Jared Smith On Various Issues

My Response To Josh Buice’s Assault On Hyper-Calvinists

Josh Buice, pastor of Pray’s Mill Baptist Church (Atlanta, Georgia), serves as Assistant Professor of Preaching at Grace Bible Theological Seminary and is the founder and president of G3 (Gospel—Grace—Glory) Ministries. On November 22, 2016, he published a column entitled “Calvinism Is Not Hyper-Calvinism” to “Delivered By Grace”. It is to this article I wish to respond. He begins,

“Last week, I was interviewed by Chris Arnzen on his radio show, Iron Sharpens Iron, on the subject of hyper-Calvinism.  It caused me to think about this subject and the importance of using vocabulary properly.  As the father of a type 1 diabetic, I spend much of my time explaining to people in random conversations that type 1 diabetes (T1D) is not the same thing as type 2 diabetes (T2D).  Therefore, let me begin by clearly stating this point—Calvinism is not hyper-Calvinism.  When I engage in conversation with people who want to discuss Calvinism, I’m happy to do so, but I want to be sure that we’re using the same dictionary.”

I appreciate Bro Buice’s desire to use vocabulary properly and his dedication to dictionaries. I wonder, from which dictionary has he taken his definition for Hyper-Calvinism?  

“What is Calvinism? Calvinism is a system of theology that seeks to systemize the teachings of Scripture on the subject of salvation. What is the relationship between the absolute sovereignty of God and the responsibility of man? This is the central issue of Calvinism.”

Broadly speaking, Calvinism is a label given to a set of teachings that have come to be known as the Doctrines of Grace. The central issue of Calvinism is not, as asserted by Bro Buice, to reconcile the sovereignty of God with the responsibility of man. The only system of teaching where these points conflict is that of free will works religion. Rather, the central issue of Calvinism is the preservation of a free and full gospel to sinners. 

“It takes the name of the Reformer John Calvin, who was a passionate preacher of Scripture in the Sixteenth Century in Geneva, Switzerland.  During the Protestant Reformation, the Reformers were seeking to unleash the true gospel from the intense strangle hold of the Roman Catholic Church.  It was through this period of time that the Bible was being printed in the common language of the people and was simultaneously being proclaimed expositionally.”

First, not all that Calvin or the Reformers taught is Scriptural. For instance, their teachings on the sacraments as means of grace blatantly contradicts their teachings on free grace. 

Second, Calvin and the Reformers recognized the Catholic Church as the true church of Christ, merely seeking to reform her doctrine and practice. Baptists and other dissenters, on the other hand, believed the Catholic Church is a false church of Christ.

Third, there was not a standard set of teachings during the 16th century Protestant Reformation which unified all Reformers under a single umbrella. As we find today among pastors and theologians, no one person represents the teachings of Scripture in their entirety to the agreement of any other pastor or theologian. Even at the Synod of Dordt (1618) the Reformers did not agree on every point of doctrine. 

I mention these things only to guard against the unhealthy habit of idolizing our Christian forefathers and/or extending to them some type of special authority on matters of faith and practice. In the grand scheme of Scripture truth, it matters not whether one man, or a group of men, believed certain things about the Bible. We may certainly benefit from their teachings, but we must never make their teachings the bedrock of our faith. The same is true for ancient creeds and confessions. It is often amusing to hear people acclaim ‘sola scriptura’, but are always quoting article and paragraph of some confession, rather than chapter and verse of the Bible. 

“A group of followers of Jacobus Arminius who studied under Theodore Beza (a disciple of John Calvin) drafted a document known as the Remonstrance.  It was a detailed refutation of the sovereignty of God in salvation.  It elevated the free will of man above the sovereign initiative and power of God.  These people were known as Arminians.  Their doctrine would eventually become known as Arminianism.”

Bro Buice, as pointed out above, believes the central issue of Calvinism is the relationship between the sovereignty of God and the responsibility of man. Hmmm, that is how the Arminian characterizes the issue. It is free will works religion which seeks to fight for man’s responsibility (duty and ability) against the sovereign grace of God. How can God have His part and man retain his part in the great work of salvation? This was the question asked by Richard Baxter during the seventeenth century and by Andrew Fuller during the eighteenth century, both of whom answered it by combining Arminianism with Calvinism. 

