Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Hyper Calvinism is really all about me

The main tenant I have with Hypercalvinism is that it makes too much of men.
On the surface it looks like it makes the least of men of every given philosophy considering that it asserts men are so fallen that it does not even ask them for repentance, but in reality it elevates men to a place they ought not to be in. Under the guise of humility it hides a growing pride. It's hypocrisy.

Take as an example the substutionary atonement (1 Cor 15:3, Rom 14:15, 1 Peter 2:24).  The hypers agree to this doctrine, making it look as if they make much of the God who saves those incapable of saving themselves, but they go on to assert that Christ has died in this way only for the elect.  The Bible is clear however that His wrath is due sinners Ezr 8:22, Mat 12:36, Col 3:6, and that we are sinners Rom 3:10. To save us Christ dies as a sinner in our place Rom 5:8, 2 Cor 5:21.  We are invited to take comfort and acceptance therefore in our sinfulness, because Christ dies to save sinners, 1 Tim 1:15, not in election as if Christ died for the elect.  The Bible speaks much of our sinfulness, and comparatively little of our election because it's emphasizing the chief thing: our sinfulness.

On the other hand the hypercalvinist (and I include the high Calvinist as they commit the same mistake just to a lesser degree) take the same verses and see Christ dying for the elect, of which I am one.  In verses that speak of Christs death they no longer see the word sinner, they see the word us, or me.  In other words, Christ came to die for me, and took the wrath due me because I'm electHe dies for the elect to pay their debt and not a single bit more, nor does He have compassion on the non-elect.  How can He? He dies for specific sins of the elect, so the non-elect in no way have any of their sins paid for, as their sole function was ever to bring Him glory by burning forever in hell.
You will never find a hyper thinking of himself as a reprobate or a sinner, nor are the elect ever under a serious wrath considering God always wanted to save them. Eph 2:1-3 is talking about a different kind of dead and a different, special kind of wrath. Those warning passages do not apply to a Hyper because of how special he is, how important he is.  That is the mark of pride.

This is why most Biblical doctrines get destroyed- ultimately it's because the hyper is wrapped up in himself. Take common grace for example. A hyper will insist that there is no such thing because Christ never had an intention to save the non-elect and so never purchased good for them, but the underlying motive for this conclusion is that I'm special and they are not, they shall not share my inheritance. It sounds like the Judiazers.  "I will not share my inheritance in Abraham. I will not share my God's blessings. I will not share with the Gentiles because I am special, I am better than them. I thank you God that I am not a sinner."  Luke 18:11 is the prayer of the Pharisee and hyper Calvinist alike.
Likewise the need for sanctification.  Go join a HyperCalvinist forum or group and see how much regard they have for others.  Do not slander, love your brother, these are unnecessary because I am already saved, I am elect, I am chosen. I have already overcome all sin and passed from judgment to life. The blessings in Christ are mine, not Christ's who then gives to me.
Likewise evangelism.  What do I care if you go to heaven or not?  God will see to it if He wants.
Likewise fellowship with everyone else. What is destroying the desire to commune with the body is Pride, the vice that utterly destroys all ability to get along with others.

I propose this is the explanation for so many (if not most) Arminians who convert swing all the way out to HyperCalvinism.  Conventional wisdom has it that they are like a pendulum, but in reality they are just taking a small step further, trading their self importance under free will in for a greater self importance under election.

14 comments:

Ryan said...

"In verses that speak of Christs death they no longer see the word sinner, they see the word us, or me."

When Paul says God justifies the ungodly, does that mean God justifies all the ungodly? Is regarding the identity of ungodly persons of whom Paul speaks in Romans 4:5 as believers or elect individuals mutually exclusive with the statement made? Then what is the problem?

"You will never find a hyper thinking of himself as... a sinner."

You called me a hyper and know very well I regard myself as a sinner. You've read my notes on justification.

Jack said...

Overall I like this post Phil. Sometimes it's difficult to get a point across in an undestandable manner without overstating a negative. However, when explaining another's view, we must try to do so in a fair and honest way - asking ourselves "would that person be comfortable with the accuracy of what I have attributed to him?" And afterall, we would want the same from the opposing view (doesn't always happen as you well know).

Jack said...

