Risen Indeed

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Now is Christ risen from the dead. That cornerstone of the gospel was firmly laid through the revelation of the risen Lord himself as attested by many and faithful witnesses. The truth of this gospel is corroborated by the experience of the church, of believers of every age. Jesus lives! Raised he was by the Father, and Jesus’ resurrection was God’s answer to Christ’s ‘It is finished.’

Just ask the thousands upon thousands who found no peace in their own righteousness, who were troubled because of their sins, and who were engrafted by faith into Jesus Christ, crucified and raised. They found peace with God through Jesus. Why? Because the Christ who was delivered for our transgressions and raised for our justification entered their heart, and they by grace heard God’s word of righteousness through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.

He lives! Just ask the countless throng of believers who in themselves are dead in trespasses and sins, but who have died and have been raised with Christ, who have been delivered from the bondage of sin and now have become servants of righteousness. How? Through the power of the living Lord. He is risen and is become the firstfruits of those who slept. Christ is the first begotten of the dead. He went through the grave into the glory of eternal life as the head of the church. The resurrection is begun, and it cannot possibly stop until all who belong to him and believe on his name and look for the city that has foundations have followed him in that glorious resurrection.

‘O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?… Thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ’ (1 Cor.15:55-57).

Taken from Herman Hoeksema’s The Amazing Cross, chapter 6 “Risen Indeed,” based on Luke 24:34 (2nd ed. RFPA, 2018), 73-74.

And for your music meditation this Resurrection Sunday, hear this powerful recording of “Jesus Christ is Risen Today” by the King’s College Choir.

He Bore Our Griefs – J. Revius (1586-1658)

JRevius-dutch-poetAs we mark National Poetry month (April) and Good Friday this week, we may well ponder this poem by Dutch Calvinist Jacobus Revius (1586-1658), “a Protestant Baroque poet of the Netherlands.” The title is “He Bore Our Griefs” and is based on Isaiah 53.

No, it was not the Jews who crucified,
Nor who, Lord Jesus, spat into your face,
Nor who betrayed you in the judgment place,
Nor who with buffets struck you as you died.

No, it was not the soldiers fisted bold
Who lifted up the hammer and the nail,
Or raised the cross on Calvary’s cursed hill,
Or cast the dice to win your seamless robe.

I am the one, O Lord, who brought you there,
I am the heavy cross you had to bear,
I am the rope that bound you to the tree,

The whip, the nail, the hammer, and the spear,
The bloody, thorny crown you had to wear:
It was my sin, O Lord, it was for me.

by Jacobus Revius (Translated by Henrietta ten Harmsel)

This poem can be found in multiple places in print and online. It was published in The Reformed Journal, as well as in Leland Ryken’s collection of poems, titled The Soul in Paraphrase: A Treasury of Classic Devotional Poems (Crossway, 2018). At that link you may also find Ryken’s helpful commentary on this poem, which includes these words:

The poem is a confession of guilt addressed directly to Christ in a prayer-like stance. …Jesus’ death was an atoning substitutionary death for sinners, so that every sinner for whom Christ died can be said to be the one who killed him. In this poem, Revius does what his contemporary Dutch artist Rembrandt did when he painted himself at the foot of the cross as Christ is raised on it (in Raising of the Cross).

Below is an image of the original poem in Dutch.

Revius-poem-he-bore-our-griefs-Dutch

Published in: on April 17, 2019 at 11:03 PM  Leave a Comment  

“Everything Fulfilled”: Christ’s Suffering Perfectly Prophesied and Predetermined

For the Lord Jesus, prophecy thoroughly and uniquely presented his program of suffering. It was a program that with unwavering eye and absolute certainty he read, saw, and examined ahead of time. He grasped it all: the entire process of his suffering, shame, and death in all its vivid color and all its terrible contours. On those prophetic pages, he saw himself portrayed just as he would be – humiliated, oppressed, and broken.

…When he finally took every step on the way to the cross, when he waded through the torrent of his continuous suffering, when all the details and parts of this divine tragedy were complete, he drank the last drops from his cup of suffering. It was a cup whose carefully measured portion he accepted in fear. He did this all with the clearheaded awareness that then everything had been fulfilled. Then he gave up his spirit.

This is how it happened. This is the way it was predicted. Is this also how you confess and believe it?

In the counsel and foreknowledge of God, everything had been predetermined. This was true not only of suffering in general, but down to the smallest details of what would happen.

