Helping Joe Aguillard and Louisiana Baptists Define “Hyper-Calvinist”

This article was originally posted at my site. I’m married with three children, an SBC pastor, a PhD student at SBTS, and an average Southern Baptist. I’ve authored two books. You can connect with me on Twitter, Facebook, Google+, and YouTube.

Joe Aguillard, President of Louisiana College, wrote an article from “The President’s Pen” in mid-January where he said, “My love for all Baptists including Calvinists, does not constitute our approval of its being advocated at Louisiana College.” This prompted a reply from me. Then, Aguillard clarified his comments in an interview with the Louisiana College newspaper. I hope to respond to some of his clarifications here.

In the interview, Aguillard claimed he was not coming against Calvinism in his original article, but Hyper-Calvinism. He says,

If you look at the link in my article you will see that it addresses hyper-Calvinism, and it is extreme. Louisiana College is not and never has been a hyper-Calvinist institution. I don’t believe our board of trustees will ever allow LC to be a hyper-Calvinist institution. That (link) specifically addresses that. Every faculty that I have interviewed including every religious studies professor has affirmed to me that they do not accept the label of Calvinist, every one of them. So that shouldn’t be an issue.

Aguillard is correct that in the link in his original post, Adrian Rogers references Hyper-Calvinism. Aguillard, however, did not say, “Hyper-Calvinism will not be advocated at Louisiana College,” he said, “My love for all Baptists including Calvinists, does not constitute our approval of its being advocated at Louisiana College.” Even in the block quote provided above from his interview, Aguillard uses the term “Hyper-Calvinist” and “Calvinist” interchangeably. I hope Aguillard, Louisiana College, and Louisiana Baptists know that all Calvinists are not Hyper-Calvinists. For example, William Carey and Charles Spurgeon both claimed to be Calvinists, yet they were very evangelistic. Carey is known as “The Father of the Modern Missions Movement” and Spurgeon is known as the great evangelistic “Prince of Preachers.” There are many, many other Calvinists who could be referenced from Church History as evangelistic examples.

To help readers understand what a Hyper Calvinist is, consider Fred Phelps, the pastor of Westboro Baptist Church. He basically believes that God only loves the elect, and hates everyone else (He may even be a Hyper-Hyper-Calvinist). Hyper Calvinists do not believe the gospel should be offered to all, for it is blasphemous to require more of sinners than God does (duty faith). That’s not the type of Calvinism even John Calvin espoused, for he preached the gospel to all and trained missionaries and sent them to France to share the gospel with all, resulting in the salvation of millions (source). Furthermore, in over 12 years of serving in Southern Baptist churches in the South, I’ve only met one Hyper-Calvinist. He attended my church in Soddy Daisy, TN for one worship service, and left angry that I offered the gospel to everyone. My main question then is this, “Is Hyper-Calvinism such a great problem at Louisiana College that the President of the College has to take a public stand against it?”  I have a hard time believing that Hyper-Calvinism is an issue at Louisiana College, for all Calvinists that I know in the Southern Baptist convention, including Al Mohler, the President of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary (Arguably the most popular 5-point Calvinist in the SBC), reject Hyper-Calvinism. Mohler believes Hyper-Calvinism is heresy. Consider these words he shared at the Southern Baptist Convention in 2006:

My purpose here is not to defend Calvinism, but as one who is appropriately called a Calvinist if you are looking for a place to place me in that scheme, I want to be very clear as I always am clear about my conviction. I am here also to tell you that there are dangers in any theological system. I believe in all five points of Calvinism, but I want to tell you that there is a heresy called Hyper-Calvinism. Hyper-Calvinism denies the well-meant offer of the Gospel. That is to say the key issue is, can we, must we, do we share the Gospel with all persons, believing that if they profess faith in the Lord Jesus Christ they will be saved? Yes we must. Anything less than that is not only ineffective, it is disobedient and it is heretical. Now Hyper-Calvinism is s small movement by definition. They do not reproduce very well, but where they are found they are to be defined as heretics (pg. 3-4; source).

One must wonder if Aguillard and Louisiana Baptists understand the difference between a 5-point Calvinist and a Hyper-Calvinist. I’m not a Hyper-Calvinist or even a 5-point Calvinist, but I know that a 5-point Calvinist is not necessarily a Hyper-Calvinist. Hyper-Calvinists violate the Baptist Faith and Message 2000 and 5-point Calvinists do not. As evidenced by Al Mohler’s comment above, 5-point Calvinism is not Hyper-Calvinism. Hyper-Calvinism is heresy; 5-point Calvinism is not. These two forms of Calvinism are not the same thing.

In conclusion, I have several questions for President Aguillard and Louisiana Southern Baptists: “Do you believe all 5-point Calvinists are Hyper-Calvinists?” If so, what do you do with the numerous evangelistic 5-point Calvinists in Church History and the numerous evangelistic 5-point Calvinist Southern Baptists in the SBC today (who offer the gospel to all)? Also, how does labeling all Southern Baptist 5-point Calvinists “Hyper-Calvinists” possibly encourage unity in the SBC? There is room for 5-point Calvinists in the SBC, and I hope there is room for 5-point Calvinists at Louisiana College.

On the other hand, if Aguillard and Louisiana Baptists are only coming against Hyper-Calvinists and not all 5-point Calvinists, I and every other Calvinistic Southern Baptist I know stand with you. Hyper-Calvinism is heresy and must be rejected. Hyper-Calvinists should not be allowed to teach at or serve at SBC entities. Amen!

*If you choose to comment on this article, please be kind. I don’t agree with President Aguillard, but he is still my brother in Christ. Let’s treat him like our brother and one another like brothers (and sisters) as well.

This article was originally posted at my site. I’m married with three children, an SBC pastor, a PhD student at SBTS, and an average Southern Baptist. I’ve authored two books. You can connect with me on Twitter, Facebook, Google+, and YouTube.

Comments

  1. says

    I too am a five point Calvinist and believe that men such as Spurgeon are what five point Calvinists ought to be. I was once a Hyper Calvinist Hardshell till the Lord delivered me. My blog, the “Old Baptist” is dedicated to fighting Hardshellism and Hyper Calvinism.

    We need more Spurgeons! That would help to stop the mouths of the Calvinist gainsayers.

    Blessings,

    Stephen

  2. says

    I think the term “5-point Calvinist” is like saying “3-point Trinitarian”. There just isn’t any other kind. Take out one leg and it all collapses.

    I spent a dozen or so years in the Presbyterian church. They speak disparagingly about what’s referred to as “hyper-calvinism”. In fact, they have (or did, when I joined an SBC church in 1981), their own pet pejorative name for them … TR’s. A reference to the seeming opinion that they were the ONLY truly reformed people.

    As far as I can see, this whole thing is somebody wanting to start a fight, and it’s not from the Calvinist side, either.

    • says

      “Take out one leg and it all collapses.”

      I’m a 5-pointer and I think you are right. But I want to point out that it doesn’t mean that many who consider themselves 3 or 4 pointers are necessarily inconsistent (although some are). I think most simply operate with a modified understanding of the points they accept.

  3. Nate says

    The larger question for Joe Aguillard is whether he defines the professors whose contracts weren’t renewed as Hyper-Calvinists. And, I think we already know the answer as to what these professors would define themselves.

  4. Frank L. says

    Let me admit that the very word, “Calvin,” sort of makes me cringe at a guttural level.

    Two things: 1) Is he really any kind of model to attach to a Christian theology? 2) If Calvinism is the “magical answer” to all possible ways of looking at God’s sovereign grace, why is there not one single passage that deals at length with these five points — and as Bob says, “only five points nothing more or nothing less?”

    As Bob also points out, this is likely to “cause a fight.” It always does, just like it did in Geneva. Calvin’s brilliant mind does not seem to be equaled by a Christian spirit. The whole Servetus thing, even with spin-meisters from staunch Calvinists puts a pall over the whole thing.

    I will be willing to bet that this topic will, as it always does, generated a lot of “hyper replies” from both sides — sort of the Baptist version of the Civil War, though maybe not always an emphasis on civil.

    Again, I readily admit that the very sound of his name sends me to flight. I just can’t get over the “Pope of Geneva” thing. I’d much rather talk of “Christian doctrine,” than doctrines of Calvin.

      • Frank L. says

        Jess, that is not my point. My point is that we should stop looking for a definitive answers to issues that the Bible does not address definitely.

        I further object to lifting a man to such a stature he has almost become an idol, as if nobody had any idea of what God’s grace entailed before Calvin.

        Beyond that, every single point, save perhaps five, needs some qualification as to not leave something important out.

    • Adam G. in NC says

      and that whole Uriah thing with King David puts a pall over the whole thing as well. Same with ol’ John Mark.

    • Jason G. says

      Pretty clever to cover your Servetus comment with the term “spin-meisters”…poison the well so that the responses are just viewed as spin.

      I suppose you reject the “spin” because it damages your case of Calvin as a poor example of “Christian spirit.” Can’t we just be intellectually and historically honest with the situation?

      But since that will probably not happen, let’s deal with your bigger point. The accusation that Calvin has become some sort of idol is silly. No one appeals to the words of Calvin above Scripture. In fact, I rarely hear people refer to the words of Calvin at all. I hear his name thrown about…though it appears nowadays to be thrown about more by those opposed to “calvinism” than anyone else. The issue of the name of Calvin has more to do with a label than any sort of unhealthy reverence toward Calvin himself. It has become shorthand. Are Baptists in danger of making “being a Baptist” an idol simply because they use that label for the sake of expedience in theological discussion? I doubt anyone would say that…thus should it be for “calvinism”.

      Honestly, it gets old to see those types of weak accusations thrown around. Just as it gets old to see a lack of distinction between “calvinism” and “hyper-calvinism”. I expect better out of a college president. Is it an inability to make a key historical and theological distinction, or is it an outright refusal to make such a distinction? Either way it is bad and not fitting for a college president.

      It is sad that this debate still rages on. Time to grow up and move on.

      • Frank L. says

        It’s called five point what. Calvin is a hero for many whether you get tired of hearing it or not.

        • aaron says

          Frank, I will just start to call it Biblical theolgy and not refer to it as calvinism. Oh wait that seems very arrogant. I like doctrines of grace myself.

          • Frank L. says

            aaron. You mean “a” Biblical theology, or is your humility only a false humility?

            Also, I only know of one doctrine of grace.

            Not, buying what you are selling.

    • says

      Every time a baptist weeps for Michael Servetus, I weep a little myself. While, to be true, no one save for child molesters, deserves to be burnt at the stake, Servetus was by no means “orthodox” and was truly a heretic. Servetus clearly and openly denied the trinity. While not the reason for his trial/death, it should be enough for you anti-calvinists to stop holding him in such high regard. When modern modalists such as Oneness Pentacostals, Jehovahs Witnesses, and Unitarians all hold this man to be one of their earliest martyrs, that should tell you something quite clear on who he was and what he believed. Unfortunately, far too many are so blinded by their hatred (and yes it is hatred) for anything related to John Calvin and/or Calvinism, that they will “get in bed with the devil” by propping up Servetus as some tragic hero murdered by the evil Calvin. So long as the narrative of “Calvin is a murdering monster” is used by anyone in the “hyper-calvinist” debate, there can be no resolution or “help” as those trapped in their blinded dogma rarely ever see the light.

