My Letter to Mouw about Wesley

It seems clear to me, Mr Mouw, that you don’t want to talk about the gospel or the difference between the gospel and your
“shelf-doctrines”. In other words, you either don’t know what the gospel is or don’t know if God needs the gospel to save a sinner, but you do know that the nature of Christ’s atonement is no part of that gospel.

You know that the stuff Dordt was talking about is not gospel. But you can’t say what the gospel is. Perhaps that’s the reason you look to the experience of Mormons rather than to their shape-shifting doctrines.

Even though I agree that we don’t have to talk about Wesley in order to talk about gospel, you don’t seem to want to talk about Wesley, even though you pointed us to Spurgeon talking about Wesley.. All you can do is act surprised that there are some crazy folks out here on the internet who would not fit within the boundaries of Fuller Seminary.

Sure we’re “Reformed” and all (born that way), but if you say the opposite of what Dordt says, there will be no refutation of errors or antithesis. It will merely say that the lies are “inadequate” versions of the same gospel we have.

John Wesley: “The doctrine of predestination is not of God, because it makes void the ordinance of God; and God is not divided against himself directly tends to destroy holiness which is the end of all the ordinances of God. This doctrine tends to destroy the comfort of religion, the happiness of Christianity… This uncomfortable doctrine directly tends to destroy our zeal for good works. … What would an infidel desire more? It overturns God’s justice, mercy, and truth; yea, it represents the most holy God as worse than the devil, as both more false, more cruel, and more unjust. … This is the
blasphemy clearly contained in the horrible decree of predestination! And here I fix my foot. (7:384)

Why didn’t Wesley simply say that Calvinism is “inadequate”?

Wesley: Q. 74. What is the direct antidote to Methodism, the doctrine of heart-holiness? A. Calvinism: All the devices of Satan, for these fifty years, have done far less toward stopping this work of God, than that single doctrine… Be diligent to prevent them, and to guard these tender minds against the predestinarian poison. (8:336)”

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30 Comments on “My Letter to Mouw about Wesley”

  1. markmcculley Says:

    Wesley’s sermon vs “Justification by Imputation”—- “Neither can it ever
    consist with God’s unerring wisdom, to think that I am innocent, to
    judge that I am righteous or holy, BECAUSE ANOTHER IS SO. God can no more, in this manner, confound me with Christ, than with David or
    Abraham. Let any man to whom God hath given understanding, weigh this without prejudice; and he cannot but perceive, that such a notion of
    justification is neither reconcilable to reason nor Scripture.”

  2. markmcculley Says:

    mark mcculley August 14, 2012 at 3:58 pm
    Do you think that God sovereignly saves apart from the power of the gospel? Or do you think that Arminianism and Mormonism are versions
    of the gospel? It seems to me that you will have to argue against Dordt’s Refutation of Errors in order to tolerate Arminianism as the gospel. I do not accept the apostolic authority of Spurgeon, or of Lloyd-Jones, who said that the worse the doctrine was, the more it showed how sovereign God’s grace was in saving the person still holding the doctrine.

    As far as Wesley is concerned, his hatred of both election and imputed righteousness are well documented. He thought that both doctrines would “cut the nerve” of moral seriousness. And this is ironic, given his own lack of honesty in dealing with Whitefield and also with the
    written polemics of Toplady and Hervey. Wesley not only did not accurately give the position of his opponents, but he edited what they
    wrote in order to argue against caricatures. For more on this, see the historical work of Tom Nettles. (You won’t find much about it in Ian Murray)

    To have certain doctrines as your “shelf-doctrines” only to be pulled out for certain occasions reminds me of certain shape-shifters who
    reinvent themselves depending on the demands of the market.

    I also disagree with Whitefield’s idea that some folks are more holy than other Christians so they get closer to the throne of Christ. I am
    not sure where he got that doctrine, but it does not give all the glory to Christ’s finished work of redemption.

    Between Spurgeon and somebody who does not talk out of both sides of his mouth, pick the other guy

  3. markmcculley Says:

    Calvinistic Baptist preacher Charles Spurgeon was unavailable to write the foreword to Sanders’s book, but in his lecture, “The Two Wesleys” (delivered at the Metropolitan Tabernacle, Dec. 6, 1861), he said the following:

    To ultra-Calvinists his name is as abhorrent as the name of the Pope to a Protestant: you have only to speak of Wesley, and every imaginable evil is conjured up before their eyes, and no doom is thought to be sufficiently horrible for such an arch-heretic as he was. I verily believe that there are some who would be glad to rake up his bones from the tomb and burn them, as they did the bones of Wycliffe of old—men who go so high in doctrine, and withal add so much bitterness and uncharitableness to it, that they cannot imagine that a man can fear God at all unless he believes precisely as they do.

    .I am afraid that most of us are half asleep, and those that are a little awake have not begun to FEEL. It will be time for us to find fault with John and Charles Wesley, not when we discover their mistakes, but when we have cured our own. When we shall have more piety than they, more fire, more grace, more burning love, more intense unselfishness, then, and not till then, may we begin to find fault and criticize.

    MARK; I notice that Spurgeon himself did not wait for his own perfection to criticise “ultra-Calvinists”.

  4. markmcculley Says:

    Wesley plagiarised an anti-slavery work written by a Quaker and a book by Samuel Johnson in support of the British taxing of the American colonies (pp. 177-178). Augustus Toplady “publicly decried his disgraceful fraud” and “trumpeted Wesley’s intellectual bankruptcy in The Old Fox Tarr’d and Feather’d” (p. 179). Tomkins writes,

    Wesley was a serial plagiarist and simply saw nothing wrong with regurgitating other people’s work. As a writer, he inserted other people’s writings into his own as happily and as unannounced as he inserted his own into other people’s as an editor (p. 178).

    Wesley also engaged in the same shameful practices in the field of theology. Tomkins writes,

    Protesting his hatred of controversy, Wesley entered the ring in March 1770 with an extraordinary blow, even for him: he condensed and distorted Toplady’s 134-page book Absolute Predestination into a 12-page tract, ending with these words:

    The sum of all is this: One in twenty (suppose) of mankind are elected; nineteen in twenty are reprobated. The elect shall be saved, do what they will; the reprobate will be damned, do what they can. Reader believe this or be damned. Witness my hand, A- T- (p. 170).

    Tomkins states, “Now this fraud had proved [Wesley] a criminal worthy to be transported to America if not hanged” (p. 170). Wesley did not respond to Toplady, and this “was just as well, as it is hard to see what he could have said in his defence” (p. 171).

  5. markmcculley Says:

    Good God! that any child of Thine
    so horribly think of Thee!
    Lo! All my hopes I here resign,
    If all may not find grace with me. (Rattenbury 117)

    The God of truth did not intend
    The thing His words declare;
    He offers grace to all,
    Which most cannot embrace,
    Mock’d with an ineffectual call
    And insufficient grace.

