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A Well-Known Calvinist Repudiates the Charismaticism and Worldly Worship of "New Calvinism."

“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.” – Peter Masters

There has been a lot of talk recently on the fundamentalist blogsphere about comments concerning the “dangers” of Calvinism, and I’ve made frequent mention of errant comments I have heard that link Calvinism to CCM.

This excellent article by Peter Masters, pastor of Spurgeon’s Metropolitan Tabernacle in London, perfectly illustrates the fact that it is not Calvinism that has led to significant changes in worship today, but the charismatic, somewhat faddish “New Calvinism.”

I reproduce some portions below:

The author begins by describing the Passion, conference at Atlanta in 2007, where 21,000 young people revelled in contemporary music, and listened to speakers such as John Piper proclaiming Calvinistic sentiments. And this picture is repeated many times through the book – large conferences being described at which the syncretism of worldly, sensation-stirring, high-decibel, rhythmic music, is mixed with Calvinistic doctrine.

We are told of thunderous music, thousands of raised hands, ‘Christian’ hip-hop and rap lyrics (the examples seeming inept and awkward in construction) uniting the doctrines of grace with the immoral drug-induced musical forms of worldly culture.

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.

Resolved is the brainchild of a member of Dr John MacArthur’s pastoral staff, gathering thousands of young people annually, and featuring the usual mix of Calvinism and extreme charismatic-style worship. Young people are encouraged to feel the very same sensational nervous impact of loud rhythmic music on the body that they would experience in a large, worldly pop concert, complete with replicated lighting and atmosphere. At the same time they reflect on predestination and election. Worldly culture provides the bodily, emotional feelings, into which Christian thoughts are infused and floated. Biblical sentiments are harnessed to carnal entertainment. (Pictures of this conference on their website betray the totally worldly, showbusiness atmosphere created by the organisers.)

In times of disobedience the Jews of old syncretised by going to the Temple or the synagogue on the sabbath, and to idol temples on weekdays, but the new Calvinism has found a way of uniting spiritually incompatible things at the same time, in the same meeting.

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.

It was a protégé of this preacher named Joshua Harris who started the New Attitude conference for young people. We learn that when a secular rapper named Curtis Allen was converted, his new-born Christian instinct led him to give up his past life and his singing style. But Pastor Joshua Harris evidently persuaded him not to, so that he could sing for the Lord. New Calvinists do not hesitate to override the instinctual Christian conscience, counselling people to become friends of the world.

One of the mega-churches admired in the book is the six-thousand strong Mars Hill Church at Seattle, founded and pastored by Mark Driscoll, who blends emerging church ideas (that Christians should utilise worldly culture) with Calvinistic theology [see endnote 1].

This preacher is also much admired by some reformed men in the UK, but his church has been described (by a sympathiser) as having the most ear-splitting music of any, and he has been rebuked by other preachers for the use of very ‘edgy’ language and gravely improper humour (even on television). He is to be seen in videos preaching in a Jesus teeshirt, symbolising the new compromise with culture, while at the same time propounding Calvinistic teaching. So much for the embracing of Puritan doctrine divested of Puritan lifestyle and worship.

Most of the well-known preachers who promote and encourage this ‘revival’ of Calvinism have in common the following positions that contradict a genuine Calvinistic (or Puritan) outlook:

1. They have no problem with contemporary charismatic-ethos worship, including extreme, heavy-metal forms.

2. They are soft on separation from worldliness [see endnote 2].

3. They reject the concern for the personal guidance of God in the major decisions of Christians (true sovereignty), thereby striking a death-blow to wholehearted consecration.

4. They hold anti-fourth-commandment views, taking a low view of the Lord’s Day, and so inflicting another blow at a consecrated lifestyle.

Whatever their strengths and achievements (and some of them are brilliant men by any human standard), or whatever their theoretical Calvinism, the poor stand of these preachers on these crucial issues will only encourage a fatally flawed version of Calvinism that will lead people to be increasingly wedded to the world, and to a self-seeking lifestyle.

Truly proclaimed, the sovereignty of God must include consecration, reverence, sincere obedience to his will, and separation from the world.

You cannot have Puritan soteriology without Puritan sanctification. You should not entice people to Calvinistic (or any) preaching by using worldly bait. We hope that young people in this movement will grasp the implications of the doctrines better than their teachers, and come away from the compromises. But there is a looming disaster in promoting this new form of Calvinism.

This is an important article in the discussion of evangelicalism, fundamentalism, separation, Calvinism, and worship philosophy today.

Scott Aniol

About Scott Aniol

Scott Aniol is the founder and Executive Director of Religious Affections Ministries. He is Chair of the Worship Ministry Department at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, where he teaches courses in ministry, worship, hymnology, aesthetics, culture, and philosophy. He is the author of Worship in Song: A Biblical Approach to Music and Worship, Sound Worship: A Guide to Making Musical Choices in a Noisy World, and By the Waters of Babylon: Worship in a Post-Christian Cutlure, and speaks around the country in churches and conferences. He is an elder in his church in Fort Worth, TX where he resides with his wife and three children.