      • Frank L. says

        Servetus was not the only casualty of Calvin but if he were it would seem to warrant concern. By all accounts Calvin was a troubled soul and not the hero some make him out to be.

        For me character counts more than intellect

        • Rick Patrick says

          I weep for Servetus, not because his doctrine was correct, for he was wrong about the Trinity and Calvin was right, while he was right about believer’s baptism and Calvin was wrong.

          The reason I weep is he did not deserve to die for being wrong about God. And Calvin, along with others, approved of his death. That’s where the weeping comes in.

          So have a good cry. It’s about time we admit Calvin is no hero. His portrait should come down from the study walls of a thousand Calvinist pastors.

          • Randall Cofield says

            Rick, Rick, Rick….

            Do you see anyone here holding Calvin up as a “hero”?

            Do you realize your post is tantamount to an accusation of idol-worship?

            If so, do you understand the seriousness of such a sweeping and categorical accusation?

            Do you understand that if your accusation is legitimate (it is not), the same accusation could be leveled against you, from your own writings, about men such as John Smyth and Eric Hankins?

            Do you really want to continue this blind, dogmatic pursuit of yours?

            If so, does your conscience convict you at all?

            And, BTW, whose picture(s) is on your study wall?

            I have a painted portrait of my deceased father on my study wall. Does that, in your estimation, make me an idolater?

          • aaron says

            Calvin made mistakes. So did all the men of the Bible except one. Guess we can not look up to those guys either.

          • Andrew Barker says

            Rick, I believe your comments about Servetus and the Trinity are not quite on the mark. Servetus was more intent on teaching that nowhere in the Bible was the Trinity mentioned and in that he was 100% correct. There is a danger in teaching ‘the trinity’ as a Biblical fact whereas what we are really doing is teaching our understanding of what the Trinity is. Servetus did not teach that Jesus was not fully God (again that’s my understanding). I believe that he preferred to keep things separate in his mind because scripture did not actually put them together in a neat easily understandable format. We would do well to follow his example, I think, at least nowadays they don’t burn people for this sort of stuff!

        • Jason G. says

          Frank and Rick,

          Or…maybe you can bemoan (or weep) the rather widespread practice at the time of killing heretics, rather than putting all the blame on the character of one man. Just a thought.

          I have no picture of Calvin. I have read very little of his works. I do not count him as a “hero”, as such, though his contribution to theology/society is huge.

          The man is not the issue. I am afraid that what often happens is that those who do not agree with the doctrines that people believe that are commonly called calvinism (though many reject that term, or at least choose not to use it) is to either (a) personally attack Calvin, or (b) distance Calvin from those doctrines, as if that will destroy the beliefs.

          I say again, the man is not the issue.

          The ones with too high a focus on Calvin are those who view him as a moral monster and what to erase him from the pages of history or count him as some sort of sub-Christian. Perhaps the discussions would go better if people would stop making Calvin the issue.

          Those who believe these doctrines do so regardless of what Calvin did or said, they believe them because they see them in Scripture. Why don’t why treat others with respect and not belittle them by calling them (or hinting that they are) idolaters? Fair enough? Scripture is the issue.

          • Frank L. says

            Jason. My point is that Scripture is Not the issue. Both sides stand on Scripture Many times the same ones. It is the spirit of Calvin that infuses the debate that bothers me.

            It is the hard-line Pope of Geneva spirit that is so inseparably linked to Calvinism I worry about.

            Like Calvin the man Calvinism is reductionistic and tends toward recalcitrance. I think the issue of Calvin the man is an important part of the discussion in a way that is unique to systematic theology.

            I think that is a legitimate topic but not the only issue that is involved. The reductionistic issue is a factor also.

          • Jason G. says

            What I meant is that the discussion is not REALLY about a man, because that man is irrelevant to the way people are reading the scriptures. The issue is what they see in Scripture. There is no “calvinist” I know that believes what they believe because of Calvin himself. In fact, most people I know have never read a single word from him.

            HE is not the issue. The issue is what people see in Scripture, thus why I said that is the issue rather than the man. I would rather see the debate focus the discussion on what we see in scripture rather than flimsy accusations that anyone is following a man or a system.

            (I will avoid your mention of recalcitrance and a hard-line spirit…other than to point out the irony of such comments.)

          • parsonsmike says

            Frank L.,
            Your assertion that it is the spirit of Calvin that infuses the debate seems like an unfounded assertion.
            And my dear brother, it seems uncharitable to those who sincerely see their position as derived from the Word.
            But if any C’s rise up to burn you at the stake, I will either seek to prevent them from doing so, or i will stand next to you and burn along with you. May the Lord grant us mercy and peace.

        • aaron says

          Frank,
          My point is these systems have to be labeled or we all just seem arrogant by saying our ideas are the most biblical. I cringe everytime I see a church with the name “full gospel”. I know I do not get everything right and do not have a corner on theology. I have no allegience to Calvin but the attacks on people who believe in reformed theolgy as Calvin worshipers is just honestly silly and a straw man.

      • Dale Pugh says

        “…..there can be no resolution or “help” as those trapped in their blinded dogma rarely ever see the light.”
        It’s my observation that there’s plenty of “blinded dogma” to go around on both sides of the issue. I agree with Frank and Rick on this one.

      • says

        svmuscany,

        “far too many are so blinded by their hatred (and yes it is hatred) for anything related to John Calvin and/or Calvinism…”

        Brother I do think that’s true. But here’s the thing. I prefer the term Reformed for my overall theological views anyway. If some want to call me a Calvinist, that’s ok.

        Rick Patrick is right about not calling Calvin a hero, at least for me. But I’m not into the “hero” thing anyway.

        I prefer to think of John Calvin as a “giant” in church history. I prefer to think of Calvin as an incredibly gifted man and a godly pastor and person. Overall his life is one of godliness and he served the Kingdom of God well.

        • cb scott says

          Les,

          Let’s talk about the hero thing for a moment in regard to the subject of this post.

          The president of LC is no hero trying to rid the Baptist world of Calvinists. He is no hero at all. He is using Calvinism as a smoke screen to cover the true problems at LC . . . . . which are very visible to him every time he shaves.

          • says

            Agree cb that he is no hero. I don’t know enough about the problems at LC to know what the real problems are, besides as you say…perhaps the prez himself.

          • cb scott says

            Les,

            You and I disagree on several issues. However, I think you are a guy who does seek integrity in all things. Otherwise you would not reveal, non a Baptist blog, some of the beliefs you so “doggedly” embrace. I admire you for that.

            The issues at LC are basically matters of integrity and proper Christian conduct in all things. Today there are trustees at LC who finally know the truth. It is time for them to act and they will, in fact, act. They will either act with integrity, openness, and truth or they will act as so many trustee bodies have become accustomed to in recent years. They will stick their heads back in the sand, eat the steak dinners, watch the dog and pony shows during the plenary sessions of their scheduled meetings, pat each other on the backs as they leave the meetings, and allow things to be the same-old-same-o.

          • cb scott says

            BTW Les,

            Just because I admire your grit does not mean you are right (because you are not) nor does it mean we are going to start holding hands and eating out of the same popcorn bucket at the Picture Show.

          • says

            If we consider the situation of his appointment, it is instructive. A 5-pointer Theology Prof from NOBTS was strongly promoted for the Presidency of LC. When it became apparent that the vast majority of Louisiana Baptists would not support such an appointment, BTW/ Dr. Norman was, and is, a good man, just not the man Louisiana Baptists felt was needed at that time. The preponderance of 5-pointers reacted causing the “Moderate” candidate for President of Louisiana Baptists to be elected, even though on every other issue they were in lock step with the conservative wing. That bit of reaction still rankles many, and they seem intent on pressuring 5-pointers on several points.

            Dr. Aguillard is to be commended for enlisting 5-pointers to the faculty because they were perceived to excel, but now it seems the internal conflict is boiling over again.

            I, BTW, have no first hand knowledge of the current situation, but it seems indicative of the political processes in the State.

          • says

            cb,

            Thanks for your words and he info on LC. I have a dear and long time friend who works for the LBC. We were at NOBTS many mons ago. I’ve not heard from him on this, though I’m sure he is up on it. He’s a great guy, sans his allegiance to the Bayou Bengals.

          • says

            cb,

            “Just because I admire your grit does not mean you are right (because you are not) nor does it mean we are going to start holding hands and eating out of the same popcorn bucket at the Picture Show.”

            Ohhhh. That picture in my mind id too much on this cold Missouri day. But could we go shoot some wild game together? No hand holding though.

          • cb scott says

            “But could we go shoot some wild game together?”

            Yes. That would be grand. There are two things that blogging brings about.

            One is the joy it has been to actually meet and get to know guys who we interact with on blogs.

            The other is a sadness of knowing we may never meet and get to know guys who we interact with on blogs.

            In all truth, Les, I do hope to get to meet you in person one day. I believe I would greatly enjoy the opportunity to talk to you in person. . . . and you are right, no hand holding.

    • says

      Everyone, please get back to the original topic. Every discussion involving Calvinism should not discuss Servetus. Servetus’ death/murder has nothing to do with whether or not the 5-points of Calvinism are biblical. The 5-points of Calvinism should be considered based on their own merit. All the Calvinists I know are not Calvinists because of Calvin, but because the Prophets, Apostles, and Christ taught the doctrines of grace prior to Calvin (except limited atonement of course!). The arguments about these issues should be over Scripture, not “poisoning the well” logical fallacies. Furthermore, it was John Calvin’s followers that coined the “5-points of Calvinism,” not John Calvin. There’s even debates on whether or not John Calvin was a 5-point Calvinist. Richard Muller argues “no.” So, please, if we’re going to debate Calvinism, let’s use Scripture.

      • Frank L. says

        Jared. Your understanding of logic is not your strong suit in my opinion.

        It is not “poisoning the well” to discuss the spirit of the man attached to the doctrines in view.

        Servetus was a victim of theological discourse. I don’t think it is wise to leave that out of the equation. Ethos as Aristotle taught is an important component to rhetoric. In my view it is near the top of the list.

        Calvin’s ethos is what gives Calvinism it’s reductionistic unbending flavor in many corners of the discussion.

        I don’t agree that character is immaterial to a discussion of theology. It is such a reductionism that led to Servetus being brutally murdered. It a cause/effect thing.

        This same issue comes up in discussions of the BFM. It is a way that quickly leads to gathering wood.

        Also. The issue beneath it all is free will versus determinism that predates Calvin and is unresolvable. Theology is too broad to plant just one flower in the garden.

        I’ll confess that I avoided systematic theology for this reason in my second seminary experience.

        • Jason G. says

          Frank,

          I believe your recollection of the events surrounding Servetus’ death are a bit fuzzy, and perhaps are tainted by your particular theological opinions.

