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Rev. Joseph Dunlap | Loughbrickland, Northern Ireland
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+44 (0)7341 200650
Loughbrickland Reformed Presbyterian
22 Main Street
Loughbrickland, Co. Down
Northern Ireland
BT32 3NQ
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Rev David Silversides
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The Free Offer of the Gospel
Series:  The Kingship of Christ  · 9 of 10
6/12/2000 (MON)
  |  Bible: 2 Corinthians 5:19-20
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Christ's Kingly Overtures of Mercy
The eighth of a series of ten addresses on 'The Kingship of Christ' given at the Bible Presbyterian Conference, Adelaide
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Rev David Silversides
The Free Offer of the Gospel

The Kingship of Christ
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Loughbrickland Reformed
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Rev David Silversides
The Free Offer of the Gospel

The Kingship of Christ
Loughbrickland Reformed
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Richard (6/13/2007)
“ Great Sermon! ”
Whilst I have not listened to this sermon I have read Silversides' book "The Free Offer: Biblical and Reformed". With the greatest respect to Rev. Silversides I am compelled to disagree with him and side with Herman Hoeksema. As far as I am concerned the covenant purpose of God is to manifest his own Trinitarian covenant life through the taking of a people for his own possession and establishing a covenant with them in Christ Jesus. This covenant, whilst established in eternity is realised or is made manifest in history and the means by which the covenant is realised is faith which is itself a fruit of electing grace and a covenant blessing in Christ. “So that men may be brought to faith, God mercifully sends heralds of this most joyful message to whom He will and when He wills. By their ministry men are called to repentance and to faith in Christ crucified.” Hence the gospel is a means through which God fulfills his covenant purpose. Through it he calls the elect to faith and effectually draws them into communion with himself and it is precisely this communion which is the very essence of covenant. The preaching acts as the means by which the communion is manifested, developed and enabled to flourish.

David SilversidesContact via email (11/6/2004)
from Loughbrickland, Northern Ireland
“ 'God that cannot lie' ”
I had read on in Calvin and have no problem with the section you quote. I do have a problem with what you say, Sean. The difference between the two is: 1. Calvin explains anthrpomorphisms, you explain them away. 2. Calvin shows anthropomorphisms to be saying, in human terms, something that is true of God; you treat them as displaying something that is not true-"appears...God is showing compassion" (Sean 31/10/04), "appears as a presentation of mercy for all"(Sean 5/11/04). When Calvin used the words "compassion" and "kindness"(see DS 30/10/04), he is not speaking of a mere pretence of these, but of real Divine kindness etc. albeit sometimes expressed in the terminology of human kindness. Would you be happy if a pretended free offer is preached but not a real one? I appeal to you, Sean, to draw back from attributing falsehood to God. (Titus 1:2, Heb 6:18). The term "will of God" is used in two senses: 1. That which God has decreed to happen (always fulfilled; Dan 4:35, Eph 1:11, Rom 9:19, James 4:15). 2. That which God commands (not always fulfilled; Mat 7:21,12:50, Luke 12:47, John 7:17). See Calvin on Joel 2:11. On Mat 23:37, note 'ye' in 'ye would not' is plural and relates to the children (pl), not Jerusalem (sing) or 'thy' (sing). AV older pronouns usefully reflect the Greek.

David SilversidesContact via email (10/30/2004)
from Loughbrickland, Northern Ireland
“ Read all Calvin on Matt 23:37 ”
Sean ignores what Calvin teaches as to the cause of Christ's indignation, rejected offers of mercy: "The city itself, indeed, over which he had lately wept(Luke 19:41) is still an object of his compassion...If in Jerusalem the grace of God had been merely rejected, there would have been inexcusable ingratitude; but since God attempted to draw the Jews to himself by mild and gentle methods, and gained nothing by his kindness,the criminality of such haughty disdain was far more aggrivated...with far greater familiarity and kindness, he invites us to himself by his Son. And therefore, whenever he exibits to us the doctrine of the Gospel, dreadful vengeance awaits us, if we do not quietly hide ourselves under his wings, by which he is ready to receive and shelter us" (Calvin Com. on Mat 23:37). The identity of "thy children" is clear from Luke 19:44, "And shall lay thee even with the ground, and thy children within thee" - not the elect, since the believers heeded Christ's warning (Mat 24:15-20) and fled the destruction of Jerusalem. So Thomas Manton: "With what passionatenes and meltingness of expression he wooeth men to return...Mat 23:37...yet such an affection God beareth to us that he expostulates, prayeth, entreateth that we would return and be reconciled" (vol.21 p.469f.)

