Let it be stated at the outset that I do not agree with everything Hoeksema taught. His belief in eternal justification, denial of common grace and covenant of works to name a few. In fact I strongly disagree with such views but far be it from me to ignore the great things he has taught about the the Triune God and salvation only through the Lord Jesus Christ.
As I’m reading his book Whosoever Will I find myself encouraged, edified and longing more for Christ and to proclaim His name to those rejecting Him. Ironic since much of the accusations against him are that one of his views (a denial of the “well-meant offer”) leads to apathy or a lack of passion in the proclamation of the gracious Gospel of Christ Jesus our Lord.
Many will be offended and turned off by his poignant language but far better to speak the truth than to blunt it and dishonor God by thinking we can communicate His truth better than He has revealed it in Scripture. I often wonder if such people would be able to tolerate Jesus when He said “Do you think that these Galileans were worse sinners than all the other Galileans, because they suffered in this way? No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish. Or those eighteen on whom the tower in Siloam fell and killed them: do you think that they were worse offenders than all the others who lived in Jerusalem? No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish” (Lk 13:2–5)?
Note in part of Hoeksema’s exposition of Is. 55:3 he deals specifially with what has come to be known as the “Emergent Church,” which in reality is nothing more than the liberalism of old. Note his words:
Whosoever will may come, indeed, provided you understand that this means nothing less than the Living God!
But how shall we come to God? We may not come to Him, for we are guilty because of our sins. We can only increase our guilt daily, and we have lost every right to dwell in the Father’s house. We are exiles from the home of Father, having no right to return. We dare not come to God, for He is holy and righteous, and He is terribly displeased with sin and with workers of iniquity. How dare we come to Him who is a consuming fire? we cannot come to God, for we are corrupt by nature, and the natural man is enmity against God. With God is the eternal light, and we love darkness rather than the light. And because of our foolishness and hatred of God, we will not come to him, but we will seek our happiness far from Him in the way of iniquity. how, then, shall we come to the living God and be saved?
The answer to this question is this: God has revealed Himself as the God of salvation through Jesus Christ our Lord. Hence, the answer to the question “to whom must we come?” has not changed; it is still that we must come to God, to the Living God; but it has assumed a new form: we must come to God through Jesus Christ, for He is able to save to the uttermost those who come to God by Him. To Jesus we must come in order to come to God, for Jesus is the revelation of the God of our salvation!
And let it be emphasized that it is to Jesus Christ of the Scriptures that we must come, and not to any Christ of our own imagination. Many, indeed, are the modern Jesuses, all of whom are characterized by this: that in order to come to them, the sinner does not have to renounce the pride of his sinful heart. Jesus is the great teacher, whose instruction we are good enough to receive, especially as it is embodied in the Sermon on the Mount, and whose precepts we must keep. Or he is the good example, who himself walked in the light that we might follow in his steps. And so we must ever walk and live with the question before our minds, ” What would Jesus do?” Or he is the one who was deeply God-conscious, who was conscious of truth that man is the son of God, and who revealed to us that we, too, are sons of God. We must, therefore, believe in the fatherhood of God and establish the brotherhood of man in the world. We must build the Christian character. We must establish the Kingdom of God on earth. Jesus has shown us how good we really are, and what a power for good we have, and we can work ourselves into the favor and love of God. All this modern trash that flatters the pride of sinful men, however, has nothing to do with the Christ of the Scriptures.
We must come to Jesus. And Jesus leaves us nothing but the confession that we are sinners, damnable and corrupt, sinners who must be and only can be saved by pure and sovereign grace. The Christ of Scriptures is He who came into the world, the Son of God, the Second Person of the Holy Trinity,as a helpless babe in the manger of Bethlehem, flesh of our flesh, bone of our bone, from the virgin Mary. He is the one who tabernacled among us and by His Word and work revealed unto us the Father, the God of our salvation. The Christ of the Scriptures is He who dies on the cross of Calvary, not for His principle, not as a noble example for us to follow, but because He was delivered for our transgressions and in our stead brought to god the perfect sacrifice for our sins, fully satisfying the justice of God with respect to all our transgressions . He is the One who was raised on the third day for our justification, raised to glorious, transcendent, victorious life; death hath no more dominion over Him. He is the Christ who ascended upon high, was exalted at the right hand of God, received all power in heaven and on earth, and received the promise of the Spirit.*
Give me any preacher that will proclaim man in his lost state and Christ the Lord as savior; I am his debtor- Disagreements and all.
Soli Deo Gloria!
*Herman Hoeksema, Whosoever Will (Grandville, MI: 2nd Edition Reformed Free Publishing Association, 2002), pp. 14-16