Puritan Balance about Coming to Christ

One of the great dangers of the current recovery of biblical truth, namely evangelical Calvinism—in which I heartily rejoice—is for some to veer too far to the right and end up in genuine hyper-Calvinism. To be sure, some of what is claimed as hyper-Calvinism is not that at all. It is simply that those making the charge of hyper-Calvinism have never really encountered robust Calvinism before. But this not to say that there is no such thing as hyper-Calvinism in which passion for the salvation of the lost is a thing hardly thought about and zeal for the expansion of the Kingdom of God simply something by-the-by. The Puritans—as in many things—can be such great guides here. They knew where to find the balance when it came to divine sovereignty and human responsibility. Listen to this text by John Flavel (c.1630-1691), said to be Spurgeon’s favourite Puritan, on Matthew 11:28—“Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” Flavel is discussing what it means to come to Christ.

“Coming to Christ shows the voluntariness of the soul in its motion to Christ. True, there is no coming without the Father’s drawing; but that drawing has nothing of compulsion in it; it does not destroy, but powerfully and with an overcoming sweetness persuades the will. It is not forced or driven, but it comes; being made willing in the day of God’s power. Psalm 110:3.” [The Method of Grace (New York: American Tract Society, n.d.), 201].