I recently received an email from an honest inquirer who ask me to define hyper-calvinism for them; this following was my brief and inadequate reply.
Thank you for your good question; before giving a brief reply, let me mention a few resources for you on this issue.
The Banner of Truth Trust has published a wonderful book that addresses this issue well; the book is Spurgeon vs. Hyper-Calvinism: The Battle for Gospel Preaching- by Iain Murray; it is a paperback book, which we have available; it addresses the issues of calvinism and hyper-calvinism as well as any book you could ever read; the author is one of the best Christian historians ever and I would encourage you to read any books you can find by him.
Also, I have sent to you 2 articles that address somewhat the heart of biblical, evangelistic calvinism; let me know if for any reason you cannot open the two attached.
Yes, we are calvinistic in our theology; but we don’t use these terms very much because such terms often mislead people when people don’t know what the terms truly mean historically.
True historic Calvinism is rooted in a passion for God-centered truth, combined with a passionate, missionary attitude to take the gospel to all men. Historic calvinism is greatly different from hyper-calvinism, which is an extreme and heretical perverted form of the biblical theology which has been nicknamed calvinism.
Regarding your question, one should simply ask themselves:
Does the Bible teach election? Where?Does the Bible teach predestination? Where?Does the Bible teach that all men are truly spiritually dead in sins and cannot bring themselves to life spiritually? Where?etc;
Every biblical and theological question ought to be put to this test and then we must search the Scriptures ourselves with open hearts to see if the Bible clearly and directly teaches these doctrines; if we see that it does, then that settles the truth for us. My opinion or your opinion, does not really matter; what matters is this– What saith the Scriptures? Let God be true and every man a liar. If I argue with or disagree with Scripture, who is right?
Briefly, calvinism is the historic theology that arose out of the entire unity of the Bible which holds the view that God Himself is the supreme and glorious center of all things in the universe, and that His glory, not man, is the primary beginning point and end of everything. This truth and all other truths related to salvation and God’s glory came to be seen in a greater way at the time of the Reformation period after the darkness of Catholicism was broken over much of Europe;
It was a return to the Bible and its major truths: God’s sovereignty, man’s original sinfulness and depravity, that grace is absolutely free and without merit, that salvation in Christ is solely by grace through faith alone, and that Christ’s death actually saved all who would ever believe in Him; the cross did not make fallen men SAVABLE by their meritorious faith and effort, but it actually atoned for the sins of anyone who would ever trust Christ as Lord.
Hyper-calvinism became an extreme and imbalanced view of some of these biblical truths; the following three points are the main errors of hyper-calvinism:
1. hyper-calvinism teaches that God has no love for the non-elect, but only for the elect; this is not a biblical view, but is an error the hyper-calvinist holds to. To the hyper-calvinist, God’s has no compassion or general love for mankind, but only for the redeemed.
2. hyper-calvinism teaches that because sinners are dead in trespasses and sins and have no ability within themselves to repent, therefore the hyper-calvinist says that sinners have no DUTY to repent and believe the gospel; the only ones who would be responsible to repent would be the elect. This is gross error. This denies the duty of repentance and faith on the part of all people. Remember that 1 John 3:23 teaches that God commands faith in His Son and Acts 17:30 teaches that God commands all men everwhere to repent. These 2 verses alone discredit count hyper-calvinistic views on this point.
3. hyper-calvinism also teaches that because God has elected some to life in Christ, therefore there is no genuine offer of Christ to everyone; this is called the denial of the free offer of the gospel, that Christ would only genuinely be offered as a Saviour to the elect; but the Bible does not make such a distinction; it shows a universal and genuine offer of Christ as Lord to anyone, anywhere, anytime, who will hear and believe the gospel. Whosoever will come, let him drink of the waters of life.
This is the essence of hyper-calvinism; I hope this helps you with your journey in seeking God’s truth; Let the Scriptures alone speak with authority;
Let me also add that those who deny the idea that God is sovereign over all things, including all wicked men, all nations, all history, and the salvation of all men, will generally misrepresent biblical calvinistic truth as being hyper-calvinism; such people don’t know what they are talking about; if such a person were asked to define hyper-calvinism historically, they could not do it. The above 3 points directly show the main errors of hyper-calvinism directly.
Finally, we must ever remember that the Bible is the only and final authority on all such questions and we continually need the eyes of our understanding opened by the Holy Spirit for Him to give us understanding of the Word. May the Lord help us both to grow in the grace and knowledge of God and His Son through the holy Scriptures, which are able to make us wise unto salvation.
Please let me know if I can serve or help you in any way in your desire for knowing God’s truth.
Yours warmly in Christ,Mack Tomlinson