Resources Available: Infra & Supralapsarianism

Discussion in 'Calvinism & The Doctrines of Grace' started by Travis Fentiman, Jun 12, 2017.

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  1. Travis Fentiman

    Travis Fentiman Puritan Board Freshman

    Friends,

    If it is of interest, and as I suspect many here probably have opinions on the topic, I have collected as many resources on Infralapsarianism and Supralapsarianism as I could get my hands on through reformed history.

    For those new to the subject, of whether God, in his predestinating purpose, conceives of the clay of mankind in forming vessels to honor and dishonor as sinful (infra) or as pure (supra), there is an introduction on the page that I hope will be helpful.

    The bulk of the collection is articles giving theological arguments for and against, etc. Other sections include documentation of historical persons in each view, the history of the issue, confessions on the issue, and other interesting, related points.

    I hope it is a blessing to you.

     
  2. MW

    MW Puritan Board Doctor

    That must have taken some time to compile. Thankyou for your work, Travis.

    One statement which might need more attention and seems to convey a wrong idea is the following:

    Supralapsarians say precisely the same as infralapsarians with respect to ordaining the means of salvation. The numbers compiled on the side of infralapsarianism tends to be increased because of a failure to account for the actual point of difference between the two systems.

    Infralapsarians say precisely the same as supralapsarians with respect to the fall serving the purpose of redemption (the "felix culpa"). If these were to be accounted as supralapsarian one would have a decided majority in favour of it both among individual writers and the confessions.

    The only way to determine if one is in fact on one side or another is if the author or document explicitly claims one position and explicitly rejects the other. When that is made the deciding factor it will be seen that the majority have not ventured to decide the point.

    There were probably more holding to a mediating position than has been recognised in the secondary literature. E.g. Goodwin is listed as supralapsarian, but he explicitly affirmed both a supralapsarian and an infralapsarian perspective. His Christological supralapsarianism means that both perspectives may be embraced. I would tend to put Rutherford in the same category, although he was not as explicit as Goodwin.
     
    Last edited: Jun 12, 2017
  3. Travis Fentiman

    Travis Fentiman Puritan Board Freshman

    You are very welcome Matthew. Thank you for your input.
     
  4. Bill The Baptist

    Bill The Baptist Puritan Board Graduate

    Travis,

    Your website truly is an awesome resource and quite a blessing. Thank you for all the hard work.
     
  5. Dachaser

    Dachaser Puritan Board Doctor

    Would a major difference between these two positions been regarding how each would view the Fall of Adam?
     
  6. Ask Mr. Religion

    Ask Mr. Religion Flatly Unflappable

    While the discussion after viewing the link below engenders lots of "Yes, but..." commentary, it is a good starting point:

    http://www.romans45.org/articles/sup_infr.htm
     
  7. Dachaser

    Dachaser Puritan Board Doctor

    Thanks, and was to me interesting on the differences between Hyper Calvinism and the Supra position, as have read some authors who seemed to equated them as meaning same thing...
     
  8. timfost

    timfost Puritan Board Junior

    Historically, all hypers are supra, but not all supralapsarians are hyper.

    (That sounds really funny if you read it out loud!) ;)
     
  9. MW

    MW Puritan Board Doctor

    The word "lapsarian" refers to "the fall." "Supra" means "above." Infra" means "below." "Above" and "below" are specific to the order in which God elected men in relation to the fall. The supralapsarian holds that God elected men on the consideration that they were not fallen into sin; so election is "above" the fall. The infralapsarian holds that God elected men on the consideration that they had fallen into sin; so election is "below" the fall. This is the difference between the two positions.
     
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  10. Dachaser

    Dachaser Puritan Board Doctor

    what would be the one holding to dual predestination then?
    And only Hyper Calvinists would hold that God Himself caused the fall?
     
  11. Dachaser

    Dachaser Puritan Board Doctor

    Another saying that sounds similar is that all Reformed are Calvinists, but not all Calvinists are Reformed...
     
  12. Ask Mr. Religion

    Ask Mr. Religion Flatly Unflappable

    Both views hold to double predestination. However, the Hyper-Calvinist will often argue that there is equal ultimacy in the predestination of the reprobate versus the view that the reprobate is left in their state of sin and that God is not going out of His way to ensure that they stay in that state of sin. Predestination of the elect implies God is going to act upon these persons to see to it they are brought into the Kingdom.

    See this nice summary: http://www.ligonier.org/learn/articles/double-predestination/
     
  13. MW

    MW Puritan Board Doctor

    All supralapsarians hold double predestination, although even here the orthodox reformed will distinguish between providence and grace in the execution of the decree. Many infralapsarians also maintain it, but some at the lower end of the scale deny it, and at that point it starts to move towards either Amyraldian post-redemptionism or Lutheran universal grace.