    The righteous God consign’d
    Them over to their doom,
    And sent the Saviour of mankind
    To damn them from the womb;

    To damn for falling short
    Of what they could not do,
    For not believing the report
    Of that which was not true

    * * *

    He did not then bereave
    Of life, or stop their breath;
    His grace He only would not give,
    And starved their souls to death. (Rattenbury 118-119)

    [1] Ah! Gentle, gracious Dove,
    And art thou griev’d in me,
    That sinners should restrain thy love,
    And say, “It is not free:
    It is not free for all:
    The most, thou passest by,
    And mockest with a fruitless call
    Whom thou hast doom’d to die.”

    [2] They think thee not sincere
    In giving each his day,
    “ Thou only draw’st the sinner near
    To cast him quite away,
    To aggravate his sin,
    His sure damnation seal:
    Thou shew’st him heaven, and say’st, go in
    And thrusts him into hell.”38

    Worthy of whence it came!
    Forgive their hellish blasphemy
    Who charge it on the Lamb:
    Whose pity him inclin’d
    To leave his throne above,
    The friend, and Saviour of mankind,
    The God of grace, and love.

    [4] O gracious, loving Lord,
    I feel thy bowels yearn;
    For those who slight the gospel word
    I share in thy concern:
    How art thou grieved to be
    By ransom’d worms withstood!
    How dost thou bleed afresh to see
    Them trample on thy blood!

    [5] To limit thee they dare,
    Blaspheme thee to thy face,
    Deny their fellow-worms a share
    In thy redeeming grace:
    All for their own they take,
    Thy righteousness engross,
    Of none effect to most they make
    The merits of thy cross.

    [6] Sinners, abhor the fiend:
    His other gospel hear—
    “The God of truth did not intend
    The thing his words declare,
    He offers grace to all,
    Which most cannot embrace,
    Mock’d with an ineffectual call
    And insufficient grace.

    [7] “The righteous God consign’d
    Them over to their doom,
    And sent the Saviour of mankind
    To damn them from the womb;
    To damn for falling short,
    “Of what they could not do,
    For not believing the report
    Of that which was not true.

    [8] “The God of love pass’d by
    The most of those that fell,
    Ordain’d poor reprobates to die,
    And forced them into hell.”
    “He did not do the deed”
    (Some have more mildly rav’d)
    “He did not damn them—but decreed
    They never should be saved.

    [9] “He did not them bereave
    Of life, or stop their breath,
    His grace he only would not give,
    And starv’ed their souls to death.”
    Satanic sophistry!
    But still, all-gracious God,
    They charge the sinner’s death on thee,
    Who bought’st him with thy blood.

    [10] They think with shrieks and cries
    To please the Lord of hosts,
    And offer thee, in sacrifice
    Millions of slaughter’d ghosts:
    With new-born babes they fill
    The dire infernal shade,
    “For such,” they say, “was thy great will,
    Before the world was made.”

    [11] How long, O God, how long
    Shall Satan’s rage proceed!
    Wilt thou not soon avenge the wrong,
    And crush the serpent’s head?
    Surely thou shalt at last
    Bruise him beneath our feet:
    The devil and his doctrine cast
    Into the burning pit.

    [12] Arise, O God, arise,
    Thy glorious truth maintain,
    Hold forth the bloody sacrifice,
    For every sinner slain!
    Defend thy mercy’s cause,
    Thy grace divinely free,
    Lift up the standard of thy cross,
    Draw all men unto thee.

    [13] O vindicate thy grace,
    Which every soul may prove,
    Us in thy arms of love embrace,
    Of everlasting love.
    Give the pure gospel word,
    Thy preachers multiply,
    Let all confess their common Lord,
    And dare for him to die.

    [14] My life I here present,
    My heart’s last drop of blood,
    O let it all be freely spent
    In proof that thou art good,
    Art good to all that breathe,
    Who all may pardon have:
    Thou willest not the sinner’s death,
    But all the world wouldst save.

    [15] O take me at my word,
    But arm me with thy power,
    Then call me forth to suffer, Lord,
    To meet the fiery hour:
    In death will I proclaim
    That all may hear thy call,
    And clap my hands amidst the flame,
    And shout,—HE DIED FOR ALL.

  6. markmcculley Says:

    Wesley: Q. 74. What is the direct antidote to Methodism, the doctrine
    of heart-holiness? A. Calvinism: All the devices of Satan, for these
    fifty years, have done far less toward stopping this work of God, than
    that single doctrine… Be diligent to prevent them, and to guard
    these tender minds against the predestinarian poison. (8:336)

    Wesley: “I defy any man living, who asserts the unconditional decree
    of reprobation, to reconcile this with the scriptural doctrine of a
    future judgment. I say again, I defy any man on earth to show, how, on
    this scheme, God can “judge the world in righteousness.” (10:374)
    3 hours ago · Like · 1
    David Watt Seems Mr. Wesley Didn’t read his bible for one only has to
    look at the writings or Paul to see that predestination and unmerrited
    grace are facts. Will he appear before the throne of God Almighty and
    say, “yes Lord it was all you but aren’t you glad I chose to let you
    do it with my mighty free will?” And this to the Lord who will not
    share His glory with another (Isaiah. 42:8, 48:11)?

  7. markmcculley Says:

    Wesley—“After God had given him [Pharaoh] all this space to repent, and had expostulated with him for his obstinate impenitence, in these solemn words, “How long wilt thou refuse to humble thyself before me?” (x.3) what wonder is it, if God then “hardened his heart”, that is, permitted Satan to harden it? if he at length wholly withdrew his softening grace, and “gave him up to a reprobate mind?” Wesley

  8. markmcculley Says:

    John Wesley, A Biography
    Author: Stephen Tomkins
    Oxford: Lion Publishing, 2003
    Paperback, 208 pp.
    ISBN 0 7459 5078 7

  9. markmcculley Says:

    D.M. Lloyd-Jones from “The Puritans: Their Origins and Successors”:

    “At this point I would make a comment, and put it in the form of a question. Is there not a real danger of our becoming guilty of a very subtle form of Arminianism if we maintain that correct doctrine and understanding are essential to our being used by the Spirit of God? It is sheer Arminianism to insist upon a true and correct understanding as being essential.

    The case of the young Harris disproves this. For eighteen months he was used in this mighty manner while still not merely confused, but actually wrong in his doctrine. The same, of course, is true in the case of John Wesley. I remember speaking once in the Anniversary at the Central Hall, Westminster.

    I said that John Wesley was to me the greatest proof of Calvinism. Why? Because in spite of his faulty thinking he was greatly used of God to preach the gospel and to convert souls! That is the ultimate proof of Calvinism – predestination and election. It certainly comes out quite clearly in the case of the young Howell Harris.”

