Second Head: Article 5.
Moreover, the promise of the gospel is that whosoever believes in Christ crucified shall not perish, but have eternal life. This promise, together with the command to repent and believe, ought to be declared and published to all nations, and to all persons promiscuously and without distinction, to whom God out of His good pleasure sends the gospel.
I wanted to call this [the Dortian statement] 'the free offer,' but I can just imagine some of my hyper-Calvinist friends pointing out to me that it no where says that it was 'well-meant' or 'well-intentioned,' only that it 'ought to be declared. [It] no where says why. [It] no where says that God wants them to repent and believe. [It] no where says that God has good-will for the reprobate. It doesn't say that.' I can just hear them [hyper-Calvinists]. So, in deference to those voices of hyper-Calvinists pounding in my head, I have kept myself from putting my 'spin' on it [Nichols uses the exact language of Dort], and referring to it as 'the free offer of the gospel.' It doesn't say why it was intentioned, only that 'it ought to be,' only that it should be, not because we care about people, only because God tells us to.' [sarcasm] [audience chuckles] That's all it says, right? [It] doesn't say we ought to do it because we love people; [it] doesn't say we ought to do it because we love God; [it] doesn't say because we care about people [sarcasm]. No, no, no, [it] doesn't say that; all it says is that it 'ought to be', so we ought to do it because it is our duty to do it, not because we care about people and love people [sarcasm], is that clear?
[An audience member says, 'So it [the hyper-Calvinist reading] is like a pretty heavy spin.']
Well, that's a spin too, isn't it? I agree. You've got to really go out of your way to put that 'spin' on it, but there are some who do and some who will. So, let's just be honest with what it says. All it [the exact Dortian statement] says is that 'it ought to be published and declared,' not out of good-will, which to me [that hyper-Calvinist 'spin'] is preposterous!