The Riches OF GRACE
“hath appeared to all men.” Titus 2:11
Robert W. Reed
“Jesus answered and said unto them, Ye do err, not knowing the scriptures, nor the power of God”.
+ The Five Points of Hyper-Calvinism +
This article is titled “Hyper-Calvinism” because it will discuss the extreme and strict teaching of absolute predestination. That is, that God predestinated some individuals to salvation and others to damnation in eternity past. I understand that there are many degrees and shades of Calvinism. Many who call themselves Calvinist are simply saying that they are not an Armenian, and that they believe in salvation by grace apart from any human merits. But, others who call themselves a Calvinist do great harm to the doctrine of election. This heresy is dangerous and foreign to Scripture. John Calvin may have taught many good things but he was wrong on the issue of predestination. Calvinism is not the only answer to Armenianism and besides, why would any Christian want to be labeled by a man’s name?
“Not all men are created with similar destiny, but eternal life is foreordained for some and eternal damnation for others. Every man, therefore, being created for one or the other of these ends. We say, he is either predestinated to life or to death.”
Quote of John Calvin in his Institute Book III, Chapter 23
The divisions of the church in the area of election are generally known as Calvinists or Armenians after the names of two theologians. The main debate has been centered around how to reconcile “the sovereignty of God” and “the responsibility of man.” Calvinism gets its name from John Calvin (1509-1564) who was a French theologian and reformation leader and what he taught about election. His doctrine of absolute predestination is that “God elected in eternity past whom he would save and whom he would send to hell.” The basic teaching of hyper-Calvinism is known as the Five Points of Calvinism or more easily remembered by the acronym T.U.L.I.P.
T - Total Depravity
U - Unconditional Election
L - Limited Atonement
I - Irresistible Grace
P - Perseverance of the Saints
This first point of Hyper-Calvinism teaches a lost sinner cannot come to God and trust Jesus Christ as his Saviour unless he is foreordained to do so. They teach that since he is dead in sins, he cannot repent or have faith unless God overpowers him and gives him that ability. In other words, man’s depravity extends to his volition, preventing him from voluntarily coming to God for salvation. This teaching says that a dead man has no free will and cannot respond to anything at all. It is true that man is dead in trespasses and sins according to Ephesians 2:1,“And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins.” But, free will is taught in the Scriptures (Exodus 35:5,21,29, Ezra 7:13,16) and the word “dead,” when used of a lost sinner does not mean the same as a dead body of a man or animal. The word has more than one meaning. For example, Matthew 8:22 says, “Let the dead bury the dead.” The first “dead” in the verse refers to separation from God and the second “dead” means inactive, without physical life. In I Timothy 5:6, it says “She that liveth in pleasure is dead while she liveth.” Other examples are in Luke 15:24, Revelation 3:1, Romans 6:11 and I Peter 2:24. The believer is said to be “dead to sin.” If this means what is taught by Calvinists, then, a Christian could not commit another sin if he is dead to sin. The Bible also refers to a second death in Revelation 20:14. This death is when a sinner is cast into the lake of fire, and will suffer eternal damnation (Revelation 14:10-11).
This simply means that God elects some to salvation and some to hell without any conditions before the foundation of the world. That is, God decided who will be saved and who will be lost and the individual has no say in the matter. A quote is given on the front of this article by John Calvin on this matter. The Bible plainly speaks of salvation as conditional based upon one’s repentance and faith. God only rejects man, after man rejects truth (Romans 1:21,24). In Matthew 23:37, it is clear that they could have been saved but they would not, “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not!” Salvation is offered to sinners on certain conditions and unless one complies to those conditions they cannot be saved. As man’s transgression was voluntary in his fall, the same is true in his salvation. Again, salvation is always conditional upon one’s faith, (Romans 10:9, Acts 8:37, 16:31 and Ephesians 2:8).
According to the Hyper-Calvinist, limited atonement means that Christ died for the elect only. The problem with this doctrine is that there is a multitude of Scriptures to refute it. The Bible speaks very clearly that Christ died for the sins of all men. For instance, John 3:16 plainly states that, “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.” The word “world” means all of humanity as in Romans 1:20, 3:19, 5:12, I Corinthians 1:21, 6:2, 11:32, and Galatians 6:14. The word “whosoever” speaks of a universal provision and invitation (Romans 10:13, Revelation 22:17). Please consider the following Scriptures on the subject:
I John 2:2, “And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world.”
II Peter 2:1, “But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction.”
II Peter 3:9, “The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.”
Hebrews 2:9, “But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honour; that he by the grace of God should taste death for every man.”
I Timothy 2:4-6, “Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth. For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus; Who gave himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time.”
I Timothy 4:10, “For therefore we both labour and suffer reproach, because we trust in the living God, who is the Saviour of all men, specially of those that believe.”
Titus 2:11, “For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men.”
To the Calvinist, those who are elected to be saved from before the foundation of the world cannot resist the grace of God. That is, God over powers them and basically forces them to be saved. It is true that one cannot be saved unless God draws him by the Holy Spirit (John 6:44, 65, 12:32, Revelation 2:17, Genesis 6:3) but, the Lord never drags one to salvation nor does He force anyone to believe. God does not exercise His sovereign will over man’s free will. The Bible in Acts 7:51 says, in speaking of Israel, “ye do always resist the Holy Ghost.” This does not sound like irresistible grace to me. The very fact of unpardonable sin proves that grace is not irresistible.
The Perseverance of the Saints
This basically means a persistent effort by the Hyper-Calvinist. I could come nearer agreeing with this point than any of the above. According to I Peter 1:4-5, “To an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you, Who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.” The saints of God are preserved in Christ (Jude 1:1) and based upon this fact; they will persevere (overcome) because they are kept by the power of God. Amen.
"Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house.” Acts 16:31
Victory Baptist Church
Pastor Robert W. Reed
14473 Bellingrath Road
P.O. Box 257
Coden, Alabama 36523