Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Thursday Radio Interview on WNYG

Chris Arnzen of WNYG in New York has invited me to be on his "Iron Sharpens Iron" radio talk show this Thursday from 3-4 PM Eastern time, to discusss Calvinism and hyper-Calvinism. It can be heard live via their website. Archived copies of the programs are also available.

On Friday, September 21, from 3-PM I will participate in a "Pastors' Roundtable" on the same program. It is also available on the links above.

5 comments:

YnottonY said...

Hi Tom,

I am curious about how you would define hyper-Calvinism. I know that you personally believe that God desires the salvation of all mankind, but has decreed to save the elect alone. I imagine that you also affirm God's universal love, common grace and well-meant offers. What I am wondering is if you would consider one a hyper-Calvinist if:

1) One denies God's universal saving will, or that God in some sense wills the salvation of all in the revealed will of God.

2) One denies that God salvifically loves all mankind. This is related to the first point, i.e., that he loves all in the sense that he is willing to save all. I am not referring to a redemptive love whereby some think that God gives the Son to die for all, but a general saving kind of love.

3) One denies common grace. I am not talking about terminology quibbles, but the concept itself. This, again, seems related to the first two points since God's kindness and longsuffering are meant to lead men to repentance according to Rom. 2:4.

4) One denies that the gospel is a well-meant offer. This all seems interrelated, since a well-meant offer presupposes that God a) wills the salvation of all b) loves all with a view to saving and c) acts graciously toward all with a view to saving.

I didn't mention duty-faith or human responsibility because I think all agree that the denial of that doctrine amounts to hyperism.

So, would you say that denying one or more of the above four points qualifies one as a hyper-Calvinist?

I must confess that I am weary of the Protestant Reformed Church caricatured definition, as articulated by David Engelsma; that is, hyperism is 1) the denial of the need to evangelize/preach/or do missions and 2) the denial of duty-faith. I believe that SOME hypers held to that, but it was actually a minority view among them. As Dr. Curt Daniel said:

"With the exception of a few extreme Primitive Baptists, all Hyper-Calvinists have believed that we are to "preach" the Gospel to all, but "offer" it to none. Preach, explain, command -yes. Offer - no. Some have also quibbled over the word "invite", arguing that we can only invite "sensible [convicted] sinners", not sinners in general. All this is related to anti-missionism."

Curt Daniel, The History and Theology of Calvinism (Springfield: Good Books, 2003), p. 89.

Phil J. makes the same point in his Primer, as you know. I think the PRC types are arbitrarily raising the definitional bar so they aren't seen as hyper themselves.

Anyway, what are your definitional thoughts on the topic as it relates to #1, #2, #3 and #4 above?

Thanks,
Tony

Tom said...

Tony:

I must beg your indulgence not to get involved in an extended debate on this issue. I believe that hyper-Calvinism is rooted in an error related to biblical anthropology. It does not allow for the unregenerate being responsible for that which they are unable to perform, namely, repentance and faith. The rationale behind this, at least as argued by John Brine, is that Adam in his innocency never possessed the ability to repent and believe savingly nor, therefore, the responsibility to do so, since such was not necessary. Thus, such ability and responsibility do not inhere to fallen men as his progeny.

I realize this does not answer your questions but it does express how I see the essence of hyper-Calvinism. As I said, I am not willing to get into an extended discussion of all of the issues here.

Blessings,
tom

YnottonY said...
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YnottonY said...
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Tom said...

Tony:

I am sorry you were disappointed. You obviously give much time and energy to this topic, as your own blog demonstrates. Since you have left an abundance of links to your blog while commenting here, it is not difficult for anyone who stumbles across my posts to get to your place, where you can discuss these matters with them further.

Blessings,
tom