TGC Takes ‘Church’ Discipline to a Whole Nutha Level!

"If you find a church that doesn't seem to be in alignment with TGC, we ask that you'd let us know."

The Gospel Coalition's New Church Directory Page

http://www.publicdomainpictures.net/view-image.php?image=74319&picture=man-pointing-silhouetteMan Pointing – Silhouette

It appears that Big Brother is alive and well over at The Gospel Coalition (TGC).  ​Andrea Froehlich, TGC's Manager of Operations, recently published an edict from on high regarding churches that have chosen to align themselves with The Gospel Coalition. Up to this point churches that agree with TGC's Foundation Documents have been able to add their names to the directory voluntarily.  Now the coalition has added a new rule (see screen shot below).

http://www.thegospelcoalition.org/article/5-ways-you-can-use-tgcs-new-church-directory

Not only are congregants in TGC-affiliated churches subject to church discipline, but so are the churches!  TGC is taking it to a whole nutha level…

If you are not familiar with the Foundation Documents of The Gospel Coalition, they consist of a Preamble, a Confessional Statement, and a Theological Vision for Ministry.  And in case you don't know much at all about TGC, here is an overview. 

We were surprised to see a couple of the individuals in the video, since they resigned from the Council some time ago.  It's still hard to believe that Mark Driscoll was one of the original members of TGC's Council.  In fact, when we first started learning about The Gospel Coalition back in 2009, Driscoll was one of they key speakers at TGC's first National Conference that was held in Chicago. Wonder if they ever 'disciplined' him…

To give you an idea of how this reporting system works, we searched the directory for churches in our area that are affiliated with The Gospel Coalition.  If you click on the link, you will see *fifteen churches listed on the left with each church having a "Report" button on the right.  (* Editorial Note:  It appears a rather small number of churches in our area are getting the Gospel™ right.)

This Big Brotheresque approach to monitoring churches that self-identify with what The Gospel Coalition stands for has started us wondering…  Who is allowed to file a report?  Does it have to be someone who attends a TGC church?  Perhaps it has to be a pastor of a church listed in TGC's directory… 

The reporting process also caused us to wonder whether there are other factors besides not aligning with the foundation documents that might lead to submitting a report. Here are some thoughts that come to mind…

How about churches that have abusive discipline practices?  Remember what happened to Todd Wilhelm at UCCD, which is listed in the TGC directory?

What about churches that do not report a pedophile to the authorities?  Covenant Life Church is on the list.  SGM's Crossway Community Church in Charlotte has also had some issues in this regard.

How about churches that hide convicted pedophiles, failing to reveal their crimes to an unsuspecting congregation?

Does The Gospel Coalition want to know about pastors who have destroyed the fellowship at their churches due to hyper-authoritarianism?

Will this reporting process devolve into churches tattling on each other regarding what some consider to be secondary issues?  (i.e. Baptism)  Remember the controversy between Mark Dever and Ligon Duncan, who affirms paedo-baptism?

What about churches that don't hold to the letter of the law with regard to complementarianism?  Remember how Tim Challies explained that women are not allowed to read scripture in church?  We seem to recall that John Piper's long-time church, Bethlehem Baptist, had a similar policy?  Would a TGC church that allows women to read scripture from the pulpit or heaven forbid pray out loud before the congregation be reported?

How about churches that have charismatic tendencies?  Remember the Strange Fire book and conference?

Just how tolerant will The Gospel Coalition leaders be when it comes to secondary issues in its member churches?

In order to report, does one have to be in a TGC affiliated church or not?  We suspect that some of our TWW readers would relish the opportunity to report on certain churches that self-identify as Gospel™ churches.

As one who attends a Southern Baptist church, I wonder what this reporting process will entail for SBC churches that claim to be autonomous.  Looks like Southern Baptist churches that self-identify as Gospel Coalition churches can no longer make the 'autonomous' claim because they are under the authority of TGC.  And how about the PCA?  They have their own governing structure in place.  Why does The Gospel Coalition feel the need to monitor churches aligned with the Presbyterian Church of America?  And we thought TGC didn't want to become a denomination, as stated in the video by D.A. Carson, one of TGC's co-founders.  Looks like they are on the fast track to doing just that.

For those of you who are outside The Gospel Coalition as well as those who are on the inside, what would you like to report?  Feel free to provide feedback here.

Now that The Gospel Coalition has begun to exert this kind of control over its member churches, I suddenly have a certain song stuck in my head (see below).  The powers that be in TGC are 'watching' churches listed in their directory through the eyes of those whom they have convinced to buy into their reporting scheme.  If ever there was a RED FLAG regarding The Gospel Coalition, THIS IS IT!

Comments

TGC Takes ‘Church’ Discipline to a Whole Nutha Level! — 323 Comments

  1. Maybe people should just tell The Gospel Corporation (TM) “Don’s Stand So Close to Me.” (Noted: the song is about a teacher who should tell a teenage admirer to Go Away, but I’m just riffing on the title.) If I had the time, I’m sure I could work hits from The Police into a response, but that’s what occurred to me right away.

  2. OP:

    If you click on the link, you will see 15 churches listed on the left with each church having a “Report” button on the right.
    This Big Brotheresque approach to monitoring churches that self-identify with what The Gospel Coalition stands for has started us wondering… Who is allowed to file a report?
    Does it have to be someone who attends a TGC church? Perhaps it has to be a pastor of a church listed in TGC’s directory…

    Does the “G” in TGC really stand for “Gestapo”? It sure seems like it. These guys are really into control.

  3. Dee, I’m going to have to report my friend’s church in DC for having a woman read scripture and give a short benediction afterwards. If they’re not in TGC now, they never will be!

    Shameful.

  4. Once again, all the churches are in affluent areas, or near colleges, the leadership is all young, all have same shirt on, same haircut…do they get reported if they wear the wrong shirt?

  5. “* Editorial Note: It appears a rather small number of churches in our area are getting the Gospel™ right.”

    This reminds me a lot of the foolish arrogance of my former Fundy church sending a missionary to the Seattle area because “there was no fundamental Baptist presence in the city”.

    These guys really aren’t much different than the Fundies. Same arrogance. They just have a more polished image.

  6. There’s at least one Anglican church affiliated with TGC in Northern Virginia. They baptize infants and have female clergy. Their rector even serves on TGC’s council. I wonder how long it will be before they get reported.

  7. “As one who attends a Southern Baptist church, I wonder what this reporting process will entail for SBC churches that claim to be autonomous. Looks like Southern Baptist churches that self-identify as Gospel Coalition churches can no longer make the ‘autonomous’ claim because they are under the authority of TGC.”

    This could also be said about SBC churches that hold dual affiliation with Acts29. It’s no doubt that Acts29 is connected at the hip with TGC. Acts29 also polices its member churches to make sure none are wandering astray. These New Calvinist groups support each other … it’s all about the movement, you know. The latest from TGC is just further evidence of the authoritarian patriarchy of this system. TGC has emerged as “Geneva” where the magisterial reformers can keep their ducks in a row. I guess they want to know if any whosoever wills, congregational polity, women teachers, or other such “heresies” slip into the mix! Actually, this move by TGC may be a good sign that they feel threatened that mainline Christianity is getting wise to their sinister plot to take over all of Christendom with reformed theology.

    Regarding “autonomy”, traditional non-Calvinist SBC churches (still the majority) better be praising the Lord that they have such power! It’s the only mechanism left to them to keep New Calvinism from gaining control of their pulpits … for those that have enough discernment, that is, to see it coming in the back door. The Gospel Coalition = The Calvinist Coalition.

  8. @ Max:
    The good thing is that in this awful heathen secular society we live in, they don’t have a hope and a prayer of setting up New Geneva on earth and burning some more Servetuses.

  9. I think the reporting system should be viewed as a 100% positive step and not in any way as a negative or as church discipline. The one requirement to be in the directory is the church agrees in full with TGC’s Foundation Documents. TGC further states that they are unable to review each church in the directory. Therefore, they need to rely on feedback. The report simply asks for your name, e-mail and the reason for the report, such as the church no longer follows some aspect of the Foundation Documents. I think TGC could be considered negligent if they allowed such a church to continue in their directory.

    Restaurants and

  10. Restaurants and other business always ask for feedback and even provide a telephone number and website for such purpose on the register receipt.

  11. Max wrote:


    Regarding “autonomy”, traditional non-Calvinist SBC churches (still the majority) better be praising the Lord that they have such power! It’s the only mechanism left to them to keep New Calvinism from gaining control of their pulpits … for those that have enough discernment, that is, to see it coming in the back door. The Gospel Coalition = The Calvinist Coalition.

    Max,
    Seriously, how long do you think Non-Cals will be the majority in the SBC? Or do you think it is just a matter of time?

  12. I mentioned the other day that one of the megas near me (Central Christian Church of the East Valley) was serving as a host location for a Willow Creek Global Leadership Summit (which costs $200/head to attend). Well, their keynote speaker, Horst Schulze”= (who used to lead the Ritz-Carlton chain, I guess?) is trending right now on Twitter.

    Question: is this really what a church should be doing?

  13. Shall I report “Free Web Advertising for Christian Ministries” in Houston that doesn’t even list a real address?

  14. Well whatuyaknow! I just looked up the list for my state. The only Calvary Chapel listed is my brother-n-law’s
    where he has been the associate pastor forever. I heard the Calvinists were worming there way into the CC. Of course I have always butted heads with their authority structure, cringing at everyone of his kids’ wedding ceremonies. But now we even have less in common. It makes more sense now why his grown kids still support Driscoll.

  15. GovPappy wrote:

    “* Editorial Note: It appears a rather small number of churches in our area are getting the Gospel™ right.”
    This reminds me a lot of the foolish arrogance of my former Fundy church sending a missionary to the Seattle area because “there was no fundamental Baptist presence in the city”.
    These guys really aren’t much different than the Fundies. Same arrogance. They just have a more polished image.

    How long ago was that? Because I was raised in Tacoma, only a half-hour south. The GARB was everywhere and while their church names were not IFB, they were associated and plenty fundamentalist. I am still having PTSD flashbacks.

  16. Joe2 wrote:

    Restaurants and other business always ask for feedback and even provide a telephone number and website for such purpose on the register receipt.

    We’re discussing churches, not restaurants or other businesses. Indeed, churches operating like businesses are contributing to the problem.

  17. GovPappy wrote:

    they don’t have a hope and a prayer of setting up New Geneva on earth and burning some more Servetuses

    True, but they are out and about to sacrifice the “Whosoever Gospel” at the altar of their aberrant theology.

  18. singleman wrote:

    There’s at least one Anglican church affiliated with TGC in Northern Virginia. They baptize infants and have female clergy. Their rector even serves on TGC’s council. I wonder how long it will be before they get reported.

    Maybe being on the council gets your church special privileges 🙂

  19. I am glad they are being strict about compliance. Sometimes friends ask for my opinion on churches they want to attend, especially when they move to new area. This will save time.

  20. K.D. wrote:

    Seriously, how long do you think Non-Cals will be the majority in the SBC? Or do you think it is just a matter of time?

    New Calvinists already control, at the leadership level, the majority of SBC’s entities (7 of 11) … including its leading seminaries, home missions agency, foreign missions venture, and publishing house. It’s just a “matter of time” before the remaining entities surrender to the movement. Traditional pulpits and pews will phase in as non-Calvinist pastors and members pass from the scene. While they are in the majority now, the aging process will eventually do them in. New Calvinism is attracting the 20s-40s … the church of tomorrow. They have time on their side.

    As a 60+ year Southern Baptist (of non-Calvinist persuasion), I have observed an interesting dynamic in this regard. There is a tremendous influence of certain SBC leaders and non-SBC reformers (TGC, Acts29, SGM, etc.) on this new breed of Southern Baptist pastors. “New” Calvinists entering SBC pulpits have a strong allegiance to such influencers and their closely-connected network of reformed organizations. While most “Old” Calvinists of the Founders’ sort may be opposed to the message, method, and mission of their neo-brethren, others in the old guard appear to be putting up with this new brand as long as the essential reformed message moves forward in SBC ranks and elsewhere.

    There is no doubt (at least in my area) that the young, restless and reformed are attracting a generation of 20s-40s disillusioned with their parent’s way of doing church. A “culturally-relevant” message, methodology, and missiology are packing the house. Encouraged and emboldened at certain SBC seminaries, these young pastors have revolution on their mind and are intent on changing the SBC landscape. While the actual theological shift may take a while, these young pastors have a lifetime of ministry ahead of them to accomplish that task. Give it another 10-20 years and the largest non-Calvinist denomination in America – a once great voice for worldwide evangelism – will be effectively Calvinized throughout its pulpits and pews due to the attrition rate of non-Calvinists. Perhaps sooner, if the sustained attack and pressure of New Calvinism can make it happen.

  21. mirele wrote:

    Maybe people should just tell The Gospel Corporation (TM) “Don’s Stand So Close to Me.” (Noted: the song is about a teacher who should tell a teenage admirer to Go Away, but I’m just riffing on the title.)

    Considering recent MenaGAWD’s trophism towards ehebephilac sex scandals, you’re riffing on more than just the title.

  22. Max wrote:

    New Calvinists already control, at the leadership level, the majority of SBC’s entities (7 of 11) … including its leading seminaries, home missions agency, foreign missions venture, and publishing house. It’s just a “matter of time” before the remaining entities surrender to the movement. Traditional pulpits and pews will phase in as non-Calvinist pastors and members pass from the scene. While they are in the majority now, the aging process will eventually do them in. New Calvinism is attracting the 20s-40s … the church of tomorrow. They have time on their side.

    Stealth Takeover/Coup from Within, right out of Comrade Stalin’s playbook.

    And after the Coup comes the Purge. (Again, out of the same playbook.)

    Then no more Christ, only CALVIN — forever.

  23. GovPappy wrote:

    @ Max:
    The good thing is that in this awful heathen secular society we live in, they don’t have a hope and a prayer of setting up New Geneva on earth and burning some more Servetuses.

    But try convincing them of that.

    “But Missionary Man, he got GAWD on his side…”
    — The Eurythmics

    And the Republique of Perfect Virtue continues to beckon seductively from the far side of the “regrettable but necessary” Reign of Terror.

  24. Patti wrote:

    I am glad they are being strict about compliance. Sometimes friends ask for my opinion on churches they want to attend, especially when they move to new area. This will save time.

    The farther they go I this direction, the easier it will be for me to explain why I don’t run with that crowd.

  25. K.D. wrote:

    Once again, all the churches are in affluent areas, or near colleges, the leadership is all young, all have same shirt on, same haircut…do they get reported if they wear the wrong shirt?

    “Affluent areas” = like robbing banks, “that’s where the money is”.
    “Near colleges” = full of young idealistic-but-inexperienced activists-in-waiting, ready to remake the world. “Give me your children and I will make them mine. You will pass away, but they will remain Mine.”
    “Leadership is all young” = like Komsomol or the SS, “Young, tough, and cocky”.
    “Same shirt on, same haircut” = uniform regulations, no individuality allowed. Same armband, too?

  26. @ Headless Unicorn Guy:
    Calvinist leaven has been in the SBC mix since the beginning … going back to its founding prior to the Civil War. Slave-holding SBC pastors and members defended the practice of oppressing others by their reformed theology. They were sure that God was on their side in the Civil War, until early victories by the Confederacy turned to defeat. SBC then began to distance itself from a determinist belief and practice with a whosoever-will message and mission that was reaching the world for Christ, until “New” Calvinism came calling again with its authoritarian style and intolerance of all things non-Calvinist.

  27. GovPappy wrote:

    This reminds me a lot of the foolish arrogance of my former Fundy church sending a missionary to the Seattle area because “there was no fundamental Baptist presence in the city”.

    I’ve read about this on ex-IFB forums.

    IFB churches will seek to plant IFB churches around the USA or Africa or other places, even though there are already Pentecostal or whatever other denominations, because they don’t consider other denominations to be “real” or “good enough” Christians.

    They think every town needs an IFB church. Other forms of Christianity aren’t Christiany enough or true enough in their view.

  28. When I read the word “coalition” it usually refers to like-minded but disparate people or groups who come together for a common purpose. By that definition, an outfit called The Gospel Coalition should be broadly developed to include every flavor of believer there is who is blessed by the gospel of Christ.

    Perhaps TGC has a different meaning for the word “coalition”.

  29. Headless Unicorn Guy wrote:

    “regrettable but necessary”

    Problem is, I don’t sense much “regrettable” in New Calvinism. “Necessary” appears to be controlling the movement … they MUST restore the true gospel that the rest of us have lost! The young rebels actually believe they are a part of a revolution – a modern day reformation in which they are key players. It’s exciting!! That’s why a young bull reformer can come into a church by stealth and deception in which they lie to a pulpit search committee about their theological bent and ecclesiological intent. The bull then goes about breaking all the dishes in the china shop, causing weeping and gnashing of teeth, and agonizing church spits. There are numerous reports of this happening across the SBC landscape … just happened at a 100-year old SBC traditional church around the corner from me.

  30. Headless Unicorn Guy wrote:

    “Near colleges” = full of young idealistic-but-inexperienced activists-in-waiting, ready to remake the world. “Give me your children and I will make them mine. You will pass away, but they will remain Mine.”

    Some of the college aged people are starting to wake up to the con, though, at least.

    One of them wrote a book about it, “Runaway Radical” by Jonathan Hollingsworth

    Radical for Jesus a New Kind of Legalism?
    http://www.cbn.com/cbnnews/us/2015/June/Radical-for-Jesus-a-New-Kind-of-Legalism/

    I started noticed this “radical for Jesus” philosophy a few years ago on Christian TV, by different preachers who hosted TV shows about it or were promoting books about it. I didn’t like it then, and I don’t like it now.

    The “radical pushers” make you sound or feel like a fake Christian or a lazy butt if you don’t sell all you have and live in a hut with a dirt floor in a third world nation and put Jesus first 24 hours a day. It’s very guilt-inducing, and I think, weird.

    Even when I was a Total Christian myself, I felt weirded out by other Christians who could not discuss anything BUT Jesus, God, the Bible, or theology.

    I am fine with some amount of theological discussion, but I do sometimes like to talk about the weather or good movies or whatever. I never felt comfortable around Religious Bots who quote Scripture all day and nothing else, or every topic has to be turned into Theology (Jesus Jukes, etc)

  31. But I thought these guys maintain that if you have an issue with church “leaders” you are supposed to use “Matthew 18”? Now instead of “Go to your brother” we are supposed to go to “Bigger Brother” and report it to the secret police. Bureaucracies, it is so hard to keep up with the regulations.

  32. THIS.
    Bill M wrote:

    But I thought these guys maintain that if you have an issue with church “leaders” you are supposed to use “Matthew 18″? Now instead of “Go to your brother” we are supposed to go to “Bigger Brother” and report it to the secret police. Bureaucracies, it is so hard to keep up with the regulations.

  33. Apparently a TGC church member was excommunicated and forbidden to enter the church premises. He complained to the Lord ‘They won’t let me in because they say I’m a sinner. They said I was self willed, disobedient,don’t tithe and question the elders with regards to how they spend the church money and over their belief that you have predestined the lost to hell before the beginning of time. God replied: ‘What are you complaining about. They won’t let me in either!’

  34. If they are going to take this route, they should just drop the parachurch organization charade and call themselves a denomination, because that is how they are conducting themselves.

  35. Max wrote:

    they MUST restore the true gospel that the rest of us have lost!

    Sounds like Mormonism! Who is the Joseph Smith of this camp? Is it DA Carson or Tim Keller? John Piper or Mark Dever? Will they next be asking people to buy secret underwear and undergo temple rituals> 😛

  36. @ Bill M:

    I guess it is okay to forego Matt. 18 if you are snitching to TGC? The entire “report” function and blurb are strange. It seems like they would need a full-time person to vet the information and a team of people to decide if a church is in or out.

  37. I’ve noticed a few Evangelical Presbyterian Churches on the list. Can a church really be gospel-centered if its denomination ordains women?

    Also, I definitely appreciated the Ed Young Jr. reference in the title. I just showed that video to a friend who asked me what church in Dallas was all about.

  38. Tim wrote:

    When I read the word “coalition” it usually refers to like-minded but disparate people or groups who come together for a common purpose. By that definition, an outfit called The Gospel Coalition should be broadly developed to include every flavor of believer there is who is blessed by the gospel of Christ.
    Perhaps TGC has a different meaning for the word “coalition”.

    That sounds fine in theory but in practice, not so much. What is “the gospel of Christ”? Ask that question and you’ll find numerous answers. Are all definitions acceptable? Are all true? How much detail is too much? How little detail makes it insufficient?

