Does Particular Redemption destroy the Well Meant Gospel Offer?

As I’ve mentioned before John Murray is one of my favourite theologians.  His positions on the free offer of the gospel, the fourth commandment and worship need to be heard and recovered by reformed and evangelical churches today. 

Recently while looking through some old Banner of Truth magazines I came across an article by him where he notes, “It is sometimes objected that the doctrine of limited atonement makes the preaching of a full and free salvation impossible.”  Murray does not give this objection much weight stating that it is “wholly untrue.”  What follows are his more detailed thoughts on the matter:

“The salvation accomplished by the death of Christ is infinitely sufficient and universally suitable, and it may be said that its infinite sufficiency and perfect suitability grounds a bona fide offer of salvation to all without distinction.  The doctrine of limited atonement any more than the doctrine of sovereign election does not raise a fence around the offer of the gospel.  The overture of the gospel offering peace and salvation through Jesus Christ is to all without distinction, though it is truly from the heart of sovereign election and limited atonement that this stream of grace universally proffered flows.  If we may change the figure, it is upon the crest of the wave of divine sovereignty and of limited atonement that the full and free offer of the gospel breaks upon our shores.  The offer of salvation to all is bona fide.  All that is proclaimed is absolutely true.  Every sinner believing will infallibly be saved, for the veracity and purpose of God cannot be violated.

The criticism that the doctrine of limited atonement prevents the free offer of the gospel rests upon a profound misapprehension as to what the warrant for preaching the gospel and even of the primary act of faith itself really is.  The warrant is not that Christ died for all men but the universal invitation, demand and promise of the gospel united with the perfect sufficiency and suitability of Christ as Saviour and Redeemer.  What the ambassador of the gospel demands in Christ’s name is that the lost and helpless sinner commit himself to that all-sufficient Saviour with the plea that in thus receiving and resting upon Christ alone for salvation he will certainly be saved … the primary act of faith is self-committal to the all-sufficient and suitable Saviour, and the only warrant for that trust is the indiscriminate, full and free offer of grace and salvation in Christ Jesus.”

So is anyone still prepared to claim John Murray was a quasi-Arminian because of his excellent report on the free offer of the gospel?

(All quotations from The Banner of Truth, 211 (April 1981), 5)

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