Gospel Light Or Gospel-Lite?
Only a crook or a clown offers what he cannot deliver. So which one is God when freewill preachers tell us He desires everyone to be saved and freely, sincerely and genuinely offers salvation to all men and women?
Can God deliver upon such a promise? Not if there is a definite number of individuals in the election of grace. Not if there is a limitation in the number of sinners for whom the Lord Jesus Christ died on the cross. Not if the quickening, regenerating, converting work of God the Holy Ghost is restricted only to those chosen in eternity and redeemed by the precious blood of Christ.
So which one is it? Is God a crook, deceiving men and women, pretending to hold out a genuine salvation fully knowing that provision for their atonement, forgiveness and reconciliation never was made and never was intended? Or is God a clown? Has He made a mistake, got the plan wrong, or perhaps just having a laugh at the sinners’ expense? Perish the thought!
If sovereign grace preachers were contending with Arminians or Wesleyans of a previous age upon this subject we should be little surprised. But amazingly, today, it is people who like to call themselves Modern Calvinists after Reformation hero John Calvin who are dusting off old heresies and fobbing them off as Biblical Christianity.
They teach that all men are potentially saved by virtue of Christ’s atonement for sin. They speak of the unlimited value of Christ’s blood and its sufficiency to save a whole world of sinners. In turn, this allows them to preach the “gospel” to all men that since God loves sinners, and Christ died for sinners all that is required of them is to love God in return and let Him save them, which is, of course, what God has always wanted to do anyway. They talk-up human responsibility, impose a universal duty to believe, and appeal to the will of the sinner to “choose” Christ.
This is gospel-lite. It is a stripped down, patched-up, hobbled together version of Bible teaching, using Bible language, but bereft of all meaningful content and truth. It is presented as adequate to save sinners in evangelism and sold widely as an introduction to grace, beyond which the deeper, secret truths of the Bible can be taught later. Consequently, the true gospel, the full gospel, the gospel which alone is the power of God unto salvation is never actually preached to the unsaved.
What these modern Calvinists conceal by this message is the whole counsel of God, the revealed purpose of God in time and eternity, to save His people from their sins according to His own power and will. Sovereign grace is skimmed over, substitution watered down, effectual calling generalised and eternal security, logically, left swinging on the hinge of the sinner’s own doubts and fears.
The Lord Jesus Christ, who is the true Light of the world, and His work of efficacious atonement on the cross, is hidden from view. So, too, the teaching of Holy Scripture concerning the Father’s eternal electing love for His people, His everlasting covenant, total depravity, the effectual calling of the Holy Spirit and eternal union with Christ.
We believe when the true gospel, Paul’s gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ, of which he and we are not ashamed, is preached to all men everywhere as the Spirit leads, sinners will truly be converted. We know that the gospel comes as a savour of life unto life to some but as a savour of death unto death to others. We know a few will be converted, many will not. We know that not one sinner more or less will be in heaven for us preaching Christ, the Gospel Light, in all of His glorious accomplishments. And we know that we will not have to misspeak our Almighty God, as a crook or a clown, to offer what He never purposed to bestow.
Peter Meney is the Pastor of New Focus Church Online and the Editor of "New Focus Magazine" and publisher of sovereign grace material under the Go Publications imprint. The purpose and aim of the magazine and books is to spread as widely as possible the gospel of Jesus Christ and the message of free, sovereign grace found in the Holy Bible, the Word of God.