    TGC staked out a position. Those who agreed, tagged along. No one was forced to associate with them. It is long past due that they hold accountable those who claim to be with them but aren’t. I don’t see why this is a reason to get agitated. The root issue is, and has always been, their selective enforcement of accountability…

    They establishing of a layer of royalty that was accountable to no one, not even their own guidelines. One rule for the ruling clergy, another for the laity. It degenerated even further into defending fellow rulers against those who attempted to hold them accountable, and attacking those who called for accountability.

    Their selective enforcement is nothing new.

  39. GovPappy wrote:

    The good thing is that in this awful heathen secular society we live in, they don’t have a hope and a prayer of setting up New Geneva on earth and burning some more Servetuses.

    Ya’ durn tootin’ it’s a good thing! Here’s what John Adams wrote to Jefferson in 1817. He was worried that the American experiment may yet fail:

    “Oh! Lord! Do you think that a Protestant Popedom is annihilated
    in America? Do you recollect, or have you ever attended to the
    ecclesiastical Strifes in Maryland Pensilvania, New York, and
    every part of New England? What a mercy it is that these People
    cannot whip and crop, and pillory and roast, as yet in the U.S.!
    If they could they would.”

  40. WillysJeepMan wrote:

    TGC staked out a position. Those who agreed, tagged along. No one was forced to associate with them. It is long past due that they hold accountable those who claim to be with them but aren’t. I don’t see why this is a reason to get agitated.

    All of that is fine. I was just wondering why they would bother with the word “coalition” in their title as that suggests a different type of organization than they are running in practice.

  41. @ Daisy:
    The problem, again, seems to go back to what I like to call Donut-Hole Theology – those who’ve defined their theological system so narrowly that they can shoot in any direction and hit enemies. They’re the hole in the donut. That Pentecostal church down the road hasn’t just gone a little farther with spiritual gifts than you do, they’ve done perverted the Gospel and are preaching the wrong Jesus, darn it! Therefore you can’t work with the local assemblies or see a vibrant community of believers and move on to a less reached area. Oh gracious no, that would be collaborating with the enemy or letting him have free reign over an area! No, the world won’t be conquered for Jesus until there’s a _______ Church on the corner of every community, because only we have the pure Gospel™.

  42. Tim wrote:

    I was just wondering why they would bother with the word “coalition” in their title as that suggests a different type of organization than they are running in practice.

    The same reason repressive regimes name themselves “Peoples Republic of …”. The amazing thing about propaganda is it works.

  43. WillysJeepMan wrote:

    They establishing of a layer of royalty that was accountable to no one, not even their own guidelines. One rule for the ruling clergy, another for the laity. It degenerated even further into defending fellow rulers against those who attempted to hold them accountable, and attacking those who called for accountability.

    Very true.

  44. Max wrote:

    K.D. wrote:
    Seriously, how long do you think Non-Cals will be the majority in the SBC? Or do you think it is just a matter of time?
    New Calvinists already control, at the leadership level, the majority of SBC’s entities (7 of 11) … including its leading seminaries, home missions agency, foreign missions venture, and publishing house. It’s just a “matter of time” before the remaining entities surrender to the movement. Traditional pulpits and pews will phase in as non-Calvinist pastors and members pass from the scene. While they are in the majority now, the aging process will eventually do them in. New Calvinism is attracting the 20s-40s … the church of tomorrow. They have time on their side.
    As a 60+ year Southern Baptist (of non-Calvinist persuasion), I have observed an interesting dynamic in this regard. There is a tremendous influence of certain SBC leaders and non-SBC reformers (TGC, Acts29, SGM, etc.) on this new breed of Southern Baptist pastors. “New” Calvinists entering SBC pulpits have a strong allegiance to such influencers and their closely-connected network of reformed organizations. While most “Old” Calvinists of the Founders’ sort may be opposed to the message, method, and mission of their neo-brethren, others in the old guard appear to be putting up with this new brand as long as the essential reformed message moves forward in SBC ranks and elsewhere.
    There is no doubt (at least in my area) that the young, restless and reformed are attracting a generation of 20s-40s disillusioned with their parent’s way of doing church. A “culturally-relevant” message, methodology, and missiology are packing the house. Encouraged and emboldened at certain SBC seminaries, these young pastors have revolution on their mind and are intent on changing the SBC landscape. While the actual theological shift may take a while, these young pastors have a lifetime of ministry ahead of them to accomplish that task. Give it another 10-20 years and the largest non-Calvinist denomination in America – a once great voice for worldwide evangelism – will be effectively Calvinized throughout its pulpits and pews due to the attrition rate of non-Calvinists. Perhaps sooner, if the sustained attack and pressure of New Calvinism can make it happen.

    I think you are right. I taught in high school a bunch of now Calvinist pastors, missionaries etc….They hate my guts, literally, because I write in my blog from time to time with questions about the New-Cals. They attack me not on my blogs comments, ( gutless *****) but in a clandestine manner.
    Just curious, what state are you in?…( I’m in East Texas)

  45. K.D. wrote:

    Seriously, how long do you think Non-Cals will be the majority in the SBC? Or do you think it is just a matter of time?

    You don’t need to be the majority when you control the entities which include the “academic” indoctrination institutions. Most pew sitters under 40 know nothing else but variations of Neo Calvinism. It has been building slowly and steadily since the 80’s on college campuses and youth groups. The internet is a huge factor in why we even know.

  46. Eagle wrote:

    Who is the Joseph Smith of this camp?

    Well, the co-Kingpins would be founders D.A. Carson and Tim Keller. Everything TGC must be blessed by them. For your analogy with Mormonism, you could call one “Joseph” and the other “Smith”, I guess. But, others have contributed significantly to the TGC mission, including Council Members Al Mohler (“The Man” at SBC), John Piper (of course), Ligon Duncan, and Mark Dever. Previous Councilmen who fell from grace and no longer in that capacity include C.J. Mahaney, Mark Driscoll, and Tullian Tchividjian. (That says a lot about “elder” selection smarts of Carson and Keller). If there is one being calling all the shots it would the spirit of John Calvin, which is alive and well within New Calvinism.

  47. K.D. wrote:

    They attack me not on my blogs comments, ( gutless *****) but in a clandestine manner.
    Just curious, what state are you in?…( I’m in East Texas)

    What you are experiencing is an ancient religious practice called shunning, which is experiencing a comeback within New Calvinism. Count it all joy that you are a target – you must be doing something right for the Kingdom!

    I live in the “Show Me” State (Missouri). I’m reluctant to mention that on other blogs, lest the YRR pinpoint me and throw Calvinus Beer bottles at my house (it’s true, the sickos have a beer named after him). I come from a long family of Missouri Mules – we are a stubborn people who don’t believe that one should stick his head in the sand on issues that matter … like Calvinization of the SBC.

  48. Bill M wrote:

    Tim wrote:
    I was just wondering why they would bother with the word “coalition” in their title as that suggests a different type of organization than they are running in practice.
    The same reason repressive regimes name themselves “Peoples Republic of …”. The amazing thing about propaganda is it works.

    What bugs me is that they are not saying what their primary distinctive is which is Calvinism and Complementarianism. It is all propaganda, which is the word a young seminarian used to describe his experience at a seminary whose name we would all recognize. If they were honest, they would call themselves the Calvinist Complementarian Coalition. But even the term “complementarian” is a propaganda term. I do not have any idea what propaganda should have to do with the proclamation of the Gospel.

  49. Dee or Deb, As you can see from past postings, I am from your neck of the woods. I was surprised to see Holy Trinity Anglican Church listed as in TGC. I know many people who attend and the church doesn’t appear to be as demonstrably rigid and patriarchal as churches like Open Door Baptist or Providence Baptist. The pastor is young and a little cocky, but his wife is very educated. Their marriage is fairly traditional, but they don’t seem to be “playing roles”. I have been close to people who attend all three churches (as well as Summit) and Trinity seems to draw a wealthier “old Raleigh” crowd. The patriarchal attitude in this area is not only influenced by reformed theology, but is fairly pervasive in the southern culture.
    I consider myself a “none” and am frankly frustrated with the inflexible and narrow attitudes by many local believers. This has contributed to my quitting church altogether. I would appreciate your take on Trinity’s membership in TGC. And while you are at it can you or any of your local readers recommend a community of believers in the Triangle area that aren’t influenced by the neo-Cal trend???

  50. Bill M wrote:

    Tim wrote:
    I was just wondering why they would bother with the word “coalition” in their title as that suggests a different type of organization than they are running in practice.
    The same reason repressive regimes name themselves “Peoples Republic of …”. The amazing thing about propaganda is it works.

    “People’s Republic of Tyranny” on TV Tropes:
    The more adjectives about Democracy there are in a country’s official name, the nastier a dictatorship it is.

  51. Eagle wrote:

    Max wrote:

    they MUST restore the true gospel that the rest of us have lost!

    Sounds like Mormonism!

    And Jehovah’s Witnesses, and Wahabi/Talibani Islam, and every Reverend Joe Soap cult leader who comes out of the woodwork.

    P.S. Polygyny/Plural Marriage(TM) IS the logical next step to Complementarianism(TM). The Alpha Male/Herd Bull claims every female in the herd he can for his Harem.

  52. Eagle wrote:

    Who is the Joseph Smith of this camp? Is it DA Carson or Tim Keller? John Piper or Mark Dever?

    Never mind Joseph Smith, the real question is “Who is going to be the Brigham Young of this camp?”

    Most groups like this usually don’t outlive their founder by long. Unless the founder is succeeded by a Brigham Young, a natural leader/organizer type who is able to turn a personality cult into a self-sustaining religious system.

  53. Daisy wrote:

    started noticed this “radical for Jesus” philosophy a few years ago on Christian TV, by different preachers who hosted TV shows about it or were promoting books about it. I didn’t like it then, and I don’t like it now.

    And during my college days in the Seventies, it was “Radical for The People(TM) against the Capitalist Imperialist Power Structure! REVOLUTION NOW!”

  54. Daisy wrote:

    Even when I was a Total Christian myself, I felt weirded out by other Christians who could not discuss anything BUT Jesus, God, the Bible, or theology.

    I am fine with some amount of theological discussion, but I do sometimes like to talk about the weather or good movies or whatever. I never felt comfortable around Religious Bots who quote Scripture all day and nothing else, or every topic has to be turned into Theology (Jesus Jukes, etc)

    doubleplusgoodthink INGSOC,
    doubleplusbellyfeel INGSOC,
    doubleplusduckspeak INGCOC…

  55. Max wrote:

    they MUST restore the true gospel that the rest of us have lost!

    As said Joseph Smith, Charles Taze Russel, David Koresh, Jim Jones, Dake’s Annotated Bible, and so many others. And al-Wahab and the Caliph du Jour of ISIS said the Islamic equivalent.

    The young rebels actually believe they are a part of a revolution – a modern day reformation in which they are key players. It’s exciting!!

    A generation before, the exciting “part of a revolution” was Communism.
    A generation before that, divided between Communism and Fascism.
    A generation before that, Socialism and SCIENCE!

  56. Purity movements will always eat themselves alive.

    TGC is just going to the next logical step (logical if you accept their worldview). They are weeding out those “impure” churches that are ruining their “Gospel-Centered” (Man loving, woman submitting, church disciplining, TULIP proclamin’) churches.

  57. Much ado about nothing. Report the churches on the list that have pedophiles working in their midst, that cater to CJ Mahaney, etc. Perfect opportunity. Any church can get on the list, which makes the whole thing rather stupid in my view. Remember though, many who post on this list want their own “pure” coalition, they just have the rules of purity different. Each of us sees in a glass darkly and I think we should agree to disagree with other Christians when there is not real sin at stake. P.S. Please report all those polygamous churches out there–most important.

  58. Godith wrote:

    Much ado about nothing. Report the churches on the list that have pedophiles working in their midst, that cater to CJ Mahaney, etc. Perfect opportunity. Any church can get on the list, which makes the whole thing rather stupid in my view. Remember though, many who post on this list want their own “pure” coalition, they just have the rules of purity different. Each of us sees in a glass darkly and I think we should agree to disagree with other Christians when there is not real sin at stake. P.S. Please report all those polygamous churches out there–most important.

    Do you have a point? Why not just say what you mean instead of prating on about ‘rules of purity’ and ‘agreeing to disagree’. P.S. WTF do polygamous churces have to do with it?

  59. Ann wrote:

    And while you are at it can you or any of your local readers recommend a community of believers in the Triangle area that aren’t influenced by the neo-Cal trend???

    I have jut returned from my visit with Karen Hinkley. Let me throw out two names of churches that i can personally vouch for. On is The Gathering in Chapel Hill. The other is Hope Lutheran Church in Wake Forest.

    More later.

  60. doubtful wrote:

    Purity movements will always eat themselves alive.

    When there are no more Infidels, they start on the Heretics.
    Whtn there are no more Heretics, they start on the Apostates.

    What do predators eat after they’ve killed off all the prey?

  61. singleman wrote:

    We’re discussing churches, not restaurants or other businesses. Indeed, churches operating like businesses are contributing to the problem.

    Exactly. But these churches willingly act like members of a franchise, and franchises have to protect their brand.

  62. Ted wrote:

    singleman wrote:
    We’re discussing churches, not restaurants or other businesses. Indeed, churches operating like businesses are contributing to the problem.
    Exactly. But these churches willingly act like members of a franchise, and franchises have to protect their brand.

    Business is business! ( And in Europe they think the American church is a business.)

  63. Headless Unicorn Guy wrote:

    Eagle wrote:

    Max wrote:

    they MUST restore the true gospel that the rest of us have lost!

    Sounds like Mormonism!

    And Jehovah’s Witnesses, and Wahabi/Talibani Islam, and every Reverend Joe Soap cult leader who comes out of the woodwork.

    P.S. Polygyny/Plural Marriage(TM) IS the logical next step to Complementarianism(TM). The Alpha Male/Herd Bull claims every female in the herd he can for his Harem.

    I have watched some of the TV shows highlighting fundy
    LDS young women, escaping polygamy. If it didn’t say Mormon/LDS, I’d swear it was fundy, complimentary Christianity, they were trying to escape.

  64. doubtful wrote:

    They are weeding out those “impure” churches

    At this rate, there’s not going to be anyone left.

    I bet the top dogs wish they could pull Darth Vader’s “Force Grip” on dissenters.

  65. Headless Unicorn Guy wrote:

    “People’s Republic of Tyranny” on TV Tropes:
    The more adjectives about Democracy there are in a country’s official name, the nastier a dictatorship it is.

    I beat you to the punch line this time. At the time I was thinking it was something you would write.

  66. Muff Potter wrote:

    GovPappy wrote:
    The good thing is that in this awful heathen secular society we live in, they don’t have a hope and a prayer of setting up New Geneva on earth and burning some more Servetuses.
    Ya’ durn tootin’ it’s a good thing!

    I will go with another Ya’ durn tootin’. A man, at my former church (which went NeoCal), actually mentioned that he would prefer to have lived in Geneva over living in our current culture. I pointed out to him, that if I would have lived in Calvin’s Geneva, they would have burned me! He did not have much to say to that.

  67. Gram3 wrote:

    What bugs me is that they are not saying what their primary distinctive is which is Calvinism and Complementarianism. It is all propaganda, which is the word a young seminarian used to describe his experience at a seminary whose name we would all recognize. If they were honest, they would call themselves the Calvinist Complementarian Coalition. But even the term “complementarian” is a propaganda term. I do not have any idea what propaganda should have to do with the proclamation of the Gospel.

    This is similar to hiding the young earth policy at a church that Dee reported. The dishonesty allows people to come and start getting involved before they realize the hidden agendas, it ensures strife later.

    I agree, these things should be disclosed clearly, the fact they aren’t is another indicator theirs is a different gospel.

  68. Will M wrote:

    Muff Potter wrote:

    GovPappy wrote:
    The good thing is that in this awful heathen secular society we live in, they don’t have a hope and a prayer of setting up New Geneva on earth and burning some more Servetuses.
    Ya’ durn tootin’ it’s a good thing!

    I will go with another Ya’ durn tootin’. A man, at my former church (which went NeoCal), actually mentioned that he would prefer to have lived in Geneva over living in our current culture. I pointed out to him, that if I would have lived in Calvin’s Geneva, they would have burned me! He did not have much to say to that.

    On second thought – what would the plural of Servetus be? Servetii or Servetuses?

    Too soon.

  69. Will M wrote:

    I pointed out to him, that if I would have lived in Calvin’s Geneva, they would have burned me! He did not have much to say to that.

    Well, silly, you’re not one of the elect, obviously, so it’s of no concern. 😛

  70. TGC or A29? They both strike me as institutions with identity anxiety. This sounds very much like a denomination. Certainly, they are moving in that direction by calling for accountability to doctrinal statements regarding church membership. I suppose an argument could be made that they are just like the NAE or other similar association with denominational members. I don’t know. How is TGC or A29 NOT denominations? That’s a question that needs answering (and “because they say they are not” is not a good enough answer, IMO).

  71. Headless Unicorn Guy wrote:

    What do predators eat after they’ve killed off all the prey?

    They turn on each other like Arab Sheiks and Mukhtars when they’re not busy with the hated Jews.

  72. Godith wrote:

    Purity movements will always eat themselves alive.

    If their purpose or activity is of human origin, it will fail (Acts 5).

    Movements, of whatever flavor, eventually run their course when the elite start vying for position and fussing amongst themselves (Who will be pope of New Calvinism? Piper or Mohler? Duncan or Keller?). Followers sooner or later get weary of it all and move on to the next thing.

    Urgent: Driscoll was “emergent” at one point, became “resurgent”, and now is “submergent.” However, he is starting to rise to the surface again as he re-invents himself in Phoenix. I figure he will now promote Charismatic Calvinism and draw a great following from New Calvinism after himself (a scary thought to think the macho-man will lay hands on folks).

  73. __

    Dee,

    Lets suppose, for a moment, that a man from your congregation with a reputation for being a spiritual leader captured one of your pug dogs, chained it to a stake, then used a small amount of green kindling to slowly burn your beloved dog to death. What would you think of such a person, especially if he afterwards showed no remorse? Would you want him to interpret the Bible for you? Would you want his followers to interpret the Bible for you as well?

  74. I still deal with younger folks, and so many of these 20-40 are now unchurched, literally pagans, heathens, agnostics, atheist, etc. and they are growing in leaps and bounds……what’s sad is, these Neo-Cals do not care. I know it is part of their belief system, but you know, I just keep thinking at some point, they’ll be held accountable….

  75. Deb wrote:

    Emergent -> Resurgent -> Submergent

    Thankfully, “Emergent” is but a whisper of what it used to be. That was one weird ride for the church! Many of the young folks swept up in “emerging church” headed toward resurgent (New Calvinism) when the glitter wore off of Rob Bell, Brian McLaren, Don Miller, and assorted others (including Driscoll at one time). It’s a good sign that those folks are history when you find their books at yard sales for 25-cents (Velvet Elvis, Love Wins, Blue Like Jazz, A New Kind of Christian, etc.) I’m hoping that names like Piper, Keller, Mohler, etc. will also fade into the sunset soon and garage sale tables stacked with their writings. Unfortunately, New Calvinism appears to be a more vigorous strain of the epidemic that is distracting 20s-40s from the genuine. Of course, mainline organized religion has its problems, too. I fear that we have entered the church age known as the Great Apostasy. But God …

  76. @ Max:

    There’s all that, plus the Emergent/Progressive wing of things from the “emerging” movement has morphed into what’s being called “Convergence.”

    According to RhymeZone dot com, plus a little linguist elbow grease, about all that’s left for these “-gents” are Divergent, Insurgent (well, we’ve seen some of that in apparent church takeovers), Splurgent (we’ve seen that happen, too), maybe Allergent, and finally, Detergent.

  77. My sense of what happened with the “emerging ministry/church movement” of the mid-1990s and thereafter for about a decade, is that two of the more centrist streams may turn out to be the healthiest in the long run: the missional stream and the new monasticism/community stream.

    Back to one of the themes of this post — associations and accountability — I feel we’ve seen an emphasis on closure-oriented “purity” from the Resurgent/New Calvinism stream, and a sort of floodgate-opening “inclusivity” from the Emergent/Progressive/Convergent stream. But I’m not sure there’s really been accountability systems in either end of the spectrum — each has a lot of leftover celebrity fallout situations to clean up, as have been covered here at The Wartburg Watch.

    Meanwhile, the missional and new monastic streams, frankly, seem more conscientious about avoiding spiritual abuse, and being about “welcoming and mutually transforming” instead of “condemning and rejecting” or “welcoming and affirming.” I see them engaging concretely in both community development and theological dialogue, a balance I find more appealing. I could be wrong, but it seems there is more emphasis in these two streams on relationship-based accountability than on doctrinal and/or organizational checklists.

    So there’s that, for what it’s worth.

