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Duty-Faith and the Free-Offer

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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We maintain that it is the right for a minister of Jesus Christ to preach the gospel in the hearing of all that hear him; and what we find fault with is not preaching the gospel to all that hear but men pretending that they are authorised to offer the gospel to all that hear them. We consider that to preach the gospel is one thing, and to offer the gospel is quite another thing. Hence when a man gets up into a pulpit, and says, “In God’s name I offer Christ, and pardon, and salvation, to every soul of you present; if you reject this offer, you may never have another; therefore come now and take Christ and salvation, while you have the opportunity; today is the time, tomorrow may be too late, and recollect that it is your own fault that you are not saved for I have this day offered you Christ.” Now, we consider that this is no more like preaching the gospel than a poor deluded Papist, counting his beads, is like the true worship of God. To preach or proclaim God’s will is one thing; but to offer…

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Duty-Faith and the Free-Offer are two of the most pernicious heresies infiltrating churches today.

Preachers that demand sinners exercise faith, as the initiating cause of the new birth, are appealing to the flesh, wherein dwelleth no good thing. Subsequently, false converts are mass produced through manipulative devices in getting people to ‘make a decision for Christ’. The scriptural concept of faith is this—the sinner believes because he has been born again; he is not born again because he believes. Hence…

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