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General discussions discuss Favorite Non Reformed Theologian in the General Forums forums; Originally Posted by Pilgrim Originally Posted by servantofmosthigh Does anyone know if Ravi Zaccharias is Reformed or not? No. He is an evangelist with the ...

  1. #81
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pilgrim View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by servantofmosthigh View Post
    Does anyone know if Ravi Zaccharias is Reformed or not?
    No. He is an evangelist with the Christian and Missionary Alliance.
    that definitely qualifies him as my choice for favorit unreformed theologian/preacher/evangelist/apologist ... whatever kind of label we would want to put on him. I love hearing him speak because he challenges me to think about things. Thinking about everything I have been taught in the past is one way God worked in me for reformation. Ravi helps me to think about evangelism in a whole new way and I like how he can explain almost anything or answer any question with a cross centered approach.
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    I have a real soft spot for Harry A. Ironside, "Holiness- the false and the true" is an amazing book and pretty much anything he wrote is worth reading.
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    Assuming we have to exclude theologians before the Reformation, or the category simply doesn't apply. Therefore, Karl Rahner.
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    Augustine! Oh, wait...

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    Quote Originally Posted by Pilgrim View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Simply_Nikki View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by danmpem View Post

    That's exactly where I got the idea he was a Calvinist. There were people who would call asking about the doctrines of grace and all that, and he would help them think with him as to how he defines certain words, what limits he puts on human will, etc. I would be interested in seeing something recent he's said or written to show he's not a Calvinist.

    And even then I wouldn't believe him. He just needs to come out of the closet and admit he's a 5-pointer!


    I went to Moody Bible Church for about 6 months, I thought they were somewhat reformed leaning, or at least calvinistic. I was always on the edge, wondering if they were or not. Then an easter sermon removed all doubt when I heard Dr. Lutzer say.. something like (and this is not a direct quote) "Jesus is standing, knocking at the door of your heart why won't you let him in?"

    I still thing he is a very good preacher though. But I left his church soon after that and joined a presbyterian one.
    Obviously there's some disconnect at work between his belief and practice. Either that or he has changed his views. In The Doctrines That Divide he defends Calvinistic soteriology.

    Dr. Lutzer is a Calvinist. I met him at a Reformation and Revival Conference at First Baptist Church of Carmel, Indiana back in the early to mid 90's. I have even heard him defend Calvinism on Moody Radio when He was the Pastor at Moody. I don't know if he is still there or not.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Hippo View Post
    I have a real soft spot for Harry A. Ironside, "Holiness- the false and the true" is an amazing book and pretty much anything he wrote is worth reading.
    He is another good one. I don't know whether he was Calvinistic in his soteriology or not. He was dispensationalist, but unlike Chafer et.al. he upheld the Lordship of Christ. He wrote a book titled Unless Ye Repent or something like that that attacked the no lordship teaching.
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    I imagine not many of you guys have never heard of Gil Rugh. I use to listen to him a lot on the radio about 15 years ago. He has a radio program called Sound words. I always appreciated his radio program.

    Everyone on the radio that I use to listen to was always dispensational which drove me crazy but that was how it was. I felt I was a man on a island all alone in Indianapolis when I returned from the military service.

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    Quote Originally Posted by AV1611 View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by yeutter View Post
    My favorite is St. Thomas Aquinas.
    I have not read a great deal of him, but I plan to. Where should I start?
    Amazon.com: A Summa of the Summa: Thomas: Books

    (a good cheap reading of Aquinas. You get to read him and get Kreeft's insights, but does not do justice to St Thomas' eschatological foundationalism. As John Milbank points out, Kreeft (not by name) and others read a correspondence theory of truth back into Aquinas.

    Amazon.com: Truth in Aquinas (Radical Orthodoxy): John Milbank, Catherine Pickstock: Books
    (Expensive, but one of the best books I have read. Ultra hard to read, but worth it. Makes the claim that Aquinas held to a neo-platonic ontology of participation over against standard Aristotelian readings of Aquinas)

    Amazon.com: The Christian Philosophy Of St Thomas Aquinas: Etienne Gilson: Books

    (the basic Thomist treatment of Aquinas. straightfoward)

    Amazon.com: After Aquinas: Versions of Thomism: Fergus Kerr: Books

    (very easy to read and quite provacative in its suggestions)

    Amazon.com: Revolutions in Worldview: Understanding the Flow of Western Thought: W. Andrew Hoffecker: Books

    (contains Leithart's essay on medieval theology, easily worth the price of the book)
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    Piper, MacArthur, Mohler.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Barnpreacher View Post
    Piper, MacArthur, Mohler.
    Piper and Mohler aren't Reformed? Well, I know they aren't Reformed in the Presby sort of way, but I think being Reformed Baptists are close enough.

