The following statement was written for a social media post:
The free offer of the gospel is not only a presumptuous act on the part of the preacher, it also contradicts the nature of the gospel, setting forth a false message to unregenerate sinners. While it is a good tool for proselyting, it is a disgraceful tactic for evangelism. There is a vast difference between preaching and offering. The scriptures make clear the gospel is to be freely preached, but there is not a single reference it is to be offered.
Hyper Calvinists are often accused of preaching the gospel only to the elect. This is not true. Hyper Calvinists preach a full and free gospel to everyone. They do not, however, presumptuously offer the gospel to anyone. The gospel is God’s to give (through a new birth), not the preacher’s to offer (through the manipulation of fleshly emotions). From this perspective, the Hyper Calvinists are more evangelistically driven, than their proselyting Arminian and Moderate Calvinist neighbors.
The free offer of the gospel actually renders the gospel unfree. It imposes on the sinner the obligation to accept or reject it, making the grace of God in Christ conditional upon the choice of the sinner. If it be thought the Sprit of God regenerates sinners through a free offer, this is called persuasional regeneration, and is in conflict with John 1:13: “Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.”
The real question is not whether the sinner will accept Christ, but whether Christ has accepted the sinner. Set this distinction before the Lord’s spiritually awakened people, and they will be the ones standing afar off, not lifting up so much as their eyes unto heaven, smiting upon their breasts, saying, “God be merciful to me a sinner.” They will be the ones to find refuge in the righteousness of Christ.
On the other hand, those who respond to the free offer are often like the Pharisee who stood and prayed thus with himself, “God, I thank thee, that I am not as other men are, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican.” The free offer strokes the ego of unregenerate sinners, encouraging them to remain under the cloak of their self-righteousness.
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.