          Servetus was not murdered, as that would be the unlawful killing of someone. He was put to death for a particular crime. He was not unaware of the crime, nor was he not sufficiently warned (by the supposedly hard-hearted evil John Calvin), and he was well aware of the punishment for such crime.

          Now, we can debate the merits of whether heresy should be a civil crime, or if it should be punishable by death. We can debate the merits of civil-republics married to religion. But to deny the historical context of Geneva is intellectually dishonest…and to portray Calvin himself as the one who set the fire, or made the ultimate decisions in Geneva, would be to deny what actually happened. Calvin evidently spent hours trying to persuade Servetus to recant his heresy and thus be pardoned, but he refused. The Council (not Calvin) decided to carry out the execution, which was obeying the laws of the republic, and it was actually approved by surrounding communities as well (not to mention the other government also seeking to kill Servetus – see Roman Inquisition).

          I agree with you that character is not unrelated to theology. I just don’t know if you have accurately read the situation enough to know the character of a man. I mean, if you can’t even get the facts of the story straight, why should I have confidence that you have read enough of the story to draw a fair conclusion on one man’s character. Beyond that, even if what you said is true, one incident does not define a man’s character or theology completely.

          I think you are off-base on this line of thinking. Perhaps more study is in order.

          • cb scott says

            Jason G.,

            Was this young woman murdered?

            A young mother was tossed screaming on to a pyre of tyres and burned alive after being accused of killing a neighbour’s six-year-old son with sorcery.
            Kepari Leniata, 20, ‘confessed’ after she was dragged from her hut, stripped naked and tortured with white-hot iron rods.
            She was then dragged to a local rubbish dump, doused in petrol and, with hands and feet bound, thrown on a fire of burning tyres. As the mother-of-two screamed in agony, more petrol-soaked tyres were thrown on top of her.

            She was torched by villagers who claimed she killed a six-year-old boy through sorcery, with police outnumbered by onlookers and unable to intervene
            The horrendous scene took place in in the village of Paiala, in the highlands of Papua New Guinea where many believe that witchcraft exists and sorcery is used to kill enemies.
            The head bishop of a Lutheran Church located in the district today condemned the killing.

          • Jason G. says

            That is certainly an emotional way to approach the subject, CB. But it is really irrelevant to the discussion at hand. A woman being torched by a mob is quite different than a person going on trial, being convicted, and then sentenced to death for a crime…after multiple warnings about the crime and warnings not to come back to the city unless he wanted to be arrested and tried for such crime.

            I would hope you can see the difference.

            I am certainly not advocating the killing of heretics, please do not misunderstand me. But it was the law of the land and the practice of many places during that time to: accuse, try, convict, and execute those who were heretics. Right or wrong. If they go through that process, which Servetus did, then it is not “murder”.

            Is it murder when we use the death penalty in the US? No. Why not?

            You and I may agree that heresy should not warrant the death penalty, but Geneva (and others) disagreed. We cannot look back anachronistically at this situation.

          • Frank L. says

            Jason. Read the accounts of Calvin’s life. He is not a model I would want for my students To ignore Calvin’s power and influence in Geneva is to attempt a rewrite of history.

            I didn’t say Calvin lit the match.

            Also the fact you are willing to even “debate” the morality of burning heretics sort of proves my point

            Notice that you defend the indefensible because the facts mitigate your argument. By all accounts I have read, and this is not an area of expertise I will admit, Calvin was a hard man with a quick mind.

            Love, the foundation of faith was not a point emphasized in the studies I read. The pathos is there to be sure but not the ethos of love.

            Your post demonstrates Calvin had the power to help Servetus but chose doctrine over life. I don’t need a debate to help me evaluate the ethics of that.

            Why not also discuss the reductionistic nature of Calvin’s approach to theology. That is what led to the “murder” of Servetus in my opinion. Calvin was blinded by theological trees and could not see the forest

            Finally just because something is legal does not make it ethical. You can quibble over the wording but Servetus us just as dead–and he was not Calvin’s only casualty.

            One incident does not define a man’s character? How cheap a value you place on a man’s life to forward your view of doctrine. That is exactly my point

          • Dave Miller says

            Guys, ENOUGH!!!!

            No more about Calvin or Servetus. PLEASE!!

            Talk about the post or move on. Enough is enough.

          • cb scott says

            Jason G.,

            I am a strong advocate of Capital Punishment. However, I know, as you should also, murder has taken place under the ruse of following the law.

            it happened in Jerusalem when our Lord was crucified. it has happened many times in my Southern Homeland. It has happened many times in this nation. And it definitely happened in Geneva.

            Capital Punishment is one thing. Setting a man or woman on fire and gleefully watching them, smelling them, and hearing them burn to death is quite another.

            There is a deep, evil sickness in the hearts of men who burn other men and women to death and it does not matter what century, nation, city, or for what reason it occurs.

          • Jason G. says

            I was content to let it go, but it seems I must respond once more.

            CB, I agree with you. But the method of death isn’t the issue here, as heretics were burned in many places. Is it appalling? Yes. Yet it was a legit form of punishment for breaking the Law in Israel as well. (See Lev. 20:14, among others) I would also argue that that burning people to death is equally appalling as people being stoned to death, the normal punishment for breaking God’s Law. Both are punishments which we would find gruesome and horrible today, yet God endorsed in the Law.

            Now, don’t misunderstand me…I am not equating Geneva’s laws to God’s laws, not even the least. I am not defending Geneva’s laws at all. But the issue you brought up was the legitimacy of the form of capital punishment, not the legitimacy of the laws themselves. So my references to the Law should be only seen as proving that God has ordained and approved of several methods of death which we would find appalling with our modern sensibilities.

            The point: it is easy to look anachronistically at such practices and condemn them. It is harder to look at them and analyze them within their context.

            Do I like the horror of burning people? No way. It is horrible. But you said “there is a deep, evil sickness in the heart of men who burn other people”…and then you said “it does not matter what century, nation, city, or for what reason it occurs”. Do you still want to defend that statement after reading Leviticus 20? Is there a deep, evil sickness in the heart of God or in the heart of men seeking to obey the Law?

            I think you can see my point, so I will stop there.

      • Jason G. says

        Fair enough, Dave, I would be fine if you deleted every post on here that deals with Calvin/Servetus.

    • says

      What’s wrong, Frank? Personal attacks on Calvin are no substitute for a well-reasoned, Scriptural argument… but they are a good indication that you do not have one.

  5. says

    The lack of civility, the apparent lack of an accurate understanding of a well know theological position and the audacity of such a staement brings discredit to LU and to our fellowship.

    My prayer is that any and all responses to such immature and inappropriate expressions are met with irenic grace and decency.

  6. says

    I’m not sure the word “hyper-Calvinist” is well defined. To most it seems to be used to disparage those who are more Calvinistic than we are or more Calvinistic we think they ought to be. Regardless, I don’t think the “average” hyper-Calvinist would claim Fred Phelps. Seems like the question in regard to Louisiana College, though, is as Nate addresses above.

  7. Randall Cofield says

    “”I will be willing to bet that this topic will, as it always does, generated a lot of “hyper replies” from both sides…””

    Indeed. Just as well jump in and stand at the top of the list…

  8. Benji Ramsaur says

    These are examples of Hyper-Calvinism (or Hyperism) from the Gospel Standard Articles of Faith:

    XXIV We believe that the invitations of the Gospel, being spirit and life, are intended only for those who have been made by the blessed Spirit to feel their lost state as sinners and their need of Christ as their Saviour, and to repent of and forsake their sins. (Isa. 55:1, John 7:37, Prov. 28:13, Matt. 11:28-30, John 6:37.)

    XXVI We deny duty faith and duty repentance – these terms signifying that it is every man’s duty spiritually and savingly to repent and believe (Gen. 6:5, Gen 8:21, Matt. 15:19, Jer. 17:9, John 6:44, John 6:65.)…we reject the doctrine that men in a state of nature should be exhorted to believe in or turn to God. (John 12:39-40, Eph. 2:8, Rom. 8:7-8, 1 Cor. 4:7.)

    • Frank L. says

      These Articles are telling of how Scripture is used to justify just about any idea.

      For example, even quoting Jn. 12:39-40 and important truth is missed. Far from teaching the gospel “should not” be delivered to all men (generic men), it says just the opposite.

      When the gospel was delivered, the hearers and seers would not receive it. Eph. 2:8 says nothing about not exhorting (or exhorting for that matter) persons to respond to God’s grace.

      This illustrates why Scripture is not the final arbiter in human theological debates. Our preconceived notions often trump our honest inquiry into truth.

      We divide up into camps and each camp claims Scripture as authority. Makes me really appreciate the doctrine of autonomy. That’s the only thing that can ever work and even then, there are conflicts among local members.

      • Jon says

        Frank, you are on target in saying our preconceived notions often serve as the final arbiter in determining what we consider true. We all claim Scripture as our final authority. We all attempt on the surface, at least, to construct our theology from Scripture. Yet we often possess notions deep down inside which affect how we read Scripture. This will always be the case. It is for that reason that I argue against elaborating upon things too much and hammering out doctrine on paper for people to agree on. I don’t entirely trust my own doctrinal views. I trust others’ even less. Yet the Bible is true anyway. So it keeps us returning to its pages to reform and reform again.

        • Frank L. says

          Nice way of putting it Jon.

          I am not related to my earthly brothers and sisters because we agreed on a covenant. We share the same blood and the same parents.

          I know this analogy does not exact the spiritual family, but I think it can help us be in conversation with each other in meaningful ways. The key is to search the Scriptures together as a family. We are in the same boat, seeking the same destination, and looking at the same map.

          But, the map is only a guide. The map cannot hoist the sails or set the compass, but only guide. I think oftentimes, our love for God’s Word becomes idolatrous.

          I love and believe God’s Word, but I don’t worship the written pages but the Word that is revealed on those pages. This is a very subtle thing, but one that gets lost when Calvin, or any other “map” becomes a destination and not a guide.

      • John Fariss says

        Frank L., when you said, “This illustrates why Scripture is not the final arbiter in human theological debates. Our preconceived notions often trump our honest inquiry into truth,” you are right on target. You and I may not agree a lot on details, but on this general principle, we absolutely do.

        John

        • Frank L. says

          John. As we know the Devil is in the details. Any useful discussion must find some common ground and approach the details from that vantage point.

          I struggle with this principle

  9. r. smith says

    “Hyper-Calvinism denies the well-meant offer of the Gospel”

    ————————–

    Would you explain what you mean by the “well-meant offer of the Gospel”.

    Ned Stonehouse and John Murray wrote a booklet for the OPC entitled “The Free Offer of the Gospel”. Do you believe what they taught? [Located by searching “free offer of the gospel” + “John Murray”]

    The Wikipedia article, “Free offer of the gospel” discusses this issue and the controversy over the terminology “well-meant offer”. This is a very short article and well worth reading. “Well-meant offer” is not identical to “the general call”.

