July 17, 2017 Show with Greg Nichols on “God’s Love: Indiscriminate or Particular?”


July 17, 2017:

1 of 3 Pastors at
Grace Immanuel Reformed Baptist Church,
Grand Rapids, MI,
author of What Does the Bible Say about God?,
The Biblical Doctrine of God (Truth For Eternity) &
Lectures in Systematic Theology (Volume 1),
will address:
OR Particular?”

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1 Comment

  1. 1) Regarding John 3:16, and other controversial passages among Calvinists, it would be useful to note that while there are hermeneutical differences among them, there are not theoretical difference among mainstream Calvinists on the love of God. In other words, even though they may interpret various passages differently, mainstream Calvinists all concur that God has a universal, benevolent love for all mankind, but also a special love for the elect, and believers especially. The same thing goes for 2 Peter 3:9 and the will of God. Some, such as John Murray, interpret it as a reference to God’s revealed desire for the salvation of all men, while W. G. T. Shedd reads it as referencing God’s decretal or effectual will to save the elect. Nevertheless, both Murray and Shedd both agree in principle that God, in His revealed will, desires the salvation of all men. Keeping the hermeneutical/theoretical distinction in mind will help the student to better understand the history and theology of mainstream Calvinism.

    2) With respect to question about Arthur Pink, yes, Pink always denied that there is any sense in which God loves the non-elect. Iain Murray points out that “Pink never withdrew from his belief, stated in the 1929 text [of The Sovereignty of God], that the only love in God is love for the elect” (The Life of Arthur Pink [1981; repr. Edinburgh: Banner of Truth, 2004], 328). However, as Iain Murray also notes, there were significant changes going on in Pink’s later thought. After having come in contact with certain hyper-Calvinistic Gospel Standard Baptists, Pink departed from his earlier view that the gospel was not an “offer,” but began to defend the gospel as an “offer.” Moreover, he changed his earlier interpretation of key texts, such as Ezek. 18:31, 33:11; Matt. 23:37; Luke 19:41, and even criticized John Gill (on 2 Cor. 5:20) and Augustus Toplady’s interpretations on some of these texts. Dr. Curt Daniel categorizes Pink as a hyper-Calvinist in his dissertation on “John Gill and Hyper-Calvinism,” but also said he was an “on-and-off” hyper in his lectures on “The History and Theology of Calvinism.” The point is this: Pink did make some significant changes away from classic hyper-Calvinism wherein free offers were denied along with human responsibility to believe savingly (i.e. “duty-faith”), but he still retained some cobwebs of hyperism in his thinking even later on. He was eclectic, and on-the-move, and thus not a full-blown Gillite hyper-Calvinist. This is what prompts Phil Johnson to more or less give Arthur Pink a pass in his Primer (though, contrary to what Johnson says, he has no good historical warrant among Puritan thought, nor does he actually have evidence in what is said in the minutes of the Westminster Assembly involving George Gillespie’s remark on the love of God), while Curt Daniel and Iain Murray still classify Pink as a hyper-Calvinistic with caveats, at least on the point of God’s love, like Greg Nichols seems inclined to do as well. Greg Nichols is in very good company, and on very solid ground historically, to classify those who deny God’s universal benevolent love as hyper-Calvinists, though some are certainly more extreme than others. The later Pink represents a milder and eclectic form.


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