Booklet: The Eschatology of George Gillespie

The Eschatology of George Gillespie:  An Introductory Analysis and Evaluation

The Eschatology of George Gillespie:  An Introductory Analysis and Evaluation

George Gillespie (1613-1648) was a theologian and pastor of the Scottish Presbyterian Church. He lived, worked, and ministered during the tumultuous times of the English Civil War.  He was a theologian and churchman of such distinction that he was appointed to serve as one of the Scottish Commissions to the Westminster Assembly of Divines, in spite of his youth.  Although he died in his mid-thirties, his legacy has endure through his writings, which continue to be an object of fascination to those interested in Scripture, Church History, and Theology.

The seventeenth century was an age of heightened eschatological expectation. Precursor movements to the Reformation were fueled and fortified by this expectation, anticipating the imminent return of Jesus Christ and the overthrow of the Roman Church.  The early Reformers appropriated and refined these expectations; and, in spite of the misappropriation and radicalization of the Reformation eschatology by some,  eschatological thought continued to develop and thrive among the Reformation-minded into the seventeenth century.  Reformation England and Scotland participated fully in this burgeoning interest in eschatology,  and it was in this context that George Gillespie studied and labored (1613-1648).

The purpose of this essay is twofold. First, having been so influential at the Westminster Assembly and in the production of her standards, George Gillespie is a person of enduring interest, and worthy of ongoing study.  This essay is offered as an introductory analysis and evalutation of the structure of Gillespie’s eschatological thought.  Second, it will be readily apparent that Gillespie’s eschatological views are out of step, not only with those of contemporary Evangelicalism, but also with those of mainstream Reformed and Presbyterians in the early twenty-first century.  However, there was nothing idiosyncratic about his views in his own day.  This essay is offered in the hope that the presentation of Gillespie’s views might stimulate interest in, appreciation for, and further study of, the neglected and almost-forgotten eschatology of the Second Reformation.

Exegetical Studies in Poole’s Synopsis: Genesis 3:1: Satan and the Serpent

Exegetical Studies in Poole's Synopsis:  Satan and the Serpent

 

In the late-seventeenth century, the Puritan divine and Biblical scholar, Matthew Poole, compiled his massive and masterly Synopsis Criticorum (Synopsis of Biblical Interpreters), a verse-by-verse history of interpretation, drawing together the exegetical wealth of the ages.  His thought:  To set the most important interpreters and interpretive positions side-by-side, for the help of the student of God’s Word.

These Exegetical Studies in Poole’s Synopsis are intended to capture some of the most informative and edifying sections in a readily accessible format.

The Serpent in the Garden of Eden has ever intrigued and captivated interpreters.  He himself has proven as enigmatic and elusive as his speech.  Questions abound and surround.  How is Satan related to the Serpent?  How is it that the Serpent speaks?  Why does Eve stay to speak with the Serpent?  In seeking answers to these questions, and others, Poole surveys the fascinating history of the interpretation of Genesis 3:1.

Purchase your copy today.

Call to Fasting and Prayer

Christian Reader,

We are still working to gather support and funding for the translation projects (see description below).

More than ever I am deeply impressed (by the Spirit of the Lord, I trust) by the importance of recovering these lost treasures of Christian exegesis and theology, and making them available to the English-speaking world.

For the foreseeable future, I plan to fast the Friday morning meal, and seek the face of God in prayer, asking His support, guidance, and blessing for the work.  If the Lord has likewise laid these things upon your heart, please join me.

Looking unto Jesus,

Dr. Dilday

 

 

Christian Reader, I hope that you will give serious attention to this plea for your help.  It is important.
Biblical and Theological Archaeology

Long experience has taught me that not all of our Protestant heritage has made its way into the English language.  Happily, the fundamentals of the Christian faith, and much of the superstructure, is readily available in English-speaking lands.  However, there are gaps, and important material remains locked up in foreign language, especially Latin.  Ignorance concerning this material continues to be a source of contention and division, as the unhappy combatants strive in darkness.

This calls for a certain sort of Archaeological work:  The resources of the past need to be mined, so that this missing material might be recovered for use in English-speaking lands of the present day.  The loss has been in two principal areas:  1.  the exegesis/interpretation of the Scripture; 2.  the system of theology.

