December 16, 2008

A. A. Hodge (1823–1886) on God's Kind, Honest, Free and Loving Offer

Since the salvation of guilty sinners is absolutely of free and sovereign grace, and must be received as such, the salvation of every man must depend upon a personal election of God. God offers salvation to all on the condition of faith. But he gives the faith to those whom he chooses (Eph. 2:8; Matt. 20:16; 22:14). Nevertheless, those who refuse to believe and be saved have only themselves to blame for it, because the only reason they do not believe is the wicked disposition of their own hearts, and because God kindly and honestly invites them and promises salvation by his Word, and draws them by the common influences of his Spirit.
A. A. Hodge and J. A. Hodge, The System of Theology Contained in the Westminster Shorter Catechism (New York: A. C. Armstrong & Son, 1888), 20–21.
This works no injustice to those not elected. They will be only treated as they deserve. They have willfully sinned. Many of them have willfully rejected a freely and lovingly offered Christ (Rom. 9:19-23).
Ibid., 39.

1) It is God himself who offers and invites all, even "those who refuse to believe and be saved", i.e. "those not elected."
2) God freely, kindly, honestly and lovingly offers/invites these people through his word.
3) God even "draws them by the common influences of his Spirit," which, in A. A. Hodge's theology, is common grace.

A. A. Hodge has all the components of a well-meant gospel offer in his theology, even though he did believe in a strictly limited view of Christ's death (with some modifications in terms of the removal of all legal barriers, etc.). His view of God's love, God's grace, God's offers and God's will ("drawing") are all interrelated. To use material in a previous post of mine, he is a "Type B" Calvinist (high) in the chart.

His father, Charles Hodge, was a "Type A," or a classic Augustinian/Calvinist.


Stephen Garrett said...

Dear Tony:

Excellent citation. I believe it. This is pure Calvinism.

God bless,


Josh Brisby said...

Thank you brother for your helpful chart on four views of the will of God and the cross. I have been Reformed for 12 years and I found this chart to be very helpful in laying out the issues. Thanks again.