    “I would sum up this section like this. One of the greatest proofs of the truth of the doctrines emphasized by Calvin, what is known as ‘Calvinism’ – though I have already said I do not like these terms – is John Wesley. He was a man who was saved in spite of his muddled and erroneous thinking. The grace of God saved him in spite of himself. That is Calvinist! If you say, as a Calvinist, that a man is saved by his understanding of doctrine you are denying Calvinism. He is not. We are all saved in spite of what we are in every respect. Thus it comes to pass that men who can be so muddled, because they bring in their own human reason, as John Wesley and others did, are saved men and Christians, as all of us are, because it is ‘all of the grace of God’ and in spite of us.”

  10. markmcculley Says:

    For century after century, one man has been the bogeyman of Western theology. He’s the bad guy. The one nobody wants to be like. Yes, you guessed it: that old Welsh heretic, Pelagius.

    For centuries the malign influence of his worksy free will religion has been resisted. Bede narrates in his history of the English church how persistently both Celtic and Catholic Christians opposed in these fair Isles the poison of Pelagianism, which the great Augustine of Hippo had refuted so clearly, and which was condemned by an early church council at Carthage (418) and excommunicated.

    In the East, they are not such fans of Augustine. But in the West, he the man, and so his enemy is our enemy, so to speak. Identification with Pelagius has been “a bad thing” throughout our history.
    Which makes it so strange that the great and famous John Wesley was actually a fan of Pelagius. Am I being nasty now? Am I being offensive: “a cynic, a bear, a Toplady” (to use Wesley’s own sour put down)? Not at all. Here it is in Wesley’s own words.

    Discussing how the gates of hell have not prevailed against the true church, Wesley writes that, “God always reserved a seed for himself; a few that worshipped him in spirit and truth.” He has often wondered, he says, “whether these were not the very persons whom the rich and honourable Christians, who will always have number as well as power on their side, did not stigmatise, from time to time, with the title of heretics.”

    Which heretics in particular do you think have been unfairly stigmatised by the glitterati, Mr Wesley? The first he mentions is “that arch-heretic, Montanus”, who he thinks might well have been “one of the holiest men in the second century” (despite his rather absurd doctrines and practices).

    But then he affirms that Pelagius too was one of the holiest men of his age. Certainly better than Augustine who was “as full of pride, passion, bitterness, censoriousness, and as foul-mouthed to all that contradicted him.”

    Mr Wesley continues, “I verily believe, the real heresy of Pelagius was neither more nor less than this: The holding that Christians may, by the grace of God (not without it; that I take to be a mere slander,) ‘go on to perfection.'”

    Augustine may have “bespattered” poor old Pelagius, but “his word is not worth a rush” says Mr Wesley. Why? “And here is the secret: St Augustine was angry at Pelagius: hence he slandered and abused him, (as his manner was)”. See The Works of Wesley (Third Edition. Baker, 2007), volume 6 pages 328-329.

    So there we have it: holy Pelagius, one of the righteous remnant of church history, unfairly stigmatised by that nasty brute Augustine and his upper class pals, and who taught — well, what do you know! — the same things as John Wesley himself, regarding free will and perfectionism.

    It’s very unusual in the whole history of Christian theology for anyone to voluntarily identify themselves and their theology with Pelagius. But here we have it from the horse’s mouth. What are we to make of that…?

    Dr Gatiss promises that he’s not just trying to drum up interest in his new book “Strangely Warmed: Whitefield, Toplady, Simeon and Wesley’s Arminian Campaigns” (Latimer Trust), which was based on his recent St Antholin’s Lecture (for the audio, click here).
    – See more at:…/…/12/wesley-and-pelagius.php…

  11. markmcculley Says:

    I foolishly mentioned his unusually positive views of the arch-heretic Pelagius (“Who was Pelagius? By all I can pick up from ancient authors, I guess he was both a wise and a holy man” as the celebrated Mr Wesley wrote to Alexander Coates in 1761). Being challenged by a prolix 2000 word rejoinder, I replied that I was also interested in some of the restless Mr Wesley’s other puzzling comments, on how he abhorred predestination, for example, how he thought there was “nothing more false” than justification by faith alone, and used some tastelessly lamentable comparisons to describe the God of Reformed theology.

    Fred Sanders, responded with some apologetic work on Wesley’s behalf, to silence those who would scandalously “warn people away from [him] by broadcasting the rumour that he was guilty by association with heresy.” Basically what I think he says (in 3000 words) is that I need to shut up and not criticise such great ones until I have either finished reviving “a dying church movement” (presumably the Church of England!) without the Methodist’s assistance, or become as ‘perfect’ in pious zeal as the fiery Wesley bros themselves. Episcopal weight was brought to bear in the form of JC Ryle!

    True, Fred also jabbed his finger at a potentially problematic (but not in my view contextually serious) protatic ellipsis in one of my “snippet” quotations and brought up (as did Prof McCall) the entirely beside the point point that Wesley said he believed in original sin (which I personally never mentioned in my original post). He also made the fair point that Wesley preached against the love of money and was generous with his own.

    However, as I show in my latest publication (fresh out from Latimer Trust this week and available for worldwide shipping immediately, at very reasonable rates), some of the money which Wesley may have earned from his publishing endeavours was at the expense of other writers whom he fraudulently copied, forged, and plagiarised…
    One such victim was Augustus Montague Toplady. My buddy Fred says that nasty Mr Toplady was full of spite against Wesley (who, as usual, gets away pretty lightly there it seems to me). But why would Toplady not feel anything but warm and fuzzy about the giant genius of evangelicalism?

    Might it have been because of the Zanchi Tract War, where Wesley re-published (in his own series) a bowdlerised abridgement of one of Toplady’s books, denuded of all its (350+) biblical references and pregnant with infamous Wesleyan additions designed to portray Toplady as narrow and bigoted? Possibly.

    It may also have been because of the rumours being spread about the much younger man as he lay breathless in bed dying an unhappily early death (aged 37). Sanctifying themselves by slander, Wesley and his friends tweeted that Toplady had renounced his faith. Not only that, but apparently he also wanted to recant his Calvinism and personally confess to John Wesley that he was wrong about the doctrines of grace. So they were saying on the circuit.

    Toplady somehow got himself out of bed (against doctor’s orders no doubt) and dragged himself to a pulpit to demonstrate publicly the falsehood of such calumny. Wheezing and emaciated he may have been, but he preached as he always had. He also assured his congregation that, on the edge of eternity as he was, he had no desire to delete so much as a single line from any of his published contributions to “the Arminian controversy.” I imagine you could have heard a pin drop that Sunday morning. Toplady’s heart was scarcely beating, the attending doctor said, anxiously; but its rhythm was still clearly Reformed, and was warmly longing for heaven and “sweet communion” with the Lord.