62 Responses to A Well-Known Calvinist Repudiates the Charismaticism and Worldly Worship of "New Calvinism."

  1. Just wanted to let you know you spelled "Spurgen" wrong. It should be spelled "Spurgeon," with an O after the E.

    Just trying to help :)

  2. Scott,

    I've been writing these things, almost identical, ever since I've had an online presence. I started writing another article on it today on Jackhammer, was half done, and then I see this linked on SharperIron. My article is http://jackhammer.wordpress.com/2009/06/09/the-hy… . I'll be finishing it up by next week. It will be an exegesis of Romans 15:16-21, with reference to other passages. Stay tuned, because I'm going to show how John Piper has twisted Jonathan Edwards, even as we see the Resolved Conference has so sadly done so.

    What do you think of him coming out so strong and naming names, Scott? Do you think he could get away with it more than you because of age and ministry history?

    <abbr>Kent Brandenburg’s last blog post: The Issue of Designed Gender Distinction: Answering Comments or Questions</abbr>

  3. Scott,

    I can understand the interest of avoiding non-cessationist views. However, if you think that you can separate the music from the movement, I would say that there are greater issues at stake. Show me good music that is not the dead amil stuff of centuries ago and maybe you might have a leg to stand on. Contemporary music is not the issue you make it out to be. Find a live horse to beat and leave that decaying corpse alone. The young people that came did not come for the music but for the preaching. As long as people in your camp keep reacting adversely to everything good that God does and in which you are not involved there will be more and more who run from you.

  4. Kent,

    I've heard from Phil Johnson that Masters speaks on this topic in every conference he's at. He thinks it's the most important issue facing the church today.

  5. I commend Brother Masters for his expose on the disturbing worldly trends among the “conservative” evangelicals.

    He wrote, “We are told of thunderous music, thousands of raised hands, ‘Christian’ hip-hop and rap lyrics (the examples seeming inept and awkward in construction) uniting the doctrines of grace with the immoral drug-induced musical forms of worldly culture.”

    What we are witnessing in these Resolved/Passion conferences is a mixture of the holy and the profane.

    I am grateful Brother Master’s is giving voice to the obvious as he shows Bible believing Christians the incompatibility, the mixed message when there is a mixing of the holy (Scripture) with the profane.

    And they shall teach my people the difference between the holy and profane, and cause them to discern between the unclean and the clean,” (Ezek. 44:23).

  6. Kent:

    You asked, “What do you think of him coming out so strong and naming names, Scott? Do you think he could get away with it more than you because of age and ministry history?”

    IMO, he spoke with conviction because of the seriousness of the issue(s) and named names because of the wide spread popularity of the men who are propagating these methods of ministry and/or charismatic leanings.

    When I read this article I was grateful for it as much as I was when MacArthur recently called out Mark Driscoll by name and for his egregious methods of “corrupt communication” (Eph. 4:29) that he is infamous for.

    I support Brother Masters and Aniol in their efforts for the cause of Christ.

    LM

  7. Scott,

    Peter says that the young people come for the preaching, not the music, and without the music they would come anyway. How does he know that? How could anyone know that, unless one would duplicate the same conference, same speakers, same promotion, minus rock music, and see what happens. Is anyone willing to try that? I would love to compare attendance. I strongly suspect the music is the main draw.

    Cordially,
    G. N. Barkman

  8. Peter says that the young people come for the preaching, not the music, and without the music they would come anyway. How does he know that?

    I would like to see the Resolved organizers try conducting their next conference with music, but NONE of the usual CCM/Rock fair. Just use conservative, traditional Christian music. I am inclined to believe that there would be many complaints during the conference and a significant drop off in registrations for the next years Resolved.

    LM

    <abbr>Lou Martuneac’s last blog post: Is It Sharp Nuff’ Yet?</abbr>

  9. As a boy, my family attended a large, old fashioned, Independent Baptist Church for more than twelve years. The pulpit ministry was good, well above that of most similar churches. The music was Southern Gospel, greatly loved by the congregation. As I became an adult, and began to analyze the strengths and weaknesses, I came to the sad conclusion that a majority of the congregation lived at the level of the music, not the preaching. The music had such a strong emotional appeal, that the doctrinal level of the music far outweighed the effects of the pulpit. Most people failed to really hear the solid pulpit ministry because the music held too strong a grip upon their minds. I concluded that when I became a pastor, I dare not introduce this genre into my church. Yes, doing so would help draw a crowd and grow the attendance, but the liabilities to the spiritual welfare of the people were just too great. I could not, in good conscience, follow this pattern. (As much as I enjoyed this music in my youth. What I enjoyed, and what was good for me were two different matters.)

    I suspect something similar is true with Sovereign Grace preaching mixed with CCM. Yes, outstanding doctrinal preaching is present, but I fear that most people will only hear the music. It draws a crowd, and makes everybody feel good, but it blocks much of the impact of sound teaching.