‘Predetermined,’ so that any appearance that as much as one moment, one derisive word, or one lash with whips in the life of the Son of Blessedness happened by the will of sinners simply doesn’t hold up.

‘Predetermined,’ so that you could never suppose that the powers of destruction overwhelmed what is sacred and holy on Golgotha, but so that you would understand that even the most terrible forces of destruction served to achieve God’s purposes.

‘Predetermined,’ so that instead of bewildering and confusing people, the cross of God’s Son would seal the truth of God’s Word to us.

‘Predetermined,’ not least of all, so that Christ himself, in experiencing everything that he did, would in effect undergo a thousand deaths before he died. In doing so with a clear head, that is, with morally grounded willpower and submissiveness and not in some stupor that flooded over him, he grappled with sufferings that he discerned ahead of time with sober clarity.

…And if that’s the case, and if you are convinced that Golgotha was at the center of God’s thinking already at the time of creation and covenant making, why do you still hold back? Why do you hold back when you know that this happened out of love and for the sake of your blessing? Why, when it couldn’t be any other way than that God the Father was involved with his Son’s suffering? Why, when all throughout his work of creating and giving life, he always had squarely in his sovereign vision the somber spectacle of the cross? Tell me, brothers and sisters, why do you still hesitate?

honey from the rock-ak-2018Taken from the new translation of Abraham Kuyper’s Honey from the Rock (Lexham Press, 2018; James A. De Jong, transl.), pp.58-59.

This particular meditation (#18) is based on Luke 18:31 and titled “Everything Fulfilled.” That text reads, “Then he took unto him the twelve, and said unto them, Behold, we go up to Jerusalem, and all things that are written by the prophets concerning the Son of man shall be accomplished.”

You will see how Kuyper takes us from the power of God’s prophetic Word concerning the suffering and death of His Son to the deeper truth of His sovereign counsel concerning every detail of it. The program of Jesus’ passion was entirely predetermined in the plan of God! That’s how it could be prophesied in such detail and recorded with such precision in the Scriptures. And that for the salvation of His people – for our blessing! Rooted in God’s free mercy and love! Amazing grace!

A plan and a program that call for deep pondering, and even deeper praise. May we do that on the morrow, through Word and worship.

A Few Thoughts on the Perils of Reading

oldbooks

1 Beware the antiquarian mentality. That attitude which says ‘the older is better.’ Sometimes this degenerates into valuing old books simply as collector’s pieces.

2 Beware too the mentality which says ‘What’s newest is truest.’ Always waiting to see what the latest book on so and so says before making your mind up and so never making it up.

Beware the acquiring mentality. This produces tremendous bookcase consciousness; it breeds more of a concern about the number of books you have than the number you have read. Some people have ‘books on the brain’ and that is a disease. It is getting ‘books into the brain’ that produces growth.

4 Beware the escapist mentality. It is an awfully frustrating thing to live with a person who runs from the problem of the moment to the book of the moment and never comes to grip with either.

5 Beware – the greatest danger that besets the man who loves books – the borrowed thoughts mentality. There are people whose bookishness is a substitute for, rather than a stimulus to, their own thinking. It is not insignificant that this mentality often goes with spiritual barrenness.

Some thoughts on the “perils of reading” by Geraint Fielder in connection with an address given at the Evangelical Meeting of the Cardiff Branch of the Evangelical Library (England) in May of 1969. Fielder takes his starting point in two NT verses, the second of which forms the basis of these comments on the dangerous power of books and reading. That verse is Acts 19:19, “Many of them also which used curious arts brought their books together, and burned them before all men: and they counted the price of them, and found it fifty thousand pieces of silver.”

Fielder also writes of the “values of reading” and we will take those up in a subsequent post in the near future. But for now, it is good to reflect on these perils. I have to admit, his points hit home to me. As a lover of books, it is easy to fall into these wrong mentalities.

I stumbled on this article in the March 1970 issue of The Banner of Truth magazine (#78) when sorting some boxes of back issues recently donated to the PRC Seminary library. When I saw this article on reading, I made a copy, intending to do a post on it sometime.

