Recently I was asked by hereiblog: Can you explain the difference between “Dortian” Calvinism and “regular” Calvinism? Historically, the first term has no history. Those using Dortian Calvinism seem to mean 5-point Calvinism and have coined the term after the Synod of Dort that made the 5 points important. If you read Calvinists prior to the last decade you can find nobody talking about Dortian Calvinism. But, from its usage it appears to be a bad term—and it appears that by it one should read “unevangelistic Calvinism.”
But many 5-pointers have been solid evangelists. For example: Bunyan and Eliot, Whitefield and Brainerd, the Bonars and Spurgeon. If by “Dortian” Calvinism we mean Hyper-Calvinism—what Andrew Fuller called “False Calvinism”—then that should be said.
Regular Calvinism: is this 4-point Calvinism or “evangelistic Calvinism.” Or is it Baxterianism? Or Amyraldianism? These are the terms that are used. Or is Regular Calvinism that of Andrew Fuller? Or that of Calvin himself? Historically, in Baptist circles, the term “regular” denotes closed communion. So it was used by British Calvinistic Baptists and Canadian Baptists in the 19th and 20th centuries.
It would be helpful for the terms to be defined. Here we can learn from that most careful of theologians, Jonathan Edwards, who always defined his terms.