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    Quote Originally Posted by PuritanCovenanter View Post
    Dr. Lutzer is a Calvinist. I met him at a Reformation and Revival Conference at First Baptist Church of Carmel, Indiana back in the early to mid 90's. I have even heard him defend Calvinism on Moody Radio when He was the Pastor at Moody. I don't know if he is still there or not.
    Yes, he is still there and doing quite well. He has at least two programs on Moody Radio. He's a good one.
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    Quote Originally Posted by danmpem View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Barnpreacher View Post
    Piper, MacArthur, Mohler.
    Piper and Mohler aren't Reformed? Well, I know they aren't Reformed in the Presby sort of way, but I think being Reformed Baptists are close enough.
    All three men regularly borrow from the dispensational principles of Scripture. I would think that would disqualify them from being "Reformed." I know this is an ongoing argument. Maybe it would have helped if the thread would have been entitled, favorite non-Calvinist theologian.
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    Just Kidding. Ravi Zacharias is perhaps my fav. J. Vernon McGee is up there! His bible bus is good, but come Sunday, that man knew how to preach!! I also like to listen to Fulton John Sheen (especially his black and white days) and read First Things. That's about as non-reformed as you can get. Besides Barth.
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    Robert Farrar Capon (Canadian Anglican, I think) of whose work I know only one paragraph but it is choice:

    The Reformation was a time when men went blind, staggering drunk because they had discovered, in the dusty basement of late medievalism, a whole cellar of 1500-year-old, 200 proof grace—a bottle after bottle of pure distillate of Scripture, one sip of which would convince anyone that God saves us single-handedly. The word of the gospel—after all these centuries of trying to lift yourself into heaven by worrying about the perfection of your own bootstraps—suddenly turned out to be a flat announcement that the saved were home-free before they started. Grace was to be drunk neat: no water, no ice, and certainly no ginger ale.
    Anybody know where this comes from? I found it attributed to Capon but no source was given.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Barnpreacher View Post
    All three men regularly borrow from the dispensational principles of Scripture. I would think that would disqualify them from being "Reformed." I know this is an ongoing argument. Maybe it would have helped if the thread would have been entitled, favorite non-Calvinist theologian.
    Gotcha. One thing I was wondering, when did/does Piper borrow from any dispy principles? I thought he was somewhere between CT and NCT.

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    Quote Originally Posted by danmpem View Post

    Gotcha. One thing I was wondering, when did/does Piper borrow from any dispy principles? I thought he was somewhere between CT and NCT.
    Wild stab in the dark . . .

    Piper idolizes his old NT prof Dan Fuller. Fuller has been roundly criticized for his attempt to cobble together a mediating position which reconceptualizes CT. In fairness to Piper he does not hold his mentor's views on justification, faith, and obedience. Still, critics of Fuller sometimes attribute to Piper the sins of the mentor. I think it would be a significant error to find dispensational elements in Piper, but I do not claim to be a scholar on the Piper corpus.
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    What does John Piper believe about dispensationalism, covenant theology, and new covenant theology?
    Download:

    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    By DG Staff January 23, 2006


    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    There are three main theological camps on the issues of law, gospel, and the structuring of God's redemptive relationship with humankind: dispensationalism, covenant theology, and new covenant theology. Many have written to us asking about the differences between these three views, and so before discussing John Piper's perspective we will give an overview of each.

    Dispensationalism
    It can be hard to summarize dispensational theology as a whole because in recent years multiple forms of it have developed. In general, there are three main distinctives.

    First, dispensationalism sees God as structuring His relationship with mankind through several stages of revelation which mark off different dispensations, or stewardship arrangements. Each dispensation is a "test" of mankind to be faithful to the particular revelation given at the time. Generally, seven dispensations are distinguished: innocence (before the fall), conscience (Adam to Noah), government (Noah to Babel), promise (Abraham to Moses), Law (Moses to Christ), grace (Pentecost to the rapture), and the millennium.

    Second, dispensationalism holds to a literal interpretation of Scripture. This does not deny the existence of figures of speech and non-literal language in the Bible, but rather means that there is a literal meaning behind the figurative passages.

    Third, as a result of this literal interpretation of Scripture, dispensationalism holds to a distinction between Israel (even believing Israel) and the church. On this view, the promises made to Israel in the OT were not intended as prophecies about what God would do spiritually for the church, but will literally be fulfilled by Israel itself (largely in the millennium). For example, the promise of the land is interpreted to mean that God will one day fully restore Israel to Palestine. In contrast, non-dispensationalists typically see the land promise as intended by God to prophesy, in shadowy Old-covenant-form, the greater reality that He would one day make the entire church, Jews and Gentiles, heirs of the whole renewed world (cf. Romans 4:13).

