28 May, 2016

Canons of Dordt, II:5—“… declared and published to all without distinction …”



Moreoever, the promise of the gospel is, that whosoever believeth in Christ crucified, shall not perish, but have everlasting life. This promise, together with the command to repent and believe, ought to be declared and published to all nations, and to all persons promiscuously and without distinction, to whom God out of his good pleasure sends the gospel (Canons II:5).


COMMON GRACE ARGUMENT:
This article of the Canons is often appealed to by proponents of the “Free and Well-Meant Gospel Offer.” The article is interpreted to mean thus: that the command and promise of the gospel being proclaimed to all the world means that the gospel is “an offer to all men stating most emphatically that God loves them all and desires their salvation.”
It was quoted as part of the proof-texts for the “First Point” of 1924, by the CRC.



(I)

Herman Hoeksema (1886-1965)

(a)

[Source: The Protestant Reformed Churches in America (1947), p. 337]

16.   What, then, do the Confessions teach in Canons II, 5?

It teaches especially three things:

a.   That the promise of the gospel must be preached promiscuously to all nations and men without distinction.
b.   That it is, however, the good pleasure of God that determines even where that gospel shall be preached.
c.   That, as to its contents, this promise of the gospel is that whosoever believeth in Christ crucified shall not perish, but have everlasting life.

Surely, this presents the promise of the gospel as strictly particular, for it is to them that believe in Christ, that is, the elect. The gospel is not presented here as a general offer. Still less does this part of our Confession teach, that the preaching of the gospel is grace of God to all that hear it.


(b)


We can content ourselves with a few brief remarks:

First of all, it must be evident that here the gospel is not presented as an offer, but as a promise. The promise of the gospel is, that whosoever believes in Christ crucified will not perish, but have everlasting life. That promise must be declared and published (annunciari et proponi debet, according to the original Latin) to every nation and all persons to whom God, according to His good pleasure, sends the Gospel. There is a marked difference between an offer and a promise, as we have noticed previously; a difference that consists mainly in this: that the fulfilment of a promise depends upon the one who makes the promise, while the realization of an offer depends upon the acceptance of the one to whom the offer is made. If the latter is true of the gospel, then the Remonstrants are right. But our fathers speak here of the gospel, not as an offer, but as a promise. God does not offer something, but He does promise something. And when He promises something He will also fulfil His promise.

In the second place, this article teaches that even the declaration and publication of the promise is not general, but limited, and that God the Lord Himself sets the limitation according to His good pleasure. Throughout the course of history the Gospel is preached to comparatively few people. By far the largest majority of nations and people die without having come in contact with the gospel. And this is according to God’s good pleasure. Through Christ God directs the course of the gospel. Christ is also the missionary. He carries out His mission task through the church. Thus according to the will of God this preaching is not general. God does not want everyone to hear the gospel. He Himself takes care that the gospel is preached exactly where He wills.

In the third place, that according to its content the gospel is not general, but most definitely particular. This article of the confession does teach that this promise must be promiscuously preached and presented to all who hear without distinction. Yet the promise that must be presented and preached is not general, but particular. It is the promise of eternal life to all who believe in the crucified Christ. Thus the Lord does not promise something to everyone, not to all who hear without distinction. If the gospel were an offer it could very well be general according to its content, for an offer depends for its fulfilment upon the persons to whom it is offered. But since the gospel is not an offer, but a promise, the certainty of the fulfilment depends upon God, who cannot lie. If He were to promise to every one eternal life, then He would also save all. But since He does not will to save everyone, He does not allow a general promise to be preached. But the promise is particular. It is limited to those who believe in the crucified Christ.

Therefore the question immediately arises: Who, according to this confession, are they? You find the answer to this in the same Head of Doctrine, II, articles 7 and 8:

But as many as truly believe, and are delivered and saved from sin and destruction through the death of Christ, are indebted for this benefit solely to the grace of God, given them in Christ from everlasting, and not to any merit of their own.

For this was the sovereign counsel, and most gracious will and purpose of God the Father, that the quickening and saving efficacy of the most precious death of His Son should extend to all of the elect, for bestowing upon them alone the gift of justifying faith, thereby to bring them infallibly to salvation, that is, it was the will of God that Christ, by the blood of the cross, whereby he confirmed the new covenant, should effectually redeem out of every people, tribe, nation, and language, all those, and those only, who were from eternity chosen to salvation, and given to him by the Father, that he should confer upon them faith, which together with all the other saving gifts of the Holy Spirit, he purchased for them by his death, should purge them from all sin, both original and actual, whether committed before or after believing; and having faithfully preserved them even to the end, should at last bring them free from every spot or blemish to the enjoyment of glory in his own presence forever. (Emphasis added).

