September 20, 2016
September 13, 2016
For those who are genuinely saved but have fallen under the teaching of New Calvinism, there is also concern. They, along with unsaved New Calvinists, are being led down a path that quite possibly is leading to a re-unification of Protestant churches with Roman Catholicism. Eventually, this union will spawn the worldwide religion described in Revelation…. John Piper, Al Mohler, Mark Dever, Mark Driscoll, and other New Calvinist leaders influence these young adults through their speaking, writing, and Internet blogs. They also encourage their followers to read the writings of past authority figures such as Augustine, Jonathan Edwards, and John Owens, as well as other influential Reformers or Puritans. While some of these writings provide useful spiritual insight, they also contain false biblical teaching. It is these and other writings that encourage mysticism, signs and wonders, and a continual looking back to the cross. Instead of complacent Christianity, New Calvinism seems to offer a sense of passion that is experienced through meditation on the majesty of God and the cross.
New Calvinism is a system of theology that combines: Reformed, Covenant, Puritan, and Augustinian theologies with present day, Post-Modern culture in an attempt to make Christianity seem more relevant to today’s Christian. Recognizing that churches are declining in numbers, fewer people are being saved, and that many Christians are carnal, not leading holy lives, concerned Christian leaders are looking back to the earlier days of the church for a solution. One solution they are turning to is New Calvinism. They are re-thinking and re-invigorating their teachings in order to make it relevant to our generation of Christianity. 1) Relevant is a key goal of New Calvinism.2) Adherents to New Calvinism believe that the answer lies in reaching out and building bridges between all segments of Christianity.3) According to the teachings of New Calvinism, the spiritual gifts of signs and wonders are valid for the church today.4) New Calvinism seeks to create and redeem culture.5) New Calvinism unites with Worldliness.
The new Calvinists constantly extol the Puritans, but they do not want to worship or live as they did. One of the vaunted new conferences is called Resolved, after Jonathan Edwards’ famous youthful Resolutions (seventy searching undertakings). But the culture of this conference would unquestionably have met with the outright condemnation of that great theologian.
C J Mahaney is a preacher highly applauded in this book. Charismatic in belief and practice, he appears to be wholly accepted by the other big names who feature at the ‘new Calvinist’ conferences, such as John Piper, John MacArthur, Mark Dever, and Al Mohler. Evidently an extremely personable, friendly man, C J Mahaney is the founder of a group of churches blending Calvinism with charismatic ideas, and is reputed to have influenced many Calvinists to throw aside cessationist views.
The new Calvinism is not a resurgence but an entirely novel formula which strips the doctrine of its historic practice, and unites it with the world.
Why have the leading preachers servicing this movement compromised so readily? They have not been threatened by a Soviet regime. No one has held a gun to their heads. This is a shameful capitulation, and we must earnestly pray that what they have encouraged will not take over Calvinism and ruin a generation of reachable Christian young people.
A final sad spectacle reported with enthusiasm in the book is the Together for the Gospel conference, running from 2006. A more adult affair convened by respected Calvinists, this nevertheless brings together cessationists and non-cessationists, traditional and contemporary worship exponents, and while maintaining sound preaching, it conditions all who attend to relax on these controversial matters, and learn to accept every point of view. In other words, the ministry of warning is killed off, so that every error of the new scene may race ahead unchecked. These are tragic days for authentic spiritual faithfulness, worship and piety.
Site Publisher Addendum:
I reject all 5 points of Calvinism and the extra-biblical theology (regeneration before faith; faith is the gift of God) that flows from it. Recognizing Dr. Masters is a Calvinist I feel his voice is much needed in this debate over the new threat from his Calvinistic brethren.