SeanContact via email (10/25/2004)
from Ballymena
“ Calvin & Augustine on Matthew 23:37 ”
Rev. Silversides: With 2 Peter 3 & 1 Timothy 2 out of the picture. Lets examine another of the texts (Matthew 23:36 'Jerusalem, Jerusalem') espoused by proponents of the 'free offer' Calvin notes: 'By these words, Christ shows more clearly what good reason he had for indignation, that Jerusalem, which God had chosen to be his sacred ... abode, not only had shown itself to be unworthy of so great an honour, but ...had long been accustomed to suck the blood of the prophets. Christ therefore utters a pathetic exclamation at a sight so monstrous ... Christ does not reproach them with merely one or another murder, but says that this custom was ...deeply rooted.... This is expressive of indignation rather than compassion.' Augustine points out: 'And where is that omnipotence which hath done all that it pleased on earth and in heaven, if God willed to gather together the children of Jerusalem, and did not accomplish it? Or rather, Jerusalem was not willing that her children should be gathered together, but even though she was unwilling, He gathered together as many of her children as He wished: for He does not will some things and do them, and will others and do them not; but ‘He hath done all that He pleased in heaven and in earth’ (The Enchiridion xcvii)

Yamil Luciano (10/9/2004)
“ Great Sermon! Bad Exposition. ”
This is exactly what every Calvinist should hear and wants to hear. Those who agree will be burned just like the first Arminians.

David SilversidesContact via email (10/9/2004)
from Loughbrickland, Northern Ireland
“ No argument with John Knox. ”
I agree that 1 Tim 2:4 refers to the elect, since vs.1 & 2 indicate all kinds of men are in view. Otherwise v.6 would have to teach universal atonement, contrary to Scripture. But why does Sean think this relevant, if not because he continues to assume that the free offer cannot be consistent with absolute predestination? I have never based the free offer on 1 Tim 2:4, or indeed 2 Pet 3:9. The Reformed free offer is not based on any idea that God has determined to save any but the elect, but on the freeness of God to show mercy as he pleases, including non-saving mercies to the reprobate in this life, of which the gracious offer of the Gospel is one. "Nor doth God miscarry in this love. He sends the Gospel to many reprobates and invites them to repentance and with longanimity and forebearance suffereth pieces of froward dust to fill the measure of their iniquity yet doth not the Lord's general love fall short of what he willeth them" (Samuel Rutherford, Christ Dying & Drawing Sinners To Himself p.441 section on 'No Love of God Ineffectual')

SeanContact via email (10/3/2004)
from Ballymena
“ John Knox on the 'Free Offer' of the Gospel ”
Rev. Silversides, Prehaps these quotes from John Knox would be helpful for the discussion: Anabaptist assertion 2: 'God wills all men to be saved' Knox Replies: `The Apostle in these words: `God willeth all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth' speaketh not of every man, and of every particular person, but of all men in general, that is to say, of men of all estates, all conditions, all realms, and all ages.' Anabaptist assertion 4: `God will be entreated of all, He biddeth all men everywhere to repent, and offers faith to all men' Knox replies: `True it is that God is merciful, gentle, liberal, Protector, Refuge, and Life to all. But to which all? To such as hate iniquity, love virtue, lament for their sins past, call upon his name in verity, and do unfeignedly seek for his help in the day of their trouble. Of these no doubt, he will be entreated, how wicked and unthankful so ever they have been before. But by the contrary, he will destroy all that speak lies. He hateth all that work iniquity:..And thus I say, you shall never be able to prove that God will be entreated of all, except you can confute the Holy Ghost, and make Him recant these and other innumerable places.' `On Predestination' Knox Works Vol. 5 SWRB Edmonton N.D. p.403-410