Published in: on April 9, 2019 at 11:02 PM  Comments (2)  

Keeping Our View of the Risen Christ

When he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high. Hebrews 1:3
WHAT a blessed declaration is this!—the words are inexpressibly sweet. Having finished His work, having made an end of sin, having brought in an everlasting righteousness, having risen from the grave, having ascended up on high, Christ has sat down at the right hand of God, reposing in the full satisfaction, glory, and expectancy of His redeeming work. And for what object is He there seated? Why is He thus presented to the eye of faith? That the Church of God might have visibly and constantly before its view a risen, living Christ. Oh how constantly is the Lord teaching us that there is but one Being who can meet our case, and but one Object on which our soul’s affections ought to be supremely placed—even a risen Savior. We have temptations various; trials the world know nothing of, crosses which those who know and love us the most, never suspect; for often the heart’s acutest sorrow is the least discoverable upon the surface.
But here is our great mercy—Christ is alive. What if we are unknown, tried, tempted, and sad; we yet have a risen Savior to go to, who, as Rutherford says, “sighs when I sigh, mourns when I mourn, and when I look up He rejoices.” How can I want for sympathy, when I have a risen Christ? how can I feel alone and sad, when I have the society and the soothing of a living and an ever present Jesus—a Jesus who loves me, who knows all my circumstances, all my feelings, and has His finger upon my every pulse—who sees all my tears, hears all my sighs, and records all my thoughts—who, go to Him when I will, and with what I will, will never say to me no, nor bid me depart unblest—who is risen, exalted, and is set down at the right hand of His Father and my Father, His God and my God, to administer to me all the blessings of the everlasting covenant, and to mete out, as I need them, all the riches of His grace and the supplies of His salvation? Why then should I despond at any circumstance, why despair at any emergency, or sink beneath any trial, when I have a risen, a living Christ to go to?
Oh the amazing power of the Lord’s resurrection! Oh the preciousness of the fruit that springs from it! Communion with our heavenly Father, near walking with God, a life of faith in Christ, living on high – living not only on Christ’s fullness, but on Christ himself; not only on what He has, but on what He is, in His godhead, in His humanity, in the tenderness of His heart, as well as the fullness of His salvation; living in the blessed anticipation of glory, and honor, and immortality; rising in the morning and saying, “This day, and every day, I would consecrate to my God;”—these are some of the fadeless flowers and precious fruits that grow around the grave of Jesus, when faith, listening to the voice that issues from the vacant sepulcher—”He is not here, but is risen”—looks up and beholds Him alive, “seated at the right hand of the Majesty on high.” Then, oh then, it exclaims in a transport of joy, “Whom have I in heaven but you? and there is none upon earth I desire beside you,” you risen, living, and glorious Redeemer!

evening-thoughts-winslowTaken from Octavius Winslow’s book Evening Thoughts (digital version, Kyros Press). This is the devotional for February 24.

On this first Lord’s Day of April, though we are anticipating celebrating our Lord’s resurrection in a few weeks (April 21), let us remember that every Sunday is the day of our risen Savior. This is our comfort and our hope in this present world as we look for the Lord Jesus to return. And our faith-view of this truth is our balm in every trial and temptation, as Winslow reminds us.

Jesus’ Prayer in Gethsemane

Here [in the garden of Gethsemane] Jesus’s wrestling with submission to His Father’s will causes our Savior more suffering and spiritual agony than even the physical brutalities of Golgotha could offer.

…Most likely, Jesus prepared for this battle at Gethsemane in his previous prayer there. This would be the most ferocious battle of his life, because the realities of Golgotha were quickly  being realized. The coming flood brought Jesus to a crisis point. Would he, the sinless one, be willingly swept away by the wrath of God or retreat to safety, leaving us as sinners to bear God’s ferocious wrath?

We should not miss the biblical-theological significance of John walking us through the ‘garden’ of Gethsemane (John 18:1). Remember reading Genesis 2:8, ‘The LORD God planted  a garden in Eden, in the east, and there he put the man whom he had formed’? Adam and Eve were tempted  in that garden and failed miserably, bringing ruin and destruction upon the world. Jesus was tempted in a garden and triumphed gloriously on behalf of the elect. His response rectified Adams’ act of rebellion that led to the death of all men, because all sinned in him.

Adam likely sinned in the daylight, bringing about spiritual darkness; Christ obeyed in the darkness, bringing about spiritual light. In fact, commenting on Gethsemane (Matt.26:36-46), Matthew Henry writes, ‘The clouds had been gathering a good while, and looked black…. But now the storm began in good earnest.’

prayers-jesus-jones-2019Taken from chapter 22 (“Jesus Prayed in Great Distress”) of Mark Jones’ new book, The Prayers of Jesus – with the subtitle Listening to and Learning from Our Savior (Crossway, 2019), 173-75.

