Saturday, 2 March 2013

Dr Lloyd-Jones - a Personal Appreciation

On the occasion of the passing of Dr D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones into glory, I draw to your attention this book that I wrote which is my personal appreciation of the life and ministry of this great servant of Christ and the Gospel.  Please click here to find out the influence he had on me and on my ministry.

Dr D Martyn Lloyd-Jones Remembered.

Dr D Martyn Lloyd-Jones died on 1st March 1981, 32 years ago.

A young man who knew Dr Lloyd-Jones personally, and who worshipped at Westminster Chapel, London, records his appreciation of the Doctor in this short video.

Please click here to view it and see this first-hand account of his relationship with Dr Lloyd-Jones.

Dying in the Peace of God

What is it that guarantees that a sinner dies in the peace of God?  Only one answer: that they were at peace with God.  No one can have the ‘peace of God’ if he is not at ‘peace with God.’  

And how does someone come to be at peace with God?  Again, only one way: by a personal trust in the Lord Jesus Christ, joined to genuine repentance toward God for a life of sinful rebellion against His holy Person and Law.  Our octogenarian friend was at ‘peace with God’ for the past two decades or so, hence he died in the ‘peace of God.

Think of this: how will you die?  For 'one out of one dies.'  Not a great statistic, is it?  How will you die?  In the ‘peace of God’ because you are at ‘peace with God’?  Or, will your death be one of infinite horror that has been masked by powerful drugs?  Will it be heaven, or will it be hell? 

Paul says, “Be reconciled with God” (2 Cor.5:20).  “Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved” (Ac.16:31).  

Jesus said, “You must be born again” (Jn 3:7).  For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life” (Jn 3:16).

Friday, 1 March 2013

Christian Faith Works

The Christian faith truly is amazing; and it is most practical.  The Christian faith ‘works’ when you need it most; the Lord is with us when we really need His presence.  And this faith ‘works’ because it’s true – it’s not true because it works. 

Let me relate to you a situation that will make the point.  It was in an email I received this morning from a very dear brother and ministerial colleague from Norwich, England, in which he wrote to tell me that his “dad died and entered into glory in the early hours of this morning.”  Now only a true Christian can say that.  This is the believer’s sure conviction, based, not on airy-fairy thinking or some kind of a false belief system, but on the truth of Holy Scripture.  That truth was made real in this Christian man’s life, hence the certainty of where the deceased now is.  Margaret and I had the privilege of knowing him for several years, and enjoyed the family’s warm hospitality on many occasions.

The family knew for a number of days that the end for father was drawing near.  His son continued, “We have our sadness but the Lord has been very gentle to us.  We have over a period of time been made ready for his departure.  By yesterday I think we were all ready. Indeed mum said that she prayed that the Lord would take him to himself last night and he heard her prayer.”

This is a reality that we have experienced over many months since Margaret’s illness, and we know what they are talking about.  The Lord really does answer His people’s prayers.  How kind he was to our friend, and especially to his dear wife and family, when He answered her prayer for her husband. 

“We have seen the Lord's hand marvellously at work over recent weeks.  We have experienced his providential care, we have been upheld by his strength and we have known his peace.”

This is normal Christian experience – knowing the hand of the Lord on us in every situation, especially the challenging ones.  We have seen Him intervene in ways that were barely noticeable, but after the event we saw so clearly His good hand upon us.  Knowing yourself being upheld by His strength is the most wonderful of experiences.  And it’s all normal Christian experience.

“Dad was clearly at peace when he died and was ready to leave to higher realms.  We have been greatly comforted by the scriptures and by the encouragement of the Lord's people.”
Drugs can give the impression that someone dies in peace, masking what is really going on as they are about to leave this life and stand before God the righteous “Judge of all the earth” (Gen.18:25). But having been with quite a number of Christians as they died, this is a wonderful experience because we can see the peace of God in their faces, a peace that is no different really from the peace of God they enjoyed in life.  Our brother died in that peace.

This wonderful message confirms our faith in a remarkable way.

Wednesday, 27 February 2013

Marriage 7

The next instalment on the marriage issue is now available at this link.  This is such a crucial matter that the Christian public need to know what's happening and how to respond to it in a truly Christian yet firm way.

True Faith is Trinitarian

What Christians need are the right beliefs that have found their way into the heart, beliefs that have warmed the heart and melted the heart, and beliefs that have motivated the will to give our all to the Saviour.  It is the head that understands (and we need biblical understanding), but it is with the heart that we believe. “For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation” (Rom.10:10).