“An official meeting, known as the Synod of Dordt, was held in 1619 in order to respond to the submission of the Arminians in their Remonstrance.  The overall conclusion was that the Remonstrance was incorrect and that the biblical view of salvation teaches that God is the author and finisher of saving grace.  The “five points” of Calvinism came as an answer to the unscriptural five points authored by the Arminians in 1610. The list was eventually organized with an acronym T.U.L.I.P. in order to explain the key teachings.”

Bro Buice, however, does not believe that God is the author and finisher of saving grace. Yes, he pays lip and finger service to these words, but his infatuation with the responsibility of man leads to a duty faith gospel, which must be offered to unregenerate sinners. He then insists the regenerate sinner is duty bound to keep the heart-law of God (or worst, the ten commandments) as a rule of conduct, in order that he/she may be progressively sanctified. Henceforth, God is neither author of salvation, if it be based on a duty-faith/free-offer gospel, nor is He the finisher of salvation, if it be based on the believer’s obedience to the heart-law (or ten commandments). According to his gospel framework, the responsibility of man is reversed, requiring of the unregenerate a saving faith they do not have, and demanding of the regenerate an obedience Christ has already earned. 

“Historical Timeline Surrounding the Doctrines Known as “Calvinism”

440 Bishop Leo of Rome becomes “Bishop of Bishops.” Asserts Primacy of Rome over the Church; Dark Ages Begin.

1382 John Wycliffe translates Bible.

1384 John Wycliffe martyred by Rome.

1439 (Approximate) Printing press invented.

1517 Luther Nails 95 Theses to the Wittenberg Church Door; The Reformation begins (Post Tenebras Lux).

1522 Luther’s New Testament.

1526 Tyndale’s New Testament.

1536 William Tyndale Martyred by Rome; Institutes of the Christian Religion (John Calvin).

1553 Bloody Mary becomes queen of England and restores power to the RCC. During

Mary’s reign, more than 300 Protestants are burned. John Rogers (publisher of the Matthew’s Bible) is the first to be burned at the stake. Many Protestants flee from England to Geneva.

1559 Calvin opens his college in Geneva. Within five years the college would have over 1500 students.

1560 The Geneva Bible is printed. It was the first Bible with verse references and sold over one million copies between 1560 and 1640. John Foxe publishes Foxe’s book of Martyrs.

1561 Belgic Confession (Guido de Bres).

1563 Heidelberg Catechism (Zacharias Ursinus and Caspar Olevianus).

1564 John Calvin Dies.

1571 The Synod of Emden (birth of the Dutch Reformed Church).

1609 Jacobus Arminius dies.

1610 Remonstrance (Arminians or Remonstrants led by Johannes Uytenbogaert).

1611 Counter-Remonstrance (led by Pieter Platevoet).

1618 Opening of the Synod of Dort & Opinions of the Remonstrants.

1619 Synod Dismisses the Arminians & Adopts the Canons (AKA – 5-Points of Calvinism).”

Okay, but the timeline is far from complete. Bro Buice has cherry picked those names and events which support his narrative. He does not highlight other Reformers and their writings who departed from or developed the views of Calvin. For instance, Theodore Beza may be considered the first “Hyper-Calvinist”, as he developed several teachings which were not advanced by Calvin. In fact, it was Beza’s teachings that were adopted by the 1646 Westminster Confession, which were then copied by the 1658 Savoy Declaration and the 1689 Baptist Confession. From this perspective, all three confessions subscribe to a seventeenth century Hyper-Calvinism which looks quite different from Calvin’s Institutes. This is particularly true of the Congregational and Baptist confessions, as they denounce the greater part of the fourth volume of Calvin’s Institutes. Bro Buice, however, appears to be under the impression his doctrinal stance is one and the same with Calvin’s Institutes, making him the ‘balanced’ and ‘true’ Calvinist. 

“The system known as Calvinism is really five counter points to Arminianism.  Years later, Wesley adopted the Arminian position and thus the Methodist movement was born. Although there are certain exceptions, historically, Baptists and Presbyterians have been more Calvinistic and opposed to the doctrines of Arminianism while the Methodists and groups such as the Assemblies of God have embraced the doctrines known as Arminianism.  Today, Calvinism is sometimes known by titles such as Reformed theology and the doctrines of grace.”