This is plain language that does not allow for a twofold interpretation, and answers the question: To whom does God promise eternal life in the preaching of His Word? The answer is:

1. To those who believe.
2. They are the ones to whom God, in His eternal grace, wills to grant faith, for one does not believe of himself.
3. They are the ones for whom, by His death, Christ merited faith as the saving gift of the Holy Spirit, for also that faith had to be merited by Christ. Of ourselves we have no right to it.
4. They are the elect. For it was the eternal and free counsel and will of God that Christ should die for them.

Now read once more the article which we quoted, and the meaning becomes crystal clear: In the promise of the gospel, namely, that whosoever believes in the crucified Christ has eternal life, God promises life and salvation only to the elect. For only they are endowed with that faith. Thus He fulfils His promise. It can only fill one with amazement that some can read a well-meant offer of grace and salvation in this beautiful article, enriched even by the context in which it appears!


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(II)

Prof. David J. Engelsma

[Source: Protestant Reformed Theological Journal, vol. 47, no. 2 (April 2014), pp. 7172]

Canons, II:5 states and teaches a particular promise of grace: “whosoever believeth in Christ crucified shall not perish, but have everlasting life.” The promise applies itself to the believer: “whosoever believeth.” It is for the believer. It is to the believer. The promise is not for the unbeliever remaining in his unbelief. The promise itself excludes the unbeliever as its object. The particular promise itself implies a warning to those who do not believe: “whosoever believeth not shall perish.”

The general publication of the promise is not the same as the publication of a general promise. Even the average unbeliever understands the distinction. The promise of the lottery that the person turning in the winning number 666 will receive a million dollars, although announced to the entire nation, is a particular promise: to and for the one person with the winning number. It is for no one else. Similarly, God wills, and the Reformed church practices, that the particular promise, “whosoever believes shall be saved,” be published indiscriminately to all and sundry.


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(III)

Rev. Steven R. Key

[Source: Protestant Reformed Theological Journal, vol. 37, number 2 (April 2004), pp. 45-64]

The First Point of the CRC’s decision concerning common grace reads as follows:

Relative to the first point which concerns the favourable attitude of God towards humanity in general, and not only the elect, synod declares it to be established according to Scripture and the Confession that, apart from the saving grace of God shown only to those that are elect unto eternal life, there is also a certain favour or grace of God which he shows to his creatures in general. This is evident from the scriptural passages quoted, and from the Canons of Dort (II:5, and III/IV:8-9), which deal with the general offer of the gospel, while it also appears from citations made from Reformed writers of the most flourishing period of Reformed theology that our Reformed writers from the past favoured this view.3

The reference to Article 5 of the Second Head clearly cannot stand by itself in support of the first point.4 The article simply speaks of the church’s mandate to preach the gospel promiscuously. It says nothing of that preaching being an offer to all who hear it, let alone an expression of God’s grace to all who hear it. But it becomes evident by the reference that the Synod viewed the preaching as both an offer and an expression of God’s grace to all who come under that preaching. Their interpretation of common grace, therefore, coloured their interpretation of this article.

Furthermore, because this article lies in the midst of the Reformed fathers’ defence of limited atonement and the Arminian charge that this doctrine prevented the gospel from being preached, it should immediately be evident that the fathers—had they indeed desired to teach a general and well-meant offer—would have clearly and succinctly stated so. They did not. They did not because the whole idea of a well-meant offer of the gospel, expressing God’s sincere desire that all be saved, is not in harmony with the doctrine of limited atonement. How could God desire the salvation of those whom He did not give to Christ in eternal election and for whom Christ did not die?5

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FOOTNOTES:

3. Acta der Synode 1924, English translation from Synodical Decisions on Doctrinal and Ethical Matters, Grand Rapids, MI, Board of Publications of the Christian Reformed Church, 1976, p. 16.

4. The Article reads: “Moreover, the promise of the gospel is that whosoever believeth in Christ crucified shall not perish, but have everlasting life. This promise, together with the command to repent and believe, ought to be declared and published to all nations, and to all persons promiscuously and without distinction, to whom God out of His good pleasure sends the gospel.” For a full exposition of this article, confer Homer C. Hoeksema, The Voice of Our Fathers (Grand Rapids, MI: Reformed Free Publishing Association, 1980), pp. 349-358.

