Reformed Theology Vs. Hyper-Calvinism
by Michael Horton
Before the average believer today learns what Reformed theology (i.e., Calvinism) actually is, he first usually has to learn what it’s not. Often, detractors define Reformed theology not according to what it actually teaches, but according to where they think its logic naturally leads. Even more tragically, some hyper-Calvinists have followed the same course. Either way, “Calvinism” ends up being defined by extreme positions that it does not in fact hold as scriptural. The charges leveled against Reformed theology, of which hyper-Calvinism is actually guilty, received a definitive response at the international Synod of Dort (1618–1619), along with the Westminster Confession of Faith and Catechisms.
在今日的平信徒知道改革宗神学（例如，加尔文主义）的真相后，他往往会先学习到它不是真名。毁谤者往往不根据改革宗神学来定义他们所教导的，而是根据他们认为改革宗的逻辑将会引发什么结果来定义。更为令人悲哀的是，某些极端加尔文主义者也采用了同样的做法。不管怎么做，“加尔文主义”往往会被以一种它从未采取的极端立场的定义为它事实上是是违反圣经的。被用来瞄准改革宗神学的批判，往往都是极端加尔文主义犯下的罪行，往往被以国际性的天特会议（Synod of Dort, 1618-1619）和伟敏斯特信仰宣言与教理问答坚决的反应之。
Is God the Author of Sin?—难道神是罪的作者吗？
The God of Israel “is perfect, for all his ways are justice. A God of faithfulness and without iniquity, just and upright is he” (Deut. 32:4–5). In fact, James seems to have real people in mind when he cautions, “Let no one say when he is tempted, ‘I am being tempted by God,’ for God cannot be tempted with evil, and he himself tempts no one” (James 1:13). Sin and evil have their origin not in God or creation, but in the personal will and action of creatures.
Scripture sets forth two guardrails here: On one hand, God “works all things after the counsel of his own will” (Eph. 1:15); on the other, God does not — in fact, cannot — do evil. We catch a glimpse of these two guardrails at once in several passages, most notably in Genesis 45 and Acts 2. In the former, Joseph recognizes that while the intention of his brothers in selling him into slavery was evil, God meant it for good, so that many people could be saved during this famine (vv. 4–8). We read in the same breath in Acts 2:23 that “lawless men” are blamed for the crucifixion, and yet Jesus was “delivered up according to the definite plan and foreknowledge of God….” The challenge is to affirm what Scripture teaches without venturing any further. We know from Scripture that both are true, but not how. Perhaps the most succinct statement of this point is found in the Westminster Confession of Faith (chap. 3.1): “God, from all eternity, did, by the most wise and holy counsel of his own will, freely, and unchangeably ordain whatsoever comes to pass;” — there’s one guardrail — “yet so, as thereby neither is God the author of sin, nor is violence offered to the will of the creature; nor is the liberty or contingency of second causes taken away, but rather established,” and with that, the second guardrail. “God, from all eternity, did, by the most wise and holy counsel of his own will, freely, and unchangeably ordain whatsoever comes to pass;” — there’s one guardrail — “yet so, as thereby neither is God the author of sin, nor is violence offered to the will of the creature; nor is the liberty or contingency of second causes taken away, but rather established,” and with that, the second guardrail. The same point is made in the Belgic Confession of Faith (Article 13), adding that whatever God has left to His own secret judgment is not for us to probe any further.
Is the Gospel for Everyone?——福音是不是给世人的？
Isn’t it a bit of false advertising to say on one hand that God has already determined who will be saved and on the other hand to insist that the good news of the Gospel be sincerely and indiscriminately proclaimed to everyone?
But didn’t Christ die for the elect alone? The Canons of Dort pick up on a phrase that was often found in the medieval textbooks (“sufficient for the world, efficient for the elect only”) when it affirms that Christ’s death “is of infinite worth and value, abundantly sufficient to expiate the sins of the whole world” (Second Head, Article 3). Therefore, we hold out to the world “the promise of the gospel … to all persons … without distinction ….” Although many do not embrace it, this “is not owing to any defect or insufficiency in the sacrifice offered by Christ upon the cross, but is wholly to be imputed to themselves” (Second Head, Articles 5–6).
