Tell me if this strikes you as odd...
You walk into a typical Independent Baptist 'Arminian' Church and listen to the preacher as he goes off on every sin in the book (and the sin of not owning the 'right book'). He gives the congregation down the road for their sins, as well he should, and he names them all and leaves no doubt who he is talking about.
As he continues preaching he has the entire congregation condemned to hell and he almost seems glad about it. Then comes the long anticipated 'invitation' time...the time for relief, the time to cast all your cares upon Christ and trust in Him alone for your salvation.
There is a prolonged invitation, as he goes through his passionate pleas for the lost to come forward, and then he speaks the words (most of you who have ever been in an IFB Church will recognize them), "You can't get saved unless you're under conviction."
Yes, you heard him right! He clarifies what he means, "If you don't feel the Holy Spirit drawing you, then you can't be saved now."
Some may have heard these words or similar words to them this past Sunday. Some of you may wonder what a Calvinist would have against these words, after all, isn't that what Irresistible Grace is all about?
Well, since you asked I will answer, "No, it's not." Irresistible Grace is about how once the Holy Spirit begins to draw you He follows though until you actually come to faith in Christ. But that's for a different time.
The big problem I have with these words is that they are representative of hyper-calvinism. That's right. The Arminian preacher has been infected with, not five-point Calvinism, but hyper-calvinism. A hyper-calvinist believes that until someone shows evidence of regeneration in their lives that the Gospel should not be given to them. So in all practicality the 'Arminian' has become hyper-calvinist in this instance.
But what is the difference between that and how the Gospel should be presented? The Gospel should always be presented as a command. God does not ask you to come to Jesus, or to invite Jesus into your heart, He demands that you repent of your sins and trust in Christ. Never mind what you feel (would the unregenerate even know what the Holy Spirit feels like? It still gives me trouble sometimes...), never mind being scared of hell, never mind anything other than this Gospel command, "Repent and believe the Gospel." Paul tells the Athenians, "God...commands all men everywhere to repent." (Act 17:30) He places no prerequisite state of mind or emotion on them, he simply relays the command, "Repent."
Our job as preachers of the Gospel, ministers of the New Covenant, is to call sinners to repentance and faith. Who are we to tell them whether or not they can come? It is God that has commanded, it is but our job to relay the command. God has not sent us to tell anyone whether or not they can believe.
It is a sad day indeed when we tell sinners that unless they 'feel' the Holy Spirit that they cannot come to Christ. Yet we can be sure that when they do believe and repent that it is the Holy Spirit that drew them to faith and repentance.
Let's just spread the Gospel to every creature, let the Holy Spirit blow where He wills, and trust God for the salvation of souls.