5. In a controversy that shook the CRC in the late 1960s, Harold Dekker, a professor at Calvin Theological Seminary, tied the well-meant offer of the gospel as adopted in the first point of 1924 to the atonement, and maintained that the offer could be sincere only if Christ died for all. He quoted Canons II:5 to maintain the availability of salvation to all. He wrote in The Reformed Journal, January 1964, under the title “Redemptive Love and the Gospel Offer,” “Is not this precisely what the sincere offer of the gospel says to all men about the redemption in Christ? For if something which is offered is not available, evidently there is no genuine offer” (Quoted by Herman Hoeksema, The Standard Bearer, vol. 40, p. 247).


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(IV)

Prof. Herman C. Hanko

(a)

[Source: The History of the Free Offer, chapter 3: “The Arminian Controversy and the Synod of Dordt,” emphasis added.]

II:5 speaks emphatically of the promise of the gospel, but insists that this promise of the gospel is very particular; i.e., it is only to those who believe in Christ. And it is clear from the rest of the Canons that those who believe in Christ are only the elect (“That some receive the gift of faith from God, and others do not receive it proceeds from God’s eternal decree,” I:6), who are converted to God by efficacious grace merited in Christ’s limited atonement.

… II:5 also speaks of the fact that this promise ought to be proclaimed everywhere, “to whom God out of his good pleasure sends the gospel.” So the article speaks very clearly of a general proclamation of a particular promise and this has always been the position held by the Reformed churches.

… II:5 also speaks of the fact that this promise, generally proclaimed but particular in its contents, is proclaimed together with the command to repent and believe. In III/IV:8-9 this is also said to be the call of the gospel. This call is described as being serious in nature. God requires of all men, through the preaching, that they forsake their sins and turn from their evil ways, that they believe in Christ who has shed His blood for sin. Concerning this point there are two points that ought to be made.

a) In the first place, no one who stands in the line of Calvinistic and Reformed thought has ever denied this truth. This is important to understand. The Reformed have sometimes been charged with being unable to preach the gospel to all men because they insist that the promise of the gospel is for the elect alone and no preacher knows who the elect are. But this is a distortion of the Reformed view. The gospel must be generally preached both because it is the means whereby God calls out of darkness into light those whom He has chosen to everlasting life, and because, through this general proclamation, all men are confronted with the obligation to forsake their sins and believe in Christ.

b) Nor have the Reformed ever denied that this command or call is serious. God means exactly what He says. He is not joking when He comes to all with this command. He is not saying something in the gospel that is not really true. Quite the opposite is the case. Man was originally created perfect and upright. When man fell in Adam, he fell by his own sinful choice. His depravity which made it impossible for him any longer to serve God becomes his lot in life because of God’s just judgment upon the sinner. But God does not, on that account, require any less of man than He did at the beginning. God is God. He remains just and holy and righteous in all His ways. He does not now say: “Oh, you are such a poor sinner, no longer able to do what I have commanded; I will no longer require of you that you serve me and flee from your sins. It is perfectly all right if you do less than you were originally required to do.” Oh, no! Then God would not be just and righteous. God still insists that this man serve him. And man is confronted with that demand every time the gospel comes to him.

It is interesting and important to note that II:5 speaks of the “promise together with the command to repent and believe,” as forming the contents of the gospel. It is exactly in this way that God works His purpose in His elect by enabling them to repent and believe, and it is exactly because of this that the wicked are responsible for their own failure to repent and believe. It is not the fault of the gospel, nor of Christ offered therein, nor of God who calls, but the fault lies in the wicked themselves. And so God is also perfectly just when He casts the wicked forever from His presence.

It is not difficult to see that all this is a far cry from the free offer of the gospel as that is presented and defended in our times. Of this the fathers wanted no part and it is a perversion of our Canons to try to find support for the idea of the free offer in this confession.


(b)

[Source: Common Grace Considered (2019 edition), pp. 326-327]

[The] teaching of this article is clear and unambiguous. The preceding article speaks of the perfect sacrifice for sin by the eternal Son of God who came into our flesh to atone for sin. This article presupposes, therefore, that Christ’s atonement is the content of the gospel. And Christ’s atonement is not made for everyone, but, as Article 8 states emphatically:

… [This] was the sovereign counsel and most gracious will and purpose of God the Father, that the quickening and saving efficacy of the most precious death of His Son should extend to all the elect … that is, it was the will of God that Christ by the blood of the cross … should effectually redeem … those, and those only, who were from eternity chosen to salvation and given to Him by the Father (Canons 2.8, in The Confessions and the Church Order of the Protestant Reformed Churches, p. 163.)

