Kinds of Calvinists

Jason Robertson posts a very helpful chart on the different strains of Calvinism.

Amyraldist or “Low” Calvinists believe that God decreed for Christ to die for all of mankind and then God chose who would be saved. Thus “Low” Calvinist can be called “Hypothetical Universalist” because they believe that it is hypothetically possible for all men to be saved, but since they will not choose Christ, God elected some to be saved. The greatest weakness in this view is that Christ died for the unelect but the atonement was of no effect, actually wasted. It is sometimes called “4-Point Calvinism” because of the universal atonement discrepancy. In other words, the “Low Calvinist” does not believe in Limited Atonement.  Nevertheless, this view still believes that only the elect get saved.

Supralapsarianist or “High” Calvinists believe that God chose to have an elect and thus decreed that which would make it happen, thus holding to the harshest form of double predestination. Homer Hoeksema, a High Calvinist, noted that according to this theory history unfolded exactly opposite of the order of God’s decrees, because God’s first decree (the elect) is His ultimate goal. There are two logical weaknesses with this view. One weakness in this is how can God elect out of that which doesn’t necessarily or potentially exist yet. High Calvinists have no answer for this.  The second weakness is how could God choose to elect and reprobate out of a non-fallen human race. But the High Calvinist appeal to Romans 9:11, noting that Jacob and Esau “had not done anything good or bad.” Also, the High Calvinist appeal to a purpose of giving the greatest glory to God by teaching that election and reprobation are based on nothing but bare sovereignty. Not all “High” Calvinist are hyper-Calvinist (anti-missionism, reject “Duty Faith”, and deny common grace), but all hyper-Calvinist are Supralapsarian. By the way, J.R. Rice and Norman Geisler were harmfully incorrect in claiming that all Calvinist are Hyper-Calvinist.

Infralapsarianist or “Moderate” Calvinists believe God chose His elect from among Fallen mankind prior to the atonement decree, thus Christ only died for the elect. They appeal to John 15:19, “I chose you out of the world.” Also, they point out that the lump of clay in Romans 9 is obviously a “fallen” lump of clay. And they point out that if God had elected from an unfallen mass of humanity as the High Calvinist propose then that would not be grace, and the decree of reprobation from an unfallen mankind would not be just. All major Reformation Creeds are infralapsarian.

Read the whole post here.

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One Response

  1. I’m thankful that you found the chart and summary helpful. God bless you, brother.

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