Nov 19, 2015

Calvin on Gospel Invitations

Wrote Calvin (emphasis mine):

"Christ began His sermons thus, the kingdom of God is at hand, repent and believe the gospel. First of all he declareth that the treasures of mercy are set open in Him. Secondly, He requireth acceptance. Lastly, confidence in God's promises. 'To what end,' some will ask, 'do exhortations tend?' Why are not men rather left to the conduct of the Holy Spirit? Why are they solicited by exhortations, since they can only comply with them so far as the Holy Spirit enables them? This briefly is our answer: The sinner cannot impute the hardness of his heart to any one besides himself, and oh man, who art thou that wouldst impose laws on God? If he choose to prepare us by means of exhortations to receive that very grace to obey those exhortations which are addressed to us, what hast thou to object to this conduct of the Lord, and what is there in it which thou canst justly condemn?"  ("CALVINISM AND HYPER-CALVINISM: Mr. J. E. Cracknell's Reply To Mr. Wale's LETTER ON "MINISTERIAL APPEALS TO THE UNCONVERTED."")  (see here)

John Owen on Gospel Invitations

John Owen was a Calvinist, but he was no Hyper Calvinist, as the following citations show.

Wrote Owen (emphasis mine):

"Wherever there is a declaration of the excellencies of Christ, in his person, grace, or offices, it should be accompanied with an invitation and exhortation unto sinners to come unto Him. This method Christ himself first made use of (Matthew xi. 27, 30. John vii. .37, 38,) and consecrated it unto our use also. Besides, it is necessary from the nature of the things themselves; for who can dwell on the consideration of the glory of Christ, being called therewith to the declaration of it, but his own mind will engage him to invite lost sinners unto a participation of him?"

In the following we have his method of dealing with the unconverted sinner:

"Jesus Christ yet stands before sinners, calling, inviting, encouraging them to come unto Him. This is somewhat of the word which He now speaks unto you,—Why will yc die?—Why will ye perish?—Why will ye not have compassion on your own souls? Can your hearts endure or your hands be strong in the day of wrath that is approaching? It is but a little while before all your hopes, your reliefs, your presumptions, will forsake you and leave you eternally miserable! Look unto me and be ye saved. Come unto me and I will ease you of all your sins, sorrows, fears, burdens, and give rest unto your souls. Come I entreat you, lay aside all procrastinations, all delays, put me off no longer, eternity lies at the door. Cast off all cursed self-deceiving reserves, do not so hate me, as that you will rather perish than accept of deliverance from me. These, and the like things doth the Lord Christ continually declare, proclaim, plead, and urge on the souls of sinners as it is fully declared (Prov. i, 20, 34). He doth it in the preaching of the word as if He were present with you, stood amongst you, and spake personally to every one of you. And because this world does not suit His present state of glory, He hath appointed the ministers of the gospel to appear before you, and to deal with you in His stead, avowing as His own the invitations that are given you in His name (2 Corinthians, v. 19, 20)."  (Owen's Glory of Christ, page 535)

Mr. J. E. Cracknell's Reply To Mr. Wale's LETTER ON "MINISTERIAL APPEALS TO THE UNCONVERTED."")  (see here)