    Cordially,
    G. N. Barkman

  10. Gentlemen:

    In private meetings I have been discussing the piece by Dr. Masters on the “New Calvinism

    IMO, Masters raised the issues that if the IFB camp is going to have a split, it won’t be over Calvinism. If a split comes it will be and should be over those trends that motivated him to write the article.

    Master’s wrote, “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.”

    Fundamentalism and the FBF is historically a separatist movement. Recognizing error, warning of error and separating from those who will not abandon and repent of error. We have men in IFB circles who show a strong preference for fellowship and cooperation with the “conservative” evangelicals (ce) crowd at the expense of ignoring the biblical mandates on separation when they are clearly warranted.

    I’ll repeat myself from months of this discussion. We have men in IFB circles that are willing to tolerate and look past doctrinal aberrations and methods of ministry among the “conservative” evangelicals that these same IFB men would never allow for or tolerate in their own ministries.

    LM
    .-= Lou Martuneac´s last blog ..Fundamentalism/FBFI: “Actually It’s All Quite Exciting!” =-.

  11. Lou,
    Isn't a correct, Biblical understanding of the Gospel the most important doctrine? If Fundamentalists are willing to cooperate with those whose understanding of the Gospel differs from theirs, why should they separate over, say, music styles?

    Just wondering.

    Cordially,
    G. N. Barkman

  12. Brother Barkman:

    You wrote, “Isn’t a correct, Biblical understanding of the Gospel the most important doctrine?”

    Absolutely, this is why I named my blog, In Defense of the Gospel. I deal almost exclusively with matters pertaining to the Gospel. Occasionally, I break for issues such as have come about in the IFB camp recently.

    In any event, thanks for raising a point that is a very important discussion. This is, of course, the wrong thread for it, but since you asked I’ll offer just the following.

    You raised the question which has been the crux of my calling for separation from men like John MacArthur and John Piper. These men propagate the non-saving works based Lordship Salvation interpretation of the Gospel.

    The “conservative” evangelicals’ methods of ministry, such as MacArthur’s Rock-N-Roll Resolved conferences in which they mix the holy and the profane are issues that mandate biblical separation in and of themselves. Furthermore, as Masters pointed out, there is a strong affinity for Charismatic leanings with Piper. However, these things pale in comparison to their corruption of the Gospel of Jesus Christ by calling on the lost man for an upfront commitment to the “good works” (Eph. 2:10) expected of a mature Christian to become a Christian.

    I have raised this issue numerous times over the past three years.

    There should be NO cooperative efforts with men who have changed the terms of the Gospel.

    Will you join me in calling for separation from all those who propagate Lordship Salvation’s message that frustrates grace (Gal. 2:21)?

    Kind regards,

    LM
    .-= Lou Martuneac´s last post: Fundamentalism/FBFI: “Actually It’s All Quite Exciting!” =-.

  13. Lou,

    For the record, I, for one, agree with MacArthur concerning the necessity of submitting to Christ as Lord as part of salvation.

    Pastor Barkman,

    You make an excellent point. I personally don't view separation as an "all or nothing" kind of thing; I believe it depends upon the situation and the degree to which I find disagreement. So for me, I may not be able to cooperate with a particular individual or ministry in various circumstances depending on how our disagreement affects that situation. It may involve the gospel, polity, worship philosophy, etc.

    I do agree, though, that typically fundamentalists have made music a more divisive issue than the gospel itself, and that, in my opinion, is certainly errant. Consistency is the key.

  14. Scott:

    Thanks for the reply. I’ll offer one reaction for your consideration and we’ll move on; OK?

    The Lordship controversy for me is not over what you should be the natural result of a genuine conversion. IMO, “submitting to Christ as Lord” should be the natural result of salvation. With that I am in agreement.

    The Lordship Salvation controversy primarily revolves around the requirements for salvation, NOT the results of salvation. A genuine conversion should evidence itself in genuine results. New believers will vary in levels of growth, but growth should be evident to some degree. The primary focal point of controversy, however, is Lordship’s requirements for the reception of eternal life, i.e. how to become a Christian.

    I sometimes refer to this as, “frontloading faith” with a commitment to good works (Eph. 2:10) expected of a mature Christian to become a Christian.

    To close, by way of reiteration: The crux of the controversy is that Lordship advocates, such as MacArthur, call on the lost man for an up-front commitment to submission to the Lord of Christ FOR salvation.

    Yours in Him,

    Lou
    .-= Lou Martuneac´s last post: Fundamentalism/FBFI: “Actually It’s All Quite Exciting!” =-.

  15. Brother Barkman:

    I am happy to answer your question, but you need to be very clear and in precise terms define what you mean by the “Lordship of Christ.”

    Exactly what about the “Lordship of Christ” are you referencing?

    LM

    PS to Scott: If you want this discussion to go elsewhere, just say so.

