Hyper-Calvinism is a killer. I don’t say this to be dramatic, but to simply be realistic about a theology which will drain the life right out of a local church. In my last post I began to unpack the “killing effects” of Hyper-Calvinism as a helpful warning to my Calvinistic brethren to veer as far as they can from this subtle slippery slope.
Specifically, I have sought to underscore five ways in which Hyper-Calvinism will ossify a church, and therefore suppress the life-giving power, compassion, and sanctification of the Gospel. The first three of these killing effects in Hyper-Calvinism was the focus of our last consideration. To begin with, we saw how the prevalence of Hyper-Calvinism will kill Gospel preaching to the lost. While the Hyper-Calvinist rightly embraces God’s sovereignty in salvation, yet he wrongly deduces from this truth (based on human reason rather than divine Scripture) that to call sinners to repent and believe on Christ denies God’s sovereign will to save. Thus, the biblical mandate to preach the Gospel to all nations (Luke 24:47) is either denied, ignored, or reinterpreted to mean something other than evangelizing sinners.
In addition to this, Hyper-Calvinism will also kill prayer. Since God has decreed everything that comes to pass, the Hyper-Calvinist reasons that prayer is useless, since it won’t change what God has willed. Hence, the Hyper-Calvinist really becomes a fatalist because he denies the truth that God ordains prayer as a means to accomplish His divine purpose (e.g., Philippians 1:19-20). Finally, Hyper-Calvinism will kill a grateful spirit in the providence of God. Inasmuch as the Hyper-Calvinist has resolved that “whatever will be, will be” – then he cannot “give thanks in all circumstances” (1 Thessalonians 5:18), because he cannot see how God is personally, wisely, and lovingly working all things for the believer’s good (Romans 8:28). There is therefore no joy and gratitude in God’s providence, but only a grim stoicism to simply endure whatever God has willed.
But these are not the only “killing effects” of Hyper-Calvinism. There are two other deadly ways in which Hyper-Calvinism works against the spiritual life of a church. First, Hyper-Calvinism will kill daily watchfulness. To glory in the truth of God’s sovereignty over all things is right and healthy to cultivate a robust Christian walk (see Proverbs 16:1,9; Romans 8:28-31; 11:33-36). However, for the Hyper-Calvinist, God’s sovereignty is all there is. He eats, drinks, and sleeps divine sovereignty. Thus, when Scripture calls him to be “watchful” (1 Peter 5:8), taking heed to how he must live lest he enters into temptation (Matthew 26:41; cf. 1 Corinthians 10:12) – he skims over such warnings as something to be taken lightly, since God is sovereign. In other words, the sovereignty of God for the Hyper-Calvinist cancels out that biblical mandate which presses personal responsibility on the Christian to be careful as to the way he lives.
In effect, the Hyper-Calvinist becomes an antinomian. He therefore uses the truth of God’s sovereignty to justify his sinful behavior. He reasons to himself: “Well, I would not have committed this sin had it not been God’s sovereign will.” This kind of reasoning however is madness and blasphemy. It seeks to make God the author of sin, while rejecting the biblical truth of man’s moral responsibility for his own actions (James 1:13-15). The result of this kind of thinking in a church will be a membership of hardened, arrogant sinners who, for the most part, need to be saved. For where there is no call to repent of sin and pursue holiness as a way of life, this will only confirm sinners in their pride and unbelief. And this is a most deadly consequence of Hyper-Calvinism.
Secondly, Hyper-Calvinism kills a total conformity to all of Scripture. 2 Timothy 3:16-17 assures us that “all Scripture is breathed out by God and is profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work.” The Hyper-Calvinist though does not believe this sacred testimony about Holy Scripture. The only thing “profitable” for him is God’s sovereignty. But as far as the rest of what the Bible teaches, it doesn’t matter. However, the indifference Hyper-Calvinism shows to the whole of God’s Word is actually a denial of God’s sovereignty. For if all God wanted us to know was His sovereignty, then this would be the only doctrine found in Scripture. But this is not the case. God intends that we take in everything He has revealed (in its proper context!), so that we will be furnished for every good work. Yet, Hyper-Calvinism denies this blessing.