Peter van Mastricht on the Sincere Free Offer of the Gospel


R. Scott Clark on Peter van Mastricht

“Janus, the Well-Meant Offer of the Gospel and Westminster Theology”, in The Pattern of Sound Doctrine: Systematic Theology at the Westminster Seminaries; Essays in Honor of Robert B. Strimple, edited by David VanDrunen  Buy  2004, p. 173

In the high orthodox period, Herman Witsius (1636-1708) and Peter van Mastricht (1630-1706) used the same categories and language about the relations between the external “common call,” and the efficacious call by the Holy Spirit of the elect through it.  In the latter’s [Mastricht’s] Theoretic-practica theologia [Theoretical-Practical Theology] (1699), in his chapter on “The Love, Grace, Mercy, Longsuffering and Clemency of God,” van Mastricht wrote at length about God’s “universal benevolence and beneficence” toward creatures.

(Footnote: P. van Mastricht, Theoretico-Practica Theologia, edition nova (Utrecht, 1699).  Synod Kalamazoo [of the Christian Reformed Church, 1921], under the first point, appealed to Van Mastricht to support the doctrine of the free offer of the gospel…)

In his chapter on calling, he defended the sincerity and genuineness of the well-meant offer of the gospel.  He made the invitation to trust in Christ of the essence of the call.

(Footnote: P. van Mastricht, Theoretico-Practica Theologia, 2.6.5-6.649.)



Theoretical-Practical Theology, 1715,

IV, iv, 33

As quoted by Heinrich Heppe, Reformed Dogmatics, p. 366.  This quote was compiled by David Ponter.

Although the Reformed grant readily that man can non-resist in a negative way, as a man naturally dead can non-resist attempts to restore him to life, and although they concede that unregenerate man may frequent churches, pour forth prayers and other outward things, they deny that he can non-resist positively; they deny that an unregenerate can perform these outward good things by the sheer strength of their natural arbitrium [will], save by common grace; on which see Paul, Heb. 6:4,5,6 (as touching those who were once enlightened and tasted of the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Ghost, and tasted the good word of God and the powers of the age to come, and then fall away, it is impossible to renew them again to repentance…


as summarized by Heinrich Heppe, Reformed Dogmatics, 1861, revised and edited by Ernst Bizer, English translation by G.T. Thompson, 1950, reprinted in 2007 by Wipf and Stock, p. 95.  The block quote is Heppe’s; the clause in quotation marks is van Mastricht’s. 

God’s holiness is manifested generally as perfect kindness and love and as perfect righteousness.  Both rest upon a “certain benevolent and beneficent propension towards the creatures”, which is present in God. (Mastricht, Theoretical-Practical Theology, 1715, II, xvii, 3)




Related Pages

The Sincere Free Offer of the Gospel

Historic Reformed Quotes on the Sincere Free Offer of the Gospel

1600’s – Quotes on the Sincere Free Offer of the Gospel