Looked at from another angle, Jesus is our Prophet, Priest and King.  True faith lays hold of a whole Christ.  So true faith is believing Christ as our Prophet, trusting Christ as our Priest and submitting to Christ as our King.  All three must be present otherwise we have ‘faith’ in only a partial Christ – which is no faith at all.  When all three are present, our head, our heart and our will are all engaged in our faith.  And remember, no one who has submitted to Christ the King will live in daily disobedience to Him.

This lesson was reinforced to us during this period of challenge.  How true it is.  And how necessary it is when we come to pray.  Praying with the mind only is not enough; nor is praying only with the heart, or with the will (however that may be done!).  That’s why we need that knowledge of God that comes only from the Bible.  But if our hearts are cold when we approach the Lord, then of what use are right words?  And if we are not motivated to surrender our all, our life, to Him, then the mind and heart roles are redundant.

Remember what old John Bunyan said: In prayer it is better to have a heart without words than words without a heart.  Make sure your prayer comes right from your heart.  Charles H. Spurgeon added: “Groanings which cannot be uttered are often prayers which cannot be refused.”  So be deeply encouraged, and pray on.  Let us come as whole persons to a whole Christ and we’ll see even greater things happen.  Let us also reflect on Joseph Scriven's wonderful words:

               Are we weak and heavy laden,
               Cumbered with a load of care?
               Precious Saviour, still our refuge;
               Take it to the Lord in prayer.
               Do thy friends despise, forsake thee?
               Take it to the Lord in prayer!
               In his arms he'll take and shield thee;
               Thou wilt find a solace there.

Tuesday, 26 February 2013

God Proves His Faithfulness

It’s amazing how much the Lord teaches us about Himself when we’re faced with an illness as serious as cancer.  He proves His faithfulness in every situation.  He demonstrates that however things appear to the contrary, we can still cast our burdens on Him (1 Pet.5:7), and not be disappointed.  In fact, we feel ourselves being carried along, upborne, and blessed.  He manifests Himself to us in various ways – in normal ways through the kindness and support of Christian people and also, as a testimony to God’s common grace, of non-Christian people.  He also demonstrates His love for us in much more personal ways, as when He draws really near to us by His Spirit and assures us that we are His children by new birth and also by adoption (we’re doubly His!).  During family devotions when He comes right into our room and leaves the unspeakable impression that we have been in the presence of the great King Who is our Father, we know we are His and He is ours (Song of Songs 2:16; 6:3; 7:10).  How sweet are these precious lessons.  What He teaches us in the dark places and in the valleys of life cannot be learned out of a book or even by listening to sermons.

But it’s also amazing how much He teaches us about ourselves – and most of that is not always nice; but it’s needed.  One of the big lessons He has taught us is that head belief will certainly not get an individual through the challenge of a life-threatening illness.  Having all the right words and repeating them will just not ‘cut it’ when faced with the ultimate.  We need more than that.

Monday, 25 February 2013

Courage Under The Cross in Troubled Times

                        Courage Under The Cross in Troubled Times

Rev. Dr J. E. Hazlett Lynch
This book is being offered again to the Christian reading public as a ministry of encouragement, especially for those who are finding the going tough at present; it is also for those known to you who are being opposed and persecuted for righteousness' sake.  It is not only Gospel ministers and preachers who experience the onslaughts of the world, the flesh and the devil; every Christian knows this in their lives.

So if you want to be better informed about this matter, and encouraged in your daily warfare as a Christian soldier, then this book is for you.  In it, you will read about Trouble Working For Us, That Thorn in the Flesh, Strength Renewed, Looking Unto Jesus, etc.

The teaching here is biblically-based, is practical, easily understood, and most encouraging.

My wife is a cancer sufferer, and is currently in hospital.  I have written regular updates on her condition and have asked for the prayers of the saints for her.  One response I received this morning was from a friend in England who informed me that a mutual brother in Christ who had gone to be with the Lord last week spoke very warmly of the help and support he had gained from reading this little pastoral book.  This is why it is being made available again to my readers.

For your convenience, I have added a PayPal button to this site.  PayPal, as you know, is fast, easy, safe and extremely highly recommended in industry, and one in whom you can have great confidence.  So, to get your copy of this excellent book, price £5.50, click the BUY NOW button, and you will be taken to the official Paypal site.  Complete your credit or debit card details, and the book will be sent to you as soon as the funds are cleared.  If you already have a PayPal account, the purchase procedure is much easier.


