Danger of Hyper-Calvinism

By Nick Bibile

 

Calvin refused to go beyond "what is written.

 

And it was just because he refused to go one step beyond what is written that he felt so sure of his steps. He could not present the dictates of the Holy Ghost as a series of debatable propositions. (John Calvin The Theologian by Benjamin B. Warfield (1851-1921)

 

 

 

Wrong Meaning

 

Many Christians are wrongly informed on Hyper-Calvinism. George Bryson of Calvary Chapel in his book The Five Points of Calvinism: "Weighed and Found Wanting" [Costa Mesa: Word for Today, 1996]). He wrongly includes all 5 points of Calvinists as Hyper Calvinists. Then John Rice book on Hyper-Calvinism, the author describe Hyper-Calvinists as those who believe the doctrine of limited atonement. This is incorrect, even Charles Spurgeon the prince of preachers believed on the doctrine of limited atonement. Charles Spurgeon preached against unlimited atonement. The true Calvinists believes in limited atonement. Pastor Mike Wilkins correctly gives the historical background on true Calvinism.

 

True Meaning

 

We cannot use the modern day English meaning of hyper for Hyper Calvinism. The modern day meaning for hyper is highly excited or extremely active. Now with todays meaning all Christians should be highly excited and extremely active. But this is not what meant by Hyper Calvinism. The Greek word for hyper means over or above. It means to go beyond.

 

Hyper Calvinistic Teaching.

 

Hyper Calvinism goes over and above and beyond scripture to reconcile difficult questions. What do you mean?

 

De 29:29 The secret things belong unto the LORD our God: but those things which are revealed belong unto us and to our children for ever, that we may do all the words of this law.

 

There is the secret will of God and the revealed will of God. The revealed will is clear and they are his commandments for us. The secret will is not clear it is Gods program that all things will come to pass; the revealed will is what we need to obey. There are some things of the Bible, which is very difficult for us to understand. Hyper Calvinists goes over and above, beyond scripture as they over emphasize the secret will of God. They go beyond the boundary, which can be very dangerous.

 

Pride

 

It is very tempting for man to go beyond scripture to those deep issues of controversies where God has not clearly revealed in scripture.

 

The example of Apostle Paul.

 

Apostle Paul was caught up the third heaven and he saw the very throne of God, wow! What knowledge! He could have become very prideful, yet God humbled him by giving him an infirmity. Paul refrained himself in humility. We need to understand that knowledge can puff our heads, we need to study these precious doctrines in our knees, praising our Heavenly Father.

(2 Corinthians 12:1-9)

 

The doctrine of election and the responsibility of man, how these things come together is something very difficult to understand.

 

The Arminians and the Hyper Calvinists both go on opposite directions too extreme beyond scripture and use logic to answer this question. Arminians reasoning is that God has commanded all to repent and believe the gospel; therefore they have the ability within themselves to do if they want to, and out of this come the false doctrine of free will when it comes to salvation. On the other hand Hyper Calvinists go too extreme just the opposite of the Arminians and they reason, God have saved certain individuals before the foundation of the world and men have no ability to repent on their own, therefore we do not offer the gospel to the unbelievers, we do not have to command them to believe the gospel. These are both opposite extremes and they both have gone beyond scripture and use human reasoning to answer their questions. It is very important that we need to stay within our boundaries in the reveal will of God, if we do so we will not get into theological error. Now what does the scripture say.

 

On one side the scripture is clear of the doctrine of election as God chose certain individuals to be saved before the foundation of the world.

 

2Ti 1:9 Who hath saved us, and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began.

 

Eph 1:4 According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love.

 

On the other hand there is a responsibility where man is to repent of his sins and turn to God. There is a general calling for all men to turn to God. God commanded us to preach the gospel to all ethnic groups.

 

 

Isa 45:22 Look unto me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth: for I am God, and there is none else.

 

Mt 28:18 And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, all power is given unto me in heaven and in earth.

19 Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:

20 Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen.

(Note this is present tense imperative, it is a commandment)

 

Lu 14:23 And the lord said unto the servant, Go out into the highways and hedges, and compel them to come in, that my house may be filled.

