Saturday, April 17, 2010

Galyon's Gregious Omission

Galyon's Glaring Omission as to
the Heresy of Hyper-Calvinism

Our sometime nemesis, "the rev" James Galyon, has attempted to define for his readers what constitues "Hyper-Calvinism," to which he refers as "Heinous Error."

Yet Galyon himself is guilty of a gregiously heinous error on this matter.

As we have found to often be the case with "the rev," he omits information which would present a more complete representation of the subject under discussion. In the current instance, he lists 16 items which he alleges as characteristics of Hyper-Calvinism, but he does not bother to point out the fact that all Hyper-Calvinists hold to a theory on "Regeneration" which we prefer to categorize as HYBRID CALVINISM. Every Hybrid Calvinist may not agree to all of the 16 items mentioned by "the rev," but if there is a Hyper-Calvinist who does not hold to Hybrid Calvinism, I have failed to learn of him (or her).

We have pointed out that Hybrid Calvinism is a departure from Creedal Calvinism on Effectual Calling whereby the Hybrids separate the Word and Spirit in the work of regeneration, which is contrary to all the Calvinistic creeds.

Hybridism alleges that "regeneration" takes place without the use of the Gospel or Word of God as the instrumental means of the Holy Spirit in producing the New Birth. Supposedly, the elect get "born again before, apart from, and without faith" -- most of them even "born again" either in infancy or "possibly" before the physical birth.

R. C. Sproul, for example, says, "It is possible that God gave me new life within the womb, and over time I came into a deeper understanding of the faith He gave me." Likewise, John Frame alleges, "I hold the Reformed view that children in infancy, even before birth, can be regenerated and saved, presumably before they have any conscious doctrinal beliefs."

The heart of Hybrid Calvinism is what they prefer to call the "ordo salutis," and its evolution is traced by Dr. Shedd to Pedobaptist Francis Turretin. The "regeneration precedes faith" notion is therefore a post-reformation creation of the Pedobaptists.

W. G. T. Shedd, Dogmatic Theology, Volume 2, pages 492-494:
"The divines [Puritans] of the seventeenth century very generally do not distinguish between regeneration and conversion, but employ the two as synonyms. Owen does this continually: On the Spirit, III. v. And Charnocke likewise: Attributes, Practical Atheism. The Westminster does not use the term regeneration. In stead of it, it employs the term vocation, or effectual calling. This comprises the entire work of the Holy Spirit in the application of redemption. . . . But this wide use of the term regeneration led to confusion of ideas and views. As there are two distinct words in the language, regeneration and conversion, there are also two distinct notions denoted by them. Consequently, there arose gradually a stricter use of the term regeneration, and its discrimination from conversion.

Turretin (XV. iv. 13) defines two kinds of conversion, as the term was employed in his day. . . . After thus defining, Turretin remarks that the first kind of conversion is better denominated 'regeneration,' because it has reference to the new birth by which man is renewed in the image of his Maker; and the second kind of conversion is better denominated 'conversion,' because it includes the operation and agency of man himself. . . . We shall adopt this distinction between regeneration and conversion. . . . Regeneration is a cause; conversion is an effect."

Thus, Shedd admittedly is a disciple of the Turrentin phantasmagoria.

J. I. Packer likewise attributes this Hybrid theory to post-reformation pedobaptists:

"Many seventeenth century Reformed theologians equated regeneration with effectual calling and conversion with regeneration . . . LATER REFORMED THEOLOGY has defined regeneration more narrowly, as the implanting of the 'seed' from which faith and repentance spring (I John 3:9) in the course of effectual calling."

Louis Berkhof also acknowledged that the theory had post-Creedal development:

"It is true that some Reformed authors have occasionally used the term 'regeneration' as including even sanctification, but that was in the days when the ORDO SALUTIS was not as fully developed as it is today" (Systematic Theology, page 468).

These are well-known "Reformed" Pedobaptist sources, and they are revealing that the "ordo salutis" of modern Reformed theology, which puts "regeneration" prior to faith, is in fact a hybrid development which arose "later" than Calvin, Owen, Watson, Sibbes, and the seventeenth century divines (Puritans) who regarded regeneration and conversion as synonymous.

It should be significant for a Baptist to take note of the fact that many, if not most, of the current notable advocates of Hybrid Calvinism are from the Reformed Pedobaptist (baby baptizers) camp. And even those who are not Pedos generally have been significantly impacted in their thinking by the influence of Pedobaptists. Hybrid Calvinist advocates have never been especially noted for emphasis upon evangelism, soul-winning, and witnessing, but they have made reputations for themselves via their academic writings and "registration fee required" conference appearances.

As Phil Johnson, John MacArthur's associate, has said, "modern Calvinism is producing mostly students and polemicists, not evangelists and preachers." They conduct no evangelistic meetings and do not plant churches as a result of their lack of effort.

Furthermore, no less a Calvinist "reformer" than Iain Murray (a Pedobaptist Hybrid Calvinist) apparently recognizes the lack of evangelistic emphasis in the so-called "resurgence" of Calvinism in our time. In the Preface of his 1995 book, Spurgeon v. Hyper-Calvinism, Murray says:

In the 1960s it seemed to many of us that Spurgeon's continuing significance had to do with his witness to the free-grace convictions of the Reformers and Puritans over against the shallow and non-doctrinal evangelicalism of our day. Thirty years later that witness remains relevant and yet it is apparent that the recovery of doctrinal Christianity is not necessarily our chief need today. In many churches there has been a real increase in knowledge and a resurgence of Calvinistic belief has occurred across the world. The word 'forgotten' is happily far less applicable to Spurgeon than it was forty years ago. But it may well be that the time has come when we need to be MUCH MORE FAMILIAR with a rather different emphasis in Spurgeon. While I know of no evidence that Hyper-Calvinism is recovering strength, it would appear that THE PRIORITY WHICH SOUL-WINNING HAD IN SPURGEON'S MINISTRY IS NOT COMMONLY SEEN TO BE OUR PRIORITY.

The revival of DOCTRINE has scarcely been matched by a revival of EVANGELISM. While not accepting the tenets of Hyper-Calvinism it may well be that we have not been sufficiently alert to the danger of allowing a supposed consistency in doctrine to OVERRIDE THE BIBLICAL PRIORITY OF ZEAL FOR CHRIST AND SOULS OF MEN.

Doctrine without usefulness is no prize. As Spurgeon says, 'You may look down with contempt on some who do not know so much as you, and yet they may have twice your holiness and be doing more service to God.'