    A few days later, a friend wrote to him and said he’d been told by two separate people that Toplady had got up that Sunday and… recanted his Calvinism and opposition to Wesley! I’d be quite annoyed by that — wouldn’t you? So Toplady published his sermon, his “dying avowal”, in another attempt to stop such gossipy aspersions.

    Once he was actually dead, Wesley told people Toplady had passed away uttering foul blasphemies and died in black despair, banning his Christian friends from his bedside. These (entirely fabricated) stories rippled out across the country, and Wesley was at the epicentre. Toplady’s friends (at least 13 of whom certified that they had actually been with him when he died, including Dr Gifford and John Ryland Sr — Baptists! Wesley didn’t like those very much either…) attempted to challenge the senior pillar of Methodism to cease and desist. How could he vent such “gross, malicious falsehood against a dead man who cannot answer for himself, in order to support your own cause and party”?

    Sir Richard Hill, who sent a letter to Wesley on behalf of Toplady’s associates, records that Wesley never replied to this challenge. When approached by two of Toplady’s colleagues who wanted to talk to him about his accusations and behaviour, Wesley fobbed them off as he got into his limo, saying “Those that are for peace will let those things alone.”

    The idea that for the sake of “evangelical unity” we must never question the conduct of the big chiefs, however deplorable, is surely anathema to truth-loving Christians. Those that are for truth, must sometimes touch the sore spot.

  12. markmcculley Says:

    dead dead or kinda dead? William Lane Craig, In Pinnock, the grace of god and the will of man, p 157—-“God desires and has given sufficient grace for all people to be saved. If some believe and others do not, it is not because some received prevenient grace and some did not. the efficacy of God’s grace is UP TO US, because every person is moved by God in a measure sufficient for salvation.”

    it does not matter if you believe in original sin, if you also believe in “common grace”—Wesley, Working Out Our Own Salvation—“allowing that all souls are dead in sin by nature, this excuses none, seeing that there is no man in a state of nature only. There is no man, unless he has quenched the Holy Spirit, that is wholly void of the grace of God. No man sins because he has not grace, but because he does not use the grace he has.”

  13. markmcculley Says:

    Ecclesiastes 7:20—“there is not a just man on the earth that does good and sins not.” Wesley—-“Without doubt, thus it was in the days of Solomon. There was no man THEN that sinned not.There was no man that sinned not until the new covenant, because there is a wide difference between the Jewish and Christian dispensation.”

  14. markmcculley Says:

    Repentance was to Wesley faith’s precondition, sorrow for sin and reform of manners. Sometimes, indeed, as in his 1744 Conference Minutes, he would describe repentance as “a low state of faith,” or as the faith of a servant in contrast with that of a son(compare Gal. 4:1-7; Rom. 8:15f.); his basic thought, however, was that, whereas repentance is a state of seeking God, faith is the state of finding him, or rather of being found by him. A person seeking God can do no more than wait on God, showing the sincerity of his quest by the earnestness of his prayers and the tenderness of his conscience, till the light of assurance dawns in his heart. Such teaching is similar to the Puritan doctrine of “preparatory works,

    Wesley would never let the world forget that he wanted his teaching taken in an Arminian sense, because Calvinism in all its forms was anathema to him; and this caused him much trouble, mostly unnecessary and of his own making. He always caricatured Calvinism in the same three ways-as antinomian, making holiness needless; as restricting the preaching of God’s love to the world (for some reason he was always sure that according to Calvinism only “one in twenty” is elect); and as fatalistic, destroying moral responsibility and denying the connection between means and ends in the spiritual realm. At the end of his life he wrote:

    Q. 74. What is the direct antidote to Methodism, the doctrine of heart-holiness?

    A. Calvinism: All the devices of Satan, for these fifty years, have done far less toward stopping this work of God, than that single doctrine. It strikes at the root of salvation from sin, previous to glory, putting the matter on quite another issue.

    Q. But wherein lie the charms of this doctrine? What makes men swallow it so greedily?

    A. It seems to magnify Christ, although in reality it supposes Him to have died in vain. For the absolutely elect must have been saved without Him; and the non-elect cannot be saved by Him.

    in 1770 Wesley’s Conference Minutes (against real or supposed Calvinistic antinomians) were so drafted as to appear to teach, Roman-style, that a man’s own works are the ground of his acceptance with God. Having reaffirmed that “we have leaned too much toward Calvinism” in playing down the fact that a man must be faithful and labor for life and bring forth works of repentance if he is to be saved, the Minutes proceed thus:

    Once more review the whole affair: (1) Who of us is now accepted with God? He that now believes in Christ with a loving, obedient heart.

    (2) But who among those that never heard of Christ? He that, according to the light he has, “feareth God and worketh righteousness.”

    (3) Is this the same with “he that is sincere?” Nearly, if not quite.

    (4) Is not this salvation by works? Not by merit of works, but by works as a condition.

    (5) What have we been disputing about for these thirty years’? I am afraid about words. . . .

    (6) As to merit itself, of which we have been so dreadfully afraid. We are rewarded according to our works, yea because of our works. How does this differ from, “for the sake of our works?” And how does this differ from “as our works deserve. ” Can you split this hair? . . .

    (8) Does not talking . . . of a justified or sanctified state, tend to mislead men; almost naturally leading them to trust what was already done ? Whereas we are every moment pleasing or displeasing to God, according to our works.

  15. markmcculley Says:

    H Bonar—- Can the Holy Spirit not work by poor and defective instruments? He wrought not only by the Calvinistic Whitefield, but the Arminian Wesley. … Among the hundreds of brethren connected with this movement, are there none of whom better things can be said, — things more in accordance with the charity which ‘thinketh no evil?’ … The assumption of spiritual superiority is always unbecoming, but specially so when rebuking a brother. … I have myself (as I have already stated) heard such full and fervent confession of sin at Mr. Moody’s meetings, and such solemn addresses concerning this at our ‘converts’ ‘ meetings, that I can give my testimony as to the inaccuracy of the charge. We do confess sin and seek forgiveness; we teach the converts to do the same. I have seldom heard anyone cast himself more entirely upon God for pardon and for strength and wisdom than ‘the leader.’ … I bear willing testimony to the blessed effects among my own people by Moody’s teaching and Sankey’s singing;

  16. markmcculley Says:

    Wesley—21. And “the same Lord over all is rich” in mercy “to all that call upon him:” (Romans 10:12:) But you say, “No; he is such only to those for whom Christ died. And those are not all, but only a few, whom God hath chosen out of the world; for he died not for all, but only for those who were ‘chosen in him before the foundation of the world.'” (Eph. 1:4.) Flatly contrary to your interpretation of these scriptures, also, is the whole tenor of the New Testament; as are in particular those texts: — “Destroy not him with thy meat, for whom Christ died,” (Rom. 14:15,) — a clear proof that Christ died, not only for those that are saved, but also for them that perish: He is “the Saviour of the world;” (John 4:42;) He is “the Lamb of God that taketh away the sins of the world;” (John 1:29;) “He is the propitiation, not for our sins only, but also for the sins of the whole world;” (1 John 2:2;) “He,” the living God, “is the Savior of all men;” (1 Timothy 4:10;) “He gave himself a ransom for all;” (1 Tim. 2:6;) “He tasted death for every man.” (Heb. 2:9.)

