How serious a threat do you think hyper-calvinism is to evangelism? (hyper= constant emphasis)

I have seen it kill evangelistic fervor
37% (11 votes)
It is a threat, but I have not seen it in action
3% (1 vote)
It is a minor threat
7% (2 votes)
It is a threat, but should not be
10% (3 votes)
It is not much of a threat, perhaps only in remote instances
3% (1 vote)
People say it is a threat, but I've not seen that
17% (5 votes)
It is not a threat
3% (1 vote)
No way is it a threat; the idea that hyper-calvinimsm squelches witnessing is a myth
7% (2 votes)
unsure
0% (0 votes)
other
13% (4 votes)
Total votes: 30
8889 reads

There are 46 Comments

Ed Vasicek's picture

I have seen how hyper-calvinism (not the idea of election, but its constant emphasis and the lack of balancing it with human responsibility) can chill evangelism and outreach. How about the rest of you? Is this an Arminian Bogeyman or a real issue?

"The Midrash Detective"

Joshua Caucutt's picture

It is an easy issue to fix - not participating in evangelism is disobedience. It's sin, pure and simple. Calvinists are interested in being as biblical as possible and it is impossible to make that case from Scripture. My pastor is a 5-pointer and is one of the most indefatigable evangelists that I have ever met. Our church is hardline calvinist, but wholly committed to evangelism because that is what we are commanded to do. "How shall they hear, unless they have a preacher?"

formerly known as Coach C

Ed Vasicek's picture

I am not asking about Calvinism, but hyper. One can be a 4 pointer and hyper or a 5 pointer and evangelistic. The real issue asks whether Calvinism can deteriorate into a hyper state that deadens witnessing, just as we might ask if Arminianism can turn into an unhealthy, overly-responsible-for-others guilt complex. Neither viewpoint HAS to do so. And it may be so rare that we do not actually see it play out. I, personally, have seen it, but perhaps I am alone.

"The Midrash Detective"

rogercarlson's picture

I have found that the more Calvinistic that I have become, the more Evangelistic I have become. I think the reason is because before I was constantly worried about me...my packaging of the Gospel...my methods...now I just proclaim.

Roger Carlson, Pastor
Berean Baptist Church

JohnBrian's picture

Ed,

hyper-Calvinsim is NOT "constant emphasis."

It is going beyond 5-pt Calvinism into error and is UN-evangelistic, so therefore DOES kill evangelistic fervor.

From Nick Bibile's http://www.sounddoctrine.net/Nick/Hyper_Calvinism.htm Danger of Hyper-Calvinism :

Quote:
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.

From Phil Johnson's article http://www.spurgeon.org/~phil/articles/hypercal.htm A Primer on Hyper-Calvinism :

Quote:
it [hyper-calvinism ] is a denial that the gospel message includes any sincere proposal of divine mercy to sinners in general.

Those who do hold this view oppose all forms of evangelism and preaching to the unsaved, because they believe God will save whomever He chooses, apart from human means.

Deliberately excluded from hyper-Calvinist "evangelism" is any pleading with the sinner to be reconciled with God. Sinners are not told that God offers them forgiveness or salvation. In fact, most hyper-Calvinists categorically deny that God makes any offer in the gospel whatsoever.

From Tom Ascol's http://www.founders.org/journal/fj24/sidebar2.html CALVINISM, HYPER-CALVINISM, & ARMINIANISM :

Quote:
Whereas Arminianism destroys the sovereignty of God, hyper-Calvinism destroys the responsbility of man. The irony is that both Arminianism and hyper-Calvinism start from the same, erroneous rationalistic presupposition: Man's ability and responsibility are coextensive. That is, they must match up exactly or else it is irrational. If a man is to be held responsible for something, then he must have the ability to do it. On the other hand, if a man does not have the ability to perform it, he cannot be obligated to do it.

The Gospel Standard churches of England have a classic Hyper-Calvinistic http://www.gospelstandard.org.uk/files/Articles.pdf ]doctrinal statement

Article 26 - Duty Faith and Duty Repentance Denied wrote:
We deny duty faith and duty repentance - these terms signifying that it is every man's duty spiritually and savingly to repent and believe (Gen. 6:5, Gen 8:21, Matt. 15:19, Jer. 17:9, John 6:44, John 6:65.) We deny also that there is any capability in man by nature to any spiritual good whatever. So that we reject the doctrine that men in a state of nature should be exhorted to believe in or turn to God of themselves. (John 12:39-40, Eph. 2:8, Rom. 8:7-8, 1 Cor. 4:7.)

Article 33 - Preaching to the Unconverted wrote:
Therefore, that for ministers in the present day to address unconverted persons, or indiscriminately all in a mixed congregation, calling upon them savingly to repent, believe, and receive Christ, or perform any other acts dependent upon the new creative power of the Holy Ghost, is, on the one hand, to imply creature power, and, on the other, to deny the doctrine of special redemption.

Also:
http://www.theopedia.com/Hyper-Calvinism ]Theopedia

http://www.monergism.com/thethreshold/articles/onsite/hyper_vs_historic.... The Will of God - Hyper-Calvinism Versus Historic Calvinism by John Hendryx

CanJAmerican - my blog
CanJAmerican - my twitter
whitejumaycan - my youtube

Bob T.'s picture

First, the Hyper Calvinists would love to define their own labels and keep the Hyper off their name. However, is is as is! Calvin did nor articulate all that the Calvinists today believe. Therefore any alleged Calvinism that is beyond Calvin becomes Hyper in relation to Calvin's Calvinism. Any 5 pointer or pre regeneration to salvation Calvinist is a real glaring Hyper. Phil Johnson is a Hyper's hyper. He's hyper but defines it so he is not.

