The above caption characterizes a good deal of so-called “evangelical” preaching in our country. A very good illustration of this may be found in la, book that was recently sent to me by the Zondervan Publishing House. The book bears the title “Ye Must Be Born Again,” and its author is Hyman Appelman, who himself attributes, the sensationalism that characterizes his preaching to the fact that he is a converted Jew. Since I received the book, the author was invited to conduct a series of “evangelistic” meetings in Grand Rapids, which by this time are concluded. Moreover, the editor of The Banner wrote a critical editorial, condemning Mr. Appelman’s preaching as “thoroughly Arminian.” At the same time, however, he writes that “it is by no means a pleasant task to criticize the preaching of some of those who are agreed with us on certain cardinal doctrines of the Christian faith,” and he finds that it is a case of truth being “mixed with error.” And he appears to think that it is a matter of misplaced emphasis, for “Appelman’s teachings, . . . . stress human responsibility at the expense of divine sovereignty.” Mr. Appelman is said to have taken the editor of The Banner to task for his criticism, and according to reports of his statements he claimed to be as good a Calvinist as his critic. This Is, perhaps, hardly true, although, in my opinion, it is indisputable that the difference between Mr. Appelman and the editor of The Banner is certainly only a matter of degree, not of principle. In proof of this, I refer not only to the statement of the editor himself that Appelman’s teachings “stress human responsibility at the expense of divine sovereignty, but also to the teachings of the “Three points,” sand the position always assumed by the editor of The Banner, according to which we must believe the contradiction that God is gracious in the preaching of the gospel to all the hearers, and that He will save only the elect; that saving grace is a well-meaning offer on the part of God, and that it is sovereign. If the editor of The Banner will be honest, he may certainly find the same two irreconcilable lines in Mr. Appelman’s book which he always tries to draw himself. If the editor of The Banner will take the trouble to re-examine his own sermons on the “Three Points” he will discover that some of his statements are strikingly similar to some of those made by Mr. Appelman. Hence, the editor of The Banner is hardly in a position to criticize Mr. Appelman’s preaching. As for us, we do not consider such preaching truth mixed with error, but a corruption of the truth; we do not agree with Mr. Appelman on some cardinal points, but differ fundamentally with his preaching along the entire line; and for us it is not a matter of stress on human responsibility at the expense of God’s sovereignty (which by the way is nonsense anyway, since man can never be responsible for the work of God), but Appelman’s preaching as an out and out denial of God’s sovereignty. He literally denies that God is the Lord in the matter of salvation. Appelman does not preach the God of the Scriptures, the Christ of the Scriptures, the atonement of the Scriptures, the sinner as he is presented in the Scriptures.
Consider this: “God is ready, God is willing, God is eager, God is anxious, God is pleading for the privilege (sic!) of washing away the sins of every soul in the precious blood of His Son and heir. But His hands are tied, His power is limited, His grace is constrained by you. If you want to be saved, God is willing to save you. If you don’t want to be saved, there isn’t anything that even God can do to rescue you from that pit of eternal burning.” I consider this a description, not of God, but of an idol. Appelman preaches a mighty sinner and a poor, weak God that must beg the sinner for privileges! To me, this is blasphemy, p. 109.
Note this: “He did that for you and for me. I wonder if you can say to this Jesus now, ‘Lord, the love of Christ does constrain me and if there is anything you have left undone here where I live, that I can do, to the best of my power and ability you can count on me. I am going to do it.’” If this means anything, it means that Christ left things undone which we must do for Him. The success of Christ’s work depends on us. It is in need of being supplemented by us. Appelman does not understand, or deliberately denies, that Christ perfects His own work, gathers and preserves His own elect, and that no man, even though he be a preacher, can do this for Him. p. 93.
Attend to this: “Yes Jesus bore the sins of every one of us in His own body on that cursed tree. His blood was shed for every soul to the ends of the earth. . . . . Surely, there is no soul who may not he washed free and clean, holy and wholesome in the blood) of the Lamb. That is the greatest news, the best news., the most inspiring news. It is shouting good news. Jesus Christ died for all men. His blood is available for the cleansing of all souls from all sins. Freely, bountifully, lovingly, eagerly, God proffers that cleansing tide to all sinners alike.” The last sentence is quite in harmony with the First Point of 1924. The editor of The Banner c.s. preach the same thing. But here you have the doctrine of a Christ pro omnibus, of universal atonement. It is the doctrine that Christ also died for those that are not actually justified. And this means that Christ’s death its. not in itself justifying. It is a denial of vicarious atonement itself, p, 126,
Listen to this: “Believe and be born again. What more do you want? How much easier, how much simpler can God make it? Will you accept God’s offer?Will you be born a child of God? Oh, what mighty gifts, what mighty blessings, God stands ready to shed on every one of us through faith in His Son. God is waiting for you, pleading with you. If you really want to be a child of God; if you really want to be certain of your salvation, of your everlasting life, of your fellowship with Christ, of your home in heaven, come and accept Jesus as your Redeemer, by faith. (Thus far there is. really nothing over which the editor of The Banner ought to stumble H.H.). God will do the rest. Every man, woman, and child has faith enough, if you will exercise it, to come to Christ, to accept the free gift of God’s love.” How Mr. Appelman can have the audacity to fell his audience that he is a Calvinist, is beyond all comprehension, even, I am sure, beyond his own. Here he teaches freewill, regeneration by faith, and he attributes, faith to all men! pp. 25, 26.
I could quote much more. But let it be sufficient. Mr. Appelman’s preaching is an example of Arminianism gone wild.