  16. On a related note, Mark Minnick preached an outstanding message from Romans 1 on this subject last evening at the FBFI national meeting. His defense of the Lordship of Christ in the believer's life was impeccable.

  17. Peter says that the young people come for the preaching, not the music, and without the music they would come anyway. How does he know that? How could anyone know that, unless one would duplicate the same conference, same speakers, same promotion, minus rock music, and see what happens. Is anyone willing to try that? I would love to compare attendance. I strongly suspect the music is the main draw.

    While I'm fairly sure that this is A main draw for some, I am interested in Resolved strictly for the preaching. I had a talk with a friend when I was at Shepherd's who shared my position that I couldn't go to the meeting because of the music and the way that it is performed, but I love listening to the messages.

    IMHO, Some of the popularity of Piper, MacArthur, et cetera is due to the lack of solid, exegetical preaching in the church today.

  18. Dear Scott,

    Perhaps Lou doesn't find my definition of the Lordship of Christ sufficiently precise, or pehaps he hasn't yet had time to answer the question. If would appear, however, that Lou's understanding of the Gospel differs from yours, and indeed from that of a great many Fundamentalists.

    Does Lou advocate separating from other Fundamentalists whose understanding of the Gospel differs from his, say from Mark Minnic, David Dornan, Kevin Bauder, to name a few? I should probably pause, and allow Lou to answer that question for himself before proceeding, but if I am correct that he would not want to do so, my original question remains. Why should we separate over lesser issues when the Gospel is the heart of Bible doctrine? Just wondering.

    Cordially,
    Greg Barkman

  19. Lou,

    My apologies. I didn't know you were at FBF, and "out of circulation" from the blogosphere. I do understand, as I have periods like that as well, as we all do.

    I will look forward to your responses when you are back to a normal schedule.

    Warm regards,
    Greg Barkman

  20. Thanks for the gracious reply.

    Today, Tuesday and Wednesday I am at work from 9-9. Hardly a normal schedule, I call these my "half-days." I only have time for the following commentary on Lordship Salvation and the “Lordship of Christ.”

    Jesus Christ is the Lord in the sense of His deity. That cannot be consciously rejected by a lost man and still see him born again. That has been a battleground issue I have contended for- for over two years with the Grace Evangelical Society (GES). The GES insists the lost man can be unaware of and consciously reject the Lord Jesus Christ’s deity, death and resurrection but still be born again. This is as evil a reductionist heresy that has ever been introduced to the NT church by one of its own, namely Zane Hodges and Bob Wilkin. There are dozens of articles at my blog on this subject. The GES view is commonly known as the Crossless Gospel.

    Then we have His Lordship in the sense that He is the sovereign Lord and has the divine right to command His own and that His own obey Him if they are to be right with Him.

    Where LS is in error is that LS advocates are calling on a lost man for an upfront commitment to live in obedience to His Lordship, a commitment to do the “good works” (Eph. 2:10) expected of a Christian, to become a Christian. LS men are calling on the lost for a decisions that belong to the born again child of God, one of His disciples, to become a born again child of God. You are calling on a lost man for a promise to perform as a mature disciple of Christ to become a born again disciple of Christ.

    Lordship Salvation conditions the free gift of God on what man will commit to do or become and that is a grace killing message (Gal. 2:21). You cannot make the problem of carnality in the church go away by changing the terms of the Gospel, which MacArthur and all those who accept his message, has done.

    If, in a personal evangelism setting, you are calling on the lost for a commitment to the works that are expected of a born again Christian to be born again then you are preaching a non-saving, works based message. It’s just that simple.

    Lou

  21. Lou,

    If, in evangelism, you call upon a sinner to repent as a condition for salvation, are you calling upon him for a commitment that only a born-again Christian can do?

    Cordially,
    Greg Barkman

  22. Brother:

    First please address that I have stated without apology that LS men tell a lost man that he must promise to perform as a Christian to become a Christian. For example I wrote,

    If, in a personal evangelism setting, you are calling on the lost for a commitment to the works that are expected of a born again Christian to be born again then you are preaching a non-saving, works based message. It’s just that simple.”

    Then, on repentance, your question does not resonate with me because it is based on LS’s skewed interpretation of repentance. For LS repentance is a change of behavior not a change of mind which is the biblical meaning of the word.

    See- How Does the LS Advocate Define “Repentance”?

    That is all I can do for today.

    LM

  23. Dear Lou,

    I'm sure neither of us desire a protracted debate retracing arguments that have been endlessly debated before now. I did read your article on LS and "Repentance", and I must say I agree with MacArthur's position, not yours. However, I can understand why you think this is wrong, because I don't believe you understand it accurately. I don't mean that to be a put-down. It is just a sincere evaluation of your discussion.

    It is apparent to me that the synagogue rulers in John 12:42,43, did not "savingly" believe in Christ, and John informs us of that by telling us that they loved the approval of men more than God. Do you believe that anyone who loves the approval of men more than God (and continues in that attitude) is saved? I do not. John shows us that there is a type of faith that falls short of saving faith. Call it what you will–head knowledge without heart embrace, intellectual faith versus heart faith, etc.