Second, there have been some evangelistic minded in most of history. However, the comparison of Calvinistic churches such as the various Presbyterians and Reformed verses the Methodists and Baptists indicates much faster growth and new churches among the lesser or non Calvinistic. The statistics gathered concerning the great awakenings show a huge difference. I would refer one to Mark Noll's book "America's God" for some such statistical tables. It is amazing how even today those groups and churches that are either non Calvinistic or minimize any Calvinistic theology are the ones who seem to have the elect sent to them in much larger numbers than the elect are sent to the Calvinists (especially the Hypers).

Third, even today many young American Calvinists are busy naval gazing, discussing the Ordo, and seeking to be blessed at organized conferences about the gospel, while the non Calvinists or moderates actually are busy in churches and endeavors to proclaim the gospel and win souls. It is amazing how easy believism makes it easy to not only encounter the elect but create real disciples. It could be that Romans 10:13 is true!

Joel Shaffer's picture

Quote:
Third, even today many young American Calvinists are busy naval gazing, discussing the Ordo, and seeking to be blessed at organized conferences about the gospel, while the non Calvinists or moderates actually are busy in churches and endeavors to proclaim the gospel and win souls.

Wow, that is quite a broad brush.......I happened to be at the Gospel Coalition's post Christ and City conference in Chicago, attending the workshop on Church planting. With some 600-700 church planters and church planter associates in the room, most of whom had been at the Gospel Coalition conference----most of whom you would classify as "hyper-calvinists" (including me) just does not ring true because they are passionate and actually doing the work of evangelism and disciple-making. Now I am not saying that the things you bring up don't exist, but they are many within "young Calvinism" that don't fit your stereotype.

rogercarlson's picture

Bob,
This post was over the top even for you. Church planters of all stripes have conferences. I got two advertisements last week and both for for easy-believes, decisionistic churches. So your charge that Calvinists only are concerned about conferences is wrong. God gave me the opportunity to Wittness to many people this past week..probably around 30 if I had to. Your attitude here often is bad, but yours this time is dishonest and not Christlike.

I am Calvinistic, yet I spend the majority of the time trying to give the gospel. The Lord has seen fit for me to be tri or quad vocational. Yet the Gospel and living to the praise of His glory is the theme of my live, no matter how badly I fail. Proclaiming the Gospel is what God has called me to do.

I am sorry if you cannot wrap your mind around that, but I suggest you seek the Lord for how your are defaming brothers in a unkind way, which is becoming more common with you here.

Roger Carlson, Pastor
Berean Baptist Church

Joel Shaffer's picture

Quote:
I am Calvinistic, yet I spend the majority of the time trying to give the gospel.......Proclaiming the Gospel is what God has called me to do.

Same here. Let me share that through our ministry (Urban Transformation Ministries) during the month of March, four inner-city college age students of ours trusted Christ for their salvation. Two of which God used me to proclaim the gospel, one God used my wife to share Christ, and one through an unusual circumstance (he bought fake weed, had a traumatic reaction, which caused him to repent and believe in Christ).

By the way, I took 11 of our inner-city college-age students to hear Tim Keller and attend these workshops on church planting because they are part of the core group of a church plant in Grand Rapids called New City Church. It gave them fresh ideas in doing outreach in our neighborhood and helped us work out some sin problems that were festering among us. And it was free (the Christ and City conference that followed Gospel Coalition, that is......). No navel gazing among our group, nor among several other groups that we met up with including a church planting friend of mine who brought 7 of his church leaders to the same conference. He is a five pointer that is planting a church in the Godwin Heights neighborhood (a suburb of Grand Rapids) which is the most multi-ethnic community in all of Michigan. This multi-ethnic church comprised of Whites, Africans, and Asians have preached the gospel, in which several Muslims from the Mende Tribe (formerly from Sierra Leone) came to faith in Christ and publicly demonstrate it through Baptism. Also, they are in the process of planting a church 3 miles away in a heavily populated Latino community. They started several home evangelistic Bible studies and have already seen five people in their targeted community become believers in Christ. I could go on and on about these "Hyper-Calvinists" (your definition of 5 point Calvinism) and others that are quite evangelistic, but I don't know if I could convince you, Bob.......

Bob T.'s picture

rogercarlson wrote:
Bob,
This post was over the top even for you. Church planters of all stripes have conferences. I got two advertisements last week and both for for easy-believes, decisionistic churches. So your charge that Calvinists only are concerned about conferences is wrong. God gave me the opportunity to Wittness to many people this past week..probably around 30 if I had to. Your attitude here often is bad, but yours this time is dishonest and not Christlike.

I am Calvinistic, yet I spend the majority of the time trying to give the gospel. The Lord has seen fit for me to be tri or quad vocational. Yet the Gospel and living to the praise of His glory is the theme of my live, no matter how badly I fail. Proclaiming the Gospel is what God has called me to do.

I am sorry if you cannot wrap your mind around that, but I suggest you seek the Lord for how your are defaming brothers in a unkind way, which is becoming more common with you here.

My post did not name you or any specific person. I referred to history and statistics of church historians and then spoke of the general conditions today. Yet you come on here and attack me personally because you didn't like my facts and opinions. Speak to the issues.

I would suggest you read an article just posted on the front page of SI about conference attenders. It is by Mark Driscol. The article is titled "CONFERENCE CHRISTIANS LIKE DEADHEADS."

The fact that you are a Calvinist and yet witness is good. Please note that I did state that there were those Calvinists who were evangelistic. You claim you are one of the exceptions who are witnesses. However, please refrain from attacking me or any other posters and then calling me or them not Christ like. If our opinions and evidence is true then your spiritual judgment may be out of order. That is nothing but total hypocrisy. I did not attack you or any other individual.

Bob T.'s picture

TO JOEL AND ROGER:

In my prior post I stated:

Quote:
"Second, there have been some evangelistic minded in most of history. However, the comparison of Calvinistic churches such as the various Presbyterians and Reformed verses the Methodists and Baptists indicates much faster growth and new churches among the lesser or non Calvinistic. The statistics gathered concerning the great awakenings show a huge difference. I would refer one to Mark Noll's book "America's God" for some such statistical tables."

