De Moor IV:42: Classes and Categories of Grace (featuring Sufficient and Efficacious)

Various Divisions of divine Grace are able to be admitted, which all are chiefly referred to Grace gratis datam, freely given.

Of course, that is Internal and External, which both concur in the Vocation, Sanctification, and Preservation of the Elect sinner, while External Grace is also granted to many Reprobates in supplying the means of Salvation.

Hence Grace is also called Common, which pertains to all those externally Called, but does not have any certain connection with Salvation: or Saving, which has the Salvation of the Elect for its end and effect. It is able to be asked, whether the preaching of the Gospel is saving Grace, or not? I respond in the affirmative, if that be called saving in a broader sense, which in any way calls and shows the way to Salvation: but in the negative, if that be called saving strictly, as here, which infallibly leads to salvation. Thus in the broader sense the preaching of the Gospel, Titus 2:11, is able to be called ἡ χάρις τοῦ Θεοῦ ἡ σωτήριος, the grace of God that bringeth salvation, which ἐπεφάνη πᾶσιν ἀνθρώποις, hath appeared to all men: but in a sense more emphatic this is able to be explained of very saving Favor of God announced in the Gospel.

Prevenient Grace is one sort, which excites the will so that he might will; Grace Cooperating, and Subsequent to Prevenient Grace, which brings to pass, lest he will those things in vain: compare Psalm 59:10; 1 Corinthians 15:10; Psalm 23:6: see RIVET on Psalm 23:6, opera, tome 2, page 143b.

But the division of Grace into Sufficient and Efficacious is to be disapproved; so that there might be a Grace truly Sufficient for Salvation in Fallen man, which nevertheless is not Efficacious through the contrary Will of man.

Thus the Jesuits and Remonstrants maintain, from the Pelagian hypothesis concerning man’s Independence and Strength to do good: see PETRUS SUAVIS POLANUS’ Historiam Concilii Tridentini,[1] book II, pages 238, 239. Bellarmine, in his Controveriis, tome 4, controversy III, de Gratia et libero Arbitrio, book I, chapter II, column 522, distinguishes Sufficient and Efficacious Grace in this way: “so that Sufficient Grace might be that whereby God calls and stirs up a man, and is prepared to help him by direction, protection, and cooperation, in such a way that the man thus stirred and called is actually able to will to believe, to will to be converted, to will to do something good, and yet in actuality does not will to believe, or to be converted, or to do that good:” and therefore this Grace remains inefficacious. “But God has an Efficacious Grace, whereby He calls and stirs up a man, and is prepared to help him by direction, protection, and cooperation, in such a way that the man thus stirred and called in actuality infallibly wills, believes, is converted, and does the good.” They maintain that Sufficient Grace to be Universal; but they attribute Efficacious Grace specifically to those that are actually saved. Thus the Remonstrants, in their Confessione, chapter XVII, § 3, distinguish between Grace Efficacious and Sufficient, non-Efficacious, so that that Grace might be called Efficacious from the Event, which actually obtains its saving effect: but Sufficient, yet Inefficacious, which on the part of man is without saving effect; and is unfruitful through the voluntary and vincible fault of the man alone, or does not obtain the desired and appropriate effect: compare what things out of Lambert van Velthuysen[2] VAN MASTRICHT notes in his Gangræna Novitatum Cartesianarum, posterior Section, chapter XXXV, § 1-4, pages 533-535.

And not obscurely, adds our AUTHOR, a number of Lutherans: see JAN VAN DEN HONERT,[3] de Gratia Particulari, chapter II, § 24, 25, pages 396-401. HOORNBEECK refers this to the controversies that arose at length between us and the Lutherans after the death of Luther, Summa Controversiarum, pages 603, 604, 607, 618, number 3.

But, 1. truly Sufficient Grace has no need of any supplement; while that grace, to which some other grace must be superadded to produce its effect, is truly insufficient. For example, a half drachma of some drug is not able to be said to suffice for the healing of a disease, for which a whole drachma is to be drunk so that it might obtain its healing effect.

2. The Lord indicates that Sufficient Grace is also Efficacious, when He consoles Paul with the Sufficient Grace allotted to him, 2 Corinthians 12:9: for, unless this Sufficient Grace had also been Efficacious at the same time, He would have conferred no great comfort upon Paul against the buffeting messenger of Satan, by whom he was being vexed.

3. Grace Sufficient for Salvation, allotted to the natural man, little agrees with the Scriptural description of him, as at the same time destitute of all strength for spiritual good and hope of salvation, Romans 8:17; Ephesians 2:1, 3, 12.

4. Neither do our Adversaries explain what Efficacious Help on the part of God is added to Sufficient Help: but it is absurdly established that, if the Sufficient Grace of God be truly Universal, its Efficacy is suspended upon the Free Will of man distinguishing himself: but thus it is expressly done by the Remonstrants in their words cited above, contrary to 1 Corinthians 4:7.

5. Finally, the Scripture teaches the Grace of Election, Redemption, and Vocation to be particular indeed, which will be proven in Chapters VII, XVII, XX, XXIII; but if this threefold Grace is Particular, no Universal Grace sufficient for Salvation is granted.

It is one thing for a more common Grace, that also befalls many reprobates, to suffice for their greater ἀναπολογησίαν/inexcusability,[4] in comparison with John 15:22; it is another thing for it to suffice for their conversation and salvation: we acknowledge no such Sufficient Grace, which is not at the same time Efficacious. Compare the many more things below, Chapter XXIII, § 7.

[1] Paolo Sarpi (1552-1623) was a Venetian prelate, historian, and canon lawyer. Although a Roman Catholic, he defended the liberties of Venice against Papal intrusion, and was a proponent of the separation of church and state. His History of the Council of Trent, published under the name Petrus Suavis Polanus, was highly critical of the Papal Curia’s involvement in the Council.

[2] Lambert van Velthuysen (1622-1685) was a Dutch theologian and philosopher. Although he appears to have held orthodox Reformed beliefs in his early years, he came under the influence of Cartesian Rationalism, and tried to demonstrate that neither Cartesian Rationalism nor Copernican Science was inconsistent with Scripture.

[3] Jan van den Honert (1693-1758) was a Dutch Reformed theologian. He served as Professor of Theology at Utrecht (1727-1734), and later at Leiden (1734-1758).

[4] Romans 1:20: “For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse (ἀναπολογήτους)…”. Romans 2:1: “Therefore thou art inexcusable (ἀναπολόγητος), O man, whosoever thou art that judgest: for wherein thou judgest another, thou condemnest thyself; for thou that judgest doest the same things.”

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Dr. Steven Dilday holds a BA in Religion and Philosophy from Campbell University, a Master of Arts in Religion from Westminster Theological Seminary (Philadelphia), and both a Master of Divinity and a  Ph.D. in Puritan History and Literature from Whitefield Theological Seminary.  He is also the translator of Matthew Poole's Synopsis of Biblical Interpreters and Bernardinus De Moor’s Didactico-Elenctic Theology.




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