Heterodoxy Hall of Shame

(From Outside the Camp Vol. 2, No. 3)

Theologian Louis Berkhof on common grace, common love, and the well-meant gospel offer:

"Common grace ... does not effect the salvation of the sinner, though in some of its forms (external calling and moral illumination) it may be closely connected with the economy of redemption and have a soteriological aspect. ... Common grace is resistible, and as a matter of fact is always more or less resisted. ... common grace is mediate, since it is the product of the mediate operation of the Holy Spirit through the truth of general or special revelation and by moral persuasion. ... It cannot be doubted that common grace finds its purpose in part in the redemptive work of Jesus Christ ... If it be objected that we cannot fully harmonize the indiscriminate and sincere offer of salvation on condition of faith and repentance with the doctrine of particular atonement, this may be admitted but with the distinct understanding that the truth of a doctrine does not depend on our ability to harmonize it with every other doctrine of Scripture. ... the Bible clearly teaches that He showers untold blessings upon all men and also clearly indicates that these are the expression of a favorable disposition in God, which falls short, however, of the positive volition to pardon their sin, to lift their sentence, and to grant them salvation. ... He does not even withdraw His love completely from the sinner in his present sinful state, though the latter's sin is an abomination to Him, since He recognizes even in the sinner His image-bearer. John 3:16; Matt. 5: 44,45. At the same time He loves believers with a special love ... His love to man is always unmerited, and when shown to sinners, is even forfeited." [from Systematic Theology, pp. 71-72, 437-438, 445]

"The general and well-meaning offer of salvation is an evidence of God's favor toward sinners, is a blessing of the Lord upon them. ... The explanation of this must be found in the purpose God had in view with this revelation of His love. And what was this purpose? Was it to cast the ungodly Jews more deeply into perdition? No, but to lead them to repentance. ... But in the case of the Jews the result does not correspond to the intention. They hardened themselves against this revelation of God's goodness. ... The Holy Spirit ... sought to check their ungodliness and to lead them to repentance. ... But the Spirit strove in vain; sin increased rapidly." [from De Drie Punten in Alle Deelen Gereformeerd, as quoted in Herman Hoeksema's A Triple Breach in the Foundation of the Reformed Truth]


Heterodoxy Hall of Shame