“What is Hyper-Calvinism? Hyper-Calvinism is not a term used for those who are overly passionate about Calvinism.  That’s actually what we refer to as “cage stage Calvinism.”  When understood properly, hyper-Calvinism is a technical term for an extreme and unbiblical view that rejects any need for Christians to engage in missions and evangelism.  Simply put, hyper-Calvinists forbid the preaching of the gospel and the offer of salvation to the non-elect.  Such people believe that God has chosen people in Christ in eternity past and will bring about His results without the help of His people.  Hyper-Calvinism is heresy and must be rejected.”

First, as I mentioned above, a Hyper-Calvinist may be defined as one who goes beyond the teachings of Calvin himself. Indeed, this is often the way many Moderate-Calvinists like to begin their definition. If this be so, then the majority (if not all) Moderate-Calvinists are also Hyper-Calvinists, for they embrace a set of teachings developed by Beza. 

Second, Bro Buice refers to Hyper-Calvinism as a technical term. While it does have a historical and technical meaning, it also has a modern and distorted meaning, the latter of which is given by Bro Buice. 

The historical and technical definition is usually put in the negative form—a set of teachings which denies (1) saving faith is the duty of the unregenerate; (2) the gospel is an offer of grace to sinners; (3) the heart-law (or ten commandments) is the rule of conduct for the believer’s life. The foregoing denials may also be phrased in a positive form—a set of teachings which asserts (1) saving faith is the gift of God and only those who have been born again are duty-bound to exercise it; (2) the gospel is to be preached (proclaimed) to all sinners; (3) the gospel-law (soul’s union with Christ) is the rule of conduct for the believer’s life. This then, is the historical and technical definition for Hyper-Calvinism. 

On the other hand, the modern and distorted definition, as given by Bro Buice, is based on a set of false suppositions believed to be implied by the aforementioned definition. For instance, (1) “an extreme and unbiblical view that rejects any need for Christians to engage in missions and evangelism”; (2) “Simply put, hyper-Calvinists forbid the preaching of the gospel and the offer of salvation to the non-elect.” (3) “Such people believe that God has chosen people in Christ in eternity past and will bring about His results without the help of His people.” (4) “Hyper-Calvinism is heresy and must be rejected.”

If Bro Buice’s definition be a true appraisal of the term, then all Hyper-Calvinists (defined by the historical and technical definition) fully agree with his fourth point—“Hyper-Calvinism is heresy and must be rejected.” Bro Buice, however, faces a serious problem. Nowhere on earth do any such people exist. I have never met that type of Hyper-Calvinist, have you? Yes, I frequently hear about them from people like Bro Buice, but where are they? I certainly do not find any record of them in the annuls of history. I have never read any of their sermons. I have not come across any of their biographies. I cannot find their teachings online. I would be pleased if Bro Buice would supply us with the books and sermons of such people, and even be so kind as to introduce us to them personally. I for one am interested to meet them. 

Bro Buice says Hyper-Calvinism is (1) “an extreme and unbiblical view that rejects any need for Christians to engage in missions and evangelism”.

This is not true. Do you know, in the year 1861, a group of Baptist churches organized a mission board (Strict Baptist Mission) responsible for spreading the gospel in many parts of the world? These churches were all Hyper-Calvinists—they rejected the doctrines of duty-faith and the free-offer. Ironically, this mission board was hijacked by a group of Moderate-Calvinists during the 1980’s, who today stand on the coattails of the Hyper-Calvinists. I may also refer to myself on this point. Although I am a staunch Hyper-Calvinist, I have been serving for the last five years the office of Evangelist, preaching the gospel in the Philippines. Now, Bro Buice may be concerned the views of Hyper-Calvinism could lead to a non-evangelizing position, but there is no evidence it has ever led to that view and it is therefore irresponsible (or ignorant) to assert otherwise.

Bro Buice says (2) “Simply put, hyper-Calvinists forbid the preaching of the gospel and the offer of salvation to the non-elect.”

