Closet Calvinists

Discussion in 'Calvinism & The Doctrines of Grace' started by Jared, Jul 1, 2008.

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  1. Jared

    Jared Puritan Board Freshman

    I wanted to post some names of certain preachers and worship artists who I think might be monergists. Some of them I know are, and others I'm not sure about but I have reason to believe that they are or that they might be. I wanted to focus especially on those who teach and/or believe the doctrines of grace but don't use certain buzzwords like "the Puritans", "Calvinism" or "reformed" all the time.

    Here are some preachers that I know are reformed but who don't talk about it very much:

    John Wimber
    Francis Chan

    Here are a couple of preachers that I think might be reformed:

    Mike Bickle
    Louie Giglio

    And here are some worship artists that you may not have known are "reformed":

    David Ruis
    Derek Webb
    Sandra McCracken
    Dan Haseltine
    Stuart Townend
    Caedmon's Call

    Here are some worship artists that I'm pretty sure are "reformed":

    Chris Tomlin
    Shane & Shane
    Christy Nockels
    Charlie Hall

    And here are some worship artists that I have reason to think that they might be "reformed", but I'm not sure:

    Matt Redman
    David Crowder
    Misty Edwards
    Mac Powell

    I think that some of the artists from the Vineyard might be "reformed" since John Wimber was and also because of some of the lyrics in their songs. Also, I think that some of the artists from IHOP KC might be as well.

    If you know anything about any of these artists, go ahead and post it here.
  2. Beoga

    Beoga Puritan Board Freshman

    I have heard that David Crowder is Reformed too, but sometimes listening to his music wonder.
    Shane and Shane I have always thought were Reformed, I really enjoy their stuff.
  3. skellam

    skellam Puritan Board Freshman

    The only time I have heard of Francis Chan was a year or two ago when the Stop and Think evangelistic video came out. The video caused some controversy at the time regarding whether or not it was a full presentation of the gospel. I looked at his website at the time and it seemed like an your average emergent leaning contemporary church but I didn't see anything particularly reformed about it. The belief statement is generic and bare-boned.

    Has he been more explicit elsewhere about the details of his theological beliefs that indicates he leans in the reformed direction?
  4. VictorBravo

    VictorBravo Administrator Staff Member

    Wimber reformed? Hardly.

    Maybe he has some monergistic leanings (given his emphasis on the Holy Spirit), but that wouldn't make him reformed.

    Keep in mind that being reformed in our context means (at the very least) being confessional.
  5. Semper Fidelis

    Semper Fidelis 2 Timothy 2:24-25 Staff Member

    I don't consider a person even a "closet Calvinist" if they can only believe something in private and it has no affect on their lives and where they worship. A person who attends the Vineyard is not a Calvinist no matter how confused he may be about the term. Simply having a presdestinarian "bent" doesn't make you Reformed when you're willing to abide by all the impious things that occur.

    You shouldn't have to "guess" if a man is Reformed. He either believes God is Lord over the way men are to preach the Gospel and ensure the Church is obedient to its commission to train or he is double-minded.

    I had a man (nice guy) one time sit down with me because he was concerned about some of the things I had written against the Franklin Graham Festival here. Doctrine didn't matter to them. Whether it was a female minister or a Roman Catholic priest partnering with them, the Festival and their training methods were most important. Making sure men and women heard a message was all that mattered. After these people that had never heard the Gospel came forward they were plugged in, arbitrarily to every kind of heretical Apostolic, Pentecostal, or other kind of weird Church out here. In my estimation, they had simply opened a man's eyes up and sent him on to destruction with no shepherding, no discipleship.

    But I shouldn't speak of these kinds of things as they were divisive. I was not nice because I also criticized an e-mail we all received from a husband and wife on this island that claim to be Apostles.

    Yet, quietly, this same man who told me that I should be nice and get along with such spiritually destructive practices said he was a Calvinist.

    No. He's not.

    And neither are the people on your list if they so easily abide error but only confess truth in their closets.
  6. toddpedlar

    toddpedlar Iron Dramatist Staff Member

    Huh? Reformed? Which John Wimber are you talking about? Surely not the extreme signs-and-wonders preacher I know of. Wimber might very well hold to some or even all of the five points of Calvinism, but a reformed man that does not make. His charismatic excesses rule him out from the start... next you'll be telling us that John Arnott and Benny Hinn are reformed too!

    Can you explain this one a bit?
  7. tburus

    tburus Puritan Board Freshman

    I know that David Crowder is awfully tight with the emerging scene, or at least he was when it was all beginning, and not in a Mark Driscoll way, so I don't know how reformed he is. As for Chan, as best I can recall, he is reformed but is vocally opposed to using labels. I've wondered about Giglio myself. He has a very reformed following (Piper is the first one who comes to mind) but then I see the other people who come to Passion at times and I'm not sure.
  8. Backwoods Presbyterian

    Backwoods Presbyterian Puritan Board Doctor

    Also would question how cloistered we can be in our Calvinism as we interact with the culture around us. We must be careful to think we can live in Calvinist communes. By definition we have to be involved in our communities effecting the Crown Rights of King Jesus.
  9. Jared

    Jared Puritan Board Freshman

    Yes, I bought John Wimber's book, Power Evangelism and on the back was a blurb from J. I. Packer and Packer said that Wimber was reformed.

