A critique of the New Calvinism

Discussion in 'Calvinism & The Doctrines of Grace' started by JonathanHunt, Jun 9, 2009.

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  1. Grimmson

    Grimmson Puritan Board Sophomore

    First of all I want to thank Jonathan Hunt for bring this article to my attention. I did not read all of the critiques in relation to the article in question on the Board, but one I would recommend you look at is Archlute.

    I think some of Dr. Peter Masters’ prejudice and tradition does stand out, which others have commented on as while. In regards to the issue of Calvinism and Reformed Theology, Calvinism is Soteriological in its substance and not an invention of the Puritans. By equating Calvinism with Reformed Theology you are doing what I would consider fundamentally a systematic error. This equating systematic error has been around for quite a while from those who confess to be reformed, many times to the area of one’s sacramental theology to such a degree that reformed individual of a Presbyterians perspective would deny Baptist as being reformed. So I think we need to be careful of are systematic categories and what they represent.

    I also think we need to be careful how we define the new era of Calvinism particularly in light of other eras or periods in history. We are quick today to condemn Luther and Calvin’s magisterial position or perhaps the some the Puritans on their Post-mil position. We must recognize that we may not have all of our theology in order, some in light of our own tradition. Therefore, we should show Christian love to individuals such as Mark Driscoll, who has been moving away to some degree from the emergent scene. Perhaps share what are differences are biblical, but not go at a straight forward attack who maybe growing in the reformed faith.

    Let us face it Finneyism is not dead, especially if you read books such as the Purpose Driven Church. Where the focus is on the person by external means outside of the proclaimed Word of God. It is such a powerful tradition that has infected the church that it should be no surprise that it has affected many of our Calvinistic brethren. In fact what we should probably recognize is that many of a charismatic tradition are now learning of the reformed faith by being introduced to Calvinism, and as being a gateway drug start to move to a fuller form of reformed thinking. It just requires teaching and patience on our part.

    Piety has always been under attack, and I would say just as much so in the fundamentalist anti-theological other side of the liberal face coin. What I have seen from individuals like Paul Washer, who I think Masters would also criticize, is a cry out towards a return to piety. I would subject looking at a few of his sermons like the “10 Indictments” as a reference for that. What we need to do is define piety in relation to God’s grace and word instead of the strict moralism that we have attached to it outside of holy scripture. Therefore true worldliness must be defined, something sadly must churches or pastors have trouble doing out here in the U.S. and the rest of the West.

    The article clearly shows his perspective on charismatic worship, which I might add am against as well as theologically, and the use of various forms of music. Here I think his own tradition is standing out:

    “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.”

    I want to focus initial on his use of language, “drug-induced musical forms of worldly culture.” Music by its nature, even though it can dramatically affect one being is not by its nature immoral, even though however many immoral acts associate that genre of music. One example is the upbeat of the great hymn “Joy to the World”. I was critized for being to fast of a song which was compared to immoral music. However today we would not dream to think such with ‘Joy to the World” growing up with it in are own tradition. Here may be another example of culture change, which Masters’ unknowingly may be blinded his tradition. This is not an attack personally on him however for many of are guilty of the same and I do not want it seem as if I am attacking him. Luther, and if this is legend I do not know, why I used modern music in his hymns and his answer was simple. It was so the people could learn the music. Of course we do not sing in the same way they did then even though using the same type of language as the author did above, he may criticize Luther for uniting the doctrines of grace with the immoral drunken-induced musical forms of worldly culture. I think his statement here went a bit to far, but however should be discussed with our circles because we should want to worship God in the manner that he so desires for his worship.

    I do not think John MacArthur, Mark Driscol, or John Piper has an “anti-fourth-commandment” view. I do think the church at large, regardless of denomination, has a weak view concerning the Lord’s Day. It is a subject that I think needs to be taught more on and a concern that I agree with Masters over, though I would not use his language there of.