 

Mr 16:15 And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.

16 He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned.

 

How can we reconcile both?

 

Here we see two contrast lines, how can we reconcile these together? Arminianism put too much emphasis on responsibility of man, as man has the final choice in salvation, which is wrong. They hardly emphasize sovereignty of God and election. On the other hand Hyper Calvinists over emphasize the secret will of God over the revealed will of God and eternity over time. They minimize the responsibility of man.

 

Charles Spurgeon said, That God predestines, and yet that man is responsible, are two facts that few can see clearly. They are believed to be inconsistent and contradictory to each other. If, then, I find taught in one part of the Bible that everything is fore-ordained, that is true; and if I find, in another Scripture, that man is responsible for all his actions, that is true; and it is only my folly that leads me to imagine that these two truths can ever contradict each other. I do not believe they can ever be welded into one upon any earthly anvil, but they certainly shall be one in eternity. They are two lines that are so nearly parallel, that the human mind which pursues them farthest will never discover that they converge, but they do converge, and they will meet somewhere in eternity, close to the throne of God, whence all truth doth spring.

 

My beloved, we cannot apply human wisdom to answer these questions, we need to stick what the scripture says. God is above logic and how can we see the vastness of his wisdom?

 

Ro 11:33 O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past finding out!

34 For who hath known the mind of the Lord? Or who hath been his counselor?

 

In the book of Genesis we see God commanded man not to eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, (Gen 2:17) yet man did eat and disobeyed Gods command. Now when God found the man and the woman in the garden, they tried to excuse their sins.

Adam said, It is the woman whom you gave me, she gave me of the tree and I ate. (Gen 3:12)

Then the woman said, it is the serpent that deceived me. What Adam is trying to tell God, I am not responsible for the act it is not me it is the woman that you created, she is the cause of it. Then Eve is saying, oh! Its not me, it is the serpent, it is Satan, and he deceived me. Who created Satan?

God it is your fault. This is what exactly what unbelievers say when my fault, sorry. Absolutely not. Here we see the decrees of God; a secret will that we cannot understand fully why God created Lucifer and still God blamed Adam, Eve and the serpent for their actions. It was not Gods fault at all. Our human wisdom fail to understand if we go beyond the reveal will of God to his secret will. God decreed all things at the same time Adam was responsible for his sins. Calamity happens, it is Gods fault. He created evil.

 

Did God say, oh! Thanks for showing me that, now I see it is really my fault, God decreed all things, (Including secret will) yet Adam was responsible. (Revealed will)

 

Is God the author of Sin?

It is our nature to be tempted to enter into the secret will of God due to mans pride to show his knowledge over the others instead of learning in humility. Some Hyper Calvinists goes so much beyond to the secret will of God that they say all things came from God so God is the author of sin.

 

Jas 1:13 Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man.

 

When it says I am tempted of God, in Greek, apo, qeou peirazomai. The word apo shows the meaning of origin. God is not the originator of sin. The grammar is in present active imperative.

 

1Jo 1:5 This then is the message which we have heard of him, and declare unto you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all.

 

Here is John Calvin quoting Augustine. Institutes Book 1 Chapter 18

(Augustine Enchirid. ad Laurent. cap. 100.) That the apostate angels, by their revolt, and all the reprobate, as far as they themselves were concerned, did what God willed not; but, in regard to his omnipotence, it was impossible for them to do so: for, while they act against the will of God, his will is accomplished in them. Hence he exclaims, "Great is the work of God, exquisite in all he wills! so that, in a manner wondrous and ineffable, that is not done without his will which is done contrary to it, because it could not be done if he did not permit; nor does he permit it unwillingly, but willingly; nor would He who is good permit evil to be done, were he not omnipotent to bring good out of evil," (Augustine in Psalm 111:2.)

 

Hyper Calvinism Does Not Believe in Common Grace.

 

John Calvin developed the doctrine of common grace to a great extent. Common grace is different than saving grace. Common grace is Gods bestowal grace upon all mankind. Saving grace is God regenerative work of the Holy Spirit. The following is from John Murray.