As mentioned above, this is not true. Hyper-Calvinists believe the gospel is to be PREACHED (proclaimed) to all sinners (to the elect and the non-elect). They do not believe, however, it is to be offered to anyone. The burden of proof for the free offer is on Bro Buice to provide, for nowhere in scripture is the gospel depicted as being offered, nor is there one command by Christ or His apostles that this is the way in which it is to be done. The free offer of the gospel to the unregenerate is not one and the same with preaching a full gospel to all sinners. Hyper-Calvinists preach a free and full gospel to all sinners, whereas Bro Buice will no doubt be accustomed to making offers of a partial (and twisted) gospel in an attempt to win souls to Christ. There is no difference between gospel proselyters and gospel offerers—they are all attempting to convert sinners by human means. Jn 1:12,13

Bro Buice says (3) “Such people believe that God has chosen people in Christ in eternity past and will bring about His results without the help of His people.” 

First, I am surprised Bro Buice does not believe this himself, as he claims to be a Calvinist. But as he mentioned earlier, he believes the central issue of Calvinism is to ensure human responsibility is given its rightful place in saving grace. It appears in his view, sinners cannot be regenerated without God using preachers as the means for their new birth. Of course, he will be against such things as baptismal regeneration (baptism as a means for the new birth) and decisional regeneration (the sinner’s choice as a means of the new birth), but he is a strong advocate for preaching regeneration (preaching must be the means of the new birth). What will God do without the help of the preacher? It is so good God has His preachers to rely upon. Call me a Hyper-Calvinist, but I believe in Spirit Regeneration (direct and effectual power of the Holy Spirit produces the new birth). It may be done while the gospel is preached, but the Spirit of God does not rely upon the preached gospel in order to regenerate His people.  

Second, Bro Buice refers to an ‘eternity past’, and while some Hyper-Calvinists have used that language, the mainstream distinguish between time and eternity, never mixing the two. There is no eternity ‘past, present or future’. Past, present and future belong to the sphere of time, whereas God (who is eternal) dwells outside of time. Arminians and Moderate-Calvinists tend to mix eternity and time, viewing God’s eternal decree to exist along a timeline, whereas Hyper-Calvinists view God’s eternal decree to exist outside of time, being brought to pass in time moment by moment. 

“To illustrate the views of hyper-Calvinism, consider what happened during a pastors’ meeting years ago.  A man named William Carey wanted to organize an effort to get the gospel to what he called heathen nations.  Carey stood up and addressed the crowd by requesting that they discuss “the duty of Christians to attempt to spread the gospel among the heathen nations.”  Mr. Ryland, and older minister, exclaimed loudly, “Sit down, young man!  When God pleases to convert the heathen, He will do it without your aid or mine.”  Carey did not stop.  His allegiance was to Christ – not Mr. Ryland.  Carey went to India and proclaimed the good news of Christ. Carey would write a book titled – An Enquiry into the Obligations of Christians, to Use Means for the Conversion of Heathens. He would argue his case that we should use means to reach heathens – contrary to what Mr. Ryland – the elder minister said in his meeting as he scolded the young Carey for bringing up the subject. William Carey, in his Enquiry, wrote: “It seems as if many thought the commission was sufficiently put in execution by what the apostles and others have done; that we have enough to do to attend to the salvation of our own countrymen; and that, if God intends the salvation of the heathen, he will some way or other bring them to the gospel, or the gospel to them. It is thus that multitudes sit at ease, and give themselves no concern about the far greater part of their fellow sinners, who to this day, are lost in ignorance and idolatry.” It must be pointed out that William Carey was a Calvinist. Although William Carey had only a grammar school education – he would shake the world with the gospel.  Carey once preached a sermon where he stated – “Expect Great Things – Attempt Great Things.” It was later added – “Expect Great Things From God – Attempt Great Things For God.”  That’s exactly what he did as he proclaimed the true gospel of King Jesus.  India would never be the same. The world would never be the same. The way the church viewed missions would never be the same – because of this Christ-exalting Calvinist that has become known to us as the “father of modern missions.”

