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Calvinism and the Divine Decrees – Correcting a Misunderstanding

Did God create people just to send them to hell? If God elected some people and not others, doesn’t this mean that the others were elected for hell? Doesn’t Calvinism necessitate that God is the author of evil?

There are common questions/objections that Calvinists such as myself have to answer. They are good questions. But the problem is that so many people assume the answers before studying the issues. I do not believe that God created people to send them to hell. I do not believe that God is the author of evil. And, yes, I am a Calvinist. In fact, I am representative of most Calvinists.

Like so many belief systems, Calvinism is subject misunderstanding, stereotyping, and the propagation of misinformation. In fact, apart from dispensationalism, I don’t know of any other belief system in Christianity that is more misunderstood on a popular level and attacked more furiously.

My purpose here is not to enter into an exhaustive defense of the system, nor to set the record straight at every turn, but to deal with one particular issue that is, at first glance, very difficult and lofty, but, in reality, simple and down to (theological) earth. It is the issue of divine decrees.

Most simply put, the “divine decrees” are those theoretical declarations and decisions in the Godhead concerning the arrangement of the enacting purposes of God in the creation and redemption of man. Yeah, I know… Let me try again. The divine decrees describe how God went about planning salvation. There, much better. Each decree represents one part of how the plan is carried out.

Theoretically, there is an “order” of divine decrees. The order of decrees implicitly tell a story about not only the what of redemption, but the why. This is where things get a little dicey. For example, when Kristie and I got married, we had a certain order of arrangements about what our marriage would look like and how it would function. First, we decreed to get married. We had an understanding that we might have children (Lord willing), but we also might not have children. Either way, the decree to get married was set, children or not. Once we had children, we decreed to bring them up in the Lord. But, we might have done things differently. We might have first decided to have children who we would bring up in the Lord. But, as this scenario goes, we needed to get married in order to accomplish this purpose. Therefore, the marriage served as a means to an end to another purpose (i.e. having godly children) in the latter, while the former, the marriage was the purpose, and the children were a contentious possibility that would be a result of the first decree (i.e. getting married). Notice how the two situations produce the same result, but reveal different “ultimate” purposes. Put that in your back pocket for a minute.

The divine decrees produce similar effects with regard to God’s purposes. Here are the different decrees, in no certain order and stripped bare of many of the implications of purpose:

  • God’s decree to redeem the elect and to reprobate/”pass over” others
  • God’s decree to create man
  • God’s decree to allow for the fall
  • God’s decree to send Christ as the redeemer
  • God’s decree to apply salvation

Our next goal is to put these in a certain order (like with the marriage). However, this is not necessary a temporal order, since the divine decrees are before creation and hence timeless, but a logical order.

Supralapsarianism

Supralapsarianism literally means “before or above the fall” (supra=”above”; lapse=”fall”). This is the form of Calvinism that is often called “hyper-Calvinism” (“hyper being an adj not a noun) because of its radical nature. It is held by very few Calvinists, and does not represent so-called “Evangelical Calvinism.” The belief here is that the decree to elect happens before the decree to allow for the fall. So, the order of the decrees would go this way:

  1. God’s decree to redeem the elect and to reprobate/damn others
  2. God’s decree to create the elect and reprobate
  3. God’s decree to bring about the fall as a means of reprobation
  4. God’s decree to send Christ as the redeemer only for the elect
  5. God’s decree to apply salvation to the elect

Although there are some other modification that can be made, this is good for now. Notice the radical nature of this system. Like the decision to have children that proceeded the decision to get married, here the decision to elect and reprobate comes before the decision to create the individual, meaning that the reprobate were created for the very purpose of damnation. Creation is the means to an end of reprobation. In the supralapsarian scheme, God becomes the very author of damnation for its own sake. Supralapsarians have trouble separating God from evil as God seems to be the very creator of evil. A defense would be made of this position by referring to Romans 9:22 and the potters right to prepare people for destruction. In the end, according to supralapsarians, God is glorified in his decree both to elect and to reprobate.

However, let me make this very clear. This is not representative of mainstream or normative Calvinism. In other words, most Calvinists, historic and contemporary are not supralapsarians.

Infralapsarianism

Infralapsarianism literally means “after or below the fall” (infra=”below”; lapse=”fall”). This form of Calvinism is representative of normative and Evangelical Calvinism. There are many different forms of infralapsarianism and much debate on what is actually representative of historic Calvinism (both of Calvin and of Dort, another issue for another time), but the most important element is stable: most Calvinists are infralapsarian in their theology.