In this field of inquiry no name deserves more credit than /p. 2/ that of the renowned reformer, John Calvin. No one was more deeply persuaded of the complete depravation of human nature by sin and of the consequent inability of unaided human nature to bring forth anything good, and so he explained the existence of good outside the sphere of God's special and saving grace by the presence of a grace that is common to all yet enjoyed by some in special degree. The most certain and easy solution of this question, however, is, that those virtues are not the common properties of nature, but the peculiar graces of God, which he dispenses in great variety, and in a certain degree to men that are otherwise profane. The elect alone are sanctified by the Spirit; they alone are healed of sin; they alone are created anew. But all creatures by the energy of the same Spirit are replenished, actuated and quickened according to the property of each species which he has given it by the law of creation.

Scriptures for common grace

 

Ps 145:9 The LORD is good to all: and his tender mercies are over all his works.

 

John Calvins interpretation of the above scripture.

9. Jehovah is good to all, etc. The truth here stated is of wider application than the former, for the declaration of David is to the effect, that not only does God, with fatherly indulgence and clemency, forgive sin, but is good to all without discrimination, as he makes his sun to rise upon the good and upon the wicked. (Matthew 5:45) Forgiveness of sin is a treasure from which the wicked are excluded, but their sin and depravity does not prevent God from showering down his goodness upon them, which they appropriate without being at all sensible of it. Meanwhile believers, and they only, know what it is to enjoy a reconciled God, as elsewhere it is said --

"Come ye to him, and be ye enlightened, and your faces shall not be ashamed; taste and see that the Lord is good."
(Psalm 34:5, 8)

When it is added that the mercy of God extends to all his works, this ought not to be considered as contrary to reason, or obscure. Our sins having involved the whole world in the curse of God, there is everywhere an opportunity for the exercise of God's mercy, even in helping the brute creation.

De 10:18 He doth execute the judgment of the fatherless and widow, and loveth the stranger, in giving him food and raiment.

19 Love ye therefore the stranger: for ye were strangers in the land of Egypt.

John Gill interpretation of the above scripture.

Verse 18. He doth execute the judgment of the fatherless and widow... Who have none to help them, and whose patron and defender he is, and will do them justice himself, and take care that it is done them by others, or avenge their injuries, for he is a Father of the fatherless, and a judge of the widow, in his holy habitation; Psalm 68:5

and loveth the stranger, in giving him food and raiment; one that is in a foreign country, at a distance from his native land, and destitute of friends; such God in his providence takes care of, and expresses his love and kindness to, by giving them the necessaries of life, food, and raiment.

Verse 19. Love ye therefore the stranger... Because the Lord loves him; and another reason follows, particularly binding on the Israelites:

for ye were strangers in the land of Egypt; and therefore should sympathize with such, and show them compassion, relieve them in distress, and afford them whatever they want, and is in the power of their hands to communicate to them; remembering their own condition in Egypt, and how welcome such a treatment would have been to them then, as well as the kind and careful providence of God towards them at that time.

Ge 39:5 And it came to pass from the time that he had made him overseer in his house, and over all that he had, that the LORD blessed the Egyptian's house for Joseph's sake; and the blessing of the LORD was upon all that he had in the house, and in the field.

Ac 14:16 Who in times past suffered all nations to walk in their own ways.

17 Nevertheless he left not himself without witness, in that he did good, and gave us rain from heaven, and fruitful seasons, filling our hearts with food and gladness.

Concerning Salvation God is angry with the wicked every day because of their sins. In reference to the anger of God to the wicked Stephen Charnock says the following.

First, God does not hate their persons, nor any natural or moral good in them. Not indeed the person of any creature, for as persons they are his own work. The creation was good in God's eye at the first framing, and whatsoever of goodness remains is still affected by an unchangeable Being, for infinite and unbounded goodness cannot hate that which is good either naturally or morally. (Stephen Charnock On Reconciliation)

Yes, we Calvinists know this scripture very good.

Mal 1:2 I have loved you, saith the LORD. Yet ye say, wherein hast thou loved us? Was not Esau Jacob's brother? saith the LORD: yet I loved Jacob,

3 And I hated Esau, and laid his mountains and his heritage waste for the dragons of the wilderness.

See the following by John Calvin on Malachi 1:2

Esau was Jacob's brother; and yet I loved Jacob, and Esau I hated."

