Martyred for the Gospel

Martyred for the Gospel
The burning of Tharchbishop of Cant. D. Tho. Cranmer in the town dich at Oxford, with his hand first thrust into the fyre, wherwith he subscribed before. [Click on the picture to see Cranmer's last words.]

Collect of the Day

The Second Sunday in Lent.

The Collect

ALMIGHTY God, who seest that we have no power of ourselves to help ourselves; Keep us both outwardly in our bodies, and inwardly in our souls; that we may be defended from all adversities which may happen to the body, and from all evil thoughts which may assault and hurt the soul; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

The Collect from the First Day of Lent is to be read every day in Lent after the Collect appointed for the Day.

Daily Bible Verse

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Comment to Professor Herman Hanko

See Election and Reprobation Denied

Professor Hanko,

Steve Burlew at Banner of Truth was so kind as to e-mail me the PDF of Murray's book, The Life of A.W. Pink, chapter 16. The following is a quote from that chapter:

Iain Murray says,

"He [Pink] had ceased to believe that Christ’s compassion for the lost over whom he wept in Jerusalem was only human rather than divine compassion. He even went as far as saying, as we noted above, ‘God is willing to be on terms of amity [friendship] with the sinner.’"

"Yet Pink never withdrew from his belief, stated in the 1929 text, that the only love in God is love for the elect. At this one point the Banner of Truth revisers of 1961 went beyond what Pink himself would have allowed; their revision and abridgement removed his case that the love of God is always to be understood in exclusive terms."

"Arthur Pink’s great concern, writing in an era when man-centred preaching was so prevailing, was to show that God is not helplessly waiting for the consent of the sinner before he can save him. He was indignant that such an impoverished view of God could ever be received. He had seen how the liberal presentation of the ‘love of God’ had near obliterated in the churches that ‘great love’ that redeems, keeps and saves to glory. For Pink sovereign grace was not an idea. It was the only explanation of all that he was, and of all that he hoped to be." From Iain Murray's The Life of A.W. Pink, Chapter 16.

It seems to me that the proponents of common grace and the free offer cannot stop contradicting themselves. They removed the most offensive part of the book to their view and did not remain faithful to Pink's own views as they stated was the purpose of the last edition. Either God's predestination is absolute or it is not. If it is, then how can God be benevolent to those He already knows are reprobate before the foundation of the world by His own eternal decree?

I believe there are problems with Pink's distinction between natural inability and moral inability since the natural inability he speaks of implies a spiritual and moral inability. (In the 1929 edition of The Sovereignty of God). I also have problems with Pink's view that the rich young ruler was elect even though he walked away from Christ. It is my belief that the rich young ruler loved his wealth more than God and demonstrated a violation of the command not to covet. (See Mark 10:21). The fact that Jesus "loved" the rich young ruler means nothing since this does not mean that Jesus knows the man is not elect. Jesus was limited in His human nature and did not always fully exercise the divine attribute of omniscience. Thus, this verse has nothing to do with the fact that God hates the reprobate.

What is particularly revealing about Murray's essay is where he remarks,

"To critique Pink’s Sovereignty of God as we have done is not to question the fundamental principle of his treatment of his subject. God is sovereign, and it is to the grace that is sovereign that every believer owes his salvation. God loves the elect with a special and invincible love. To uphold that truth Pink argued in his book for the denial of any broader love in which God shows compassion to all and is not willing that any should perish. But many Calvinists, from Calvin to Spurgeon, have believed both that God is sovereign and that he has a love for all people. Christians of Arminian persuasion believe God commands that a sincere offer of salvation be made in his name to all men, which offer may be resisted. A biblical Calvinist believes the same, only he believes more. Not all resist because God has chosen them to salvation, while with others he ‘permits their self-destruction despite the entreaties of his benevolence." (p. 6, pdf file).

"Many Calvinists, from Calvin to Spurgeon, have believed that God has a love for all people" is redundant since Calvin is the father of the Reformed tradition. But Murray has misrepresented Calvin since Calvin over and over again in the Institutes says that God hates the reprobate. Not only does Murray want to redefine Calvinism by revising what Pink said but he even wants to revise what Calvin himself said! The so-called "biblical Calvinist" which believes the same offer of the Arminian is apparently a construct of his own imagination rather than a faithful adherence to Scripture and to Calvin's theology drawn from Scripture.
Surely Gordon Clark's book on predestination is correct here. Why would God "entreat" those He already has decreed to reprobation? This is inconsistent with Scripture, Calvin, and with God's decrees to election and reprobation.

Sincerely in Christ,


For those interested see Election and Reprobation Denied, by Professor Herman Hanko. Note in particular the comment posted at the bottom of the page by Steve Burlew of The Banner of Truth Trust. You may e-mail Steve Burlew to request the appropriate chapter of Iain Murray's book in PDF format.

Steven Burlew said...

Point of clarification/correction regarding your paragraph above where you wrote, "This was evident in a recent reprint of Arthur Pink’s influential book, The Sovereignty of God. In this book, Arthur Pink defended the Biblical doctrines of both election and reprobation. Yet, the Banner of Truth, in republishing the book, deleted all references to reprobation, without any notice in the book of having omitted these sections, without a credible apology for doing so, and without permission from the author, dead at the time the reprint was made." Iain Murray has fully explained this in the book, "The Life of A.W. Pink," chapter 16. Lest we be accused of merely trying to sell another book, we have reprinted this entire chapter and continue to send it, free of charge, in PDF format to anyone interested in truly understanding what has occurred, and why. Simply email me and I will gladly send it to whomever. My email address is: steve@banneroftruth.org. Thank you.

Steven L. Burlew, Manager
Banner of Truth, North America
Carlisle, Pennsylvania, U.S.A.
September 1, 2009 11:57 AM
For a solid critique of Banner of Truth's position on this issue see the Trinity Review article: The Banner of Truth versus Calvinism.

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