Dordt’s Theological Significance: “Saving the Reformation” – R. Godfrey

saving-reformation-godfrey-2019Fresh off the press is W. Robert Godfrey’s book commemorating the 4ooth anniversary of the great Synod of Dordt (1618-19) and especially her Canons. I have referenced Saving the Reformation: The Pastoral Theology of the Canons of Dordt previously, but now that I have the book in hand we can begin to examine its contents.

In this post we will listen to what Godfrey says in his Introduction to the book, taking a few quotations from that opening section:

…The Synod of Dort (1618-19), the greatest of the Reformed church assemblies, preserved the great heritage of the Reformation for the Calvinist churches. This synod is both interesting and significant, and its decisions are a theological and spiritual treasure for Christians. On the occasion of the four-hundredth anniversary of the synod, it is good to remember and be renewed in an appreciation of its accomplishments. But studying the canons is much more than a historical exercise. It will be spiritually profitable for Christians and churches today.

…In a profound sense, this synod saved the Reformation for the Reformed churches. While Lutherans would reject several elements of the canons, Calvinists saw clearly that a proper understanding of election was necessary to protect the Reformation’s ‘grace alone.’ The proper understanding of Christ’s atoning work was necessary to protect the Reformation’s ‘Christ alone.’ A proper understanding of the regenerating and preserving work of the Holy Spirit and of the Christian’s comfort in these doctrines was necessary to protect the Reformation’s ‘grace alone’ and ‘faith alone.’ Implicit in the canon’s conclusions is their commitment to the Reformation’s ‘Scripture alone’ as the only source of religious truth.

As the Reformation was a revival of biblical Augustinianism, so the Synod of Dort stands in the great Christian heritage that rejects Pelagianism and semi-Pelagianism. It stands in the tradition of Jesus against the Pharisees, Paul against the Judaizers, Athanasius against Arius, Augustine against Pelagius, and Luther against Erasmus. Dort against the Arminians continues this great commitment. The canons became the official teaching and sincere conviction of many churches and millions of Christians through the last four centuries [1-2].

The book consists of three main parts:

  1. Historical and Theological Background (2 chapters)
  2. The Canons of the Synod of Dort – A Pastoral Translation [a new translation by the author]
  3. An Exposition of the Canons of Dort (7 chapters)

The book closes with five appendices, including”Arminius: A New Look,” “An Outline of the Canons of Dort”, and “A New Translation of the Doctrinal Statement by the Synod of Dort on the Sabbath.”

You will also find the author giving a description of the Synod and his book in the short video below.

Harrowing Your Heart to Hear God’s Word Preached

Jeremiah 4:3 – “For thus saith the LORD to the men of Judah and Jerusalem, Break up your fallow ground, and sow not among thorns.”

“Harrowing Your Heart to Hear” (Chap.3 in Expository Listening: A Handbook for Hearing and Doing God’s Word by Ken Ramey (Kress Biblical Resources, 2010), pp.35-49. We are currently taking time to read and draw on some of the author’s good thoughts concerning our calling to listen believingly to God’s Word proclaimed.

ExpositoryListeningIn this third chapter Ramey points to specific ways to ward off hardness of heart that leads to dullness in listening to and receiving God’s preached Word. Here are the points he mentions:

  • Read and meditate on God’s Word every day
  • Pray throughout the week
  • Confess your sin
  • Reduce your media intake
  • Plan ahead, and schedule your week around the ministry of the Word
  • Be consistent in church attendance
  • Go to church with a humble, teachable, expectant heart
  • Worship with all your heart
  • Fight off distractions
  • Listen with diligent discernment
  • Preparation of the heart and soul

Now, let’s consider a few quotations to help us for Sunday’s messages:

Reading the Word on a daily basis will develop in you a healthy appetite for God’s Word. You can’t expect to come to church on Sunday with a hunger for God’s Word if you haven’t been feeding on it throughout the week.

…You need to pray for the preacher. Pray that the preacher would preach with great liberty and boldness and clarity (Eph.6:19-20; Col.4:3-4); that God’s Word would run rapidly, transforming people’s lives for His glory (2 Thess.3:1); that God’s Spirit would empower the preacher and use him to help you grow in your understanding of God and His Word and accomplish His purpose in your life and the life of the church.

One of the simplest, most effective ways to prepare your heart for the preaching of God’s Word is to spend some time on Saturday night or Sunday morning to prayerfully examine your life and humble confess your sins to God. David’s example of confession in Psalm 51 serves as a practical path to follow in getting your heart right before God.

