A Question for Non-Hyper Calvinists.
Calvinism is on the march, but there are many varieties of Calvinism. Every Calvinist believes he has the liberty to decide what kind of Calvinist he will be. One list names nine types: total hyper-Calvinist, partial hyper-Calvinist, ultra-high Calvinist, regular high Calvinist, moderate Calvinist, lower moderate Calvinist, lower Calvinist, lowest Calvinist, and Amyraldism (4 point Calvinist). (To understand the difference, you must understand compatibilism, lapsarianism, supralapsarianism, infralapsarianism, active reprobation, common grace, non-salvific love, single and double predestination, and soft forms of double predestination.) The book Spurgeon vs. the Hyper Calvinists: The Battle for Gospel Preaching by Iain Murray contrasts Charles Spurgeon’s Calvinism with the Calvinism of his predecessor John Gill and others of Gill’s persuasion. Spurgeon was the type of Calvinist who believed in preaching the gospel to all sinners, telling them that God loves them and wants to save them, and calling upon them to believe and receive Christ. All of that is well and good, of course, because it is commanded by God. But I would make the observation that every type of Calvinist believes in sovereign election, meaning there is nothing in man, including his faith, that is the basis of election. Every type of Calvinist rejects the idea that election incorporates God’s knowledge of who will and will not believe the gospel. So any Calvinist who seeks to preach the gospel to all sinners, as Spurgeon did, is only looking for the elect, in practice. To get to the heart of the issue I would ask the non-hyper Calvinist this question: “Do you believe that any sinner can be saved? Can you discuss the fearful and amazing Book of Life with a sinner and tell him for sure that his name can be written there?” No one who believes in sovereign election can answer these questions in the affirmative in an unequivocal way, yet the Bible plainly says, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved” (John 3:16-17). For this reason, I have chosen to be no kind of Calvinist, and no kind of Arminian, too. I am under no divine obligation to make a choice between Calvinism and Arminianism. I only have to believe the Bible. While I can’t answer every question about the wonderful doctrine of election, one thing I know for sure, because of the clear teaching of Scripture, is that election is not “sovereign” after any Calvinist definition. I have met many Calvinists that I believe are saved and know Christ and I, therefore, love them in Christ, because I love the saints, but I emphatically reject their Calvinism. I also emphatically reject the Quick Prayerism program of evangelism whereby a sinner can pray “a sinner’s prayer” and be pronounced saved and given assurance when there is no clear evidence of repentance and regeneration. For the same Bible that says “whosoever believeth in him should not perish,” also says, “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are come new” (2 Corinthians 5:17), and, “He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him” (1 John 2:4).
(Friday Church News Notes, July 19, 2019, www.wayoflife.org firstname.lastname@example.org, 866-295-4143)
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