February 12, 2013

Dr. Samuel Waldron's Admonition Against Hyper-Calvinism


After outlining the ways that God loves people according to the teaching concerning the Noahic Covenant in Genesis 8 and 9, Waldron in his sermon (click) focuses on 4 applications of the text for people today. He says the first one is this (see minute 39:10-41:53):
"There is an admonition against Hyper-Calvinism. There is a warning against Hyper-Calvinism. We live in the day of what's called the Reformed resurgence, and if you believe that Reformed theology historically is biblical theology, you have to be happy about this. But whenever men start getting a hold of God's sovereignty in salvation, there seems to be a native tendency in their hearts (well, there certainly was in my heart) to go to the extreme of Hyper-Calvinism. One of the evils of Hyper-Calvinism is its persistent tendency to deny God's general love for all mankind. It reasons, and it thinks it reasons quite logically, that [since] God only elects some people to salvation, then He must have no love in any sense for anyone else. This, it seems to the Hyper-Calvinist, is what logic requires. This being the case, the free offer of the gospel cannot be true, because God cannot truly desire all the men who hear the gospel to turn and be saved. If He did, then He would have elected them, right? Finally, the logic of such people argues that if election is true, there can be no such thing as common grace. The Hyper-Calvinist, therefore, denies the general love of God, and he denies the free offer of the gospel, and he denies the doctrine of common grace.  
What is the problem with the Hyper-Calvinist? Well, actually it's the same problem as with the Arminian. Both of them think they know too much about God. The Hyper-Calvinist thinks he knows altogether too much about God. He thinks he knows what God can do and what He can't do, and what God can feel and what He can't feel. And the fact is, he doesn't! The Spirit of God only knows what is in the spirit of God and the mind of God. This person trusts his own logic more than the bible to tell him what God can be and what God can feel, and passages like the one in front of us this morning make [it] very clear that God loves people, and He loves humanity in general! And the bible makes clear that the doctrines of the general love of God, and the free offer of the gospel, and the common grace of God, are true! And they are true whether or not the logic of the Hyper-Calvinist thinks they can be, because the bible is clear [on this]. And our doctrine is not finally based upon our finite, fallen and frail logic. It is based on the story of the bible."
Update on 12-13-14:

Also, during a a recent conference (1689 Conference in 2014, November 13-15th, Q&A session on Day 3 [YouTube version here]), it was asked how one would use the confession against some of the tenets of hyper-Calvinism. Sam Waldron has this response around minute 45:49-47:38:
"I just want to make three doctrinal comments. First of all, with regard to Calvinism and Hyper-Calvinism, there's certain language that has become the language of Calvinism that has been rejected by hyper-Calvinism over the last 100 years. And we discover that the confession uses the language of Calvinism, and language that's been rejected by hyper-Calvinism in chapter 7.

There's the language of the free offer of the gospel. In chapter 14 (I think it's in chapter 14), of saving faith, there's the language of common grace. And [in] that way, the confession shows that it's, I think plainly, in the tradition the Canons of Dort, which I think plainly teach common grace and the free offer of the gospel.

The other area where I would set our confession over against hyper-Calvinism is that think--I want to put this carefully so you don't misunderstand me--but there's a caution about the doctrine of double predestination in chapter 3 of our confession. There's a caution about that doctrine that is commendable. Don't get me wrong, I think in some sense we should hold double predestination, but we need to hold it carefully, and with qualification. I think the way it's presented in our confession, even as opposed to say the Westminster, is commendable and cautious. And I think that's an important thing to remember with regard to our confession and hyper-Calvinism as well."
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