    John Murray, Al Martin, Walter Chantry and Erroll Hulse (among others) all teach that God earnestly desires to save everyone including the reprobate. John Gerstner, Gordon Clark, David Engelsma and others say that’s not true. I don’t see how it can be true either. But, every Calvinist that I’ve asked about this (when I explain what the terminology really means) has denied that they believed it.

    I also agree with someone above that Hyper-Calvinism has so many meanings that it really has no universally received meaning at all. To a full Arminian, a person who believes in eternal security is a hyper-Calvinist.

    A.W. Pink was accused of being hyper when he was preaching in the US and of being Arminian when preaching in Australia. In one of his books he discusses what hyperism is and taught against it. As I remember, it had to do with a denial of duty faith. And that denial is based on the false idea that God can’t hold a person responsible to do something that he is unable to do. I think he used Gospel Standard Baptists’ statement of faith as an example.

    • parsonsmike says

      r. smith,
      Pink did do as you say.
      But here is the rub…
      there is law and there is grace,
      there is obedience and there is faith.
      And though grace does not nullify law nor faith nullify obedience, it does not stand to follow that there is duty to believe.

      Duty speaks to law not grace.
      To put into different terms, if the Gospel is an offer, why is it duty to accept it?

      Now repentance is another story altogether. The law of God covers all free moral agents, and all of us have sinned. We owe God every good and right deed. And we owe God repentance for every false and unrighteous act. Repentance is a duty.

      Trust is not. Trust must be free and from the heart. To believe in Jesus is also to trust in Him. It comes from understanding and wisdom and not from law. To desire someone’s trust puts the duty on you to make your self trustworthy. Thus the duty is not of the one who is to trust but of the object of faith. God has the duty to make Himself known to the one[s] he wants to trust in Him.

  10. Jon says

    Jared, I think the issue is that some people simply don’t like Calvinism. They don’t care whether it’s hyper or regular. I know from my research that it’s an interesting subject, but I wouldn’t speak from a Calvinist vantage point. That would be like narrating from the third person. I would get tied up in unnecessary explanations. I once heard someone preach that way, and his audience consisted of patients in a convalescent home. Not too swift!!

  11. Randall Cofield says

    “I can only conclude that the external call of the gospel is a vital element in biblical Christianity. To deny it is to deviate from true Calvinism in a most serious way. However, for the sake of clarity (and even charity) perhaps we ought to drop the label hyper-Calvinist and simply refer to those who hold that view as wrong.”–Sam Storms

    • r. smith says

      But, as I mentioned above, you can believe in the general or external call of the gospel and still be considered “hyper” by those who teach the “well-meant offer”. Which means that you don’t believe that God “earnestly desires” to do something that in eternity past He decreed He would not do.

      • Jason G. says

        Being “considered hyper” by some who do not have a proper understanding of the definition does not make on “hyper”. That should be obvious. There are historical definitions at play here, and to deny them or redefine them is to be intellectually and academically dishonest. It is sad that Christians would endorse and defend such tactics just to win a theological tug of war.

      • Randall Cofield says

        r. smith,

        How ’bout if I believe the words of Jesus:

        Joh 6:37 “All that the Father gives Me will come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will by no means cast out.”

        May I believe that without being a hyper-Calvinist?

        • r. smith says

          Yes, unless I don’t understand the question. Believing that is just believing what the Bible says and what all Calvinists believe. I’m sure all hypers believe it too. Maybe you had something else in mind?

  12. cb scott says

    It is “hyperly” wrong to think the issues at LC stem from the president’s understanding or lack of understanding the various positions pertaining to soteriological dogma.

    In all probability, if the truth be known, his theological moorings are anchored geographically to a street known as Azusa rather than to a town called Geneva and one would have to wonder if he has ever strolled the avenues of the historic Southland city known as Nashville.

        • Dean says

          CB, you have made innuendo against the President of LC today. On the previous post it was said there was sin and wickedness among certain leaders. If you are going to impune a man you should not use words like probability. A Christian should state clearly an accusation and with documentation of what he us saying. In all probability, the likely reason for CB’s attacks is that he could not get a job at LC and his feelings are hurt. Such statements hurt and are wrong.

          • cb scott says

            Dean,

            No hurt feelings at all about anything. And there is no innuendo involved. There are no attacks either.

            What is true here is that a post was written which states the president is removing Calvinists because he thinks it is the right thing to do. That is a lie.

            He is not removing Calvinists because he thinks that is the right thing to do. He was glad to have Calvinists there as long as they carried his water. When that ceased, he threw them under the bus. He has done it to others who are not Calvinists.

            My comments here are basically to make it known that what has happened at LC is not about Calvinism. It is about wickedness and hard heartedness. The Calvinist brother who frequent this blog should not be caught up in defending him on such a basis. Nor should those who do not describe themselves as Calvinist rally around his flag. The issues are not really about soteriological dogma.

            My motivation, whether you believe it or not, is simple. There are strong Calvinists who frequent this blog who will come to the defense of those who have been removed thinking that their Calvinist leanings is the cause of their dismissal. There are also guys who frequent this blog who are not so strongly Calvinistic who will defend the president’s actions as right and good for the LBC and for Southern Baptists as a whole. Both would be in error.

            There is a coverup going on at LC and that is the true nature of the situation. I don’t know who you are, Dean, but if you are close to the situation you know that to be the truth.

            Now, you may state whatever you please as to my motives for commenting on this subject, but that changes nothing. I, along with many others, know that to be the truth. . . .and maybe you do also. So tell me, Dean. Who are you and what motivates your comments?

          • Dean says

            CB, I am a local pastor in MS. I have no idea about LC at all. I walked on that campus one time in 1986. I had no idea who the president was until Jared taught me. It is sinful to insinuate anything about a man. If he is from the charismatic group from California state that and how you know that. If a person is practicing evil state that and how you know. During the days of the resurgence the real leaders told us never to say something about a person without documentation. CB, I enjoy reading you. I bring nothing to this issue at all. I just was troubled because things are being insinuated and I can’t stand that. I am not defending LC or a leader there in any way. I was encouraging you to avoid innuendo.

          • Jason G. says

            Dean,

            If you are against such innuendo, then why did you imply (maybe more than that) that CB only said what he did because he was bitter about not getting a job at LC? Isn’t that the same thing?

          • Dean says

            Jason, I just made up a ridiculous scenario to prove any statement can made when you use phrases like probability and likely. I thought it was clear that was what I was doing. If CB has ever applied for a job at LC I’m terribly sorry.

          • Jason G. says

            Dean,

            You did not make it clear at all. It appeared that you took a shot at him that undermined your point. There was no indication of sarcasm at all. I don’t know if CB has any connection there at all, nor do I know much about him except what I read on here.

            I am just telling you what I saw based on the post you made. That is all. But I will take your word for it.

          • cb scott says

            Dean,

            Again, no innuendo made on my part. Or maybe we define that concept differently. My motives are as I have state. I will add that I was waiting on a much stronger post to go up on another blog, but I was just informed that is now nixed.

            So, as has happened a few times in history, I am now kinda out on a limb. But my feelings are not hurt about that either. Life is life and sometimes you eat the bear and sometimes the bear eats you.

            Oh yeah, in truth, Jared Moore does not really know what is going on a LC. If he did, he would have written this post differently and that is a compliment to him and not a criticism.

            Dean, if you would like to talk to me in person, feel free to get my email and cell phone number from Dave Miller. I have told Dave that he is free to give my personal email and cell phone to anyone who asks. That includes you.

            Lastly, I stand by everything I have stated about LC, although I have not, nor will I state all that I do know here. Frankly, since the other post is not going to be published, I may need to let this go. But it is a crying shame that people get by, in Southern Baptist institutions, with what they do get by with far too often. Religious politics is a rough game, a rough game indeed.

          • Dean says

            Jason, that last line – such statements should not be made – was addressed to my line about CB. Again, I can’t stand for a person to be impugned on half the story or things insinuated. I am sorry for any confusion.

          • Dean says

            CB, I don’t question your integrity at all. I never questioned what you were saying were true. I just wished more of the story could have been told before accusations of wicked, evil hearts were used. Please receive my apologies for any confusion.

          • cb scott says

            Dean,

            You owe me no apology. This is a Baptist blog and, by nature, it is rough territory at times. I would be, of all people who frequent this blog, a hypocrite if I took offense by your challenge. History will prove that I have made many, many challenges on this blog and others.

            My only regret now is that the shoe I was awaiting will now not drop. That too is life in the Baptist blog world.

            Also, I can understand you in stating to JasonG. that you cannot stand innuendo relating to other people. Therefore you challenged me. On my part, I hate the hypocrisy that has become so commonplace in Southern Baptist institutions. That was/is my motivation for getting involved in this thread and others about this subject. And again I state; The situation at LC is not about Calvinism. The issue of Calvinism is being used as a smoke screen. I know that to be true. So, since the other post is not forthcoming, I guess that is about all I can say. . . at this time anyway.

        • SBC Historian says

          That’s not the first time Mike has been wrong. Earlier in this thread, he claimed R. Stanton Norman was a 5 point Calvinist. Norman is as much a 5 pointer as C.B. wears blue and orange and says “War Eagle” five times a day.

  13. says

    Justin Taylor talks about hyper-Calvinism today and points back to Phil Johnson’s five points about HC. John says,

    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:

    Denies that the gospel call applies to all who hear,

    OR Denies that faith is the duty of every sinner,

    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),

    OR Denies that there is such a thing as “common grace,”

    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.

    That’s pretty helpful. JT also recommends (and I agree…a great book on the subject) Iain Murray’s book “Spurgeon v. Hyper Calvinism: The Battle for Gospel Preaching.”

    FYI brothers.

  14. says

    Much of the confusion regarding charges of hyper-Calvinism stems from variations of definition. Hyper-Calvinism is a denial of general design in the death of Jesus Christ. For many non-Calvinists belief in Limited Atonement is sufficient for this charge. For many true soteriological Calvinists, it refers to the denial of the universal proclamation of the gospel. Apparently, Aguillard falls into the first camp. Unless he is an unqualified universalist (everyone is going to heaven regardless of anything else) he believes in limited atonement on some level. For this reason the more inclusive definition of hyper-Calvinism really is splitting hairs for no fruitful reason.

    • says

      Jess, I believe that “Elect infants, dying in infancy, are regenerated, and saved by Christ, through the Spirit, who works when, and where, and how He pleases: so also are all other elect persons who are incapable of being outwardly called by the ministry of the Word.”

      And I believe that all such are numbered among the elect. Therefore I believe that Jesus’ atonment was for them.

      • Jess Alford says

        Les Prouty,

        Can you give me scripture to back your belief? If all babies are the elect, at what point do they become unelected? Unless they become the unelect at some point this would mean everyone is the elect.
        As you can see this is what I’m trying to work through.

        • says

          Jess,

          First, I don’t want to stray off topic to much. Dave has issued a warning already.

          Second, there is no scripture that tells us exactly as I believe. My view on infants is derived from an overall study of any related scriptures, the character of God and the doctrine of the atonement with some logic thrown in. A helpful book for me was “Theology of Infant Salvation” by R A Webb. It’s on Amazon.