Listening demands a great deal of concentration and self-discipline. Augustine said, ‘To proclaim the Word of truth as well as to listen to it is hard work…. Thus, let us exert ourselves in listening.’ Jay Adams writes, ‘Many today drift into church with their minds turned off, slouch in the pew, and expect the preacher to do the rest. Examine yourself, brother or sister: have you been guilty of becoming a Sunday morning version of the couch potato?’

When you fail to plan ahead, Sunday morning ends up becoming a chaotic crisis, and by the time you get to church, you are frustrated and frazzled and your heart is in no condition to receive the Word. But when you plan well and are able to arrive in a relaxed, leisurely way, you will be in a much more receptive frame of mind.

Come to church with a spirit of anticipation, fully expecting God to speak to you through His Word in ways that will make a lasting difference in your life. …It should be that you can’t wait to see what you’re going to learn and how God is going to use His Word to convict you, correct you, comfort you, and change you.

It is required of those that hear the Word preached that they attend upon it with diligence, preparation and prayer; examine what they hear by the Scriptures; receive the truth with faith, love, meekness, and readiness of mind, as the Word of God; meditate and confer of it; hide it in their hearts, and bring forth the fruit of it in their lives. (Westminster Confession Larger Catechism)

The Amazing Cross: The Judgment of the World – H. Hoeksema

AmazingCross-HHProtestant Reformed pastor, seminary professor, and founder Herman Hoeksema had the custom of preaching special series of sermons during the Lenten season. Some were preached in First PRC where he served a long ministry and others he specially prepared for the radio broadcasts of the Reformed Witness Hour. Many of these were later published in written form.

One such collection of Lenten sermons is titled The Amazing Cross, first published by William B. Eerdmans in 1943. Last year the RFPA republished it, and tonight we feature it for our first Lenten season post. Here is the publisher’s promo for the book:

“The vicarious suffering of the Lord must occupy a central place in the consciousness of faith and in the preaching of the gospel. On the death and the resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ depends all of salvation.”

So states the author of these powerful meditations on the passion and resurrection of Jesus Christ, giving us all the reason we need to read them and digest them, to believe on the Christ presented in them and magnify the God of our salvation whose work is set forth in them.

Take up and read, and be led to feed on Christ crucified and raised!

The book is divided into two main sections, reflecting two series of sermons “HH” preached. The first series is called “Amazing Judgment,” while the second  bears the name “Amazing Obedience.” Tonight we quote from the first sermon of that first part, which is titled “The Judgment of the World” and based on John 12:31 – “Now is the judgment of this world: now shall the prince of this world be cast out.”

This is part of the author’s explanation of the “amazing judgment” of Christ’s cross:

Thus it had to be. As men view the events of this world, what was historically the world’s trial of Jesus was in reality God’s trial of the world. What was to all appearances the condemnation of the Son of man by the tribunal of the world was in deepest reality the condemnation of the world before the tribunal of the Judge of heaven and earth. Two thousand years ago, or more definitely speaking in the ‘hour’ of Jesus, in that brief period when the Christ of God was tried, condemned, and crucified by the rulers of this world, the world very really stood in judgment before God and was tried and condemned.

True, there will come a final day, a day of the revelation of the righteous judgment of God when all the implications in the judgment of the cross will be publicly verified and exposed. But that does not alter the fact that in a very real sense the judgment of the world has already become a fact through the death and resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ. We must understand and believe this truth. The world is already and irrevocably condemned. The prince of this world has already been utterly cast out. In the midst of this condemned world with its deposed prince, we must take shelter by faith in the shadow of the cross and take hold of the justifying power of the resurrection, so that we may be saved. [pp5-6]

You may also be interested to know that the RFPA has also just republished another similar volume by Hoeksema – The Royal Sufferer. Perhaps a future post can reference that wonderful book as well. I think you are able to judge that these make for marvelous reading profit in this time of year.

More on Dordt400: The PRC Seminary Conference, Dordt’s March Sessions, and “Grace and Assurance”

As the Reformed church world continues to mark the 400th anniversary of the great international Synod of Dordtrecht in the Netherlands (1618-19), we may note it here once more again. Dordt’s final session was on May 29, 1619, so we have a few months to remember and reflect.  Dordt-conf-flyer-speakers-colorFirst to note is the PRC Seminary’s Dordt400 Conference coming up in only a month – April 25-27. We hope you are planning to attend this significant event in Hudsonville, MI. The latest announcement serves as a powerful incentive:

Dordt400! April 25-27. Trinity PRC. The seminary-sponsored conference celebrating the 400th anniversary of the Great Synod is approaching! Please make plans to come to hear important speeches, see displays of 400-year-old artifacts from Dordt, learn the winners of the writing contest, and meet PRC friends coming from at least 10 different countries! Speakers are our seminary professors; Revs. B. Huizinga and W. Langerak; and Rev. A. Stewart (CPRC NI) and Rev. M. Shand (EPC Australia). Trinity PRC in Hudsonville, MI is our host. The conference will be live-streamed via Trinity’s website for those unable to attend. For more, see Dordt400.org.

