Hyper-Calvinism is not the same as an excited Calvinist. Too often these two things are confused and it takes a bit of time to explain the difference.
On that note, Tom Ascol, pastor of Grace Baptist Church (Cape Coral, FL) , has written a helpful piece on the difference between soteriological Calvinism (i.e., Calvinism as it relates to the doctrine of salvation) and hyper-Calvinism. He makes the clarification based on the recent and lamentable confusion by President of Louisiana College, Joe Aguillard, at the Southern Baptist Convention in Houston (see the video here).
Ascol makes the interesting and important point that hyper-Calvinists and Arminians are closer in theology than they might perceive themselves to be. He describes how Arminians and hyper-Calvinists both demand that man’s responsibility is coextensive with his ability. In other words, if a man can’t than he doesn’t have to. To this error in judgment, Ascol observes,
The Arminian looks at this premise and says, “Agreed! We know that all men are held responsible to repent and believe the gospel [which is true, according to the Bible]; therefore we must conclude that all men have the ability in themselves to repent and believe [which is false, according to the Bible].” Thus, Arminians teach that unconverted people have within themselves the spiritual ability to repent and believe.
The hyper-Calvinist takes the same premise (that man’s ability and responsibility are coextensive) and says, “Agreed! We know that, in and of themselves, all men are without spiritual ability to repent and believe [which is true, according to the Bible]; therefore we must conclude that unconverted people are not under obligation to repent and believe the gospel [which is false, according to the Bible].”
To both of these, Ascol pushes back a view from the Bible that says that all men are duty-bound to believe the gospel, but that only those who have been raised to spiritual life by the grace of God can believe. In this the Calvinist believes that all men must believe the gospel and that all preachers must proclaim the gospel to all men without distinction, but also affirms God’s sovereign work of grace to elect, call, justify, and glorify (Romans 8:29-30).
Ascol’s article, “A Brief Clarification of Calvinism,” is worth reading to consider the difference between hyper-Calvinism and Calvinism. Even if you do not agree with his conclusions, it is helpful to set apart the often misused and confused terms of Calvinism and hyper-Calvinism.
Soli Deo Gloria, dss