David Silversides (10/2/2004)
from Loughbrickland, Northern Ireland
“ Divine Sovereignty in the Free Offer ”
The line of reasoning Sean and others use is: 1.Assume absolute predestination and the free offer are incompatible. 2. Quote Scripture and Reformers teaching absolute predestination. 3. Conclude that Scripture and Reformers are opposed to the free offer. The falsehood lies in point 1. The free offer is an expression of God's common grace (ie. those blessings he bestows in this life on elect and reprobate). That they result in greater guilt does not alter their nature as blessings. Sean needs to submit to God's sovereignty in common as well as saving grace. Then he will be a real Calvinist. "The Holy Ghost maketh a plain difference betwixt the graces and mercies which are common to all and that sovereign mercy reserved to the chosen children" (Knox/Predestination p.87) "The invitation to the wedding...teaches that the king wills(ie commands and desires) the invited to come...but not that the king intends or has decreed that they should really come" (Turretin Vol 2 p509) "None shall drink so deep of the cup of God's indignation as those who have refused Christ in the Gospel...He that abuseth the choicest of mercies shall have judgement without mercy. What can help those who have refused the counsel of God for their good?" (Owen Vol.8 p39 see also vol.12 p552).

SeanContact via email (9/28/2004)
from Ballymena
“ John Knox `On Predestination' ”
Calvin makes it clear in His Commentary on Ezekiel 18:23 that ‘God does not wish the conversion of the reprobate. Calvin writes… ‘Since, therefore, repentance is a kind of second creation, it follows that it is not in man’s power; and if it is equally in God’s power to convert men as well as to create them, it follows that the reprobate are not converted, because God does not wish their conversion; for if he wished it he could do it: and hence it appears that he does not wish it.’ Turretin supports this conclusion by saying ‘Although God declares that he ‘does not will the death of the wicked, but that he turn from his way and live,’ it does not follow that he has willed and planned from eternity the conversion and life of everyone, [even] subject to any condition, for ... it is certain that this refers to God’s will as commanding, not to the will of his good pleasure....’ With regards to II Peter 3:9, Turretin follows Augustine in seeing God’s desire for the salvation of the elect alone when he points out ‘The will of God here spoken of should not be extended further than to the elect and believers, for whose sake God puts off the consummation of ages, until their number shall be completed.' Rev. Silversides could you comment on John Knox and the idea of a gracious offer?

David SilversidesContact via email (9/23/2004)
from Loughbrickland, Northern Ireland
“ Calvin teaches the Free Offer ”
Sean may have noticed that I have not used the word 'will' in connection with the Free Offer. That Calvin saw no contradiction between absolute predestination and a gracious free offer is clear from the sample quotations below. Calvin writing on Ezekiel 18:23 not long before his death (he was unable to complete his commentary on Ezekiel) says: "The prophet does not here speak of God’s secret counsel but only recalls miserable men from despair that they may apprehend the hope of pardon and repent and embrace the offered salvation." On Matt. 3:3: "But the very sight of a visible wilderness must have had a powerful effect on stupid and hardened men, leading them to perceive that they were in a state of death, and to accept the promise of salvation, which had been held out to them." On Acts 13:46: "He accuseth them (the Jews) of unthankfulness, because, whereas they were chosen by God out of all people, that Christ might offer himself unto them, they refuse so great a benefit maliciously…because they do so willingly cast from them so great a grace." See also Calvin's commentaries on Genesis 17:7; 2 Peter 3:9; Matthew 12:44; Hebrews 2:12 and 3:13 and prayer before 123rd lecture on Jeremiah etc.

SeanContact via email (9/17/2004)
from Ballymena, Northern Ireland
“ Calvin Vs. Pighius 'Does God desire the salvation of the reprobate?' ”
It seems that the central issue of the Free Offer controversy is whether God wills the salvation of those He has reprobated to hell. I think John Calvin put it best when he wrote in his treatise on the Eternal Predestination of God 'But Paul teaches us (continues Georgius) that God "would have all men to be saved." It follows therefore, according to his understanding of that passage, either that God is disappointed in His wishes, or that all men without exception must be saved. If he should reply that God wills all men to be saved on His part, or as far as He is concerned, seeing that Salvation is, nevertheless, left to the free will of each individual, I, in return, ask him why, if such be the case, God did not command the Gospel to be preached to all men indiscriminately from the beginning of the world? why He suffered so many generations of men to wander for so many ages in all the darkness of death?' (A Treatise on the Eternal Predestination of God, RFPA, p. 166)

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