Normative Calvinistic Infralapsarianism

  1. God’s decree to create man
  2. God’s decree to allow the fall
  3. God’s decree to redeem the elect and to reprobate/pass over all others
  4. God’s decree to send Christ as the redeemer only for the elect
  5. God’s decree to apply salvation salvation to the elect

Notice the difference here. God’s decree to create man is the first priority, not his decree to elect or damn individuals. Like in the marriage illustration. In this case the decision to get married was the driving factor, not what might happen as a result of the marriage (i.e. children). Of course in all scenarios God knew ahead of time that the fall would happen, but what God knew and when is not the issue with the divine decrees. Once God allows for the fall, then and only then does he decree what to do as a result of the fall. In other words, infralapsarians do not believe that God purposed the fall in order to elect or condemn. Therefore, God is not the author of evil or of the fall.

Here are a couple of other options (with the distinctives in bold) to help you get your mind around this a little more:

Modified Calvinistic Infralapsarianism (Amyraldism/”4-point Calvinism”)

  1. God’s decree to create man
  2. God’s decree to allow the fall
  3. God’s decree to send Christ as the redeemer for all people
  4. God’s decree to redeem the elect and to reprobate/pass over all others
  5. God’s decree to apply salvation salvation to the elect

Arminian Infralapsarianism

  1. God’s decree to create man
  2. God’s decree to allow the fall
  3. God’s decree to send Christ as the redeemer for all people
  4. God’s decree to redeem the elect those who trust in Christ and damn all others
  5. God’s decree to apply salvation salvation to those who believe (i.e. the elect)

I don’t want to spend too much time on the details here. My purpose has been to give a basic introduction to the divine decrees, but more importantly to correct a very common misconception about Calvinism. Most Calvinists have a theology that makes it very clear that God is not responsible for the creation of evil and did not institute the fall in order to accomplish his purpose of reprobation. In other words, he did not create people for hell. I know that there are some that do believe this, but they are very much the exception, not the norm.

162 Responses to “Calvinism and the Divine Decrees – Correcting a Misunderstanding”

  1. Hi Michael,

    I am wondering how you see Romans 9:22 fitting into all of this? This is something I have been trying to understand for quite some time now.

  2. While I don’t hold to any of the positions outlined above, I was rather amazed at the presentation of supralapsarianism outlined above.

    The *purpose* of God’s decree of reprobation, per supralapsarianism, is the same *purpose* that He has for redemption. His own glory. The means He uses differ in each case – but the purpose is the same.

    I just thought I’d point that out. My first thought, on reading this, was “Wow, CMP tossed the Supras under the bus to make Calvinism look ‘nicer'”. After reflecting a little bit, I don’t think I’ve changed my mind.

    I would highly suggest you take a look through some reputable sources, and take a gander at the theologians who were supralapsarian. As I said, I don’t hold to infra or supra (as I don’t believe it’s logically coherent to believe that eternal decrees have a logical *order* – which implies temporal succession of thoughts) – but this strawman was quite merrily burned for your entertainment, in my humble opinion.

  3. Hmm, first time I read this, I missed the part where you said that supralapsarianism is “hypercalvinism”.

    Michael, that’s just wrong. Hypercalvinism has nothing to do with -lapsarianism. It’s defined mainly by denying that we should preach the gospel to everyone. (A hyper-calvinist doesn’t think we’re supposed to present the gospel to the non-elect.)

    Phil Johnson has a good primer on it.

  4. Oh, just an additional note – I was referring the reader to further study of reputable sources, not Michael. I’m sure he’s quite well-read on the subject, despite my disappointment at his treatment of it :)

  5. Another problem with your description of supralapsarianism:

    In the supralapsarian scheme, God becomes the very author of damnation for its own sake. Supralapsarians have trouble separating God from evil as God seems to be the very creator of evil.

    I don’t know what you mean by this, unless you’re saying that damnation is evil. And I’m sure you don’t intend to say that.

    But if that’s not what you mean, how does the supralapsarian order make God any more the author of evil than the infralapsarian order?

    Why does “I’ll allow the fall so that I can display both my mercy and my wrath by saving some & not others” make him more the author of evil than “I allowed the fall (for some reason), and now I’ll display both my mercy and my wrath by saving some & not others”?

