Having framed the question of and summarized the objections to the “well-meant offer” of the gospel, we’re prepared to defend the doctrine. And our first argument pertains to the doctrine’s logical consistency. Claiming that God desires the salvation of a non-elect sinner and that it’s also the case that God doesn’t desire the salvation of a non-elect sinner sounds like a contradiction. The same would be true of the following juxtaposed remarks: “I like chocolate ice-cream,” and, “I don’t like chocolate ice-cream.” Illogical! Right? Not necessarily. Let me explain.
Some may not think I’m a Calvinist when it comes to John 3:16. Actually, I’m a John Calvinist when I interpret this verse (double entendre intended). I don’t think the verse (and its larger context) is simply designed to teach people biblical doctrines or facts, such as “God loves sinners” or “believers go to heaven.” It has a larger aim. Namely, God through the apostle John wants to solicit a faith-response on the part of the reader. Continue reading
In the 1920s, a schism arose in the Christian Reformed Church (CRC) over the doctrine of common grace and the free or (more precisely) well-meant offer of the gospel. Those who rejected common grace and the well-meant offer left the CRC to found the Protestant Reformed Church (PRC). Two decades later, a similar controversy arose within the Orthodox Presbyterian Church (OPC). A general assembly commissioned a committee to study and give a report on the question of whether God desires the salvation all men indiscriminately (whether elect or non-elect). The result was a “majority report,” which affirmed the well-meant offer, and a “minority report,” which denied it. Continue reading
The great English preacher C. H. Spurgeon was known for his deep passion for the lost. He is reputed to have once prayed, “Lord, hasten to bring in all Thine elect— and then elect some more.”1 If Spurgeon really prayed that prayer, we can be sure he was employing a little rhetorical “hyperbole.” In reality, Spurgeon didn’t believe any but those elect from the foundation of the world would be saved. Nevertheless, his burden for lost souls was so strong that he longed for God to save even those that appeared to be reprobate. Continue reading