That is simple undeniable history. I cited historian Mark Noll as a source but there are many others. There are no historians that deny these growth facts.

You each cite your own experiences as a refutation of the general historical facts and present general conditions. I don't think that proves much except you two are exceptions and fall under my first sentence of my statement repeated above. Your present ministry doesn't do much to alter history.

Also, please read my definition of "Hyper Calvinism" I alluded to above. It involves being either a 5 pointer TULIPer or a "regeneration before salvation" belief, or both. These both are hyper as they go beyond Calvin. They are reformed soteriology. Are either or both of you just Calvinistic or within my definition of Hyper Calvinist.

Bob T.'s picture

Roger, you stated;

Quote:
I am sorry if you cannot wrap your mind around that, but I suggest you seek the Lord for how your are defaming brothers in a unkind way, which is becoming more common with you here
.

Yes, you are evidently becoming Calvinistic all right. It appears to be a characteristc of many Calvinists to deflect any analysis, judgment, or criticism with an accusation of misunderstanding, defamation or spiritual problems. I defamed no one. You did defame me.

By the way Roger, it can be gleaned from your various posts that you are on the staff of a non Fundamentalist church, not in sympathy with Fundamentalism in general, and are generally a moderate evangelical in orientation of ministry. Are you really being honest by posting on SI?

Charlie's picture

Bob, do you call all Lutherans hyper-Lutherans, since almost all Lutherans deviate from Luther's doctrine at points? Or are all Dispensationalists hyper-Darbyites, since they disagree with Darby at certain points? No Reformed person has ever felt bound to agree with Calvin on every point, and such a requirement would in fact be an unhealthy hero worship. As it turns out, though, the last 20-30 years of Calvin scholarship has rightly overturned earlier presentations of discontinuity at a number of points. I would have no trouble demonstrating Calvin's agreement with the substance of regeneration preceeding faith, or themes in his theology that developed into limited atonement, or the basic commonality of Calvin's and the WCF's views on assurance of salvation. Each of these areas has been thoroughly researched recently.

My Blog: http://dearreaderblog.com

Cor meum tibi offero Domine prompte et sincere. ~ John Calvin

JohnBrian's picture

Bob,

You create a new definition of the term hyper-calvinist and then judge all your calvinist "brothers" to be (in general) un-evangelistic!

I would have to agree with Roger in post 9

rogercarlson wrote:
Bob,
This post was over the top even for you.

...I suggest you seek the Lord for how your are defaming brothers in a unkind way, which is becoming more common with you here.

CanJAmerican - my blog
CanJAmerican - my twitter
whitejumaycan - my youtube

Bill Green's picture

Bob T. wrote:
Lets see now they were all at a what? Oh a conference! Right.

I believe this was the post that was considered to be "over the top".

Bill

INACIAS

Susan R's picture

EditorModerator

Bob T. wrote:
By the way Roger, it can be gleaned from your various posts that you are on the staff of a non Fundamentalist church, not in sympathy with Fundamentalism in general, and are generally a moderate evangelical in orientation of ministry. Are you really being honest by posting on SI?

Just http://sharperiron.org/fundamentalist ]a reminder-
Quote:
At SharperIron we’re still clinging to the term in its historic sense. Here, a Fundamentalist is someone who believes in the foundational principles of the Christian faith and also believes in separation from apostasy. Opinions vary as to the degree of separation, the process and the methods. But we are committed to the principle. For the purposes of the site, “the foundational principles of the Christian faith” are those expressed in our Doctrinal Statement.

Registering at SI does not require anyone to officially label themselves as a Fundamentalist. The only requirement is agreement to the Doctrinal Statement and a promise to adhere to http://sharperiron.org/sharperiron-forum-comment-policy ]the Comment Policy . It certainly wouldn't hurt if every once in awhile folks took a moment to refresh their memory of the points in the CP.

Greg Long's picture

Bob, I agree with Roger, that was a really ridiculous statement to imply that since someone attends a conference they can't be evangelistic.

I side with Phil Johnson on his definition of what hyper-calvinism is. I have seen Calvinism slide into hyper-Calvinism with a refusal to extend a call for people in general to repent and believe in Christ.

-------
Greg Long, Ed.D. (SBTS)

Pastor of Adult Ministries
Grace Church, Des Moines, IA

Adjunct Instructor
School of Divinity
Liberty University

Caleb S's picture

Bob T. wrote:
First, the Hyper Calvinists would love to define their own labels and keep the Hyper off their name. However, is is as is! Calvin did nor articulate all that the Calvinists today believe. Therefore any alleged Calvinism that is beyond Calvin becomes Hyper in relation to Calvin's Calvinism. Any 5 pointer or pre regeneration to salvation Calvinist is a real glaring Hyper. Phil Johnson is a Hyper's hyper. He's hyper but defines it so he is not.

Second, there have been some evangelistic minded in most of history. However, the comparison of Calvinistic churches such as the various Presbyterians and Reformed verses the Methodists and Baptists indicates much faster growth and new churches among the lesser or non Calvinistic. The statistics gathered concerning the great awakenings show a huge difference. I would refer one to Mark Noll's book "America's God" for some such statistical tables. It is amazing how even today those groups and churches that are either non Calvinistic or minimize any Calvinistic theology are the ones who seem to have the elect sent to them in much larger numbers than the elect are sent to the Calvinists (especially the Hypers).

Third, even today many young American Calvinists are busy naval gazing, discussing the Ordo, and seeking to be blessed at organized conferences about the gospel, while the non Calvinists or moderates actually are busy in churches and endeavors to proclaim the gospel and win souls. It is amazing how easy believism makes it easy to not only encounter the elect but create real disciples. It could be that Romans 10:13 is true!