  6. No matter how you frame the decrees, Calvinism is still premised on what I see as a flawed anthropology (inherited guilt), and a God who is driven by wrath (penal substitution), correct? To me, these are the real issues. (I’m not trying to be argumentative, I’m just still trying to understand Calvinism.)

  7. Alden, those characteristics are not Calvinism’s, but protestantism.

  8. Actually, no, that’s not it at all. First, it’s not “inherited guilt”, it’s “imputed guilt”, for imputed sin. Secondly, God is not “driven by” wrath – wrath is an attribute of God’s nature. That is not God’s only attribute. Third, that is not identical to penal substitution. Wrath is a real attribute of God, found all through Scripture. Penal substitution is the means God determined to satisfy His wrath – but it is not His wrath. We are justified in God’s sight due to the penalty Christ suffered in our place. The penalty is the exercise of His wrath. Does that make sense?

  9. No, wrath is a response of another attribute, namely righteousness. But that is not really the point of this post. Please keep things on topic.

  10. A variety of good theological sources point out that supralapsarianism is not to be identified with hypercalvinism. However, the two are related in that all hypercalvinists are supralapsarian. No recognized Calvinistic confession of which I’m aware excludes supralapsarianism. However, any number of them exclude hypercalvinism.

  11. I disagree – but yeah, moving along :)

  12. Michael

    You said yourself that “in all scenarios God knew what the outcome would be”. This is the thought that initially pulled me toward Calvinism. The order of decrees might apply to human actions but since God never has or had to learn anything, attaching an order to His “decrees” seems to me an attempt to deflect the implications of Rom 9:22 ( I would be interested to hear your explanation of same.) Brian

  13. It’s not that we Arminians think Calvinists believe that God is the author of evil, it’s that the Calvinist positions seem to lead there logically. Most Calvinists seem to unwittingly hold a view that is very close to making God the author of evil. They obviously would reel at the idea, but I don’t think they are carrying it out logically.

    The way God’s decrees are articulated many times gives the impression that God is the author of evil. For instance, when Calvin writes things like, “We also note that we should consider the creation of the world so that we may realize that everything is subject to God and ruled by his will and that when the world has done what it may, nothing happens other than what God decrees,” or, “First, the eternal predestination of God, by which before the fall of Adam He decreed what should take place concerning the whole human race and every individual, was fixed and determined,” I think you can begin see why we would begin to level this charge.

    Now I want to be fair and acknowledge that he clearly said God isn’t the author of sin: “First, it must be observed that the will of God is the cause of all things that happen in the world; and yet God is not the author of evil.” However, it seems like he’s just contradicting himself and practicing special pleading. These inconsistencies compel us to point out that the logical conclusion of divine determinism still seems to end with God being the source of sin.

    God bless :)

  14. I agree entirely with RazorKiss’ first comment, but I’d also like to add that the question of “Is God the author of evil?” is a totally different question from “Is God evil?” – neither follows from the other. The problem of laundering the existence of evil through passivity on God’s part (whether by free will, or something more general as it seems this article is doing) is the problem with Arminianism that Calvinism is supposed to solve.

    The allegedly supralapsarian position that evil exists for the glory of God is exactly the answer which all Calvinism requires, regardless of where on the lapsarian debate one falls.

  15. I think the other consideration with God’s sovereignty is understanding the difference between producing evil and having complete control over it. God does not do the former, but He does do the latter. Hence, whether one is infra or supra does not really affect whether God is seen as the author of evil.

  16. Curt Daniel in The History and Theology of Calvinism, p. 102 states:

    [Supralapsarianism] is not the doctrine that God did not choose some people to be elect. That is the doctrine of Reprobation and is held by virtually all Calvinists. Secondly, it is not the doctrine of unconditional election, for all Calvinists believe in that. Third, it is not the doctrine that God predestined the existence of sin, whether by active fore-ordination or passive permission. All Calvinists accept that.

    Rather, Supralapsarianism is one of the 2 or 3 theories within Reformed theology on the question of which of the above three decrees of God came first. Of course, this assumes they are eternal. Therefore, it is not a matter of chronological order, but of logical order.

    CMP, do you agree?

  17. It’s not that we Arminians think Calvinists believe that God is the author of evil, it’s that the Calvinist positions seem to lead there logically.

