Why Every Christian Should Reject the “Well-Meant Offer” Doctrine
By Sonny Hernandez
The so called well-meant offer (WMO) of the gospel is a doctrinal position that I ardently reject, and believe to be an ill-begotten progeny of Arminianism. Many (ill-advised) professing Christians erroneously think, without having studied it, that the WMO simply means that believers must witness to all men without exception. If this were the case, I would agree, but this is not how the WMO is defined. Arminians and even moderate Calvinists also teach that God provides a well-meant offer of salvation, not just to the elect, but to all men—head for head and soul for soul—including reprobates. This is how the leading bastions have defined the WMO. This can be proven by reviewing Ned B. Stonehouse and John Murray’s report to the Fifteenth General Assembly of the Orthodox Presbyterian Church (1948).
Before examining the WMO notion, take the time to understand the distinction between man’s responsibility and the operation of the Triune God in salvation, which is commonly referred to as the “external and internal proclamation.”
In the external proclamation, Christians are “commanded” to indiscriminately preach the unfeigned and unfettered gospel of Christ’s righteousness to all men without exception (Acts 10:42). Those who reject this, are, by definition, “hyper-Calvinists.” John Ryland’s response to Calvinist William Carey is an example: “Young man, sit down; when God is pleased to convert the heathen world, He will do it without your help or mine.” Christians must excoriate Ryland’s hyper-Calvinism and condemn it as heresy!
But in the internal proclamation, the Bible never states or even implies that God is offering salvation to all men without exception. Only those predestined and given to the Son (John 6:37) and drawn by the Father (John 6:44) are called, justified, and glorified (Romans 8:30). Thus, the glorious gospel of grace is not an offer that is proffered to all men with hopes that they will or can accept it; the gospel is a declaration of God’s efficacious power to redeem His elect. Take the time to read the following points to see why God is not trying to save all men without exception, including reprobates.
First, God never elected the wicked for salvation, but “hardeneth” (Romans 9:18) and “fitted” them for destruction (Romans 9:22). It’s important to note that “hardeneth” is an active verb. Therefore, if God actively hardened and fitted the reprobate for destruction, why is He trying to save them in the internal call? Some moderate Calvinists will say, “antimony,” “paradox,” “mystery,” or “we don’t know,” while others will say, “God has two wills—a will of desire and a will of decree.” This two-wills approach is jumping out of the frying pan and into the fire, so to speak. Based on the two-wills approach, God has hardened and fitted the wicked for destruction (will of decree), but wants to redeem them (will of desire). This position is blasphemous, because it makes God look like He has a bi-polar disorder or is a schizophrenic fool who has an always failing desire to redeem men whom He reprobated.
Additionally, it is intentionally stupefying, but also contradicting to imply that God is offering salvation to reprobates, when He has actively hardened and blinded the eyes of the wicked so they could not believe. John 12:40 states, “He hath blinded their eyes, and hardened their heart; that they should not see with their eyes, nor understand with their heart, and be converted, and I should heal them.” Hardened and blinded are in the perfect tense. WMO advocates and acolytes will agree that God has hardened and blinded the eyes of the wicked so they cannot believe, but will maintain that God still has a desire and is offering them salvation in the internal call. This is deformed thinking, not Reformed theology.
Second, Christ never purchased salvation for all men without exception, but only for the elect (John 10:11,15). This means that reprobates have no substitute, and will never be redeemed, saved, or reconciled, and God’s wrath is still abiding on them. Therefore, if God is literally providing a well-meant offer of salvation to all men without exception, as WMO advocates posit, what exactly is God offering them? If Christ’s righteousness will never be imputed to reprobates, then God cannot look upon them with favor, for it is written: “You are of purer eyes than to behold evil, and cannot look on wickedness” (Habakkuk 1:13). But according to WMO advocates, God is still trying to save them.
Third, as stated earlier, the Bible never teaches that God is offering salvation to all men without exception. Consequently, moderate Calvinists and semi-Pelagians will proof text Matthew 11:28-29 in hopes of defending their Arminian doctrine (WMO).
Matthew 11:28-29 states, “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.” Of course, like Arminians, moderate Calvinists will argue that “all” in this passage means that Christ is referring to all men without exception, including reprobates. This is clearly how Arminians interpret the Bible. Yes, Matthew 11:28-29 says “all ye,” but this text does not say or imply that Christ is in any way referring to reprobates also. How can Christ be offering salvation to reprobates in Matthew 11:28-29 if He told the reprobates that came to Him, “depart from me” in Matthew 7:23? The “all” in Matthew 11:28-29 is referring to all kinds of people “out of every tribe and tongue and people and nation” (Revelation 5:9) and from every class that is “neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus” (Galatians 3:28). Thus, the “all” in Matthew 11:28-29 is referring to the elect, because only the elect will hear and follow their Savior (John 10:27), whereas the wicked will not believe because they are not His sheep. Notice how John 10:26 does not say that the wicked are not Christ’s sheep because they would not accept the well-meant offer. On the contrary, Jesus said that reprobates won’t believe because they are “not My sheep” (John 10:26).
In conclusion, yes, the Bible does teach that God “commandeth all men everywhere to repent” (Acts 17:31), and Christians are commanded in Acts 10:42 to preach indiscriminately to all men without exception (external). But the Bible does not teach that God is providing a well-meant offer of salvation to all men without exception (internal). The well-meant offer presents a frustrated, contradicting, and schizophrenic God. According to this position: God eternally hates the reprobate (Psalm 5), but has a disposition of loving kindness towards them; God decreed the reprobate for destruction (Romans 9:18), but desires to save them. This notion is intentionally stupefying, and not scriptural.