The Saviour of the World

In this verse, we have another universal statement as to the identity and Person of the Saviour.  The context is Jesus’ conversation with the woman at Jacob’s well in Samaria, and the statement is that of those Samaritans who believed in Christ, not just because of the testimony of the woman, but because they had heard Him for themselves during one interview with Him.  As Jews had no dealings[1] with the Samaritans,[2] it is quite amazing that these ‘unclean’ humans were enabled by God’s Spirit to see the truth about Jesus.  Many had believed because of the woman’s testimony and besought Him to remain with them, and Jesus stayed a further two days in that vicinity.[3]  The effectiveness and authenticity of her testimony brought these men not only to where Jesus was, but right into a new saving relationship with Him.  This spiritual re-awakening amongst the Samaritans indicated that Jesus was not only the Saviour for the Jewish people, but also for the Samaritans.  God’s salvation was not confined to any one nation or people, but was sent into the entire world.  Brown is correct when he avers that Christ’s two day stay not only brings over many more to the same faith in Him, but raises that faith to a conviction – never reached by the Jews, and hardly as yet attained by His own disciples – that as the Christ, he was “the Saviour of the world.’”[4]
As “Saviour of the world,” He was to bring “deliverance ... from serious danger.”[5]  What more serious danger is there than to be under the divine wrath on account of our sin; and from this we need deliverance.  This implies that Jesus is more than a perfect example for us to follow.  He is the One Who saves.  The general term “Saviour” is sometimes applied to the Father[6] and also to the Son[7] but is found nowhere else in the New Testament.  To the word “Saviour” John, adds a qualifier, “of the world,” which has the impact of enlarging His role and work.  He is the “Saviour of the world.”  Morris comments that this
elevates the title to one of infinite grandeur.  Jesus is not concerned simply with petty, minor issues.  Nor is He the Saviour of few unimportant individuals.  He is the Saviour of the world.[8]
Calvin comments,
Again, when they proclaim that Jesus is the Saviour of the world and the Christ, they have undoubtedly learned this from hearing Him ... And He declared that the salvation He had brought was common to the whole world, so that they should understand more easily that it belonged to them also. [9]
All exclusivity is hereby ruled out by our Lord.  The salvation that He came to bring transcends all geographical and ethnic barriers.  It is for all men because all are sinners.  God’s love is for “the whole world” because then salvation His Son brought is common to all.[10]
Ryle contends, with Calvin and contra Owen and Hendriksen,[11] that “the singular fullness of the confession” that the Samaritan believers made is significant because it provides the fullest declaration of the Saviour’s office as “the Saviour of the world” that is unequalled in the Gospels.[12] He raises the interesting point as to whether the Samaritans really understood the significance of the term “Saviour” as applied to Jesus was fully understood, and Ryle suggests that it was not.  However, he affirms that whatever deficiencies existed in their understanding of that term, there were none regarding their grasp of the universal scope of what He came to do.  To them, He was the world’s Saviour, not just the Saviour of the Jews.  In Ryle’s language, He came to be “a Redeemer for all mankind.”[13]  The religious Jews did not see this truth despite His being with them for upwards of three years, but these people of mixed race and of semi-heather origin who had only had Jesus with them for two days, grasped the true identity of this Preacher, and affirmed His universal and crucial role for mankind.     
DML-J preached, as he was bringing his sermon on Ac.5:1-13, and upbraided the church for her cowardice.  “The church must stop apologising, stop accommodating, stop taking bits out of the Bible.  We must face the world and proclaim Jesus of Nazareth, Son of God and Saviour of mankind.”[14]  He was already retired from the active Christian ministry for five years by this time, and his universal Gospel preaching was still uppermost in his emphasis.  Regularly, he referred to Jesus Christ as “Son of God, Saviour of the world.”[15]  In answering the question as to the reason for the incarnation, he said, “Why does he do that?  There is only one answer: he has come into the world to save the world.”[16]  When seeking to expound why some men hold tenaciously to the truth of the Gospel, he said, “Here were men who would sooner die than refrain from preaching the glory of the Son of God as the only Saviour of the world.”[17]  That Christ was and is the only truly cosmic Saviour there is, was an emphasis in his preaching that none can gainsay.  He died as the Saviour of the world, which implies that He died for all men without exception.  His death was as much for the unbeliever as it was for the believer.  When sinners reject the only Saviour of mankind, they are rejecting a Saviour Who suits their case perfectly.  Listen to DML-J as he describes those leaders who “[reject] of the Saviour of the world.”[18]  Little did they know but the One they were rejecting was “God’s only begotten Son, Jesus of Nazareth, ... the Saviour of the world.”[19] It was He Who died on the Cross, and the only way sinners have of being reconciled to Him is by believing in and surrendering to, the Saviour of the world.[20]
An examination of these expository comment by the Doctor will confirm that he is well suited to the company of men like Calvin, Baxter, Davenant, Wesley, Ryle, Morris, etc.  His expositions do not fit nearly as well with those of Owen and Hendriksen whose confessionalism determines the meaning of Scripture.