    In many ways it is thus accurate to say that dispensationalism believes in "two peoples of God." Although both Jews and Gentiles are saved by Christ through faith, believing Israel will be the recipient of additional "earthly" promises (such as prosperity in the specific land of Palestine, to be fully realized in the millennium) that do not apply to believing Gentiles, whose primary inheritance is thus "heavenly."

    Covenant Theology
    Covenant theology believes that God has structured his relationship with humanity by covenants rather than dispensations. For example, in Scripture we explicitly read of various covenants functioning as the major stages in redemptive history, such as the covenant with Abraham, the giving of the law, the covenant with David, and the new covenant. These post-fall covenants are not new tests of man's faithfulness to each new stage of revelation (as are the dispensations in dispensationalism), but are rather differing administrations of the single, overarching covenant of grace.

    The covenant of grace is one of two fundamental covenants in covenant theology. It structures God's post-fall relationship to mankind; pre-fall, God structured His relationship by the covenant of works. The covenant of grace is best understood in relation to the covenant of works.

    The covenant of works, instituted in the Garden of Eden, was the promise that perfect obedience would be rewarded with eternal life. Adam was created sinless but with the capability of falling into sin. Had he remained faithful in the time of temptation in the Garden (the "probationary period"), he would have been made incapable of sinning and secured in an eternal and unbreakable right standing with God.

    But Adam sinned and broke the covenant, and thereby subjected himself and all his descendants to the penalty for covenant-breaking, condemnation. God in His mercy therefore instituted the "covenant of grace," which is the promise of redemption and eternal life to those who would believe in the (coming) redeemer. The requirement of perfect obedience for eternal life is not annulled by the covenant of grace, but is rather fulfilled by Christ on behalf of His people, since now that all are sinners no one can meet the condition of perfect obedience by his own performance. The covenant of grace, then, does not set aside the covenant of works but rather fulfills it.

    As mentioned above, covenant theology emphasizes that there is only one covenant of grace, and that all of the various redemptive covenants that we read of in the Scripture are simply differing administrations of this one covenant. In support, it is pointed out that a covenant is in essence simply a sovereignly given promise (usually with stipulations), and since there is only one promise of salvation (namely, by grace through faith), it follows that there is therefore only one covenant of grace. All of the specific redemptive covenants we read of (the Abrahamic, Mosaic, etc.) are various and culminating expressions of the covenant of grace.

    New Covenant Theology
    New covenant theology typically does not hold to a covenant of works or one overarching covenant of grace (although they would still argue for only one way of salvation). The essential difference between New Covenant Theology (hereafter NCT) and Covenant Theology (CT), however, concerns the Mosaic Law. CT holds that the Mosaic Law can be divided into three groups of laws--those regulating the government of Israel (civil laws), ceremonial laws, and moral laws. The ceremonial law and civil law are no longer in force because the former was fulfilled in Christ and the latter only applied to Israel's theocracy, which is now defunct. But the moral law continues.

    NCT argues that one cannot divide the law up in that way, as though part of the Mosaic Law can be abrogated while the rest remains in force. The Mosaic Law is a unity, they say, and so if part of it is canceled, all of it must be canceled. On top of this, they say that the New Testament clearly teaches that the Mosaic Law as a whole is superseded in Christ. It is, in other words, no longer our direct and immediate source of guidance. The Mosaic Law, as a law, is no longer binding on the believer.

    Does this mean that believers are not bound by any divine law? No, because the Mosaic Law has been replaced by the law of Christ. NCT makes a distinction between the eternal moral law of God and the code in which God expresses that law to us. The Mosaic Law is an expression of God's eternal moral law as a particular code which also contains positive regulations pertinent to the code's particular temporal purpose, and therefore the cancellation of the Mosaic Law does not mean that the eternal moral law is itself canceled. Rather, upon canceling the Mosaic Law, God gave us a different expression of his eternal moral law--namely, the Law of Christ, consisting in the moral instructions of Christ's teaching and the New Testament. The key issue that NCT seeks to raise is: Where do we look to see the expression of God's eternal moral law today--do we look to Moses, or to Christ? NCT says we look to Christ.