    To be a "Calvinist" one must hold that all things come to pass according to the free and immutable counsel of God's will. The word "permit" is used in relation to the fall in order to uphold the spotless purity of God and to avoid implying that He is the author of sin. Nevertheless it is His decree to permit the fall. It is not a bare permission, but such as had an ordaining and over-ruling power in it.

    Hyper-Calvinism only relates to the eternal decree with respect to its doctrine of actual eternal justification. This doctrine makes faith an assurance of one's election and virtually excludes the appropriating nature of faith. On this basis it denies that there is a call and offer to sinners indefinitely in the gospel.
     
    Last edited: Jun 14, 2017
  14. Dachaser

    Dachaser Puritan Board Doctor

    There would then seem to be the options of God rither directly determines who will be saved and lost, like Allah does in Islam, that He actively saves the elect, and determined to passively bypass the lost, or that He is active in ordaining that the lost will go to eternal hell, and yet they themselves have chosen that estate...
    Dc Sproul to me seemed to be stating option 2 and 3 were in play...
     
  15. Dachaser

    Dachaser Puritan Board Doctor

    I have had dealing with primitive Baptists who would hold to eternal justification of the elect, so as the person has already eternal life, but if they have faith in this life, they will experience current blessing here... Is that Hyper Calvinism, in that they hold that God already has saved a sinner, regardless if they accept Jesus in this life?
     
  16. Ask Mr. Religion

    Ask Mr. Religion Flatly Unflappable

    No. The fatalism of Islam is not related to the matter at hand. Do not take the bait of the anti-Calvinist that would lay such a charge against us. In the legalism of Islam (the scales of good works weighed against bad) a person's previous bad works are not changed by later good ones, but continue on one's record in the sight Allah. There is no redemptive aspect in Islam, only the measure of one's deeds.

    In Islam Allah is conceived as one who rules over but has never come among people. He is equally the author of good and evil. Islam declares God is the Creator of all actions of His creatures whether of unbelief or belief, of obedience or of rebellion: all of them are by the Will of God and His sentence and His conclusion and His decreeing. Further, per Islam,

    God’s one possible quality is His power to create good or evil at any time He wishes, that is His decree…. Both good things and evil things are the result of God’s decree. It is the duty of every Muslim to believe this…. It is He who causes harm and good. Rather the good works of some and the evil of others are signs that God wishes to punish some and to reward others. If God wishes to draw someone close to Himself, then He will give him the grace which will make that person do good works.
    If He wishes to reject someone and put that person to shame, then He will create sin in him. God creates all things, good and evil. God creates people as well as their actions: He created you as well as what you do (Qur’an 37:94). (Src: https://www.amazon.com/Textual-Sources-Study-Islam-Religion/dp/0226720632, pg. 133)​

    As Rev. Winzer stated to you above concerning those passed over and left in their state of sin:
    "The word "permit" is used in relation to the fall in order to uphold the spotless purity of God and to avoid implying that He is the author of sin. Nevertheless it is His decree to permit the fall. It is not a bare permission, but such as had an ordaining and over-ruling power in it."​

    In other words God is not merely winking (bare permission) at those passed over, but God is not the author of their sin.
     
  17. MW

    MW Puritan Board Doctor

    The first part is hyper-Calvinist. The second part is simply non Christian. I cannot recall a theologian who taught actual eternal justification claiming that a person would be saved regardless of faith. He would at least see faith as consequentially necessary, even if he denies its instrumentality.
     
  18. Dachaser

    Dachaser Puritan Board Doctor

    The people that have dealt with on this issue do hold that a person will be saved after death regardless if they hear about Jesus, nor accept Him in this life...
    Those who accept Jesus while living enjoy the blessings of being saved now, while those who do not just enjoy Him in heaven per them...
     
  19. Dachaser

    Dachaser Puritan Board Doctor

    God decrees on their situation, and their are also accountable for their sins, due to them rejecting Jesus in order to get saved...
     
  20. timfost

    timfost Puritan Board Junior

    Although I've only read secondary sources on this, I think it has been taught, or at least a close version of it by John Gadsby. From David Gay's book Eternal Justification :