[1]    The Geneva Bible 1599 translates this word as “meddle.”  The Geneva Bible notes add, “There is no
         familiarity nor friendship” between these groupings.
[2]    Jn 4:9.
[3]    Jn 4:40, 43.
[4]    Brown, 1684/1969:375.
[5]    Morris, 1972:284.  Brown cites the Greek as “the Saviour of the world, the Christ (p.374).  Cf also Ryle,
[6]    Lk. 1:47; 1 Tim.1:1; etc.  The LXX uses this term for the Father, and secular Greek writers uses it of a
         multitude of deities.
[7]    1 Jn 4:14
[8]    Morris, 1972:285.
[9]    Comment on Jn 4:42.
[10]    Calvin, comm.. on Jn 4:42.
[11]    Hendriksen, 1954:176.
[12]    Ryle, 1869/1987:251.  He points out that the conversion of these Samaritans can be attributed solely
         to the grace of God, and that while the Jews were hardened under Christ’s preaching, miracles and
         wonderful works, the Samaritans were softened and believed.
[13]    Ibid.
[14]    Selection #358.
[15]    Selection #357.
[16]    Selection #327.
[17]    Selection #236.
[18]    Selection #232.
[19]    Selection #100.
[20]    Selection #99.

Sunday, 24 February 2013

God's Love for the World

Jn 3:16
Since the atonement proceeds from the heart of a loving God, what He “gave” may be understood in two senses.  First, “God gave the Son by sending Him into the world; but second, He gave the Son on the Cross.”[1]  It is the Father’s love that the Cross displays.  The Cross was not wrung from an unwilling deity.  Morris explains that the Greek construction has the following emphasis: it is not that “God loved so as to give,” but that “God loved so that He gave.”[2]  So the love of God is not a sentimental thing but is a love that costs.  Denney speaks of God’s sin-bearing love.  Love mattered a great deal to John[3] because it mattered much to God. 
Wesley’s exposition of the most favour verse in the Bible is that “God so loved the world - That is, all men under heaven; even those that despise his love, and will for that cause finally perish.”  No restriction is discernible in Wesley’s notes on this verse.  Notwithstanding his alleged Arminianism, he claimed many times that his theology was “on the very edge of Calvinism,” or a “hair’s breadth from Calvinism.”[4]  For him, salvation was all of God’s free grace; he affirms unregenerate man’s inability in anything pertaining to his salvation, and excludes all merit from man in his salvation.  Using ‘man’ in its generic sense, he recognises no limitation of the atonement to the elect only.  Even the Schofield Reference Notes[5] equate “κosmos” with “mankind,” as does A. T. Robertson.[6]  He cites the universal aspect of God’s love for the κosmos as appearing in 2 Cor.5:19 and in Rom.5:8.
Henry states that “the offer that is made of salvation is general, that whosoever believes in him, without exception, might have benefit by him.”[7]  This Puritan adds no restriction to the intention of God in sending His Son because it was “the world” that He “so loved.”  Any exegesis that refuses to accept this is seriously flawed because it is not dealing with the text qua text.  Scholasticism, especially of the Reformed variety, does serious damage to this most powerful and best known and loved of all biblical texts, and makes it say what John never intended it to say.  DML-J’s soteriology - “His love was so great that he sent his only Son into the world.  We read: ‘God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish but have everlasting life,’ Jn.3:16”[8] -  is quite at home in the company of men like Henry and Wesley on this point.  Or again,
“For the moment humanity comes to see and to believe that, it will realise that its only hope is the hope that is offered in this Gospel.  The gospel says, ‘God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish but have everlasting life, Jn.3:16.’”[9]
Milne is better on this verse than he was on Jn 1:29.  Here, he writes “The all-inclusive scope of God’s love” is set out in “indiscriminate” terms, adding that it “embrac[es] every man, woman and child.”[10] The object of God’s love is the world, according to Milne, is understood in terms of its “badness,” but not as clearly in terms of its “bigness.”  He agrees that this world is fallen and is organised in rebellion against God, but refuses to concede that the term is inclusive of all mankind, thus placing him in disagreement with DML-J.  
Hendriksen also agrees that “the object of this love is the world.”[11]  The term, he says, “refers to mankind, though sin-laden, exposed to judgement, in need of salvation.”  This accurately represents the Bible’s overall view of the world.  All mankind falls into this eternally dangerous spiritual situation, and it was all mankind that was/is the object of God’s love.  Comparing this statement with those of DML-J, one is impressed with the degree of agreement that is evident on this central matter of the faith.  He preaches,
“That is the vital question.  ‘What think ye of Christ?’ Matt.22:42.  And the Holy Spirit answers that question throughout that amazing record we call the New Testament.  Here it is, in one verse.  ‘God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish but have everlasting life, Jn.3:16.’”[12]
Disappointingly, Hendriksen reverts to his rigid confessionalism when he expounds Jn 4:42, explaining that the world of which Jesus Christ is the Saviour “consists of elect from every nation.”[13] 
This does not reflect the exegesis of a scholar who is “captive to the Word” and to the divinely-inspired text.  No doubt at his ordination he would have consented to the Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments being the only infallible rule of faith and practice, but confessionalism carries with it the constant danger of elevating the confessional standards of the church above the Scripture, and can even contribute to a dishonest subscription of these standards. 