For the purpose of clarity, the responses that follow will be labeled in accordance with the paragraph they are responding to.

First Paragraph
The first paragraph betrays a lot of historical blunders. First, a definition of Calvinism should be more closely tied to the Council of Dort, since the five points came about in a clearly articulated manner as a response to the Remonstants. Second, Charlie has already pointed out the blunder by means of a similar comparison of Lutherans with Luther. Third, and this is the most severe, the definition of Hyper-Calvinism seems incredibly arbitrary while simultaneously not understanding the historical backdrop. If the post had mentioned Tobias Crisp (Anglican), Joseph Hussey, John Skepp, John Brine, and John Gill, then some relevant names would have been mentioned. If the post had mentioned something about the 18th century English Particular Baptists, then it would have been dealing with the issue. The issue of responsibility to witness as based off of the "ought implies ability" assumption is exceedingly key; something written having to do with that would have made the paragraph much more believable. C H Spurgeon's own later battle against the Hypers would have helped the historical credibility. Further, Phil Johnson is very close if not an expert on Spurgeon, so he would have a clear understanding of the historical realities surrounding Spurgeon's battle. One also looks in vain to find out how the Baptist Andrew Fuller argued against the hypers of his day, which paved the way for William Carey (a five pointer) as the often called "Father Of Modern Missions". The fact that the "regeneration preceding faith" issue was not even described correctly by making it as "pre regeneration to salvation" demonstrates an understanding of the issue not in the terms of Calvinist but in terms of the spin that others put on it; this is because the term "salvation" is not solely defined in terms of human believing in Scripture. It is a past, present, and future thing for the Christian. One point where the paragraph did actually deal with hyper-Calvinism is when it mentioned the issue of regeneration; however, it was never connected to the "ought implies ability" issue to even give it its due relevance.

In short the first paragraph appears to arbitrarily define Hyper-Calvinism; it does not understand the historical underpinnings; it does not understand the key issue(s). For further argumentation concerning these points, this past fall I wrote a paper on the theology of William Carey and his historical backdrop in which these very issues were developed much more fully. So suffice it to say that this opening paragraph falls very short of the mark after having done this study.

Paragraph Two
Regarding "some" being evangelistically minded . . . this sentence does not even make sense because of the misunderstood definition of hypers given in paragraph one. The sentence is without meaning. The comparison between various denominations fails to understand the relevance of Particular Baptists of the 18th century. Also, one needs to make the connection more sure by not broad brushing various denominations, but one should look into the exact elements of their theology which is supposedly causing the problem. Furthermore, statistics can be very deceiving. Certainly, the mega churches have a tremendous attendance; they can point to huge numbers. However, of what quality are these numbers is the key question. The same can be said of "decisions" made under Finney in the 2nd Great Awakening. Furthermore, the 1st Great Awakening was mainly Calvinistic if I'm not mistaken (especially the preaching of Whitfield and Edwards). High pressure sales pitches and emotional techniques are NOT a replacement for the Holy Spirit!!!! One can garner a massive amount of "responses" with questions like "who doesn't want to go to hell?" Then, one can have all those who don't want to go to hell come forward, and then you have massive numbers. Wow! An atheist can go forward because he doesn't want to go to hell; of course he doesn't believe in one, but the question from the pulpit never addressed this. Multiple, multiple, multiple verses of "Just As I Am" can be sung to make people think, "hey, if I go forward, then this message will finally end!" Also, people can make a decision because the witness is given in such a pressured manner that they think, "hey, if I make a decision, then I can finally get out of this awkward situation." The point being that "numbers" is a very misleading form of evaluation; "activity" can also be misleading as well.

Paragraph Three
I am very surprised that easy believism (antinomian variety) was associated with the gospel; the two are not the same. Yet, people may certainly get saved "in spite" of that theology. Certainly, people are sinful and lazy, and your paragraph has a point insofar as it hits upon this sinful tendency. However, studying theology and understanding the Word going into witnessing is utterly indispensable. Further, with the many different assaults upon the gospel in this day, it is important for people to address the issues in a well informed way. This is called equipping people.

-misrepresentation
-historical inaccuracy
-broad brushing
-arbitrariness
-pragmatism
-the post rang as more of a political bash of an opposing candidate than well thought out reasons.

Bob T. I have nothing against you, but I would simply caution you concerning your method of argumentation and tone.

Bob T.'s picture

Some on here differ with my definition of Hyper Calvinism. However the title and subject of this thread is Hyper Calvinism and defines it as "Hyper = constant emphasis." Therefore it must be assumed that the thread author has a different definition then some on here. By constant emphasis it could be that those who emphasis Calvinism in an inordinate and militant manner are in view.

I will stick with my definition of Hyper Calvinism. Some like Norman Geisler use the terms "strong Calvinism" and "moderate Calvinism." It would be fair to use such terms in some circumstances. but many in the young Reformed movement are militant and wearing Calvinism on their sleeve to the extent that they are Hyper. Also, some strong Calvinistic leaders have taken and approach that they themselves are militant and can be labeled as Hyper.

When one looks at the Evangelical and Fundamentalist scene today most all evangelism and church growth from conversion growth appears from those not emphasizing Calvinism or who are non Calvinist. Many may not like seeker churches but they have a high percentage of conversion growth. I have never denied that strong Calvinism does not have some advocates of evangelism and church planting. They do. But that does not abrogate the past historic reality and the present reality that actual soul winning and conversions, and actual church growth and multiplication has come from groups and individuals that are not Calvinistic or actually even anti Calvinist. We may not attend their churches for various reasons and differences. However, we cannot deny the reality of what has, or is occurring. The Methodists had tremendous conversion growth and church multiplication during the great awakenings. It made the Calvinists look conspicuously as though all were anti evangelistic. Thats factual proven history. But I would never attend a Methodist church.