That gospel of Christ crucified contains this promise: “That whosoever believeth in Christ crucified shall not perish, but have everlasting life.” The gospel proclaims that believers, and only believers in Christ crucified will be saved.


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(V)

Rev. Joshua Engelsma

[Source: Protestant Reformed Theological Journal, vol. 45, no. 2, April 2012, p. 90]

Q. “Does not the fact that the promise of the gospel must be “declared and published to all nations, and to all persons promiscuously and without distinction, to whom God out of his good pleasure sends the gospel” imply that there is a 'desire' on the part of God to give the fulfilment of this promise to all who hear?”

This is not what Article 5 teaches. Article 5 is simply saying that the gospel, which includes the call to repent and believe as well as the promise that all who repent and believe will be saved, must be proclaimed promiscuously. The article says nothing about God’s intention or desire in such preaching. It simply calls the preacher to proclaim these words: “Everyone listening today, repent and believe in the crucified Christ! To all who repent and believe God will give everlasting life!” Nowhere is there expressed a desire on the part of God to give everlasting life to all who hear. The command comes to all in general. The promise is for all who repent and believe. And the only ones who repent and believe are the elect.


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(VI)

Dr. Raymond A. Blacketer

[Source: “The Three Points in Most Parts Reformed: A Reexamination of the So-Called Well-Meant Offer of Salvation,” Calvin Theological Journal, vol. 35, no. 1 (April, 2000), emphasis added.]


Canons II:5 speaks of the mandate to proclaim the gospel to all, including its promises and obligations, to all persons without discrimination. But this refers to the command to preach the gospel to all nations, and really has no bearing on whether this activity, known as the external call, constitutes an offer on God’s part to all who hear it.


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(VII)

Rev. Lau Chin Kwee

[Source: Protestant Reformed Theological Journal, vol. 35 no. 2 (April 2002), p. 35]

Regarding the phrase, “... to whom God out of his good pleasure sends the gospel.” (Canons II:5:A)

[To interpret the words “good pleasure” in this article to mean “gracious desire/delight”] is a mistaken notion, as the good pleasure of God does not necessarily speak of His grace. For example, we may say that it is God’s good pleasure to cast the wicked unbelievers to hell in His just judgment. There is no show of grace in such good pleasure of God.


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(VIII)

Rev. Martyn McGeown


Notice the careful wording here. God does not promise in the gospel to save sinners, if they will believe. God promises to save all believers. God does not promise to save the reprobate. But then how do the elect, the true recipients of the promise, hear the promise? Through the preaching! The promise is preached to all and sundry, but the promise applies only to believers. The command must be addressed to all hearers, and that call must go far and wide, but a command implies neither the intention of God nor the ability of man. A command only teaches us what our duty is. God does not promise anything to the reprobate. Indeed, and this element is lacking in Johnson and other modern Calvinists, the gospel call serves to harden the reprobate and to leave them without excuse (Isa. 6:9-10). Does God, then, “offer” something and later rescind His offer when the reprobate refuse to accept it?


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(IX)

Prof. Robert D. Decker

[Source: The Standard Bearer, vol. 72, no. 2 (Oct. 15, 1995), pp. 35]

This article teaches that the promise of the gospel must be preached promiscuously to all nations and men without distinction. It teaches that the gospel goes where God in His good pleasure sends it. The content of the promise of the gospel, according to this article, is that whosoever believeth in Christ crucified shall not perish, but have everlasting life.

Note well that the article presents the promise of the gospel as strictly particular, for it is to them that believe in Christ, that is, the elect. The gospel is not presented as a general offer which can be rejected or accepted at will, but as a command! The article certainly does not teach that the preaching of the gospel is grace of God to all who hear it.


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(X)

More to come! (DV)



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QUESTION BOX:
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Q. 1.  “Doesn’t the word ‘promise’ actually mean ‘offer’?

It is hard to imagine that intelligent men would confuse “promise” with “offer.” The two are very different.

