Sometimes Christians, in their desire to uphold biblical truth, are led into strange statements, even remarks that are downright silly. Recently I was reading early 19th century issues of The Gospel Magazine when I came across a series of articles by an author who signed his name as Boanerges. This said author had a bee in his bonnet about another Christian periodical of the era entitled The Evangelical Magazine, which during this very time period was supported by a number of key Baptist figures, including Andrew Fuller, John Ryland, Jr., and John Fawcett (see, for example, the title page of The Evangelical Magazine for 1807). “Boarnerges” wrote a series of review pieces on The Evangelical Magazine during 1806 and was quite severe in his judgment on this Christian monthly.
In one piece, he reviewed the “Memoirs of the Life of the Mr. Abraham Booth,” which appeared in The Evangelical Magazine for August 1806. Booth, Boanerges was sure, was “a subject of God’s regenerating grace,” but as he got older he got “lost…in the maze of Arminianism” and “very much departed from the purity of the gospel” [“Review of the Evangelical Magazine for August 1806”, The Gospel Magazine, 2nd series, 1, no.10 (October 1806), 452]. I was amazed when I read this, though as I read more of the review, “Boanerges” sounded like a Huntingtonian and that made some sense as to why he would rank Booth as an Arminian. But if Booth be an Arminian, then terms have no sense at all and all is nonsense!
Thankfully, a certain correspondent, who simply signed his name as “S.G.U.” wrote in to the editor on November 4, 1806, and stated forthrightly, “I was much surprised to find it asserted that Mr. Booth” was an Arminian. He then went on to quote a lengthy text from Booth’s Divine Justice essential to the Divine Character (1793), which S.G.U. was confident “satisfactorily shews that Mr. Booth was not an Arminian” [“Mr. Booth Not An Arminian”, The Gospel Magazine, 2nd series, 2, no.1 (January 1807), 33–34]. Grateful for S.G.U.’s defence of Booth, I could not help but wonder what kind of author could make such assertions as Boanerges did and still desire to be taken seriously as a Christian thinker!