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25/06/2008 / Test All Things

Book Review: “Reprobation Asserted” By John Bunyan

‘Reprobation asserted’ was published in 1674, two years after John Bunyan was released from prison.
This book contains alot of heresy so from the very start I am going to say there will be nothing positive to say about this book.

As we shall read, Mr Bunyan clearly did not believe that the difference between salvation and damnation was the work of Jesus Christ alone, for the christ he preached died the same death for those in heaven as he did for those who will have to pay for their own sins in hell.

The first quote comes from chapter 4:

“Third, Another cause of eternal reprobation, is the act and working of distinguishing love, and everlasting grace. God hath universal love, and particular love; general love, and distinguishing love; and so accordingly doth decree, purpose, and determine: from general love, the extension of general grace and mercy: but from that love that is distinguishing, peculiar grace and mercy: ‘Was not Esau Jacob’s brother?’ saith the Lord, ‘yet I loved Jacob’ (Mal 1:2). Yet I loved Jacob, that is, with a better love, or a love that is more distinguishing.”

Incredibly John Bunyan didn’t bother to quote the very next verse which says:

Malachi 1:3
Yet I hated Esau…..

Compare this verse also with Romans 9:13 and we are left with undeniable, blatant twisting of God’s word by Mr Bunyan.

Romans 9:13
As it is written, Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated.

The below verse is perfectly fitting in response to what John Bunyan has written above in chapter 4:

Proverbs 30:6
Add thou not unto his words, lest he reprove thee, and thou be found a liar.

In chapter 9 he writes:

“Whether God would indeed and in truth, that the gospel, with the grace thereof, should be tendered to those that yet he hath bound up under Eternal Reprobation?

To this question I shall answer,

First, In the language of our Lord, ‘Go preach the gospel unto every creature’ (Mark 16:15); and again, ‘Look unto me, and be ye saved; all ye ends of the earth’ (Isa 45:22). ‘And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely’ (Rev 22:17). And the reason is, because Christ died for all, ‘tasted death for every man’ (2 Cor 5:15; Heb 2:9); is ‘the Saviour of the world’ (1 John 4:14), and the propitiation for the sins of the whole world.”

We see above that Mr Bunyan believed that the gospel should be tendered to the reprobate because he says “Christ died for all” including the reprobate that will perish in hell everlastingly. This now becomes abundantly clear below as we continue to read through this portion of chapter 9:

“Second, I gather it from those several censures that even every one goeth under, that doth not receive Christ, when offered in the general tenders of the gospel; ‘He that believeth not, – shall be damned’ (Mark 16:16); ‘He that believeth not God hath made him a liar, because he believeth not the record that God gave of his son’ (1 John 5:10); and, Woe unto thee Capernaum, ‘Woe unto thee Chorazin! woe unto thee Bethsaida!’ (Matt 11:21) with many other sayings, all which words, with many other of the same nature, carry in them a very great argument to this very purpose; for if those that perish in the days of the gospel, shall have, at least, their damnation heightened, because they have neglected and refused to receive the gospel, it must needs be that the gospel was with all faithfulness to be tendered unto them; the which it could not be, unless the death of Christ did extend itself unto them (John 3:16; Heb 2:3); for the offer of the gospel cannot, with God’s allowance, be offered any further than the death of Jesus Christ doth go; because if that be taken away, there is indeed no gospel, nor grace to be extended. Besides, if by every creature, and the like, should be meant only the elect, then are all the persuasions of the gospel to no effect at all; for still the unconverted, who are here condemned for refusing of it, they return it as fast again: I do not know I am elect, and therefore dare not come to Jesus Christ; for if the death of Jesus Christ, and so the general tender of the gospel, concern the elect alone; I, not knowing myself to be one of that number, am at a mighty plunge; nor know I whether is the greater sin, to believe, or to despair: for I say again, if Christ died only for the elect, &c. then, I not knowing myself to be one of that number, dare not believe the gospel, that holds forth his blood to save me; nay, I think with safety may not, until I first do know I am elect of God, and appointed thereunto.”

In chapter 10 John Bunyan wrote:

“So then, though there be a sufficiency of life and righteousness laid up in Christ for all men, and this tendered by the gospel to them without exception; yet sin coming in between the soul and the tender of this grace, it hath in truth disabled all men, and so, notwithstanding this tender, they continue to be dead.

The grace that is offered in the general tenders of the gospel, calleth for faith, as a condition in us, without which there is no life; but the special grace of election worketh faith in us without any such condition (Mark 16:15,16; Rom 11:5,6).