    Arminians and Calvinists differ so very slightly that it’s absurd to hear this. The only difference that grounds this claim is that Calvinists believe that God created people knowing that they would be sinful and doomed to hell, and yet purposed to save “only” some of them. Arminians believe that they’ve got a safety valve: that God did not purpose to save some, but rather provided a plan that, if anyone follows it, will result in our salvation (whereas if we don’t follow it, going to hell is simply the logical consequence of not following the plan).

    But this isn’t sufficient to make the “author of evil” complaint against Calvinists. It simply doesn’t follow that THIS difference makes a Calvinistic deity authorial of evil while at the same time allowing the Arminian deity to do all the things that both Arminians and Calvinists agree He does, while remaining unauthorial.

    What are those things? Well, the things God says He did in the Bible: He brought the Babylonians into Israel with the express intent of destroying with horror and causing cannibalism in the city. He wills the death of each sparrow that falls. He prepared Hell and plans to use it for the punishment of every person who doesn’t believe in Christ — including the ones who never heard of Christ. He alone causes calamity in a city. The heart of the king is in His hands, and He turns it wherever He wishes — including kings such as Herod. The list goes on.

    These things, you protest, do not connote authorship of evil. I agree. Neither, for the same reasons, does God’s decree, laid before the foundation of the world, to choose us in Christ and to predestine us to adoption as His sons — and therefore to NOT choose others.

    The same arguments that support one argument support the other; if you can prove that God would author evil by doing one, you also prove that He authors evil by doing the other.

    -Wm

  18. A few observations:

    1) The early Reformers did not engage in lapsarian speculation, but, on the contrary, actually warned against curious prying in to the secret will of God.

    2) There are varieties of supralapsarianism that are not accounted for in this brief post. Surprisingly, there are even supralapsarians who believed that Christ suffered for the sins of all men (such as William Twisse, for example). Also, as others have pointed out, not all supralapsarians are hyper-Calvinists. If they take their supralapsarianism so far as to deny that a) God loves the non-elect, b) deny that God is gracious to the non-elect, c) deny that God is making sincere/well-meant offers to the non-elect, and d) deny that Gospel hearers are responsible to evangelically believe it [i.e. duty-faith], then they have fallen in to the error of hyper-Calvinism. Not all of of them have done that, so it is an error to impune them all as hyper-Calvinists, as Dr. Curt Daniel has noted.

    3) Even as there are some supralapsarians who believed that Christ satisfied for all men, even so there are some infralapsarians who believed the same. The above post seems to assume that both supralapsarianism and infralapsarianism mandates a strict view of Christ’s satisfaction, such that he only died for the sins of the elect. Historically, we get a much different picture. See, for example, John Davenant’s Animadversions, where he [a universal redemptionist and English delegate to Dort] discusses lapsarian issues.

    4) To expand on point #3, the above post suggests that one is necessarily an Amyraldian and/or a “modified” Calvinist if one believes in a form of universal redemption, or that Christ suffered for all men. First, those in the early Church, even Augustine, believed in universal redemption. Most, if not all, of the early Reformers believed Christ suffered for all men, such as Martin Luther, Wolfgang Musculus, Zacharias Ursinus, Heinrich Bullinger and others. Even several of the delegates to the Synod of Dort believed in a Calvinistic form of universal redemption, and they either preceeded Amyraut or show no reliance upon him at all, but were rather influenced by the early Church fathers, the early Reformers, James Ussher, John Preston, and others. So, basically, it is at least anachronistic to suggest that these earlier universal redemptionists were “Amyraldian.” Recent scholarship is increasingly recognizing this fact, especially since Jonathan Moore’s recent publication on Engish Hypothetical Universalism.

    5) There are some Calvinists who reject lapsarian speculation altogether as unnecessary. Herman Bavinck and Robert Lewis Dabney are two examples, and yet both of them differed on the issue of the extent of Christ’s death. The former, Bavinck, believed Christ suffered for the sins of the elect alone, while Dabney believed Christ expiated for every man. This throws a monkey wrench in your presentation as well, as neither are Amyraldian or lapsarian.

  19. Brian,

    The implications are the same as the Romans passage. Even there, we would not say that there is a temporal succession.

  20. For those of you who want to study this further (and see all the subdivisions), check out Sam Storms here: http://www.enjoyinggodministries.com/article/divine-decrees/

  21. Cheryl,

    There are some key exegetical issues that give me pause in Rom 9:22.

