John Saltmarsh

1612?-1647. Anglican writer and controversialist. As rector of Heslerton he was a keen conformist, but changed his views and resigned in 1643, becoming rector of Brasted in 1645 and, according to Thomas Fuller, “a violent oppressor of bishops and ceremonies.” He was a prolific pamphleteer in favor of greater latitude in church government, with a gentle, quaint, controversial style. In 1646 he became an army chaplain and “prophesied” to Fairfax at Windsor that “the army had departed from God.” He is chiefly memorable for the controversy with the Westminster divine Thomas Gataker over Saltmarsh's sermon Free Grace (1645), which Gataker regarded as dangerously lacking in emphasis on Christian responsibility. Saltmarsh with others was labeled “Antinomian” because of insistence that Christians have no responsibility to keep the law of God because they are God's children and so not “under law”-probably an unwise exaggeration of the biblical teaching of justification through the free grace of God, but not necessarily antinomian. Saltmarsh's views were further expounded in Sparkles of Glory (1647).