    22. If you ask, “Why then are not all men saved?” the whole law and the testimony answer, First, Not because of any decree of God; not because it is his pleasure they should die; for, As I live, saith the Lord God,” I have no pleasure in the death of him that dieth.” (Ezek. 18:3, 32.) Whatever be the cause of their perishing, it cannot be his will, if the oracles of God are true; for they declare, “He is not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance;” (2 Pet. 3:9;) “He willeth that all men should be saved.” And they, Secondly, declare what is the cause why all men are not saved, namely, that they will not be saved: So our Lord expressly, “Ye will not come unto me that ye may have life.” (John 5:40.) “The power of the Lord is present to heal” them, but they will not be healed. “They reject the counsel,” the merciful counsel, “of God against themselves,” as did their stiff-necked forefathers. And therefore are they without excuse; because God would save them, but they will not be saved: This is the condemnation, “How often would I have gathered you together, and ye would not!” (Matt. 23:37.)

    23. Thus manifestly does this doctrine tend to overthrow the whole Christian Revelation, by making it contradict itself; by giving such an interpretation of some texts, as flatly contradicts all the other texts, and indeed the whole scope and tenor of Scripture; — an abundant proof that it is not of God. But neither is this all: For, Seventhly, it is a doctrine full of blasphemy; of such blasphemy as I should dread to mention, but that the honour of our gracious God, and the cause of his truth, will not suffer me to be silent. In the cause of God, then, and from a sincere concern for the glory of his great name, I will mention a few of the horrible blasphemies contained in this horrible doctrine. But first, I must warn every one of you that hears, as ye will answer it at the great day, not to charge me (as some have done) with blaspheming, because I mention the blasphemy of others. And the more you are grieve with them that do thus blaspheme, see that ye “confirm your love towards them: the more, and that your heart’s desire, and continual prayer to God, be, “Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do!”

    24. This premised, let it be observed, that this doctrine represents our blessed Lord, “Jesus Christ the righteous,” “the only begotten Son of the Father, full of grace and truth,” as an hypocrite, a deceiver of the people, a man void of common sincerity. For it cannot be denied, that he everywhere speaks as if he was willing that all men should be saved. Therefore, to say he was not willing that all men should be saved, is to represent him as a mere hypocrite and dissembler. It cannot be denied that the gracious words which came out of his mouth are full of invitations to all sinners. To say, then, he did not intend to save all sinners, is to represent him as a gross deceiver of the people. You cannot deny that he says, “Come unto me, all ye that are weary and heavy laden.” If, then, you say he calls those that cannot come; those whom he knows to be unable to come; those whom he can make able to come, but will not; how is it possible to describe greater insincerity? You represent him as mocking his helpless creatures, by offering what he never intends to give. You describe him as saying on thing, and meaning another; as pretending the love which his had not. Him, in “whose mouth was no guile,” you make full of deceit, void of common sincerity; — then especially, when, drawing nigh the city, He wept over it, and said, “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou killest the prophets, and stonest them that are sent unto thee; how often would I have gathered thy children together, — and ye would not;” _EthelEsa — kai ouk EthelEsate_. Now, if you say, they would_, but _he would not_, you represent him (which who could hear?) as weeping crocodiles’ tears; weeping over the prey which himself had doomed to destruction!

    25. Such blasphemy this, as one would think might make the ears of a Christian to tingle! But there is yet more behind; for just as it honours the Son, so doth this doctrine honour the Father. It destroys all his attributes at once: It overturns both his justice, mercy, and truth; yea, it represents the most holy God as worse than the devil, as both more false, more cruel, and more unjust. More false; because the devil, liar as he is, hath never said, “He willeth all men to be saved:” More unjust; because the devil cannot, if he would, be guilty of such injustice as you ascribe to God, when you say that God condemned millions of souls to everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels, for continuing in sin, which, for want of that grace he will not give them, they cannot avoid: And more cruel; because that unhappy spirit “seeketh rest and findeth none;” so that his own restless misery is a kind of temptation to him to tempt others. But God resteth in his high and holy place; so that to suppose him, of his own mere motion, of his pure will and pleasure, happy as he is, to doom his creatures, whether they will or no, to endless misery, is to impute such cruelty to him as we cannot impute even to the great enemy of God and man. It is to represent the high God (he that hath ears to hear let him hear!) as more cruel, false, and unjust than the devil!

    26. This is the blasphemy clearly contained in the horrible decree+ of predestination! And here I fix my foot. On this I join issue with every assertor of it. You represent God as worse than the devil; more false, more cruel, more unjust. But you say you will prove it by scripture. Hold! What will you prove by Scripture? that God is worse than the devil? I cannot be. Whatever that Scripture proves, it never an prove this; whatever its true meaning be. This cannot be its true meaning. Do you ask, “What is its true meaning then?” If I say, ” I know not,” you have gained nothing; for there are many scriptures the true sense whereof neither you nor I shall know till death is swallowed up in victory. But this I know, better it were to say it had no sense, than to say it had such a sense as this. It cannot mean, whatever it mean besides, that the God of truth is a liar. Let it mean what it will it cannot mean that the Judge of all the world is unjust. No scripture can mean that God is not love, or that his mercy is not over all his works; that is, whatever it prove beside, no scripture can prove predestination.

    27. This is the blasphemy for which (however I love the persons who assert it) I abhor the doctrine of predestination, a doctrine, upon the supposition of which, if one could possibly suppose it for a moment, (call it election, reprobation, or what you please, for all comes to the same thing,) one might say to our adversary, the devil, “Thou fool, why dost thou roar about any longer? Thy lying in wait for souls is as needless and useless as our preaching. Hearest thou not, that God hath taken thy work out of thy hands; and that he doeth it much more effectually? Thou, with all thy principalities and powers, canst only so assault that we may resist thee; but He can irresistibly destroy both body and soul in hell! Thou canst only entice; but his unchangeable decrees, to leave thousands of souls in death, compels them to continue in sin, till they drop into everlasting burnings. Thou temptest; He forceth us to be damned; for we cannot resist his will. Thou fool, why goest thou about any longer, seeking whom thou mayest devour? Hearest thou not that God is the devouring lion, the destroyer of souls, the murderer of men” Moloch caused only children to pass though the fire: and that fire was soon quenched; or, the corruptible body being consumed, its torment was at an end; but God, thou are told, by his eternal decree, fixed before they had done good or evil, causes, not only children of a span long, but the parents also, to pass through the fire of hell, the ‘fire which never shall be quenched; and the body which is cast thereinto, being now incorruptible and immortal, will be ever consuming and never consumed, but ‘the smoke of their torment,’ because it is God’s good pleasure, ‘ascendeth up for ever and ever.'”