    "In October 1875, in his monthly magazine, the Sower, Septimus Sears published the second part of a sermon he had preached in the Strict Baptist chapel, Clifton, Bedfordshire, under the title: ‘A Safe Hand for a Sinful Soul’. This publication immediately met with a storm of protest, a storm which had long-term consequences... In his sermon, Sears, trying to help those who were lost, wandering – or complacent – in the maze produced by the hyper-Calvinistic doctrine of eternal justification, told his congregation that no sinner is safe until he has trusted Christ for salvation; that is to say, until a sinner trusts Christ he is under the wrath of God. Sears, needless to say, should have gone further, and commanded, invited, urged his hearers to trust Christ at once. Sadly, he stopped short. Even so, for going as far as he did – telling his hearers (and readers) that, until they trusted Christ, they were not safe – he was vehemently attacked in the pages of the Gospel Standard and elsewhere, principally by John Gadsby. It was this attack which led to catastrophic additions to the Gospel Standard Articles of Faith in the late 1870s. The question was this: Is it right to tell sinners who have not trusted Christ for salvation that they may consider themselves safe from the wrath of God, safe to die and enter eternity? No, said Sears. No sinner is safe until he trusts Christ. Gadsby, on the other hand, said certain sinners – sensible sinners – are safe, even though they have not trusted Christ. The underlying issue was the doctrine of justification by faith. Gadsby, a determined advocate of the hyper-Calvinistic doctrine of eternal justification, argued that elect, sensible sinners are justified before faith, and therefore safe – and have been so from eternity. Indeed, they have never been under the wrath of God! Sears was convinced that until a sinner – elect or not – trusts Christ, he is anything but safe."

    John Gill was fond of using the term "sensible sinner," but from skimming through his use of it, it seems that he used it to describe those who already have faith. If Gay is correct, this sect of HC somehow ascertained who was elect prior to faith, calling them sensible sinners.

    If you or anyone else is familiar with this history, I'd be very interested in sources.

    Thanks!
     
  21. timfost

    timfost Puritan Board Junior

    Gill taught a very interesting version of common grace (though he would never call it that) as a logical product of his HC.

    On Acts 3:19:

    "Repent ye therefore... and be converted. The apostle's sense is, repent of the sin of crucifying Christ, which is what he had been charging them with, and turn unto him, and acknowledge him as the Messiah; receive his doctrines, and submit to his ordinances; externally reform in life and conversation, and bring forth fruits meet for repentance, such as will show it to be true and genuine: that your sins may be blotted out; or forgiven, see Psalms 51:9. Not that repentance and reformation procure the pardon of sin, or are the causes of it, for forgiveness is entirely owing to the free grace of God, and blood of Christ; but inasmuch as that is only manifested and applied to repenting and converted sinners; and who are encouraged to repent, and turn to the Lord from the promise of pardon; it is incumbent on them, and is their interest so to do, that they may have a discovery of the remission of their sins by the blood of Christ. Though no other repentance and conversion may be here meant than an external one; and the blotting out of sin, and forgiveness of it, may intend no other than the removing a present calamity, or the averting a threatened judgment, or the deliverance of persons from national ruin, Exodus 32:32.

    This would be his doctrine of legal repentance which allowed him to wiggle out of an indiscriminate invitation.
     
  22. MW

    MW Puritan Board Doctor

    An excellent narrative-style work is the Great Debate by Alan Sell written from a somewhat "ecumenical" viewpoint. He tends to fly under the radar of public notice but has written some excellent works on evangelical history. There is also Peter Toon's book on hyper-Calvinism.

    The quotation from David Gay referring to Gadsby is only denying that faith comes before justification or that there is a call to believe. The fact he sees these sinners as "sensible" means they are in a process which the hyper-Calvinist would recognise as part of the elect coming to "faith" (assurance) of their justification. It was a tortuous process for "divining" the decree of God, which serves as a fair sign the system had departed from the simplicity that is in Christ.
     
  23. MW

    MW Puritan Board Doctor

    I suppose if one holds to the election of infants and denies that infants can have faith then the idea of eternal salvation apart from faith is a part of the system. Nonetheless, so far as concerns people who have come to years of discretion the historical belief in actual eternal justification has recognised that faith is part of the order of salvation.
     
  24. Dachaser

    Dachaser Puritan Board Doctor

    The position that a a sinner is eternally secured and safe by God regardless if ever saved in this life is what PB seem to affirm...
     
  25. Dachaser

    Dachaser Puritan Board Doctor

    hyper-Calvinist see no need to even witness , as the Lord will save his elect out period....
     
  26. Dachaser

    Dachaser Puritan Board Doctor

    Those who would hold though to it, at least in my experience, tend to deny faith is a requirement, or even part of the process...
     
  27. Ray

    Ray Puritan Board Freshman

  28. MW

    MW Puritan Board Doctor

    You must be thinking of an extreme group. The men whose writings are generally classified as hyper-Calvinist taught that the gospel must be preached to every creature. They only denied that there is a call to believe before regeneration. They agreed with the Arminian that "duty entails ability," though they took it in the opposite direction and denied the duty of the sinner to believe in Christ.
     
  29. Dachaser

    Dachaser Puritan Board Doctor

    The PB would hold that the Gospel would be preached to just the elect, and not to all sinners, so would that be Hyper Calvinism, and how would they know whom the elect were then?
     
  30. timfost

    timfost Puritan Board Junior

    ***misread previous post***
     
    Last edited: Jun 19, 2017
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