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R.C. Sproul – Calvinism vs. Hyper-Calvinism

13 Sep

I am persuaded that the federal view of the Fall is substantially correct. It alone of the three we have examined does justice to the biblical teaching of the fall of man. It satisfies me that God is not an arbitrary tyrant. I know that I am a fallen creature. That is, I know that I am a creature and I know that I am fallen. I also know that it is not God’s “fault” that I am a sinner. What God has done for me is to redeem me from my sin. He has not redeemed me from his sin.

Though the federal representational view of the Fall is held by most Calvinists, we must remember that the question of our relationship to Adam’s fall is not a problem unique to Calvinism. All Christians must struggle with it.

It is also vital to see predestination in light of the Fall. All Christians agree that God’s decree of predestination was made before the Fall. Some argue that God first predestinated some people to salvation and others to damnation and then decreed the Fall to make sure that some folks would perish. Sometimes this dreadful view is even attributed to Calvinism. Such an idea was repugnant to Calvin and is equally repugnant to all orthodox Calvinists. The notion is sometimes called “hyper-Calvinism.” But even that is an insult. This view has nothing to do with Calvinism. Rather than hyper-Calvinism, it is anti-Calvinism.

Calvinism, along with other views of predestination, teaches that God’s decree was made both before the Fall, and in light of the Fall. Why is this important? Because the Calvinistic view of predestination always accents the gracious character of God’s redemption. When God predestines people to salvation he is predestinating people to be saved whom he knows really need to be saved. They need to be saved because they are sinners in Adam, not because he forced them to be sinners. Calvinism sees Adam sinning by his own free will, not by divine coercion.

To be sure, God knew before the Fall that there would most certainly be a Fall and he took action to redeem some. He ordained the Fall in the sense that he chose to allow it, but not in the sense that he chose to coerce it. His predestinating grace is gracious precisely because he chooses to save people whom he knows in advance will be spiritually dead.

~R.C. Sproul~


Chosen By God (Wheaton, IL: Tyndale House Publisher, 1996), 96.

Books by R.C. Sproul

R.C. Sproul – How I Became a Calvinist

26 Aug

My final surrender came in stages. Painful stages. It started when I began work as a student pastor in a church. I wrote a note to myself that I kept on my desk in a place where I could always see it.

YOU ARE REQUIRED TO BELIEVE, TO PREACH, AND TO TEACH WHAT THE BIBLE SAYS IS TRUE, NOT WHAT YOU WANT THE BIBLE TO SAY IS TRUE.

The note haunted me. My final crisis came in my senior year. I had a three-credit course in the study of Jonathan Edwards. We spent the semester studying Edwards’s most famous book, The Freedom of the Will, under Gerstner’s tutelage. At the same time I had a Greek exegesis course in the Book of Romans. I was the only student in that course, one on one with the New Testament professor. There was nowhere I could hide.

The combination was too much for me. Gerstner, Edwards, the New Testament professor, and above all the Apostle Paul, were too formidable a team for me to withstand. The ninth chapter of Romans was the clincher. I simply could find no way to avoid the Apostle’s teaching in that chapter. Reluctantly, I sighed and surrendered, but with my head, not my heart. “OK, I believe this stuff, but I don’t have to like it!”

I soon discovered that God has created us so that the heart is supposed to follow the head. I could not, with impunity, love something with my head that I hated in my heart. Once I began to see the cogency of the doctrine and its broader implications, my eyes were opened to the graciousness of grace and to the grand comfort of God’s sovereignty. I began to like the doctrine little by little, until it burst upon my soul that the doctrine revealed the depth and the riches of the mercy of God.

I no longer feared the demons of fatalism or the ugly thought that I was being reduced to a puppet. Now I rejoiced in a gracious Savior who alone was immortal, invisible, the only wise God.

~R.C. Sproul~


Chosen By God (Wheaton, IL: Tyndale House Publisher, 1996), 12-13.

Books by R.C. Sproul

R.C. Sproul – Without Theology There is No Christianity

12 Aug

A church without theology or a theology without God are simply not options for the Christian faith. One can have religion without God or theology, but one cannot have Christianity without them.

~R.C. Sproul~


What Is Reformed Theology? (Grand Rapids: Baker Books, 2005), 18.

Books by R.C. Sproul