In response to Bro Buice’s lengthy example on what he believes illustrates his definition for Hyper-Calvinism, I quote in full an article written by George Ella on this very incident:

“A number of modern writers who preach common-grace and duty-faith as redemptive means in evangelisation, view John Collet Ryland as a Hyper-Calvinist. Such a person, a recent BOT article tells us, does not appeal to sinners, “directly encouraging them to trust him (Christ), and appealing to them to do so now.” Obviously, given such criteria, Ryland’s critics know nothing of his extensive gospel ministry or are deliberately introducing a new conception of what ‘directly encouraging sinners’ means. Most of their ‘encouragement’ is found in their slogan ‘God’s provisions and man’s agency’ which stresses the need for man to use all his supposed natural abilities and duties to grasp out and take God’s provisions in Christ. Ryland affirmed that salvation was all of grace. Only then could he preach to sinners that salvation was truly there for all who repented and turned to Christ. Otherwise there would be no gospel for any man. The legalism of the duty-faith protagonists was thus obnoxious to him. Referring to the false doctrine introduced by Andrew Fuller and the two Robert Halls and supported by his son, Ryland said, “The devil threw out an empty barrel for them to roll about, while they ought to have been drinking the wine of the kingdom. That old dog, lying in the dark, has drawn off many good men to whip syllabub, and to sift quiddities, under pretence of zeal for the truth.” Sadly, this empty barrel-rolling and the verbal froth whipped up by redefining theological basics and making grace law-bound has become the favourite game of nominal evangelicals in the Reformed camp.”

“As a preacher, pioneer Baptist John Collet Ryland, according to his colleague and biographer William Newman (1773-1835) was ‘a star of the first magnitude’. Converted under Benjamin Beddome in revival days, on taking over a well-established Independent church (College Lane, Northampton), he increased its membership seven-fold. Like Whitefield and Wesley he pioneered open-air preaching in the highways and byways of public recreation areas. Unlike Ryland’s modern critics who remove the doctrines of grace from the gospel of salvation and include man’s agency as a saving factor, Ryland was concerned that the full gospel should be preached to all, including the condemning terrors of the Law. He believed the younger generation neglected the full gospel by following Andrew Fuller in preaching the impossible duty to ‘love Christ as if they had never apostatised’. Ryland’s was an evangelical gospel of grace whereas his critics preach a legal gospel of duties in order to appropriate salvation.”

“Preaching to his startled congregation at the time of a devastating 18th century eruption of Mount Aetna which buried great cities, Ryland proclaimed:”

““Some high Calvinists neglect the unconverted; but Paul left no case untouched. He spoke properly and suitably to Felix, as well as to Timothy. Some neglect to preach the law, and tell their hearers to accept Christ. O sinners, beware! If Christ says, “Depart,” ‘tis all over. Depart into a thousand Aetnas, bursting up for ever and ever. Your souls are now within an inch of damnation. I am clear of your blood. If you are condemned, I’ll look you in the face at judgment, and say, “Lord, I told that man – I told those boys and girls, on the 29th of August, 1790 – I warned them – they would not believe – and now they stand shivering before the bar!””

“No wonder that Robert Hall, a duty-faith man, nevertheless testified that after hearing Ryland preach, it was as if he had experienced a veritable earthquake himself. Indeed, the evangelical giants of the Great Awakening such as Harris, Hervey, Toplady and Whitefield looked upon Ryland as one in the Spirit with them and yet our modern preachers of a legal agenda rather than gospel say Ryland would not tell sinners to flee from the wrath to come!”

“What strategy lies behind this absurd condemnation? The re-structuring of Ryland has to do with modern efforts to re-structure another most significant character in Baptist history and create myths about him which are harmful to the gospel. In September, 1785, a young man, new to the Baptist churches, who had already reaped criticism from the Baptist fold, literally gate-crashed a Nottinghamshire Association conference and allegedly proposed that they discuss ‘the duty of Christians to attempt the spread of the Gospel among heathen nations.’ Sixty-two year-old Ryland supposedly ordered the youngster to shut up and sit down, adding, “When God pleases to convert the heathen, He will do it without your aid or mine!” [1. See Timothy George’s Carey biography for a lengthy blow-up of this supposed scene.] The story goes that Ryland’s was a lone voice in the Northampton Association and the majority of pastors and churches stood firmly behind the young man, seeing clearly the importance of bringing the gospel into foreign lands. That young man was William Carey who became one of the first Baptist missionaries to India.”

“The truth is that few Baptists at that time knew who Carey was and what he was capable of doing and in his new devotion to evangelism Carey made many blunders.  Indeed, during the following three or four years as his great plans became known, most of the leading Baptist pastors disagreed with him in strong terms. Yet modern duty-faith adherents are striving to recreate a false picture of William Carey as a duty-faith Legalist after their image and likeness and an evangelical Ryland as an enemy opposite. Yet anyone who reads Carey’s famous Enquiry will see that the author is talking about duties exercised through faith and not duties leading to faith. John Rippon argued that such as Ryland and Gill had the proper understanding of duty to faith exercised at the right time in the right place. As our modern enthusiasts put duty to faith in its wrong place, i.e. before faith is given, it is no wonder that their understanding of it is so deficient.”