    28. O how would the enemy of God and man rejoice to hear these things were so! How would he cry aloud and spare not! How would he lift up his voice and say, “To your tents, O Israel! Flee from the face of this God, or ye shall utterly perish! But whither will ye flee? Into heaven? He is there, Down to hell? He is there also. Ye cannot flee from an omnipresent, almighty tyrant. And whether ye flee or stay, I call heaven, his throne, and earth, his footstool, to witness against you, ye shall perish, ye shall die eternally. Sing, O hell, and rejoice, ye that are under the earth! For God, even the mighty God, hath spoken, and devoted to death thousands of souls, form the rising of the sun unto the going down thereof! Here, O death, is they sting! They shall not, cannot escape; for the mouth of the Lord hath spoken it. Here, O grave is thy victory Nations yet unborn, or ever they have done good or evil are doomed never to see the light of life, but thou shalt gnaw upon them for ever and ever! Let all those morning stars sing together, who fell with Lucifer, son of the morning! Let all the sons of hell shout for joy! For the decree is past, and who shall disannul it?”

    29. Yea, the decree is past; and so it was before the foundation of the world. But what decree? Even this: “I will set before the sons of men ‘life and death, blessing cursing.’ And the soul that chooseth life shall live, as the soul that chooseth death shall die.” This decree whereby “whom God did foreknow, he did predestinate,” was indeed from everlasting; this, whereby all who suffer Christ to make them alive are “elect according to the foreknowledge of God,” now standeth fast, even as the moon, and as the faithful witnesses in heaven; and when heaven and earth shall pass away, yet this shall not pass away; for it is as unchangeable and eternal as is the being of God that gave it. This decree yields the strongest encouragement to abound in all good works and in all holiness; and it is a well-spring of joy, of happiness also, to our great and endless comfort. This is worthy of God; it is every way consistent with all the perfections of his nature. It gives us the noblest view both of his justice, mercy, and truth. To this agrees the whole scope of the Christian Revelation, as well as all the parts thereof. To this Moses and all the Prophets bear witness, and our blessed Lord and all his Apostles Thus Moses, in the name of his Lord: “I call heaven and earth to record against you this day, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing; therefore choose life, that thou and thy seed may live.” Thus Ezekiel: choose life, that thou and thy seed may live;”Thus Ezekiel: (To cite one Prophet for all:) “The soul that sinneth, it shall die: The son shall not bear” eternally, “the iniquity of the father. The righteousness of the righteous shall be upon him, and the wickedness of the wicked shall be upon him.” (18:20.) Thus our blessed Lord: “If any man thirst, let him come unto me and drink.” (John 7:37.) Thus his great Apostle, St. Paul: (Acts 17:30:) “God commandeth all men everywhere to repent; — “all men everywhere;” every man in every place, without any exception either of place or person. Thus St. James: “If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, who giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not, and it shall be given him.” (James 1:5.) Thus St. Peter: (2 Pet. 3:9:) “The Lord is not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.” And thus St. John: ” If any man sin, we have an Advocate with the Father; and he is the propitiation for our sins; and not for ours only, but for the sins of the whole world.” (1 John 2:1, 2.)

    30. O hear ye this, ye that forget God! Ye cannot charge your death upon him! “`Have I any pleasure at all that the wicked should die?’ saith the Lord God.” (Ezek. 18:23ff.)

  17. markmcculley Says:

    Lee Gattiss on Welsey’s shameful actions toward Toplady

  18. markmcculley Says:

    Paths to power – A. W. Tozer – Chapter 2 – God’s Part and Man’s

    “If atonement was made for all men, why are not all saved? The answer is that before redemption becomes effective toward the individual man there is an act which that man must do. That act is not one of merit, but of condition.”

    Tozer—“In our efforts to magnify grace we have so preached the truth as to convey the impression that repentance is a work of God. This is a grave mistake, and one which is taking a frightful toll among Christians everywhere. God has commanded all men to repent. It is a work which only they can do.”

    Tozer—“The wrong practices are on man’s part, and only man can correct them. Lying, for instance, is an act of man and one for which he must accept full responsibility. When he repents he will quit lying. The remedy is to see clearly that men are not lost because of what someone did thousands of years ago. They are lost because they sin individually and in person. We will never be judged for Adam’s sin, but for our own. For our own sins we are and must remain fully responsible.”

    Tozer—“Faith is a gift of God, to be sure, but whether or not we shall act upon that faith lies altogether within our own power. We may or we may not, as we choose.

    Paths to power – A. W. Tozer – Chapter 2 – God’s Part and Man’s

  19. markmcculley Says:

    no gospel but not a heretic?

    II Timothy 2:23 But reject foolish and ignorant disputes, knowing that they breed quarrels. 24 The Lord’s slave must not quarrel, but must be gentle to everyone, able to teach, and patient, 25 instructing his opponents with gentleness. Perhaps God will grant them repentance leading them to the knowledge of the truth. 26 Then they may come to their senses and escape the Devil’s trap, having been captured by him to do his will.

    II Thessalonians 2: They perish because they did not accept the love of the truth in order to be saved. 11 For this reason God sends them a strong delusion so that they will believe what is false, 12 so that all will be condemned—those who did not believe the truth but enjoyed unrighteousness

  20. markmcculley Says:

    Ray Ortlund explains to dgh— “This is the acid test of a truly Reformed ministry – that other believers need not be
    Reformed in order to be respected and included in our hearts. Whatever divides us emotionally from other Bible-believing, Christ-honoring Christians is a “plus” we’re adding to the gospel. It is the Galatian impulse of self-exaltation. It can even become a club with which we bash other Christians, at least in our thoughts, to punish, to exclude and to force into line with us. What unifies the church is the gospel. What defines the gospel is the
    BIBLE…. What proves that the gospel hermeneutic has captured our hearts is that we are not looking down
    on other believers but lifting them up, not seeing ourselves as better but grateful for their contribution to the cause, not standing aloof but embracing them freely, not wishing they would become like us but serving them in love My Reformed friend, can you move among other Christian groups and really enjoy them? Do you admire them? Even if you disagree with them in some ways, do you learn from them? What is the emotional tilt of your heart –
    toward them or away from them? If your Reformed theology has morphed functionally into Galatian sociology, the remedy is not to abandon your Reformed theology. The remedy is to take your Reformed theology to a deeper level…. The proof that we are Reformed will be all the wonderful Christians we discover around us who are not Reformed. Amazing people. Heroic people.”

