Ministerial Meanderings

God centered theology in a man centered world.

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Location: Springfield, Missouri, United States

I was born in Washington D.C. and raised in Laurel, Maryland. I served in the United States Air Force for 20 years then retired. Then God led me to become a pastor. I was converted to Christ in the summer of 1966. I enjoy the company of my wife, children and grandchildren. I live with my three cats Hobbs, Taz, and Chloe.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

The Elephant in the Room

I have learned that truth in Christianity is usually balanced. Now that does not mean that one cannot be excessively zealous for the truth. But the truth itself is balanced. When you hear something that seems extreme, or fringe, it usually is. John Calvin once said that when the Bible speaks, we speak. But when the Bible is silent, we dare not speak. Those are wise words that are worth remembering.

There is such a thing as Biblical Calvinism. It is a high truth, full of God glorifying doctrine and a biblical worldview that carries through our daily lives. You can read about that Biblical Calvinism here at http://www.seeking4truth.com/5_points.htm . But it has been noted by others that wherever Biblical Calvinism can be found there is a danger of Hypercalvinism appearing. This is of interest to us today because there are many, including some in the SBC leadership, who warn about the dangers of Hypercalvinism and then try to lump Biblical Calvinists into that group, trying to make them all look the same. But they are not the same.

Hypercalvinism is what one gets if one takes biblical doctrine then goes beyond what the Bible says. Hypercalvinism teaches that God works without means. In other words, if one is elect, then God will save that person even if they never hear the gospel or believe in Jesus as savior. Hypercalvinism teaches that since there is an elect people, we need not evangelize. Since God is completely sovereign over all things then man is not responsible for his sin. Since Christ died for his people then the gospel is not genuinely offered to those who are not elect. God does not love all the human race. And other such teachings. All these are found within the boundaries of Hypercalvinism. But none of them are biblical. All of them are, as the Hypercalvinists would say, the logical conclusions that you would get if you followed Biblical Calvinism to it's ends. But no Biblical Calvinist teaches these things. Hypercalvinism is wrong because it goes beyond what the Bible teaches. All these things I have mentioned are NOT taught in the Bible. Nor can they be derived from the Bible's true teaching.

God uses the means of the gospel and faithful preachers and witnesses to bring his chosen people to faith in Christ. God uses means. God is sovereign over all things and man is responsible for his sin. Christ did dies for God's elect people and we still must be zealous for evangelism and missions. Christ is genuinely offered every time the gospel is faithfully presented. God does have a love for all the human race. He just loves his Bride more. As Calvin said, when the Bible speaks, we must speak .. but where it is silent we dare not speak. Hypercalvinism presumes to speak for God things He has not said. And it leads people to bad conclusions.

Hear me here. Hypercalvinism is not just an error, it is a heresy. Hypercalvinism is not a Christian teaching. It is outside the faith. That is why we must be on guard against it. Remember that wherever true Biblical Calvinism is found, there is always a danger of Hypercalvinism appearing. We must watch for it and repudiate it whenever we find it.

As Christians, it is our goal to be biblical Christians. We err greatly if we speak where God has not spoken. Calvinism in it's totality is a beautiful and God honoring doctrine. But it is an ugly thing in it's perversions. May God fill our present generation with God honoring and Biblical Christians. Anything else is just ... well ... something else.

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