Today the IFB and that includes especially the IFBX and KJVO churches have been and are winning the lost to Christ. We may not like much about many or several of them. But the reality cannot be denied. I greatly disagree with some of the emphasis and associations of Robert Warren and Saddleback community church. However, I have been overwhelmed by the huge numbers who are converted, followed up, and then continually discipled. Some who advocate and writ about the Lordship Gospel are critical of him and others and talk of easy believism. However, their own churches have but a small portion of conversion growth. Many now have no growth, but most all their growth has been transfer growth. Most of the accusations of easy believism are false. The Gospel itself is easy to believe. John 3:16 and Romans 10:13 present a simple and clear invitation. It can become easy believism if there is improper follow up or there is not consistent and good teaching. There are many who may drop away after a decision. However, this was the emphasis of the parable of the Sower. In actuality 75% of the hearers are not conversions. 25% are converted. However 25% of zero is none. 25% of 100 is 25 but with 75 who may not be converted. In history, from the first great awakening until now, it has been the strong or Hyper Calvinist that have criticized the evangelism, cried easy believism, decried the false decisions, and withdrew to their cloistered groups. Today we have seen the Pentecostals, Charismatics, and groups such as the Calvary Chapels and Vineyards reach the lost. They are often really wrong in their theology but God does appear to sometimes bless His Gospel no matter who declares it.

One can be an Evangelical Fundamentalist who would not be entangled in ministry with many just named. This would be based on specific and clear scripture. However, we cannot deny reality or the effect of the Gospel. I am a moderate Calvinist who am compelled to recognize the good of many I may disagree with and also the wrong and unbiblical emphasis of the strong (Hyper) Calvinists.

The subject here is Hyper Calvinism and evangelism. Todays militant young Calvinists are mostly of that strong (Hyper) Kind. Most wear their Calvinism on their sleeves. Some of the older leaders and most of the younger followers appear to me to be very wrong in emphasis, present a distorted LS gospel they claim is the only true gospel, and border on definite heresy when they talk of a "final justification" and salvation assurance based on sanctification examination.

Traditionally, most Baptists have been moderate Calvinists. The same with many independent Bible churches. Their Calvinism was never an issue. Most Dispensationalists were of the moderate Calvinistic orientation. Graduates of Dallas, Talbot, Western, Denver, and the fundamental Baptist Seminaries were also of the Moderate Calvinistic orientation to various degrees. Their Calvinism was moderated by their not being oriented to Covenant theology or the complete Reformed soteriology.

There is now a new emphasis that has generated many followers and leaders that have pushed Reformed soteriology with limited atonement and pre salvation regeneration to the forefront. With pre salvation regeneration has come the Hyper LS gospel and militancy. This has often been combined with a dogmatism that demands conformity and attacks those who criticize the new emphasis.

Bob T.'s picture

Caleb,

Your selective historical references may indicate you read too many Calvinist versions of history. Read broader and get other versions or points of view. I suggest Mark Noll or Sidney Ahlstrom for starters. Or perhaps even a strong Calvinist historian that I studied under, Geoffrey Bromiley.

I clearly set forth my definition of Hyper Calvinism and why. I do not accept the definition the Hyper Calvinists, and especially Phil Johnson have set forth. Did you not get that? I do not expect that strong Calvinists, especially of the militant type like Phil Johnson, will agree with my definition. You mention the council of Dort. However, surely you will acknowledge Calvin was not there and that it is not ethical or honest to appropriate a dead man's name to that which involves doctrines he did not declare or adequately speak to. My using Calvin himself instead of Dort as a measure of Calvinism is surely more historically honest.

As to tone, I was not aware that there was an audio version of what I wrote available. I don't like your tone either - whatever it is. What specific written words do yo not like? Perhaps it is the ones you do not agree with?

Bob T.'s picture

Greg Long wrote:
Bob, I agree with Roger, that was a really ridiculous statement to imply that since someone attends a conference they can't be evangelistic.

I side with Phil Johnson on his definition of what hyper-calvinism is. I have seen Calvinism slide into hyper-Calvinism with a refusal to extend a call for people in general to repent and believe in Christ.

Greg, I did not say that "because someone attends a conference they can't be evangelistic." I will acknowledge that there may be one who is. Or would you like me to say that there could be more?

I appreciate your posts even when we may differ. Please read the posted reference to an article on todays SI front page by Mark Driscoll on conferences. In my generation there were too many who attended most all the conferences also. Why I even attended a Rick Warren Saddleback conference. IMO there is even a more serious problem among the young new Reformed. Even conferences on evangelism are often substituting talk and discussion for action. Take it as general analysis that does not speak to specific exceptions since they are not enough to change the general analysis.

Bob T.'s picture

JohnBrian wrote:
Bob,

You create a new definition of the term hyper-calvinist and then judge all your calvinist "brothers" to be (in general) un-evangelistic!

I would have to agree with Roger in post 9

rogercarlson wrote:
Bob,
This post was over the top even for you.

...I suggest you seek the Lord for how your are defaming brothers in a unkind way, which is becoming more common with you here.

Well John, I would certainly expect you would not like my post. Read all that I have said. I do not condemn all Calvinists. There are many moderate Calvinists. I am one. I speak to those within my definition of Hyper Calvinism and especially those militant modern Calvinists who wear their Calvinism on their sleeves. A post like mine would be expected to bring them out. It is to be expected that they will seek to defame the messenger by attacking his "tone" or calling his opinions "over the top," which means they disagree or just don't like being outed and their untouchable ideas criticized.

rogercarlson's picture

Bob,

Your view of my post could not be any less accurate. I was clear in my private messege to you that i often feel badly for those respond to on here when I agree with you. You nearly always come across as condescending and rarely listen to another point of view. That is just a reality that you refuse to see. But people who are just passerby's to this sight have said as much to me about you. You should reflect on that. It's too bad, because you have so much to offer and I like reading your posts, but would like them more if they were not so caustic.

