Tuesday, March 20

Hypercalvinists

You thought they were an extinct bird, didn't you? Nope, they may be rare, but they exist, and the Baptist Board seems to have more than their fair share of them. Right now, I'm in a discussion with someone who doesn't believe in duty-faith. In other words, this person doesn't believe that the non-elect have a duty to believe, which is one of the classic hypercalvinistic beliefs.

Because they are rarish birds, the temptation is to ignore them. The problem in this case is that this hypercalvinist claims to be a Calvinist. Spurgeon, says he, is a "weak Calvinist", while he's the real sort. So there his posts stand, confirming all the suspicions about Calvinism that many noncalvinists already have, and it'd be a mistake to leave him unchallenged.

You don't know what hypercalvinists are? They come in different breeds, but here are two common signs of a true hypercalvinist:
  • The denial that people have a duty to believe before they are regenerated by the Holy Spirit and enabled to believe. This comes from the idea that God can't hold people responsible to do what they are unable to do. In this case, the argument is that the gospel calls people to believe that Christ died specifically for their sins, and since Christ only died for the elect, if people in general have a duty to believe the gospel, they are being held responsible to believe something that is a lie. Therefore, God cannot hold people responsible for not believing the gospel, since the gospel isn't true for them anyway.
  • Based on the previous point, hypercalvinists deny that there is a universal call or offer in the gospel.
So that's where I was for a while this afternoon. There are some discussions I can take part in without much thought, because I know the various arguments inside, outside, upside down. This isn't one of those. I've never done this before and I've already made a couple of mistakes, but you are welcome to check things out anyway. I figure it'll be a learning experience.

In a related note, someone else in another Baptist Board conversation is arguing that God is the author of sin, and this time it isn't just a terminology thing. This man believes that God causes people to sin in exactly the same way that he causes people to do good: God is ". . . the Agent, or Actor of Sin, or the Doer of a wicked thing", to quote Jonathan Edwards. I'd comment in that one, too, but I can only handle one thread at a time.

Related post: The Authoring of Sin

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