With respect to exegetical archaeology, Matthew Poole’s Latin Synopsis Criticorum (Synopsis of Biblical Interpreters) has been selected.  Matthew Poole was a seventeenth century English Puritan, and his Synopsis is the fruit of ten years of unremitting labor.  Poole’s goal was to produce a verse-by-verse history of interpretation, capturing all of the significant interpretive positions and their sources (ancient and medieval Rabbis, Church Fathers, Medieval Schoolmen, Roman Catholics, Lutherans, Reformed, etc.).  Having labored in the Synopsisfor ten years, I am able to testify firsthand that there is much valuable material either rarely or completely unavailable in English.  The loss is tremendous; the work of recovery, important.  The ascended Lord Jesus promised to provide faithful teachers in all ages to aid His people in the understanding and application of that Word (Ephesians 4:11-13).  Poole’s Synopsis is a record of their teaching, a thing of surpassing value.

[Note: To illustrate the value of the Synopsis, it was a favorite exegetical resource of Philip and Matthew Henry; and Matthew Henry produced what is in all probability the most important and influential Bible Commentary in the English language:  also, Jonathan Edwards, America’s greatest theologian and philosopher, preferred the Synopsis to all other Bible commentaries, and references it more heavily than all of the others combined.]

You can read more about the Synopsis, and see samples of the translation, as you browse this website.

With respect to theological archaeology, Bernardinus De Moor’s Systematic Theology has been selected.  De Moor was a mid-eighteenth century Dutch theologian.  He was a Protestant, and fully orthodox; but he labored in the midst of the decline of the old Protestant orthodoxy.  It was De Moor’s desire to summarize and preserve more than two centuries of Protestant thought, and his efforts produced his massive Compendium of Christian Theology (1761-1778; in seven volumes).  De Moor’s Compendium is a masterpiece, comprehensive in its breadth, and preserving material on subjects scarcely to be found anywhere in the English language.

You can see a further description of the project, and samples of the translation at the Project’s website.

As significant portions of Poole’s Synopsis and De Moor’s Compendium are completed, the archaelogical work is being preserved in books, both digital and print.
Making the Archaeology Accessible

Even in translation, Poole and De Moor are not easy reading; so efforts are being made to make this work as accessible as possible to all English-speaking Christians.

1.  The books are heavily annotated to help the reader in points of potential difficulty.

2.  As sections of the translations are completed, they are being posted in blog format, so that readers can study along with Poole and De Moor.  Digestion is helped by the bite-sized portions.

3. Some of the most important, interesting, and rare portions of Poole and De Moor are being excised and published with introductory essays, to make the very best of these works readily accessible to the common reader.

4. Plans are in the works to make this literature available to Christians worldwide at little cost to the end-line user, a great blessing to impoverished Christians scattered around the globe.

Currently, I work as I am afforded time, an hour here, fifteen minutes there.  It is on my heart (I believe that the Lord Himself has placed it there) to give myself to this work full-time.  Working full-time, I think that both of these works can be completed in ten years or so, and be a positive spiritual influence for generations to come.

In order to make this dream a reality, I need help from the broader body of Christ, Christians that believe in this work.  Please prayerfully consider contributing financially to this work (see Philippians 4:10-19).  Of course, any sort of donation is welcome, 1.  a one-time gift; or, 2.  a regular monthly gift.  Indeed, it is my hope that a financial backbone of regular monthly contributions might be built.  If you are able to commit to $100/month, I will send you all of the new publications for free.  Even working part-time, I anticipate publishing three books a year; if I am able to work full-time, the number will be closer to six. Even if you are not able to give $100/month, you will receive e-books of all publications, and as many of the print-books as finances will allow.

I would be interested in hearing your thoughts (dildaysc@aol.com).

Donations can be made through Paypal here.

I am grateful for your time, and your prayerful consideration of these matters.

In Christ’s service,
Dr. Steven Dilday

Exegetical Studies in Poole’s Synopsis: An Apologetic Point concerning Supposed Contradictions in the Bible

Apologetic Point

In the late-seventeenth century, the Puritan divine and Biblical scholar, Matthew Poole, compiled his massive and masterly Synopsis Criticorum (Synopsis of Biblical Interpreters), a verse-by verse history of interpretation, setting the most important interpreters and interpretive positions side-by-side, for the help of the student of God’s Word.

These Exegetical Studies in Poole’s Synopsis are intended to capture some of the sweetest, most informative and edifying sections in a readily accessible format, to encourage Christians in indepth Bible study.

