Feb 20, 2010

Christopher Ness (1621-1705) - answeres to the Arminian duty faith and the Arminian universal offer

An Antidote Against Arminianism by Christopher Ness [book]
PDF Download HERE

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This book has been recommended by Dr. John Owen.

[The portion in red is from a section in his book in which he answers the controversy of duty faith and the free offer. Among some of the Puritans, this question has been wrongly answered by agreeing with the Arminian teaching that Christ offers His redemption to all to whom the the gospel is preached and that it is man's duty to have the faith as a condition for the atonement to become real for them. See Baxter and Bunyan on this topic.
Christopher Ness does not fall into the trap of conditionalism, nor does he teach that faith is duty to be performed as a condition for redemption. This is very unique to find godly men teaching against duty-faith before men like John Gill and John Brine came on the scene in the 1700's]
Objections Against Particular Redemption Answered
Objection 1. What everyone is bound to believe must be true, and it is the duty of all men to believe; therefore Christ must have died for all men.
Answer 1. Suppose we grant this position, would not the doctrine of discriminating love be thereby destroyed? Would it not be poor comfort for a distressed soul to believe that Christ died for it, no more than for Judas and all the damned in hell?
2. They to whom the Gospel never came, they who have never heard of the death of Christ, are not bound to believe that Christ died for them. What God reveals is true; but God nowhere reveals that it is His intention that Judas shall believe, or that all shall believe.
3. All have not the Gospel preached to them; and many to whom it is preached only hear the sound of it with the outward ear: they come and go in an attendance thereon as the door upon its hinges, in a way of mere formality. They are not impressed with a sight and sense of their state as sinners. They are not weary and heavy laden because of sin. The proclamation by the gospel trumpet of redemption for sin through Christ's blood is not a joyful sound to them; they know not their need of it. Evangelical repentance is the gift of free grace; faith is the gift of God. What is God's, as a gift to bestow, cannot be man's duty to perform as a condition of salvation. Those who are invited to look to Christ, to come to Him for salvation, are very minutely described: they are the weary and heavy laden with sin, the penitent, the hungry and thirsty soul, etc., etc.; these are the characters invited to come to and believe in Christ, and not all men (Mt 11:28; Isa 55:1; Mr 2:17).
[This quote from Christopher Ness clearly teaches that not all men who hear the gospel are called to walk in heaven born faith. But, rather the gospel call is for thirsty souls who are sensible to their sin and their need for Christ. This quote also affirms that faith is not a duty that is to be performed to meet conditions to be redeemed.]

[The portion in green is from the introduction to his book.]
Christopher Ness (1621-1705) was an English Nonconformist preacher and author.
He wrote "A History and Mystery of the Old and New Testaments," a work to which Matthew Henry is thought to owe much of his most valuable material for his commentary; "A Protestant Antidote Against the Poison of Popery;" "The Crown and Glory of a Christian;" "A Christian's Walk and Work on Earth;" "A Church History from Adam," and "A Scripture Prophecy to the End of the World;" "A Discovery of the Person and Period of AntiChrist;" and "An Antidote Against Arminianism," a small work embodying in a brief form the doctrines on election, predestination, etc., as taught by John Owen, Toplady, and others.
Ness was born on December 22, 1621 at North Cave, in the East Riding of Yorkshire, the son of Thomas Ness, a husbandman there. He was educated at a private school at North Cave, under Lazarus Seaman, and entered St. John's College, Cambridge, on May 17, 1638, where he graduated B.A. and M.A. When 23 years old he retired into Yorkshire, where he became a preacher of independent tenets successively at Cliffe, or South Cliffe Chapel in his native parish, in Holderness, and at Beverley, where he taught a school. On Dr. Winter's election as provost of Trinity College, Dublin, in 1651, Ness was chosen as his successor in the living of Cottingham, near Hull, though it does not appear that he ever received Episcopal orders.
In 1656, he became a preacher at Leeds, and in 1660 he was a lecturer under the vicar, Dr. Lake, afterwards Bishop of Chichester; but his Calvinism clashed with the Arminianism of Dr. Lake, and on St. Bartholomew's day in 1662 he was ejected from his lectureship. After this he became a schoolmaster and private preacher at Clayton, Morley, and Hunslet, all in Yorkshire. At Hunslet he took an indulgence as a Congregationalist in 1672, and a new meeting-house was opened by him on June 3, 1672.
He was excommunicated no less than four times, and when in 1674 or 1675 a writ de excommunicato capiendo was issued against him, he removed to London, where he preached to a private congregation in Salisbury Court, Fleet Street. In 1684 he had to conceal himself from the officers of the crown, who had a warrant for his arrest on the charge of publishing an elegy on the death of his friend John Partridge, another Nonconformist minister. He died on December 26, 1705, aged exactly 84 years, and was buried at Bunhill Fields Cemetery.

Duty-faith Expositions

Free Grace Expositions