  78. brad/futuristguy wrote:

    Insurgent (well, we’ve seen some of that in apparent church takeovers)

    Yes, “Insurgent” is definitely a problem in SBC as YRR pastors takeover traditional non-Calvinist churches by stealth and deception. The easier row to hoe is to plant a new church and launch reformed theology and elder rule from the beginning, rather than experiencing weeping and gnashing of teeth as you unpack theological aberration in an established church.

  79. brad/futuristguy wrote:

    According to RhymeZone dot com, plus a little linguist elbow grease, about all that’s left for these “-gents” are Divergent, Insurgent (well, we’ve seen some of that in apparent church takeovers), Splurgent (we’ve seen that happen, too), maybe Allergent, and finally, Detergent.

    🙂

  80. brad/futuristguy wrote:

    I feel we’ve seen an emphasis on closure-oriented “purity” from the Resurgent/New Calvinism stream, and a sort of floodgate-opening “inclusivity” from the Emergent/Progressive/Convergent stream. But I’m not sure there’s really been accountability systems in either end of the spectrum

    Well said!

  81. Sopwith wrote:

    Would you want him to interpret the Bible for you? Would you want his followers to interpret the Bible for you as well?

    Of course not. An animal abuser may still get some doctrinal points but they missed the faith entirely. Besides, i will tear out the eyeballs on anyone who hurts a defenseless animal or human! It will be a way to give physicality to what is inside their souls-blindness….

  82. Max wrote:

    I figure he will now promote Charismatic Calvinism and draw a great following from New Calvinism after himself (a scary thought to think the macho-man will lay hands on folks).

    I think you may be right. if and when it happens, TWW will declare you to be a prophet but you need to remind us!

  83. Headless Unicorn Guy wrote:

    doubtful wrote:

    Purity movements will always eat themselves alive.

    When there are no more Infidels, they start on the Heretics.
    Whtn there are no more Heretics, they start on the Apostates.

    What do predators eat after they’ve killed off all the prey?

    Or as Pastor Wade Burleson, a conservative/Baptist/but a fair guy, has noted in his book Hardball Religion and on his blog (he is the pastor on The Wartburg Watch’s EChurch), that conservatives start turning on other conservatives. Indeed they do.

  84. @ mirele:
    I didn’t know that and I am a fan of lobster- preferably baked stuffed (with extra lobster and not crab-heresy) and preceded by a bowl of clam chowder which is not thick but more soupy-Downeast style.

  85. Divorce Minister wrote:

    How is TGC or A29 NOT denominations? That’s a question that needs answering (and “because they say they are not” is not a good enough answer, IMO).

    CJ Mahaney used to deny that Sovereign Grace Ministries was not a denomination. Fool me once, shame of you. Fool me twice,shame on me.

  86. Bill M wrote:

    The dishonesty allows people to come and start getting involved before they realize the hidden agendas,

    The sad part of this is that people make friends, think they are good friend, and find out, if they leave, that they were never friends at all-merely clique of people who were supposed to believe the same things.

    I am going to write two posts about Karen Hinkley next week. One will be her Cinderella story. The other will be a bit of a rant from me about the aftermath. This comment is a harbinger to that rant.

  87. I started a new Twitter account to share information from those who are calling out church abuses, gender inequality, and other stuff Jesus would not like. I had been tweeting some of that information on my (completely unrelated) blog/business Twitter account, but I think it confused people who follow that account. So if you’re on Twitter and are willing, I would love for you to follow @More_Like_Jesus, just so it looks like I have a few friends – lol.

  88. Mae wrote:

    If it didn’t say Mormon/LDS, I’d swear it was fundy, complimentary Christianity, they were trying to escape.

    A few years back, we wrote couple of posts that discussed this. In fact, I will look back and try to find the post about the similarities of trying to leave the Mormon church and trying to leave a Calvinista church.

  89. dee wrote:

    Sopwith wrote:
    Would you want him to interpret the Bible for you? Would you want his followers to interpret the Bible for you as well?

    Of course not. An animal abuser may still get some doctrinal points but they missed the faith entirely. Besides, i will tear out the eyeballs on anyone who hurts a defenseless animal or human! It will be a way to give physicality to what is inside their souls-blindness….

    By the way, a wonderful cartoon from David Hayward (The Naked Pastor blog in Canada), about Cecil the Lion and his killer, Minnesota dentist Walter James Palmer.
    http://www.nakedpastor.com/2015/07/dentists-lions-and-equal-opportunity/

  90. GC wrote:

    I would love for you to follow @More_Like_Jesus, just so it looks like I have a few friends – lol.

    I am going to sign up immediately. I am so glad you will be doing this. I will be sure to retweet some of your stuff so you will start being noticed. Yay!!!!

  91. Velour wrote:

    Or as Pastor Wade Burleson, a conservative/Baptist/but a fair guy, has noted in his book Hardball Religion and on his blog (he is the pastor on The Wartburg Watch’s EChurch), that conservatives start turning on other conservatives.

    Wade is a uniter. That is why we love him.

  92. @ Ann:
    Would you like to meet for lunch, breakfast, etc. one day. Do not worry if you would rather not. I know that it is important for many to keep themselves anonymous.

  93. Daisy wrote:

    you’re not one of the elect, o

    I have always thought it would be fun to run for an elected office and start declaring how I know I am one of the elected!

  94. Daisy wrote:

    Darth Vader’s “Force Grip” on dissenters.

    EChurch needs to look into this. The new could offer protection from the Force Grip for a totally voluntary love offering.

  95. Ted wrote:

    But these churches willingly act like members of a franchise, and franchises have to protect their brand.

    A few churches have started their own seminaries. We call those “boutique seminaries.”

  96. dee wrote:

    CJ Mahaney used to deny that Sovereign Grace Ministries was not a denomination.

    “I am not a crook.”
    — Richard M Nixon

  97. Headless Unicorn Guy wrote:

    What do predators eat after they’ve killed off all the prey?

    You always make me smile. I need to let you know that I showed Karen Hinkley your picture with Eagle. She started laughing (not at your picture) and said you are one of her favorite commenters!

  98. brad/futuristguy wrote:

    According to RhymeZone dot com, plus a little linguist elbow grease, about all that’s left for these “-gents” are Divergent, Insurgent (well, we’ve seen some of that in apparent church takeovers), Splurgent (we’ve seen that happen, too), maybe Allergent, and finally, Detergent.

    Don’t forget “Ent-ent” (in the tradition of “Ism-ism”).

  99. Max wrote:

    Deb wrote:

    Emergent -> Resurgent -> Submergent

    Thankfully, “Emergent” is but a whisper of what it used to be. That was one weird ride for the church!

    One of many weird rides, one after another.

  100. Will M wrote:

    A man, at my former church (which went NeoCal), actually mentioned that he would prefer to have lived in Geneva over living in our current culture

    I think they would have declared me a witch. Calvin was into the witch hysteria.

  101. brad/futuristguy wrote:

    According to RhymeZone dot com, plus a little linguist elbow grease, about all that’s left for these “-gents” are Divergent, Insurgent (well, we’ve seen some of that in apparent church takeovers), Splurgent (we’ve seen that happen, too), maybe Allergent, and finally, Detergent.

    Don’t forget “Ent-ent” (in the tradition of “Ism-ism”).dee wrote:

    Headless Unicorn Guy wrote:

    What do predators eat after they’ve killed off all the prey?

    You always make me smile. I need to let you know that I showed Karen Hinkley your picture with Eagle. She started laughing (not at your picture) and said you are one of her favorite commenters!

    Funny thing is, I’ve never seen the picture myself.

  102. doubtful wrote:

    They are weeding out those “impure” churches that are ruining their “Gospel-Centered” (Man loving, woman submitting, church disciplining, TULIP proclamin’) churches.

    Throughout the years, we have predicted that they will start eating their own. As it is, Mark Dever will not let anyone who believes in paedobaptism take communion at hie church, even his friends. I have an informative post in the queue about another bizarre communion belief of Mark Dever.

    BTW- did you know I named one of my rescue pugs, Tulip, as tongue in cheek? I name all of my pugs after flowers. I was waiting for one that had a sort of yippy personality since most pugs tend to be laid back. Well Tulip fits the bill. She is always fighting with Lily to take control of the house. Lily is the alpha pug and she does not take kindly to any sort of takeover.

    i have a Calvinista/nonCalvinista spitting contest every day. The pugs cannot figure out why I laugh and declare myself Lady Calvin when I discipline them. That involves putting them in separate rooms in case you worry that I am threatening them with beheading. 🙂

  103. dee wrote:

    Velour wrote:

    Or as Pastor Wade Burleson, a conservative/Baptist/but a fair guy, has noted in his book Hardball Religion and on his blog (he is the pastor on The Wartburg Watch’s EChurch), that conservatives start turning on other conservatives.

    Wade is a uniter. That is why we love him.

    Amen! Thanks for introducing us all to him through Echurch here.

  104. @ Deb:
    GC wrote:

    I started a new Twitter account to share information from those who are calling out church abuses, gender inequality, and other stuff Jesus would not like. I had been tweeting some of that information on my (completely unrelated) blog/business Twitter account, but I think it confused people who follow that account. So if you’re on Twitter and are willing, I would love for you to follow @More_Like_Jesus, just so it looks like I have a few friends – lol.

    Now ya done it.

  105. dee wrote:

    Calvin was into the witch hysteria.

    Indeed! The Minutes Book of the Geneva City Council, 1541-59, records that more than 20 women (and men) were burned to death for witchcraft (because they were believed to have something to do with the pestilence that struck Geneva in 1545; hmmm … wouldn’t that have been sovereign God instead?!). In the Minutes, you will also find that a girl was beheaded for striking her parents; a man who publicly protested against Calvin’s doctrine of predestination was flogged at all the crossways of the city and then expelled; a book printer who in his columns had railed at Calvin, was sentenced to have his tongue perforated with a red-hot iron before being expelled from the city; along with numerous other atrocities by the magisterial reformers at the drop of a word from Calvin. Why would anyone in their right mind want to follow the teachings of such a man?! That’s it, the New Calvinist multitudes are not in their right minds! Lord Jesus, lead them out of the darkness with your strong arm.

  106. @ brad/futuristguy:

    Hi brad, I left you a comment not related to this thread. It’s over at the books-movies area in the black banner just above the Wartburg castle, so as not to derail this thread.

  107. dee wrote:

    The sad part of this is that people make friends, think they are good friend, and find out, if they leave, that they were never friends at all-merely clique of people who were supposed to believe the same things.

    I am going to write two posts about Karen Hinkley next week. One will be her Cinderella story. The other will be a bit of a rant from me about the aftermath. This comment is a harbinger to that rant.

    I’ve found there were exceptions but the rule is that if someone at the former church never took the time to get to know you outside the walls of the church while you were there they will not do so after.

    I’ll be out on the trails, away from internet and phones for the next week. I look forward to hearing about Karen when I get back, she has shown great strength. She may live a quiet life finding some good friends and fellow believers or she may tackle big projects, either is good.

    As to rants there is the occasional commenter that drops in and casts judgement on the folks here, not looking for context why. We should only have nice things to say, peacefully minding our own business while wonderful people like Karen get ground up. If anything the commenters here give me hope that it doesn’t have to be that way and I don’t have to settle for it. Keep up the rants, nice ones of course, there are times when anything other than outrage is the wrong reaction.

  108. Max wrote:

    dee wrote:

    Calvin was into the witch hysteria.

    Indeed! The Minutes Book of the Geneva City Council, 1541-59, records that more than 20 women (and men) were burned to death for witchcraft (because they were believed to have something to do with the pestilence that struck Geneva in 1545; hmmm … wouldn’t that have been sovereign God instead?!). In the Minutes, you will also find that a girl was beheaded for striking her parents; a man who publicly protested against Calvin’s doctrine of predestination was flogged at all the crossways of the city and then expelled; a book printer who in his columns had railed at Calvin, was sentenced to have his tongue perforated with a red-hot iron before being expelled from the city; along with numerous other atrocities by the magisterial reformers at the drop of a word from Calvin. Why would anyone in their right mind want to follow the teachings of such a man?! That’s it, the New Calvinist multitudes are not in their right minds! Lord Jesus, lead them out of the darkness with your strong arm.

    Thanks for posting that, Max. I think it explains a lot about what I have observed about modern Geneva (outward compliance, supposedly no rules, but the cops will land on you at any time and enforce ‘the rules’ from bus tickets to newspaper boxes).

  109. @ Sopwith:

    Any religion or ‘Biblical’ belief system that demands the suppression of the human conscience and denies the existence of universal human goodness is capable of any evil. If you think it’s confined to Calvinism alone, you’re deluded.

  110. Gram3 wrote:

    What bugs me is that they are not saying what their primary distinctive is which is Calvinism and Complementarianism.

    I could not believe that Piper said Mark Driscoll’s failure was a defeat for complementarianism. I swear he is getting a bit loony.

  111. @ Velour:
    I am glad that you like him. I know there are some who are suspicious because of his Reformed bent. However, he believes women should be in leadership and he also believe in leading with love.

  112. @ Velour:
    That made me laugh. I have a soft spots for all mammals and am glad to know that spiders are not in the mammal category.

  113. Ann wrote:

    I would appreciate your take on Trinity’s membership in TGC.

    There are a number of churches joining in so they, too, can belong to something! My guess is that there are some who do not fully believe in TGC’s statement of beliefs. Well, actually I know of a couple that do not for sure.

    So, I would say the jury is still out. I attended a few service there and was impressed. So, time will tell along with the recommended resources, the conferences they participate in and recommend, the number of times they quote John Piper and whether or not they have a membership contract that stresses discipline and the proper way to leave a church.

    You can learn a bunch just reading through churches’ websites.

  114. @ Tim:
    I loved that video! I did not know that song. The raven was a nice touch. Sometimes I feel just like him.

  115. @ dee:
    For instance, the ones that recommend CJ Mahoney right off the bat, and hand out giant posters of John Piper poems before the service?

    Ahem.

  116. Velour wrote:

    Amen! Thanks for introducing us all to him through Echurch here.

    A hearty amen here too. I couldn’t care less what Burleson believes or doesn’t believe by way of theology. He’s a kind and good man, a man of deeds, a man who has done what he can to improve this world.

  117. THIS:

    GovPappy wrote:

    “* Editorial Note: It appears a rather small number of churches in our area are getting the Gospel™ right.”

    This reminds me a lot of the foolish arrogance of my former Fundy church sending a missionary to the Seattle area because “there was no fundamental Baptist presence in the city”.

    These guys really aren’t much different than the Fundies. Same arrogance. They just have a more polished image.

    GovPappy wrote:

    “* Editorial Note: It appears a rather small number of churches in our area are getting the Gospel™ right.”

    This reminds me a lot of the foolish arrogance of my former Fundy church sending a missionary to the Seattle area because “there was no fundamental Baptist presence in the city”.

    These guys really aren’t much different than the Fundies. Same arrogance. They just have a more polished image.

  118. Muff,

    hey,

    That reminds me of two drunk cannibals eating a clown, one turns to the other and says, ‘does this meat taste funny’?

  119. Eagle wrote:

    @ singleman:
    Which one? I live in the NOVA area….

    The Falls Church Anglican, currently meeting in Arlington.

    Sorry for the late reply. I worked late last night and had to be back at work early this morning. I’m getting too old to do that much longer.

  120. Ann wrote:

    Dee or Deb, As you can see from past postings, I am from your neck of the woods. I was surprised to see Holy Trinity Anglican Church listed as in TGC.

    I’m not. Their rector, John Yates III, is the son of John Yates II, rector of The Falls Church Anglican in Northern Virginia and a member of TGC’s council.

  121. dee wrote:

    @ Velour:
    I am glad that you like him. I know there are some who are suspicious because of his Reformed bent. However, he believes women should be in leadership and he also believe in leading with love.

    And Wade has always been fair. He has said, when others opposed those who had a private prayer language/speaking in tongues, that they couldn’t be Baptists missionaries, etc. that he has seen this gifts mentioned in the Bible continued to be used and they have not ceased.

  122. @ dee:
    Not suspicious, for me, but distressed and anxious. Learning earlier this year what Reformed/Calvinist/TULIP belief actually is rocked my newly reviving faith (which had been rocked for over two decades anyway), just a year or so after I began trying to reestablish a relationship again with God. I attended an OPC church plant just long enough to have my eyes opened and my soul horrified. Actually, that experience and my seeking for relief and comfort indirectly led me here months ago (Internet research).

  123. @ dee:

    “There are a number of churches joining in so they, too, can belong to something! My guess is that there are some who do not fully believe in TGC’s statement of beliefs. Well, actually I know of a couple that do not for sure.”
    ++++++++++++++++++++

    so, I read TGC’s statement of beliefs (preamble, and the other 2). Except for (a)the gender roles biz, and the opening statement (b)”we are a group of churches in the reformed tradition”, everything else was pretty garden variety. Unless I missed something.

    The sola scriptura paragraphs grated on me a bit, but it seemed to me that everything except a & b above was delicately worded to keep on the generic side.

    what would the churches you refer to not fully believe regarding TGC’s statement of beliefs?

    is it the gender roles thing? (which is of course a load of horsesh*t) Anything else I didn’t notice in the foundation docs?

  124. Question: I looked up churches in my area on the TGC site, and the one I am taking my kids to is listed. It’s actually the church I grew up in. I don’t believe it has ever been Calvinist in the least. There is a new pastor there.

    I have no idea if they are on the list just to “belong to something”, or if there’s more to it. I plan to ask the new pastor.

    but, i’m really in the dark about what a neo-reformed church is like (aside from those blasted gender roles, the discipline thing, member covenants, & I do know the words in TULIP).

    Aside from these things, could someone clue me in on some warning signs, and the inherent danger/trouble?

  125. elastigirl wrote:

    Question: I looked up churches in my area on the TGC site, and the one I am taking my kids to is listed. It’s actually the church I grew up in. I don’t believe it has ever been Calvinist in the least. There is a new pastor there.

    I have no idea if they are on the list just to “belong to something”, or if there’s more to it. I plan to ask the new pastor.

    but, i’m really in the dark about what a neo-reformed church is like (aside from those blasted gender roles, the discipline thing, member covenants, & I do know the words in TULIP).

    Aside from these things, could someone clue me in on some warning signs, and the inherent danger/trouble?

    *Have you taken a thorough read of the church’s website? Links? Assessed their beliefs (spoken and unspoken)? (That was one of the things I didn’t do at my former church and what I did read I didn’t understand.)

    *If your church has posted links to various organizations that they support, and you don’t know about those organizations and what they believe, I would recommend that you post them here and ask for folks’ insights.

    *Here is Pastor Wade Burleson’s (he’s a conservative Baptist pastor in Oklahoma who does the EChurch service here on The Wartburg Watch) but a fair man with a good head on his shoulders and his heart is in the right place. His blog is a great place to look up information (so are previous posts that Dee and Deb have written here). Here is Pastor Wade’s blog article about why people should “say no” to unbiblical Church Membership Covenants.
    http://www.wadeburleson.org/2015/05/five-reasons-to-say-no-to-church.html

    Don’t let the Scripture verses on the page sucker you in to signing one. I learned my lesson on that one. NEVER again!

    *Comp doctrine/patriarchy doctrine in my experience at my former church created a church culture that showed a contempt for women AND men. The pastors/elders were not only willing to order their own wives about, but other women in the church, and men too. They were arrogant, abusive, and contemptuous leaders. Everyone else just puts their brains on hold and goes along with the abuses.

    *Where those abuses, above, flourish so will other abuses.

    *Don’t get suckered into having most of your relationships in a church. Keep a wide array of friends.

    *Perhaps the other thing I’ve learned is that these dangerous, abusive beliefs are being taught in seminaries and then the graduates are going in to churches and taking them over.

    I am sure that Gram3, Brad the Futurist Guy, and others will have insightful things to add.

  126. Velour wrote:

    *Don’t get suckered into having most of your relationships in a church. Keep a wide array of friends.

    For many reasons, Amen to this one.

  127. elastigirl wrote:

    Question: I looked up churches in my area on the TGC site, and the one I am taking my kids to is listed. It’s actually the church I grew up in. I don’t believe it has ever been Calvinist in the least. There is a new pastor there.

    I have no idea if they are on the list just to “belong to something”, or if there’s more to it. I plan to ask the new pastor.

    but, i’m really in the dark about what a neo-reformed church is like (aside from those blasted gender roles, the discipline thing, member covenants, & I do know the words in TULIP).

    Aside from these things, could someone clue me in on some warning signs, and the inherent danger/trouble?