    1. The vessels of wrath have no explicit subject like the vessels of mercy. While this may not mean anything as the context seems to suggest that the potter is the one responsible for both, it is important simply because the subject is stated explicitly with regard to the vessels of mercy.

    2. The vessels of mercy are said to have been prepared “beforehand.” They vassals of wrath are not. This might/could suggest that the vessel of mercy are prepared beforehand in that God has eternally elected them while the vassals of wrath are prepared on their own in time (i.e. not beforehand).

    Both of these led me to the conclusion that there is something very different about the “preparation” process for the vessels of wrath as compared to the vessels of mercy. Hence, I do not believe in double “active” predestination. I believe that only the elect are actively predestined, while the non-elect are passively predestined. Hence I am not a supralapsarian.

    I think to push a supralapsarian approach, as I have said in this post, has troublesome implications and is overly speculative, attempting to make a system fit.

    Having said this, Romans 9:22 could be interpreted in a supralapsarian way.

  22. Some of you have commented about “Hyper” calvinism being associated with supralapsarianism. Please take note that I qualified this with the understanding that this is an adj not a noun, attempting to avoid any such side trails. I don’t really know of any formal noun definition for a Hypercalvinism. So let’s not go there. Use it as an adj and we should be good.

  23. Other than that, I think I have kept up with everyone’s comments.

    Let’s stay on track here as I know how these things can go.

    Main point: Most Calvinists are not of the supralapsarian variety even though most critiques of Calvinism are made against such assuming that all Calvinists adhere to the tenants of supralapsarianism.

    If anyone thinks differently here, I would like to hear.

  24. Michael,

    I agree with your stated main point above. Either they assume that mainstream Calvinism believes what you say supralapsarianism believes, or they think that it entails it. So, commonly, they don’t make a distinction between what Calvinists say they believe and what they [the opponents] think is entailed by those beliefs, thus creating straw men, rather than reasoning by means of an attempted reductio ad absurdum. There’s a difference between saying P [some Calvinistic person in the mainstream or majority position] believes Q [your description of supralapsarianism or hyper-Calvininism], and P’s beliefs logically entail Q. Attempting a reductio ad absurdum argument is fine, as we all do it, but we should all strive to rightly represent one another, knowing that we don’t commonly believe what is [or may] be entailed by those beliefs.

    Grace to you,
    Tony

  25. Michael, can you explain what you mean by passively predestined?
    And how does that fit it with Calvinistic views of the sovereignty of God?

    God bless,
    Martin

  26. However, the two are related in that all hypercalvinists are supralapsarian.

    The one hypercalvinist I personally knew didn’t know what superlapsarianism was. I think hypercalvinism is an excuse founded in willful ignorance, more than a theological position. To follow it you have to place your own reasoning abilities above the clear text of the Bible (which says that we ARE supposed to defend our faith to ANYONE).

    Thus, I would not expect my experience to be unusual.

    That guy soured me on Calvinism for many years.

    -Wm

  27. A good book to read on this subject is B.B. Warfield’s “The Plan of Salvation.” A classic in my young opinion.

  28. Main point: Most Calvinists are not of the supralapsarian variety even though most critiques of Calvinism are made against such assuming that all Calvinists adhere to the tenants of supralapsarianism.

    Hyper Calvinism may be rare to shake hands with but don’t under estimate the internet influence on the Church. I would think considering the operation of your ministry you would be mindful of this but in an optimistic way. Hyper anything thrives on the web. I have encountered more Hyper-Calvinists then I would have cared to. I think we will be explaining ourselves because of them more and more. At least we should be.

  29. Cadis said:

    “Hyper anything thrives on the web.”

    That’s an important point. The Internet provides a venue in which extreme voices can thrive unchecked unlike they would be face to face, or in a local church environment where trained leaders can expose and silence their errors.