          “If all babies are the elect, at what point do they become unelected?”

          It’s not a matter of them actually changing status from elect to non-elect. It’s a matter of our observations with our limited knowledge of the ways of God. Webb goes into it in his book.

  15. parsonsmike says

    Jess,
    i am a 5 pointer who believes that all who die unable to morally grasp an understanding of sin are included in the ‘L’. That would include all aborted children, all babies who die young, as well as other young children and those mentally incapacitated from birth no matter what their age now.

    • Jess Alford says

      parsonsmike,

      Thank you for an answer, can you give me scripture to back up what you are saying?

      • parsonsmike says

        Jess,
        Now we know that whatever the law says, it speaks to those who are under the law, so that every mouth may be silenced, and the whole world may be held accountable to God. For “no human being will be justified in his sight” by deeds prescribed by the law, for through the law comes the knowledge of sin. Romans 3

        What then should we say? That the law is sin? By no means! Yet, if it had not been for the law, I would not have known sin. I would not have known what it is to covet if the law had not said, “You shall not covet.” But sin, seizing an opportunity in the commandment, produced in me all kinds of covetousness. Apart from the law sin lies dead. I was once alive apart from the law, but when the commandment came, sin revived and I died, and the very commandment that promised life proved to be death to me. For sin, seizing an opportunity in the commandment, deceived me and through it killed me. So the law is holy, and the commandment is holy and just and good.
        Did what is good, then, bring death to me? By no means! It was sin, working death in me through what is good, in order that sin might be shown to be sin, and through the commandment might become sinful beyond measure. Romans 7

        Through the law comes the knowledge of sin. By sin comes condemnation. No knowledge of sin = no condemnation.

  16. says

    I’d be very interested in knowing what kind of pressures are being exerted on Dr. Aguillard. I believe what he was trying to say is that LC is not trying to make Calvinists out of students. Then, he was attacked by some very strong-willed 5-pointers in Louisiana, and had to respond, thereby adding to the confusion.

    I doubt, he is anti-Calvinists. I do know there are complaints about indoctrination from both sides, and I also know that non 5-pointers outnumber 5-pointers significantly in Louisiana.

    • cb scott says

      Dave Miller,

      Yeah, I agree. Comment threads about Calvinism are always sticky wickets to say the least.

      However, the covering up of sin and corrupt hearts in Southern Baptist entities are far worse in my opinion.

    • Frank L. says

      Dave,

      I did not use to mind the discussions because I really thought they were just some idea out on the fringe that really had no impact upon the SBC in any meaningful way.

      I’m beginning to wonder. As I said in a post earlier, this is such a new thing in discussions for me.

      Maybe there is more to this than we see. Maybe something of great importance is taking place and our theological blinders are preventing us from seeing exactly what is coming.

      I know this from boxing: the punch that lays you out is the one you didn’t see coming.

      In defense of these discussion, and fully understanding you aggravation with them (or at least from a non-moderator cheap seat), I am really learning a lot.

      Some people may think my mind is made up in this regard, but it really is not. This is like a new trick for an old dog.

      I will try to steer clear of simply aggravating you or anyone else.

      I hope this is a bit of encouragement to you knowing how much grief this discussion gives you. I appreciate greatly your big-heartedness and tolerance.

    • says

      Dear David, Mike, and CG: That is the nature of the theology. It is provocative to man’s fallen nature, something clearly seen in Lk.4:16-31 where Jesus tells His fellow citizens of Nazareth about Elijah and Elisha ministering to Gentiles and not Jews. The reaction to some one else getting the good treatment, someone not Jewish, the reacion, I say, was one of murderous rage. And then there are those folks who simply wish to beat others over the head, and the heft doctrines of grace provide some handy billy clubs for letting out one’s inner pathologies. All of this, however, has reference to No gracious purpose manifested. When such is manifested as in the case of the woman of Canaan in Mt. 15:21-28 the resulting response is one of worship, of submissive agreement, and of argument using the Lord’s own words to win the day. In any case, we are drawing night to the time of a Third Great Awakening and the theology of such is this same stinking carcase of repulsive teachings, seen from one perspective, and such sublime, supremely wonderful truths as to be simply irresistible in their sweetness. These teachings truly understood will empower and enable believers to become balanced, flexible, creative, constant, and magnetic. They lead to transformations in society, new freedoms, liberty, a more liberal spirit, greater compassion for the poor, the desire to see Christ have the supremacy over every soul on earth, forever.

  17. Frank L. says

    I’m not a big student of C-ism (can’t use the word, C—). Exactly where does “hyper-C-ism” start and regular “C—” end? Is it like obscenity–I’ll knows it when I sees it?

    Exactly which one of the five points describes offering the “well meant gospel” to someone and calling for that person to make a decision? It seems to me, at best, five point C-ism is a point or two short of the whole counsel of God.

    When C-ism is discussed, it always needs modification, such as Mohler, to distinguish it from “hyper-C–ism.” That would lead me to believe it is nothing like a complete expression of truth–and therein lies the problem.

    It is not completely clear to me exactly what the President of LU is reacting against, but his explanation seems genuine, even if one disagrees with his particularly view on the issue.

    So, the key issue in this post for me is, what is he reacting against?

    In nearly 40 years of SB ministry, including a stint at a Baptist college, and two sentences at SB seminaries, I never heard a Baptist professor, student, or the lady at the lunch table refer to themselves as “reformed.” I distinctly remember it was almost a “fighting word,” to refer to Baptist as “protestant,” much less “reformed.”

    So, in the last 40 years, particularly the last few, something has certainly changed and I think the President of LU, and many others see it.

    I really don’t know how big an issue this is . . . yet, but I’m beginning to think it is a growing problem that will lead to “hyper-C-ism-by-default.” In other words, it may continue to erode the missional unity of SB’s to the point that we become what Mohler and others decry . . . by default.

    • says

      Frank L., your comment makes no sense to me. Literally millions of 5-points Calvinists in history never ended up Hyper-Calvinists by default. Hyper-Calvinism is not the default out-working of Calvinism. John Calvin himself was involved in the salvation of millions due to training and sending missionaries. He was not a Hyper-Calvinist. Also, there are numerous very evangelistic 5-point Calvinists in the SBC: David Platt, Al Mohler, JD Greear, Ed Stetzer, etc.

      It’s like saying Arminians will end up Open-theists by default. It’s just not a historically accurate statement.

      • Frank L. says

        Jared,

        You are thinking theologically and I am speaking pragmatically. And, it wouldn’t be the first time you said I didn’t make any sense.

        What I meant was: if we describe hyper-Calvinism as that which leads to a lack of evangelism, the mere fact we spend so much energy debating the issue, we neglect to evangelize.

        Hence, we end up in the same place as a hyper-Calvinist–not winning anyone to the Lord.

        In other words: no argument however sublime and well meant on any doctrine however important is a substitute for actually winning people to the Lord.

        I guess I was a bit “too subtle” with that post. Sorry. Hope this makes it as clear as mud.

        • says

          Frank L, if we’re speaking pragmatically, most Southern Baptists are Hyper-Calvinists regardless if they claim to be Calvinists, Biblicists, Baptists, Non-Calvinists, etc.

          • Jason G. says

            But hyper-calvinism has a historical meaning, and the lack of evangelism in the SBC cannot be chalked up to that definition. What we see in the SBC is apathy, not hyper-calvinism, to label it as such is intellectually and historically dishonest.

            If you want to say that we end up with the same result of not sharing the Gospel and winning the lost, then I agree. But that cannot be rightly called hyper-calvinism. It is simply unfaithfulness to our mission.

        • Les Prouty says

          Funny. I’m sitting in a PCA church missions conference hearing about evangelistic/missions work going on all around the world. Calvinists? All. And evangelists. Hmmm.

          • parsonsmike says

            My calvinistic SBC church sends missionaries to foreign lands, gives generously to Lottie Moon and the Annie funds and does numerous outreach services here at home.

            I think it is the objection that is used [or one of them] that C’s do not need to to do missions since salvation is all of God. It is a theory-logical objection that probably finds validity in some C’s and their churches but that on the whole is just a caricature of Calvinism or Reformed.

            And certainly there are non-C churches that fail to evangelize and/or do mission work.

          • says

            I agree parsonsmike. It is just silly for some to maintain that Cavinists will necessarily not be evangelistic. They may. But it is not a function of the theology. We all know that historically many of the most noted evangelists and missionaries have been Reformed. Reformed theology is really the best platform to do missions.

            There are plenty of non-Calvinists who are not evangelistic. It’s not their theology. In both cases it’s any number of sinful things that keep us from sharing the gospel.

            Blessings.

  18. says

    This whole discussion misses the point that we are really discussing propaganda techniques, Just google the subject and see what you find and then evaluate the comments accordingly. Consider, however, if you will, that my ordaining pastor was a self-declared (from the pulpit and in one on one conversation), a soul-winner par excellence (he once pleaded with a member of my family to look to Christ for salvation until tears ran down my relative’s face. Would to God he had succeeded. If passionate, sincere appeal would do the job, that should have done it). Also I should like to point out that the first convert (Krishan Pal) of the modern missionary movement was won to Christ by a hyper-calvinist (Dr. John Thomas) and baptized by a five point calvinist (William Carey who has often be credited with the convert due to the desire to avoid the matter of hyper-calvinists doing any such thing). Then Thomas, who had been in an up and down cycle of trying to win souls and expecting them to respond at anytime for 14 years, went insane with joy, went into a frenzy of rapturous feelings and became incoherent. I have read an account that said he was in a nearby building and could be hear raving with joy, when Carey baptized Pal in a pond. Think of it. Hyper Calvinists who, supposedly, care little at all for souls, going insane with joy over a convert, even the first convert of the modern missionary movement, the Great Century of Missions. And shall I add George Whitefield who believed in Reprobation who would stop in a sermon and say to sinners, “You can’t weep for yourselves. I will weep for you.” Then he would weep and sob over their utter indifference to the claims of Christ upon their souls.

    Dr. Lee thought so much of my Hyper Calvinist, Supralapsarian, ordaining pastor, that he put it in his will that Dr. Ernest R. Campbell should preach his funeral. Dr. Lee had about 5 preachers or so, but only one of them was legally required to do the job. O and by the way, cf. Who’s Who in Religion, 2nd edn. chicago: Marquis Pubs., 1977, and you will find that he is listed as the founder and first president of the American Race Track Chaplaincy. Dr. Campbell was pastor of the First Baptist Church of Hialeah, Florida, when an alcoholic who worked in the stables of the Hialeah Race Track and who had been converted, was referred to Dr. Campbell as the one fellow who help get a ministry started to the folks who work at Race Track. Amazing. And you all should have heard Dr. Campbell preach The Great Supper and Why Sit Ye Here Till Ye Die? Great Soul Winning Sermons. He once preached a revival at a rural church in Georgia and had a 100 conversions. During a revival I preached in the same church some 40 years later, a deacon from the First Baptist Church of Augusta came to a home coming service during the revival and told me he had been converted in that great revival.

