Monday, November 26, 2007
Question: "What is hyper-Calvinism and is it Biblical?"
Answer: A simple and general definition is this: Hyper-Calvinism is the unscriptural belief that God saves the elect through His sovereign will with little or no use of the methods of bringing about salvation (such as evangelism, preaching, and prayer for the lost). To an unbiblical fault, the hyper-Calvinist over-emphasizes God's sovereignty and under-emphasizes man's responsibility in the work of salvation.
An obvious ramification of this is that the hyper-Calvinist has little if any desire to evangelize the lost. Or, if he does, he will not attempt to persuade the unbeliever to faith. Most churches or denominations that hold to hyper-Calvinistic theology are marked by fatalism, coldness, and a lack of assurance of faith. There is little emphasis upon God's love for the lost and His own people but rather an unbiblical and destructive emphasis upon God's sovereignty, His election of the saved and His wrath for the lost. The gospel of the hyper-Calvinist is a declaration of God's salvation of the elect and His damnation of the lost.
The Bible clearly teaches that God is sovereign over the entire universe (Daniel 4:34-35), including the salvation of men (Ephesians 1:3-12). But in His sovereignty, the Bible emphasizes that God's motivation for saving the lost is love (Ephesians 1:4-5, John 3:16, 1 John 4:9-10) and that God's means of saving the lost is the proclamation of His Word (Romans 10:14-15). The Bible also declares that the Christian is to be passionate and determined in his/her sharing with unbelievers...as ambassadors for Christ, we are to "beg" people to be reconciled to God (2 Corinthians 5:20-21).
The above facts fly in the face of hyper-Calvinism and show it to be an unbiblical and destructive understanding of the Word of God and the sovereignty of God. A fabulous online article regarding this issue is by Phillip Johnson and is found here. Johnson defines and describes hyper-Calvinism, refutes it and recommends several other resources for study.
HT: Got Questions?