Turning to J. C. Ryle (1816-1900), we discover the same teaching and emphasis as is found in Calvin.  Ryle, whose “Expository Thoughts” on the Gospels are published by the Banner of Truth Trust,[14] states with utmost clarity that the “world” that “God so loved” “means the whole race of mankind, both saints and sinner, without any exception.”[15]  Whilst acknowledging the views of men like Hutcheson, Lampe and Gill to be different in that they all see “the world” exclusively in terms of “God’s elect out of every nation, whether Jews or Gentiles, ...”[16]  Ryle maintains that the text of Scripture must be taken in its normal meaning.  Despite his saying that “By His death He purchased pardon and complete redemption for sinners,”[17] he was not thereby implying any implicit restriction in the design of the atonement.  Ryle knew that all are sinners; he was not saying that the redemption purchased by Christ was limited to particular sinners.  It was for the world that “God so loved.” 
Nor does Ryle deny that God has a special covenant love for His saints, for he expressly says that He does.  Nor does he find any weight in the objections levelled against his theory.[18]  His famous statement, “I have long since come to the conclusion that men may be more systematic in their statements than the Bible, and may be led into grave error by idolatrous veneration of a system,”[19] must be kept in mind constantly.  These wise words from the saintly preacher will serve to guide us well if we give them due weight in all our deliberations.
Dr John Davenant (1572-1641), the highly respect and thorough Calvinist, demonstrates that the view of the atonement preached by DML-J was not new or novel.  As a commissioner to the Synod of Dordt (1618-1619), Davenant held to the universal atonement position, and defended it against all antagonists.  In his Dissertation on the Death of Christ, which was appended originally to his substantial commentary of Pauls’ letter to the Colossians,[20] Davenant contended that “the promise of the Gospel is universal.”[21] In Christ’s death (quoting Calvin), God had “put an universal mark, both that he might invite all men promiscuously to the participation of life, and that he might leave the unbelieving without excuse.”[22]  Calvin affirms that despite there being nothing in the world to merit the love of God, “Yet he shows himself to be propitious to the whole world; since he calls all without exception to believe in Christ.”  This is Calvin’s soteriological position, as approved by Davenant, who proceeds to affirm that both he and Calvin held tenaciously to the doctrine of God which affirms His opening the eyes of the elect only, to believe in and receive Christ.
Davenant distances himself from all human reason and fancy by extracting his beliefs from the testimony of Holy Scripture.  The Scriptures teach, he states, “that the death of Christ, according to the will of God, is an universal remedy, by the Divine appointment, and the nature of the thing itself, applicable for salvation to all and every individual of mankind.”[23]  The Cross is the divinely provided universal remedy for the whole world.  This salvation is received if any sinner repents of his sin and trusts Christ to save him.  The “whosoever” of this verse demands an openness and availability to all who desire it.  He continues, “the intention and offering of Christ in giving himself includes all mankind, in like manner as that of the Father in sending his Son,” and refers to this verse.[24]  He further affirms, “The death of Christ, and the design of God embracing all mankind promiscuously is excellently expressed,” and refers to Jn 3:16.  In order to maintain the Bible’s own perfect theological balance, Davenant adds, “But he so loved his sheep, his children, his church, that he determined by his death effectually to derive to them faith and eternal life.”[25]
When the preaching of DML-J is consulted, you will discover an identical emphasis in his evangelistic sermons.[26]
John Owen (1616-1683) has his own exposition of this verse to offer.  He denies that “the world” is to be taken in its natural usage, but instead insists that it means the following: “the world,’ miserable, sinful, lost men of all sorts, not only Jews but Gentiles also, which he peculiarly loved...”[27]  His understanding limits the term “the world” to the elect.
This is not an isolated statement of the great Puritan theologian.  Later on he writes,
By the “world,” we understand the elect of God only, though not considered in this place as such, but under such a notion as, being true of them, serves for the farther exaltation of God’s love towards them, which is the end here designed; and this is, as they are poor, miserable, lost creatures in the world, of the world, scattered abroad in all places of the world, not tied to Jews or Greeks, but dispersed in any nation, kindred, and language under heaven.[28]
So Dr Owen is quite explicit in his exposition of this particular term.  The “world” does not mean the “world” at all, but means ‘only’ the elect of God, and none else.  If this was what John intended, he would surely have said so, so as to avoid confusion.  Scripture’s clarity is challenged by this expository method, and evangelistic preaching thrown into disarray.  DML-J, while a great admirer of Owen, could not be further from the Puritan on this point.  What he preaches is much closer to Baxter’s soteriology.
Joseph Hall reminds us that, “The heirs of Calvin have sometimes departed from the balance of the Genevan Reformer, allowing the nerve of evangelism to be severely strained, if not cut altogether.”[29]
Turning to Calvin, we find an exposition that accords more or less with all the above except Owen and Gill, and to a lesser extent Milne and Hendriksen.  The Reformer writes, “As also it is said in John 3:16 that God so loved the world that He spared not His own Son, but delivered Him to death for our sakes.”[30]  Those for whose “sakes” God loved and “spared not His own Son” is described in universal terms - “the world.” 