    Adding on to my list of my experience at my former NeoCal church:
    *It was UNLOVING. It seemed nice on the surface. But those NeoCal beliefs are about control, dominance, pride, and they and love can’t exist in the same place. No wonder the church is so unattractive to unbelievers. When unbelievers are MORE accepting and MORE LOVING than the people who claim to have indwelling Love in them (Jesus)…then the church doesn’t have anything to say to the world.

    *Along with Unloving, the NeoCals are Judgmental. They are always ranting about some group of people, some other Christian group that can’t “possibly know God”.
    I found it just insufferable. I know many people (some in my own family) from those faith practices that are supposedly *despised* as *less-than* by NeoCals. The people of those other Christian denominations are (or were if they’ve passed on) some of the most loving, kind, generous, decent people I have ever known in my entire life.

    *I honestly felt like I’d just come out of a gang, like the Crips or the Bloods or something, upon leaving a NeoCal church. They function like a gang: Us vs. them.

  128. elastigirl wrote:

    Question: I looked up churches in my area on the TGC site, and the one I am taking my kids to is listed. It’s actually the church I grew up in. I don’t believe it has ever been Calvinist in the least. There is a new pastor there.

    I have no idea if they are on the list just to “belong to something”, or if there’s more to it. I plan to ask the new pastor.

    but, i’m really in the dark about what a neo-reformed church is like (aside from those blasted gender roles, the discipline thing, member covenants, & I do know the words in TULIP).

    Aside from these things, could someone clue me in on some warning signs, and the inherent danger/trouble?

    A few more thoughts:
    *Is the church you are going to an independent church? Do they have any authority over them? My former NeoCal church was an independent church with no supervising authority over them. As we know abuses can happen in all kinds of church systems, including churches that have been around for a long time with a higher church governing body. But I will avoid an independent church again because they truly have no outside accountability.
    *I knew several families that were warned by relatives who were long-time Christians about joining my former NeoCal church: Don’t join a church that has no higher authority/accountability. Wise advice.
    *I will NOT join a church again run by elders in which church members have no vote. We are a priesthood of believers and we should all have a vote in the running of our churches. These corporate structured churches can be quite dangerous. (It’s not to say that everybody in a voting congregation wouldn’t go along with some fool plan, but I would trust a congregational vote and input over elder/pastor rule.)
    *I will not join a church again that doesn’t have an upfront, comprehensive child sexual abuse prevention plan, given to the entire church, and an upfront way for handling sex offenders. The pastors/elders brought their friend a Megan’s List sex offender into the church without telling anyone and put him into positions of trust.

  129. @ Velour:

    “Perhaps the other thing I’ve learned is that these dangerous, abusive beliefs are being taught in seminaries”
    ++++++++++++

    aside from stupid gender roles, membership covenants, and the discipline crap, what is it about the (neo)Calvinist beliefs being taught in seminaries that is dangerous?

    what is it about (neo)calvinsm (or perhaps it’s just Calvinism) that’s dangerous, or leads to dangerous things?

    (no worries about me & gender roles, covenants, and church discipline…. I’m finished with the institution. have many friends everywhere. my kids want to go, and I want them to have a youth group — I’ve been impressed with the youth department thus far. but them being on the TGC list is something i’ll have to understand)

  130. Mae wrote:

    I’d swear it was fundy, complimentary Christianity, they were trying to escape.

    Sounds like a new spin of the Duggar Family: free the girls!

  131. Debi Calvet wrote:

    @ dee:
    Not suspicious, for me, but distressed and anxious. Learning earlier this year what Reformed/Calvinist/TULIP belief actually is rocked my newly reviving faith (which had been rocked for over two decades anyway), just a year or so after I began trying to reestablish a relationship again with God. I attended an OPC church plant just long enough to have my eyes opened and my soul horrified. Actually, that experience and my seeking for relief and comfort indirectly led me here months ago (Internet research).

    Debi, I, too, learned the horrors of Mr. Calvin’s teachings after I had been a Christian for a while. His teaching on Evanescent Grace from The Institutes is especially troubling. If you’re curious, just type in *evanescent grace* on Google and you will find a number of links about said teaching. But I’ll start you off on one. Warning: Very Shocking Stuff.
    http://beyondcalvinism.blogspot.com/2015/03/on-assurance-of-salvation-and-calvins.html

  132. doubtful wrote:

    @ dee:
    Good to know that no pugs will be losing their heads anytime soon….I guess your next pug is going to be named Servetus.

    How about Arminius? 😉

  133. ___

    “Celebrate Jesus?”

    Dear Wartburg Reader,

      The gospel of Jesus Christ, according to the New Testament scriptures, is that you can be born again, obtain a new nature, be translated to the kingom of God’s dear Son, be born of a new blessed hope, be granted eternal life, be translated from the kingdom of darkness, enjoy peace, and joy, be filled with God’s holy spirit, and be made righteous and holy by Christ’s finished work upon the cross, be covered in His pressious blood, obtain new garmets, and have a wonderful place ‘reserved’ for you in God’s house!

    The shackles of sin can be removed: Gal 5:19-21; 1 Tim 1:10; Rev 22:15; 1 Tim 6:3-5; 1 Tm 8:1-11; 1 Thes 4:3-5; Col 3: Col 2:8-10; 1 Cor 6:18-19; 1 Cor 6:9-10; Rom 6:13; Rom 1:29.

    IN All OF THIS, God Almighty has made it easy for each of us to obtain THIS -His glorious salvation:

    God so loved you, that He sent His only Son to rescue you, that if you will believe in Jesus, God’s dear Son, you will not perish, but receive eternal life!

    Reach out to Jesus, and believe in Him today!

    …you’ll be glad you did!

    All The Best,

    IHS

    Sopy

  134. Darlene wrote:

    Calvin’s teachings … on Evanescent Grace from The Institutes is especially troubling.

    Darlene, Calvinism is indeed troubling the further one wades into this aberrant theology. I’ve heard “evanescent” grace referred to as the 6th point of Calvinism (making it TULIPS, I suppose). For those not up to cruising the Internet on this, it is rotten thinking which implies that God deceives some people into thinking they are saved so he can damn them afterward according to His “good” will. These poor folks go to church thinking they are elect, but they are not.

    In his Institutes, Calvin writes “by Christ himself a temporary faith is ascribed to them … the Lord instills into their minds such a sense of goodness as can be felt without the Spirit of adoption …” Calvin misrepresents the very character of God! What love is this?! Who in their right mind would want to follow the Calvinist God who elects some to be saved and others to be damned before they ever draw breath … and who deceives folks into thinking they are saved in order to damn them later for His pleasure?! Are the multitudes in bondage to New Calvinism “really” saved? How can they know for sure? Do they have only a “temporary faith” which will be judged and damned according to Calvin? Where is their assurance? Where is Jesus in all this?!!

    Praise God that I know that I know that I have been washed in the blood of the Lamb! Young Calvinist listening in to this, run to the Cross of Christ, repent, believe, accept Him, live for Him. You can truly know Jesus and the power of His resurrection. It will keep you from the grips of the spirit of Calvin, which still lives on planet earth through his followers.

  135. This “report” button is hilarioius.

    I think they should consider adding to the reporting screen more than just an open field for people to type their response. They should have a series of check boxes, where the “reporter” indicates which reasons apply. Was it an issue regarding same sex marriage or homosexuals? Maybe regarding complementarianism? Their data will be much more usable if they require discrete categories of violations. They could then hire Ed Stetzer to do the number crunching and he could write a book about it.

  136. @ Darlene:

    The irony of Calvin’s teaching on election/predestination is why on earth would it matter since he made church attendance and espousing”correct” doctrine mandatory or else face serious punishment. IOW, everyone in Geneva was “elect” and believed “correct doctrine” whether they wanted to be or not. :o)

    The creepyist part of the Institutes is his teaching on reprobation. Did you know you can believe you are saved, act like you are saved but really be reprobate and not know it until you die?

  137. @ Velour:
    This, and the subsequent posts, is good stuff.

    I had a fairly short experience at a 9marks church, but I can see now that we’re gone the DNA was present. Elder rule making decisions without the congregation, tight, controlling, no real questions allowed to the doctrine, etc. And, of course, the membership covenants. Nothing is more obvious yet unspoken than that their doctrine is unquestionable. It’s just not done. You’ve signed on – that means you agree with the doctrine, and no further growth in that regard is allowed, and the membership covenant will see to that. My current egalitarian views would, of course, not be accepted.

    It’s a grand, shiny veneer – they truly believe the most important part of the believer’s week is the preaching service at the local church, and darn it, it’s a thing of beauty. Great music, Communion, a shorter, simple sermon, constant emphasis on grace grace grace….

    It’s only when the pastor is constantly, yet subtly, asking where you’ve been, when forced spiritual intimacy at small groups meetings drives your wife to tears, when the elders don’t know your name but ask if you’ve considered attending membership classes, when the pastor asks your wife her testimony, then judges it without a word…. Yeah, buddy, I can read body language and cues. I’m not a paranoid introvert type for no reason.

    This place wasn’t your typical pastor pounding on the pulpit about homosexuals type, but the DNA of authoritarian crazy was all there, and it will bite you.

    Not all TGC is 9marks crazy, but it seems to be heading that way. They’re not listening to anyone but themselves, the self-appointed Keepers of the keys. I’d stay away.

  138. Lydia wrote:

    The creepyist part of the Institutes is his teaching on reprobation. Did you know you can believe you are saved, act like you are saved but really be reprobate and not know it until you die?

    I wonder then, what is the point in being a Christian (or thinking you are)? There would be little to no point in living by Christian ethics, attending church, reading the Bible. Etc. You might as well do what you want.

  139. Velour wrote:

    *Don’t get suckered into having most of your relationships in a church. Keep a wide array of friends.

    I’ve noticed that sometimes Non Christians are easier to talk to about problems and stuff than church people.

    I am still astounded at the harsh, unfeeling, or unsympathetic reactions from Christians (many of whom are weekly church goers) I got in the years after my mother’s passing.

    My marginal, lukewarm Christian internet friends and Non-Christian internet friends were more understanding and empathetic towards me than the Bible reading, church going Christians.

    Unfortunately, none of these people could be a huge source of support because they were busy with other things or going through their own problems.

    Anyway, the Christians tended to be more judgmental than the Non-Christians when I approached them for help / support during my time of grief and later.

  140. @ Darlene:
    Thank you for linking to that very good article. I did have that site bookmarked but hadn’t read that entry before.

  141. Tom R wrote:

    Their data will be much more usable if they require discrete categories of violations. They could then hire Ed Stetzer to do the number crunching and he could write a book about it.

    🙂 I think that the only non-negotiables are Female Subordinationism and acceptance of homosexual orientation. Not homosexual practice or marriage but orientation. I don’t have direct evidence of the latter, but I do have personal knowledge of the former where a female elder or pastor is considered prima facie evidence of apostasy. Real apostasy.

  142. Daisy wrote:

    wonder then, what is the point in being a Christian (or thinking you are)? There would be little to no point in living by Christian ethics, attending church, reading the Bible. Etc. You might as well do what you want.

    Well, when the Institutes were the official ST of the church state, you were not allowed to live any way you want so who would know who was elect or not?. Force and coercion were practiced as part of the systematic theology. Those who questioned found themselves in lots of trouble depending on where they fell within the caste system. Even Calvin’s protege Castellio found himself banished and unable to find employement because he dared to question.

    Then the deterministic ST tended to ebb and flow throughout history with the political situation. Some of Europe and even the history of the SBC Founding is an example of what I am talking about. Look at the evolution of Founding Calvinism in the SBC after the South lost the war. Boyce, a Founder of SBTS, believed that slavery was determined by God so that slave owners could disciple them…as slaves. But how could God have determined slavery as a good thing since they lost the war?

    CAlvinsim tends to die down and/or go a more free will/social gospel route. The latest historical resurgence of Calvinism is closer to Calvin and one reason why it comes off so controlling and angry. I think we live in interesting times. When in history could so many average people have the freedom and resources to share experiences and debate this ST outside of theological/academic circles?

  143. Gram3 wrote:

    I think that the only non-negotiables are Female Subordinationism and acceptance of homosexual orientation. Not homosexual practice or marriage but orientation. I don’t have direct evidence of the latter, but I do have personal knowledge of the former where a female elder or pastor is considered prima facie evidence of apostasy. Real apostasy.

    I noted at my former NeoCal church that the people who ranteded the most about *homosexuals* had themselves lived straight lives of the GREATEST sexual sin before coming to church. The nicest of church social occasions, including womens’ events, could be ruined by these ranters. I truly think they use it as a tactic to take the “splinter out” of someonebody else’s eye while failing to take “the log out of their own eye”.

  144. Velour wrote:

    But I will avoid an independent church again because they truly have no outside accountability.

    I used to believe this and it sounds good in theory but my direct experience is it doesn’t work. At my former church and subsequent stories I’ve heard and read a pastor can drive a church into the ground with no intervention. I took my concerns to the denomination hierarchy, through their channels, the confidentiality was violated and nothing came of it, fellow pastors are above reproach and lowly parishioners are suspect. I shouldn’t say nothing came of it, I recall the quote “When you come at the king, you best not miss”.

  145. Lydia wrote:

    The creepyist part of the Institutes is his teaching on reprobation. Did you know you can believe you are saved, act like you are saved but really be reprobate and not know it until you die?

    It certainly puts a different spin on “eternal security”.

  146. GovPappy wrote:

    Not all TGC is 9marks crazy, but it seems to be heading that way. They’re not listening to anyone but themselves, the self-appointed Keepers of the keys. I’d stay away.

    This is another excellent point about these NeoCal churches. (*Elastigirl, take note!) As has been discussed on this blog before, for all that the NeoCal churches decry the Roman Catholic Church, they have set up their local church structure EXACTLY like the Roman Catholic Church and crowed the senior pastor as Pope. They then believe that they hold *the keys* to The Church and Heaven and dissenters are *keyed out* (thanks Gram3 for the excellent term) of the local church via excommunications/shunnings.

    There is ZERO respect for the priesthood of all believers, ZERO respect for the Lord’s authority in our lives (which has been superseded by the elders/pastors), and ZERO respect for Holy Spirit’s leading in a believer’s life, and ZERO respect for individual Christian conscience.

  147. Bill M wrote:

    Velour wrote:

    But I will avoid an independent church again because they truly have no outside accountability.

    I used to believe this and it sounds good in theory but my direct experience is it doesn’t work. At my former church and subsequent stories I’ve heard and read a pastor can drive a church into the ground with no intervention. I took my concerns to the denomination hierarchy, through their channels, the confidentiality was violated and nothing came of it, fellow pastors are above reproach and lowly parishioners are suspect. I shouldn’t say nothing came of it, I recall the quote “When you come at the king, you best not miss”.

    @BillM,

    That is sadly correct. Abuse can take place in any type of church structure, including those with outside, governing authority as I noted in my post. There seems to be a very high probability of such abuses in independent churches with NO outside accountability.

  148. GovPappy wrote:

    @ Velour:
    This, and the subsequent posts, is good stuff.

    I had a fairly short experience at a 9marks church, but I can see now that we’re gone the DNA was present. Elder rule making decisions without the congregation, tight, controlling, no real questions allowed to the doctrine, etc. And, of course, the membership covenants. Nothing is more obvious yet unspoken than that their doctrine is unquestionable. It’s just not done. You’ve signed on – that means you agree with the doctrine, and no further growth in that regard is allowed, and the membership covenant will see to that. My current egalitarian views would, of course, not be accepted.

    It’s a grand, shiny veneer – they truly believe the most important part of the believer’s week is the preaching service at the local church, and darn it, it’s a thing of beauty. Great music, Communion, a shorter, simple sermon, constant emphasis on grace grace grace….

    It’s only when the pastor is constantly, yet subtly, asking where you’ve been, when forced spiritual intimacy at small groups meetings drives your wife to tears, when the elders don’t know your name but ask if you’ve considered attending membership classes, when the pastor asks your wife her testimony, then judges it without a word…. Yeah, buddy, I can read body language and cues. I’m not a paranoid introvert type for no reason.

    This place wasn’t your typical pastor pounding on the pulpit about homosexuals type, but the DNA of authoritarian crazy was all there, and it will bite you.

    Not all TGC is 9marks crazy, but it seems to be heading that way. They’re not listening to anyone but themselves, the self-appointed Keepers of the keys. I’d stay away.

    Excellent post and points, GovPappy. I am sorry you and your wife were subjected to such treatment at a former church and I am glad you folks made your escape!

  149. Lydia wrote:

    @ Darlene:

    The creepyist part of the Institutes is his teaching on reprobation. Did you know you can believe you are saved, act like you are saved but really be reprobate and not know it until you die?

    And as a friend of mine says, ” why even bother?”

  150. Lydia wrote:

    The creepyist part of the Institutes is his teaching on reprobation. Did you know you can believe you are saved, act like you are saved but really be reprobate and not know it until you die?

    Here’s what Marcus Aurelius (121-180 A.D.) had to say on the matter:

    Live a good life. If there are gods and they are just, they will not
    care how devout you have been, but will welcome you based on the virtues you have lived by. If there are gods, but unjust, then you should not want to worship them. If there are no gods, then you will be gone, but will have lived a noble life that will live on in the memories of your loved ones.

  151. @ Velour:

    “Perhaps the other thing I’ve learned is that these dangerous, abusive beliefs are being taught in seminaries”
    ++++++++++++

    aside from stupid gender roles, membership covenants, and the discipline cr@p, what is it about the (neo)Calvinist beliefs being taught in seminaries that is dangerous?

    what is it about (neo)calvinsm (or perhaps it’s just Calvinism) that’s dangerous, or leads to dangerous things?

    (no worries about me & gender roles, covenants, and church discipline…. I’m finished with the institution. have many friends everywhere. my kids want to go, and I want them to have a youth group — I’ve been impressed with the youth department thus far. but them being on the TGC list is something i’ll have to understand)

  152. Daisy wrote:

    I’ve noticed that sometimes Non Christians are easier to talk to about problems and stuff than church people.
    I am still astounded at the harsh, unfeeling, or unsympathetic reactions from Christians (many of whom are weekly church goers) I got in the years after my mother’s passing.
    My marginal, lukewarm Christian internet friends and Non-Christian internet friends were more understanding and empathetic towards me than the Bible reading, church going Christians

    That is so true, Daisy.

  153. GovPappy wrote:

    @ Patti:
    Probably about 4 years ago now. Sorry to hear that – I’m still there with you some days. What is GARB?

    Oh, my brain was thinking a long time ago. I was referring to back in the 70s. So it always surprises me to hear of all the “new” fundamentalism. Anyway, GARB is General Association of Regular Baptists. Everyone teaching at the school had to attend a GARB or IFB (Independent Fundamentalist Baptist). But I suppose your pastor friend could be right, now.

  154. elastigirl wrote:

    @ Velour:

    “Perhaps the other thing I’ve learned is that these dangerous, abusive beliefs are being taught in seminaries”
    ++++++++++++

    aside from stupid gender roles, membership covenants, and the discipline cr@p, what is it about the (neo)Calvinist beliefs being taught in seminaries that is dangerous?

    what is it about (neo)calvinsm (or perhaps it’s just Calvinism) that’s dangerous, or leads to dangerous things?

    (no worries about me & gender roles, covenants, and church discipline…. I’m finished with the institution. have many friends everywhere. my kids want to go, and I want them to have a youth group — I’ve been impressed with the youth department thus far. but them being on the TGC list is something i’ll have to understand)

    Gram3 and some other folks, can you give an assist to Elastigirl’s question here. You know so much more about the subject than I do.

  155. @ Velour:

    Thanks for all your input. I asked the same question on the recent John Peeper post, and got a lot of good feedback. Thank you all.

    just this nagging question in the back of my mind…. so, all this TGC, neocal stuff seems to be all about power and control. power and control for men. power and control for church leaders.

    1. what about Calvinism/neocalvinism leads to this mindset?

    2. or, alternatively, is Calvinism/neocalvinism the vehicle of choice to save a dying industry? is it because it allows for power and control? what about Calv/neocalv makes it a convenient vehicle?

    (To chat further about question 2., I could say that I think it is self-evident that ‘church’ is a dying industry, which means the whole food chain is a dying industry. Professional Christians (pastors/salaried leaders/seminaries) I’m sure feel pressure and threatened, so of course the urge for an all-out campaign to save their industry (desperate times call for desperate measures).)

    3. similarly, are the Christians (career & church attenders) that are attracted to calv/neocal paranoid of social changes and therefore feeling desperate for control? and again, what about calv/neocalv lends itself to power and control?

  156. elastigirl wrote:

    Aside from these things, could someone clue me in on some warning signs, and the inherent danger/trouble?