“What do the facts say? Carey was brought up in the Church of England and owed his salvation to the preaching of Thomas Scott and the witness of his Congregationalist fellow-apprentice, John Warr. Nevertheless, he approached Ryland Sen. at College Lane (now Baptist) with a view to receiving believer’s baptism. Carey was passed on to Ryland’s son and assistant-pastor, John Ryland who baptised Carey in the River Nene on October 5 1783. Instead of becoming a member of Ryland’s church, Carey immediately looked for a Dissenting congregation to pastor. A Congregationalist and a Baptist church called him. This did not please the Northamptonshire and Buckinghamshire Baptist churches and John Sutcliffe (1752-1840) of Olney, told Carey sensibly that he should join a ‘respectable church’ as an ordinary member and be appointed to the ministry ‘in the regular way.’ So Carey joined Sutcliffe’s church at Olney, established by John Bunyan in 1672 on a ‘baptism no bar to communion’ basis. The church had now moved to a believer’s baptism only position. Immediately Carey asked the church to set him apart for the ministry but continued preaching every other Sunday for the Congregationalists. Then, early in 1785, he accepted a call to pastor Moulton Baptist church. The Olney church did not invite Carey to preach before them with a view to recommending him as a minister until the following summer. Then, Carey failed to convince them of his suitability and was told to improve himself and try again at some future date. Carey, however, not only continued to pastor the Moulton Church but attended the Northamptonshire Associations meetings as a member pastor, though his own church had refused to set him apart for such a ministry. It was at such an association visit, it is said, that Ryland rebuked Carey.”

“The first record of the encounter between Ryland and Carey was penned over thirty years later by J. W. Morris who affirmed that the two men ‘exchanged pleasantries!'[2. I am thankful to Michael Haykin for this information.]  By 1859, when all witnesses were long dead, the positive story reappeared in the quite different negative form recorded above. Pearce Carey combines the two. Underwood and Hoad merely say that Ryland thought Carey was an ‘enthusiast’. Ryland Jr. denied any such exchange took place.”

“Even if Ryland cautioned Carey, this was in keeping with his fellow-pastors whom Ryland’s critics place on the duty-faith side and thus in opposition to him. Sutcliffe warned Carey repeatedly against running before he could walk and Benjamin Beddome (1717-1795) disagreed with Carey in stronger terms than those attributed to Ryland. Confessing that he admired Carey and even thought that Carey might succeed him at Bourton-on-the-Water, Beddome insisted that Carey should not waste time on thoughts of foreign fields but learn that charity begins at home. He agreed fully with the caution practised by Sutcliff and Carey’s Olney church. Indeed, Beddome was so convinced that good men were still needed in Britain that he said concerning world-wide evangelism, “the time is not come, the time that the Lord’s house should be built.”[3. Taken from Pearce Carey, p. 103.] According to Pearce Carey, Andrew Fuller (1754-1815) related how some of the most respectable ministers thought that Carey’s ideas were ‘wild and impractical’. John Rippon (1750-1836) was most sceptical of Carey’s plans and even Ryland Jr, (1743-1825), Fuller and Samuel Pearce (1766-1799) only gave Carey full support in his enterprise some years later. Ryland Jr. was a sad figure. When he took over his father’s church, he dropped his practical Calvinism, launched into Fullerism, became high-handed with his congregation and lost many members. He had James Hewit disciplined for suggesting he was wishy-washy in comparison to his father and even had three generations of the Adams family excommunicated when John Adams compared him unfavourably with his father and criticised his rejection of evangelical doctrines. Carey had to wait another two years (1 August, 1787) for the Olney church and Association to officially set him apart ‘to preach wherever God in his providence might call him’. At that service, no less than twenty Baptist ministers gathered in Olney to give Carey their blessing. This was the turning of the tide for Carey.”

