘indefinite invitations’ but also with ‘free forgiveness of sin’, for sinners in the Bible were directed to apply for forgiveness as supplicants rather than claimants.”17 Fuller believed, as Morden confirmed, that no inconsistency ensued from this “special design” in the death of Christ in its application to the elect and that all men everywhere were under obligation to repent and believe the gospel. Only if limited atonement in the Owenic sense is maintained is there an inconsistency.18
This theological issue is of immense importance to our discussion of preaching and the Great Commission. The death of Christ for the sins of all people and not just the elect becomes the ground for the indiscriminate preaching of the gospel and the “bold proclamation” to the whole world. Morden also noted that Fuller’s second edition of The Gospel Worthy contained “a new note of boldness, indeed urgency, as he pressed the practical consequences of his thesis on his readers. In the first edition, Fuller gave several notes of caution concerning preaching. Concerned to guard against careless evangelistic preaching, he urged that hearers should ‘pray to God for an interest in his salvation.’”19
Morden continued by noting that in Fuller’s second edition, these cautions were eliminated. Now Fuller wrote about the danger of preachers being too reticent in preaching the gospel. “By 1801 he was clear that the need of the hour was not caution – rather it was committed gospel preaching.”20 Morden concluded: “Fuller both clarified and modified his theology of salvation between the years 1785 and 1801, years in which this theology was a crucial motor for change in the life of the Particular Baptist denomination. The most important change was his shift from a limited to a general view of the atonement during his dispute with the Evangelical Arminian Dan Taylor.”21
Carey’s Enquiry was “deeply indebted” to Andrew Fuller.22 Both men viewed Matthew 28:19–20 as the key biblical text for missions. As a result of their vision and commitment, the “Particular Baptist Society for Propagating the Gospel Among the Heathen” was founded in October 1792. Fuller’s Gospel Worthy provided the theological foundation for a world-wide missionary outreach that would characterize Baptists to this day.
 Incidentally, both Bunyan and Edwards were moderate-Calvinists with respect to the atonement. See my “The Extent of the Atonement: Limited or Universal?” in Whosoever Will: A Biblical-Theological Evaluation and Critique of Five-Point Calvinism, eds. David L. Allen and Steve Lemke (Nashville: B&H, 2010).
 The Gospel Worthy of All Acceptation, or the Duty of Sinners to Believe in Jesus Christ, with Corrections and Editions; to which is Added an Appendix, on the Necessity of a Holy Disposition in Order to Believing in Christ, in Fuller’s Works, vol. 2, 328–416. Fuller’s Gospel Worthy was first published in 1785, but a second edition with his revisions was published in 1801. The second edition appears in Fuller’s Works.
 Peter Morden, Offering Christ to the World: Andrew Fuller (1754–1815) and the Revival of Eighteenth Century Particular Baptist Life, in Studies in Baptist History and Thought 8 (Carlisle, Cumbria, UK/Waynesboro, GA: Paternoster, 2003), 26–27. This work is an excellent biography of Fuller. As Morden noted, Fuller followed Jonathan Edwards’ concept of natural and moral inability in sinners. All the unregenerate have natural ability to respond to the gospel, but none has the moral ability to respond to the gospel. Fuller believed no one can respond apart from electing grace and the regenerating work of the Spirit (Morden, Offering Christ, 44).
 Ibid., 49. By “moral inability,” Edwards and Fuller meant that no one would come to Christ apart from the work of the Holy Spirit. Morden correctly noted the “natural” and “moral” distinction has been criticized even by some in the Reformed tradition (Ibid., 61).
 See Gospel Worthy, 1st ed., 132–39. “Owenic” has reference to John Owen’s famous The Death of Death in the Death of Christ, the classic volume on the subject of particular redemption (limited atonement).
 Morden, Offering Christ, 69. It should be noted that Fuller did register his praise for Owen, however this does not argue for any continued agreement with Owen’s limited substitution perspective.
 Six Letters to Dr. Ryland Respecting the Controversy with the Rev. A. Booth, in Fuller’s Works, II,
709–10. Also cited in Morden, Offering Christ, 70.
 Morden, Offering Christ, 70. For Fuller’s reply, see Reply to Philanthropos, in Fuller’s Works, II,
 Morden, Offering Christ, 70.
 Ibid., 72.
 Ibid. Morden’s statement is clarified when one understands him to mean that the potentiality is in the application, not the provision. This is the point he is arguing in the paragraph.
 Ibid. See Reply to Philanthropos, in Fuller’s Works, II, 496, and 550 respectively.
 Morden, Offering Christ, 73–74, illustrates some of the substantive changes.
 See Gospel Worthy, 1st ed., 132–39 and Gospel Worthy, in Fuller’s Works, II, 373–75.
 Morden, Offering Christ, 73–74. The well-known nineteenth century Calvinistic Baptist Andrew Broaddus also rejected the pecuniary understanding of the atonement. Following his statements expressing his viewpoint on the subject, Broaddus continued: “These remarks on the nature of the atonement, lead to the question as to its extent. And here I take occasion to say, that a consistent and scriptural view of this subject appears to lead to the conclusion, that the atonement is general in its nature and extent. As opening a way for the salvation of sinners, considered as sinners, it is general in its nature; and as being of sufficient value for the salvation of the world, it is general in its extent. At the same time, it may be proper to remark, that redemption, considered as the result and application of the atonement, is limited, of course, to those who actually become the subjects of grace; in other words; to those who become believers in Jesus.” Andrew Broaddus, “The Atonement” in The Sermons and Other Writings of the Rev. Andrew Broaddus, ed. A. Broaddus (New York: Lewis Colby, 1852), 109.
 Ibid. Michael Haykin has observed this shift in Fuller’s view on the extent of the atonement as well. See his “Particular Redemption in the Writings of Andrew Fuller,” in The Gospel in All the World, vol. 1, in Studies in Baptist History and Thought, ed. by D. Bebbington (Carlisle, Cumbria, UK/Waynesboro, GA: Paternoster, 2002), 128. When Haykin says “Fuller did not surrender his commitment to particular redemption” (128), I presume he means that Fuller, like all Calvinists whether Moderate or High, believed that the atonement was “particular in the sense that God the Father intended to extend its benefits only to the elect” (126). Fuller did indeed surrender his commitment to particular redemption in the Owenic sense of the term, since he had come to believe that the death of Christ satisfied for the sins of all people, not just the elect.
 Morden, Offering Christ, 75–76.
 Ibid., 75.
 Ibid., 75–76.
 See Brian Stanley, The History of the Baptist Missionary Society 1792–1992 (Edinburgh: T&T Clark, 1992), 12–13; and Michael Haykin, “Andrew Fuller on Mission: Text and Passion,” in Baptists and Mission: Papers from the Fourth International Conference on Baptist Studies, in Studies in Baptist History and Thought, vol. 29, eds. Ian Randall and Anthony Cross (Bletchley, Milton Keynes, UK: Paternoster, 2007), 28.