    By the way folks. The Hyper Calvinists and Five Point Calvinists are the source of the liberal practice of allowing for differences, all in pursuit of wanting people to be freely persuaded, motivated by God, and not forced or manipulated by man. The Calvinists of Virginia and Kentucky of the Regulars and Separates were the ones who introduced the idea of allowing for such a thing in the rule that “The preaching that Christ tasted death for every man shall be no bar to communion.” That means, to say the least, that the normal practice and belief was that Christ died only for the elect. And the church that sent out the first missionary, Mt. Pisgah Baptist Church, founded in 1814m held as one of its articles of faith that Christ died for the church. Not a word was said about him dying for the whole world and every one in it. In fact, the folks who believed Jesus died for all, the General Baptists of North Carolina, were not noted for being very evangelistic or missionary minded. Two Regular Baptist preachers from the Philadelphia Baptists Association, Peter Peterson Van Horn and Benjamin Miller, who were five point calvinists and, perhaps, even Hyper-Calvinists, if they used that term, came down to North Carolina and persuaded some General Baptist Churches to become particular or Regular Baptists, particular meaning Christ died for particular souls, for the elect, for the church, if you please. That was in 1755 and 46 years later in 1801 those churches which had been baptizing 35-40 a year baptized 872, experiencing the Second Great Awakening. Gentlemen, the reason why this theology is troubling every body is that we have not seen or heard of it much in the past century, and now that we are approach the time of a Third Great Awakening for which so many have prayed for so many years it is clear we need the theology that produces such a blessing. Fussin’ just simply means you are alive and free. If you were not discussing it, you would be either enslaved or dead. And by the way the five point calvinist, C.H. Spurgeon prayed for the conversion of the whole earth (cf. Evening by Evening devotions for Aug.6th and Dec.24th). I have been praying for a Third Great Awakening for (it will be this Fall) 40 years. For the last few years I have been praying for the whole earth to be converted, beginning in this generation and continuing for 100o generations (that’s anywhere from 20,000 to 900,000+ years) and reaching perhaps millions of years. All so God can make the humorous remark to cheer his depressed children, Rev.7:9, about a “number no one can number?” Not even God? That’s an absurdity, a bit of humor, I dare say. And the promises I plead for such a visitation are taken from Jonathan Edwards’ Humble Attempt, the same tract which inspired William Carey, Andrew Fuller, Luther Rice, Adoniram Judson, and others to plead for the launching of the modern missionary movement. The same promises which were likely pleaded for a visitation of God in America which we call the Second Great Awakening which might well have continued here and there in different parts of this nation until the 20th century. I remember my teacher of Christian Doctrine (W.T. Conner’s work was the text book), Dr. W.L. Muncey, Jr., telling about a great revival that took place in his home county in Arkansas. The result was that for 10 years not a single criminal case came before the country grand jury. There is more, but this little bit indicates the kind of a blessing that an Awakening has upon the manner and mores of a community. I have seen it transform a hell of house in to a heaven of a home, so to speak.

    • Frank L. says

      Dr. J,

      You are either one of the smartest men I’ve ever met, or you know how to use Google like there is no tomorrow.

      Thank you, sir.

        • Jess Alford says

          Frank L.

          The guy is flat out smart. He has probably forgotten more than I’ll ever know.

      • says

        Brother, when it comes to the internet and computer, I am terribly lacking, to say the very least. As to being the smartest, I hate to admit it but I am not. The reality is that I did years of research covering hundreds of sources, perhaps, thousands. I probably have 10,000 5×8 note cards in my research materials, not counting the many note books with endless pages of notes. The constant impression on the brain circuits does something to them, and you make quantitative leaps, warp speeds in learning. You see things in totally different relationships than the ordinary person who simply lacks the need material for a real synthesis. One fellow I met had done 10 years of research in church records. A body shop mechanic, I consider him the wisest person I ever met. He asked one question that 6-8 years later blew my eschatology all to pieces (pre-mil, pre-trib) and I wound up at the most a post mill and a strong optimist about what God is going to do by the transforming power He releases in a Great Awakening transformation of society.

  19. JohnBrian says

    Synergists (arminians and other non-Calvinists) insist that the biblical command to repent DOES imply the natural ability of unregenerate men to do so.

    Monergists (non Hyper-Calvinists) insist that the biblical command to repent DOES NOT imply the natural ability of unregenerate men to do so.

    Hyper-Calvinists insist that the fact that unregenerate man DOES NOT have the natural ability to obey the biblical command to repent, implies that he DOES NOT have the obligation to do so.

    To summarize:

    Non Calvinists – responsibility implies ability

    Calvinists – responsibility does not imply ability

    Hyper-Calvinists – no ability implies no responsibility

    • says

      Baloney! John, don’t let a few muddle heads determine your definition of any body in the three categories. Some of the most responsible people I ever knew were hyper-calvinists. Consider how a paradox can be therapeutic? That is, how can a paradoxical demand empower a helpless sinner to accept responsibility? And then to find he or she can and must respond?

      • JohnBrian says

        James – not sure I understand your point. Can you expand on your above comment a little more so that I may respond.

        • says

          Inability is clearly the problem of the fallen sinner, but that does not mean he won’t be held responsible and accountabile. He will. With the past two or three years, a doctor was charged with drunken driving and death by motor vehicle; he killed a young ballet dancer (think she awas around 21). He was unable to drive, but he was held responsible and convicted accordingly. He chad chosen to drink. Man chose to sin in Adam. Federalism seems to me to represent a reality that is a part and parcel of our very lives. If our President commits us to war, we will go to war even though we might oppose it. The foes we face will hold us responsible. Calvinists and Hyper-calvinists are noted for demanding accountability and responsibility. In my study of American Intellectual History, especially in a study of the Puritans, I came across a statement or statements by historians who commented on the way Puritans who were such firm believers in predestiantion as being responsible and accountable and how they would hang in there, regardless of the difficulties or the length of them.

          • JohnBrian says

            James,

            It appears that we are agreed but just so I am sure:

            Hyper-Calvinists agree with Calvinists (and thus disagree with non-Calvinists) that fallen man is UNABLE to believe (and has no desire either).

            Hyper-Calvinists DIS-agree with Calvinists by insisting that such inability includes NON-responsibility.

            If the above statements are true, it would then follow that Hyper-Calvinists would not be evangelistic, in the sense of proclaiming the Gospel to all without distinction.

            You can see from the following, that Hyper-Calvinists deny the responsibility of fallen man to repent and believe, in opposition to Acts 17:30 “he [God] commands all people everywhere to repent,”

            The Gospel Standard Churches Articles of Faith (Hyper-Calvinistic):

            http://www.5solas.org/media.php?id=574

            XXIV We believe that the invitations of the Gospel, being spirit and life,* are intended only for those who have been made by the blessed Spirit to feel their lost state as sinners and their need of Christ as their Saviour, and to repent of and forsake their sins. (Isa. 55:1, John 7:37, Prov. 28:13, Matt. 11:28-30, John 6:37.)

            Note – * That is, under the influence of the Holy Spirit.

            XXVI We deny duty faith and duty repentance – these terms signifying that it is every man’s duty spiritually and savingly to repent and believe (Gen. 6:5, Gen 8:21, Matt. 15:19, Jer. 17:9, John 6:44, John 6:65.) We deny also that there is any capability in man by nature to any spiritual good whatever. So that we reject the doctrine that men in a state of nature should be exhorted to believe in or turn to God of themselves. (John 12:39-40, Eph. 2:8, Rom. 8:7-8, 1 Cor. 4:7.)

            XXIX While we believe that the gospel is to be preached in or proclaimed to all the world, as in Mark 16:15, we deny offers of grace; that is to say, that the gospel is to be offered indiscriminately to all. (2 Cor. 4:3-4.) See Articles XXIV., XXVI.

            XXXIII Therefore, that for ministers in the present day to address unconverted persons, or indiscriminately all in a mixed congregation, calling upon them savingly to repent, believe, and receive Christ, or perform any other acts dependent upon the new creative power of the Holy Ghost, is, on the one hand, to imply creature power, and, on the other, to deny the doctrine of special redemption.

          • says

            John, the hyper is defined by the folks who have never bothered to do much checking as the folks who are not evangelistic, and I suppose some are…Just like the General Baptists of NC in the 1700s and the universalists of any century. Truth be told, a hyper calvinist can be just as evangelistic as anyone else and maybe more so. The term, in my book, refers to the making of the theological degrees, that is the divine order of such decrees concerning all things whatsoever shall come to pass. As to the offer and non-offer of the Gospel. It really does not matter, so long as one lifts up Christ as crucified for the sinners and their sins, and risen from the dead. Christ lifted up draws all sinners to him. By the way Whitefield believed in Reprobation, and yet he would stop in his sermons and say you sinners cannot weep over yourselves, so I will weep for you. Then he would sob and cry in great grief for those reprobates that could not even cry for themselves. And by the way, further, the doctrine of reprobation is an invitation to be saved, a therapeutic paradox which will empower the reprobate to respond (and we are all not only sinners, depraved and disabled, in our fallen condition, but we are also reprobates. Just look at that dog of a woman in Mt. 15:21-28 and how she got saved. A dog by the way returns to his own vomit and is a fit image for reprobation. So if one reprobate gets saved, he or she offers hope to all the rest. Our problem with sinners today is that there are not enough sinners. They don’t know they are sinners, don’t feel they are sinners, and hence have no sense of their need for Christ.

  20. Tim Norris says

    With all due respect, I for one Louisiana Baptist, do not need Mr. Moore to “help” me with a definition of a Calvinist or Hyper-Calvinist. Mr. Moore, you are arrogant & rude to suggest that La. Baptists need to be taught by the likes of you with your attitude. If you have a problem with Dr. Aguillard take it up with him.
    Thank you!

      • Tim Norris says

        I am not trying to teach you anything? I was responding to Mr. Moore’s Subject, “Helping Joe Aguillard & La. Baptists to define Hyper-Calvinism. I agree with Jared’s response to my post. I am sensitive about anyone implying that Joe Aguillard or La. Baptists need help in defining hyper-calvinism. I realize that you men are writing about your positions and such in this article. I just took offense to the implication that Dr. Aguillard & or La. Baptists, (which includes me), are too dumb to know what Hyper-Calvinism is. Maybe I am over sensitive, & maybe I do need to butt out as Mr. Pugh suggests! I just found Jared’s words about as offensive as probably you, Mr. Pugh, & Mr. Moore, found mine. Is this not a free forum to share our thoughts on a subject matter? Even if you disagree, I felt like Jared’s subject or title was meant for all La. Baptists. So, please understand that I wanted to share my thoughts about Mr. Moore’s title only. I realize that most of the conversation of this subject has moved far beyond Dr. Aguillard & La. Baptists.
        By the way, Do any of you know Dr. Aguillard personally? I do.