In a true sense, Christ died for all in that His sacrifice is sufficient to save all sinners, elect and non-elect alike; there is nothing lacking in His sacrifice.

In another true sense, Christ died specifically for His elect. The elect's sins were actually and truly atoned and washed away on that awful and wonderful day of Christ's sacrifice. It is done and there nothing more to be done to cover our sins.

The non-elect's sins remain and are against them. The non-elect "can" be saved; God makes a bonafide offer of salvation to them, to all men, and Christ's sacrifice is completely sufficient to cover the non-elect's sin. To become saved the non-elect needs to: 1) have saving faith, which he does not have (neither did the elect until God gave faith), and 2) have repentance from sin, which he does not have (neither did the elect until God gave repentance).

Ryan said...

Jack,

I would agree that Christ's death is "sufficient for all, efficient for the elect," but I think that when it is said that Christ dies "for" someone, that connotes an intention on the part of Christ to save that someone. As such, I don't believe Christ died for all [men without exception] but rather the elect [men without distinction].

Romans 8:32 He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things?

Jack said...

Ryan, I tend to agree with you.....I prefer not to say that Christ died for all men because I think it usually conveys an improper understanding.

Phil said...

Yes Ryan but your identity is found in election considering supralapsarianism. It's a group apart as it were, which was my point. The elect may be under wrath to better understand God's mercy, but there is no real danger for them of facing that wrath.

With respect to 'all men' I think we are in safe ground to say Christ wants all men to be saved-
I can't understand any other kind of Christ weeping over reprobate Jerusalem.
Just because He does not make it effectual doesn't mean He doesn't make it sincerely. He makes salvation available for everyone, and effective for some.

Ryan said...

"The elect may be under wrath to better understand God's mercy, but there is no real danger for them of facing that wrath."

Right, but I don't understand why this is relevant. Do you disagree with that?

"With respect to 'all men' I think we are in safe ground to say Christ wants all men to be saved-
I can't understand any other kind of Christ weeping over reprobate Jerusalem."

Who says they were reprobate? That's an assumption.

"Just because He does not make it effectual doesn't mean He doesn't make it sincerely."

Did Jesus or the Father or the Spirit intend to save all men without exception by His sacrifice?

Phil said...

You are right of course Jack, I do paint with an almost unfairly large brush in this post. However, it's sort of a reducto ad absurdum to make the point that the hyper is journeying down a road that ultimately ends up with him wrapped up in himself and loses all love for others.
I recognize that highs make this same mistake but it usually isn't allowed to grow very far, while a full blown hyper has a runaway case of it, like a seedling vs a sapling vs a mighty redwood. But I went ahead with it anyway because it's the same type of problem, even if the degrees make for a very large different.

Phil said...

Who says they were reprobate? That's an assumption.
I can't follow you into the place where you are going. Who says that the Jerusalem which was utterly annihilated was reprobate? Was the tribulation of 70AD for the elect? Was the fig tree cursed, symbolic of Jerusalem elect? In that very same breath Jesus said 'you who killed all the prophets' was he talking of the elect? Was the parable of the landowner and tenants speaking of the elect tenants? The wedding banquet featured the elect guests that rejected the groom?
You are doubling down into a position that is absurd and unfalsifiable.

Did Jesus or the Father or the Spirit intend to save all men without exception by His sacrifice?
The problem with hypercalvinism is that it elevates the secret will over the revealed. Surely He didn't effectually intend to save everyone because not everyone is saved. The question is why are they unsaved, because He predetermined them for fodder or because they rejected Him which indeed grieves Him? The revealed will is clear that He longs for them to turn and be saved. The secret says that unlike the elect He is unwilling to force them to accept Him. The hyper then adds, "because He never intended to save them in the first place" which breaks the revealed will completely.

Ryan said...

"I can't follow you into the place where you are going."

I'm not saying they are or aren't reprobate, you are. So how could you be following me? If you have a reason to think they are reprobate, state it. But surely you realize that just because an unbeliever rejects God's grace once or is prohibited by something or someone such that he is able to hear the gospel does not imply that in the future the unbeliever will have no opportunity to hear the gospel and repent, right?

"In that very same breath Jesus said 'you who killed all the prophets' was he talking of the elect?"

That doesn't matter much, since it was not those people whom Jesus was referencing in Matthew 23:37. It was the children.