    • markmcculley Says:

      William Smith—–“Once it is acknowledged that there is much more to Calvinism than the five points, and that one can affirm the Five Points and not be Reformed, the question has to be asked: Can one who does not agree with the substance of the five points (if not the terminology) be regarded as holding the truly Reformed faith? Dr. Stewart wants us to understand that Calvinism is much more open to revivals renewal than we might think.

      Now, as one of a small minority who have some criticisms of “experimental Calvinism” and revivalism, but who could hold of convention of likeminded folks in a phone booth (if he could find one), I ask why Dr. Stewart thinks that….“Calvinists take a dim view of revival and awakening.”. Those such as Nevin of an earlier age and Clark and Hart of the present day seem to be assigned to the cranky edge of Reformed faith and practice. It seems to me incontrovertible that this supposed myth is no myth at all… In the end one wonders why this book was written. It seems it will serve to cause those who favor a broader, softer Calvinism to say, “Amen.”

      Meanwhile, this book will not cause those who hold a more defined and robust Calvinism to change their minds. The book does little to advance serious discussion and debate among those in the Calvinistic tradition. It poses another problem for confessional Presbyterians. It really is not an academic book which would provide a better understanding of varieties of Calvinism. It rather is an advocacy book. And what it advocates is going to a place no one bound by vows accepting the Westminster Standards as teaching the system of doctrine taught in Holy Scripture may go.

  21. markmcculley Says:

    Lloyd jones—I am a Calvinist; I believe in election and predestination; but I would not dream of putting it under the heading of essential. I put it under the heading of non-essential… You are not saved by your precise understanding of how this great salvation comes to you. What you must be clear about is that you are lost and damned, hopeless and helpless, and that nothing can save you but the grace of God in Jesus Christ and only Him crucified, bearing the punishment of your sins, dying, rising again, ascending, sending the Spirit, regeneration. Those are the essentials… While I myself hold very definite and strong views on the subject, I will not separate from a man who cannot accept and believe the doctrines of election and predestination, and is Arminian, as long as he tells me that we are all saved by grace, and as long as the Calvinist agrees, as he must, that God calls all men everywhere to repentance. As long as both are prepared to agree about these things I say we must not break fellowship. So I put election into the category of non-essentials.

    – D Martyn Lloyd Jones
    What is an Evangelical? The Banner of Truth Trust, 1992, p. 87

  22. markmcculley Says:

    Richard Mouw’s Calvinism in the Las Vegas Airport (Zondervan, 2004) should be read by every Reformed-leaning Southern Baptist. No, he does not dot his “i’s” and cross his “t’s” like strict Calvinists. Neither does he offer much of a biblical defense for his Calvinist heritage. But we could all learn from the gentle tone of Mouw’s writing. Mouw exemplifies in this book the humble spirit that is often missing among Calvinists.

    Calvinism in the Las Vegas Airport begins with the scene from the movie Hardcore, in which a man tries to explain the TULIP to a prostitute. Mouw, of course, sees the humor in the film’s stark presentation of Calvinist doctrines to someone who needs salvation before a theological treatise. But Mouw unapologetically comes down on the side of Calvinism all throughout the book. What the book becomes is a gentle apologetic for Calvinism that avoids the sterile theological debates in which Arminians and Calvinisms shout out Scripture passages to one another.

    Mouw’s chapter “Mere Calvinism” is a very helpful summation of Calvinist soteriology, and his willingness to avoid hang-ups over “Limited Atonement” is a breath of fresh air. I also found helpful his description of Kuyper and that stream of Calvinism.

    Two problems, however, surface in the book. The first is found in the basis of Mouw’s apologetic. Thankfully, he does not engage in the endless battle of Scriptural prooftexts used to justify one position over another. But his alternative is no better. The basis for his apologetic turns out to be personal experience. Several times, he mentions how he feels that Total Depravity is true. He grounds his Calvinist apologetic in experience, and that actually serves to undercut his arguments.

    The second problem is even greater, though it stems somewhat from the first. An entire chapter is dedicated to Mouw’s inclusivist understanding of salvation, in which he entertains “hopes and hunches” that those who do not profess faith in Christ may wind up in heaven anyway. He admits that Scripture doesn’t always seem to line up with this belief, but (experience again) Mouw feels that it might be so anyway.

    These are two caveats that the discerning reader will have to pass over if one wants to enjoy the book. I was encouraged as I read Calvinism in the Las Vegas Airport, happy to remember some of the reasons why I delight in the doctrine of God’s sovereignty and divine choice.

  23. markmcculley Says:

    Arminius really hated supralapsarians and the doctrine of non-election. Arminius could get along with most Calvinists today

    David Engelsma–The truth that Jesus Christ is first in the counsel ought to have been the Reformed response to the Arminian challenge to the Reformed faith at Dordt. In the interests of freeing the atonement from the limitation of election, much as Dr. Mouw thinks to free creation and providence from the restriction of election and redemption by placing election after the decree to create, the Arminians placed the decree of election after the decree of the atonement. This, they argued, made Christ the foundation of election as well as the executor of election. Since in the Reformed order of the decrees, Christ did not appear until after the decree of election, as the Mediator who would carry out the decree of election by redeeming the elect, the Arminians charged that the Reformed reduced Christ to the executor of the decree. The Reformed could not honor Christ as also the foundation of the decree of election.

    The Reformed at Dordt fell back on Christ’s being the decreeing God. But this was to evade the Arminian objection. Christ is indeed the foundation of the decree of election. The elect are chosen “in Him.” But this does not refer to His being the electing God, which, of course, He is. Rather, it refers to Him as incarnate, as the head of the church. As incarnate, as the man Jesus, He is the first decree of God. The election of the church is founded upon the election of the man Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ is both the foundation and the executor of the decree of election.

  24. markmcculley Says:

    RC Sproul–The distortion of double predestination looks like this: There is a symmetry that exists between election and reprobation. God works in the same way and same manner with respect to the elect and to the reprobate. That is to say, from all eternity God decreed some to election and by divine initiative works faith in their hearts and brings them actively to salvation. By the same token, from all eternity God decrees some to sin and damnation (destinare ad peccatum) and actively intervenes to work sin in their lives, bringing them to damnation by divine initiative. In the case of the elect, regeneration is the monergistic work of God. In the case of the reprobate, sin and degeneration are the monergistic work of God. Stated another way, we can establish a parallelism of foreordination and predestination by means of a positive symmetry. We can call this a positive-positive view of predestination. This is, God positively and actively intervenes in the lives of the elect to bring them to salvation. In the same way God positively and actively intervenes in the life of the reprobate to bring him to sin.This distortion of positive-positive predestination clearly makes God the author of sin who punishes a person for doing what God monergistically and irresistibly coerces man to do. Such a view is indeed a monstrous assault on the integrity of God. This is not the Reformed view of predestination, but a gross and inexcusable caricature of the doctrine. Such a view may be identified with what is often loosely described as hyper-Calvinism and involves a radical form of supralapsarianism. Such a view of predestination has been virtually universally and monolithically rejected by Reformed thinkers.