    The point of entering this discussion was simply to point out that among Fundamentalists, there is already a serious difference regarding the Gospel. Our little discussion on this blog merely serves to illustrate this fact. My question is, should Fundamentalists separate from other Fundamentalists who embrace a different view of the Gospel? If your answer is Yes, then you are advocating a new divide, one that has not previously characterized Fundamentalism historically. If your answer is No, then why should the Gospel be a basis for separation f rom, say, John MacArthur, and not from, say, Scott Aniol?

    Cordially,
    Greg Barkman

  24. Has anyone even been to this conference? Are you sure the music is full of rap, hip-hop and heavy metal references? Do you know what songs they use?

  25. Dear Lou,
    Your comments on Lordship salvation views are, according to my understanding, a mixture of correct and incorrect representations. That's why I think it is helpful to ask questions that turn the situation around a bit, so we can look at it from another angle, and perhaps bring some clarity.

    Could we explore the question of good works by asking if they are a "necessary" result of the new birth, or are they optional?

    Kind regards,
    Greg Barkman

  26. Brother Barkman:

    First, and not to appear arrogant, but I understand LS perfectly because I learned it from its own chief advocates such as MacArthur and Chantry. I read their material and I quote/address it accurately. I use no straw man arguments. Ironically, I know LS better than many who claim to hold to the LS position. Many latch on to LS because JM is the most high-profile of its advocates. They figure that since MacArthur teaches it, it must be right. Consequently, they do not do their due diligence and truly study the issue out.

    You might be surprised to know that a number of high-profile men, with earned advanced degrees and who are largely Calvinistic have contacted me over the years to say that until they read my arguments they were not aware of the extremes coming from MacArthur and have rethunk and pulled back their support of his teaching.

    My primary interest and focus is on the biblical plan of salvation, i.e. how the lost are born again and how LS turns the grace of God into a man-centered, works based message. How to become born again is where the true crux of the LS controversy lies and that is where I keep my focus. For the record I have little disagreement with the view that genuine results, Christian growth, should follow a genuine conversion.

    More later, with an example of what many miss in JM’s LS teaching. It is right there but most men just go right over it because they are expecting error.

    LM

  27. Dear Lou,

    I'm sure you have studied this in great detail. Forgive me for suggesting you do not fully understand. But you seem to have avoided my last question. Are good works the "necessary" result of the new birth, or only some that should, but my not necessarily follow?

    Kind regards,
    Greg Barkman

  28. Brother Barkman:

    Earlier in this thread I wrote, “For the record I have little disagreement with the view that genuine results, Christian growth, should follow a genuine conversion.

    That is my answer.

    You asked, “Are good works the ‘necessary’ result of the new birth, or only some that should, but my not necessarily follow?”

    Which ones? Which “good works” do you look for to prove the “necessary” results are there to prove a genuine conversion? Has there ever been one gold-standard for how a Christian is to grow and what it should look like?

    Have you ever been to a Reformers Unanimous (addiction recovery) environment? It is an amazing ministry that I highly recommend to any church. Here is an excerpt form the revised edition of my book (not yet released. I think it will helpful read on the question you are asking.

    The local church I attend has a ministry for people with addictions. Is a man who gets saved through the ministry of that program immediately cured of all his addictions? Will that man immediately forsake every addiction? Those who believe in Lordship Salvation would be compelled to say, “Yes, or his faith in Christ was not genuine saving faith.” Those who work in a Bible based addictions program know better than that. They know better than to tell the unsaved addict that salvation is only for those who are “willing to forsake everything.”

    LM

  29. Ps. Barkman:

    I am familiar with and have written extensively about the issues with LS men on "carnal" Christians and the like. Brother George Zeller wrote a great piece that speaks to what you have raised.

    See- Can God Give faith Be Defective?

    I trust these things I am sharing are helpful to you and those who may be reading without comment.

    LM

  30. I'm not sure how this thread turned into a Lordship debate, but I really don't mind. Anytime I can facilitate good discussion, I'm pleased!

    Lou, I know you and Pastor Harding have discussed this at length, but I do think that you are grossly misrepresenting the Lordship position here. No, a LS advocate would not say that the man in our example would be immediately cured of his addictions. Believers still struggle with sin and habits die hard.

    What we would say is that a true believer will, as part of the faith/repentance act, loose his grip on his sin and submit himself to Christ's Lordship. No true believer will say, "I am not willing to give up my sin."

    He will certainly struggle with addiction for a long time, but he will struggle to rid himself of it. He may fall into temporary lapses where it looks like he has given in, but if he is a true believer God will chasten him and he will come out of that lapse.

    That is what a traditional LS advocate would advocate.

    You can pull a few quotes from one or two authors out of context or quote a couple unfortunate ways of explaining the position. But no one would present the LS position as you do.

