Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path. - Psalm 119:105

Discipleship

Hyper-Calvinism

By Dr. Richard J. Krejcir
"Be aware of the misrepresentations," a seminary professor told me years ago. Many people claim to be Calvinists, but few will actually read and adhere to what he taught. They have no concern what Scripture teaches, but only for their bloodlines and suppositions.
"Be aware of the misrepresentations,"
 
....a seminary professor told me years ago. Many people claim to be Calvinists, but few will actually read and adhere to what he taught. They have no concern what Scripture teaches, but only for their bloodlines and suppositions. We have to be aware that Hyper-Calvinism can be much more than a mere threat or distraction. In fact, it is more dangerous than Armenianism or any other variant Theological System could ever be. People will get the wrong impression of Biblical Calvinism and will fall away to doctrines that have roots in human trends and not in God's most precious Word. This can come about just because of misrepresented ideas or from arrogance and pride.

Hyper-Calvinism is the misrepresenting of the teachings of John Calvin, which are a logical and systematic look into what Scripture revels to us. Calvin, a French reformer in the 16th century, called the church away from idolatry and corruption to adhere to the Word of God for all faith and practice. Yet, Calvinists started virtually every revival of Calvinism, such as the First and Second Great Awakenings in the US along with the great writings of the Puritan era. They were then taken over by other theological systems that claimed them as their own while misrepresenting what great thinkers, theologians, and pastors such as Bunyan, Edwards, Spurgeon, Aquinas, and the great Augustine taught.

Even this term, "Hyper-Calvinism," is misrepresented as critics unthinkingly slap this label on any variety of Calvinism that is higher than they think it should be. Armenians like to associate all five-point Calvinists as "hyper," as do many Evangelicals who do not know what Calvinism is really all about. (See article on "Calvinism from the Critics")  

The main aspect of "Hyper-Calvinism" is that it is a false doctrine. It emphasizes Divine Sovereignty and excludes human responsibility. (Calvin taught more on our responsibility than any other subject!) To call it "Hyper-Calvinism" is something of a misnomer. It is actually a rejection of historic Calvinism. "Hyper-Calvinism" entails a denial of what is taught in both Scripture and the landmark Calvinistic creeds such as the Westminster and Heidelberg Catechisms. This is minimizing the moral and spiritual responsibility of sinners. It emphasizes Irresistible Grace to such an extent that there appears to be no real need to evangelize, because  Christ may be offered only to the elect. It has five aspects associated with it:  

1.      A denial of the call of the Gospel. They say that it does not apply to all who hear it. They deny that the gospel calls all sinners to repentance and faith. The Gospel Call, the invitation to come to Christ for salvation as proclaimed by the pastor, evangelist, or lay person and interceded by the Holy Spirit even before the Earth was made (now we get into temporal physics), is muted to anyone except the "elect," so only certain people have the dog ears to hear the message and understand it. (Isa. 45:22; 55:1-7; Matt. 11:28-29; Rev. 22:17).  

2.      The denial that faith is the duty of every sinner. This is the denial of Faith Alone, the hallmark creed of the Reformation. It says unbelievers are incapable of faith or even love apart from "enabling grace." They even believe that Christ must never be presented to them. This is a copout. They ignore the Great Commission! (Matt. 28) 

3.      The denial that the Gospel makes any "offer" of Christ, Salvation, or Mercy to the non-elect, and "denies that the offer of divine mercy is free and universal." 

4.      The denial of such a thing as "common grace." (There go the Epistles out the window!)  

5.      The denial that God has any sort of love for the non-elect. (They ignore John 3:16) 

              All five varieties of Hyper-Calvinism undermine evangelism and missions and twist the gospel message so it seems to be only for those already in the church. Those holding this position go to great lengths to deny that faith is ever presented in Scripture. They must not read it well, or with a "cut and delete" attitude. Scripture twisting is crucial if one would come up with such a doctrine that directly countermands what Christ taught, what He commanded! I believe it is to justify laziness by rationalizing reasons why we do not have to reach out to the community and the world!  
 

So let us focus on God's Word. Look at it carefully in its context and lift up the blood of Christ as our final Lord and Mediator.  

            © 1992, 2001 R.J. Krejcir, Into Thy Word.  Preparation for this article was done by rereading the "Institutes" by Calvin in a new and wonderful translation. (I wish I had done this while still in seminary.) It will be posted soon on the Doctrine Channel). Notes from theology classes as well as old fashion research were also used.  

 Please see the articles on our Doctrine Channel. 
 
© 1992, 2001 R.J. Krejcir, Into Thy Word

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