    Late on in his career in Seattle, Mark Driskle attempted to buy out or annexe other local congregations by persuading the pastors to come under his authority. I don’t know how successful this was, but one of the reasons he gave them to do this was “to be part of something bigger”. And the problem many of us had with that “logic” was that a group of believers already is part of something bigger, to wit, the Body of Christ himself – both locally and universally.

    The fact that a congregation signs up to some form of doctrinal allegiance with a remotely-coordinated brand identity might itself be a warning sign. Jesus stated that if we only love those who love us, that’s no big deal. One of the problems of local groups chasing membership of something elsewhere is that it absolves them of responsibility to do the hard work of building relationships with church groups nearby who do things differently. It’s very hard, though, to find a local church group who are accountable to other local Christians.

  157. elastigirl wrote:

    @ Velour:

    Thanks for all your input. I asked the same question on the recent John Peeper post, and got a lot of good feedback. Thank you all.

    just this nagging question in the back of my mind…. so, all this TGC, neocal stuff seems to be all about power and control. power and control for men. power and control for church leaders.

    1. what about Calvinism/neocalvinism leads to this mindset?

    2. or, alternatively, is Calvinism/neocalvinism the vehicle of choice to save a dying industry? is it because it allows for power and control? what about Calv/neocalv makes it a convenient vehicle?

    (To chat further about question 2., I could say that I think it is self-evident that ‘church’ is a dying industry, which means the whole food chain is a dying industry. Professional Christians (pastors/salaried leaders/seminaries) I’m sure feel pressure and threatened, so of course the urge for an all-out campaign to save their industry (desperate times call for desperate measures).)

    3. similarly, are the Christians (career & church attenders) that are attracted to calv/neocal paranoid of social changes and therefore feeling desperate for control? and again, what about calv/neocalv lends itself to power and control?

    My observations:

    1. Calvinism/Neocalvinism mindset – what leads to it?

    I have noticed several things that lead people to a NeoCal mindset. In my observations:

    *the majority of the proponents/adherents had terrible relationships with their own fathers (abusive or non-existent) and seriously dysfunctional families. They don’t know what love is, don’t know what healthy boundaries are, and so a NeoCal environment gives them the structure that many of them are desperately looking for.

    *people with rigid personalities are attracted to Cal/NeoCal because it’s who they are and it reinforces that part of them, instead of challenging some of their greatest weaknesses.

    *Cal/NeoCal gives them the whole “elect” doctrine and that they’re so special and superior compared to everybody else. A superiority complex.

    *Then there are those in Cal/NeoCal churches who were evangelized in college, invited to Bible studies and these kinds of churches. They aren’t rigid, just uninformed and uneducated.

    *Cal/NeoCal expositional preaching/entire books of the Bible. Appeals to peoples’ intellectualism and again doesn’t challenge them.

    *Cals/NeoCals say that they are “getting back to Biblical basics” which in theory sounds good. Thus they foist on people Membership Covenants, which haven’t existed before and are un-Biblical, support an authoritarian church structure with pastors/elders in charge, and intrude on the lives and consciences of individual believers.

    2. Some Cal/NeoCal beliefs seem to be an answer to problems that weren’t addressed in a healthy manner in churches. Baptists keep members on their rolls forever, so I have heard. They have to report their numbers higher up the chain, even though there are many Baptists who don’t go to those churches any more. Instead of, as you’ve pointed out, reporting their dying industry numbers, Mark Dever (Capitol Hill Baptist and behind the whole 9Marks (aka ‘Hotel California’ as it is called here on The Wartburg Watch), has advocated Membership Covenants to control the entry and exit of members. Why not just pick up the phone, Mark, call Baptists and ask them if they consider themselves to be members of the church or not?

    I saw a godly Christian man (from East Asia) who attended my former NeoCal church faithfully for six years ordered by the pastors/elders not to attend the church any more because he was unwilling to sign a Membership Covenant and he didn’t believe in them.

    My former senior pastor repeatedly said from the pulpit how did he know he was your pastor, would give an account for you to God, if you hadn’t signed the Membership Covenant? It was “news” to him he said that people thought of him as their “pastor”. I repeatedly thought how hateful, immature, and unloving the whole thing was. “They’re here! Isn’t that good enough? Isn’t this the *one anothers* we are supposed to do for *one another*? Do we really need to sign a stupid piece of paper? God help us all! Did all of those illiterate fisherman in the Bible and other folks sign papers or was their togetherness good enough?”

    3. Gram3 posted something recently that “The Law is for the immature.” That’s spot on. All of the Cal/NeoCal practices I have seen are for immature people and they cater to keeping people immature. It seems to attract those who want to be in power and those who don’t want to grow up. Those who think for themselves, and who even nicely challenge the system, are *keyed out* (another Gram3 phrase) of the system as *unregenerate* and *consigned for Hell* and *not one of us*.

  158. Bill M wrote:

    It certainly puts a different spin on “eternal security”.

    Hee Hee

    Calvin’s ST focuses on Perserverance of the Saints which is not really like eternal security because man has selective volition in Calvin’s ST and is unable to respond.

    I don’t buy into either, btw. I often wonder what they do with Hebrews 10 and other passages that are warnings.

  159. @ Muff Potter:

    You know, NT Wright said something that really resonated with me when discussing this. He said that even children on the playground understand “fair”. That does not mean they ARE fair but they understand the concept. That is our starting point for basic justice and how we are to live. So how can they be totally depraved and unable if they can understand the basic concept of what is fair or not?

  160. elastigirl wrote:

    what is it about (neo)calvinsm (or perhaps it’s just Calvinism) that’s dangerous, or leads to dangerous things?

    The only thing I would say is that any ‘ism’ (religious or secular) is dangerous when it is allowed to suppress one’s conscience and moral compass within; you can’t hear shrieks of torment when you’re doing the Lord’s work for the greater ‘good’.

    I think it’s a good thing that you want your kids to have a good youth group because it will go a long way in steering them away from unsavory elements. Let them be kids though and make their own mistakes, they’ll grow up the better for it. The best thing you can do as a parent is to be there for them when they fall and skin their knees so to speak, just as you did when they were little.

  161. Velour wrote:

    I noted at my former NeoCal church that the people who ranted the most about *homosexuals* had themselves lived straight lives of the GREATEST sexual sin before coming to church.

    There’s also another side to that observation. I once knew an itinerant evangelist who preached aggressively against homosexual sin … until it was revealed that he and his music guy were living in that sin. And, of course, we all know about the hard anti-gay ranting by Ted Haggard … who, himself, was proven to be a homosexual after one of his partners got tired of his anti-gay ranting. Church has become a safe cover for all sorts of demons. Some of those who preach the hardest about certain sins may very well do that to hide their own.

  162. Max wrote:

    Velour wrote:

    I noted at my former NeoCal church that the people who ranted the most about *homosexuals* had themselves lived straight lives of the GREATEST sexual sin before coming to church.

    There’s also another side to that observation. I once knew an itinerant evangelist who preached aggressively against homosexual sin … until it was revealed that he and his music guy were living in that sin. And, of course, we all know about the hard anti-gay ranting by Ted Haggard … who, himself, was proven to be a homosexual after one of his partners got tired of his anti-gay ranting. Church has become a safe cover for all sorts of demons. Some of those who preach the hardest about certain sins may very well do that to hide their own.

    Spot on, Max!

  163. Max wrote:

    Church has become a safe cover for all sorts of demons. Some of those who preach the hardest about certain sins may very well do that to hide their own.

    My mom used to warn about pastors who had “pet” issues they focused on quite a bit.

  164. @ elastigirl:
    I wouldn’t say the hunger for power or control is specific to neo-cal folks or doctrine, but I’m sure you’d agree there. The Fundies are all about the leadership of the man-o-gawd, you got denoms that are all about apostolic authority in no uncertain terms, etc. Same basic setup, just different terminology.

    Where the neo-cals are different, and in my opinion, possibly more insidious because it’s less obvious, is the elder rule aspect. It gives an illusion of balance of power (and in some cases it might actually work when there’s folks with integrity), so it’s more palatable to the average serious church-goer. But really, whether it’s one guy up there calling the shots, or one guy setting up a bunch of yes-men to call the shots for him under his direction, you get the same basic result.

    It’s always about authority for some folks – the trick is making it palatable to the Bible-reading Christian. One guy up there calling himself an apostle and demanding unquestioning following is just gonna get laughed off the stage in most Baptist circles these days. So you get together and make your authority Biblical™ by surrounding yourself with Elders™ to hide what’s really going on.

    The guy inside me who doesn’t want to think the worst of everyone in the ministry wants to believe most are just following the lead of biblical interpretation that folks they respect model for them. Fact is, it enables wolves, and can put the sheep asleep.

    So no, I’m not sure neo-cal doctrine (besides the male leadership aspect, which is huge, but hardly specific to them) in itself is all about power and control (lip-service is given to the priesthood of believers), but I do believe it’s getting more popular because it’s less obviously controlling than, say, IFB churches. The crazy slides under the radar, initially.

  165. Daisy wrote:

    what is the point in being a Christian (or thinking you are)? There would be little to no point in living by Christian ethics, attending church, reading the Bible. Etc. You might as well do what you want.

    Christians don’t necessarily go to church, but they are always the Church. Christlikeness is still the call on our lives. “Christian” is more than a confession; it is a lifestyle which pursues holiness … stiff-arming the world (in it but not of it) as you move forward by reading the Bible, repenting, praying, getting to know God, and pressing closer to Jesus. There is no other way for us to live than the Way, the Truth, and the Life.

  166. GovPappy wrote:

    It’s always about authority for some folks – the trick is making it palatable to the Bible-reading Christian. One guy up there calling himself an apostle and demanding unquestioning following is just gonna get laughed off the stage in most Baptist circles these days. So you get together and make your authority Biblical™ by surrounding yourself with Elders™ to hide what’s really going on.

    The power also comes from being the ones who interpret scripture for the pew peons. Since the Holy Spirit has been replaced with biblical interpretation by those who are “specially anointed” with the right titles. Once people buy into that, the rest is easy.

    They hate it when I bring up 1 John 2:

    26 I am writing these things to you about those who are trying to lead you astray. 27 As for you, the anointing you received from him remains in you, and you do not need anyone to teach you. But as his anointing teaches you about all things and as that anointing is real, not counterfeit—just as it has taught you, remain in him.

  167. Max wrote:

    Christians don’t necessarily go to church, but they are always the Church.

    Yes! Repeat to ourselves over and over.

  168. Velour wrote:

    Gram3 posted something recently that “The Law is for the immature.” That’s spot on.

    Yes! Another one to repeat over and over!

  169. @ Muff Potter:

    Thanks, Muff, for your comment. I know that there is much to learn from one’s own mistakes. I think a person learns best by doing, not by hearing & reading theory. Where my kids are concerned, I know it’s best to let them fail and make mistakes. they’ll learn fast. however, i’ll do whatever needed to preempt drunk driving and possible unintended pregnancies when they come into the picture.

  170. Lydia wrote:

    My mom used to warn about pastors who had “pet” issues they focused on quite a bit.

    Lydia, your mother had wisdom, something that’s in short supply in New Calvinist churches. Most of discernment is really just simple observation, looking around and listening carefully; over a period of years you hone that ability well enough to spot a Piper a mile away. Age doesn’t always bring such wisdom and understanding, but it helps. Look around, you won’t see many gray hairs in NC churches. Easy pickins’.

  171. Lydia wrote:

    Max wrote:

    Christians don’t necessarily go to church, but they are always the Church.

    Yes! Repeat to ourselves over and over.

    Amen, Sister Lydia!

  172. Daisy wrote:

    I wonder then, what is the point in being a Christian (or thinking you are)? There would be little to no point in living by Christian ethics, attending church, reading the Bible. Etc. You might as well do what you want.

    The point of any human goodness (Christian or non) is to build a better and safer world in the here and now, the sweet-by-and-by will take care of itself. After all, we’re the ones who have to live here and make the best of it, no?

  173. @ Max:

    “…Christlikeness is still the call on our lives. “Christian” is more than a confession; it is a lifestyle which pursues holiness … stiff-arming the world (in it but not of it)…”
    ++++++++++++

    for the sake of conversation — ‘holiness’… strikes me as one of those silly-putty words. people shape it according to their beliefs/fears/insecurities/prejudices.

    is there really a standard prescription for that word? (beyond it being something like “in good health” = blood pressure, heart rate, blood sugar, body weight all in a good range)

    re: “the world”…. to be honest, people I know who are not Christians (who I presume fit the bill of ‘of the world’) are always no different from Christians in their kindness, honesty, integrity, generosity, treating people the way they themselves want to be treated. in many cases, they are better human beings than those who qualify as “Christian”.

    I really think Christian culture has this “the world” thing all wrong.

    I think it’s a manipulation tool, to control people. (but I don’t think your use of the word is manipulative, and you strike me as very fair-minded and kind)

  174. @ Muff Potter:

    “The point of any human goodness (Christian or non) is to build a better and safer world in the here and now, the sweet-by-and-by will take care of itself. After all, we’re the ones who have to live here and make the best of it, no?”
    +++++++++++++++

    MUFF POTTER FOR president? how about SAGE HUMAN BEING WORTH LISTENING TO

    (can’t imagine a worse job than POTUS)

  175. elastigirl wrote:

    @ Muff Potter:

    “The point of any human goodness (Christian or non) is to build a better and safer world in the here and now, the sweet-by-and-by will take care of itself. After all, we’re the ones who have to live here and make the best of it, no?”
    +++++++++++++++

    MUFF POTTER FOR president? how about SAGE HUMAN BEING WORTH LISTENING TO

    (can’t imagine a worse job than POTUS)

    Church secretary in a NeoCal church or a mega would be in the running for “worst jobs”.

  176. Lydia wrote:

    The creepyist part of the Institutes is his teaching on reprobation. Did you know you can believe you are saved, act like you are saved but really be reprobate and not know it until you die?

    CALVIN HATH SAID!

    Which is why Calvinists (like The HUMBLE One and He of the Fluttering Hands) are ALWAYS trying to Prove To Themselves that They Are Really Truly one of The Elect. Whether this is done by accumulating money Protestant Work Ethic/Prosperity Gospel-style or Perfectly Parsing My More Calvinist-than-Thou Theology. They’re trying to convince themselves (with all the rest of us as collateral damage) that THEY are ELECT and not REPROBATE.

  177. Lydia wrote:

    Max wrote:

    Church has become a safe cover for all sorts of demons. Some of those who preach the hardest about certain sins may very well do that to hide their own.

    Self-medicating/self-treating in secret, like Rush Limbaugh as Number-One Fan of the War on Drugs while battling a secret Oxycontin Addiction. Esepcially when they’re a CELEBRITY preacher-man who in public has to be a Godly Moral Paragon without any imperfection whatsoever.

    My mom used to warn about pastors who had “pet” issues they focused on quite a bit.

    “You can tell when a preacher’s in trouble when he stops preaching about what he’s for and starts preaching only about what he’s against.”

  178. @ elastigirl:
    It is – calling a Christian to repent, etc based on “worldliness” seems unhelpful to me, a buzzword. It’s in the eye of the beholder’s interpretation of scripture. What about him/her is contrary/hurtful to the body of Christ and people? Explain. Name specific actions and attitudes. Dialogue. Find common ground, then build off that for mutual edification. “Remaining unspotted by the world” is only a helpful directive when it’s unpacked.

    If I had a dollar for every tweet I’ve seen quoting a theologian denouncing worldly Christians and churches, I’d be a rich man. It’s unhelpful grandstanding.

    So you’re probably right – worldliness is the negative, manipulative, “us vs them”, “we’re the true remnant” word, with the generic holiness concept being the positive word.

    I certainly don’t deny holiness and worldliness have meaning and we should strive for the one and avoid the other. Point being, the concepts are absurd if they’re not constantly unpacked.

    Sorry – rant over.

  179. Max wrote:

    I once knew an itinerant evangelist who preached aggressively against homosexual sin … until it was revealed that he and his music guy were living in that sin. And, of course, we all know about the hard anti-gay ranting by Ted Haggard … who, himself, was proven to be a homosexual after one of his partners got tired of his anti-gay ranting.

    Others have suspected the same about the infamous Fred Phelps.

    Again, attempts to self-treat in secret, with a touch of “If I have X Problem, then all of you must have the same Problem, you’re just hiding it!” like recovering alcoholic Billy Sunday preaching Christless sermons against Demon Rum.

  180. Muff Potter wrote:

    The only thing I would say is that any ‘ism’ (religious or secular) is dangerous when it is allowed to suppress one’s conscience and moral compass within; you can’t hear shrieks of torment when you’re doing the Lord’s work for the greater ‘good’.

    Or carrying out The Inevitable Marxist-Leninist Dialectic of History.

  181. elastigirl wrote:

    for the sake of conversation — ‘holiness’… strikes me as one of those silly-putty words. people shape it according to their beliefs/fears/insecurities/prejudices.

    is there really a standard prescription for that word?

    I believe the basic notion is being set aside for God’s purposes. Am I living for myself or for others? That doesn’t mean I don’t take care of my interests, but it *does* mean that I consider others.

    People exhibit the character of God whenever they do the things we associate with goodness. Unless we believe in absolute depravity rather than total or pervasive depravity, then we should not be surprised to find good people doing good things who are not Christians. Similarly, because we have not been glorified, we should not be surprised that Christians do horrible things. We are still fallen. But God calls us to get up and carry on and follow him.

    I think of holiness as a disposition to be like God and all that flows from that. It is not a rule list which is legalism nor is it observing norms which is conventionalism. I think that holiness go well beyond either of those things which are proxies for the real thing. It is being conformed to the image of Christ who was the ultimate human who set himself aside for God’s purposes.

  182. elastigirl wrote:

    ‘holiness’… strikes me as one of those silly-putty words … is there really a standard prescription for that word?

    Elastigirl, I understand where you are coming from. Too many Christians relate “holiness” with something that gets on Pentecostals and we don’t want it on us! Holiness, as I see it, is really a process toward Christian maturity. We never really attain it, but it looms before us as a goal (a pursuit) in our Christian journey.

    As an avid reader/commenter at TWW, you no doubt have heard much about New Calvinism’s over-emphasis of God’s sovereignty at the expense of human free will. They essentially say that God does it all and we are not to “do” anything but rest in His grace. Whereas, a pursuit of holiness is a joint venture between God and believers. By His Holy Spirit, God has made it possible for us to walk in a holy lifestyle that is pleasing to Him. We are not to be driven by rules and regulations, do this and don’t that, but by the Spirit of God who convicts of us of sin and helps us overcome … a pursuit of holiness.

    Regarding “the world” … I agree, Christian culture overdoes it on this. The Bible brings the word into perspective when we bring it alongside our individual desire for Christlikenes:

    “For all that is in the world—the lust of the flesh [craving for sensual gratification] and the lust of the eyes [greedy longings of the mind] and the pride of life [assurance in one’s own resources or in the stability of earthly things]—these do not come from the Father but are from the world [itself]. And the world passes away and disappears, and with it the forbidden cravings (the passionate desires, the lust) of it; but he who does the will of God and carries out His purposes in his life abides (remains) forever.” (1 John 2:16-17 AMP)

    Jesus says “I have told you these things, so that in Me you may have [perfect] peace and confidence. In the world you have tribulation and trials and distress and frustration; but be of good cheer [take courage; be confident, certain, undaunted]! For I have overcome the world. [I have deprived it of power to harm you and have conquered it for you].” (John 16:33)

  183. Nick Bulbeck wrote:

    I don’t know how successful this was, but one of the reasons he gave them to do this was “to be part of something bigger”.

    Didn’t both Communism and Fascism make the same appeal in their day?

    “Look at you now! Overseeing resettlement programs; Changing the Face of Europe!”
    Holocaust (minseries), just outside Babi Yar

  184. GovPappy wrote:

    I certainly don’t deny holiness and worldliness have meaning and we should strive for the one and avoid the other. Point being, the concepts are absurd if they’re not constantly unpacked.

    When I think of what “worldliness” means, I think of what the “world” values: personal power and personal pleasure. To be worldly is to live in pursuit of those worldly goals. Holiness is to live in pursuit of the goal of being conformed to Christ. He was not a legalist, and he was not conventional. He was also not proud that he flouted either the law or convention, as many are. It is not holy to be a Church Lady who judges people, but neither is it holy to be a non-judgmental tattooed biker who likes to be provocative. Both are drawing the attention to themselves, though in very different ways.

  185.   __

    “Can We Have Assurance Of Salvation?”

    See: Max’s comment :

    Max: “Are the multitudes in bondage to New Calvinism “really” saved? How can they know for sure? Do they have only a “temporary faith” which will be judged and damned according to Calvin? Where is their assurance? ”

    ***

    Scripture verses on The hopeful assurance of salvation:
     
    John 5:24 – truly , truly, I say to you, He that hears my word, and believes on him that sent me, has everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life.