  31. Scott,

    Thank you for indulging the detour to Lordship Salvation. Thank you, also, for pointing out that Lou has indeed misunderstood, and therefore misrepresented the LS position. He seemed to bristle when I suggested that, but it should be obvious to anyone who truly understands the competing positions.

    This discussion has acquainted me with Lou, whom I did not know before, and it is obvious that he is a sincere and knowledgeable opponent of what he calls "Lordship Salvation." I pray the Lord will enable him to see what this position really believes, because it is not only true, but is at the very heart of the Gospel, and the Gospel is the heart of Scripture. It's foundational to true Christianity, and I doubt we will see the spiritual renewal (or revival) that all God's children long for, until we recover the Gospel.

    In the early days of Fundamentalism, the Gospel was largely ignored as Bible-believing people from varied denominational (and theological) backgrounds fought for the recovery of Scripture. If faith in the Bible as the inerrant Word of God is lost, there is no basis upon which to even discuss various views about the Gospel. Now that the Battle for the Bible is largely over, in the sense that all Fundamental churches and institutions accept the innerrancy of Scripture without question, serious discussion regarding the exact nature of the Gospel is long overdue.

    Thank you for allowing this thread.

    Cordially,
    Greg Barkman

  32. Scott:

    You wrote, “Lou, I know you and Pastor Harding have discussed this at length, but I do think that you are grossly misrepresenting the Lordship position here. No, a LS advocate would not say that the man in our example would be immediately cured of his addictions. Believers still struggle with sin and habits die hard.

    What we would say is that a true believer will, as part of the faith/repentance act, loose his grip on his sin and submit himself to Christ's Lordship. No true believer will say, ‘I am not willing to give up my sin.’”

    I appreciate your input and I agree with your expression of what should typically follow a genuine conversion.

    I see that my use of “immediately” does not accurately convey the LS position of most whom I speak to. IMO, the true crux of the LS controversy is over how LS defines the way they believe a lost man becomes a Christian.

    I will accept your commentary as a helpful editorial suggestion that I will respond to with a revision. I am grateful that I posted and you offered a correction that would have been otherwise missed before it goes to press.

    I truly want to portray LS and its advocates accurately. This is why I quote LS advocates very liberally in my book, blog articles and thread commentary.

    Thanks again

    Lou

  33. Scott:

    Not sure how this got onto LS, but it has been a profitable, charitable discussion, IMO. Whenever I entered a discussion of LS at SI, the daggers would come out quick, usually lead by the certain SI moderators. I rarely visit SI any more, but looked in yesterday. Ironically, someone (can’t remember who) at SI opined at the absence of the LS discussion at SI. I wonder why?

  34. Brother Barkman:

    As long as men like MacArthur, and any who join him portraying the plan of salvation as JM does in the quiets below, LS will always fail the test of Scripture. LS is, as JM defines it below, a non-saving, man-centered works based message that frustrates grace (Gal. 2:21).

    Our Lord gave this young man a test. He had to choose between his possessions and Jesus Christ. He failed the test. No matter what he believed, since he was unwilling to forsake all, he could not be a disciple of Christ. Salvation is for those who are willing to forsake everything.” (TGATJ, p. 78)

    And he needed to be willing to submit to the Lord Jesus, even if it meant he had to give up all his earthly possessions. He might not ask, but the requirement for eternal life is the willingness to give it all up if he does.” (Hard to Believe, p. 9)

    If you believe salvation (justification) is only for “those who are willing to forsake everything,” you have my hope and prayers to be recovered from Lordship’s aberration of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

    LM

    PS: Time is up for me today.

  35. Greg:

    I did explain it. Buy my book. There is a major chapter dedicated to that specific event.

    Here is a snippet at my blog, largely drawn from that extended chapter

    The Rich Young Ruler, Mark 10:17-22

    If you want to discuss that, then let’s take it to that article at my blog; OK? I really have to sign off for the day.

    Lou

  36. Dear Lou,

    I understand Christ's encounter with the Rich Young Ruler to be an appropriate use of the law. Christ intended for him to realize that he had not kept God's law, nor was he able to. Only then would he understand his need of grace. Since he preferred his riches to Christ (demonstrating his covetousness), and showed no desire to be cleansed from his sin (covetouesness as well as others), he went away sorrowing.

    The law, after all, is our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ.

    Cordially,Greg Barkman

  37. Dear Lou,
    Do you realize that the traditional hymns we grew up singing at church were often poems set to bar music tunes? This was because people recognized the tunes, so memorizing a hymn, loaded with biblical doctrine, would be easier.
    To equate charismatic music with incorrect or inadequate biblical knowledge is a rather large, incorrect, generalization. If you don't like the music, don't sing it. The portions of the book that I just read certainly "did not speak evil of no one," (Titus 3:2), nor were they "edifying to the body (of Christ) in love." (Eph. 3:16). Books like these destroy unity rather than promote it. I would think you would know that.
    As a charasmatic Christian, I listen to CCM, like CCM, yet I also know my Bible. (And, by the way, I happen to like hymns as well. I have two hymnals and four CDs worth of hymns).
    A biblical charismatic Christian,
    Sharon

  38. Sharon, I appreciate your comments here, but I do believe that you evidence some classic misunderstandings of some important issues.

