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, faith is a gift to the saint, not a duty of the sinner.
In addition, preachers that ‘offer’ the gospel (as if it lies in the sinner to accept or reject it) contradict the central message of sovereign grace. The sinful heart must be made willing to receive Christ by the conquest of Jehovah—until the sinner is subdued by the Holy Spirit, he will forever reject the gospel of Christ. It is therefore vain to offer what the sinner will not receive. Furthermore, the gospel of Christ is a gift designated for those whom Jehovah has loved from eternity—provision for these persons alone has been made, and therefore the promise of salvation is to them only. The preacher oversteps his authority if he promises salvation to all (offering it to them), without knowing whether those persons are the special object of Jehovah’s love.
We believe the preacher is responsible to declare the whole counsel of God to the sinner, setting forth the terms and promises of the Covenant of Works, together with the terms and promises of the Covenant of Grace. The sinner is to be informed of his duty towards Jehovah—perfect obedience to the law; and, of the curse under which he has been subjected—eternal damnation for disobedience. The sinner is to be informed also of the sovereign grace of God unto salvation—how the Father has set His eternal love upon a remnant of the human race, and how the Son has assumed the role of redeemer in the Person of Jesus Christ, and how the Holy Spirit has assumed the role of Sanctifier through His effectual work in the heart. Hence, the sinner is to be informed, that all whom the Father has given Christ shall come to Christ, and he that cometh to Christ He will in no wise cast out. We believe it is through the declaration of this gospel that the Holy Spirit quickens the sinner, whereby he is enabled to believe the gospel and receive the gift of God which is in Christ Jesus the Lord. Yes, we believe the gospel of sovereign grace should be freely preached to all; we do not believe, however, that it should be falsely preached (duty-faith) or freely offered.
Jared Smith served twenty years as pastor of a Strict and Particular Baptist church in Kensington (London, England). He now serves as an Evangelist in the Philippines, preaching the gospel, organizing churches and training gospel preachers.