August 16, 2016
In the grand book of Deuteronomy, chapter
twenty-eight, God continues to explain the judgment that will come to Israel if
they are disobedient. These curses include a nation that will be identified by
its language: The Lord shall bring a nation against thee, from far, from the
end of the earth, as swift as the eagle flieth; a nation whose tongue thou
shalt not understand. (28:49) In a walled city, if you were to hear a
strange tongue, you would be on guard; in this text, it was a warning of
For the self-centered person, this looks like a matter of splitting hairs. The truth is that this religious cancer is destroying many of the young bucks in ministry today. The younger generation is enamored with false intellect. The purveyors of error - often scholars - poison young minds by their use of words that hide real meaning. What they are reading and following is obvious because “their speech betrays them.” Watch for the “buzz words” that are used in order to make one sound so much like the “in crowd.” In their youth and inexperience, they fail to ask about the theology behind the verbiage. Their heads and hearts have been turned from the scriptures, where the answers really lie - turned instead to those who have hidden truth behind their terminology and speech.
But that is a topic for another day.
Shepherd’s Staff is prepared by Clay Nuttall, D. Min.
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August 2, 2016
|Dr. Rick Flanders|
There are many New Testament passages that address the subject of dividing light from darkness (Genesis 1:4), and knowing with confidence when believers must decline an opportunity to work with others, and when we must say, “Yes” (such as Matthew 7:15-20, Romans 16:17-20, Second Corinthians 6:14-18, Ephesians 5:7-12, Titus 3:10-11, and Jude3-4). But the clearest collection of teachings related to the subject in one chapter is found in the Second Epistle of John. This little letter was written by the Apostle John in his final years on earth to a dear Christian lady who had trouble discerning when it is appropriate to help and encourage a certain ministry, and when it isn’t. Let us read it again, and notice five principles that show the servant of God how to love the brethren while staying loyal to the truth.
As we continue reading the Bible, we find that the Third Epistle of John encourages us (again) to “love in the truth” (verse 1), to “walk in truth” (verses 3 and 4), and to “be fellowhelpers to the truth” (verse 8). Ours is a time when fundamentalist Christians need to learn again to work together as our spiritual forefathers did. There is a way to love one another within the bounds of truth, to “love in the truth,” and the revival that we are asking the Father to send us will put us in the spiritual state (see Psalm 85:6-10) where we can do it successfully. May followers of Christ think this through prayerfully, so that the day of uncompromising Christian brotherhood and cooperation may dawn again soon.
Dr. Rick Flanders
July 13, 2016
long days of illness have given me a good opportunity to triple my reading
time. It has been very profitable, and I am reading more widely than ever.
While it assists me in my research, I keep coming back to questions that are
not found in any written text. Having spent a lifetime in ministry, education,
and missions, my mind is full of questions. Some answers are clear; others are
not. As you read my questions, you may have some wisdom to share. If so, I ask
you to pass it on to me.
Some weeks ago, I had lunch with a dear friend who is the president of a well-known seminary in another country. We were considering the impact, or lack thereof, of theological education on every level. I could easily spend a month recording the positive effects of training on the lives of so many who have served the Lord so well. Many of these folks have gone on to their reward, and we are grateful for having known them. On the negative side, though, it has been painful to see men and women who appeared to have been well-trained but who have slid, or jumped, into theological systems and questionable moral practices of which they now seem to be proud. This type of errant direction was unusual in the past, but it has now become a rush with men and women who ought to know better. So my question to you is this: “Why has this departure from truth become so popular?”
ONE THING I AM SURE OF
There is no question in my mind that the American model of education is responsible for adding fuel to this fire. The liberal mind-set has always been a part of that system. It is flawed and tends to hide behind intellectualism, philosophy, and so-called “science.” It is intellectually cruel with the capacity to turn truth into a lie, deluding people into thinking that it is indeed the truth. As time has passed, this “liberal mind-set” has become the majority and has now created a mental dictatorship.
The admission that something is a lie comes when you have to force others to think like you do. Ultimately, you are punished if you don’t think (or believe) like they do. If truth doesn’t stand on its own two feet, then it is a lie. This is exactly where our world is at this moment.
The liberal mind-set makes much to-do about “critical and analytical thinking,” the truth is that their approach forbids such serious consideration. The American educational model is really just indoctrination and brainwashing. If you don’t support the fairy tales of evolution, global warming (even they know that was dumb), and moral degradation such as sodomy or transgenderism, you are a danger - an enemy. You are not allowed to either think or speak on the subject.
