Friday, April 22, 2011

Book Review: "Whosoever Will"

In this book, the author expounds the glorious truth that "every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened." The subject is introduced by means of the words of hymn, which like many such hymns, is technically orthodox, yet usually sung and explained to promote heretical ideas.

In explaining the biblical way to understand, "whosoever will may come," the author first asks to whom is it that the willing may come. The ultimate answer given is God. And the author develops the significance of this answer by speaking about who the true God is in relation to sinful man. The undeniable conclusion for the reader who believes the plain teaching of Scripture is that God Himself must make man willing to come to Him through Christ. The author continually brings the reader back to consider the motivations and desires of the heart behind all our willing and doing, which especially demonstrates the impotence of the sinner, and begging hawkers of a false impotent Christ.

Hoeksema continues on this theme by presenting in great detail and majesty the identity of Christ as the Rest-giver, the Fountain of Living Waters, the Bread of Life, the Liberator, the Light and the Resurrection. In all of these, and especially in the last, it is seen incontrovertibly that the sinner cannot even will to bring himself to this Christ of the Scriptures, but rather Christ is the one who powerfully works in the sinner to bring him to life and make him willing.

"The will to come to Him, therefore, must be motivated by the desire to come to God, the longing for rest, a hunger and thirst after righteousness, a yearning after true freedom, love of the light, and the earnest desire to be delivered from death and to be quickened unto a new life."

This marvel of how God makes the sinner willing and draws him to Christ is explored with simplicity, clarity and precision. Man coming to Christ is shown to be an entirely spiritual act, consisting of "contrition, recognition, aspiration, and appropriation." These four are shown to necessary rely upon the monergistic work of God in drawing the sinner; conviction, illumination, allurement, and sealing. These meaningful terms are biblical explained, always in such a way that these truths are applied to the believing reader, both to comfort, and exhort.

Three important subjects in connection with this are dealt with in the concluding chapters. The author shows that the preaching of the true Gospel by faithful ordained ministers is the means which God uses to draw His elect. Particular emphasis is placed on the need for God's people to hear the word of God in the preaching, because the word of man has no power. Next, the common objection that the doctrine of God's sovereignty in salvation leaves no room for man's responsibility is shown to be the same objection laid against Paul in Romans 9, and not only erroneous, but proud and ungodly.

Finally as Hoeksema speaks of the need to grow in the grace and knowledge of Jesus Christ, the importance of the ministry of the Word and of membership in the true church is underscored. This teaching about the church is sorely needed. This excellent book is easy to read, written in an engaging style, and deals very helpfully with very important doctrines.

Available from the RFPA bookstore.

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