“The opposition the Liberal younger generation gave Ryland was also because of his openness to evangelicals of other denominations such as Hervey, Whitefield and Toplady and his conviction, along with most of his contemporaries, that the Lord’s Supper should be shared by all who loved the Lord. Interestingly enough, Ryland’s critics who call him a Hyper-Calvinist and even Antinomian, have slackened their doctrinal position, but tightened their denominationalism and closed communion stance, becoming absolute Legalists in their adherence to Neonomianism with its ‘Gospel of New Obedience’. We remember in this connection that Andrew Fuller, the doyen of our modern critics of Ryland, Gill, Toplady and Romaine, introduced Liberalism into Baptist folds but demanded of Indian missionaries Carey, Ward and Marshman that they should not fellowship or share communion with non-Baptists whom he said by definition were ‘not real Christians’. If the Serampore Trio had followed Fuller as he demanded, they would have isolated themselves from their Lutheran, Anglican and Independent brethren already in India and stopped the necessary British political support. Fuller was two-faced on this issue. Though he denied repeatedly that Non-Baptists could be Christians, he canvassed widely amongst them for funds for the Baptist mission. This reminds one of the questionable method of Roland Hill who begged money from Huntington’s members for his own church yet denounced them as ‘Antinomians’. Religions built on a relative understanding of law are bound to remain hypocritical where no enlightenment by grace is present. Carey, however, was different. He journeyed to India only after receiving the assurance that he would be able, like Paul, to pay his own way through combining preaching with occupational work. It was this re-discovery of the Biblical pattern that made Carey’s mission ‘modern’ and not the myth that the Baptist Missionary Society was the first of its kind as there were many similar earlier and contemporary organisations world-wide.”

“What’s the Difference? The difference between Calvinism and hyper-Calvinism is the distance between heaven and hell.  Calvinism is full of life and passion for God and desires to make God’s glory shine among the nations.  Hyper-Calvinism is lifeless heresy that damns people to hell, kills evangelism, and ruins churches.  Take a good look at the missionary movement of church history and you will see Calvinists leading the charge.  Men like William Carey, Adoniram Judson, and Charles Spurgeon were all Calvinists.  Many people overlook the missionary heart of John Calvin himself.  He trained and sent out many missionaries who passionately preached the truth.  Many of these men were martyred for their faith.”

If only Bro Buice’s definition for Hyper-Calvinism were correct, then I too would agree it is the distance between heaven and hell, a lifeless heresy that kills evangelism and ruins churches. But like so many of his ilk, he is steeped in prejudice which is often founded on ignorance. All of the Hyper-Calvinists I’ve studied in their historic setting, together with their various writings, testify to an evangelistic zeal and passion for souls which outshines their Arminian and Moderate-Calvinist counterparts. 

“The next time you’re talking to someone with Type-1 diabetes, just remember—it’s not the same thing as Type-2 diabetes.  Also, the next time you’re talking to a Calvinist, remember, Calvinism is not hyper-Calvinism.  To call faithful Calvinistic Christians hyper-Calvinists is to consign a massive number of people from church history to the flames of hell (including people like Charles Spurgeon, William Carey, Martin Luther, Andrew Fuller, Adoniram Judson, and George Whitefield).  What’s the difference between Calvinism and hyper-Calvinism?  Calvinism proclaims the true gospel while hyper-Calvinism proclaims no gospel at all.”

These are harsh and vitriolic words! Well, if calling someone a Hyper-Calvinist consigns him to the flames of hell, then it seems Bro Buice has pronounced hell fire on John Ryland, John Gill, William Huntington, Robert Hawker, Charles Buck, John Warburton, William Gadsby, John Booth, John Hazelton, Charles Hemington, David Doudney, George Abrahams, George Murrell, George Wright, Gilbert Beebe, James Hervey, James Upton, John Foreman, John Kershaw, William Rushton, William Styles and modern men such as George Ella and myself. All of these men deny saving faith as the duty of unregenerate sinners and reject the notion of a free offer of the gospel. Indeed, according to Bro Buice, he believes these men proclaim no gospel at all. Now, before the reader is a website (The Baptist Particular) hosting these men’s writings. I therefore leave it with you to investigate these matters, drawing your own judgments. As for Bro Buice, I have no reason to doubt the sincerity of his testimony which is why he is addressed as ‘brother’. I pray his prejudices against the Hyper-Calvinists will be dispelled, he granting to us the same courtesy.