难道基督不是仅仅为了选民而死？多特信条引用了一段在中古世纪的教科书中常见的一段话（“对世界是足够的，但仅仅对选民有效——sufficient for the world, efficient for the elect only”），那段话肯定基督的死“具有无可比拟的价值，完全足以补赎全世界的罪行”（第二个标题，第三条）。因此，我们坚信世界拥有“福音的应许。。。向着所有的人。。。毫无分别。。。”虽然许多人不接受这样的看法，但这“并不会使得基督在十字架上献的祭变得无效或不足够，全人类反而能够全然被归咎于这个祭。”（第二标题，第5-6条）
Here once again we are faced with mystery — and the two guardrails that keep us from careening off the cliff in speculation. God loves the world and calls everyone in the world to Christ outwardly through the Gospel, and yet God loves the elect with a saving purpose and calls them by His Spirit inwardly through the same Gospel (John 6:63–64; 10:3–5, 11, 14–18, 25–30; Acts 13:48; Rom. 8:28–30; 2 Tim. 1:9). Both Arminians and hyper-Calvinists ignore crucial passages of Scripture, resolving the mystery in favor of the either-or: either election or the free offer of the Gospel.
我们在此又再次面对神的奥秘——两个准则能够帮助我们不会在揣测的悬崖边翻下去。神爱世人并以外在福音的方式，把在世界里面的人呼召到基督那里去，然而神带着一种拯救的目的爱选民，并以内在的方式，用祂自己的灵，透过同一个福音呼召他们（John 6:63–64; 10:3–5, 11, 14–18, 25–30; Acts 13:48; Rom. 8:28–30; 2 Tim. 1:9）。亚米念主义和极端加尔主义都忽略了圣经中极其重要的经文，导致神的奥秘倾向于福音的拣选或白白的赐予。
Grace for Everybody?——恩典是为着众人的？
Does God love everybody, or is His kindness simply a cloak for His wrath — fattening the wicked for the slaughter, as some hyper-Calvinists have argued?
Scripture is full of examples of God’s providential goodness, particularly in the Psalms: “The Lord is good to all, and his mercy is over all that he has made …. You open your hand; you satisfy the desire of every living thing” (Ps. 145:9, 16). Jesus calls upon His followers to pray for their enemies for just this reason: “For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust” (Matt. 5:44). Christians are supposed to imitate this divine attitude.
The doctrine we are talking about has come to be called “common grace,” in distinction from “saving grace.” Some have objected to this term (some even to the concept), insisting that there is nothing common about grace: there is only one kind of grace, which is sovereign, electing grace. However, it must be said that whatever kindness God shows to anyone for any reason after the fall, can only be regarded as gracious. Once again, we face two guardrails that we dare not transgress: God acts graciously to save the elect and also to sustain the non-elect and cause them to flourish in this mortal life. While it is among the sweetest consolations for believers, election is not the whole story of God’s dealing with this world.
我们在此论到的教义往往被称作是“普遍的恩典（Common Grace）”，与“救赎的恩典（Saving Grace）”不同。有些人拒绝这个称呼（有些人甚至拒绝这个观念），坚信恩典完全没有普遍的特性：只有一种恩典，就是具有神主权，拣选的恩典。然而，我们必须说，不论神在人堕落后以任何理由赐给任何人的恩赐，只能被视为恩典性的。我们再从遇见无法逾越的两个准则：神以恩典的方式做工好拯救选民，并维持那些未被拣选者，并使得他们在这个必死的生命中繁衍。而对于信徒的那种最为甜美的安慰中，拣选并不是神处理这个世界之故事的全部。
When we, as Christians, affirm common grace, we take this world seriously in all of its sinfulness as well as in all of its goodness as created and sustained by God. We see Christ as the mediator of saving grace to the elect but also of God’s general blessings to a world that is under the curse. Thus, unbelievers can even enrich the lives of believers. John Calvin pleads against the fanaticism that would forbid all secular influence on Christians, concluding that when we disparage the truth, goodness, and beauty found among unbelievers, we are heaping contempt on the Holy Spirit Himself who bestows such gifts of His common grace (Institutes of the Christian Religion, 2.2.15).
