Monday, September 14, 2009

Defining Hyper-Calvinism

John Sneed at Ministerial Meanderings provides a good (and much better, imho, than Phil Johnson's) definition of hyper-calvinism in a recent re-post (link). Also important is his post's emphasis on the need to be Biblical Christians, recalling that for us the Scripture is not just a rule of faith, but the rule of faith.

-TurretinFan

UPDATE: Mr. Sneed mentions the "love of God for the non-elect" issue that is sometimes brought into the hyper-Calvinism discussion, normally without warrant. He doesn't really make that his definition (that I could see) and I didn't think it worthwhile mentioning that minor issue in his post. That said, plainly the two major points of his definition:

1) Teaching that God attains ends without means; and

2) Teaching that there is no need for evangelism,

hit two of the three main areas of hypercalvinism.

A third area would be teaching providence-favoring incompatibilism: the error of asserting that moral choice and divine Providence are incompatible, accepting Providence and consequently denying moral responsibility.

There are several things that are not properly classified as hypercalvinism:

1) Scrupling over words such as:
a) "Offer" of the Gospel (as long as one proclaims the gospel, refusal to use the word "offer" may make one unconfessional, but it does not make one an heretic);
b) "Common grace" (as long as one proclaims that God's providential dealings extend to both the elect and reprobate, one is not a heretic simply because one refuses to use the term "grace" for things other than saving grace);
c) "love of the reprobate" (there is no rule that says people have to use the adjective "love" to describe God's relationship toward those to whom he may give riches in this life but hell forever); and
d) "duty faith" (as long as one does not deny that faith is commanded by God, refusal to use the expression "duty faith" cannot be considered heretical).

2) Denying that non-Calvinists are unsaved. This is a rather extreme view, no doubt, but it is not what hyper-Calvinism is.

3) Being a big meanie. Remarkably, in some circles, I've seen this used. Don't be a big meanie, but if you are one, that doesn't make you a hyper-calvinist.

8 comments:

natamllc said...

TF,

Can you give a couple two or three examples of one crossing over and "speaking", after you read this:::>

"....John Calvin once said that when the Bible speaks, we speak. But when the Bible is silent, we dare not speak. Those are wise words that are worth remembering....".

Turretinfan said...

It's easier to find that fault in someone else. Perhaps some of the questions Calvin has in mind are idle speculation (will there be an equal number of men and women in heaven?) and specifically in regard to things not revealed in Scripture (where is Moses' body exactly?). The future is the most common category of things that are not yet revealed (beyond, of course, what is found in Scripture).

Incidentally, I'm not sure that those are Calvin's words. A quick Internet search did not turn them up at any other web site. The author may be paraphrasing from memory.

natamllc said...

Ah, yes, now I at least understand of what you wrote about the meaning of "we dare not speak"!

thanks! :)

And while we are on this sort of subject, can you illucidate for me the meaning here:::>

Psa 84:10 For a day in your courts is better than a thousand elsewhere. I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God than dwell in the tents of wickedness.

I have always had trouble with this verse. Whenever I read it or sing it as has been sung, I want to say, "one day out of your courts" is absolutely no good anytime, anyhow, anyway!

When you once realize you too are now a part of the Household, who would want to be one nanosecond elsewhere?

Anything you can say about that verse?

I just don't get the meaning.

Thanks

Steven said...

So believing that God doesn't love certain people is hypercalvinism? And I presume believing that God doesn't desire the salvation of the reprobates is hypercalvinism, also?

Those things just follow naturally from Calvinism. What sense does it make to say that God loves reprobates? Or he desires the salvation of reprobates?

The author said in response to the claim that these follow from typical Calvinism: "But no Biblical Calvinist teaches these things. Hypercalvinism is wrong because it goes beyond what the Bible teaches."

(1) That no "Biblical Calvinist" teaches those things is a worthless observation and irrelevant in response. No Christians teach Mohamed is a prophet but that is not a response if someone claims that the Bible/New Testament teaches Mohamed would come along.

(2) Logic is logic; what follows from a proposition, whether or not the author intended it to be so, follows from a proposition. If it follows from the fact that God chose to save some men, that he chose some men to damn, then what sense does it make to say he loves them or desires their salvation?

(3) Psalm 5 openly states that God hates some people.

Turretinfan said...

"So believing that God doesn't love certain people is hypercalvinism? "

At least when I read the post, it did not say that. It defined hypercalvinism with two comments:

"Hypercalvinism teaches that God works without means. "

"Hypercalvinism teaches that since there is an elect people, we need not evangelize. "

I guess there were also some implicit definitions, some of which were less accurate. To clarify, I only endorse those two from the ones that were provided (to the extent that others were also provided).

-TurretinFan

Turretinfan said...

NatAmLLC: I've responded to your request in a new post (link)

Coram Deo said...

TF,

Could you provide a brief listing of known hyper-calvinists that fit the definition as you understand it?

It seems to me that hypers are no unlikw unicorns...mythical beings that seem to exist in some ephemeral place, but no one seems to know exactly when or where.

Surely there have been (or are) real, live, actual hyper-calvinists who've left behind written records that we could study, no?

In Christ,
CD

Turretinfan said...

CD:

There are none that are particularly famous. That's not too surprising, since their infertile error of opposing evangelism tends not to attract many proselytes.

-TurretinFan