THE RESULT OF THIS PLAGUE
Almost everyone we know today has been raised to think with a liberal mind-set. It might be understandable that this could happen in an academic world run by intellectual pagans. It is understandable that the present plight of this nation came about because the liberal mind-set is now the only one that is tolerated.
What troubles me is that this mind-set has become the standard for most so-called Christian institutions. Our crowd “longed for the leeks and garlic of Egypt [Numbers 11:5].” They wanted to be like the “big boys” in education. Like all departures from error, some of that error was carried along. Such is the sad story of Luther and Calvin.
That is not to say that some institutions are not battling to pass on a biblical mind-set. Of course most of them would say that they do “think biblically,” but where is the proof? They have bought into the world of “form” rather than the imperative of “content and meaning.” A good education will cover a lot of ground and disciplines, but it will never bow to human reason as the final authority. Everything ought to begin and end with the authority of the Word of God.
OBSERVING THE FAITHFUL
So how can it be that some who were trained with a high biblical standard, with professors or pastors who were loved and respected, could then move to flawed theology? At this point, I am thinking of men who were educated beside me or in front of me. Some of this has to do with our own circle of education, where indoctrination or brain-washing was used. They were not taught critical and analytical thinking, and the truth as it was presented never became their own.
Pick up the catalog of an institution, any institution, and start asking questions about individual courses or sections. Where is that clear effort to lead the student in owning the theological truth? Course after course is full of good information, our truth. We even give them exams so that we can know they remembered our truth. Where is the emphasis of God’s truth as it is displayed in the text, in that the student knows how to own what he gleaned from that text?
Those who have moved on to theological error and the liberal mind-set didn’t get it. They have joined the great movement of “adding to the Bible” whatever they want it to say. Intellectual pride makes that so easy. Young men in particular are lured by theologians with twisted minds who a have made rewriting the Bible into an art form.
So here we are back at the beginning. The fact is that not all students will get it, but I would be satisfied if most of them did. I have a short list in front of me; how did these men get drawn into a historical theology that reads like “Alice in Wonderland???”
July 5, 2016
|Dr. Chuck Phelps|
“At the present time it is a matter of notoriety that preachers of no mean repute defend the play-house, and do so because they have been seen there. Is it any wonder that church members forget their vows of consecration and run with the unholy in the ways of frivolity, when they hear that persons are tolerated in the pastorate who do the same? . . . . The fact is that many would like to unite church and stage, cards and prayers, dancing and sacraments. If we are powerless to stem this torrent, we can at least warn men of its existence, and entreat them to keep out of it. When the old faith is gone, and enthusiasm for the gospel is extinct, it is no wonder that people seek something else in the way of delight. Lacking bread, they feed on ashes; rejecting the way of the Lord, they run greedily in the path of folly.” (The Sword and the Trowel, 1887)
“We believe that we are called with a holy calling to walk, not after the flesh, but after the Spirit, and so to live in the Spirit that we should not fulfill the lusts of the flesh; but the flesh being still in us to the end of our earthly pilgrimage needs to be kept constantly in subjection to Christ, or it will surely manifest its presence to the dishonor of His name: Rom. 8:12-13; 13:14; Gal. 5:16-25; Eph. 4:22-24; Col. 3:1-10; I Pet. 1:14-16; I John 3:5-9.”
(Originally appeared April 23, 2013.)
Some may ask, “Are you fundamentalists?” If you are talking about believing the fundamentals of the faith, being willing to separate over them, and being committed to living a holy life before God—then the answer is a resolute, “Yes.” If you are talking about our being willing to separate over “cultural fundamentalism” and its demands to separate over Bible translations, music, dress, methods of ministry, secondary associations, etc., the answer is an equally resolute, “No.” We cannot. (Italics added)Related Reading:
Dr. Rolland McCune, Militancy Has Always Characterized Fundamentalism
On April 24, 2013 the FBFI’s Proclaim & Defend blog has published the article by Dr. Phelps. Please see, Chuck Phelps on Personal Separation.