Is Calvinism a License to Sin?——加尔文主义是否是犯罪许可证？
The first thing we need to say, with Martyn Lloyd-Jones, is that if we are never accused of preaching antinomianism (that is, grace-as-license), we probably have not preached the Gospel correctly. After all, Paul anticipates the question, “Shall we then sin that grace may abound?” precisely because his own argument from 3:9 to this point has pressed it: “Where sin abounds, grace abounds all the more” (5:21). At the same time, some Reformed Christians, especially those liberated from legalistic backgrounds, seem to end Paul’s argument at Romans 5:21, concluding, in effect, “God likes to forgive, I like to sin — the perfect relationship!”
我们首先要说明，对于Martyn Lloyd-Johnes而言，如果我们从未批判传扬反律法主义（就是，恩典作为犯罪的许可证），我们可能就没有正确的传扬福音。别忘了，保罗早就预测了这个责难，“难道恩典能够使罪过加多吗？”这正是因为他自己对于 3:9的论点产生了：“何处罪过加多，恩典就更加多。”（5：21）在同时，某些改革宗基督徒，特别是那些从律法背景被释放的认识，看起来似乎终结了
The difference between being accused of antinomianism (literally, anti-law-ism) and being guilty as charged is whether we are willing to follow Paul on into chapter 6. There the apostle answers this charge by an announcement of what God has done!At first, this would seem to favor antinomians, since they place all of the emphasis on what God has done and reject, or at least downplay, the importance of imperatives. Yet in fact, what Paul announces is that God has accomplished not only our justification in Christ, but our baptism into Christ. His argument is basically this: being united to Christ necessarily brings justification and regeneration, which issues in sanctification. He does not say that Christians should not, or must not, live in sin as the principle of their existence, but that they cannot — it is an impossibility. That they do continue to sin is evident enough, especially in chapter 7, but now they struggle against it.
The fathers at Dort recognized the charge that the Reformed doctrine “leads off the minds of men from all piety and religion; that it is an opiate administered by the flesh and the devil,” and leads inevitably to “libertinism” and “renders men carnally secure, since they are persuaded by it that nothing can hinder the salvation of the elect, let them live as they please” (Conclusion). Yet they would neither surrender the comfort of justification by Christ’s righteousness imputed nor of sanctification by Christ’s resurrection life imparted. Perfection of sanctification in this life is impossible, but just as impossible is a condition known today as the “carnal Christian.” One is either dead in Adam or alive in Christ. Again, some wish to resolve this mystery: either we can be free from all known sin, as John Wesley taught, or we can be in a state of spiritual death, as antinomianism teaches. However satisfying to our reason, such an easy resolution in either direction ignores the clear teaching of Scripture and robs us of the joy of such a full salvation.
So the two guardrails on this point emerge from the fog of legalism and antinomianism: justification and sanctification are not to be confused, but they are also not to be separated.
In addition to these other charges, Reformed theology is often regarded as “rationalistic” — that is, a system built on logic rather than on Scripture. However, I hope we have begun to see that the real rationalists are the extremists on either side of these debates. The wisdom of the Reformed confessions is that they refuse to speculate beyond Scripture and insist on proclaiming the whole counsel of God, not simply the passages that seem to reinforce one-sided emphases. It is not a question of where the logic should lead us but where the Scriptures do lead us. It might be easier to resolve the mystery in simple, either-or solutions, but such a course would certainly not be safer. So let us too strive to read all of the Scriptures together, keeping a sharp lookout for those guardrails!