I have been surprised over the last several years to sense a rise of views which I associate with Hyper-Calvinism or “Half-step Hyper-Calvinism.” Forty years ago I with my wife were new members of the Reformed Baptist Church of Grand Rapids (now called Grace Immanuel Reformed Baptist Church). This church was one of only a handful of Baptist churches in the United States espousing the doctrines of grace. And we were staunch five-pointers. So we were called, of course, Hyper-Calvinists. We always thought this odd because to us five-point Calvinism was just Calvinism and thus could not be Hyper-Calvinism.
As the years wore on, the church grew. More and more of our members began to come from various Dutch Reformed denominations in the large Dutch Reformed community in Western Michigan. We began to be aware that there were folks in that large Dutch Reformed community who really did at some level deserve the name Hyper-Calvinists.
We had discovered the 1689 Baptist Confession of Faith. It was the Confession of our church. In it were not only the doctrines of grace (including particular redemption). In it also we had discovered the doctrines of the free offer of the gospel (chapter 7, paragraph 2) and common grace (14:3). More study assured us that both these doctrines were in the original confessional statement of the doctrines of grace, the Canons of Dort.
Yet at least one of the local Dutch Reformed denominations not only denied the free offer and common grace. It was built on a denial of those doctrines. Its leaders continued in a vehement polemic against the free offer and common grace (Spurgeon’s so-called two track theology) which affirmed both the dimensions of God’s will (known variously as secret and revealed or better as decretive and perceptive).
For this reason, the leaders of RBCGR were frequently engaged in a two front war. We had to fight the Arminianism of the local Baptist churches and institutions, but also the Hyper-Calvinism or Half-step Hyper-Calvinism of the Dutch Reformed denomination mentioned above. We were confident that our Reformed Baptist brethren shared with us our position.
Now, however, I am aware of blogs and brothers which have if not verbally, at least virtually, have adopted substantially the views of the Hyper-Calvinism or Half-step Hyper-Calvinism mentioned above. Brother Curt Daniel has a couple of times invited me to speak at the yearly conference of his church in Springfield, Illinois. Since he wrote his dissertation on the subject of Hyper-Calvinism, I talked to him about my concerns. One of the results was the interview which I want to share with you in three blog posts that are to follow.
You can also find his 75 part audio series on the History and Theology of Calvinism here.