There is a marked difference between an offer and a promise … a difference that consists mainly in this: that the fulfilment of a promise depends upon the one who makes the promise, while the realization of an offer depends upon the acceptance of the one to whom the offer is made. If the latter is true of the gospel, then the Remonstrants are right. But our fathers speak [in the Reformed confessions] of the gospel, not as an offer, but as a promise. God does not offer something but He does promise something. And when He promises something He will also fulfil His promise.” (Herman Hoeksema, “A Power of God Unto Salvation”)

[A] promise differs from an offer precisely in all these respects. An offer rests for the certainty of its fulfilment with two parties: the one who offers and those to whom it is offered. A promise is as certain as the faithfulness and veracity of him who promises. Applied to our subject, this means that an offer of grace rests in God and man for its certainty; and since a chain is never stronger than its weakest link, the offer of grace is as certain as the faithfulness and veracity of man, sinful man, a hopelessly lost and wicked world. In other words, all certainty is gone, except the certainty that the cause of God is an altogether lost cause, the certainty that the offer will never be accepted. (Herman Hoeksema, “The Gospel, Or, The Most Recent Attack Against the Truth of Sovereign Grace,” p. 82.)

[A] promise is an oral or written declaration whereby the one who promises is bound to do something or to bestow something. The gospel of the promise is, therefore, the glad tidings that God has bound Himself to bestow upon the heirs of the promise eternal life and all things … [An] offer is in the nature of the case general and indefinite; a promise is particular and definite. If the gospel is an offer, then it is glad tidings to all men without distinction; if the gospel is a promise, as Scripture teaches, then it is the glad tidings of God to the heirs of the promise only. (Herman Hoeksema, “The Gospel, Or, The Most Recent Attack Against the Truth of Sovereign Grace,” p. 83.)

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Q. 2. “Isn’t the very command to ‘repent and believe in Jesus Christ’ an offer?”

[There] is a considerable difference between a command and an offer. I may offer a man fifty dollars if he will cut my lawn; it is then up to him whether he does it or not. But that is quite different than saying to a man: “I order you to cut my lawn and you will be punished if you refuse.” So, God does not offer salvation to all men; but He does command all men to repent of their sin and believe in Christ.
He is God and has the right to issue such a command. And man, creature that he is, must obey or be destroyed. He does not say to a man: “I love you and want you to be saved; please believe in Christ and I will save you;” no, He says to man: “Repent or go to hell.” (Herman C. Hanko, “Common Grace Considered” [2019 edition], p. 31)

One who is offered something has it within his power to accept it or reject it. One who is commanded to do something, on the other hand, must do what he is commanded to do, or suffer the consequences of disobedience. That is indeed a very great difference. To repent and believe in Christ is commanded of all in the gospel. Man is placed, by the gospel, under solemn obligation to repent of his sin and believe in Christ. (Herman C. Hanko, “Common Grace Considered” [2019 edition], pp. 331-332)

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Q. 3. “If God’s will and purpose is to save only the elect (Art. 8) and it is also God’s will that all men repent of sin and believe in Christ, is it not true that God has two wills that contradict each other?”

God’s command to repent and believe is not rooted in, nor does it imply, God’s desire to save all men. The command to repent and believe rests in man’s original creation, in which man was created able to keep God’s law perfectly. That he fell from this lofty position into sin is not God’s fault, but man’s own sin. God, however, maintains His just demands on man. God cannot and will not simply overlook sin and excuse man for his failure to obey God. The gospel confronts man with the horror of his sin and insists that man forsake it.
The figure has been correctly used of a man who contracts with a builder to build him a house. At the builder’s request, the cost of the house is given before building begins. But the builder takes that money and goes with his wife on a round-the-world cruise. Upon his return, the man who advanced the builder the money insists that now the builder build his house. The builder cannot successfully hide behind his inability to buy the materials needed. He was given the means to build the house; he failed, but he remains responsible for building that house. His inability does not free him from his responsibility. (Herman C. Hanko, “Common Grace Considered” [2019 edition], p. 328)

[Man] is commanded to repent of his sin because God maintains His righteous demands that were placed upon man in Paradise. God must do this to remain a holy God. The fact that man no longer obeys God and, indeed, is unable to do it, makes no difference at all. Man’s inability is brought upon him by his own refusal to obey God. God is not to be blamed for man’s total depravity; man despised God’s command and chose rather the evil promises of Satan.
To believe in Christ is also man’s obligation. God has provided the way of escape from sin and death; God has sent Christ into the world as the only one under heaven by whom man can be saved. Surely, God did not need to provide salvation, but he did. And now God commands men to believe in Christ as the only way he can be saved. But man will not, for he hates God and Christ and would rather go to hell than obey God and believe in Christ. His hatred of God’s command is manifested in his crucifixion of Christ. It is a terrible depravity, which man brought upon himself. And it is a terrible sin to refuse to obey God’s command to believe in the one through whom salvation is possible. (Herman C. Hanko, “Common Grace Considered” [2019 edition], p. 332)