Roger Carlson, Pastor
Berean Baptist Church

Caleb S's picture

Bob T. wrote:
Caleb,

Your selective historical references may indicate you read too many Calvinist versions of history. Read broader and get other versions or points of view. I suggest Mark Noll or Sidney Ahlstrom for starters. Or perhaps even a strong Calvinist historian that I studied under, Geoffrey Bromiley.

I clearly set forth my definition of Hyper Calvinism and why. I do not accept the definition the Hyper Calvinists, and especially Phil Johnson have set forth. Did you not get that? I do not expect that strong Calvinists, especially of the militant type like Phil Johnson, will agree with my definition. You mention the council of Dort. However, surely you will acknowledge Calvin was not there and that it is not ethical or honest to appropriate a dead man's name to that which involves doctrines he did not declare or adequately speak to. My using Calvin himself instead of Dort as a measure of Calvinism is surely more historically honest.

As to tone, I was not aware that there was an audio version of what I wrote available. I don't like your tone either - whatever it is. What specific written words do yo not like? Perhaps it is the ones you do not agree with?


I see. If that is the level that is going to be resorted to, then I am done with this discussion; I should not have even made the attempt. Have a great day.

Larry's picture

Moderator

Since we get to define "hyper-Calvinist" without having to bear the weight of history and theology, I define a hyper Calvinist as someone who believes that hyper Calvinism is five point Calvinism that has proponents who attend conferences.

Is this a threat to evangelism? Well, I don't know for sure, but I know that some spend time on internet forums rather than being out knocking on doors winning souls, so they aren't as evangelistic as they could be.

Greg Long's picture

Sometimes, Bob, I think you are a hyper-Topartzerian. Smile

-------
Greg Long, Ed.D. (SBTS)

Pastor of Adult Ministries
Grace Church, Des Moines, IA

Adjunct Instructor
School of Divinity
Liberty University

Aaron Blumer's picture

EditorAdmin

Bob...
I'm sitting here trying to figure out what it good it does to define a term in a way that almost no-one accepts, least of all, those you want to win over to your point of view. It's sort of like trying to talk dog lovers into not loving dogs anymore by labeling them all Rabid Hyper Pantheists. Of course, in your own mind you can use whatever definition you like for "Rabid Hyper Pantheists," but the dog lovers are never going to go "Hey... I think he's got a point."

Bob T.'s picture

Surely you know that many moderate Calvinists who are or were 3 or 4 pointers have used the term Hyper regarding 5 pointers for years. I use the term as used by many non Calvinists and Arminians and not as defined by the 5 pointers themselves. The term is used variously historically. There were different usages. It was used of Calvinists who claimed that there was no general call to the unsaved therefore no need to declare the gospel to them. To some Arminians and other moderate Calvinists any 5 point calvinist logically denies the general call and their rebuttal is nothing but Obamaspeak (new dictionary word for doublespeak). So some view the very definition supplied by the Calvinists as making them Hyper.

As you are aware some have accused SI of being filled with Calvinists who attack like sharks if their sacred ground is treaded on. I do not think it so much as it was. But this thread again affirms that to discuss Calvinism brings direct personal attack. I did not purposly intend to invite attacks. I posted my opinion to point out that todays Calvinism does go beyond Calvin and that also the new militancy must be considered. The thread originator did define Hyper Calvinism as "constant use." By that I think he is alluding to militancy. Most of the conferences mentioned in the article on SI today by Mark Driscoll are Militant Calvinism in empahasis. They have speakers and emphasis that point to their reformed gospel and ministry as the true. Some allude to their truth v. the false of the others.
I have refrained from specific names and institutionson here but have given them in other threads when more appropriate. I am not just giving my own definition of Hyper Calvinism. It is my own but also that of others. Some have gone to using strong Calvinism to present less offense. But Hyper is the most historically honest term. By todays definitions Calvin was not a Calvinist. Several historians have said that.

MarkClements's picture

ED, (poll creator)

Would you be willing to adjust the poll term and definition from "Hyper-Calvinism..." (which has already become a standard theological term with a different definition) to "Militant Calvinism" or something akin to that? "Hyper-Calvinism," as many of the above posts have demonstrated, has a pretty well established meaning. I think a different definition would help give some accuracy to your poll and the comments that accompany the votes.

Thanks for considering.

Aaron Blumer's picture

EditorAdmin

Bob wrote:
But this thread again affirms that to discuss Calvinism brings direct personal attack.

I would encourage readers to note where the "personal attacking" began in the thread.

As an example of a thread where there was very little if any of that...
http://sharperiron.org/article/wanted-more-arminians

Edit... and idea hits me: how about if we pretend the word "hyper" never appeared in this thread? It's fascinating to me how quickly that little prefix can cloud things and get folks in a tizzy.

Ed was clear what he means by the term. So just replace "hyper" with his definition and go with that.. the question becomes something like...
"Do you believe overemphasis on calvinist distinctives stifles evangelism?"

In fact, what if everybody stopped using "hyper" and just started using a list of qualifiers instead?

  • So one guy could say "Calvinism of the sort that rationalizes away the need for evangelism" (JohnBrian's idea of "hyper"... and many other's idea as well)
  • Another guy could say "Calvinism that is--well, calvinism" (Bob's idea? I'm not sure quite what Bob's idea is on that.... but I do know of plenty for whom all calv.=hyper)
  • And others could say "5 point calvinism" (as opposed to 4 points or less).

It could really be interesting to see how (or if) understanding improves if nobody calls anything "hyper." :quest:

Bob T.'s picture

In any subject one may find it necessary to attack ideas, persons who hold those ideas, or institutions and groups. That has always been a part of legitimate discussion. I just read a couple of academically oriented books by theologians on Calvinism. Both named other authors and did attack them in the sense of pointing out where there were inconsistencies or perceived errors.

