Naturally to declare God as God Almighty is going to ruffle some feathers. The Baptists of today forget the London Confession, the Philadelphia Confession, and the New Hampshire Confession of Faith, which all contain clear and strong statements regarding the Sovereign God. The Baptists are not alone in forgetting. The Presbyterians of today often fail to take note of the old landmark Westminster Confession of Faith (which differs from the Philadelphia Confession very little). The heritage of the church is largely discarded today, and the new evangelicalism and most of today's fundamentalism cannot shape up when compared to the faith of our fathers. Truth has fallen in the streets!
A good sign, I suppose, is that when I first saw the truth regarding the grace of the Sovereign God about 40 years ago, I was often called a "hyper-Calvinist". This is still happening, but not as much. I have never been "pushy" or intolerant (or at least I don't think I have!), with those who honestly do not see this truth. All I asked then, and all I ask now, is that we search the Scriptures. Actually, I believe, deep inside, every real Christian realizes God is Sovereign, whether he can express it or not. As J. I. Packer said: "I do not intend to spend any time at all proving to you the general truth that God is sovereign in His world. There is no need; for I know that, if you are a Christian you believe this already."1
At first, I thought maybe Bro. Packer had not met some of the Christians I had met! But he clarifies: "How do I know that? Because I know that, if you are a Christian, you pray; and the recognition of God's Sovereignty is the basis for your prayers."2 Then he makes this searching statement: "You would never dream of dividing the credit for salvation between God and yourself. You have never for one moment supposed that the decisive contribution to your salvation was yours and not God's. You have never told God that, while you are grateful for the means and opportunities of grace that He gave you, you realize you have to thank, not Him, but yourself, for the fact you responded to His call. Your heart revolts at the very thought of talking to God in such terms. In fact you thank Him no less for the gift of faith and repentance than for the gift of a Christ to trust and turn to."3
Amen! It is my conviction that the heart of every true child of God must agree with that statement. To believe this does not make one a hyper-Calvinist, but a believer of the Bible. As for hyper-Calvinism, this may be hard to define. I have been called a hyper-Calvinist myself as a result of my preaching and articles like in an earlier Word of Truth: "What Jesus Christ Said About the Sovereignty of God". Yet as J. I. Packer said in his book "When you pray for unconverted people, you do so on the assumption that it is in God's power to bring them to faith." 4 Thus, true believers are forced to believe in God's sovereignty, EVEN THOUGH THEY MAY PROTEST THAT THEY DO NOT!
1Taken from Evangelism and the Sovereignty of God by J. I. Packer. ©1961 by Inter-Varsity Press,