    There are many similarities between the Law of Christ and Mosaic Law, but that does not change the fact that the Mosaic Law has been canceled and that, therefore, we are not to look to it for direct guidance but rather to the New Testament. For example, England and the US have many similar laws (for example, murder is illegal in both countries). Nonetheless, the English are not under the laws of America, but of England. If an English citizen murders in England, he is held accountable for breaking England's law against murder, not America's law against murder.

    The benefit of NCT, its advocates argue, is that it solves the difficulty of trying to figure out which of the Mosaic laws apply to us today. On their understanding, since the Mosaic Law is no longer a direct and immediate source of guidance, we look to the Law of Christ for our direct guidance. Although the Mosaic Law is no longer a binding law code in the NT era, it still has the authority, not of law, but of prophetic witness. As such, it fills out and explains certain concepts in both the old and new covenant law.

    John Piper's position
    John Piper has some things in common with each of these views, but does not classify himself within any of these three camps. He is probably the furthest away from dispensationalism, although he does agree with dispensationalism that there will be a millennium.

    Many of his theological heroes have been covenant theologians (for example, many of the Puritans), and he does see some merit in the concept of a pre-fall covenant of works, but he has not taken a position on their specific conception of the covenant of grace.

    In regards to his views on the Mosaic Law, he seems closer to new covenant theology than covenant theology, although once again it would not work to say that he precisely falls within that category.

    Further Resources

    On covenant theology:

    O. Palmer Robertson, Christ of the Covenants
    Westminster Confession of Faith, chapter 7
    Louis Berkhof, Systematic Theology
    Charles Hodge, Systematic Theology
    The Covenants: The Structure of Redemption

    On dispensationalism:

    Craig Blaising and Darrell Bock, Progressive Dispensationalism
    Vern Poythress, Understanding Dispensationalists

    On new covenant theology:

    Sound of Grace
    What is New Covenant Theology?
    Sola Gratia's New Covenant Theology Page
    John Reisenger, Abraham's Four Seeds
    Tom Wells and Fred Zaspel, New Covenant Theology: Description, Definition, Defense

    On a biblical theology of the Mosaic Law:

    Tom Schreiner, The Law and Its Fulfillment
    Frank Thielman, Paul & the Law
    Wayne Strickland, ed., Five Views on Law and Gospel
    What does John Piper believe about dispensationalism, covenant theology, and new covenant theology? :: Desiring God Christian Resource Library


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    Quote Originally Posted by Pilgrim View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Reformingstudent View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by North Jersey Baptist View Post
    Chuck Swindoll. I enjoy his stories and the lilt of his voice. He seems like he's a real nice guy.
    Not sure how true it is, but someone once told me a while back that Swindoll was becoming Calvinistic in his theology. That would be great. Loved his book, the Grace Awakening.
    Like a lot of Dallas Seminary grads, he has a high view of God's sovereignty compared to the average evangelical. Many of them have held what are essentially 4 point views, but 5 pointers there have been rare. Reportedly that was one reason for the departure of longtime Prof. S. Lewis Johnson years ago.

    The pastor of Northwest Bible Church in OKC (reformed baptist) is a DTS grad. However, I am not sure if he adopted the Calvinist view during or after his time there.

    There are actually a number of DTS guys who have come into the REC over the past few years.
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    favorite non-reformed teacher?

    Don't really have any current teachers that I care for.

    I do like Thomas a Kempis' Imitation of Christ. I also find food for thought in the Philokalia which is a collection of Eastern Orthodox writings.

    Someone mentioned Lutherans - I actually have begun reading Lutheran works with some regularity.
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    I have long respected the service, life example and teaching ability of

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    Quote Originally Posted by Presbyterian Deacon View Post
    Adam Clarke's Commentary is often entertaining. Of his commentary C. H. Spurgeon wrote:

    Adam Clarke is the great annotator of our Wesleyan friends; and they have no reason to be ashamed of him, for he takes rank among the chief of expositors. His mind was evidently fascinated by the singularities of learning, and hence his commentary is rather too much of an old curiosity shop, but it is filled with valuable rarities, such as none but a great man could have collected...If you consider Clarke wanting in unction, do not read him for savour but for criticism, and then you will not be disappointed.
    --Commenting on Commentaries (page 10).

    I quite like Clarke. He makes a great use of Lightfoot which is pretty interesting, esp regarding 1 Corinthians 12-14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Barnpreacher View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by danmpem View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Barnpreacher View Post
    Piper, MacArthur, Mohler.
    Piper and Mohler aren't Reformed? Well, I know they aren't Reformed in the Presby sort of way, but I think being Reformed Baptists are close enough.
    All three men regularly borrow from the dispensational principles of Scripture. I would think that would disqualify them from being "Reformed." I know this is an ongoing argument. Maybe it would have helped if the thread would have been entitled, favorite non-Calvinist theologian.
    Ryan,

    Can you give an example of "Mohler borrowing from the dispensational principles of Scripture?" I read his blog from time to time but only occasionally listen to his radio show online.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Barnpreacher View Post
    That was the article that I read as well. Thanks for that.

