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Monergist Pre-Reformer: John Hus


Theologically, John Hus contributed nothing really original, for the most part simply repeating what he had learned from Scripture and the writings of Wycliffe. (The charge for which Hus was condemned and burned was “Wycliffism.”) As Lawson writes, he “was a skilled popularizer of Wycliffe’s theology. Most of what he wrote was little more than a paraphrase of Wycliffe’s works into the vernacular of the Bohemians. This work made Reformed truth accessible to the common people, which accounts for Hus’s popularity.” Although he held to “a mixture of evangelical and traditional Roman Catholic doctrines . . . he was strongly predestinarian in matters of soteriology.

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Hus was clear about the state of human nature. Natural man, he writes, is prone to “greed, simony, pride, luxury, the forsaking and despising of God’s word.” Furthermore, he says, people are ensnared by “the world, the flesh, and the devil,” especially “the vanities of this world.” As a result, all men are subject to judgment. Hus states, “There is at hand the judgment of a Judge most awful, at Whose bidding necessity will be laid upon all men to publish their evil deeds to the whole world, and by Whose will their souls and bodies will be burned in everlasting fire.

. . .

Hus frequently asserted the unconditional election of God. He writes, “Predestination is the election of the divine will through grace; or, as it is commonly said, predestination is the preparation of grace—making ready—in the present time, and of glory in the future.” . . . “No one belongs to Christ’s kingdom, which is the church, except the Son whom the Father gave to Him.

. . .

However, Hus underscored that those chosen by God must come to faith in Christ. He says: “This distinction between predestination and present grace deserves to be strongly emphasized, for some are sheep by predestination and ravening wolves according to present righteousness, as Augustine deduces . . . ‘some are sons by predestination and not yet by present grace.’” . . .

On the other hand, the elect already within the church can be identified by their persistent holy living. Hus says: “If anyone is predestined to eternal life, it necessarily follows that he is predestinated unto righteousness, and, if he follows life eternal, he has also followed righteousness. But the converse is not true. For many are made partakers of present righteousness but, from want of perseverance, are not partakers of eternal life.” Only the elect have a true righteousness that endures. Others may give the appearance of being saved through a superficial righteousness, but in reality, they are not numbered among the elect.

. . .

Regarding the extent of the atonement, Hus spoke sparingly but clearly. The Son of God, he writes, is “that most patient and brave Soldier . . . [who] knew He would rise again on the third day and overcome His foes by His death and redeem the elect from damnation.” . . . concerning the saving mission of our Lord, he writes, “He [Christ] came not to destroy the elect, but to save them . . . it is My elect—not the proud, the fornicators, the greedy, the wrathful, the envious, the world-sick, the foes of My word and My life—but it is My elect that hear and keep My word and suffer with Me in grace.

. . .

Hus had no doubts that the elect who comprise the church cannot lose their salvation. In agreement with John 10:28–29, he writes: “Christ, the best of teachers, proves by the greatness of God’s gift, which is the Holy Spirit, that no one is able [to fall away from grace], because his Father is almighty, and from his hand no one is able to pluck anything. . . . Because Christ and his Father are one with the Holy Spirit—who is Christ’s gift, by whom the church is knit together with Him—therefore, no one is able to pluck His sheep out of His hand.” . . .

Elsewhere in his writings, Hus was equally firm. He says, “The grace of predestination unto eternal life, from which a person foreordained cannot finally fall away . . . bestows an infinite good to be enjoyed forever . . . [and] makes sons of an eternal heritage.” Hus adds, “The predestinate . . . have radical and abiding grace, from which they cannot fall away.” . . . Hus further states, “And He [Christ] gathers His members together gently, for the love of predestination does not fail, 1 Cor. 13.

—Steven J. Lawson, Pillars of Grace (Reformation Trust, 2011), 383–386.



Posted 2018·09·28 by David Kjos
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