I have noticed a troubling movement
among Fullerite Calvinists to redefine Hyper-Calvinism as being
any viewpoint which rejects their view on the atonement* and
duty faith (including many traditional 5-point Calvinists and
other Predestinarians). Thus, a common attack against Primitive
Baptists in recent years has been that we are Hyper-Calvinists.
Many mainstream Fullerite Calvinists have made
this a personal vendetta. Countless blog entries and Youtube
videos are out there promoting a very narrow definition (and I
say a REDEFINED description) of Hyper-Calvinism. The Wikipedia
entry on Hypercalvinism has been rewritten in such a way,
reflecting the very bias and condemnatory opinion of the writer
(at least as of June 2010). There was even a local Fullerite
Baptist church which hosted a conference last year in north
Alabama entitled the "Quagmire of Hyper-Calvinism."
I want to share a very thorough definition of
Hyper-Calvinism I acquired from Monergism.com with you and
contrast the views of historic Hyper-Calvinists with the views
of mainstream Primitive Baptists. My comments will be as brief
as possible. Also, I have added numbers to each individual
article so that my comments can follow.
Hyper-Calvinism as follows:
1 - that God is the author of sin and of evil
2 - that men have no will of their own, and secondary causes are
of no effect
3 - that the number of the elect at any time may be known by men
4 - that it is wrong to evangelize
5 - that assurance of election must be sought prior to
repentance and faith
6 - that men who have once sincerely professed belief are saved
regardless of what they later do
7 - that God has chosen some races of men and has rejected
8 - that the children of unbelievers dying in infancy are
9 - that God does not command everyone to repent
10 - that the sacraments are not means of grace, but obstacles
to salvation by faith alone.
11 - that the true church is only invisible, and salvation is
not connected with the visible church
12 - that the Scriptures are intended to be interpreted by
individuals only and not by the church.
13 - that no government is to be obeyed which does not
acknowledge that Jesus is the Lord, or that Biblical Law is its
source of authority
14 - that the grace of God does not work for the betterment of
15 - that saving faith is equivalent to belief in the doctrine
16 - that only Calvinists are Christians (Neo-gnostic Calvinism)
I will now take each article individually and
contrast the Hyper-Calvinist views, as presented, to Primitive
1. God is the author of sin -
Primitive Baptists not only deny this, but actually abhor this
doctrine. There have been minorities of fatalistic determinists
among Primitive Baptists in the last two centuries called
"absolute predestinarians" (subscribing to the absolute
predestination of all things) who held this view, but they were
rejected by mainstream Primitive Baptists and are nearly
2. Men have no will of their own -
Primitive Baptists believe men do indeed have a will of their
own. We are made in God's own image. God has a will. Therefore,
we must have a will. We do believe in, as scripture teaches,
total depravity and that a man's will is determined by his
nature. Prior to regeneration his nature is totally evil and
corrupt because of Adam's original sin. Thus, natural men cannot
"will" to serve Jesus Christ. Yet, after Regeneration (when God
gives a new nature) the individual's will is quite different,
and he chooses (wills) between a path of obedience or
3. The number of the elect at any time may be
known by men -
Primitive Baptists certainly do not believe this. Only God knows
the scope of His elect. We do know, through scripture, that the
elect are out of every nation, kindred, and tongue. However, we
do not pretend to be able to identify each of God's elect at any
4. It is wrong to evangelize -
Primitive Baptists believe very strongly in evangelism. What we
reject, is the machinery of modern missions, which replaces the
influence and enabling of the Spirit with mission boards and
money. We also believe that the purpose of evangelism is to
educate God's elect of their salvation, but reject the idea that
only evangelized people can be the elect and also the idea that
the gospel is the instrument of regeneration. We hold to the
belief of "Immediate Spirit Regeneration," ie regeneration
without a mediator. The Spirit regenerates by God's Grace. Then,
the gospel converts such a person to the truth. Primitive
Baptists have been blessed to evangelize in modern times in
Tanzania, Kenya, Ghana, Mexico, and the Philippines.
5. Assurance of election must be sought prior to
repentance and faith -
I have never heard such among our people. We require fruits of
repentance prior to baptism and church membership, yet this idea
of assurance prior to repentance and faith is confusing at best.
6. Men who have once sincerely professed belief
are saved regardless of what they later do -
Primitive Baptists maintain that God's word teaches God's
children are secure in Jesus Christ regardless of their life's
outcome. There are many examples of good men who fell into gross
sin. Some, such as David, repented. Others, such as Solomon and
Lot did not. Yet we know they are all in Glory today through
Jesus Christ. We do believe there have been so called "false
professors," such as Judas Iscariot, but reject the fear tactic
of scaring people into obedience through the accusation of being
false. Please see number 3.
