Exposing The Presbyterian Church (Part 5)
By: Brian A. Yeager
It is my sincere hope that as you read through these articles you are either made stronger in the faith (Colossians 2:4-7) or converted to the Lord if you have never been (Acts 3:19). Truly, we can see that error falls so easily to the truth when honest studies of God’s word occur (Ephesians 5:13). In this fifth article exposing the Presbyterian Church, we will see the power of truth in exposing error once again.
If I were to tell you that the preaching of the Gospel of Christ is a waste of time you would likely be a bit angry and rightfully so. If I told you the only time the preaching of the Gospel would ever work is if God did not give the hearer a choice to obey or not, you’d surely conclude I was a false teacher. Well folks, I would never make such an erroneous claim. The word of God is certainly capable of converting the lost (Psalms 19:7 and Romans 1:16). We are called by the Gospel of Jesus Christ (II Thessalonians 2:14). No one who has ever honestly studied the Scriptures would deny the power of the soul saving Gospel. What you are going to see is that the Presbyterians do believe the preaching of the Gospel, without God forcing someone to obey it, is a waste of time. They call this doctrine “Irresistible Grace”.
Irresistible Grace Defined By The Presbyterians
The Presbyterians define their doctrine of “Irresistible Grace” like this: “Irresistible Grace. This doctrine known in the Westminster Confession as ‘effectual calling’ states, and we believe, that there are two callings, one which is outward and always ineffectual, which is the mere preaching of the Word by human agents, and the second which is inward and always effectual when the preaching is accompanied by the irresistible calling of the Holy Spirit unto salvation. Christ declared, All that the Father giveth me shall come to me” (http://www.crpc.org/index.php/articles/the_five_points_of_calvinism/).
As I read the statement above I was amazed that the Presbyterian Church calls the preaching of the word of God “ineffectual”. That word means: “not producing any or the desired effect” (New Oxford American Dictionary). Let’s begin with this question – is the preaching of the Gospel by human agents useless? Let’s test the Scriptures to see if that is true or false.
Is Preaching The Gospel Useless?
The Scriptures plainly contradict the fallacy that preaching is ineffective. Notice: “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek… For Christ sent me not to baptize, but to preach the gospel: not with wisdom of words, lest the cross of Christ should be made of none effect. For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God. For it is written, I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and will bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent. Where is the wise? where is the scribe? where is the disputer of this world? hath not God made foolish the wisdom of this world? For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching [the context shows us that preaching is foolish to those that will perish (I Corinthians 1:18; 23-25)– B.A.Y.] to save them that believe… Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand; By which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain… For the hope which is laid up for you in heaven, whereof ye heard before in the word of the truth of the gospel; Which is come unto you, as it is in all the world; and bringeth forth fruit, as it doth also in you, since the day ye heard of it, and knew the grace of God in truth… For this cause also thank we God without ceasing, because, when ye received the word of God which ye heard of us, ye received it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God, which effectually worketh also in you that believe” (Romans 1:16, I Corinthians 1:17-21, I Corinthians 15:1-2, Colossians 1:5-6, and I Thessalonians 2:13).
We just saw very clearly that preaching is effective. Why? Preaching works because the word of God really does convert the lost without any supernatural effect. When people hear the truth, believe it, and obey it they will be converted. This is what the Bible shows us. Please notice these Scriptures: “The law of the LORD is perfect, converting the soul: the testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple… But God be thanked, that ye were the servants of sin, but ye have obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine which was delivered you… And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works… Wherefore lay apart all filthiness and superfluity of naughtiness, and receive with meekness the engrafted word, which is able to save your souls. But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves. For if any be a hearer of the word, and not a doer, he is like unto a man beholding his natural face in a glass: For he beholdeth himself, and goeth his way, and straightway forgetteth what manner of man he was. But whoso looketh into the perfect law of liberty, and continueth therein, he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed… Seeing ye have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit unto unfeigned love of the brethren, see that ye love one another with a pure heart fervently: Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever” (Psalms 19:7, Romans 6:17, II Timothy 3:15-17, James 1:21-25, and I Peter 1:22-23).