    Many of Masters concerns I think are legitimate concerns, but the rhetoric must be balanced with love. We do not want to be as some have called a “Chosen Frozen”. Therefore instead of attacking we should move to biblical discussions on the issues at hand. Also how history has also shaped on views as well, challenging are own man made traditions. Hopefully articles like this will continue the conversation instead of hurt it.

    To God be the Glory and Honor Forever
  2. JonathanHunt

    JonathanHunt Puritan Board Senior

    To be fair, I do not believe that MacArthur, Driscoll or Piper teach the fourth commandment in the way in which the Westminster confession/catechisms teach it. This would be the 'traditional reformed view' (allowing for nuances and slight differences).

    The names mentioned above teach a much softer view and seem to have (MacArthur a case in point) no issues whatever with eating out on the Lord's Day and so forth.

    I wouldn't say 'anti fourth commandment' but perhaps 'soft on the fourth commandment in comparison with historical reformed views'.

    I'm not wanting to start a debate on this but simply to say that there IS a difference between a lot of teaching today on the Lord's Day and the teaching that has gone before.

    I have not expressed an opinion on this (Lord's Day) subject, as I don't want to start another off-topic debate. Just thought the point was worth making.

    I'm bowing out of this one now as there has been a bit too much heat here. It is not for us to take offence on behalf of one or another of our christian heroes, they can take care of themselves.
  3. Wannabee

    Wannabee Obi Wan Kenobi

    It might be helpful to recognize that disagreeing that Sunday, the Lord's Day, is the Christian Sabbath does not necessitate a low view of the fourth commandment. It's a different view. And, for some, it may be a low view. I only pose this to help the thought process. The debate over it has been hashed out here enough already. A simple search should yield many threads.
  4. sealdaSupralapsarian

    sealdaSupralapsarian Puritan Board Freshman

    John Gill wasn't Premill. Have you seen his exposition of Matthew 24? He was clearly a partial preterist. But again, people do go through stages during their theological journey so perhaps he started out Pre-Mill. :detective:

    Spurgeon was believed to be Post Mill but sometimes taught contrary to it. Go figure.

    John Owens was no doubt Post Mill.

    Oh, and I'm the guy who wrote that email. I just joined the board last night.

    Grace and Peace,
  5. Confessor

    Confessor Puritan Board Senior

    How are partial preterism and historic premil incompatible?

    And :welcome:
  6. Jimmy the Greek

    Jimmy the Greek Puritan Board Senior

    From Gill's Body of Divinity, Book 7—Chapter 8: Of the Millennium:

    "That Christ will have a special, peculiar, glorious, and visible kingdom, in which he will reign personally on earth."

    "This kingdom of Christ will be bounded by two resurrections; by the first resurrection, or the resurrection of the just, at which it will begin; and by the second resurrection, or the resurrection of the wicked, at which it will end, or nearly; for it is expressly said, that "the rest of the dead," that is, the wicked, "lived not again until the thousand years were finished": now in the interval between the resurrection of the one, and the resurrection of the other, will be the millennium, or thousand years reign of Christ and his people together."

    Sounds historic premill to me.
  7. sealdaSupralapsarian

    sealdaSupralapsarian Puritan Board Freshman

    I'll get back to you on that. I'm a Partial Preterist and I haven't met one Historic premill that agrees with me on my views. Perhaps Gill would have been the first.

    But the beginning would be Matthew 24 and 25 being fulfilled in 70 A.D. Not sure if any Premill would agree with that.

    Any takers?

    And I'm glad to be here. I've been trying to join for about 9 months now but my yahoo kept blocking my registration confirmation...I've made up about 10 names...LOL.... Why isn't my picture showing up???

