Review of Compel Them to Come In: Calvinism and the Free Offer of the Gospel, by Donald Macleod 2020.
Donald Macleod is recently quoted as saying that he originally set out to write this book for pastors and ministers however quickly realised that it should be read by all believers especially those at the beginning of their walk.
The title clearly suggests the intent and scope of the book. The introduction lets the reader know that the idea from the book came from the transcript of a sermon which was preached by Charles Spurgeon in 1858. The text of the sermon was ‘Compel them to come in’ from Luke 14:23. The sermon is included in the appendices section of the book and is a great read in itself.
Alistair Begg (Senior Pastor, Parkside Church and author) comments on the book, “I commend this book particularly to a rising group of young reformed pastors who when it comes to this matter of the ‘free offer’ are in danger of being tripped up by their own theological shoelaces.”
After introducing Spurgeon’s sermon, the book challenges the reader to think about 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.
Some of the theological issues discussed in the book have historically been quite controversial but Macleod unpacks these issues in a warm and simple manner with a challenge for believers (and Pastors) to present Christ and present Him boldly remembering that we preach as dying men to dying men. To quote from the Introduction; “It is to this, the indiscriminate preaching of the promise, and the universal call to repent and believe that hyper-Calvinists raise their strong objections. Why?”
This is a short book which all believers would benefit from. It might indeed prove beneficial in the hands of members of a church session and/or committee that they might ask themselves what they are looking for in a preacher.
The book is written by one of the most prominent theologians of our generation. Macleod is very easy to read and has an ability to present the ideas of his hugely gifted mind for all levels of discerning reader 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.