Again, he writes,
And whenever our sins press hard on us, whenever Satan would drive us to despair, we must hold up this shield, that God does not want us to be overwhelmed in everlasting destruction, for He has ordained His Son to be the Saviour of the world.[31]  
Calvin’s authentic Gospel is therefore clearly expressed, and it is now incumbent upon those who deny this clear statement to explain in what terms God did not send His Son to redeem the world than for others to explain what the contrary meaning is.  
When DML-J’s sermons are laid alongside the expositions of other preachers and theologians, certain clear features will be discovered.  For example, when preaching on the Kingdom of God, he affirmed,

No, the message is this: God ‘hath visited and redeemed his people,’ Lk.1:68.  ‘God so loved the world’ – this world, this damned, foolish, evil world that you and I live in and of which we are all a part by nature – God so loved it, ‘that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth should not perish, but have everlasting life,’ Jn.3:16.’”[32]

“‘God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son’ Jn.3:16.  His concern for this world and its people was so great that ‘When the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law...’ Gal.4:4.  ... and pointing to that cross he says to the whole world, ‘Believe on my Son and I will forgive you all your sins.”[33] 
His was a message for all.  He had no concerns for the scholastic notion of the Saviour dying for the non-elect because he was simply preaching what God has revealed in the Gospel.  No attempt was made to squeeze it into a confessional Procrustean bed.  Not once did he call for the compliance officer of high Calvinism to make the Gospel say something the original writer had not intended it to say.  His was a broad Gospel that encompassed the whole world and all humanity.  Why did God send His Son into the world?  Let DML-J answer this vitally important question.  He states,

