Calvinism and Arminianism:
Myths & Realities

Calvinist, R.C. Sproul, comments: “We talk about the universal offer of the gospel, and it is offered universally in the sense that it is offered to all who receive Him, and to all who trust Him, and to all who believe Him. But it is not offered universally to anybody who doesn’t believe, or who doesn’t trust, or who doesn’t embrace Him.” (RC Sproul, “For Whom Did Christ Die”, from The Atonement Lecture series, part 9, emphasis mine)

However, as one person observes: “Unless you are an eternal believer, there has never been a point in your life when you werent an unbeliever. The gospel isnt shining light on a dark world, according to Sproul. The gospel is just a reflection of the light of the eternally elect in the world.”

At this point, Id like to bring in hostile witnesses to dispute Sprouls claim.

Calvinist, Charles Spurgeon, writes:Some of my Brethren are greatly scandalized by the general invitations which I am in the habit of giving to sinners, as sinners. Some of them go the length of asserting that there are no universal invitations in the Word of God.” (The Silver Trumpet, 3/24/1861, emphasis mine)

Spurgeon concludes:I know the Lord has blessed my appeals to all sorts of sinners and none shall stop me in giving free invitations as long as I find them in this Book. And I do cry with Peter this morning to this vast assembly, ‘Repent and he baptized, every one of you, in the name of the Lord Jesus. For the promise is unto you and to your children, even to as many as the Lord our God shall call.’” (The Silver Trumpet, 3/24/1861, emphasis mine)

John Calvin writes: “That Christ, the redeemer of the whole world, commands the Gospel to be preached promiscuously to all does not seem congruent with special Election. ... But the solution of the difficulty lies in seeing how the doctrine of the Gospel offers salvation to all. That it is salvific for all I do not deny. But the question is whether the Lord in His counsel here destines salvation equally for all.” (Concerning the Eternal Predestination of God, pp.102, 103, emphasis mine)

John Calvin comments:If Paul were there maintaining that the grace of Christ extended to all, I should in silence own myself vanquished. But since his purpose is to show how much more powerful in the faithful is the grace of Christ than the curse contracted in Adam, what is there here to shake the election of those whom Christ restores to life, leaving the others to perish?”  (Concerning the Eternal Predestination of God, p.152, emphasis mine)

John Calvin agrees that the grace of Christ is in fact, “offered to all,” though it does not reach all, by means of an Irresistible Grace.

John Calvin comments: “Paul makes grace common to all men, not because it in fact extends to all, but because it is offered to all. Although Christ suffered for the sins of the world, and is offered by the goodness of God without distinction to all men, yet not all receive Him.” (Calvin’s New Testament Commentaries: Romans and Thessalonians, pp.117-118, emphasis mine)

Calvin adds: “Hence, we conclude that, though reconciliation is offered to all through Him, yet the benefit is peculiar to the elect, that they may be gathered into the society of life. However, while I say it is offered to all, I do not mean that this embassy, by which on Paul’s testimony (II Cor 5:18) God reconciles the world to Himself, reaches to all, but that it is not sealed indiscriminately on the hearts of all to whom it comes so as to be effectual.” (Concerning the Eternal Predestination of God, p.149, emphasis mine)

Arminian Charge:  Calvinism denies the free offer of the Gospel.

Myth or Reality:  The essence of the charge is that Calvinists deny that the Gospel is meant for everyone, or that it is offered to everyone, indiscriminately. However, the truth is that Calvinists are conflicted, as some believe that the Gospel is indeed offered to all, while others believe that the Gospel is just a command, which only the Calvinistically elect are regenerated to receive.
The concept of a Hostile Witness is when you call to your defense, someone who is predisposed to the opposite position, though also having a portion of their testimony which supports your case, and that is what is accomplished by citing both Charles Spurgeon and John Calvin in this instance, since they both contradict the point raised by fellow Calvinist, R.C. Sproul.