    John 10:28 – And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any [man] pluck them out of my hand.

    1 John 5:13 – These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that you have eternal life, and that you may believe on the name of the Son of God.

    Romans 10:13 – For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.

    John 3:16 – For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

    1 John 5:11-12 And this is the record, that God has given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. He that has the Son has life; [and] he that has not the Son of God has not life.

    1 John 5:13 These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that you may know that you have eternal life, and that you may believe on the name of the Son of God.

     

    Romans 8:1 – [There is] therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.

    John 6:37 – All that the Father gives me shall come to me; and him that comes to me I will in no wise cast out.

    Romans 10:9 – That if you shalt confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus, and shall believe in your heart that God hath raised him from the dead, you shalt be saved.

    John 10:27-29 My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me: And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any [man] pluck them out of my hand. My Father, which gave [them] me, is greater than all; and no [man] is able to pluck [them] out of my Father’s hand.

    Romans 8:16 – The Spirit itself bears witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God:

    Acts 2:21 – And it shall come to pass, [that] whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved.

  186. The big thing about a church leadership that has a reformed™ perspective is not what they believe, but why they believe it and whether they love or not. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all knowledge, and have no love, I am nothing.

    If they believe that “the Bible clearly teaches… blah… blah… blah…”, walk away. I would, personally, have no hesitation in putting it this strongly: assume they are unsaved and know nothing of God unless and until it is proven otherwise. Love builds up, but knowledge puffs up – IOW, knowledge counterfeits the effects of love. But if they believe that “this is how we understand the Bible, and we realise others who are not less than we are think differently”, that’s promising.

    It can happen. Wade Burleson is a reformed-type chappie whose long-standing friendship with Deebs is well documented here.

  187. Gram3 wrote:

    GovPappy wrote:

    I certainly don’t deny holiness and worldliness have meaning and we should strive for the one and avoid the other. Point being, the concepts are absurd if they’re not constantly unpacked.

    When I think of what “worldliness” means, I think of what the “world” values: personal power and personal pleasure. To be worldly is to live in pursuit of those worldly goals. Holiness is to live in pursuit of the goal of being conformed to Christ. He was not a legalist, and he was not conventional. He was also not proud that he flouted either the law or convention, as many are. It is not holy to be a Church Lady who judges people, but neither is it holy to be a non-judgmental tattooed biker who likes to be provocative. Both are drawing the attention to themselves, though in very different ways.

    Agreed.

  188. Nick Bulbeck wrote:

    Love builds up, but knowledge puffs up – IOW, knowledge counterfeits the effects of love. But if they believe that “this is how we understand the Bible, and we realise others who are not less than we are think differently”, that’s promising.

    You stated the root problem very well. Pure knowledge untainted by love.

  189. elastigirl wrote:

    for the sake of conversation — ‘holiness’… strikes me as one of those silly-putty words. people shape it according to their beliefs/fears/insecurities/prejudices.

    I tend to view it as a “doing” word more than a “correct doctrine” word.
    Muff Potter wrote:

    The point of any human goodness (Christian or non) is to build a better and safer world in the here and now, the sweet-by-and-by will take care of itself. After all, we’re the ones who have to live here and make the best of it, no?

    Sometimes I think the letter to Diognetus is a better indicator than scripture on this point.

    And that is because scripture has been so proof texted and parsed by those using it as a weapon, for their own advancement or to control others, we cannot see the beauty in it anymore.

  190. numo wrote:

    Keeping in mind that the early church expected Christ to return very, very soon…

    And so shall we live.

  191. Lydia wrote:

    @ Darlene:
    The irony of Calvin’s teaching on election/predestination is why on earth would it matter since he made church attendance and espousing”correct” doctrine mandatory or else face serious punishment. IOW, everyone in Geneva was “elect” and believed “correct doctrine” whether they wanted to be or not. :o)
    The creepyist part of the Institutes is his teaching on reprobation. Did you know you can believe you are saved, act like you are saved but really be reprobate and not know it until you die?

    Lydia, yes, I am familiar with Calvin’s teaching on reprobation. And evanescent grace, otherwise known as *temporary* grace teaches that God actually tricks certain people into believing they are saved, but in actuality they are damned – and God does this all to glorify Himself, according the the Calvinist playbook. This makes God out to be a Deceiver, something that according to what we know of Christ’s teachings is a character trait we should reject and avoid. Further, if according to Calvin, God actually deceives people in this way, how would anyone ever know that they have been filled with the Holy Spirit and saved from their sins? And this is why many Calvinists – the Puritans for example – struggled with whether or not they were one of the elect while on their death beds. Because all the repenting and casting themselves upon God’s mercy would be to no avail if God had damned them before the foundation of the world. When one really peers into the depths of this theological system, what can be discovered can be like a stab to the heart – disturbing to the core of one’s very soul. Such a belief system could drive a person to madness – to a psychological and emotional breakdown from which one may not recover.

  192. “scripture has been so proof texted and parsed by those using it as a weapon, for their own advancement or to control others, we cannot see the beauty in it anymore.” –Lydia

    Lydia,

    hey,

    Are you speaking for yourself, or are you speaking for others?

  193. Daisy wrote:

    Lydia wrote:
    The creepyist part of the Institutes is his teaching on reprobation. Did you know you can believe you are saved, act like you are saved but really be reprobate and not know it until you die?
    I wonder then, what is the point in being a Christian (or thinking you are)? There would be little to no point in living by Christian ethics, attending church, reading the Bible. Etc. You might as well do what you want.

    Well, Daisy, if you are a Calvinist and you persevere until the end, then you know that you are one of the elect. But come to think of it, do you? After all, God could be tricking you. And of course there’s that comforting sermon of Jonathan Edward’s, Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God. You are just like a spider, dangling over the pits of hell, possibly awaiting your damnable fate. And just what can you do about it? Well, nothing! Because God already decided if you would be saved or reprobated for eternity, and not according to anything that you did or didn’t do, but again – for the sheer pleasure of glorifying Himself. If I had embraced such a belief system, sure I would be in a mental institution by now.

  194. Debi Calvet wrote:

    @ Darlene:
    Thank you for linking to that very good article. I did have that site bookmarked but hadn’t read that entry before.

    Your welcome, Debi. I’ve make it a mission of mine to understand Calvinism after my son became a Calvinist a number of years ago and then de-converted from the Christian faith altogether because he deduced that God is a monster, and he could not believe in such a God any longer. Well, I never bought into the Calvinist playbook, knowing full well where believing in such a system would lead….as I said, to the mental institution. I keep my sanity, thank-you-very-much, and trust in the love of God and His unending mercy and compassion!

  195. GovPappy wrote:

    @ elastigirl:
    I wouldn’t say the hunger for power or control is specific to neo-cal folks or doctrine, but I’m sure you’d agree there. The Fundies are all about the leadership of the man-o-gawd, you got denoms that are all about apostolic authority in no uncertain terms, etc. Same basic setup, just different terminology.
    Where the neo-cals are different, and in my opinion, possibly more insidious because it’s less obvious, is the elder rule aspect. It gives an illusion of balance of power (and in some cases it might actually work when there’s folks with integrity), so it’s more palatable to the average serious church-goer. But really, whether it’s one guy up there calling the shots, or one guy setting up a bunch of yes-men to call the shots for him under his direction, you get the same basic result.
    It’s always about authority for some folks – the trick is making it palatable to the Bible-reading Christian. One guy up there calling himself an apostle and demanding unquestioning following is just gonna get laughed off the stage in most Baptist circles these days. So you get together and make your authority Biblical™ by surrounding yourself with Elders™ to hide what’s really going on.
    The guy inside me who doesn’t want to think the worst of everyone in the ministry wants to believe most are just following the lead of biblical interpretation that folks they respect model for them. Fact is, it enables wolves, and can put the sheep asleep.
    So no, I’m not sure neo-cal doctrine (besides the male leadership aspect, which is huge, but hardly specific to them) in itself is all about power and control (lip-service is given to the priesthood of believers), but I do believe it’s getting more popular because it’s less obviously controlling than, say, IFB churches. The crazy slides under the radar, initially.

    But isn’t part of Neo-cal doctrine a doctrine of leadership? I thought the prophet-priest-king schema was accepted broadly throughout the Neo-cal movement. Doesn’t Acts 29, founded by Mark Driscoll, move forward with that DNA? ie the preacher/lead pastor dude is prophet and king (MD), and he gets another king to be his executive pastor (Sutton Turner) and then a “priest” (or a priest-king) to handle the counseling, (Dave Bruskas ) etc? Anyway, I thought authoritarian leadership was part of the Neo-cal belief system.

  196. Darlene wrote:

    Lydia wrote:
    @ Darlene:
    The irony of Calvin’s teaching on election/predestination is why on earth would it matter since he made church attendance and espousing”correct” doctrine mandatory or else face serious punishment. IOW, everyone in Geneva was “elect” and believed “correct doctrine” whether they wanted to be or not. :o)
    The creepyist part of the Institutes is his teaching on reprobation. Did you know you can believe you are saved, act like you are saved but really be reprobate and not know it until you die?

    Lydia, yes, I am familiar with Calvin’s teaching on reprobation. And evanescent grace, otherwise known as *temporary* grace teaches that God actually tricks certain people into believing they are saved, but in actuality they are damned – and God does this all to glorify Himself, according the the Calvinist playbook. This makes God out to be a Deceiver, something that according to what we know of Christ’s teachings is a character trait we should reject and avoid. Further, if according to Calvin, God actually deceives people in this way, how would anyone ever know that they have been filled with the Holy Spirit and saved from their sins? And this is why many Calvinists – the Puritans for example – struggled with whether or not they were one of the elect while on their death beds. Because all the repenting and casting themselves upon God’s mercy would be to no avail if God had damned them before the foundation of the world. When one really peers into the depths of this theological system, what can be discovered can be like a stab to the heart – disturbing to the core of one’s very soul. Such a belief system could drive a person to madness – to a psychological and emotional breakdown from which one may not recover.

    Here’s what I think, if anyone cares. I suspect it is what many of you think:

    John Calvin was a stark raving psychopath, and Calvinism is insane. There, I said it, and it had to be said. But let’s face it, it’s been the undercurrent of this whole thread and actually many others. Calvinism, neo or paleo, is wacked. I feel we need to stop pussyfooting around this self-evident fact.

    I don’t feel that Calvinism is a legitimate Christian theological system at all. I don’t think it comes from Christ or the Holy Spirit at all. I think it comes from quite somewhere else.

    I feel better now having vented. But I meant what I said 🙂

  197. Abi Miah wrote:

    But isn’t part of Neo-cal doctrine a doctrine of leadership? I thought the prophet-priest-king schema was accepted broadly throughout the Neo-cal movement. Doesn’t Acts 29, founded by Mark Driscoll, move forward with that DNA? ie the preacher/lead pastor dude is prophet and king (MD), and he gets another king to be his executive pastor (Sutton Turner) and then a “priest” (or a priest-king) to handle the counseling, (Dave Bruskas ) etc? Anyway, I thought authoritarian leadership was part of the Neo-cal belief system.

    And for all that they have decried the Roman Catholic Church they have set up their church structures EXACTLY like the RCC and crowned the senior pastor as Pope, complete with excommunications and shunnings.

    Here is an excellent article by (conservative, Baptist, but good-guy) Wade Burleson about the problem with un-Biblical authoritarianism in today’s churches that are being overrun by the NeoCals:
    http://www.wadeburleson.org/2012/01/our-problem-is-authoritarianism-and-not.html

  198. Sopwith wrote:

    Are you speaking for yourself, or are you speaking for others?

    Sorry, too declarative. I should have said that “some” cannot see the beauty of scripture anymore. Sorry if I offended you. I am going by what so many are telling me they just cannot read the bible anymore.

  199. Lydia wrote:

    Sopwith wrote:
    Are you speaking for yourself, or are you speaking for others?

    Sorry, too declarative. I should have said that “some” cannot see the beauty of scripture anymore. Sorry if I offended you. I am going by what so many are telling me they just cannot read the bible anymore.

    Sopy, I know what you mean, but I also surely know what Lydia means. The Bible has been weaponized in certain quarters. But some of us are so removed from the fray as to be able to just innocently read our Gospels…

  200. Something about this reporting….why doesn’t TGC just send out questionnaires to all of these churches asking them if they still adhere to all of their standards? On the questionnaire there could be a check list of their requirements. If some of these churches on the TGC list don’t agree with all of their requirements, they are taken off the list. This would bypass the entire need for *Reporting.* Honestly, I think NeoCalvinism gets a kick out of disciplining people. Further, there’s something a bit hypocritical about all this reporting when Calvinists have been taking over churches by stealth fully knowing that those churches don’t hold to Reformed teaching. Hey, here’s an idea. Why doesn’t the SBC require all of their churches to start reporting back to main headquarters. That way, all those churches that were covertly taken over by the NeoCals can be exposed and forced to leave the SBC. Of course, they should have started something like this long ago, before the NeoCal resurgence within their camp. Now who knows? It may be that the NeoCals are the overwhelming majority within Southern Baptist churches, even among the laity.

  201. Darlene wrote:

    Well, I never bought into the Calvinist playbook, knowing full well where believing in such a system would lead….as I said, to the mental institution. I keep my sanity, thank-you-very-much, and trust in the love of God and His unending mercy and compassion!

    That article provoked much good thought for me as well. And a memory of a care group Bible Study of Ist John. It must have been in my last couple months at a YRR, Acts 29, 9 Marks church. And very first thing, the study leader went into a lengthy denial of any possibility of an assurance of salvation. To which I replied that John’s whole purpose for writing was, “to you who believe in the name of the Son of God that you may know that you have eternal life.” I John 5:13. I wish I could remember the convoluted explanation — it was damaging to my mental faculties to try to follow.

  202. __

    roebuck,

    hey,

    Jesus spoke to the religious leaders of His day and said that they sought in the scriptures their salvation, yey Jesus said they failed to see that those very scriptures spoke of Him (Jesus).

    How can one come to Jesus as. a child, if they do not hear the stories and the good news of Jesus, and take them to hear?

  203. Darlene wrote:

    I’ve make it a mission of mine to understand Calvinism after my son became a Calvinist a number of years ago and then de-converted from the Christian faith altogether because he deduced that God is a monster, and he could not believe in such a God any longer.

    I am so sorry. But I gotta tell you, I am running into this more often now in my neck of the woods where it has infiltrated so many churches (starting with youth groups, a seminary students first church job) from SBTS. I am very concerned about the youth. Not so much the ones making a living with it but those who get sucked in young.

    But you know something? When the YRR started having kids, I noticed they did not treat their own kids like they were “totally depraved” and “unable” to be responsible. Funny how that works. It is a system that is not practical. It works better in theory than it does in living out daily life.

  204. @ Abi Miah:
    I don’t know if that’s the obvious takeaway, but it certainly enables it. In the perfect, honest neocal system, the elders are actual elders and act as checks and balances to the system. As it generally seems to works out with this church-planting madness we’re seeing, the elders are brought in by the pastor, or are selected as little better than yes-men. And then the elders elect themselves, etc.

    So maybe you’re right. It’s totally not about power and authority when it’s sold to the congregation, but it totally ends up being about power and authority. Most people just default to following the charismatic leader anyway, and the neocal system enables it.

  205. GovPappy wrote:

    @ Abi Miah:
    I don’t know if that’s the obvious takeaway, but it certainly enables it. In the perfect, honest neocal system, the elders are actual elders and act as checks and balances to the system. As it generally seems to works out with this church-planting madness we’re seeing, the elders are brought in by the pastor, or are selected as little better than yes-men. And then the elders elect themselves, etc.

    So maybe you’re right. It’s totally not about power and authority when it’s sold to the congregation, but it totally ends up being about power and authority. Most people just default to following the charismatic leader anyway, and the neocal system enables it.

    Agreed, GovPappy. Nicely said.

  206. Will M wrote:

    A man, at my former church (which went NeoCal), actually mentioned that he would prefer to have lived in Geneva over living in our current culture. I pointed out to him, that if I would have lived in Calvin’s Geneva, they would have burned me! He did not have much to say to that.

    I, with my more-than-a-little-off the wall-humor, would have said, cheerily, “Yes, wouldn’t it be fun to burn Calvin? Makes me want to fly off, go to his grave, and dig him up!!” (See Zooey’s lightly nutty old lady smile here ->)

  207. roebuck wrote:

    John Calvin was a stark raving psychopath, and Calvinism is insane. There, I said it, and it had to be said. But let’s face it, it’s been the undercurrent of this whole thread and actually many others. Calvinism, neo or paleo, is wacked. I feel we need to stop pussyfooting around this self-evident fact.

    I think you’re entirely correct. My late mother (may she rest in peace) used to tell about when she was a student at Roberts Wesleyan College back in the ’20s/30s. She was in her religion class one day, & a student asked the professor what he thought about Calvin. The teacher answered, “I think its a terrible shame nobody locked him up in the madhouse before he did all the damage to the cause of Christ!”
    She said she never heard him sound so vehement about anybody before or after…..

  208. elastigirl wrote:

    what is it about (neo)calvinsm (or perhaps it’s just Calvinism) that’s dangerous, or leads to dangerous things?

    The problem with Calvinism (and therefore also New Calvinism) is what one must necessarily conclude about the character of God from the Calvinist system.

    According to Calvinism everything, including individual’s thoughts and their actions, is foreordained and rendered certain by God. There is nothing at all that falls outside of God’s predestined plan and his acting to ensure that it happens. This includes evil thoughts and actions being planned and brought about by God in such a way that his will is done. God is therefore the originator and author of sin and evil.

    This predetermination of thoughts and actions includes the predetermination “in eternity past” of which individuals would and which would not receive salvation. That selection is not based on anything other than an apparently arbitrary choice by God. Calvinism specifically excludes God’s foresight of an individual’s faith as a basis for selection.

    If Calvinism is true then God cannot be perfect goodness and love as the scriptures say he is.

    An invaluable resource is Roger Olson’s book “Against Calvinism”. He also blogs at http://www.patheos.com/Evangelical and it is worth spending time in his archived posts.

    Another good resource is the book by Jerry Walls and Joe Dongell titled “Why I am not a Calvinist”. They too demonstrate that Calvinism does not accurately portray the character of God. Love is the very essence of God but that must be denied if Calvinism is true or, as John Wesley put it, “If Calvinism is true, God’s love is such a love as makes the blood run cold.”

    There are a number of Youtube videos featuring Jerry Walls on Calvinism. A good introduction would be the one of his talk at Evangel University titled “What’s Wrong with Calvinism”.

  209. JohnD wrote:

    An invaluable resource is Roger Olson’s book “Against Calvinism”. He also blogs at http://www.patheos.com/Evangelical and it is worth spending time in his archived posts.

    I highly recommend it! Another excellent treatise on the subject is Dave Hunt’s “What Love Is This? Calvinism’s Misrepresentation of God.” Both expose the error of Calvinist teaching about the very character of God.

  210. zooey111 wrote:

    “I think its a terrible shame nobody locked him up in the madhouse before he did all the damage to the cause of Christ!”

    The spirit of Calvin lives on – you can’t lock spirits up in the madhouse. This is a spiritual battle that has emerged once again in the church and our youth are being led away by the Pied Piper and others. Discerning Christians need to pray and seek God’s face on how to battle this. Thank God for watchblogs such as this; they help equip and mobilize the watchmen God has posted on the walls across this country.

  211. Lydia wrote:

    I am very concerned about the youth. Not so much the ones making a living with it but those who get sucked in young.

    Lydia, I have to tell you that this is my greatest burden as I reflect on the impacts of New Calvinism. The “movement” hit at a time when 20s-40s had pretty much given up on daddy’s church. (Traditional church has its problems, too. Nonspiritual deacon boards and cantankerous congregations ain’t much better than immature elder rule. The organized church at large is a mess).

    Initially, I was thrilled to see “something” getting young folks back in the house, until I discovered that reformed theology was the bait. An SBC YRR church plant near me quickly attracted 500+ followers – mostly college students and young professionals. When the charismatic “lead pastor” was called to a bigger and better assignment in SBC life, things began to unravel in the church he had planted. Members are leaving; finances are plummeting. When you try to “church” folks with personalities and aberrant theology, after a while the multitudes catch on to the scheme and exit. Disillusionment then sets in. We may never see these young folks return to church again. Whose plan would that be?

    I keep praying for a genuine revival and spiritual awakening in America … problem is, I don’t see many others in my neck of the woods doing likewise. Apathy is the theme of the day in “traditional” church; Error is the theme of the day in “new” church. Yep, we’re in a big mess … the organized church doesn’t have enough power to blow the dust off a peanut and the enemy is having a heyday.

  212. Dave A A wrote:

    it was damaging to my mental faculties to try to follow.