  25. #105
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pilgrim View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Barnpreacher View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by danmpem View Post

    Piper and Mohler aren't Reformed? Well, I know they aren't Reformed in the Presby sort of way, but I think being Reformed Baptists are close enough.
    All three men regularly borrow from the dispensational principles of Scripture. I would think that would disqualify them from being "Reformed." I know this is an ongoing argument. Maybe it would have helped if the thread would have been entitled, favorite non-Calvinist theologian.
    Ryan,

    Can you give an example of "Mohler borrowing from the dispensational principles of Scripture?" I read his blog from time to time but only occasionally listen to his radio show online.
    Chris,

    I cannot. Perhaps I should not have lumped Mohler in with MacArthur and Piper. And when all is said and done I don't believe that Piper believes much dispensationalism at all. I've listened to his views on national Israel and they seem to lean more dispensational than Reformed. But other than that I don't think Piper is very dispensational at all. I know MacArthur's views on end times, national Israel etc. lean toward dispensationalism, so I was probably unjustly lumping Mohler in with those two without knowing for sure where he stands on issues like that.
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  26. #106
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    And there is Piper's view on the Covenant of Works that seems pretty out of step with Reformed theology as well. I posted his thoughts on the matter here:

    Piper and the Covenant of Works

    I would be interested to see what side Mohler would line up with on an issue like this.
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  27. #107
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    Calvin help the blogger who feeds too much upon non-Reformed thougt!
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  28. #108
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    Quote Originally Posted by Barnpreacher View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Pilgrim View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by danmpem View Post

    He's not reformed? Somehow I got the idea he was...

    And he's definitely one of my favorites too.
    People tend to assume that because he is at Southern Seminary. I heard an interview with him where when asked, he said he was not a Calvinist and this was hinted at in Why I Am a Baptist too. Regardless, I think he is one of the better young theologians today.
    Wow! I didn't think he was Reformed, but I assumed he was at least a Calvinist. He fills in for Mohler on his program when he's out. I wouldn't think Mohler would want a non-Calvinist doing that.
    Dr. Mohler apparently is on vacation this week and Dr. Russell Moore is filling in. On today's program in about the 22nd minute Moore stated in response to a question about evangelism that he does not believe in limited atonement.
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  29. #109
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    Would John Hannah at DTS count? He is reformed but teaches at the mecca of dispensationalism. If so, he is my favorite.
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  30. #110
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    C. F. W. Walther is worth reading.
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  31. #111
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    Judging by the high bar for accepting people as truly Reformed on the PB . . .

    In order of ascending degrees of reformedness . . .

    Barth (just to tick off Tim - Grymir who would consider him completely unreformed)
    Luther
    Erickson
    Grudem
    Piper
    Owen (hey, I thought he was Reformed but he was a congregationalist after all)
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  32. #112
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    Quote Originally Posted by DMcFadden View Post
    Judging by the high bar for accepting people as truly Reformed on the PB . . .

    In order of ascending degrees of reformedness . . .

    Barth (just to tick off Tim - Grymir who would consider him completely unreformed)
    Luther
    Erickson
    Grudem
    Piper
    Owen (hey, I thought he was Reformed but he was a congregationalist after all)
    Barth ?!? Oh man, that's it. I just called the Mormons, and gave them your address and told them you wanted to become a Mormon. So they'll be knocking at your door. Expect it when you least expect it. Next week it will be the JW's unless you renounce Barth. Man, I love being on the PB!! I wish other people were as wise as you DMcFadden. To be able to say such things, and to appreciate the jocularities and subtle nuances is refreshing, and show a grasp of the subject I wish more people had.

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  33. #113
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    Quote Originally Posted by Barnpreacher View Post
    And there is Piper's view on the Covenant of Works that seems pretty out of step with Reformed theology as well. I posted his thoughts on the matter here:

    Piper and the Covenant of Works

    I would be interested to see what side Mohler would line up with on an issue like this.
    I'm not sure in that instance. I've only recently started listening to the podcasts with any regularity, but in one recent program he clearly contradicted the old school dispensational approach of saying part of the NT is for Israel (i.e. Sermon on the Mount) and part is for the church. On eschatology he appears to be in the historic premil camp, having argued that position in a symposium on eschatology at SBTS a few years ago.
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