Wednesday, September 01, 2010

How Hyper is your Calvinism?

Another golden nugget from Ray Ortlund Jr.'s blog.

Click through to be nice.

In Spurgeon v. Hyper-Calvinism, Iain Murray draws four lessons from that conflict:
1.  “Genuine evangelical Christianity is never of an exclusive spirit.  Any view of the truth which undermines catholicity has gone astray from Scripture.”  Spurgeon regretfully disagreed with hyper-Calvinists who “made faith in election a part of saving faith and thus either denied the Christianity of all professed Christians who did not so believe or at least treated such profession with much suspicion.”
2.  Spurgeon “wanted to see both divine sovereignty and human responsibility upheld, but when it came to gospel preaching he believed that there needed to be a greater concentration upon responsibility.  The tendency of Hyper-Calvinism was to make sinners want to understand theology before they could believe in Christ.”
3.  “This controversy directs us to our need for profound humility before God.  It reminds us forcefully of questions about which we can only say, ‘Behold, God is great, and we know him not’ (Job 36:26).”  “It is to be feared that sharp contentions between Christians on these issues have too often arisen from a wrong confidence in our powers of reasoning and our assumed ability to draw logical inferences.”  Spurgeon saw “how a system which sought to attribute all to the grace of God had itself too much confidence in the powers of reason.”
4.  “The final conclusion has to be that when Calvinism ceases to be evangelistic, when it becomes more concerned with theory than with the salvation of men and women, when acceptance of doctrines seems to become more important than acceptance of Christ, then it is a system going to seed and it will invariably lose its attractive power.”
Iain H. Murray, Spurgeon v. Hyper-Calvinism (Edinburgh, 1995), pages 110-122.  Italics added.

What surprised me in reading this is how often we lean towards Hyper-Calvinism.  I always knew that it was a danger, but I was struck, particularly in #2, by the strict angle of the lean... it's pretty acute.  It may not be a theological lean, but it sure is a practical one.

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