"....so for curious and carnal persons, lacking the Spirit of Christ, to have continually before their eyes the sentence of God's Predestination is a most dangerous downfall, whereby the devil doth thrust them either into desperation or into wretchlessness of most unclean living no less perilous than desperation." Thirty-nine Articles of Religion, Article 17.
"Both Klaas Schilder (1890-1952) and Herman Hoeksema and more recently David Engelsma and Randy Blacketer have argued that when Dort and our theologians said, “offero” they only meant, “to present” or “to demand.” There is weighty evidence to the contrary however. For example, Caspar Olevianus (1536–87) used this term and its cognates frequently to mean “to offer with intention that the offer should be fulfilled if the recipients meet the condition of trust in Christ.” In his massive 1579 commentary on Romans and in his final commentary on the Apostles’ Creed, De substantia foederis gratuiti inter Deum et electos (1585) he used it frequently this way (e.g. “oblatum beneficium”) just as Dort later used it."
R. Scott Clark, The Reformed Tradition On The Free Or Well-Meant Offer Of The Gospel.
The compromise position reached between the Reformed and the Melanchthonian Lutherans was expressed as:
"Concerning the Lord’s Supper, they teach that with bread and wine are truly exhibited the body and blood of Christ to those who eat in the Lord's Supper."[Disapproval of dissenting views is omitted.]It is to this revised edition of the document, and to its still living author, that Calvin confidently appealed."In regard to the Confession of Augsburg," he says in his Last Admonition to Westphal, "my answer is, that, as it was published at Ratisbon (1541), it does not contain a word contrary to our doctrine.969 If there is any ambiguity in its meaning, there cannot be a more competent interpreter than its author, to whom, as his due, all pious and learned men will readily pay this honor.
Phillip Schaff: The Westphal Controversy.
In short, just because someone takes communion does not mean that they are taking the genuine body and blood of Christ presented or exhibited or represented by the communion elements. In the same way, presenting the Gospel message to unbelievers does not entail that we tell them that God desires to save everyone. That is to confuse the decrees of God with the general call. Why warn people not to take communion if everyone who takes communion is a worthy participant? The fact is genuine faith is required to receive communion or the benefits of the sacrament. Presbyterians do not practice open communion for good reason.
Furthermore the word offero in Latin does not mean what Scott Clark says it means for the simple reason that it has nothing to do with conditions of acceptance but rather with presenting the Gospel message or the general call of the Gospel to the general audience composed of both the elect and the reprobate. Scott Clark then proceeds to conflate the general call with God's unrequited desire to save the reprobate. The real issue then is not the general call but the Van Tilian propensity to conflate Arminianism with Calvinism to impose "apparent" contradictions on their unknowable view of God, which apparent contradictions are actual contradictions!
Offero: Irregular verb. 1. Bestow. 2. Cause. 3. Offer. 4. Present.
Even Scott Clark would not say that God actually bestows or causes the reprobate to accept the benefits "offered". So that leaves us between offer as in a contingency or offer as a presentation of the Gospel message formulated properly as a general call rather than as a particular call to the reprobate as in telling unbelievers that "Christ died for you." There is no way to say that God loves an unbeliever or that Christ died for them since they have as yet not been regenerated! Only a regenerated person will believe and only believers have the Gospel promise that "Christ died for you!"
On the contrary, as the late Dr. Gordon H. Clark continually pointed out, God has only one will. God's decretive will to reprobation is not contingent or conditional. There are no contingencies in God's eternally unchanging will. (Deuteronomy 29:29; Romans 9:11-13; Malachi 3:6; James 1:17). Scott Clark wants to do theology from below and take a semi-Arminian view of things. However, it is very clear that even though we do not know who is reprobate and elect, God does know and He knows because He predetermined it. To take our ignorance and then imply that God doesn't know either is to take a position of eternal skepticism, which in turn destroys the Christianity defined by the Bible.
Another way the semi-Arminians and the Van Tilians wiggle out of the unchanging decrees of God is that they say God is not without feelings or compassions. (See: Does God Have Emotions?) They adopt anthropopathic views of God even though both the Westminster Confession of Faith and the Thirty-nine Articles of Religion both outright reject anthropopathisms. (See Article 1 of the Thirty-nine Articles of Religion and Chapter 3 of the WCF). Ironically, no one accepts anthropomorphisms. God does not literally have hands, feet or a nose. Yet they insist that God genuinely has human emotions and loves the elect. But in the Bible the word for love always is a volition and not an emotion. The reason God loves the elect is that He ordains them to eternal life and the reason God hates the reprobate is that He ordains them to hell. (Romans 9:11-13). The Westminster Confession of Faith makes this very clear:
3. By the decree of God, for the manifestation of His glory, some men and angels (1 Tim. 5:21, Matt. 25:41) are predestinated unto everlasting life; and others foreordained to everlasting death. (Rom. 9:22–23, Eph. 1:5–6, Prov. 16:4)
4. These angels and men, thus predestinated, and foreordained, are particularly and unchangeably designed, and their number so certain and definite, that it cannot be either increased or diminished. (2 Tim. 2:19, John 13:18)I do not need to know whom God has reprobated and whom God has elected to know that God does not desire to save the reprobate. I know that because the Bible says so and so does the Westminster Confession and the Thirty-nine Articles of Religion:
The Westminster Confession of Faith (Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc., 1996). See also: Westminster Confession of Faith.
XVII. Of Predestination and Election.PREDESTINATION to life is the everlasting purpose of God, whereby, before the foundations of the world were laid, He hath constantly decreed by His counsel secret to us, to deliver from curse and damnation those whom He hath chosen in Christ out of mankind, and to bring them by Christ to everlasting salvation as vessels made to honour. Wherefore they which be endued with so excellent a benefit of God be called according to God's purpose by His Spirit working in due season; they through grace obey the calling; they be justified freely; they be made sons of God by adoption; they be made like the image of His only-begotten Son Jesus Christ; they walk religiously in good works; and at length by God's mercy they attain to everlasting felicity.
As the godly consideration of Predestination and our Election in Christ is full of sweet, pleasant, and unspeakable comfort to godly persons and such as feeling in themselves the working of the Spirit of Christ, mortifying the works of the flesh and their earthly members and drawing up their mind to high and heavenly things, as well because it doth greatly establish and confirm their faith of eternal salvation to be enjoyed through Christ, as because it doth fervently kindle their love towards God: so for curious and carnal persons, lacking the Spirit of Christ, to have continually before their eyes the sentence of God's Predestination is a most dangerous downfall, whereby the devil doth thrust them either into desperation or into wretchlessness of most unclean living no less perilous than desperation.
Furthermore, we must receive God's promises in such wise as they be generally set forth in Holy Scripture; and in our doings that will of God is to be followed which we have expressly declared unto us in the word of God.
In preaching the Gospel we must be careful not to present the Arminian gospel but we must preach and teach what the Scriptures clearly teach: predestination. The third most important doctrine in the Reformed theological system is predestination. (See: Westminster Confession of Faith, Chapter 3).