SI sets its own standards. However, IMO a personal attack is where one is not speaking to the ideas or to other non posters who have spoken and expressed themselves, but attacks a poster directly on other than the ideas or facts expressed.

As to the definition of Hyper Calvinism; it is not exactly well defined in history unless all you read is the Calvinists giving the definition. The most common basic principle behind the Calvinist definition is that a Hyper Calvinist does not believe in a general call to salvation. There is only a belief in an effectual call which involves irresistible grace. Therefore there is no duty of proclamation of the gospel to the lost who are not elected. The non Hyper Calvinist believes in a general call to salvation that is resisted by the non elect and an effectual call whereby the elect are irresistibly regenerated, given faith, and converted.

There are strong Calvinists who do distinguish between the effectual call and regeneration. Millard Erickson does so in his theology. The holy Spirit irresistibly persuades to faith then the there is conversion and the impartation of regeneration. The order to them is effectual calling - Conversion - Regeneration.

Some moderate Calvinists and Arminians see no difference between those who are strong Calvinists who believe in a general call and those who do not. To them any concept of a general call that the non elect cannot respond to makes no sense and is double speak. Therefore, many see all 5 point Calvinists as Hyper, especially those who hold to both the particular atonement and regeneration preceding faith.

Many of todays young or recent Calvinists often talk of the Synod of Dort being the standard by which the term Calvinism must be judged. However, the Synod of Dort stated at Canon 1 Article 17 that those born into the church already enjoy the covenant of grace. Therefore infant Baptism was in order. This came to be called the old lights or non conversion view. They claimed conversion was not necessary.

The bottom line of all this is that many non Calvinists see Calvin as one who does not fit the definition of a present day strong Calvinist. Thus the term Hyper Calvinist may be applied to them.

dan's picture

I voted other, because I think hyper-Calvinism as defined in the OP (well, perhaps any definition) can adversely affect evangelism, but not necessarily in the ways listed in the poll.

When presenting the gospel to an unsaved person:

  • Do you tell them Christ died for the elect, but no one else?
  • Do you tell them that they might be one of the people Christ died for, but they might not be?
  • Do you tell them that they will not believe unless they are a member of the elect?

If not, why not?

"Despair does not lie in being weary of suffering, but in being weary of joy."
G.K. Chesterton

Ed Vasicek's picture

John Brian said:

Quote:
The Gospel Standard churches of England have a classic Hyper-Calvinistic doctrinal statement

Article 26 - Duty Faith and Duty Repentance Denied wrote:
We deny duty faith and duty repentance - these terms signifying that it is every man's duty spiritually and savingly to repent and believe (Gen. 6:5, Gen 8:21, Matt. 15:19, Jer. 17:9, John 6:44, John 6:65.) We deny also that there is any capability in man by nature to any spiritual good whatever. So that we reject the doctrine that men in a state of nature should be exhorted to believe in or turn to God of themselves. (John 12:39-40, Eph. 2:8, Rom. 8:7-8, 1 Cor. 4:7.)

Article 33 - Preaching to the Unconverted wrote:
Therefore, that for ministers in the present day to address unconverted persons, or indiscriminately all in a mixed congregation, calling upon them savingly to repent, believe, and receive Christ, or perform any other acts dependent upon the new creative power of the Holy Ghost, is, on the one hand, to imply creature power, and, on the other, to deny the doctrine of special redemption.

Also:

Wow! Thanks for that great post, John Brian. We have a lot of interesting discussion going on, but this post (only partly quoted) was quite impressive! Thanks for sharing it.

"The Midrash Detective"

Ed Vasicek's picture

What I have seen in my own life -- and in the lives of so many in our region -- is this:

A lost person (like me in 1974) was reached with the Gospel by someone who does not believe in election (maybe never even heard of it).

I grew in the Lord and witnessed with zeal.

As I grew, I came to understand the doctrine of election.

I still witness, but I look more for opportunities than try to make them.

Even if election (understood in a Calvinistic way) does damped evangelistic zeal, I believe it is what the Bible teaches and take my stand there. Yet it can also transform zeal.

Anyone experience some of the above or see it in action?

"The Midrash Detective"

rogercarlson's picture

Ed,
It has actually increased mine in that I don't worry about sugar coating it like i did before. But I am also not frantic..that is I don't stew over someone not turning to Christ like I did before. My job is to scatter the seed. I give the Gospel passionately, but I don't believe that I am that person's only hope like I used to believe.

Roger Carlson, Pastor
Berean Baptist Church

Ed Vasicek's picture

rogercarlson wrote:
Ed,
It has actually increased mine in that I don't worry about sugar coating it like i did before. But I am also not frantic..that is I don't stew over someone not turning to Christ like I did before. My job is to scatter the seed. I give the Gospel passionately, but I don't believe that I am that person's only hope like I used to believe.

In my case, I, too, do not have to worry about sugar coating and am not as frantic. On those points I converge. But I think there is something in the Arminian viewpoint that makes one more zealous. Yet I am not saying that we should compromise doctrine for practical effect. I do not think it NEEDS to be that way, but this post is about what is.

Hyper-calvinism is actually the subject, so we have digressed.

"The Midrash Detective"

Lance Roberts's picture

I also vote 'other' since that isn't the real definition of 'hyper'.

If the question is asking about 'constant emphasis', then I would say it doesn't threaten evangelism. How can emphasizing God's sovereignty, and men being dead in their sins hurt evangelism? It certainly hasn't done so in the past.

Aaron Blumer's picture

EditorAdmin

This is more aimed at Bob T, who seems to think that it's obvious that Calvinists should not be allowed to define what hyperCalvinism is.
As a general rule, it makes sense to me that people who hold to a perspective are the most entitled and competent to identify distortions of it. So really, the most credible definition of hyper anything is likely to be found among those who hold to the non-hyper form of it... whether it's Calvinism or Antidisestablishmentarianism. (The real scum out there these days are those evil hyperantidisestablishmentarianists!).

