ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel


Updated on August 27, 2019
extraordinaryman profile image

Barry is the founder and Professor of the M.Div. program for Mindanao Grace Seminary, Philippines.

Hyper-Calvinism: Origins and Definition

Hyper-Calvinism Defined:

"An exaggerated or imbalanced type of Reformed theology associated with Strict and Particular Baptists of English origin and with Dutch-American Reformed groups. Originating in the 18th century, it has always been the theology of a minority, which today is extremely small. It is a system of theology framed to exalt the honor and glory of God and does so by acutely minimizing the moral and spiritual responsibility of sinners. . . It emphasizes irresistible grace to such an extent that there appears to be no real need to evangelize; furthermore, Christ may be offered only to the elect.”1

The origins of Hyper-Calvinism can be found in the writings of John Gill. He says "Justification is not only before faith, but it is from eternity, being an immanent act in the divine mind, and so an internal and eternal one; as may be concluded…”2

It is unfortunate that Gill chose this wording. Gill himself was not a Hyper-Calvinist and we know this because he did indeed, present the Gospel and urge men to repentance. Many believe he overstated his beliefs in an attempt to strengthen the defense of Calvinism against Arminianism.

What the Hyper-Calvinist believes is that since God has decreed all that will come to past, and since there is already the decree of all those who are elect, then the presentation of the Gospel and the call to men to repent and believe is unnecessary. While Arminianism wants to emphasize the will of man, Hyper- Calvinism seeks to emphasize the decree of election.

They deny the universal call of the Gospel as a legitimate offer to salvation. In fact, they deny the necessity of presenting the Gospel and of doing missions work. The attitude is that "if God elected them then they will be saved." This implies that they will be saved regardless if they repent and believe or not. They deny the necessity of repentance and the duty of faith as a means of justification.

Some take this one step farther and deny common grace. There is the particular grace that is given to the elect that they might be illumined by the Holy Spirit to respond to the Word of God when they hear it. This is the root of regeneration. So "special grace" refers broadly to the particular act of God in saving those whom He has elected.

Common grace, as the name implies, is that grace that is granted to all creation so that the world continues to function despite the fact of the Fall. The sun, moon and the stars continue in their orbit. The rain falls and the grass grows. Birds sing and babies are birthed. It would have been just for God to destroy the world after the Fall but by His grace, He continues to sustain the world. The non-elect receive the benefits of this grace. This is not the grace that saves but the grace that sustained creation.


First, we need to address the idea that justification is eternal. The key to understanding what Gill means is found in the phrase "being an immanent act in the divine mind." Just as election occurred before time, so in the mind of God, justification has been settled. The Hyper-Calvinist conflates the decree to salvation with the application of redemption. While all that has been decreed will occur, it will occur in time.

We see an example of this in Acts 2:23

"This Man, delivered over by the predetermined plan and foreknowledge of God, you nailed to a cross by the hands of godless men and put Him to death."

It was the plan and the decree of God that Jesus would be crucified. But the crucifixion occurred at a specific point in time. It would be utterly absurd to say that Jesus has always been crucified. And it is equally absurd to say that those decreed to election have "always been saved."

The Hyper-Calvinists are ignoring a key point. The Scripture is clear that faith is a necessary condition of salvation. Romans 10:9 and other verses make this clear.

"that if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved"

This is not to say that faith is merit nor to even say that faith is from the free-will of man. But the point is that without faith and belief one cannot be saved. Consider the words of John Flavel:

"If we cannot be justified or saved till we believe, then faith is the condition on which those consequent benefits are suspended. But we cannot be justified or saved till we believe."(3)

Finally, the Hyper-Calvinists deny means. Certainly, all that has been decreed shall come to pass in time. Furthermore, what God has decreed to occur, He has also decreed the means by which an event will occur. God planned that Christ would be crucified and He ordained the means by which it would occur (the betrayal of Judas, the hatefulness of the Jews, the Roman court, etc.). So it is with salvation. God has elected men to salvation and the means by which they will be saved is their belief and faith in the Gospel message.

See the article on CALVINISM


1- Sinclair Ferguson, et. al., editors, The New Dictionary of Theology (InterVarsity Press, 1988), s.v. Hyper-Calvinism, p. 324.

2- John Gill, “JUSTIFICATION AS AN ETERNAL AND IMMANENT ACT OF GOD, from A Body of Doctrinal Divinity, Book II, Chapter V, section II.

3- John Flavel, "A Reply to Baptist Hypercalvinism," from Vindiciæ Legis et Fœderis; London, M. Wotton at the Three Daggers in Fleetstreet, 1690.


This website uses cookies

As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

Show Details
HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)