    Dave, you have hit on the root of the problem. The primary battleground for reformed theology is in the mind. It’s a battle of Intellect vs. Spirit. Calvinism takes twists and turns through Scripture that sound convincing. If the mind travels too far down that road, confusion sets in … even to the point of questioning what you thought you truly believed. And that’s where Calvinism wants you, so that indoctrination to error can be birthed and grow. When one comes under such teaching, it’s critical to call on the Holy Spirit to lead you into all truth so that error can be discerned and pushed out of your intellect. The stuff truly plays with your mind – it will drive you loony if you devote too many brain cells to it. History paints a dim picture of John Calvin as a mad theologian destroying any and all that challenged ‘his’ teaching. History will paint the same picture of 21st century New Calvinist leaders and their followers once the dust settles.

  213. K.D. wrote:

    Once again, all the churches are in affluent areas, or near colleges, the leadership is all young, all have same shirt on, same haircut…do they get reported if they wear the wrong shirt?

    This reminds me of a study I read in the 70s, about the way radical political groups (like the ones who bombed college campuses and military installations, for one example), targeted potential recruits.

  214. @ Darlene:
    This is very sad.

    How hard is it to simply inspire a desire to study the Bible on its own, coupled with a willingness to deal with the results of that study in the congregation, in order that God might reveal Himself to them as He pleases? Why must a rigid theological system be necessary?

    How many other casualties of this teaching are out there? One of my closest friends was nearly one of them.

  215. singleman wrote:

    Joe2 wrote:
    Restaurants and other business always ask for feedback and even provide a telephone number and website for such purpose on the register receipt.

    We’re discussing churches, not restaurants or other businesses. Indeed, churches operating like businesses are contributing to the problem.

    Joe2 has a point, though. I had a similar thought when I first began reading — was this article going too far? I mean, I know I’m sensitized against these guys, automatically prejudiced against anything connected with TGC, Acts29, or any number of names associated with them, as well as other patriarchal organizations.

    It makes sense to me that if they have certain DNA, they want to make sure that people looking for that DNA (like moving from one area of the country to another) are able to find it.

    Like with ordination in a specific denomination, where you have to pass written and oral tests to demonstrate that you will teach what that denomination stands for, and not what they consider aberrant theology.

    When I was deep in the mindset, I might well have used such a list (I mean, the TGC list of churches) to find a church to attend while on vacation. Oddly enough, our cultish, controlling former church is not on that list. Probably the TGC is too liberal for them. Hah.

    But, like Patti, now I can say that seeing a church on that list (again, if I were on vacation or out of town on business and had an inclination to attend a church), I would be warned away. So it serves its purposes.

    So, yeah, this practice makes perfect sense to me. They want to make sure that they have a certain Common Core of doctrine and practice across the board.

  216. Max wrote:

    Lydia wrote:
    I am very concerned about the youth. Not so much the ones making a living with it but those who get sucked in young.
    Lydia, I have to tell you that this is my greatest burden as I reflect on the impacts of New Calvinism. The “movement” hit at a time when 20s-40s had pretty much given up on daddy’s church. (Traditional church has its problems, too. Nonspiritual deacon boards and cantankerous congregations ain’t much better than immature elder rule. The organized church at large is a mess).
    Initially, I was thrilled to see “something” getting young folks back in the house, until I discovered that reformed theology was the bait. An SBC YRR church plant near me quickly attracted 500+ followers – mostly college students and young professionals. When the charismatic “lead pastor” was called to a bigger and better assignment in SBC life, things began to unravel in the church he had planted. Members are leaving; finances are plummeting. When you try to “church” folks with personalities and aberrant theology, after a while the multitudes catch on to the scheme and exit. Disillusionment then sets in. We may never see these young folks return to church again. Whose plan would that be?
    I keep praying for a genuine revival and spiritual awakening in America … problem is, I don’t see many others in my neck of the woods doing likewise. Apathy is the theme of the day in “traditional” church; Error is the theme of the day in “new” church. Yep, we’re in a big mess … the organized church doesn’t have enough power to blow the dust off a peanut and the enemy is having a heyday.

    Church planting sounds all well and good–in unchurched areas. However, when a new church is planted in an area in which there are existing churches, it typically kills off a church or two. These churches that draw young people are not by and large drawing young people new to the faith, but are drawing young people out of the churches where they had been–churches that need that next generation to remain healthy. If those young people then go to the new cool church and subsequently become disillusioned, they may well have nowhere to go back to–no real alternatives. If one was advancing the kingdom instead of one’s own brand, perhaps instead of church planting teams being sent out, there would be collaboration with churches already in the area. Not so. And it’s not about the theological beliefs, either. In our area, a long-standing PCA church has been dented significantly by the ascendancy of some Neo-cals. It appears to be viable for now, but for how much longer?

  217. Headless Unicorn Guy wrote:

    Then no more Christ, only CALVIN — forever.

    And if “only Calvin”… I think the denomination will die. Or maybe retreat into a “remnant” of hard-core “true believers”. Ironically, in seeking to gain relevance, they’ll lose it.

  218. On a related note, I see a friend’s church on the TGC list. She confided in me some months ago that she was troubled by the trends she was seeing in her beloved church, after the arrival of the new pastor. Now I think I understand what she saw happening.

    I will have to direct her to TWW. Got any suggestions or links for where she and her dh might start reading?

  219. Daisy wrote:

    They think every town needs an IFB church. Other forms of Christianity aren’t Christiany enough or true enough in their view.

    Some Presbyterians have the same mindset.

  220. Tim wrote:

    When I read the word “coalition” it usually refers to like-minded but disparate people or groups who come together for a common purpose. By that definition, an outfit called The Gospel Coalition should be broadly developed to include every flavor of believer there is who is blessed by the gospel of Christ.
    Perhaps TGC has a different meaning for the word “coalition”.

    “Presbyterians and Baptists Together”

  221. Daisy wrote:

    I started noticed this “radical for Jesus” philosophy a few years ago on Christian TV, by different preachers who hosted TV shows about it or were promoting books about it. I didn’t like it then, and I don’t like it now.

    The “radical pushers” make you sound or feel like a fake Christian or a lazy butt if you don’t sell all you have and live in a hut with a dirt floor in a third world nation and put Jesus first 24 hours a day. It’s very guilt-inducing, and I think, weird.

    Now I am thinking of the Harrises’ “Rebelution” for teens. Perhaps they were teaching radical-lite?

    And yet, there *was* (is) a problem with teens being totally inward-focused, lacking a bigger vision for their own ability to play a role in making their corner of the world a better place.

    A lot of that (in my teens, at least) I can blame on their their self-absorbed, inward-focused parents.

  222. Eagle wrote:

    Max wrote:
    they MUST restore the true gospel that the rest of us have lost!
    Sounds like Mormonism! Who is the Joseph Smith of this camp? Is it DA Carson or Tim Keller? John Piper or Mark Dever? Will they next be asking people to buy secret underwear and undergo temple rituals>

    I have the same question, actually. Who *is* the Joseph Smith of this camp? (Or if more than one, who would you say they are?)

  223. Deb wrote:

    @ Eagle:
    Instead of undergarments, they are expected to attend conferences and buy books.

    Hah! Nailed it!

  224. Gram3 wrote:

    What bugs me is that they are not saying what their primary distinctive is which is Calvinism and Complementarianism. It is all propaganda, which is the word a young seminarian used to describe his experience at a seminary whose name we would all recognize. If they were honest, they would call themselves the Calvinist Complementarian Coalition. But even the term “complementarian” is a propaganda term. I do not have any idea what propaganda should have to do with the proclamation of the Gospel.

    Ah. Yes. Calvinist Female Subordination Coalition.

    Does that sound better?

  225. @ refugee:
    I think the “we’re totally not a denomination, but we totally are” charade is silly and indicative of their self-absorption and disingenuousness – they can define things any way they want and everyone rolls with it. We’re not going to practice denominational oversight, but we totally are. Just be honest and call it a denomination.

  226. @ Headless Unicorn Guy:
    Brigham Young. That was the name I was trying to think of. My brain is not working well today. You’re right, who is the Brigham Young of the movement?

    And would Rushdoony fit somewhere in the structure?

    …or are his Dominion Theology followers a whole nother ballgame? (He, along with Calvin, was the guiding spirit behind the controlling, cultish church we left, though you almost never heard his name dropped — it was more like a part of the secret knowledge one gains as one mounts the levels in Masonry.)

  227. refugee wrote:

    Who *is* the Joseph Smith of this camp? (Or if more than one, who would you say they are?)

    See my reply to Eagle at Fri Aug 07, 2015 at 03:32 PM. In addition to the “they” listed there, you could throw in a couple of “old” Calvinists who are revered by the “new” Calvinists, including J.I. Packer and R.C. Sproul. Within the SBC camp, Al Mohler looms above all others and Matt Chandler is an idol.

  228. @ Max:
    Thanks. I am working my way down the thread. A lot of comments were posted while I was taking the weekend off.

  229. refugee wrote:

    Perhaps TGC has a different meaning for the word “coalition”.

    Actually, they have a different meaning for the word “gospel.” To the reformed mind, Calvinism = Gospel … the outfit should more aptly be named “The Calvinist Coalition.” They don’t allow other flavors of Christians in the mix. If you ain’t “reformed” (= Calvinist), you ain’t in. The opening words in the preamble to TGC’s Foundation Documents states “We are a fellowship of evangelical churches in the Reformed tradition …”

  230. K.D. wrote:

    I still deal with younger folks, and so many of these 20-40 are now unchurched, literally pagans, heathens, agnostics, atheist, etc. and they are growing in leaps and bounds……what’s sad is, these Neo-Cals do not care. I know it is part of their belief system, but you know, I just keep thinking at some point, they’ll be held accountable….

    Yes. Some of them (young people who are near and dear to my heart — I hope they don’t take my teens with them) are turning to drugs to experience that same kind of taking-them-out-of-themselves or going-to-the-next-level that their parents turned to “religion” to find.

  231. brad/futuristguy wrote:

    Headless Unicorn Guy wrote:
    Don’t forget “Ent-ent” (in the tradition of “Ism-ism”).
    I guess Ent-ent could be considered a tolkien movement …

    The New Tree Huggers.

  232. refugee wrote:

    Do you think this signals the impending death of the church as we know it, then?

    Refugee, I’m an old guy. I’ve seen a lot of “movements” come and go, but I ain’t seen nothin’ like this! New Calvinism is well-organized, aggressive, and militant; and throw in a heaping spoonful of arrogance. It’s not going away any time soon; its tentacles are reaching into various mainline non-Calvinist denominations. I can tell you as a Southern Baptist, it is signaling the impending death to the only Baptist belief and practice I’ve known for over 60+ years. The national leadership of this once-great evangelistic denomination has surrendered to New Calvinism’s campaign of control, manipulation, and intimidation.

  233. dee wrote:

    Gram3 wrote:
    What bugs me is that they are not saying what their primary distinctive is which is Calvinism and Complementarianism.
    I could not believe that Piper said Mark Driscoll’s failure was a defeat for complementarianism. I swear he is getting a bit loony.

    “getting”? Sounds like he already got there.

  234. Deb wrote:

    Instead of undergarments, they are expected to attend conferences and buy books.

    Yep, follow the money … books make more moolah than hawking underpants. You may recall that one of the things which brought Mark Driscoll down was paying a marketing company $200K to have “Real Marriage” (his Christian porno book) artificially elevated to the best-sellers list.

  235. Velour wrote:

    When unbelievers are MORE accepting and MORE LOVING than the people who claim to have indwelling Love in them (Jesus)…then the church doesn’t have anything to say to the world.

    This. Exactly. I want to trumpet this on my FB wall. Of course, my NeoCal acquaintances would not understand the implications. They are blind in their smugness and fear.

  236. Velour wrote:

    *I will NOT join a church again run by elders in which church members have no vote. We are a priesthood of believers and we should all have a vote in the running of our churches. These corporate structured churches can be quite dangerous. (It’s not to say that everybody in a voting congregation wouldn’t go along with some fool plan, but I would trust a congregational vote and input over elder/pastor rule.)

    In the church that a part of my family has chosen to attend, the congregation does vote. However, you have to sign a membership covenant in order to vote on anything.

  237. Darlene wrote:

    Debi Calvet wrote:
    @ dee:
    Not suspicious, for me, but distressed and anxious. Learning earlier this year what Reformed/Calvinist/TULIP belief actually is rocked my newly reviving faith (which had been rocked for over two decades anyway), just a year or so after I began trying to reestablish a relationship again with God. I attended an OPC church plant just long enough to have my eyes opened and my soul horrified. Actually, that experience and my seeking for relief and comfort indirectly led me here months ago (Internet research).

    Debi, I, too, learned the horrors of Mr. Calvin’s teachings after I had been a Christian for a while. His teaching on Evanescent Grace from The Institutes is especially troubling. If you’re curious, just type in *evanescent grace* on Google and you will find a number of links about said teaching. But I’ll start you off on one. Warning: Very Shocking Stuff.
    http://beyondcalvinism.blogspot.com/2015/03/on-assurance-of-salvation-and-calvins.html

    Oh. god.

    These are exactly the thoughts I was wrestling with last week, and cursing our two-decades’ immersion in NeoCalvinism for being the foundation of such thoughts.

  238. Abi Miah wrote:

    church planting teams … it’s not about the theological beliefs

    While that may be true in Presbyterian ranks (New Calvinists bumping out Old Calvinists), that is not the case in the non-Calvinist Southern Baptist Convention (majority members do not hold to this belief). SBC’s church planting program is more about planting theology, than planting churches. SBC’s new church plants are overwhelmingly staffed with the young, restless and reformed.

  239. Sopwith wrote:

    ___
    “Celebrate Jesus?”
    Dear Wartburg Reader,
      The gospel of Jesus Christ, according to the New Testament scriptures, is that you can be born again, obtain a new nature, be translated to the kingom of God’s dear Son, be born of a new blessed hope, be granted eternal life, be translated from the kingdom of darkness, enjoy peace, and joy, be filled with God’s holy spirit, and be made righteous and holy by Christ’s finished work upon the cross, be covered in His pressious blood, obtain new garmets, and have a wonderful place ‘reserved’ for you in God’s house!
    The shackles of sin can be removed: Gal 5:19-21; 1 Tim 1:10; Rev 22:15; 1 Tim 6:3-5; 1 Tm 8:1-11; 1 Thes 4:3-5; Col 3: Col 2:8-10; 1 Cor 6:18-19; 1 Cor 6:9-10; Rom 6:13; Rom 1:29.
    IN All OF THIS, God Almighty has made it easy for each of us to obtain THIS -His glorious salvation:
    God so loved you, that He sent His only Son to rescue you, that if you will believe in Jesus, God’s dear Son, you will not perish, but receive eternal life!
    Reach out to Jesus, and believe in Him today!
    …you’ll be glad you did!
    All The Best,
    IHS
    Sopy

    Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. I needed to hear this.

    The “gospel” I am having trouble getting out of my head is the one that says that god condemned the whole world (what is that Romans verse? “not one” is without sin), and because of his wonderful everlasting lovingkindness and mercy, he predestined some to be saved, and all for his glory: the saving, and the destruction of the unsaved.

    The miracle appears to be that *any* are saved *at* *all*.

  240. @ GovPappy:
    The only reason I can attend church sometimes with the members of our family who have chosen a TGC church, is that it does not completely fit the mold. People are urged to sign the membership covenant, but not required to (at least yet). Piper is quoted in sermons, but so is C.S. Lewis. There is a great deal of joy in the worship. There is love there, and the binding up of wounds. They take in refugees from spiritually abusive churches, and listen, and sympathize, and pray, and speak healing words — and there is sincerity there.

    Every time I think I detect a hint of coercion, it is as if… how do I say this? It would be like sitting in a canoe, and someone leans too far to one side, and someone else — to keep the canoe from swamping or tipping — instinctively leans in the other direction and sets the canoe back on an even keel. Anyhow, that has been my experience at this church.

  241. Daisy wrote:

    Lydia wrote:
    The creepyist part of the Institutes is his teaching on reprobation. Did you know you can believe you are saved, act like you are saved but really be reprobate and not know it until you die?
    I wonder then, what is the point in being a Christian (or thinking you are)? There would be little to no point in living by Christian ethics, attending church, reading the Bible. Etc. You might as well do what you want.

    So many of the young people I know who have left the faith are living out this point of view. You might as well do what you want. (To their parents’ great distress.)

  242. @ refugee:
    Christians can still be the church, even if the system can get in the way of it. It’s not so far gone it can’t be fixed. Encouraging.

  243. elastigirl wrote:

    similarly, are the Christians (career & church attenders) that are attracted to calv/neocal paranoid of social changes and therefore feeling desperate for control? and again, what about calv/neocalv lends itself to power and control?

    Yes! At least in my experience. And my family members who have not left the faith still show evidence of this thinking, paranoia about social changes. I am subjected to regular rants about what is happening in the news, how conservatives are under attack, how conservative values are under attack, etc.

    This kind of belief system offers a false promise of safety and security. We were raising our children while claiming the promises of god that if we brought up our children in the way they should go, when they were old they would not depart from it.

  244. @ refugee:
    I got interrupted, and didn’t finish my my thought, and now it has evaporated. But it has something to do with the promise being infused with the sense of control. Either we are arrogant in thinking that we can control all things, if we just do them right; or we comfort ourselves that everything is under god’s control, and so no matter what we suffer, it’s all in a good cause, and for our good, and his glory.

  245. Daisy wrote:

    IFB churches will seek to plant IFB churches around the USA or Africa or other places, even though there are already Pentecostal or whatever other denominations, because they don’t consider other denominations to be “real” or “good enough” Christians.

    That’s the way I grew up, only I got both barrels. During the week I was taunted for being a Calvinist that couldn’t be saved because I didn’t choose my salvation. On Sunday, taunted for following the alter calls at the Baptist school where we couldn’t be saved because one cannot choose their salvation. Oh my, and if I had a Catholic friend? Well, then I would be drug straight to hell right away.

  246. @ Max:

    What’s odd to me is that we are calling this movement “New Calvinism.” What I mean is that I don’t consider myself very “new.” My Calvinist mother-n-law is 90 next month. She was in her 60s before attending churches other than Calvinist ones, as she was ‘forced’ to when she and dad traveled for a couple years in the motor home and volunteered for Wycliff. I remember well her enthusiastic, shocked tone when she declared to me one day that she discovered that were real Christians in other denominations. Sigh.

  247. @ Max:

    Also, I remember it was about 30 years ago, I read an article in the Banner (Christian Reformed periodical) about the sad state of the church young people leaving the faith to attend other denominations.
    But you do have a point about the militancy of Calvinism being new. It’s scary.

  248. dee wrote:

    I loved that video! I did not know that song.

    Rockwell only had the one hit, and most people think it rose to the top on Michael Jackson’s backing vocal.

  249. Max wrote:

    I keep praying for a genuine revival and spiritual awakening in America … problem is, I don’t see many others in my neck of the woods doing likewise. Apathy is the theme of the day in “traditional” church; Error is the theme of the day in “new” church. Yep, we’re in a big mess … the organized church doesn’t have enough power to blow the dust off a peanut and the enemy is having a heyday.

    Respectfully Max, in America we’ve had revivals and ‘great awakenings’ out the wazoo and they’ve all gone the way of so many Walmart bags blown thither by the wind. Ironically it’s the old liturgical traditions (Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, Lutheranism, etc.) that have survived quite handily and have provided havens for both young and old. They will continue to do so. Their people are anything but apathetic and will continue to thrive long after this current resurgence of evangelical codswallop gets hosed off the pier so to speak.

  250. Muff Potter wrote:

    current resurgence of evangelical codswallop gets hosed off the pier so to speak.

    This is a phrase I am going to remember and use in the future, probably in many contexts. Well played, sir!

  251. Patti wrote:

    What’s odd to me is that we are calling this movement “New Calvinism.”

    Patti, “New” Calvinism has some distinctives that warrants that label. It’s true that Calvinism has been around awhile – since the 16th century actually. But this new breed set themselves apart from “Old” Calvinists, which for the most part have been fairly gentle folks who hold fast to some core doctrines (e.g., predestination). The new beast is wilder and more aggressive. Its adherents truly believe they are modern day reformers in Calvin’s image who must recover the real gospel before it vanishes altogether.

    As has been noted on this watchblog and elsewhere, the New Calvinist movement is comprised primarily of young, restless and reformed which have been influenced by some key teachers/preachers (John Piper, Tim Keller, Mark Driscoll, etc.). They have a strong allegiance to such influencers and a closely-connected network of reformed organizations (e.g. TGC, Acts29, SGM, etc.). Most of these young folks are smart, some are cool, all are off-track.

