What is hyper-Calvinism, and how does it relate to Reformed theology?

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Dr. Sproul helpfully described hyper-Calvinism this way: when it comes to double predestination, hyper-Calvinism is positive-positive. Dr. Sproul, on the other hand, spoke of double predestination as positive-negative. So, what does that mean?

Positive election is election unto salvation, by which God brings us to Himself out of Adam’s sinful lump of condemnation and damnation. What R.C. described as negative is not damning people to hell, because we were all sinners destined for hell; it’s that God overlooks those who are not elect. That is why he referred to it as positive-negative. A way to summarize hyper-Calvinism is positive-positive. This way of looking at the decrees of God is not represented biblically.

The other problem with hyper-Calvinism is that it can lend itself to not evangelizing. That has happened in the history of Calvinism, but that’s not Calvinism. Calvinism does two things for a person. It gives them a deep humility and changes their whole life. From that point forward, they must be a humble person because they truly know how sinful they are and how necessary God’s work is. A humble person who wants to share the gospel of Jesus Christ—that’s a Calvinist.

This transcript is from an Ask Ligonier event with Stephen Nichols and has been lightly edited for readability. To ask Ligonier a biblical or theological question, email ask@ligonier.org or message us on Facebook or Twitter.