7. God has chosen some races of men and has
rejected others -
Again, Primitive Baptists believe that God has a people OUT OF
every nation, kindred, and tongue.
8. The children of unbelievers dying in infancy
are certainly damned -
This is lunacy and no Primitive Baptist believes such. Most
Primitive Baptists lean towards the idea that all dying in
infancy are elect, and have died early due to persecution and
afflictions that elect people experience.
9. God does not command everyone to repent -
This depends on the definition of repent. God certainly does not
call upon ANYONE to become Spiritually alive of their own power.
Christ calls His children out of death and places them into life
in Christ. But, this is Lazarus like. We are dead, then the
Spirit quickens and we are instantaneously made alive. Yet, this
applies only to elect people. Calling upon people to turn from
sin, however, is general. We call upon everyone to cease from
10. The sacraments are not means of grace, but
obstacles to salvation by faith alone -
I am assuming that "sacraments" here means the ordinances of
Baptism and the Lord's Supper. We do in fact deny that the
ordinances are means of salvation. This is purely scriptural.
However, we certainly do not believe they are obstacles to
salvation (by GRACE alone).
11. The true church is only invisible, and
salvation is not connected with the visible church -
Primitive Baptists believe that the true church is a subgroup
within the elect (sometimes called the Militant
who have been called by the gospel, been baptized, and follow
Christ as disciples. The true church is known by her ordinances,
doctrine, and practices. We reject the idea of Ecumenism.
However, though the church is full of saved people, it does not
give eternal salvation. Eternal life is to all of God's
children, regardless of their interaction with the true church.
Finally, the church is a place where people are saved from "this
untoward generation" (Acts 2:40).
12. The Scriptures are intended to be interpreted
by individuals only and not by the church -
I am sure this definition made more sense in the age of Catholic
power and brutality. We believe the church is known by her
doctrine. Primitive Baptist Articles of Faith generally agree on
fundamental doctrines. To be a Primitive Baptist church in good
fellowship with other PB churches, there must be agreement on
these crucial points. However, the true church lacks a central
governing body. Each local church answers directly to Christ.
So, no universal dictate can emanate from "the church."
13. No government is to be obeyed which does not
acknowledge that Jesus is the Lord, or that Biblical Law is its
source of authority -
This is certainly not the view of Primitive Baptists. We believe
in a separation of Church and State, yet we seek leaders who are
guided by Biblical principles. We do, however, believe we ought
to obey God rather than men. Accordingly, laws which violate
God's laws are to be disregarded (see Daniel, Peter and John,
etc). Laws which do not violate God's laws are to be obeyed.
14. The grace of God does not work for the
betterment of all men -
Primitive Baptists believe the grace of God that "bringeth
salvation" is only for the betterment of the elect. However, God
does indeed act graciously to all men in general. This is
revealed daily in nature. The rain falls upon the just and the
unjust, so all are the beneficiaries of His Gracious Mercy upon
His creation. However, as noted above, salvation by Grace is
only for God's elect.
15. Saving faith is equivalent to belief in the
doctrine of predestination -
Primitive Baptists do not use the terminology of "saving faith."
We believe faith comes in regeneration, apart from man's free
will or any human instrumentality. Jesus Christ alone is the
author and finisher of our faith. This "faith" is a gift, upon
which all biblical knowledge is built (ie, add to your faith virtue,
and to virtueknowledge).
Knowledge of sound doctrine (such as predestination) is achieved
through studying God's word BY FAITH.
16. Only Calvinists are Christians -
By Calvinist I assume they mean Predestinarian (we are not
descendants of Calvin). We do deny Ecumenism, thus rejecting the
idea that anything called "Christian" is the true church (see
number 11), we do not assume that only Predestinarians are the
only ones who should be considered Christian. We most certainly
do not believe that only Predestinarians are saved.
The main place of similarity between Primitive
Baptists and Hyper-Calvinists is admittedly in the area of
evangelism and duty faith. Regardless of the frequent ridicule
on this subject, God's Word declares that only a soft,
regenerated heart can receive the word and that a natural man
rejects the Word as foolishness. Faith, therefore, is a product
of the New Birth rather than the cause. Aside from this, as
illustrated above, we have very little in common with
I am convinced that HC is a term of ridicule used
by Fullerite Calvinists as a defense for the poor scriptural
support for their position.
* Fullerites claim to believe in limited
atonement (particular redemption), yet subscribe to Andrew
Fuller's view of a more universal atonement, rather than the
historic Baptist view that redemption was particular for the