"You are doubling down into a position that is absurd and unfalsifiable."

You are relying on allusions to make a point which can't be substantiated. Either you have reasons for believing your intended allusions refer to reprobates or you don't. If you don't, you're only compounding your hermeneutical error. If you do, that wouldn't explain the reason you think those in 23:37 are reprobates.

"Did Jesus or the Father or the Spirit intend to save all men without exception by His sacrifice?"

No.

"The problem with hypercalvinism is that it elevates the secret will over the revealed."

The problem with you is that you can't admit that God's revealed will is His revealed will, at least when it doesn't suit you.

"The question is why are they unsaved, because He predetermined them for fodder or because they rejected Him which indeed grieves Him?"

As if those positions are mutually exclusive...

"The revealed will is clear that He longs for them to turn and be saved."

If true, then He would save them. Whatsoever God desires He does.

"The secret says that unlike the elect He is unwilling to force them to accept Him."

Force has a negative connotation. You, a Calvinist, should know better.

"The hyper then adds, "because He never intended to save them in the first place" which breaks the revealed will completely."

Such as?

Phil said...

The question is why are they unsaved, because He predetermined them for fodder or because they rejected Him which indeed grieves Him?"
As if those positions are mutually exclusive


This is intuitive- if you don't see these two as incompatible we cannot continue.

Anonymous said...

Common/Universal Grace is NOT common:
http://trinityfoundation.org/PDF/055a-TheMythofCommonGrace.pdf
Just some thoughts on common grace. Appreciate your blog on this.

Phil said...

Hey Al thanks for stopping by.
Once the writer of the article you posted gets down to brass tacks, (p9,10) in exegeting the passage of Ezekiel he skips the text proper entirely, but quotes hypercalvinist John Gill to deal with the passage. As one who came from a denomination that regularly skipped looking at the text I'm on to that trick, and having done it so long myself, can no longer tolerate it.

But let's set aside the fact that that portion of scripture was overlooked, and instead look at the logical problem facing the hyper on this verse. They say that God's revealed will does indeed want the wicked to die, and this verse is talking about Israel only.
Is that a valid hermunitical rule? Ignore the revealed will in favor of a deduction made from the secret will? By the same logic that states God wishes only the salvation of Israel the Hypercalvinist should box himself out, since he is not Israel.
That's one of the things I was getting at in my blog, they are willing to make generous logic leaps for themselves, but not for others.
Why should God wanting to save Israel include them? If the passage speaks to Gods intent to save the elect only then where did they get the idea they were part of that group? I could only come to one conclusion.

Phil said...

One more thing about Robbin's article, he dismisses the love of God for all men and the idea of common grace in Matthew 23:37 by quoting Calvin, or should I say lying to us. Look at what Calvin actually said regarding that verse.

"As a hen collecteth her brood under her wings. We now perceive the reason why Christ, speaking in the person of God, compares himself to a hen. It is to inflict deeper disgrace on this wicked nation, which had treated with disdain invitations so gentle, and proceeding from more than maternal kindness. It is an amazing and unparalleled instance of love, that he did not disdain to stoop to those blandishments, by which he might tame rebels into subjection. A reproof nearly similar is employed by Moses, that God, like an eagle with outspread wings, (De 32:11,) embraced that people. And though in more than one way God spread out his wings to cherish that people, yet this form of expression is applied by Christ, in a peculiar manner, to one class, namely, that prophets were sent to gather together the wandering and dispersed into the bosom of God. By this he means that, whenever the word of God is exhibited to us, he opens his bosom to us with maternal kindness, and, not satisfied with this, condescends to the humble affection of a hen watching over her chickens. Hence it follows, that our obstinacy is truly monstrous, if we do not permit him to gather us together. And, indeed, if we consider, on the one hand, the dreadful majesty of God, and, on the other, our mean and low condition, we cannot but be ashamed and astonished at such amazing goodness. For what object can God have in view in abasing himself so low on our account? When he compares himself to a mother, he descends very far below his glory; how much more when he takes the form of a hen, and deigns to treat us as his chickens?"

Now even if I didn't know anything else about any of this, why should I trust the conclusions drawn at the end of someone who lies to me and willfully misquotes to persuade me of a point?