A Transcript Of The Video Study

In our previous study, I pointed out three grading systems for identifying the variant teachings of Arminianism and Calvinism. According to the “scale” classification, there are six measurements—High-Arminianism, Moderate-Arminianism, Low-Arminianism, Low-Calvinism, Moderate-Calvinism and High-Calvinism. Now, it is only natural to ask, What Is Hyper-Calvinism? You notice, it is not listed as a measurement on this scale. In fact, where does Hyper-Calvinism fit within this classification? Should it be placed at the top, as a seventh measurement? Or, should it be placed to the side as an extreme and deviant set of teachings which do not even belong on this grading system? That is actually what many Arminians and lower ranking Calvinists believe. They believe Hyper-Calvinism doesn’t even deserve a place on the scale.

Well, the reason I didn’t include Hyper-Calvinism as a label on this grading system, is because technically speaking, Hyper-Calvinism is a name given to the same group of believers who are also identified as High-Calvinists. However, though the names identify the same group of believers, they do not mean the same thing by those who use them. High-Calvinism is the name used by High-Calvinists, derived from their higher, or sharper, views of sovereign grace. Whereas Hyper-Calvinism is the name used by Arminians and lower ranking Calvinists, based on their misunderstanding of High-Calvinism. Let me distinguish between the names in this way: What a true picture is to a caricature, High-Calvinism is to Hyper-Calvinism. Hyper-Calvinism is nothing but a caricature of High-Calvinism—it is a distorted picture. Now, whether it be Low-Calvinists such as John MacArthur and Phil Johnson, or Moderate-Calvinists such as Martyn Lloyd-Jones, R. C. Sproul and James White, they all propagate this distorted picture of High-Calvinism, which they call Hyper-Calvinism. Henceforth, in a nutshell, Hyper-Calvinism is a caricature of High-Calvinism, based on the misunderstandings of Arminians and lower ranking Calvinists.

In this study, I wish to highlight several ways in which these Arminians and lower ranking Calvinists distort High-Calvinism. Let’s begin with three general mischaracterizations. Non-High-Calvinists will say:

1. Hyper-Calvinists go beyond and over the bounds of five point Calvinism.

Not true. High-Calvinists remain clearly within the boundary of all five points. The issue is not that of boundary, but of consistency. High-Calvinists consistently understand and apply the five points of Calvinism. Let me put it like this—High-Calvinists nurture sharper views of sovereign grace, whereas Arminians and lower grade Calvinists entertain blunted views of the gospel.

2. Hyper-Calvinists over-emphasize the sovereignty of God at the expense of the responsibility of man.

Not true. Arminians and lower ranking Calvinists mistakingly arrange man’s responsibility under God’s sovereignty, which is why they accuse High-Calvinists of negating human responsibility by an over-emphasis on divine sovereignty. High-Calvinists, however, correctly arranged man’s responsibility under the authority of a covenant. A covenant is an agreement between two or more people with certain obligations binding them together. Every relationship is based upon the authority of a covenant. High-Calvinists believe all unregenerate sinners are in relationship TO God under the authority of the Covenant of Works, and are therefore responsible to perfectly obey the law inscribed upon their hearts. On the other hand, all regenerate sinners are in relationship WITH God under the authority of the Covenant of Grace, and are therefore responsible to exercise the fruits of the new nature according to the law of Christ. Henceforth, far from diminishing or negating the responsibility of man, High-Calvinists actually identify and define human responsibility according to one’s covenantal relationship TO or WITH God. To suggest this has anything to do with an over-emphasis on God’s sovereignty only demonstrates the ignorance with which Arminians and lower ranking Calvinists approach the teachings of High-Calvinism.

3. Hyper-Calvinists over-emphasize eternal truths at the expense of time realities.

Not true. Whereas High-Calvinists begin with eternal truths which interpret time realities, they do not emphasize the one over the other. On the other hand, Arminians and lower ranking Calvinists begin with time realities which they then use to interpret eternal truths. High-Calvinists start with God and work their way down to man; Arminians and lower ranking Calvinists start with man and work their way up to God.

Let’s now consider some of the charges brought against High-Calvinists with reference to preaching the gospel. Non-High-Calvinists will say:

1. Hyper-Calvinists do not believe the gospel should be freely offered.

True. But this statement must be qualified. High-Calvinists believe there is a difference between preaching and offering the gospel. The scriptures speak frequently of preaching the gospel, but not once does the Word of God prescribe or describe offering the gospel. What is the difference? To preach the gospel is to declare the good news of glad tidings in all its fulness and freeness to those who have ears to hear. To offer the gospel is to set forth the good news of glad tidings as a gift from God which is in the power of the sinner to accept or reject. With the offer of the gospel also comes various duties imposed upon the sinner in order for that sinner to be born again. Duties such as faith and repentance. The preacher will say, “Sinner, here is the gift of God in Christ! Now, if you want it, you can have it, so long as you believe and repent.” Do you see, the gospel is no longer duty free. The preacher has imposed a tax upon the gospel—the tax of duty-faith and duty-repentance. So yes, it is true High-Calvinists believe the gospel should not be offered, for an offered gospel is no longer a free gospel. But, it is also true High-Calvinists believe the gospel should be fully and freely preached to all sinners.

2. Hyper-Calvinists do not believe in preaching the gospel.

Not true. Some may modify this a little by saying Hyper-Calvinists do not believe in preaching the gospel to the lost, or to the non-elect. Not true. High-Calvinists are fervent believers that a full and free gospel must be preached to all—to as many as the Lord is pleased to bring under the sound of the gospel message.

