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Duty-Faith and the Free-Offer

These are notes of a sermon preached on Sunday 24 September 2017. They have not been proofread. This is the last part of a short series of sermons on the Bible compared to a plough. The subject of this sermon is the Gospel Law—the rule for the believer’s life is the Law of Christ, not the Heart Law or Moral Law (Ten Commandments).

An excerpt: “Given the importance of the subject, I will not rush through the teaching. I will therefore look only at the Province of Gospel Law in this study. What is the province of the Gospel Law? In a nutshell, there is a Heart Law and a Gospel Law—and each belongs to a restricted province. The Heart Law never trespasses into the province of the Gospel Law, and the Gospel Law never trespasses into the province of the Heart Law. To better explain this matter, I will gather my thoughts under four headings…”

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These are notes (with amendments) of a sermon preached on Sunday 1 October 2017. They have not been proofread. This is the last part of a short series of sermons on the Bible compared to a plough. The subject of this sermon is the significance of the twofold message of the Bible—the Covenant of Works and the Covenant of Grace.

In his farewell speech to the bishops at Ephesus, the Apostle Paul divided his counsel under two headings: First, a review of his labours and ministry (Acts 20:17-27); Second, a charge to the bishops at Ephesus (Acts 20:28-35). Looking only at the review of his labours and ministry (Acts 20:17-27), Paul reminded the bishops of his past labours at Ephesus—“Ye know, from the first day that I came into Asia, after what manner I have been with you at all seasons, serving the Lord with all humility of mind, and with many tears, and temptations, which befell me by the lying in wait of the Jews.” (Acts 20:17-19) He also informs them of his future labours at Jerusalem—“And now, behold, I go bound in the spirit unto Jerusalem, not knowing the…

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These are notes of a sermon preached on Sunday 1 October 2017. They have not been proofread. This is the last part of a short series of sermons on the Bible compared to a plough. The subject of this sermon is the principle of the Gospel Law explained by the Apostle Paul.

A minister of the gospel should accommodate himself to the customs and conventions of those to whom he is sent. Even as an ambassador must be diplomatic in his relations with a foreign country, so the ambassador for Christ must with tactfulness and sensitivity preach the Word of God to sinners. As described by the Apostle Paul in 1 Corinthians 9:19-23, this was how he conducted his preaching ministry…

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Two Kingdoms

26 Sep 2017, by Jared Smith

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These are notes of a portion of a sermon preached on Sunday 8 October 2017. They have not been proofread. The subject is that of the two kingdoms.

The first two studies on the Gospel Law were designed to show the dividing lines between the Covenant of Works and the Covenant of Grace. Unless these Covenants be clearly distinguished and the jurisdiction of each province be strictly applied, then all types of confusion ensues on many levels of doctrine and practice. Reference was then made in the previous study to the kingdom of God. Jesus told Nicodemus, “Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God…Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.” (Jn 3:3,5) As the kingdom of God is one of the provinces I was speaking about in the first two studies, and Jesus distinguishes between it and the kingdom of this world, it seems appropriate to provide an overview of both kingdoms. There is a sharp division between these kingdoms:

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First, at no time is a sinner duty-bound under both covenants simultaneously.

Second, so long as the sinner remains unregenerate, he/she is held accountable under the terms and promises of the Covenant of Works (not the Covenant of Grace).

Third, once the sinner has been born again, he/she is delivered/released from the Covenant of Works, being brought experientially under the terms and promises of the Covenant of Grace.

Fourth, the non-elect have absolutely no part in the Covenant of Grace—it is not their duty to believe savingly on Christ, nor is it the duty of the preacher to offer…

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Wade Burleson wrote an article entitled, “The Problem of Calling People Hyper-Calvinists”. Having attended the John 3:16 Conference in 2008, he described how Dr. David Allen, Professor of Preaching at Southwestern Theological Seminary, circulated a handout that listed a dozen names identified as “Hyper-Calvinists”. Following Dr. Allen in the pulpit, was Dr. Steve Lempke of New Orleans, who made the observation, “I am not sure that there is such a thing as a living hyper-calvinist. I find that those who call others hyper-calvinists have simply run into people more calvinistic than they are.”

Yet, there is a listing for “Hyper-Calvinism” in the New Dictionary of Theology. The definition is framed by Dr. Curt Daniel, who earned a doctorate studying “hyper” Calvinism…

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Here is a classic misrepresentation of High-Calvinism, and the misleading assertion that Fuller was the hero who rescued the Particular Baptists from ‘Hyperism’:

“Fuller’s pastorate at Soham, which lasted until 1782 when he moved to pastor the Baptist church in Kettering, Northamptonshire, was a decisive period for the shaping of his theological outlook. It was during his time there that he decisively rejected High Calvinism (i.e., an emphasis on the sovereignty of God in salvation to an extent which denied the free offer of the gospel and seriously hampered effective evangelism. Fuller said that his predecessor ‘had little or nothing to say to the unconverted.’).”

First, denying the free-offer is not an extreme emphasis on the sovereignty of God in salvation, it is a consistent application of His sovereignty in salvation.

To “offer”, is to “present or proffer (something) for (someone) to accept or reject as so desired”. An offer of the gospel reduces God to an ineffectual, pathetic beggar, desperately…

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William Styles published a book in 1902 entitled, “A Guide to Church Fellowship, as Maintained by Primitive, or Strict and Particular Baptists”. On pages 31 and 32, under the general heading, “ Error Concerning the Covenant of Grace to be Resisted”, the following statement is found:

“Any so-called Gospel which expressly or implicitly denies these truths [anti-duty-faith and anti-free-offer]—which represents the regeneration and conversion of sinners to be contingent on the earnestness and activity of “Gospel workers”—or the progress of God’s salvation…

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William Styles published a book in 1902 entitled, “A Guide to Church Fellowship, as Maintained by Primitive, or Strict and Particular Baptists”. On pages 78 and 79, under the general heading, “Duty-Faith is Denied by All Strict and Particular Baptists”, the following statement is found:

“Duty-faith is the doctrine that it is the duty of natural men to exercise spiritual Faith in the Lord Jesus, and so to obtain salvation. Its emphatic denial is a distinguishing feature of the Strict and…

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On Friday, 21st March 2014, Dr. Matthew Hyde delivered the annual lecture for the Strict Baptist Historical Society at Bethesda Chapel.[1] After the lecture, he and I shared a brief exchange on the subject of high-calvinism and nineteenth-century Strict Baptist pastors. Since one of these pastors, John Hazelton, had been connected with the church that I pastor,[2] his name naturally came up. Subsequent to our chat, Dr. Hyde graciously gave me one of his copies of William Styles’, “John Hazelton: A Memoir”.

I believe Baptists should be familiar with the life and ministry of John Hazelton for three reasons:

First, the life and ministry of John Hazelton is worth knowing because he was one of the leading Baptist ministers in the city of London during the nineteenth-century.

Second, the life and ministry of John Hazelton is worth knowing because he is among a gallant group of Baptist ministers who tenaciously subscribed to a high view of Sovereign Grace.

Third, the life and ministry of John Hazelton is worth knowing because he has much to teach this generation of professing Christians who like to call themselves Reformed Baptists.

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