        • Dale Pugh says

          I wasn’t telling you to butt out, Tim (call me Dale), I was saying that it sounded like you were telling Jared to butt out. I didn’t find your comments offensive at all. To be honest with you, I’m not so sure that Louisiana Baptists ought to give us all a big “Butt out!” As a Louisiana Baptist you have every right to be a part of this discussion. Probably much more than any of us who are not vested in the Louisiana college by being a part of the Louisiana convention.
          I don’t know anything about the circumstances involved here. I don’t know the college president, but I would assume good things about him from my respect for his position there. I don’t know the professors involved, but would also assume they are people committed to the best for the college as well. We all know that personal politics is a part of academics.
          I apologize for not communicating well. I pray that things go well for the college and Louisiana Baptists.

          • Tim Norris says

            Sorry Dale; I did allow my feelings to get on my sleeves & for that I am sorry. I also have apologized to Jared. It is never right to digress to insulting words. Thank you for your encouraging words. I know that La. College & La. Baptists would appreciate your prayers as we seek God’s way & will. May we all be about exalting Him who deserves our love and praise! God Bless, my brother!

        • says

          Tim, you shouldn’t feel bad. Hardly any one I have read much of knows how to define the hyper calvinistic bird. And as I pointed out above that they are just as able to be evangelistic and passionately so as my ordaining pastor, Dr. Ernest R. Campbell was, and Dr. R.G. Lee thought so much of him that he, dr. lee, put it in his will to have Ernest Campbell preach his funeral. You can find it in Christ For the World Messenger pub. by E.J. Daniels who was one of the speakers along with Adrian Rogers and three or four others…back in the year Dr. Lee died. No one believes, but Dr. Lee was a five point calvinist, though he would not let any say he was…Cf. m.a. thesis, Dr. R.T. Kendall, The Rise and Demise of Calvinism in the SBC , Univ. of Louisville, Ky., in the appendices. One of two men mentioned, who refused to let his name be listed but he ticked that he believed all five points of the TULIP outline. And by the way, a Hyper Calvinist won the first convert of the Modern Missionary Movement to Christ and then went insane with joy, and So Krishna Pal had to be baptized by William Carey, a mere five point calvinist….

      • Trey Cowell says

        Tim, make that two of us “Louisiana Baptist’s” that do not need the “help” of other’s to define calvinisim/hyper – calvinism. It is arrogant for Mr. Moore, or any other calvinist, to assume that “Louisiana Baptist’s” need help in defining hyper-calvinism.
        Furthermore, I personally support Dr. Aguillard and His stand in the institution in which GOD has placed Him as the oveerseer. As a student in the Casky School of Divinity, I have witnessed over the last year the influence of calvinism with in the School that has caused Dr. Aguillard to take action.

  21. Jon says

    Dr. Willingham, thank you for your coments on paradoxical intervention. Yes, I beleive it works, though not all the time. I never thought about God’s call to sinners in terms of it, though. I do know that we humans are all absurd and that none of us really see ourselves. If you apply paradoxical intervention or numerous other creative therapies that get the other person to finally see themselves and their absurdity, you may earn their thanks or hatred, depending upon which way it goes. What will certainly happen is that they will be forced to confront themselves as in a mirror——–the one thing none of us really does. I don’t care who it is!

  22. Auberday says

    Jared Moore commented, “All the Calvinists I know are not Calvinists because of Calvin, but because the Prophets, Apostles, and Christ taught the doctrines of grace prior to Calvin (except limited atonement of course!).”

    I don’t know a single credible OT scholar that: (a) argues the prophets taught the doctrines of grace; (b) believes the OT can be systematized or have systematic categories applied holistically; or (c) utilizes such a negligent hermeneutic when reading the prophets. Such an a priori assumption circumvents the entire field of biblical theology. Furthermore, the prophets were “preaching” and “applying” the Torah to the rebellious generations of Israel/Judah. Thus, if Jared is correct, then, Moses (and redactors?) would have taught the doctrines of grace too. Sadly, this argument about the prophets and the doctrines of grace is an argumentum ad ignorantiam.

    • says

      Hi Auberday,

      I ain’t Jared, but I know him. My guess is that his statement was not making the claims that you are attempting to refute.

      He was speaking generally that Calvinist theology is found in the Bible; not that the Prophets, Apostles, or Christ systematically taught Calvinism.

      One could take any systematized theology today, be it soteriological or eschatological, make the same claims as Jared and then apply your refutation (if that is was Jared meant).

      I assume that you believe in the doctrine of the Trinity as do Calvinists. I might even assume that you believe the Trinity is taught by the Prophets, Apostles and Christ.

      Yet, can we say that the OT was systematized and characterized in such a way that identifies and defines the Trinity as we do?

    • says

      I think the key to this problem is we don’t employ a consistent definition of hyper-Calvinism. Many non-Calvinists use more inclusive definitions to use the term pejoratively against Calvinists that are within the pale of Christian orthodoxy. Many Calvinists use more exclusive definitions to identify those who hold unorthodox pseudo-Calvinistic views.

    • says

      Ken,

      Phil Johnson has definitions up at the link below for main views, but here is what he posts on supra:

      The distinction between infralapsarianism and supralapsarianism has to do with the logical order of God’s eternal decrees, not the timing of election. Neither side suggests that the elect were chosen after Adam sinned. God made His choice before the foundation of the world (Eph. 1:4)—long before Adam sinned. Both infras and supras (and even many Arminians) agree on this.
      SUPRALAPSARIANISM is the view that God, contemplating man as yet unfallen, chose some to receive eternal life and rejected all others. So a supralapsarian would say that the reprobate (non-elect)—vessels of wrath fitted for destruction (Rom. 9:22)—were first ordained to that role, and then the means by which they fell into sin was ordained. In other words, supralapsarianism suggests that God’s decree of election logically preceded His decree to permit Adam’s fall—so that their damnation is first of all an act of divine sovereignty, and only secondarily an act of divine justice.
      Supralapsarianism is sometimes mistakenly equated with “double predestination.” The term “double predestination” itself is often used in a misleading and ambiguous fashion. Some use it to mean nothing more than the view that the eternal destiny of both elect and reprobate is settled by the eternal decree of God. In that sense of the term, all genuine Calvinists hold to “double predestination”—and the fact that the destiny of the reprobate is eternally settled is clearly a biblical doctrine (cf. 1 Peter 2:8; Romans 9:22; Jude 4). But more often, the expression “double predestination” is employed as a pejorative term to describe the view of those who suggest that God is as active in keeping the reprobate out of heaven as He is in getting the elect in. (There’s an even more sinister form of “double predestination,” which suggests that God is as active in making the reprobate evil as He is in making the elect holy.)
      This view (that God is as active in reprobating the non-elect as He is in redeeming the elect) is more properly labeled “equal ultimacy” (cf. R.C. Sproul, Chosen by God, 142). It is actually a form of hyper-Calvinism and has nothing to do with true, historic Calvinism. Though all who hold such a view would also hold to the supralapsarian scheme, the view itself is not a necessary ramification of supralapsarianism.
      Supralapsarianism is also sometimes wrongly equated with hyper-Calvinism. All hyper-Calvinists are supralapsarians, though not all supras are hyper-Calvinists.
      Supralapsarianism is sometimes called “high” Calvinism, and its most extreme adherents tend to reject the notion that God has any degree of sincere goodwill or meaningful compassion toward the non-elect. Historically, a minority of Calvinists have held this view.
      But Boettner’s comment that “there is not more than one Calvinist in a hundred that holds the supralapsarian view,” is no doubt an exaggeration. And in the past decade or so, the supralapsarian view seems to have gained popularity.

        • says

          Yes Ken, Phil acknowledges that: “Supralapsarianism is also sometimes wrongly equated with hyper-Calvinism. All hyper-Calvinists are supralapsarians, though not all supras are hyper-Calvinists.”

          • says

            Les,

            I do not agree that Phil or his links are the ultimate authority in the matter. It may be that Phil wrongly fails to equate supralapsarianism with hyper-Calvinism. And I’m not speaking of a misrepresented supra, but that supra in all the characteristics that it acknowledges itself to have.

          • says

            Ken,

            Sorry if I communicated that I thought he is the ultimate authority on the matter. I happen to think he is correct that ““Supralapsarianism is also sometimes wrongly equated with hyper-Calvinism.” The Sura position is not necessarily hyper C. That is all I was pointing out.

          • says

            Les,

            You’re ok with me. I was just trying to nail down all the loose ends. So then, how do you see Dordt as a measure of what is normal Calvinism—or, do you?

          • says

            Additionally, identifying supralapsarianism as hyper-Calvinstic is problematic. Hyper-C is connotatively unorthodox while supra- is denotatively orthodox. It’s disingenuous for someone who realizes that to use the label in describing Calvinists to people who don’t know any better because it gives a false impression of unorthodoxy regarding brothers in Christ who really are orthodox.

          • says

            Ken,

            “So then, how do you see Dordt as a measure of what is normal Calvinism—or, do you?”

            I’m on a call right now. More later. But what specifically do you have in mind? Just a general observation? Not sure if in modern times, if ever, that C has been monolithic.

          • says

            Ken,

            Back. You asked, “So then, how do you see Dordt as a measure of what is normal Calvinism—or, do you?”

            Not exactly what you’re asking here, but I’d say that Dordt is the best expression of the Reformed faith coming out of a synod. I don’t think it best represents what is common Reformed faith today. Jared here rejects LA I think and probably calls himself a Calvinist (I actually prefer “Reformed” over “Calvinist.”

          • says

            By the way, at reformed.org, the preface to the Canons of Dordt says,

            “…Arminians taught election based on foreseen faith, universal atonement, partial depravity, resistible grace, and the possibility of a lapse from grace.”

            If this accurate, it’s one of the reasons I cannot see much difference in Trads and Arminianism. That’s not meant to be a perjorative, just an observation.

          • says

            Jim,

            We already have a word to describe going beyond the standard of orthodoxy: heretical. Orthodoxy is broad enough to encompass some extremes, and those extremes are hyper in relation to the norm. Hyper-dispensationalists are not heretical, for example. Maybe Les and you are correct–I’m still looking into it. But it’s still a shame when labels are no longer held to a standard of definition but are instead held to the approval of those to whom they may or may not apply. I mean, what if Calvinists suddenly started to be insulted by being called Calvinist?–would that make them any less a Calvinist?

          • says

            Les,

            Maybe you’re right about the terms. But I would say that if you are, then it is not merely “hyper-Calvinism” that is prompting such an adverse reaction from the other side in the SBC, but supralapsarianism as well. But I’m speaking theologically, not politically—those seem to be two different battles entirely, one about creed and one about the tactics and interests of political groups. If (and this is a big if) some want to screen out supras and call them hypers, it would solve nothing to merely inform them that supras are not hypers—there reasons for wanting to screen them out would still remain. (just trying to shed light—not advocating the screening out).

          • says

            Ken,

            I think in common usage and established usage, these labels do have some meaning. I share your concern to some degree “when labels are no longer held to a standard of definition but are instead held to the approval of those to whom they may or may not apply.” In this case, hyper C does have a fairly common definition historically (though there are some degrees in the definitions. Not monolithic), and it does not apply to anyone I know. But I also am loathe to call it heresy.