    Also, Gomarus can you tell me what part in his life he wrote that book. Later on in his years I know he started to study more Jewish renditions of the sacred text. Thanx..:think:

    Grace and Peace,
  8. A2JC4life

    A2JC4life Puritan Board Freshman

    Maybe. Our eschatology is the one thing we're not real solid on (having only recently been made aware that our former beliefs weren't actually based on anything but what we'd been told), but I think that for the moment I'd best be described as mid- or post-trib pre-mill, and I'm pretty sure I believe that at least parts of Matthew 24/25 were fulfilled in AD 70.
  9. T.U.L.I.P. TYLER

    T.U.L.I.P. TYLER Inactive User

    i am so tired of legalism in the church it makes me sick
  10. sealdaSupralapsarian

    sealdaSupralapsarian Puritan Board Freshman

    Well my dear Master Mrs. or Ms., we'd have a disagreement there b/c I believe all parts were fulfilled. I'm glad however to see that you are growing in Truth b/c so many people put Eschatology on the back burner for their entire lives never knowing the grave importance of understanding what the Cross accomplished.

    Grace and Peace,
  11. A2JC4life

    A2JC4life Puritan Board Freshman

    Agreed. :) Unfortunately, it seems to be the norm in Christian circles where theology is not handled systematically to either obsess over eschatology or to consider it unimportant and ignore it. :( But God gave us Scripture about it, so presumably He considers it important, even though it isn't the most important thing.
  12. Jimmy the Greek

    Jimmy the Greek Puritan Board Senior

    Firstly, his Body of Divinity was published in 1767, less than four years before his death. According to one biographer, at the time he fully expected it to be his last publication.

    Secondly, I quote from an interview with Dr. Ken Gentry here:
    "Preterism is a hermeneutical tool; postmillennialism is an eschatological system. Preterism fits nicely with postmillennialism, but is not a necessary condition for it. Historically most postmillennialists were not preterists. And there are many non-postmillennial preterists, such as Jay Adams and Cornelis Vanderwaal. In fact, on Matthew 24, premillennial Puritan John Gill offers a preterist approach which I follow quite closely." (italics mine)

    It seems that Gentry does not see a fundamental incompatibility between historic Premill and partial preterism, while noting Gill was premill.
  13. Prufrock

    Prufrock Arbitrary Moderation

    If you're simply making a general (and slightly a-contextual) statement that you do not like legalism, then "Amen, brother!"

    But if you are asserting that you have found such legalism in the posts of the participants in this thread, please be sure to include evidence with such an accusation, and be prepared to either demonstrate it or retract your statement.
  14. sealdaSupralapsarian

    sealdaSupralapsarian Puritan Board Freshman

    Interesting. Touche... I'll go back and Edit. I was always under the impression from his writings that he was Post Mill. However, I would disagree with Gentry that Premill is compatible with Partial Preterism. Gentry believes in the split between Matthew 24 and 25. Me and him part ways. I've had dinner with Gentry once before. He's a beast (brilliant for you old heads). And has a ton of knowledge.

    Grace and Peace,
  15. The Author of my Faith

    The Author of my Faith Puritan Board Freshman

    What about Psalm 150?

    Praise him with the trumpet sound; praise him wit lute and Harp (a harp has strings like a piano and a keyboard is advanced technology that sounds like a piano) Praise him with the tambourine and dance. Let me ask you a question? What about Dancing? Are you going to cut that verse out because you do not like it? Praise him with strings and pipe. What about a PIPE ORGAN is that excluded from the witness of scripture? Correct me if I am wrong but did not King David invent instruments for worship?

    Sorry my brother but I do not believe you are rightly dividing the word of truth.
  16. Confessor

    Confessor Puritan Board Senior

    Instruments were specifically instituted by God for temple worship, and they were used only as He expressly instructed.(i.e. there was no freedom to add or subtract or change instruments as one pleased). This is substantiated historically as well, in that Orthodox Jews did not use instruments in worship until sometime in the early nineteenth century (1810 I think).

    As for dancing, that's a good question. I'd have to ask someone who knows more about the RPW than I do.
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