Reviewed by: Iain A. M. Wright
Compel Them to Come In: Calvinism and the Free Offer of the Gospel, by Donald Macleod. Christian Focus, 2020. Hardcover, 160 pages, $15.39 (Amazon). Reviewed by OP pastor Iain A. M. Wright.
The title makes clear the intent and scope of the most recent publication from the pen of Donald Macleod. The catalyst is a sermon the author read that was preached by Charles Spurgeon in 1858. The sermon itself is a gem, made more astonishing by the fact that Spurgeon was only twenty-four years old when he preached it. Surely this is an encouragement in itself to young men at the beginning of their ministries.
After introducing the subject matter, Macleod leads the reader through various challenges brought against the free offer of the gospel, dealing in succession with man’s spiritual bondage, the doctrine of predestination, limited atonement, divine sincerity, the deliverance of the free offer, knowing where the “fish” are, and finally the preacher himself. There is also added as an appendix to the work the sermon that Spurgeon preached.
This is no dry handling of theological controversies but a warmhearted and earnest encouragement for all who are charged to preach the unsearchable riches of Christ to preach Christ boldly. It is worthy to be read by those just entering into ministry so that they might preach with earnestness to their hearers. It is worthy to be read by those whose feet have been upon the path of ministry a number of years and who may have grown weary or even discouraged. The chapters will blow upon the flickering flame of their endeavors and renew their confidence in the gospel message. It is worthy to be read by those whose preaching days are almost done, that they would not even on the remaining occasions left to them mount the pulpit steps only to lose sight of their high calling but to preach as a dying man to dying men, to preach as never sure to preach again.
This, then, is a brief book for preachers, though all believers would benefit from its pages. It might indeed prove beneficial in the hands of members of a pulpit committee that they might ask themselves what they are looking for in a preacher.
The book is written by one described as among the most prominent theologians of our generation. Macleod wears his learning lightly as he aims to stir not only the intellect but the heart. Sinclair Ferguson who surely is held to be no less in the company of the brightest stars in the Reformed firmament endorses this book as a “must read for preachers.” With such a recommendation, the reader needs no further commendation from me. Get a copy for your pastor today.
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