            Hyper Cs are wrong, but I don’t call them heretics. Arminians are wrong too, but I also don’t call them heretics.

            But I do think that some non Cs just carelessly think of and even call Cs hyper Cs, since they are so averse to C to begin with. To them all of us are hyper. And, they sometimes try to string out some logical conclusions of C that they think they see. Thus, they end up viewing Cs as Hyper Cs.

            Les

          • says

            “We already have a word to describe going beyond the standard of orthodoxy: heretical.”

            The point is that many people equate hyper-Calvinism with heresy and the fact is that people get to think a word means whatever they want it to mean. Yes there should be a standard. However, the standard definition is debated according to the theological proclivities of individuals and the implications they want to convey by the word. Too often those implications are emotionally charged. Therefore many non-Cs will use the word negatively to refer to as many Cs as they can and many Cs will want to distance themselves from the negative connotations of the word. It’s the same with “Arminian” and “Pelagian” on the other side.

          • says

            Ok, Les. I’ll go along with that.

            BTW, Calvinists should stop assisting in the efforts against them by calling libertarians/traditionalists/Arminians “non-Calvinists.” As one of many non-Calvinists who shares your tenet of unconditional election, it seems more advantageous to be specific. I’m going to start calling them what they are: Libertarians.

          • says

            Ken,

            “…those seem to be two different battles entirely, one about creed and one about the tactics and interests of political groups.

            I agree, to the extent I know what’s going on which is not as much as most.

            “If (and this is a big if) some want to screen out supras and call them hypers, it would solve nothing to merely inform them that supras are not hypers—there reasons for wanting to screen them out would still remain. (just trying to shed light—not advocating the screening out).”

            You’re probably right here again. I’m hoping for the sake of all my brethren that the screening out movement never goes anywhere. Cs and non-Cs have worked together a long time and can continue to do so in the future for the sake of the gospel.

        • says

          Man! are you fellows in for a shock to find out that Hyper Calvinists can be in many cases and often are the most passionate of evangelists, weeping over souls, striving to win them. Our Third Great Awakening, the one which wins the whole earth and every soul on it and continues for a 1000 generations and reaches millions of planets in the solar systems of the starry universe, if man kind is allowed as I think they will be to go to the stars (and could be there already) just so God can crack some humor in Rev.7:9 to cheer His disheartened children.

  23. Tim Norris says

    Mr. Moore, I apologize for saying you are arrogant & rude & have an attitude concerning this subject. However, I still take issue with your title. You may not see it, but it implies that Joe Aguillard & “La. Baptists” need “help” to define Hyper-Calvinism. If you do not mean all La. Baptists which the title implies, then say who & what you mean. That is all I am saying. By the way, do you personally know Dr. Aguillard? I do.

    • says

      Tim, I appreciate the apology brother.

      Once again, the title only applies to those who need help. You shouldn’t be offended since the article doesn’t apply to you. Also, this article has been retweeted and linked to by several LA Baptists who were not offended.

      Furthermore, to answer your question, No, I do not know Aguillard personally. Can you tell us why you think Aguillard used Calvinist and Hyper-Calvinist interchangeably in his original article? Even the link to his article was titled “Reformed Theology.”

    • says

      Tim, imagine how I feel in seeing my ordaining pastor who bore the stamp of Dr. R.G. Lee’s approval to such a degree being considered by the President of LC as a second class sort of preacher who could not be allowed to teach at that school, if he were alive. And yet Dr. Campbell founded the American Race Track Chaplaincy while he was pastor of the FBC of Hialeah, Fla. He also pleaded with a relative of mine until tears ran down the man’s face, Jared is somewhat lacking on knowing what a hyper, supralapsarian will do, too, just like your President of LC. Pshaw! As Dr. Campbell use to say, I understand it. Did you know the SBC and the modern missionary effort and the allowances of differences so the traditionalists could have time to think things through and change their minds, if they wish, was all because a bunch of Hypers and Five Pointers decided to make some allowances that are consonant with their religious liberty issues and yet within the pallisades of the Christian Faith. Even Billy Graham, according to Lewis Drummonds biog., The Evangelist, in the chapter on Sovereignty, demonstrated that he changed over the years, becoming, if you please, more calvinistic. Of course, some become less so. That is the freedom that the SBC had…and has. Just as I was once a premil, pretrib, dispy, just like Drs. Lee and Campbell and E.J. Daniels and Vance Havener. The other day I expressed appreciation to my pastor for a sermon until he reached a certain time in the sermon and turned to another text and shot himself in the foot. He just roared with laughter. He felt we could disagree without taking one another’s head off, and according to the two years of research on the Greek in I Cors.12:31b-14:1a which I did, gathering 2000 5×8 note cards we can, brethren. We don’t have to win our arguments. Only God can and does really win in the end. I have a friend named Spurgeon. We were both introduced to the doctrines of grace in the Fall of ’58 at East Texas Baptist College, and we both rejected it. I used John R. Rice’s Predestined For Hell? NO! We were in school together again in ’65-66 at Lincoln in Mo. and by then I had changed my mind on some of the doctrines of grace. He hadn’t but he heard me say I believed grace was irresistible. One week in a revival he won a young lady to Christ who responded to his questiona bout why she responded so readily by saying, “O it was so wonderful that I could not resist it.” He said that when she said that, what I had said flashed into his mind. He did not change his mind then. He had not changed it by 2001-3, but he had by 2007. He just took 40 years to think it through (and by the way he is one smart cookie and even kin to the Rev. C.H. as he found out after he had changed his views…God does have a delightful sense of humor, Don”t you think?

  24. Tim Norris says

    Jared,
    I do not know why he used the terms interchangeably, but I do not think it is because he does not know what a Calvinist & a Hyper-Calvinist is. I guess the best way to answer your question about this is for you to ask him. I again thank you for your kind response.

    • says

      Tim, folks have a way of defining terms as they have had experience with folks they consider to be in the camp they are addressing. It takes time and effort to develop precise definitions. And even when defined, the definition might lack real understanding of the advocates of the position it defines.

  25. Confused Baptist says

    I have been following this post for about a week. I don’t have a dog in the fight primarily because I don’t adhere to systematic theology. During this time, I have been shocked that no one has made an important connection. Aguillard did not renew 3 contracts of “alleged” Calvinists; yet, he did renew the contract of the Calvinist Chancellor at LC. Many people have quietly been asking the question: “Why issue the Chancellor a contract and not the other 3?” The truth might be just beneath the surface. In May, the Calvinist Chancellor at LC will most likely accept a Research Professor position at one of our SBC seminaries. That this individual interviewed at an SBC seminary is a known fact by the administration. Thus, when Aguillard did not renew the contracts of the 3 “alleged” Calvinists, who happened to be hired by the Calvinist Chancellor, he knew that the big fish would find a new SBC pond to patrol. Sadly, the students will be the ones who suffer, both at the academic level and at the political level. Once the Calvinist Chancellor departs, there will be no one to protect those affiliated with “The Daily Bleat,” “The Whistle Blower of LC,” and “The SBC Heritage.” As fellow brothers in Christ, we must remember that we are on the same team, even if our soteriological views are different.

  26. aaron says

    I think all of the good calvinist should chip in for the buy a brick campaign at LC. For 100 bucks you can get a brick with an inscription for your favorite hero. It would be great to see the walk lined with bricks in honor of Spurgeon, Calvin, Mohler, Piper, Carey, ………….

  27. Frank L. says

    “””You owe me no apology.”””

    CB, I just read this post above.

    Can I have your apology — I never get any? :)

  28. Jess Alford says

    You’re not in a fix-
    because you’re number six-
    you don’t go to Heaven-
    because you’re number seven.

  29. Louis says

    Unless I missed something, this pronouncement by the President of LC sounds like a solution in search of a problem.

    Was there a problem at LC? Was it becoming “Calvinist.”

    This is just more talk about an issue that is really not an issue in the SBC.

    There are people of all stripes in the SBC on this issue, and there always will be.

    From where I sit, there is a lot of unwarranted angst about “Calvinists” in the SBC. I believe the renewed hightened interest is generational, and may last another 10 years or so.

    There are more silly things said in Baptist life about Calvinism today, I have grown completely disinterested in discussing the merits.

  30. Bruce H. says

    I knew a Hyper-Calvinist pastor whose parsonage and church was across the street from where we lived. I think of a Hyper-Calvinist as being void of love. That is only one man. I don’t know if Hyper-Calvinist are like that. Usually, if I have to be right I am not humble and absent of love.

  31. Michael W says

    I agree with Jared that clear definitions are needed with respect to Calvinism. The statement by the LC president may not reveal that he is “confused” about the issues (since at least one of his supporters on this thread objected to that insinuation), but it certainly reveals that he is operating with a different set of definitions regarding the categories under discussion. Calvinists themselves do not define “Calvinism” and “hyper-Calvinism” the way Aguillard seems to be doing. We cannot communicate with one another clearly if we are not using the same terms the same way. Furthermore, in my experience (and I have been removed from a teaching position at a Baptist college myself for these very reasons) anti-Calvinists do not attempt to understand Calvinism the way Calvinists do. When anti-Calvinists say Calvinists believe one thing and Calvinists say they do not believe that, we have a breakdown in understanding, communication, or both. I am not optimistic about our ability to collaborate if we cannot understand one another and communicate with one another using the same language.

  32. says

    Dr, Ernest Campbell was a supralapsarian hyper calvinist. He knew precisely what he meant by the terms and said so. A Supralapsarian is one who views the decrees as primary, including the Fall, Redemption, etc. Others place the decrees in various ways infra and sub to escape the problem of God and His relation to sin. The problem is that when one goes back a reads folks like Zanchius , Calvin, Gill (note some say he is an infralapsarian, and he might be, but it has been so many years since I read him, I forgot), etc., one finds that even the strongest statements concerning God’s decree for sin yet point out that it is permisio (spelling), that is, it is permitted in a way that allows for man to be responsible for his sins. In any case, the reality is that a Hyper-Calvinist can be one of the most caring individuals, a soul winner par excellence! Dr. Campbell was one. Any one who can plead with sinners until tears run down their cheeks is a passionate and compassionate soul winner in my book. Also I might point out that the first convert of the Modern Missionary Movement was won to the Lord by one accused of being a Hyper Calvinist. I refer, of course, to the winning of Krishna Pal, who was baptized by William Carey. He was won by the pleading of Dr. John Thomas who had such a burden to see some native of India come to Christ, that he literally went insane with joy, when he realized the Pal would go all the way and be baptized, which Carey had to perform due to Thomas losing his sanity in a frenzy of elation (we don’t often think about folks going insane from joy and happiness, but it does happen now and then). As to the therapeutic paradox, a paradox can restore a person to self-control, the offering of the very opposite can effect a positive change or what is known as reverse psychology in popular terms. A popular publication of the Southern Baptist Publication Committee which preceded the Sunday School Board and Broadman Press bore the title, Christian Paradoxes, published in 1859.

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