    While most “Old” Calvinists may be opposed to the message, method, and mission of their neo-brethren, others in the old guard appear to be putting up with this new brand as long as the essential reformed message moves forward. This is particularly the case in the Southern Baptist Convention. There has been a group of old boys (called the Founders Ministry) trying silently and unsuccessfully to reform the convention for years. A better organized New Calvinist movement is quickly accomplishing what they could not … Calvinization of the largest non-Calvinist denomination in America.

    How can you recognize churches led by “New Calvinists” in your area? When you go in the door, look for an abundance of English Standard Version bibles – the ESV is their sword of choice (the ESV Study Bible is packed with Calvinist commentary); young pastors tend to quote John Piper a lot and will recommend his books; church polity is always elder-rule; membership covenants are common; their services have few or no altar calls; there is a gradual introduction to the Doctrines of Grace (weekly small group meetings are the place to make-it-happen); women are treated as second-class citizens in the Kingdom (can’t preach, teach, or serve in any leadership role); pastor/elder authority can be oppressive for members who don’t walk the line; and assorted other aberrations such as shunning folks in the community who opt to leave their churches. They also carry a different vocabulary with them. “Gospel-centered” ministry implies reformed belief and practice (to them, Calvinism ‘is’ the gospel). “Born again”, “personal Savior”, “sinner’s prayer”, “accepting Jesus” are not in their vocabulary … they prefer “Christ Followers” (a predestined elect), rather than “believers”. To the un-informed, the church language sounds close to what they have experienced in other churches, but there are deceptive differences if you listen closely. Members will defend their pastors as preaching the “Gospel” and “Christ” only because they occasionally drop those words. It’s all about God and His sovereignty in all things; human responsibility and free will have no part in Calvinist churches. Calvinism is not good news for ALL people, only those who have been elected before the foundation of the world. The message of the Cross of Christ does not apply to ALL people; evangelism and mission are diminished. They may drop the word “missiology”, but it has more to do with spreading reformed theology than reaching a lost world for Christ.

  252. Muff Potter wrote:

    current resurgence of evangelical codswallop gets hosed off the pier so to speak.

    Muff, in addition to interceding for revival and spiritual awakening in America, I will add this to my prayer list.

  253. Max wrote:

    There has been a group of old boys (called the Founders Ministry) trying silently and unsuccessfully to reform the convention for years. A better organized New Calvinist movement is quickly accomplishing what they could not … Calvinization of the largest non-Calvinist denomination in America.

    From my perspective, it is hard to say that Founders has not been successful in Calvinizing the SBC while adding the two sacraments, church discipline and covenant church membership, to our pre-existing ordinances. Dever is part and parcel of that. Thankfully we do not hear as much from the Timmy Bristers or the Tom Ascolls, but they are there. Nettles is pushing a view of the atonement which is hyper if ever there was a hyper-Calvinist view. Since Nettles is teaching his version of Baptist history to the young’uns at SBTS, I think that Founders has succeeded way beyond what I ever imagined. I way underestimated their determination and their patience. Patience, I might add, is something they are quite proud of.

  254. Max wrote:

    Patti wrote:
    How can you recognize churches led by “New Calvinists” in your area? When you go in the door, look for an abundance of English Standard Version bibles – the ESV is their sword of choice (the ESV Study Bible is packed with Calvinist commentary); young pastors tend to quote John Piper a lot and will recommend his books; church polity is always elder-rule; membership covenants are common; their services have few or no altar calls; there is a gradual introduction to the Doctrines of Grace (weekly small group meetings are the place to make-it-happen); women are treated as second-class citizens in the Kingdom (can’t preach, teach, or serve in any leadership role); pastor/elder authority can be oppressive for members who don’t walk the line; and assorted other aberrations such as shunning folks in the community who opt to leave their churches. They also carry a different vocabulary with them. “Gospel-centered” ministry implies reformed belief and practice (to them, Calvinism ‘is’ the gospel). “Born again”, “personal Savior”, “sinner’s prayer”, “accepting Jesus” are not in their vocabulary … they prefer “Christ Followers” (a predestined elect), rather than “believers”. To the un-informed, the church language sounds close to what they have experienced in other churches, but there are deceptive differences if you listen closely. Members will defend their pastors as preaching the “Gospel” and “Christ” only because they occasionally drop those words. It’s all about God and His sovereignty in all things; human responsibility and free will have no part in Calvinist churches. Calvinism is not good news for ALL people, only those who have been elected before the foundation of the world. The message of the Cross of Christ does not apply to ALL people; evangelism and mission are diminished. They may drop the word “missiology”, but it has more to do with spreading reformed theology than reaching a lost world for Christ.

    To this excellent list of how to recognize a New Calvinist church in early visits, I would add use of the word “Gospel” as an adjective: Gospel community, Gospel marriage, Gospel mission, Gospel this, Gospel that–often without defining for anyone what the word “gospel” even means. It really appears to be code language.

  255. @ Gram3:
    Agreed Gram3. The Founders have been operating patiently behind the scenes for years … they even call their mission the “Quiet Revolution”. They have done their best to plant reformed theology at SBC seminaries, even hand-distributing reformed systematic theology texts on seminary campuses for a while. Al Mohler is a product of their efforts; that accomplishment alone would deem them successful. My point being, they (the old guard) needed the energy and militancy of the New Calvinists to pull it off.

  256. Abi Miah wrote:

    how to recognize a New Calvinist church in early visits, I would add use of the word “Gospel” as an adjective: Gospel community, Gospel marriage, Gospel mission, Gospel this, Gospel that–often without defining for anyone what the word “gospel” even means. It really appears to be code language.

    Abi, you are astute. Yes, everything in their world is gospel-centered this and gospel-centered that. On the surface, this sounds good … but “gospel” really does mean Calvinism to them … they are implying Calvinist-centered this and Calvinist-centered that. I heard one young reformed pastor at a church plant near me say “WE are the gospel” while never delivering the Gospel message of Christ and his atoning sacrifice for all men.

  257. Patti wrote:

    @ Max:
    What’s odd to me is that we are calling this movement “New Calvinism.” What I mean is that I don’t consider myself very “new.” My Calvinist mother-n-law is 90 next month. She was in her 60s before attending churches other than Calvinist ones, as she was ‘forced’ to when she and dad traveled for a couple years in the motor home and volunteered for Wycliff. I remember well her enthusiastic, shocked tone when she declared to me one day that she discovered that were real Christians in other denominations. Sigh.

    Is Wycliff calvinist?

  258. Max wrote:

    My point being, they (the old guard) needed the energy and militancy of the New Calvinists to pull it off.

    Definitely. The old guys use the young guys’ enthusiasm and social media expertise and the young guys get a channel to their own fame and fortune in exchange for their loyalty and feeding the egos of the old guys. Win-Win except for the pewpeons and the purity of the Gospel message.

  259. Lydia wrote:

    I am going by what so many are telling me they just cannot read the bible anymore.

    Been there. Done that. Actually, I still find it very difficult to read the Bible, even a year after leaving our old church.

  260. Dave A A wrote:

    in my last couple months at a YRR, Acts 29, 9 Marks church. And very first thing, the study leader went into a lengthy denial of any possibility of an assurance of salvation.

    Oh. oh. That just makes me sick to my stomach.

    Evil, evil teaching.

  261. refugee wrote:

    Velour wrote:

    *I will NOT join a church again run by elders in which church members have no vote. We are a priesthood of believers and we should all have a vote in the running of our churches. These corporate structured churches can be quite dangerous. (It’s not to say that everybody in a voting congregation wouldn’t go along with some fool plan, but I would trust a congregational vote and input over elder/pastor rule.)

    In the church that a part of my family has chosen to attend, the congregation does vote. However, you have to sign a membership covenant in order to vote on anything.

    My backup plan is: to form a Sunday morning bowling league! I just need a good name for a team.

  262. refugee wrote:

    Daisy wrote:

    Lydia wrote:
    The creepyist part of the Institutes is his teaching on reprobation. Did you know you can believe you are saved, act like you are saved but really be reprobate and not know it until you die?
    I wonder then, what is the point in being a Christian (or thinking you are)? There would be little to no point in living by Christian ethics, attending church, reading the Bible. Etc. You might as well do what you want.

    So many of the young people I know who have left the faith are living out this point of view. You might as well do what you want. (To their parents’ great distress.)

    Honestly, if I was an FBI behaviorist (I’m not) but will take a stab at it, Calvin sounds like he played all kinds of mind games with people.

  263. Velour wrote:

    Calvin sounds like he played all kinds of mind games with people.

    I’m sticking with ‘stark raving psychopath’. Destroying people’s lives, literally by having them killed and figuratively by exiling, denouncing, and otherwise ruining them, is not ‘playing mind games’.

    And his behavior and teaching has nothing to do with Christ as far as I can tell. There is so much that I don’t understand in a lifetime (I’m 60) of trying to understand Christianity and the Bible, and I surely don’t understand how anyone can reconcile the teachings of Calvin with Scripture. Seems more like Satanic control-freakery to me than anything else.

  264. roebuck wrote:

    Velour wrote:

    Calvin sounds like he played all kinds of mind games with people.

    I’m sticking with ‘stark raving psychopath’. Destroying people’s lives, literally by having them killed and figuratively by exiling, denouncing, and otherwise ruining them, is not ‘playing mind games’.

    And his behavior and teaching has nothing to do with Christ as far as I can tell…and I surely don’t understand how anyone can reconcile the teachings of Calvin with Scripture. Seems more like Satanic control-freakery to me than anything else.

    I’m agreeing with “stark raving psychopath” and Satanic. I also agree: You can’t reconcile the commands from the Bible with Calvin’s conduct.

  265. @ Max:
    I have family who are confessional Lutherans, an very conservative group. They have issues with Calvinism, which I don’t totally understand. I have a Lutheran Church Missouri Synod version of the Book of Concord and an ESV Lutheran Bible. I would like to understand this tradition. Then I have relatives who are ultra conservative Calvinists. Their sect is considered to the right of Orthodox Presbyterians. They aren’t very militant, but I have a copy of the Heidelberg catechism and I have discussed the Doctrine of Grace with a pastor at my relative’s church. He doesn’t believe Baptists such as myself understand the Doctrine of Grace, but this is ok as far as he is concerned. I believe the two traditions I described are just a valid expressions of a Christian witness within the broad tapestry we call the Christian Church. Now we come to myself. I am a traditional Baptist who admires EY Mullins, a person neo Calvinists blame for the Southern Baptists slide away from Calvinism. I also admire Hershell Hobbs who I believe was Mullin’s student. Looking at the militant neo Calvinism I see with modern Evangelicalism makes me feel it is time to practice some separation. These people are not to be trusted. They just want to take over which concerns me.

  266. GovPappy wrote:

    It’s a grand, shiny veneer – they truly believe the most important part of the believer’s week is the preaching service at the local church, and darn it, it’s a thing of beauty. Great music, Communion, a shorter, simple sermon, constant emphasis on grace grace grace….

    As Julie Anne Smith, who has the Spiritual Sounding Board, has noted that these authoritarian churches frequently have “grace” in their names, and they evidence the LEAST amount of grace and love toward others. So true!

  267. Velour wrote:

    My backup plan is: to form a Sunday morning bowling league! I just need a good name for a team.

    Gramp3 suggests “Holy Rollers.” Only the “Gutterball Turkeys” would have me, however.

  268. Gram3 wrote:

    Velour wrote:

    My backup plan is: to form a Sunday morning bowling league! I just need a good name for a team.

    Gramp3 suggests “Holy Rollers.” Only the “Gutterball Turkeys” would have me, however.

    Now, I’m likin’ it! I promise to invite you two…and give you shirts from our league!

  269. Since this post is, in part, about The Gospel Coalition having the right (and responsibility) to “police” its own membership according to its own standards, I believe that raises in important issue that comes up periodically in spiritual abuse survivor communities. And that’s about the need for some way to identify abusive Christian leaders and organizations — or the opposite — and make that known. For those denominations, associations, networks, franchises, etc., that fail to (or refuse to) police the toxicity level of their members, maybe that needs to come from somewhere else. Some kind of certification system with very specific issues and indicators, with people who are trained to apply it with consistency and care and who aren’t, as the New Testament says, “respectors of persons” who will cave to christianish celebrities.

    Conversations about this problem come up all the time with my survivor friends and blogger colleagues. But I’ve also had half a dozen conversations in just the past week about the related need for a radically revised system for evaluating church planting leadership candidates. That’s a huge topic that I’ve been researching for the past 15 years, as I got involved with church planting in the mid-1990s and also served as a church planting assessor in the early 2000 decade. I’m convinced a lot of candidates who are narcissistic, perhaps even sociopathic, can fly through the current typical assessment system and get recommended. There just are too many things the system doesn’t screen for, in terms of toxic tendencies, that it needs to.

    Anyway, FWIW, I think the curriculum I’ve been developing could provide a base for both certification and candidate assessment systems. I just posted a four-part series that captures the essence of what my material is about and what real-world questions it helps people wrestle with. If that’s of interest, you’ll find Part 1 in “Building Blocks in a Certification System for Healthy Leaders and Holistic Organizations” here:

    http://wp.me/p8nAv-1Ji

    Here are the four parts:

    1 – Introducing “Do Good Plus Do No Harm”

    2 – Top 20 Problems I’ve Encountered in Organizations

    3 – Top 10 Dimensions Our Systems Need to Equip Participants and Counteract Abuse of Power

    4 – Leadership Certification Checkpoints and System Trustworthiness Checklist

  270. @ Max:
    If God saves who he will save and there’s no free will, then our job is just to find those who are already saved and “Reform” them!

    I know none of them would say that, but why not?

  271. GovPappy wrote:

    If God saves who he will save and there’s no free will, then our job is just to find those who are already saved and “Reform” them!

    Governor, that’s essentially the Calvinist mission … to harvest the elect, to rescue the predestined. Of course, they have no way of knowing who is who … and aren’t even assured that they are one of them! I can go anywhere on planet earth and look any man in the eye and say “God loves YOU … Jesus died for YOU.” A Calvinist cannot do that.

  272. Velour wrote:

    As Julie Anne Smith, who has the Spiritual Sounding Board, has noted that these authoritarian churches frequently have “grace” in their names, and they evidence the LEAST amount of grace and love toward others. So true!

    TV Tropes’ “People’s Republic of Tyranny” trope (real-world example section):

    The more adjectives about Democracy there are in a country’s official name, the nastier a dictatorship it is.

  273. Dave A A wrote:

    And a memory of a care group Bible Study of Ist John. It must have been in my last couple months at a YRR, Acts 29, 9 Marks church. And very first thing, the study leader went into a lengthy denial of any possibility of an assurance of salvation

    At which point, “Why Bother?”
    May as well just get drunk, get high, and get laid while you can.

  274. Mark wrote:

    it is time to practice some separation. These people are not to be trusted. They just want to take over which concerns me.

    New Calvinists within SBC will not rest until they’ve totally wrested control of all SBC entities and the entire assets of the Southern Baptist Convention into their corner. They have darn near done that. They now control at the leadership level: key seminaries, home mission agency, foreign mission venture, and the publishing house. All of these were funded by the non-Calvinist majority, who slipped into a deep slumber as SBC Calvinization took root. Largely due to grassroots concern, Frank Page, President/CEO of SBC’s Executive Committee, formed a task force a couple years ago to look into New Calvinism and its impacts. In his report to the masses, he concluded there were some issues but that everybody should just agree to disagree, go along to get along, and make room under the big SBC tent for everybody! He called for unity and for folks to just get over it and go back to church. I’m not sure what else can be done. The only thing going for SBC’s non-Calvinist majority is local church autonomy to accept or reject reformed theology when it comes calling in their community.

  275. @ Max:

    We may have some hope here. Some within SBC are not going to let this issue die no matter what Frank Page and his group says:

    https://baptistnews.com/faith/theology/item/28790-traditional-southern-baptists-counter-calvinism

    I looked up the term “traditional baptist” after my rant yesterday and this is what I found, I really think Neo Calvinism is a concern, not only in the SBC, but in broader evangelicalism. Roger Olson has written it is rearing its head in the unlikeliest places such as Pentecostal churches and traditional Wesleyan denominations. It is also devastating the Evangelical Free Church. This is a serious issue in so many ways: views of the Bible, Salvation, and spiritual freedom are at stake. I am glad some aren’t apathetic about this.

  276. Mark wrote:

    it is rearing its head in the unlikeliest places such as Pentecostal churches

    The charismatic/pentecostal ranks are enabling Mark Driscoll’s non-repentant comeback. Some leading Assembly of God churches have invited him to speak; he is finding a new platform for his “I was the victim” message in such churches. I figure he will launch his new ministry in Phoenix as “Charismatic Calvinism” and will draw away multitudes of youth from the New Calvinism that dumped him during his fall from grace. The potty-mouth preacher is always re-inventing himself.

    Your observations about the spread of New Calvinism in other denominations are worrying. I’ve seen firsthand what has done to the SBC and wouldn’t wish that on anyone. We are losing a generation to this aberration. You are definitely correct when you say “This is a serious issue in so many ways: views of the Bible, Salvation, and spiritual freedom are at stake.” Calvinism has been attempting to snuff out the free-church and whosoever-will-gospel for the last 500 years!

    Regarding the “traditionalist” term used to describe majority Southern Baptists, it’s sort of a catch-all term for all-things non-Calvinist. Most Southern Baptists I know (in over 60 years of SBC life) would not view themselves as traditionalists, Calvinists, or Arminians … but Biblicists – a people of the Word, not men’s interpretation of it. I’m familiar with various individuals and counter-movements within SBC (e.g., Connect316) to halt the NC advancement, but they may be too little too late. But God …

  277.   __

    “From The Horse’s Mouth…”

    hmmm…

    “Whatever you wish that men would do to you, do so to them; for this is the law and the prophets” -Jesus [Matt. 7:12].

    …”it is not sufficient merely not to do evil and not to do harm, but rather that one must be helpful and do good. It is not enough to ‘depart from evil’; one must also ‘do good…'” [Ps. 37:27]. -Martin Luther

    ***

    Our gracious Lord Jesus , who dwells far above the great circle of the earth, who sits in heaven, who always interceeds for us, let Him be forever praised !

    ATB

    IHS

    Sopy
      __
    Inspiration : https://m.youtube.com/#/watch?list=PL67CE54F745D573F7&v=N5h5Qi5iimk

    🙂

  278. Max wrote:

    The primary battleground for reformed theology is in the mind. It’s a battle of Intellect vs. Spirit.

    In another article on the Examining Calvinsm website, the author describes I Cor 1&2 as the values chapters, contrasting God’s values with those of the world. And one good passage there is,”and my message and my preaching were not in persuasive words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, so that your faith would not rest on the wisdom of men, but on the power of God.”

  279. You know it’s a bad day when you find your church is not only on the list, but it’s a full “council member”

  280. Max wrote:

    GovPappy wrote:
    If God saves who he will save and there’s no free will, then our job is just to find those who are already saved and “Reform” them!
    Governor, that’s essentially the Calvinist mission … to harvest the elect, to rescue the predestined. Of course, they have no way of knowing who is who … and aren’t even assured that they are one of them! I can go anywhere on planet earth and look any man in the eye and say “God loves YOU … Jesus died for YOU.” A Calvinist cannot do that.

    Amen! Calvinism = despair

  281. Max wrote:

    Some leading Assembly of God churches have invited him to speak; he is finding a new platform for his “I was the victim” message in such churches. I figure he will launch his new ministry in Phoenix as “Charismatic Calvinism” and will draw away multitudes of youth from the New Calvinism that dumped him during his fall from grace. The potty-mouth preacher is always re-inventing himself.

    And always advancing himself at the expense of others.

    “So shall I exalt My throne above that of the Most High!”

  282. Max wrote:

    Your observations about the spread of New Calvinism in other denominations are worrying. I’ve seen firsthand what has done to the SBC and wouldn’t wish that on anyone. We are losing a generation to this aberration. … Calvinism has been attempting to snuff out the free-church and whosoever-will-gospel for the last 500 years!

    Sounds like the Communists of the last century with their Inevitable Marxist-Leninist Dialectic.

  283. Max wrote:

    New Calvinists within SBC will not rest until they’ve totally wrested control of all SBC entities and the entire assets of the Southern Baptist Convention into their corner. They have darn near done that. They now control at the leadership level: key seminaries, home mission agency, foreign mission venture, and the publishing house.

    Salami Tactics and Stealth Takeover, one small step at a time, one area after another.

    Just like how Comrade Stalin took over Eastern Europe in the aftermath & disruption of WW2.

  284. Pingback: A Plea To The Gospel Coalition: living up to your name | Tim's Blog – Just One Train Wreck After Another UNITED STATES