Were those converted on the “Day of Pentecost” in need of the direct operation of the Holy Spirit to be converted? Let’s see: “Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls” (Acts 2:41). Were those converted in Samaria at the preaching of Philip in need of some supernatural effect to cause them to obey the Gospel? Notice: “But when they believed Philip preaching the things concerning the kingdom of God, and the name of Jesus Christ, they were baptized, both men and women” (Acts 8:12). Did the Corinthians need the hand of the Spirit to push them into Christ when they heard the truth preached? Again, notice: “And Crispus, the chief ruler of the synagogue, believed on the Lord with all his house; and many of the Corinthians hearing believed, and were baptized” (Acts 18:8).
Is it the direct influence of the Holy Spirit that brings faith? Notice: “But what saith it? The word is nigh thee, even in thy mouth, and in thy heart: that is, the word of faith, which we preach; That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed. For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him. For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher? And how shall they preach, except they be sent? as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things! But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Esaias saith, Lord, who hath believed our report? So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God” (Romans 10:8-17).
Even The Holy Spirit Could Be Rejected
We saw in the quote at the start of this article that Presbyterians believe that the Holy Spirit must be part of the preaching of the Gospel. In fact, we read that they believe the Holy Spirit must provide an irresistible calling along with preaching or nothing will happen. Is this true? Of course this fallacy is not true. The Holy Spirit can be rejected. Notice: “Ye stiffnecked and uncircumcised in heart and ears, ye do always resist the Holy Ghost: as your fathers did, so do ye” (Acts 7:51). Even those who spoke by the Spirit of God had power to accept or reject what was miraculously being revealed unto them. Again, the Scriptures prove this out: “And the spirits of the prophets are subject to the prophets” (I Corinthians 14:32).
This is not to deny the Holy Spirit’s part in conversion today. Whenever we read the Scriptures we ought to be thankful for the Spirit of God revealing them to the inspired writers we are privileged to read the words of (John 16:13, I Corinthians 2:9-14, Galatians 1:10-12, and II Peter 1:20-21). Jesus made something clear that we do not want to overlook about the connection between the Holy Spirit and the Gospel. Please read this: “It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life” (John 6:63). Therefore, when one rejects the word of God they are in essence rejecting the Spirit of God as well as the Father and the Son (cf. John 8:42; 14:23-24)! God does not make the call of the Gospel irresistible.
Yes, One Can Reject Preaching Too
We know that there are few whom will be saved (Matthew 7:13-14 and Luke 13:23-24). That is not because of God wanting that to be the case (I Timothy 2:4). We know that the problem is not that the word of God is not available to the lost. The Gospel was preached to the entire earth before the first century even ended (Romans 10:18, Colossians 1:23, and Titus 2:11-14). We know that the word of God is not ineffective. In fact, the word of God always does what God intends it to do. Notice: “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts. For as the rain cometh down, and the snow from heaven, and returneth not thither, but watereth the earth, and maketh it bring forth and bud, that it may give seed to the sower, and bread to the eater: So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it” (Isaiah 55:8-11). The fact of the matter at hand is simple. People are capable of rejecting the word of our Lord (Mark 7:9, Luke 7:30, and John 12:48)!
If someone has not obeyed the Gospel of Jesus Christ, that individual is the only one to blame. God has sent Christ as the Savior as He promised (Genesis 22:18, Acts 3:26, and I John 4:9-10). God has revealed His will, which before was a mystery (Ephesians 3:1-11), so that we all can be saved (Mark 16:15-16). “Irresistible Grace” is clearly a false doctrine. Our next article will deal with the fifth point of Calvinism’s TULIP doctrine, which is “Perseverance of the Saints”.
Volume 10 – Issue 24 - March 7th, 2010