Synod-of-Dort

The second thing to note is closely related. Prof. Douglas Kuiper has been writing special posts for the Seminary conference blog. Of special note are the short summaries of Dordt’s sessions he has provided. Much of this detail is new to me, and my own appreciation for Dordt’s careful and diligent work in answering the Arminian errors has grown tremendously.

Here are a few recent samples of his description of the Synod’s work during this month of March, only in 1619:

Session 110: Tuesday, March 12 PM
Synod read the last of the judgments regarding the first article of the Remonstrants–those of the deputies from Drenthe and from the Walloon churches.

Synod then turned to the judgments of the various delegations regarding the second article of the Remonstrants, which pertained to the extent and effectiveness of Christ’s work. Synod read the judgments of the delegations from Great Britain, the Palatinate, Hesse, and Switzerland. The last three delegations stated that when Scripture says Christ died for all, it means He died for the elect, not for every individual. For the elect, they added, His death effectively saved.

The delegates from Great Britain did not touch on this point. These delegates had realized earlier (session 74) that they were not agreed among themselves on the interpretation of their own creed, the Thirty-Nine Articles. This realization led them to ask advice from the Archbishop of Canterbury. He responded that the British delegates should not speak more specifically than did the Thirty-Nine Articles.

Session 118: Monday, March 18 AM
The Synod of Dordt had been in session for four full months. Due to sickness and other circumstances, the delegates from Brandenburg had never arrived (see session 3). At session 118, Synod received a letter from the Marquis of Brandenberg explaining the absence of his delegates. Convinced that Synod’s response to the Remonstrants would conform to the Reformed confessions, the Marquis asked Synod to send him its final judgment so that the clergy in his realm might sign it. The Acts of Synod do not indicate how Synod responded to this letter.

Synod continued to read the judgments of the various delegations regarding the third and fourth articles of the Remonstrants. At this session Synod read the judgments of the delegates from South Holland, North Holland, Zeeland, and Utrecht.

Grace_and_Assurance_mcgeown-2018Third, and finally, we reference again the new RFPA publication, Grace and Assurance: The Message of the Canons of Dordt, written by Rev. Martyn McGeown, missionary-pastor laboring in Limerick Reformed Fellowship.

Tonight we take a quotation from the author’s treatment of Article 5 of the Second Head of doctrine, where Dordt is linking the preaching of God’s salvation promise to the effectual, atoning death of His Son, Jesus Christ. After showing that God’s promise of salvation is particular (for elect believers only) and unconditional (without dependency on the actions of the sinner), McGeown shows that God wills that this gospel promise be widely preached – in contrast to what the Arminians claimed was possible for the truly Reformed.

This particular, unconditional promise must be preached. The heirs of God’s promise, the elect, must some to hear of it. Notice how the Canons explain this: ‘This promise…ought to be declared and published to all nations, and to all persons promiscuously and without distinction.’ The promise of particular, but the preaching is promiscuous, general or unrestricted. With the promise a second truth must be preached, which is the command or the call: ‘This promise, together with the command to repent and believe, ought to be declared and published’ (emphasis added). The promise is particular, but the preaching with the command or call to repent and believe is promiscuous, general or unrestricted. This is the response of Dordt to hyper-Calvinism, which is the belief and practice that the gospel should not be preached promiscuously, but only to the elect or to supposedly sensible sinners. Those who show signs of regeneration or receptivity to the truth are, in the minds of hyper-Calvinists, sensible sinners. To none other will a hyper-Calvinist issue the command or call to repent and believe. [pp.166-67]

There’s more, of course, to this answer, but you can see what Dordt’s basic reply was. And that answer still needs to be sounded plainly, because there is so much confusion and error concerning the call of the gospel, and not only from the side of the hyper-Calvinists. Those who claim the free or well-meant offer with its two-track theology need also hear Dordt’s clear statements.

We encourage all who love the Reformed faith to read and benefit from McGeown’s Grace and Assurance.