Monday, October 15, 2012

WLC statement "Calvin was a hyper-Calvinist"

William Lane Craig did say he thinks Calvin was a hyper-Calvinist.  (see Defenders Podcasts section 17 The Doctrine of Man, lesson 13).  Dr. White pokes fun at this statement in his intro to "Radio Free Geneva" and recently someone cited this as evidence that Dr. Craig does not understand Calvinism.  While Dr. Craig was speaking loosely, I am sure if pressed on the point he would agree there are differences between John Calvin and say Vince Chung or David Englesma’s (or if you disagree they are hyper-Calvinist, insert your favorite hyper-Calvinist).  Rather, he's saying Calvin was equally deterministic as Chung and Englesma. 

The context of Dr. Craig's statement was an extended discussion on if Calvinism paradoxicly asserts both libertarian freedom and divine determinism.  Some of Dr. Craig's students were arguing both are true and somehow it all works out.  As a response to show that Calvinism is fully deterministic and does not include libertarian freedom, Dr. Craig said:

"I think Calvin was a hyper Calvinist, as I read Calvin I think was a hard line, strong Calvinist and the people who say I am a Calvinist, but not a hyper-Calvinist, I don't see the distinction in Calvin between those two.  And I don't say that to be critical, but to understand the man's view.  I think his view was that God determines everything that happens even sinful actions."  - in the podcast, start at 20 minutes in, though this statement happens at about 27 minutes in.

In other words, Dr. Craig was using hyper-Calvinism in a non-technical sense, that God is the source of all sin and evil, in that He causally determines it.  And his point was "you think Calvinism doesn't include this idea - but it does.  I do not think Dr. Craig was saying Calvinists don't evangelize and if asked, I am guessing he would say so.

1 comment:

credulo said...

IT remembers me the Laurence Vance's advice: A hyper-calvinist is just a 'persoh who is more Calvinist than me'. A completely subjective matter.

In fact I think Cheung is hypercalvinist even that he said that we need to preach the Gospel message (a type of 'God will kill you' fear message, but doesn't matter...)