3. Hyper-Calvinists do not believe in soul winning and world missions.

This is partially true. It is true High-Calvinists do not believe in ‘soul winning’, otherwise called proselyting. Of course, what Arminians and many lower ranking Calvinists call soul winning or evangelism, is nothing less than proselyting. They do not preach a full and free gospel, resting on the Lord to regenerate all such as should be saved. No, no. Rather, they present an edited version of the gospel, with an easy to follow formula, in order to facilitate the unregenerate to make decisions for Jesus. They are not looking for God made converts. They are trying to mass produce man-made converts. They manipulate sinners and engineer professions of faith, with the goal of Christianizing the world. High-Calvinists certainly do not believe in proselyting. However, they do believe in world missions. They are very evangelically minded, in the right sense of the word. They desire the gospel be preached to the nations of the world, for Christ has redeemed His people to God by His blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people and nation. High-Calvinists rejoice when the gospel goes forth far and wide, for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one who believes.

Let’s now consider some of the charges brought against High-Calvinists with reference to man’s responsibility. Non-High-Calvinists will say:

1. Hyper-Calvinists do not believe faith is the duty of every sinner.

Not true. High-Calvinists believe sinners are divided into two distinct groups—the unregenerate who are under the authority of the Covenant of Works and therefore subject to the Heart Law; and the regenerate who are under the authority of the Covenant of Grace and therefore subject to the Gospel Law. Unregenerate sinners are responsible to exercise a natural faith springing up out of their unregenerate hearts—a natural faith in the one true and living God, their Maker and Law-Giver. That is the capacity in which they are in relationship TO God under the Covenant of Works, and that is what God requires of them so long as they are under the authority of that covenant. On the other hand, regenerate sinners are responsible to exercise a saving faith springing up out of their regenerate hearts—a saving faith in Christ as He is their Mediator and Redeemer. That is the capacity in which they are in relationship WITH God under the Covenant of Grace, and that is what God requires of them for time and eternity. Henceforth, High-Calvinists believe natural faith is the duty of unregenerate sinners, whereas saving faith is the duty of regenerate sinners.

2. Hyper-Calvinists do not believe repentance is the duty of every sinner.

Not true. Just as there is a natural faith required of unregenerate sinners, so there is a natural repentance required of them. However, there is no saving virtue in or gospel promise attached to natural faith and repentance. On other hand, just as there is a saving faith required of regenerate sinners, so there is a saving and godly repentance required of them. Furthermore, this type of faith and repentance has both a saving virtue and gospel promises attached to them.

3. Hyper-Calvinists do not believe Christians are responsible to live godly lives.

Not true. Whereas High-Calvinists do believe regenerate sinners have been delivered from the authority of the Covenant of Works and released from the obligations of the Heart Law, yet they also believe regenerate sinners have been experientially brought under the authority of the Covenant of Grace and made subject to the Gospel Law, or the Law of Christ. It is the Gospel Law which serves as the rule of conduct for the believer’s life, and it is therefore slanderous to accuse the High-Calvinist of abusing the grace of God by turning it into a license to sin.

Let’s now consider some of the charges brought against High-Calvinists with reference to the gospel of salvation. Non-High-Calvinists will say:

1. Hyper-Calvinists do not believe God has any sort of love for the non-elect.

Not true. Many High-Calvinists believe the point at which God the Father set apart His elect people as objects of special love, He at one and the same point set aside the non-elect as objects of less love. The whole of the human race is on some measure loved by God from eternity, the difference between the elect and the non-elect resting upon the measure of love God has for the one over the other.

2. Hyper-Calvinists do not believe in “common grace”.

Not true. High-Calvinists believe there is a common grace of God unto all His creatures, as He is their Maker and Law-Giver. They also believe there is a special grace of God unto salvation for His elect people, as He is their Redeemer and Sanctifier. While it is certainly true High-Calvinists do not believe there is a common grace of God unto salvation which encompasses the non-elect, yet it is inaccurate to characterize them as rejecting a common grace of God unto all His creatures, which does extend to the non-elect.

3. Hyper-Calvinists do not believe the atoning blood of Christ is all powerful and sufficient to redeem the entire world.

This is partially true. High-Calvinists believe the blood of Christ was shed only for those given to Him by the Father, and therefore its sufficiency and efficacy is in proportion to its scope and design. Henceforth, while it is true High-Calvinists do not believe the blood of Christ was in any measure shed for or made available to the non-elect, yet it is not true that High-Calvinists limit the power and sufficiency of Christ’s atoning blood. The atoning blood of Christ is sufficient to redeem all those for whom it is intended, and that is why all such as should be redeemed are redeemed. In fact, I would argue the Arminians and lower ranking Calvinists are at fault on this point, for it is they who teach the blood of Christ was shed for those who are never ultimately redeemed by it, and therefore cheapen what the scriptures call “the precious blood of Christ”.

Well, my friends, I must draw this study to a close. It has been my purpose to answer the question, What Is Hyper-Calvinism? Hyper-Calvinism is a false representation of High-Calvinism, drawn up by the Arminians and lower ranking Calvinists. I have highlighted several ways in which they misrepresent High-Calvinism, and have provided a short response to each of them. I hope, the next time you hear people flinging around the label “Hyper-Calvinism”, you will exercise discernment, knowing they understand neither what they say, nor whereof they affirm.

I look forward meeting with you for our next study. Until then, may the Lord bless you.

Jared Smith



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