    First, when people say that the hymns of Luther, for example, were set to "bar tunes," they are not referring to the music played in businesses of ill repute, they are referring to "Bar Form," that is, a specific form of music that Luther used in a lot of his tunes. The form is AAB, that is one musical phrase, repeated, and then ending with a new phrase.

    Second, you yourself admit to such a thing as "charismatic music." I agree with you. It is a historical fact that the Praise & Worship genre was birthed in charismatic theology. So, if someone (like myself, or Lou) does not buy into charismatic theology, why would you expect us to approve of its music?

    You are a charismatic, so you like the music. It makes sense to me.

    I think charismaticism is unbiblical, therefore I think it's music is unbiblical.

    Makes sense to me.

  39. I live ten miles from the Metropolitan Tabernacle…

    I could say a lot, but for the moment I will just respond to Scott's comment about "charismatic music".

    Firstly, I have to ask if you check that every piece of music you use was written by someone whose theology you share. I bet you don't. I'm sure you are happy to use hymns and songs if the lyrics suit your purposes, without researching the precise beliefs of the authors. Are you sure that everything you sing was written by people with your precise views on baptism, separation, and church government (to give you three areas where christians disagree). And do you sing anything by Wesley? He was an Arminian!

    Secondly, the term "charismatic music" is obviously very wide and ill-defined. For example, the contemporary hymns of Townend and Getty come in that category, but anyone who considers them to be unbiblical (on grounds of musical style or lyrical content) is in need of serious help.

    You've fallen into the same trap as Masters in that you paint everything with a broad brush, but in reality a lot more detail is needed. And please also realise that people with continuationist/charismatic beliefs do write quality music that is theologically sound and musically suitable for worship. (But I'd be the first to admit they also write garbage as well, but they're no different to anyone else in that regard).

  40. Londoner, thanks for stopping by.

    One point of clarification: when we refer to "charismatic music," we are not talking about "music written by people who hold to a charismatic theology" necessarily, but music whose character fits with charismatic theology. So a non-charismatic can write "charismatic music," and a charismatic could write "non-charismatic music."

    For a better explanation of exactly what I mean and why I think it is important, consider reading the following series of articles:
    http://religiousaffections.org/articles/aesthetic

  41. Hi Scott,

    It will take me a while to digest the linked articles. But would a brief summary of your position be that music needs to be theologically sound and stylistically appropriate, and what you call "charismatic music" is wrong in one or both of these areas? You also seem to accept that people who hold a charismatic theology can write music that passes these tests.

    If so, I think that's a somewhat more nuanced approach than simply saying that all contemporary praise and worship music is "charismatic music", that the charismatic movement is unbiblical and therefore all its music is unbiblical, which is how I read your exchange with Sharon.

    I'd be interested to know how you view, for example, Stuart Townend's material, and please do give examples of specific songs.

  42. Mostly we're referring to actual performance style, some of which, of course, is composed into the arrangement of the song itself.

    In other words, a simple song can be performed in a modest way or in a way that targets the physical response.

    This is not the place to debate charismaticism, but I do believe it is unbiblical. That being the case, it only seems natural that I would believe that music communicating in a way to fit that theology is also unbiblical. Again, not that charismatics wrote it necessarily, but that the way in which it is performed, recorded, etc. fits with that errant theology.

  43. What I find interesting is that Master's did not bother to support any of his 'issues' with Scripture. If there is doctrinal error going on, why not deal with it? Why use a personal standard to beat a brother?
    Here is the reality from outside of the small bubble that many seem to be living in – there is no music issue. Yes, logic would dictate that those who disagree with a particular style would be the ones to have an issue. But the majority of the Church are beginning to walk away from the pointless and tired debate. When the rhetoric turns to attacking those inside of the bubble, someone has to stop and think that maybe the whole argument is being just a bit forced. I'm not calling for someone to offend their conscience, but can't we just put our energies towards the fundamentals?
    Conclusion: the Master's article would have been better received if it had not tried to come across as dealing with doctrinal error. The reason no scripture was given to support his own personal standard, in my opinion, is because Masters knows that this is not primarily a doctrinal issue. Masters would have garnered respect rather than ridicule if he had simply expressed concern regarding his observations. Instead he decided to unlovingly characterize godly men with a broad and corrosive brush.

  44. Lou,
    I guess to move the discussion from your opinion to God's Word, you would have to give a legitimate definition of 'worldliness' that is based on doctrine. And once you did that, you and I would have to come to agreement on the application of said doctrine. And there is where the disagreement lies.
    Even then, Masters' article would still be void of any Scriptural support. I'm not saying that the intent of his article was wrong. I just think he is more concerned about 'how' they worship than 'why.'

  45. Michael:

    Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world,” (1 John 2:15-16).