Much of the History of Interpretation is taken up with the reconciliation of apparent contradictions.  In this excerpt, Poole promises in the Preface to his Synopsis to give special and detailed attention to these problematic texts in the body of his Work.  However, before taking up the particular texts, he makes an important and powerful apologetic point from the history of Biblical interpretation, as only a Master of the History of Interpretation could.

A New Line of Booklets: The Best of Matthew Poole

Front Cover

 

In the late-seventeenth century, the Puritan divine and Biblical scholar, Matthew Poole, compiled his massive and masterly Synopsis Criticorum (Synopsis of Biblical Interpreters), a verse-by-verse history of interpretation, drawing together the exegetical wealth of the Jewish Rabbis, early Church Fathers, Medieval Schoolmen, and Reformation-era exegetes (Roman Catholic, Lutheran, and Reformed).  His thought:  To set the most important interpreters and interpretive positions side-by-side, for the help of the student of God’s Word.  His achievement:  The ascended Christ promised to provide faithful teachers for His Church in all ages (Ephesians 4:11-13); the Synopsis is a record of their testimony concerning the right reading of Holy Scripture.

These Exegetical Studies in Poole’s Synopsis are intended to capture some of the sweetest, most informative and edifying sections in a readily accessible format.  Filled with content wonderful and rare, it is hoped that these booklets will whet the appetite of the people of God for the Word of God, rousing them to ever greater exertions in Biblical studies.  This extract is taken from the very first paragraph of Poole’s Synopsis; it is stunningly rich in theological substance, and, if understood, intensely motivating with respect to the in-depth study of the Sacred Canon.  Christianity is the only true and saving Religion, and it is learned, not from the vain reasonings and imaginings of men, but from the Scriptures of truth. John 5:39:  “Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me.”

Open Letter to the Proponents of the Third Reformation

To those who long for a Third Reformation,

 

I appeal to you for assistance.

During my doctoral studies, I was surprised to discover that a significant portion of our Reformed heritage, exegetical and doctrinal, had not made its way into the English language, but yet remains locked up in Latin tomes.  In former generations, this was not as problematic, inasmuch as pastors regularly learned Latin as part of their general education; but this is no longer the case, and the loss is significant.

With this problem in view, a handful of years ago I began a translation of Matthew Poole’s Synopsis Criticorum (1669-1676).  To say that it is five volumes hardly does it justice; it is seventy-five pounds of Bible Commentary, a verse-by-verse history of interpretation, and summary of Reformed exegesis up to Poole’s day.  Although each of the works summarized by Poole deserves its own translation (the work of many hands), the translation of Poole seemed like an economical way to reintroduce the history of Reformed exegesis to the English-speaking world.

Just this year I began a translation of Bernardinus de Moor’s Commentarius (1761-1778), a massive, seven volume Systematic Theology, summarizing the nearly three centuries of Reformed theology preceding him.  Again, although most of the great systems produced by the Continental Reformed have yet to be translated, de Moor’s work seemed like an economical way to present in summary fashion the fruits of the others.

Currently we are training other translators (a lengthy process), and endeavoring to raise funds for these and future projects:  the fourth volume of Turretin’s Opera (his disputations with Rome), Wendelin’s syllogistic theology, Johann Heinrich Heideggers’ covenantal theology, etc.

How you can help:

In former ages, when it was doubtful that book sales would recover the cost of labor and materials, publishers would raise subscriptions to fund such projects; and we are adopting this model.  Please prayerfully consider a donation of $30 per month for the funding of these projects.  With a minimum donation of $30 per month, we will send you three volumes per year (almost a thousand pages of translation), two volumes of Poole and one volume of de Moor.  Of course, this $30 per month is more than you would spend simply purchasing the volumes, but your contribution not only secures these works for your own personal reading, but also for the rest of the English-speaking church.

The first volume of Deuteronomy (covering chapters 1-18) of Matthew Poole’s Synopsis Criticorum will be available soon, and will be shipped to those who sign up for a subscription.  Samples of our current projects are available at:

http://matthewpoole.net/blog/  &   http://www.bernardinusdemoor.com/

If anyone has any questions please write to me at dildaysc@aol.com.  The donation can be made through Paypal at https://www.paypal.com/cgi-bin/webscr?cmd=_s-xclick&hosted_button_id=ETF94ENCX8H42.  The books will be mailed to the address specified in the Paypal transaction.

Thank you for your prayerful consideration of this matter.

 

Yours in Christ’s Service,

Dr. Steven Dilday