Feb

08

2013

Justin Taylor|9:09 am CT

Hyper-Calvinists Are Not the Same as Hyper Calvinists

Some critics of Calvinism persist in referring to the doctrines of grace as “hyper-Calvinism.” But as that great philosopher Inigo Montoya once said, “You keep using that word; I do not think it means what you think it means.”

A helpful introduction to the word and its historical context is Iain Murray’s book, Spurgeon v. Hyper Calvinism: The Battle for Gospel Preaching.

Phil Johnson has a helpful primer on the subject, offering a fivefold definition:

The definition I am proposing outlines five varieties of hyper-Calvinism, listed here in a declining order, from the worst kind to a less extreme variety (which some might prefer to class as “ultra-high Calvinism”):

A hyper-Calvinist is someone who either:

  1. Denies that the gospel call applies to all who hear,
  2. OR Denies that faith is the duty of every sinner,
  3. OR Denies that the gospel makes any “offer” of Christ, salvation, or mercy to the non-elect (or denies that the offer of divine mercy is free and universal),
  4. OR Denies that there is such a thing as “common grace,”
  5. OR Denies that God has any sort of love for the non-elect.

All five varieties of hyper-Calvinism undermine evangelism or twist the gospel message.

You can read the whole thing.

For more on this subject, see Iain Murray’s book, Spurgeon v. Hyper Calvinism: The Battle for Gospel Preaching.

I agree with Johnson: Hyper-Calvinism undermines the gospel and should be opposed. But it should also not be used as a label against those who explicitly repudiate it.

View Comments (39) Post Comment