We now see what I have just referred to, -- that the Jews are reminded of God's gratuitous covenant, that they might cease to excuse their wickedness in having misused this singular favor. He does not then upbraid them here, because they had been as other men created by God, because God caused his sun to shine on them, because they were supplied with food from the earth; but he says, that they had been preferred to other people, not on account of their own merit, but because it had pleased God to choose their father Jacob.

This passage is speaking on election, salvation. Jacob received mercy from God but not Esau. Here God is speaking the love of God in election and salvation as it happens according to Gods sovereignty. Here it is speaking on Gods special grace. John Gill on Mal 1:3 said the following:

Verse 3. And I hated Esau... Or, "rejected" him, as the Targum; did not love him as Jacob: this was a negative, not positive hatred; it is true of him, personally considered; not only by taking away the birthright and blessing from him, which he despised; but by denying him his special grace, leaving him in his sins, and to his lusts, so that he became a profane person; shared not in the grace of God here, and had no part in the eternal inheritance with the saints in light; and likewise it is true of his posterity, as the following instances show.

Evangelism.

Hyper Calvinists do not believe in offer of the gospel. Let me give a quotation of John Calvin from Institutes BOOK III CHAPTER 3, John Calvin Oppose Hyper Calvinists as you see the following.

For when our Lord and John begin their preaching thus Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand,(Matthew 3: 2,) do they not deduce repentance as a consequence of the offer of grace and promise of salvation? The force of the words, therefore, is the same as if it were said, As the kingdom of heaven is at hand, for that reason repent.

Hyper Calvinists does not see that we are commanded to preach the gospel to every creature. They do not believe that all men should be invited to hear the gospel; they will call this duty faith. (A.W.Pink wrote an article against Duty Faith in his later years of the ministry.)

John Owen said, God commandeth us to believe; here his revealed will is that we should so do: withal, he intendeth we shall do so; and therefore ingenerateth faith in our hearts that we may believe. Here his secret and revealed will are coincident; the former[i][iv][iv] [4] being his precept that we should believe, the latter his purpose that we shall believe. In this case, I say, the object of the one and the other is the same, even what we ought to do, and what he will do. And this inasmuch as he hath wrought all our works in us, Isaiah 26:12. They are our own works, which he works in us; his act in us and by us is ofttimes our duty towards him. He commands us by his revealed will to walk in his statutes, and keep his laws. (Display of Arminianism Chapter 5)

True Calvinism stays in the boundary of Gods reveal will. A good example is God decreed that Adam would fall, yet was Adam responsible for his act of disobedience? Yes. (John Owen brings out a great scripture in Isaiah 26:12)

Ro 10:14 How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher?

15 And how shall they preach, except they be sent? As it is written, how beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things!

Some of the greatest Preachers and Missionaries were Calvinists, John Bunyan who wrote Pilgrims progress was a Calvinist; John Newton who wrote Amazing Grace was a Calvinist. Charles Spurgeon, they call him the prince of Preachers was a Calvinist. George Whitefield and Jonathan Edwards were Calvinists. All the puritans were Calvinists. Great Missionaries like William Carey, John Patton, John Eliot, John Brainerd, they were all Calvinists.

Some Hyper Calvinists think if you do not believe their doctrine you are lost! So how do they evangelize?

Did Jesus preach the gospel only to the elect only?

Mt 9:35 And Jesus went about all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues, and preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing every sickness and every disease among the people.

 

The gospel call is for all people but only the elect will be saved.

 

Ac 13:48 And when the Gentiles heard this, they were glad, and glorified the word of the Lord: and as many as were ordained to eternal life believed.

 

More on Common Grace.

Gods restraining grace By Nick Bibile

John Murray

By Louis Berkhof

James Montgomery Boice

Other Excellent Articles on Hyper Calvinism.

Offer of the Gospel by David Ponter

A Critique on Hyper Calvinism

A Primer on Hyper Calvinism



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