07 February, 2017


I have already drawn attention to the action of the RPC of Ireland with respect to its report of the events of the 1996 Synod. In the minutes of synod, the church printed the response of its RWC to my protest without also printing my protest, which was the occasion for their response. While this is by no means the salient result of the controversy (the salient result being the official synodical endorsement of the heresy of the free or well-meant offer), it is perhaps one that in the interests of justice the church ought to consider correcting.

This work represents not only a significant portion of my own spiritual biography; it is also meant to be a contribution to the defence of the gospel of sovereign grace against the teaching of a grace of God for all men in the gospel, so that in the preaching God supposedly expresses a desire for the salvation of all men. That this is taught and promoted by reputedly orthodox men who loudly proclaim their adherence to Reformed orthodoxy makes it all the more dangerous. The bottle of poison that is unmarked or marked with the label “poison” is markedly less dangerous than when it is labelled “health-promoting.” We are well acquainted with Arminianism as it is set out and exposed in the Canons of Dordt; we know that Amyraut and his disciples were condemned by the Reformed churches, but when essentially the same teaching is vigorously promoted by those who wrap themselves in the colours of Calvinism, I charge them with wearing false colours.

It is a dreadful reality that official acceptance of the doctrine of the free offer of the gospel by
Reformed and Presbyterian churches inevitably leads to the death of orthodox Calvinism among them. This is aptly demonstrated by the history of the Christian Reformed Church and the Orthodox Presbyterian Church. In smaller and erstwhile “conservative” denominations such as the RPC of Ireland, while double predestination is not officially denied, the doctrine of sovereign reprobation is silenced to death. I know, for I was a member of that denomination for almost five years and never once heard reprobation taught in sermons or in any other form. The reason for this is not hard to find: holding double predestination alongside the free offer of the gospel’s teaching that in the preaching God expresses a sincere desire for the salvation of all men cannot long continue. It cannot exist logically and it has not historically. If double predestination is not officially denied (usually in the process of reinterpreting the confessions or at least in dropping strict subscription), then it is silenced to death.

Reserve, timidity, or silence on the part of Reformed churches regarding their proclamation of double predestination is shameful. It is so because it is this doctrine that enthrones God and dethrones man; it is this doctrine that makes God everything and man nothing; it is this doctrine that makes God the Almighty Saviour of sinners and man utterly dependent on the grace of God. Thus it is by our bold, uncompromising declaration of this truth that we confess with the apostle: “But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption: That, according as it is written, “He that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord” (1 Cor. 1:30–31).

The well-meant offer teaches a universal, resistible grace and an ineffectual, frustrated will of God in that God expresses a sincere desire for what never comes to pass, and makes faith a condition to be fulfilled by unsaved man and not a part of salvation. A Reformed man, jealous for the glory of his God, must utterly repudiate such a doctrine, as must any Reformed and Presbyterian church in which there still burns a love for that glorious system of biblical truth that we call the Reformed faith.  

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