God’s insistence that man repent of sin and believe in Christ is rooted in His own holiness … God’s insistence that men obey Him is not another will in God that is contradictory to his decretive will to save only some. I am aware of the language that is often used in this respect: the will of God’s decree and the will of God’s command, or something similar. But if such terminology leads to the conclusion that there are “two wills” in God, the terminology ought not to be used. Even more so, if the terminology leads to the notion that the will of God’s command is a “gracious and loving offer,” the terminology is yet more deceptive.
It seems to me to be better to speak of the holy demands of God’s law that He maintains throughout all history, regardless of the moral state of man. God’s will, on the other hand, is His ultimate determination to save from the sin into which they plunged themselves and for which they are responsible, those whom He has chosen eternally in Christ and to punish those whom He has determined to damn for their sins as manifestations of His holiness and justice. (Herman C. Hanko, “Common Grace Considered” [2019 edition], p. 333)

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Q. 4. “Does not the very wording of the promise, stated here, make believing or faith a condition to salvation? The gospel is proclaimed requiring faith as a condition of its fulfilment. Thus, man, by his own power, believes, and when he believes he is saved. Thus faith is the condition man must fulfil in order to be saved.”

[This] is not the intent of the Canons. Article 8 … includes the following statement:

… [It] was the will of God that Christ by the blood of the cross … should effectually redeem … all those, and those only, who were from eternity chosen to salvation and given to Him by the Father; that He should confer upon them faith … (Canons 2:8, in The Confessions and the Church Order… p. 163.)

This is in harmony with what the Canons state in 1.6:

That some receive the gift of faith from God and others do not receive it proceeds from God’s eternal decree … (Canons 1.6, in The Confessions and the Church Order …, p. 156.)

The promise of the gospel is that God saves those who believe in Christ; and faith—the power by which men believe and are saved—is given through the power of the cross of Christ. (Herman C. Hanko, “Common Grace Considered” [2019 edition], pp. 327-328)

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Q. 5. “If faith is not a ‘condition to salvation,’ then why is the article worded in that way?”

The reason is that the article, as Scripture does, looks at the whole salvation of Christ as the conscious experience of the elect believer. Faith is brought to consciousness by the gospel. That faith lays hold on Christ set forth by the gospel, and lays hold on Him only. Clinging to Christ alone, the believer has salvation consciously as his own possession. (Herman C. Hanko, “Common Grace Considered” [2019 edition], p. 328)

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Q. 7. “Why does God have the gospel preached promiscuously and without distinction if not because of a desire to save everyone?”

This promiscuous proclamation of the gospel is necessary, first, because God gathers a church from all the nations of the earth; and, second, because, in the judgment day, the crucial question, addressed to all nations, will be: “What did you do with Christ?” On the basis of the answer to this question they will be judged. (Herman C. Hanko, “Common Grace Considered” [2019 edition], p. 330)

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Q. 8. “But doesn’t it say that God sends the gospel ‘out of his good pleasure’? Doesn’t ‘good pleasure’ imply delight and a desire for it to save everyone?”

[To interpret the words “good pleasure” in this article to mean “gracious desire/delight”] is a mistaken notion, as the good pleasure of God does not necessarily speak of His grace. For example, we may say that it is God’s good pleasure to cast the wicked unbelievers to hell in His just judgment. There is no show of grace in such good pleasure of God. (Rev. Lau Chin Kwee, “Protestant Reformed Theological Journal,” vol. 35 no. 2 [April 2002], p. 35)

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Q. 9. “Doesn’t the article say that the promise of the gospel is to be declared and published to all promiscuously? Is that not a general offer of salvation on the part of God to all that hear?”


“The gospel with the gospel’s promises must be preached to everyone. However, the promise which is preached to everyone (declared, proclaimed to everyone) is not for everyone. God does not promise to save everyone. He promises to save believers only. We do not say, ‘God promises to every one of you that, if you believe, you shall be saved,’ but ‘God promises salvation to all believers. If you believe, you shall be saved, but if you do not believe, you shall be damned.’ God’s promise is particular: it pertains or it belongs only to the elect. That promise must be preached far and wide to everyone. Herman Hoeksema called it ‘the promiscuous proclamation of a particular promise.’” (Rev. Martyn McGeown—04/11/2019)








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