    Sproul—If God, when He is decreeing reprobation, does so in consideration of the reprobate’s being already fallen, then Sproul does not coerce him to sin. To be reprobate is to be left in sin, not pushed or forced to sin. If the decree of reprobation were made without a view to the fall, then the objection to double predestination would be valid and God would be properly charged with being the author of sin. But Reformed theologians have been careful to avoid such a blasphemous notion.

    God’s decree of reprobation, given in light of the fall, is a decree to justice, not injustice. In this view the biblical a priori that God is neither the cause nor the author of sin is safeguarded.

    Turretin “We have proved the object of predestination to be man considered as fallen, sin ought necessarily to be supposed as the condition in him who is reprobated, no less than him who is elected.”

    Turretin: ” The negative act includes two, both preterition, by which in the election of some as well to glory as to grace, he neglected and slighted others, which is evident from the event of election, and negative desertion, by which he left them in the corrupt mass and in their misery; which, however, is as to be understood, 1. That they are not excepted from the laws of common providence, but remain subject to them, nor are immediately deprived of all God’s favor, but only of the saving and vivifying which is the fruit of election,

    Turretin–Preterition and desertion do not come from the denied grace itself, but from the nature of the corrupt free will. He who does not cure the disease of a sick man, is not the cause per se of the disease, nor of the results flowing from it; so sins are the consequents, rather than the effects of reprobation,

  25. markmcculley Says:

    Sproul–The importance of viewing the decree of reprobation in light of the fall is seen in the on-going discussions between Reformed theologians concerning infra-and supra-lapsarianism. Both viewpoints include the fall in God’s decree. Both view the decree of preterition in terms of divine permission

  26. markmcculley Says:

    Rolfe Barnard and Henry Mahan disciple–RT Kendell—Jesus did everything for every sinner – he died for every sinner, kept the Law for every sinner, and believed for every sinner, but but for those who never believe all that Jesus did for them was of no value and Jesus will never begin to intercede for them.

    mark mcculley—The way to fight his false gospel is not to deny the need for faith but to explain that Christ’s death bought for all for whom He died even the blessing to believe the gospel

    RT Kendell
    It is a pity that limited atonement was ever conceived when the plain, natural, unbiased, unprejudiced and obvious reading of the New Testament is that Jesus died for everyone. Those who reply that Jesus died only for the “church” or for the “sheep” would never have thought to argue this were it not for a need to be defensive for the teaching of limited atonement.

    What my experience of 31st October 1955 showed me that very same day was that it was a work of the Spirit. This means that what happened to me cannot be worked up or hastened by the flesh. That – to me – also meant predestination and election. Perhaps you would not come to that conclusion, but I did, even though I had not read a single word of any Calvinist in my whole life (being brought up a Nazarene). This led to my reading Romans 9:11-18 without being defensive but just accepting those exceedingly plain words. And yet there was no hint of limited atonement in these verses – only God’s sovereign choice of Jacob and His elect people.

    When I discovered for myself that John Calvin did not believe in limited atonement I was both thrilled and sobered. It was a thoughtful process – a story in itself – that led to my being convinced that Calvin really believed this.

    And yet when Dr. Lloyd-Jones read my Oxford DPhil thesis he chided me for not quoting Calvin more than I did. I remember it as though it were yesterday. He phoned me on a Monday morning. “I was not able to preach this weekend so, having read your thesis, you got me to reading Calvin. I have discovered many statements of Calvin that you did not use”. He started in with one statement after another. I replied, “I know about those”. “But why didn’t you use them?” “It is because the Oxford rules limited me to a maximum of 100,000 words and I had to leave them out”. “This is a pity. You can prove your case to the hilt”, he said. Then he proceeded to quote more, either from Calvin’s Institutes or his commentaries.

    Many of my quotations from Calvin in my Oxford thesis are in the footnotes. I knew that my examiners would read the footnotes as carefully as they read the main text and these examiners are the ones who awarded me my doctorate. But most people don’t read the footnotes. I also wish I had somehow been able to put more of Calvin’s many statements in my thesis, as Dr. Lloyd-Jones discovered. My only regret now is that I did not put all of Calvin’s statements in the main text. But I have never been so clear about anything in my life as I am about Calvin’s view of the atonement of Christ – and, for that matter, the Apostle Paul’s view!*

    *For those who want to read further see my Calvin and English Calvinism to 1648 (Oxford University Press
    Here are my recent tweets again in case you missed any…

    RT Kendall
    When I say I am a four and a half point Calvinist people think it is a joke. It is not a joke; I don’t accept limited atonement.

    I got my teaching on the atonement from John Calvin himself – not from the Synod of Dort (origin of TULIP).

    Calvin taught that Jesus died indiscriminately for all people.

    Calvin taught that although Jesus died for all people, He made intercession for the elect only. That is four and a half point Calvinism.
    TULIP Calvinists cannot say Jesus died for you or even Jesus died for me; they can only say Jesus died for sinners.

    I can say Jesus died for me, Jesus died for you. Why important? It makes a complete difference in evangelism and one’s personal assurance of salvation.

    Dr. Lloyd-Jones told me how he struggled having to defend limited atonement.
    “I only did it once – my exposition of Romans 5:18; I was in real difficulty.”

    Mrs. Martyn Lloyd-Jones said to me, łI have never believed in limited atonement and never will. The Doctor sat there and smiled.

    The limited atonement people make a big deal of Jesus dying for many (Isa.53:12; Rom.5:19): the many being the elect but not all. Calvin: many means all.

  27. Mark Mcculley Says:

    Owen–“I do not doubt but that many men do receive more grace from God
    than they understand or will own, and have a greater efficacy of it in
    them than they will believe.”

    Owen—For my part, I must say, that notwithstanding all the disputes
    that I see and read about justification…I do not believe but that
    the authors of them, (if they be not Socinians) do really trust to the
    mediation of Christ for the pardon of their sins, and acceptance with
    God, and not to their own works or obedience. Nor will I believe the
    contrary, until they expressly declare it.”

    When you question someone’s faith based on an argument that most
    educated Christians, including many preachers, cannot comprehend, then
    there is a serious problem. Presbyterians and Reformed folk can go at
    it over things most of the Christian world can’t even understand.”

    owen–The elect must seek salvation not only by faith but also by
    works, seeing that without doubt salvation is to be given by way of
    reward, by which God will reward not only our faith but also all our
    works. Indeed justification, namely the remission of sins, we seek by
    faith alone, not at all by works. But after we are justified, we seek
    salvation not only by faith but also by good works. For God will repay
    everyone according to their works.”

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