    Quite frankly, the problem of hyper-Calvinism largely exists among young white males who are all too eager to teach and “debate.” Since they would be quickly discovered as unqualified characters to lead others in a local church context, they use the Internet instead to influence others to deny God’s common love for all mankind, or to think God directly causes sin, etc. As Spurgeon said of them:

    “I have fancied I have seen in certain hyper-Calvinists a sort of Red Indian scalping-knife propensity; an ogre-like feeling with respect to, reprobation; a smacking of lips over the ruin and destruction of mankind; as to all of which, I can only say that it seems to me to be “earthly, sensual, devilish.” I cannot imagine a man, especially a man who has the spirit of Christ in him, thinking of the ruin of mankind with any other feeling than that which moved the soul of Christ when he wept over Jerusalem, crying, “How often would I have gathered thee as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings!” Let no one imagine that the spirit of Calvinism is a spirit of hostility to universal humanity. It is not so. It is a perversion and a caricature of the expositions of Calvin and Augustine, and of the Apostle Paul, and of what our Master preached, to represent us as thinking with complacency of the ruin of any one of the human race.”

    Being characterized by hate, they think God is like them, so they prioritize and/or emphasize hate and wrath in their highly cherished rationalistic theological systems. They use the Internet to further infect like-minded individuals around the globe, and, consequently, some tend to think they are just standard Calvinists, rather than a small minority [but a dangerous group] of extremists.

  30. I wasn’t going to say anything more about hyper-Calvinism here–I sent an email to Michael about it, since he wanted to head off further discussion here.

    However, I just saw wm tanksley’s comment and Cadis’s comment, where they use the term in two different ways. Cadis used it for supralapsarianism, wm tanksley used it for historic hyper-Calvinism.

    That confusion merits another comment.

    This is why it’s worthwhile to maintain the distinction between “supralapsarian” and the historical meaning of “hyper-Calvinism”. If you think supralapsarianism is extreme, you can call it “extreme Calvinism”. And if “hyper-Calvinism” didn’t already have a particular meaning, you could use that without problem. But since it does, we’re going to end up with people talking past each other.

    Mind you, I still don’t understand the rationale that says supralapsarianism has something that makes God the author of sin more so than in regular Calvinism. I explained why in comment #5.

    Cadis said,

    “Hyper Calvinism may be rare to shake hands with but don’t under estimate the internet influence on the Church.”

    John Piper would be a major source of the influence of supralapsarianism.

  31. YnottonY,

    If you meant “suprlapsarian Calvinism” when you said that, keep in mind that Spurgeon would have been using the term in the historical sense–the kind that rejects evangelism and common grace. That’s clear from how he describes it.

    I would also note that you find prideful, angry argumentativeness in the defenders of just about every theological system. You’ll see very vitriolic anti-Calvinism. (But I do think I see prideful, angry Calvinists more often than prideful, angry non-Calvinists. And prideful, angry hyper-Calvinists more than prideful, angry Calvinists.)

  32. Jugulum,

    I didn’t use the term Supralapsarian because I was talking about Hyper Calvinism and not necessarily Supralapsarianism. :) you got it backwards. And it is the HyperCalvinists view that is often used to represent all of Calvinism. I understand you can be Supra and not Hyper.

    Sorry Michael! I’m zipping up now :)

  33. Cadis,

    Oh, gotcha. I interpreted your comment as though you were using it the same way Michael is.

    See? Confusion! :)

  34. Jugulum,

    Read my first comment about Michael’s post. I, like Cadis, am not equating supralapsarianism with hyper-Calvinism either. As Curt Daniel [an acknowledged expert in the history and theology of Calvinism, particularly in the field of hyper-Calvinism] commonly says, “all hyper-Calvinists are supralapsarians, but not all supralapsarians are hyper-Calvinists.”

    Incidentally, it is another historical error to think that hyper-Calvinism is against preaching to all, even though that is very commonly circulated. What they were/are against in that matter is indiscriminate, sincere and well-meant offers, not universal proclamations of the Gospel or preaching to all. See Iain Murray’s comments on that HERE and HERE, as well as Curt Daniel HERE. Many modern hyper-Calvnists argue that they are not such because 1) they preach to all and 2) they believe in “common grace” in the sense that there are bare providential bounties that acrue to all. Underneath that veneer, however, is a rejection that God is well-meaning to all through those universal gospel proclamations and providential bounties. Fundamentally they don’t want to grant that God is favorably disposed [as in gracious to, or loving in the sense of wishing their eternal good/salvation] to any of the non-elect, due in part to their extreme forms of supralapsarianism and other erroneous assumptions.

    These errors are not found in all supralapsarians. I am aware of that. One example is Cornelius Van Til. He was supra, but definitely no hyper. That’s a long way of saying that Cadis and I are on the same page :)

  35. YnottonY,

    Ah, I missed that, and wanted to make sure.

