A Comparison Between Moderate & Historic Calvinism

Moderate Calvinism

Norman Giesler

Historic Calvinism

James White


Sovereignty of God


God is Sovereign / Man is Absolutely

Free (Mystery)


God is Sovereign/Man’s Will in Bondage

(No Mystery)

Decrees of God


Positive (Active)


Love of God

Universal / Unlimited

(God’s love is persuasive

but not coercive)

Special (Efficacious) in One Sense /

Universal (Common Grace) in Another Sense


Will of God

God Desires all Men to be Saved

(Does not hold to Two Senses)

Two Senses of God’s Will

Decretive Will / Prescriptive Will

Will of Man

Absolutely Free

Enslaved, but not Destroyed


Ability of Man

Man is Commanded to Believe

So He Must Be Able to Believe

Man has a duty to Believe

But He is Not Able To Believe


Grace of God

Works Synergistically on Free Will/ Must Be Received to be Effective/

(Resistible on the Unwilling/

Irresistible on the Willing)

Works Monergistically/

Can Be Resisted (Common Grace)/

Irresistible/Efficacious (Special Grace)



Conditioned Upon Man's Faith

(Salvation is a Gift, But not Faith)

Dependent on God's Sovereign Will & Grace/ Conversion (Faith &Repentance) is a Gift of God's Grace



Two Nature View (Old & New)

Conditional Regeneration

(Faith Precedes Regeneration)

New Human Nature

Unconditional Regeneration

(Regeneration Precedes Faith)




Unlimited (Universal)/


Only Provides Salvation/

Conditioned on Believing

Particular (Definite/Limited)/

Also has benefits to the non-elect/


Actually Secures Salvation for the Elect



Conditional from the vantage point of the Receiver / Unconditional from the vantage point of the Giver


Depends on God's Sovereign Will


Original Sin

Able to Believe/

Spiritually Dead, but Grace Works Synergistically with Faith

Not Able to Believe/

Spiritually Dead/

Must Be Regenerated


Eternal Security

Preservation by God

(Man does not necessarily persevere)

Preservation by God & Perseverance by Man


Rooted in God's Passive Decrees

Rooted in God's Positive Decrees

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