    Take a good hard, objective look at the vivid examples that Masters documented. You will see and hear the very things coming from the “conservative” evangelicals that are antithetical to the Scriptures, the doctrine that cautions believers to, “love NOT the world.”

    Kind regards,

    LM

  46. Lou,

    Masters seems to object to music, dress, guidance, charismata, and the sabbath. So let's quickly look at these.

    In biblical times, would the music of either the Jewish people or the early christians be notably different from that of the pagans? Probably not. Likewise for dress. Charismata were not an issue as the sign gifts were being exercised then. I'm not sure that any of the "new calvinists" don't seek God's guidance in the decisions of life (quite the opposite). And as far as the sabbath is concerned, the evidence is that the first christians kept the Saturday sabbath, which the church later decided it had the power to move to Sunday, which isn't biblical in my view.

    So I'm not sure that Masters' views have any substance, and as others have noted are not backed up with scripture.

    Ask yourself what John had in mind when he wrote those words you quote, and how they would have been understood by the original readers. Do you really think he was referring to the sort of things that Masters criticises, or that it is a valid exposition to claim that this verse automatic condems them as wordly?

    Finally, with tongue slightly in cheek, I ask myself why Masters objects to someone wearing a T-shirt with Jesus on it, but himself always wears a suit, which is a completely worldly style of dress. If he is to be separated from the world, he should refuse to conform to its standards of dress and, for example, wear traditional protestant clerical garments which definitely do not have worldly connotations.

  47. Just another thought – in the gospels on more than one occasion, we read of Jesus and the disciples reclining at the table when eating. This was a Roman custom – they lay on couches whilst eating, but it had obviously influenced the Jewish people as a result of the occupation. But surely if they were separated from the world in the matter which some are proposing, such a practice would not have been adopted – it was the way of a polytheistic heathen society…

  48. Londoner, the issues is not that we cannot ever look like unsaved people, or even that we can never contextualize the gospel. We must contextualize! Speaking in English instead of Greek is contextualizing.

    The point is that we can never contextualize using idioms that reflect sinful living, corrupt communication, or unbiblical philosophy.

    Read my series on contextualization here for more clarity on the issue: http://religiousaffections.org/articles/culture/c

  49. Well, a suit is the clothing of the corporate world, of politicians, and of salesmen, and I see sinful living, corrupt communication, and unbiblical philosophy in all three!

    Does wearing a T-shirt with Jesus on it reflect any of those? Somehow I think not.

    Likewise, Masters also broadcasts his church services on satellite TV, which is exactly what the heretical televangelists and prosperity preachers do. Christian TV is totally associated with corruption.

    Isn't that interesting, he's happy with to use modern media, but not modern music. The TV is capable of being redeemed for the kingdom, but a musical style isn't. I think his views on what is "worldly" and what isn't are somewhat arbitrary.

  50. Lou,
    I guess to move the discussion from your opinion to God’s Word, you would have to give a legitimate definition of ‘worldliness’ that is based on doctrine. And once you did that, you and I would have to come to agreement on the application of said doctrine. And there is where the disagreement lies.
    Even then, Masters’ article would still be void of any Scriptural support. I’m not saying that the intent of his article was wrong. I just think he is more concerned about ‘how’ they worship than ‘why.’

    You didn't really move the conversation, Lou. You still haven't defined worldliness.

  51. Londoner:

    I have been a guest in your city three times. Love the city, its history and people. Once, at the Westminster Abbey, I was 10 feet from your Queen, Prince Phillip and Princess Margaret as they were entering and then an hour later leaving the little chapel next to the Abbey. I waved and communicated a brief greeting.

    Anyway, all I am really interested in is what does the Bible say (such as 1 Jn. 2:15-16) and try to live in conformity to it.

    In the matter of personal standards I believe it is best to give God the benefit of the doubt.

    What I see coming from the "conservative" evangelicals (as Masters and I have noted it) in their choices gives the appearance of giving the Devil the benefit of the doubt.

    Why any Bible-believing Christian minister would choose the anti-God Rock-n-Roll culture for ministry escapes me?

    Kind regards,

    LM

  52. Oh my darling. You poor thing. You let the Calvinists get your breeches all in a wad. Here are some questions for you.

    Are you using your Bible to define 'worldliness'? Are you using your 20th Century American cultural context to define worldliness?

    I couldn't find in my Bible "thou shalt not wear a t-shirt." I couldn't find "thou shalt drive a car" for that matter either. I most certainly could not find the passage that said "thou shalt not listen to hip-hop or heavy metal." (And I used Strong's Concordance too).

    Hey! Guess what my ultra-fundy good-times Christian brother? I did find THIS! See below.

    "Brothers, do not slander one another. Anyone who speaks against his brother or judges him speaks against the law and judges it. When you judge the law, you are not keeping it, but sitting in judgment on it. There is only one Lawgiver and Judge, the one who is able to save and destroy."

    Soli Deo Gloria and peace out homeboy! ~ Happy Calvinist

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