    I’ll also consider your clarification about hyper-Calvinism. I’m trying to offer some correction where it was needed, but I don’t want to be overly-confident about the specifics of the term. :)

  36. If you think supralapsarianism is extreme, you can call it “extreme Calvinism”.

    That, I think, would be unwise — it prejudges the issue. It’s like calling it “sinful and arrogant Calvinism”, or “unbiblical Calvinism”. It’s a suitable conclusion for an argument (I’m making no assumptions about the truth of such an argument), but it’s a poor choice of terms for carrying out an argument.

    In addition, Supralapsarianism isn’t merely one of the positions on a sliding scale of Calvinism; it’s a distinct position on a philosophical issue raised by Calvinism. Sublapsarians aren’t less Calvinistic. (Although I have to admit that Calvin DID apparently hold to superlapsarianism — nonetheless none of the confessions do.)

    -Wm

  37. YnottonY, I admire your research and your nickname. I’m not sure I agree, because it seems to me to make it impossible to distinguish between High and Hyper Calvinism.

    The distinguishing marks you point out seem to be subjective opinions, since God’s offer can not be objectively “sincere” if God knows with certainty that it will not be taken and cannot be taken unless God acts.

    What am I missing?

    -Wm

  38. Tony said: “That’s a long way of saying that Cadis and I are on the same page”

    Sure, that would make sense seeing I learned this from you. :) This being that Supra is not always Hyper.

  39. Hi wm tanksley,

    Although I am very much inclined to answer you, I don’t want to stretch Michael’s patience by further digressing on our digressions from his post and “main point.” For the record, I do distinguish between High and Hyper-Calvinism [see HERE], just as Dr. Curt Daniel does. My above distinctions are grounded in an objective analysis of the primary source writings of the Reformers, Puritans and their modern successors, which it is not wise to deal with here and now. Also, this isn’t the appropriate context to deal with your question of how God can sincerely offer to 1) those he has not decreed to save and 2) who have not the moral ability to believe, unless he acts. It’s a very good and profound question which I am prepared to answer, but, again, this isn’t the place for that. What’s “missing” are some crucial theological distinctions that will massage and soothe the mental charlie horse between the ears :-) If you wish to interact on that topic, feel free to send me an email [see my contact info HERE].

    Grace to you,
    Tony

  40. This should get interesting:

    ——————————
    “Response to C. Michael Patton on the Divine Decrees and Hyper-Calvinism” — 01/08/2010 – Tur8infan

    C. Michael Patton has a new post entitled, Calvinism and the Divine Decrees – Correcting a Misunderstanding. Unfortunately, Patton’s post actually promotes a misunderstanding and confuses a few categories.

    http://www.aomin.org/aoblog/index.php?itemid=3722

  41. It doesn’t matter how you slice it, Calvinism is just Satan worship designed by the Devil to convince you that John 3:16 isn’t true and that God doesn’t love everyone, God is not love, and that Jesus only died for an elite group of lucky lottery winners.

  42. Rey, how can you say that? John 3:16 clearly says “For God so loved the ELECT, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. And everyone else can just go ___ themselves.”

  43. Rey, it is hard for me to believe that you would actually (and seriously) propagate such misinformation on THIS blog.

    Please read the blog rules. I am not going to delete your comment since it has already appeared in the feed.

    I am sure that there will be many who come in to “talk” to you about this.

    Calvinists friends, please don’t respond to Rey’s remarks in kind, even though I know you will respond.

    Wm. Go after it!

  44. Rey and George, I think John 3:16 is clear, especially when you read it in the KJV, or even better, in Klingon.

  45. YnottonY

    “Quite frankly, the problem of hyper-Calvinism largely exists among young white males who are all too eager to teach and ‘debate’.”

    You think that’s part of one’s genetic racial makeup? And what do you think young non-white males are eager to do? Are they genetically programmed to operate elevators instead? Can we discover one’s theological predispositions form genetic testing?

  46. Tony, it might help if you identified yourself as an Amyraldian, so that others would know that this is the Amyraldian interpretation of Hyper-Calvinism.

  47. Rey, The response to John 3:16 that I give is a question.
    Whosoever will? This is one of the questions that motivated me to study what the Bible has to say about this subject with an attitude that maybe I had been wrong about “free will”. Brian

  48. Hodge,

    Could you give the non-Amyraldian intrpretation of Hyper-Calvinism?

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

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