The grace that is offered in the general tenders of the gospel, promiseth happiness upon the condition of persevering in the faith only; but the special grace of election causeth this perseverance (Col 1:23; Eph 2:10; Rom 11:7; 1 Peter 1:5-7).

To conclude then; the gospel calleth for credence as a condition, and that both from the elect and reprobate; but because none of them both, as dead in sin, will close therewith, and live; therefore grace, by virtue of electing love, puts forth itself to work and do for some beyond reason; and justice cuts off others, for slighting so good, so gracious, and necessary a means of salvation, so full both of kindness, mercy and reason.”

And finally a portion of chapter 11:

That God is willing to save even those that perish for ever, is apparent, both from the consideration of the goodness of his nature (Psa 145:9), of man’s being his creature, and indeed in a miserable state (Job 14:15, 3:16). But I say, as I have also said already, there is a great difference between his being willing to save them, through their complying with these his reasonable terms, and his being resolved to save them, whether they, as men, will close therewith, or no; so only he saveth the elect themselves, even ‘according to the riches of his grace’ (Eph 1:7). Even ‘according to his riches in glory, by Christ Jesus’ (Phil 4:19). Working effectually in them, what the gospel, as a condition, calleth for from them. And hence it is that he is said to give faith (Phil 1:29), yea the most holy faith, for that is the faith of God’s elect, to give repentance (Acts 5:31), to give a new heart, to give his fear, even that fear that may keep them for ever from everlasting ruin (Eph 1:4); still engaging his mercy and goodness to follow them all the days of their lives (Jer 32:40; Eze 36:26,27), that they may dwell in the house of the Lord for ever (Psa 23:6), and as another scripture saith, ‘Now he that hath wrought us for the selfsame thing, is God’ (2 Cor 5:5; Rom 8:26, &c.).

The reprobate is principal for the management of the grace he receiveth, but Jesus Christ is principal for the management of the grace the elect receiveth. When I say principal, I mean chief; for though the reprobate is to have the greatest hand in the management of what mercy and goodness the Lord bestoweth on him, yet not so as that the Lord will not help him at all; nay contrariwise he will, if first the reprobate do truly the duty that lieth on him: ‘If thou doest well, shalt thou not be accepted? but if thou doest not well, sin lieth at the door’ (Gen 4:7).”

John Bunyan’s assertions are highly blasphemous.
He presents a saviour whose death did not ensure and demand the salvation all of those whom he represented.

Salvation is conditioned on the work of Jesus Christ alone and this is what every born again child of God believes. It is the work of Jesus Christ alone that makes the only difference between salvation and damnation, the true believer glories only in the cross of Jesus Christ and not their faith.

And furthermore, one man has rightly said:

“The Resurrection of Jesus Christ is proof that God the Father was totally satisfied with the work of Jesus Christ on the cross. He was totally satisfied because Jesus Christ accomplished exactly what He set out to accomplish, which was the full salvation of everyone whom He came to save. Jesus Christ fully satisfied the demands of God’s law and justice on behalf of everyone for whom He died. Had Jesus Christ not fully accomplished salvation for everyone for whom He died, He would not have conquered death, and He would have remained in the grave. The reason Jesus Christ could not be held by death is that He had totally, absolutely defeated death in fully atoning for the sins of His people. If there is or will be even one person for whom Christ died who is suffering or will suffer the second death, then death was not defeated, and Jesus Christ was not raised as the victor over death. To truly believe and preach The Resurrection is to believe and preach the full, accomplished atonement of Jesus Christ with which God the Father was fully satisfied that was effectual to save everyone whom Christ represented. God the Father exalted Jesus Christ at His right hand as the Savior of His people who made full purification of their sins. There would have been no resurrection and no exaltation had there been even one person for whom Christ died who would end up in hell.”


As we have seen, Mr Bunyan clearly did not believe that the difference between salvation and damnation was the work of Jesus Christ alone, and for this reason, this is not a book that could be recommended to anybody.
If you desire some useful and helpful materials to read on this sobering doctrine of reprobation (and how we are to present the true gospel to all men) that is faithful to the word of God, I recommend the following materials.

1) “The sovereignty of God” by A.W. Pink

2) “Whosoever will” by Herman Hoeksema

3) “Hyper-Calvinism and the call of the gospel” by David J. Engelsma

1 Corinthians 1:18
For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God.

Jesus is LORD!


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