Pastor Harold's picture

I see more lasting fruit in my witnessing, now that I understand election.
I used to force a "sinners prayer" on everyone I could, and then wonder why it never stuck.
Now I try to present a clearer gospel and worry less about them rejecting it.
Maybe I'm sowing a "better seed" now???

JohnBrian's picture

Pastor Harold wrote:
I see more lasting fruit in my witnessing, now that I understand election.
I used to force a "sinners prayer" on everyone I could, and then wonder why it never stuck.
Now I try to present a clearer gospel and worry less about them rejecting it.
Maybe I'm sowing a "better seed" now???
My experience as well!

Planting and watering and allowing God (in the person of the Holy Spirit) to secure the increase 1 Cor. 3:6-7.

CanJAmerican - my blog
CanJAmerican - my twitter
whitejumaycan - my youtube

JohnBrian's picture

dan wrote:
When presenting the gospel to an unsaved person:

  • Do you tell them Christ died for the elect, but no one else?
  • Do you tell them that they might be one of the people Christ died for, but they might not be?
  • Do you tell them that they will not believe unless they are a member of the elect?

If not, why not?

1. No. I tell them that God commands all men everywhere to repent.

2. No. If they repent that is proof that Christ died for them.

3. No. If they believe that is proof that they are a member of the elect.

CanJAmerican - my blog
CanJAmerican - my twitter
whitejumaycan - my youtube

Jim's picture

Quote:
This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am chief. (1 Timothy 1:15)

  • Introduces the subject of sin. I often quote Romans' passages on sin.
  • Introduces the Lordship of Jesus ... "Christ" ... and
  • His mission = "Jesus" / name means "He will save His people from their sins"
Ed Vasicek's picture

We have gotten all over the place over my friend, Norman Clature (nomenclature). Technically my definition of hyper-calvinism is not the accepted theological one. Still, I have defined what I meant. I am not talking about 5 point Calvinism, but even a 4 point Calvinism that is constantly reiterated and brought to bear. We all know people who are "election" specialists, just as we know prophecy buffs.

My issue is not with the content we use to witness to people, my question relates to the intensity of the desire to witness and the intentionality of witnessing. My issue is not about what should be, but what is.

I hope this clarifies matters.

"The Midrash Detective"

skjnoble's picture

What I have seen in my own life -- and in the lives of so many in our region -- is this:

A lost person (like me in 1974) was reached with the Gospel by someone who does not believe in election (maybe never even heard of it).

I grew in the Lord and witnessed with zeal.

As I grew, I came to understand the doctrine of election.

I still witness, but I look more for opportunities than try to make them.

Even if election (understood in a Calvinistic way) does damped evangelistic zeal, I believe it is what the Bible teaches and take my stand there. Yet it can also transform zeal.

Anyone experience some of the above or see it in action?

I've been following this poll and the subsequent comments. My religious experience has run the spectrum of this pole from end to end. I was raised in a religious setting where humans held the magical word keys to not only evangelism, but their own salvation as well. In sharing the "gospel", I was zealous under this setting.

Then in early(ier) adulthood, I was saved under a ministry where truth was taught deeply, yet in a non-confrontational fashion, for the most part. I won't use my word count on how this was achieved. Suffice it to say, I remember the day, for the first time, I hungered to hear more of the bible instead of my own opinions. I was more relaxed in how I shared what I knew about Christ, but not confident like I was before.

Then in later (early--smile) adulthood, we were brought to what would be considered a church with Calvinistic beliefs--we've even been told "hyper", but I won't go there--but for the first time I was more confident I understood the truth of Scripture, but shared less for a variety of reasons.

As I've thought about this over the years while attending this church, I find the easy go-to is to blame shift everything on the doctrinal teaching and knowledge that Calvinism dampens evangelism efforts, zeal and results. It may be true for some, but mostly in my case, I found my understanding from Scripture, of who I was, relative to Who God is, is now appropriately disproportionate. I am no longer confidently magical, I am now small and insignificant.

The kind of sower I hopefully am growing into is one of strong faith in an eternal God and not my methodology. I am now a person who wants to share more about this glorious God I know and less about how someone can become saved--right, wrong or otherwise. I hope I have become a person who, like Ed said, "seeks more opportunities, than tries to make them" (although with the disclaimer that I may be misusing this quote by Ed just to try and fit it into what I'm trying to say) which I believe is much like the faithful, constant sower of Mark 4. For me, I hopefully accomplish this by speaking more about "this is what I was and this is what God did by His grace, mercy and love." I hope I have become more like the sower in Mark 4 who casts and then goes to sleep and has no idea why such and such person suddenly wants to know more about this God Whom I have been talking about lately, but since the opportunity is there, I pursue it immediately. It is less about a one-time chance and more about my every day, faithful speech patterns.

I realize, though, I need to be sharpened in this area. In doing this, I have easily become slack and often times have been less engaged about truly seeking opportunities and more engaged in people pleasing. I've been thinking about this quite a bit over the past year and this post comes in a timely fashion where I've been convicted of my sin.

So all this to say, thank you, Ed, for outing me (you actually do that more than you know, by God's grace.) This poll has helped me think and pursue more about what Scripture says is a healthy, growing Christian.

Mark 4:26-29 (NASB)
26 And He was saying, “The kingdom of God is like a man who casts seed upon the soil; 27 and he goes to bed at night and gets up by day, and the seed sprouts and grows—how, he himself does not know. 28 The soil produces crops by itself; first the blade, then the head, then the mature grain in the head. 29 But when the crop permits, he immediately [a ](A)puts in the sickle, because the harvest has come.”

Blessings,

Kim Smile