“He sent his only Son into the world, even to the cross to die, his body to be broken, his blood to be shed, so that ‘whosoever believeth in him should not perish but have everlasting life,’” Jn. 3:16.[34] 
This Gospel offered a real and sincere salvation for “whosoever believeth.”[35]  “Here is the message of the New Testament, this is Christian salvation,” he preaches.  Implied in this is that whoever limits or restricts in any way the biblical Gospel for all, offering a salvation for will who believe, is not preaching the authentic Christian message.  There is nothing that stands in the way of any sinner being everlastingly saved; all that is required of him is faith in Christian and repentance that leads to life.  Using the outward means of grace that God has provided for His children will enable their growth in grace and in the knowledge of Christ.  There is no hope for the world apart from this message.[36]  There is no Christ but the One Who was given by the Father to redeem the world.[37]  Behind all that happened on the Cross there was and is a heart of love, a love that sent God’s Son to die on the Cross for this rebellious, insulting, rejecting and chaotic world.[38]  This was DML-J’s Gospel content, without delimitation, without it being diluted, or being made to conform to any man-made standard, however good.  His Gospel was not Arminianism, though it shared with Arminianism this feature of the Gospel universality, and the condition of faith as the means of receiving the offered salvation..  The Gospel was for the world, in DML-J’s view, because the salvation it offered was for the world.
Again, the discerning eye will see that in his soteriology DML-J was closer to Calvin than Owen or Gill, closer to Davenant and Baxter and Ryle and Hall than to those who denied that Christ died for any but the elect. 

[1]    Morris, 1972:229.
[2]    Ibid.  This nuanced point is easily missed because of its subtlety but it is worth making. 
[3]    Jn 3:16 is John’s first use of αγαπαω, a verb he uses some 36 times in this Gospel and 31 times in First
[4]    Cited in Roger E. Olson at       evangelical-theology-long/ Accessed 27/01/13.  See also Thomas Oden’s book John Wesley’s Scriptural Christianity (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 1994), where he quotes from Wesley’s “Minutes of 1745.”  This was where Wesley met regularly with students for specifically theological discussions.  He records in answer to Question 23: Wherein may we come to the very edge of Calvinism?  Answer: (1) In ascribing all good to the free grace of God. (2.) In denying all natural free will, and all power antecedent to grace. And (3.) In excluding all merit from man, even for what he has or does by the grace of God.” (p. 253).
[5]    1917 edition.
[6]    Robertson on Jn 3:16.
[7]    See his commentary on this verse.
[8]    DML-J selection, #198.
[9]    DML-J selection, #213.
[10]    Milne, 1993:77.
[11]    Hendriksen, 1953:140.
[12]    DML-J selection, #215.
[13]    Hendriksen, 1953:176.
[14]    The irony of this must not be missed.  The Banner of Truth Trust is very keen to publish works by Ryle, Baxter, Davenant, Edwards, Bellamy, McCheyne, DML-J, Blanchard, etc while maintaining that it is committed to the Reformed Faith.  This is important because this publisher, by its editorial decisions, is stating that the views of the men mentioned fall truly within the reformed designation.  Whether or not there are signs of theological schizophrenia is for others to ascertain.
[15]    Ryle, 1869/1987:158.
[16]    Ibid.
[17]    On p.144.
[18]    Ryle, 1869/1987:159.
[19]    Ibid.
[20]    Reprinted by the Banner of Truth Trust in 2005 but without the “Dissertation on the Death of Christ.”.
[21]    Davenant, 1832/2006:18.
[22]    Calvin as cited in Davenant 1832/2006:19.
[23]    Davenant, 1832/2006:24.
[24]    Davenant, 1832/2006:79.
[25]  Davenant, 1832/2006:169.
[26]  See Appendix One.
[27]  Accessed 31st January, 2013.
[28]    Owen,  Accessed 31st January, 2013.
[29]    Hall, .  Accessed 31st January, 2013.
[30]    Calvin, Sermons on Christ’s Passion, p.48.  Add to this, Calvin’s universalistic terms: the world’s
         Redeemer (21, 37, 39, 42, 55, 63, 93, 95, 126, 138, 242, ), the human race, all men, mankind (55,  
         74, 89, 108, 125, 151, 155f, 196, 222, 237, 265, 270), sins of the world (87, 123, 284), salvation of
          the world (125, 133, 153,).
[31]    Calvin, comment on Jn.3:16.
[32]    Selection #133.
[33]    Selection #149.
[34]    Selection #158.
[35]    Selection #162, 198.
[36]    Selection #213.
[37]    Selection #215.
[38]    Selection #218, 272, 310.