    BTW: I put reformed in quotes in my original post because I realize that people on the Puritan Board define reformed in the traditional sense of the word. I was not saying that he was reformed in that sense. John Piper took some of the members of his congregation to Wimber's church in Anaheim back in the early 90s. He mentioned that in a sermon that i listened to but I forget what it was called.

    Piper attended Fuller Theological Seminary and John Wimber taught a class on signs and wonders there at the seminary although I believe that was after Piper left.

    I would not say that John Arnott and Benny Hinn are reformed in any way. I met John Arnott once and he prayed for me. He seemed like a nice guy. I never felt the love of God the way that I did while he was praying for me. He is friends with R. T. Kendall and R. T. pastored the Westminster Chapel in London where Dr. Martyn Loyd-Jones pastored. R. T. has preached in Toronto at John's church and R. T. invited John to preach at the chapel while he was the pastor there.

    Anyway, David Ruis is with the Vineyard. He wrote the songs "You're Worthy Of My Praise" and "Every Move I Make". He was preaching at John Arnott's church one time and I heard him say that he was a Calvinist. I have also met David Ruis.
  10. Ivan

    Ivan Pastor

    I keep clothes in my closet, not my theology.
  11. Semper Fidelis

    Semper Fidelis 2 Timothy 2:24-25 Staff Member

    There is a reason why we define terms the way we do. If you're not comfortable with the strictures then it's not as if we have some sort of bait and switch promise of warm and fuzzies and then turn into people committed to a certain Confessional understanding after you join up. I assume you read the sign at the door when you came in, yes?

    You might want to read the Book of Amos. Notice the zeal with which the Northern Tribes are worshipping God. There is great "love" and "zeal" for their religious expression. Their devotion even exceeds, in some cases, what the external requirement demands.

    Just one little problem though.

    They're not worshipping God where He commands in the way He commands. And they are condemned as idolaters.

    Again, a man can have all the feelings in the world that He is pleasing to God. Nobody ever raises their hand when they're reading Paul's admonitions about people with itching ears and says: "Oh yeah! That's me. He's talking about how I am!" Of course not, leaving sound doctrine is always something the other guy is doing. It's always something somebody else is running into a problem with.

    Movements like the Assemblies of God and the Vineyard movement have been proprietors of death wrapped up in a pretty package and bow that says something else. They are at the fore of a new wave of Gnosticism that has become mainstream in American Evangelicalism.

    Call them whatever else you like but simply because an individual confuses himself into thinking that they affirm some 5 points does not hold water if it has absolutely no effect on how they practice their worship. Reformed doctrine, if it penetrates, gives way to Reformed worship. No Reformed worship indicates perhaps an interest or a dabbling in ideas but a reservation that God's Grace and God's Word really is enough. And when people are convinced it isn't enough, they supplement and thereby deny any real confidence in the One Gospel.
  12. Jared

    Jared Puritan Board Freshman


    Eternity Bible College of which Francis is the founder and chancellor includes the following in their statement of faith in regards to salvation.

    We believe that salvation is the gift of God brought to man by grace and received by faith alone in the Lord Jesus Christ, Whose precious blood was shed on Calvary for the forgiveness of our sins (Ephesians 2:8-10, 1:7; John 1:12; I Peter 1:18-19).

    We believe that before the foundation of the world God freely and graciously chose those individuals whom He would save. He did this based upon His own sovereign choice and not based upon any foresight or anticipation of an individual’s decision. The grace of God encompasses the gift of salvation and the means of receiving the gift. All and only those whom the Father draws will come in faith, and all and only those who come in faith will be received by the Father (Romans 8:28-30; Ephesians 1:4, 11; 2 Thessalonians 2:13; 1 Peter 1:1-2; John 6:37, 40, 44; Acts 13:48).

    We believe that God’s sovereign choice does not contradict or negate man’s responsibility for his actions in any way. Man is completely responsible for his decisions and should be honestly called upon to repent and trust Christ as Savior and Lord (John 3:18-19, 36, 5:40; Acts 2:38-39; 2 Corinthians 5:20; Psalm 62:12; Romans 2:5-6; Revelation 20:13).

    We believe that justification is an act of God whereby He forensically declares righteous those who have faith in Christ alone. This righteousness is completely independent of any virtue, merit, or good work of man, but is based upon faith alone. Justification involves both an imputation of the believer’s sin to Christ and the imputation of God’s righteousness to the believer In this way Paul can say that God is both “just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus” (Romans 3:20; 4:6; 8:33, 10:9-10; Acts 2:38; Colossians 2:14; 1 Peter 2:24; 1 Corinthians 1:30; 2 Corinthians 5:21; Romans 3:26).

    Taken from: about ebc: statement of faith
  13. Jared

    Jared Puritan Board Freshman

    BTW: I don't listen to Benny Hinn. I do have some problems with him.

    I don't want to sound angry here. I understand the way you feel. The thing that I see in the book of Acts is people experiencing God. I want to experience God the way that they did and I have. I don't want to sound like I think that I'm better than someone else because I have had experiences that they haven't had.

    I have a friend who pastors a Southern Baptist church and he is a monergist. He is basically a cessationist for the most part and I usually don't even bring things like that up when I'm taling to him. He doesn't really mind if I do, but I don't want to make him feel like I think I am better than him because of experiences that I have had with God.

    It was largely through the Vineyard that I was introduced to Calvinism. Wayne Grudem was a spokesperson for the vineyard and he was friends with John Wimber. That is one of the reasons that I bought his systematic, I saw that he thanked John Wimber for teaching him about the person and work of the Holy Spirit and I liked Wimber quite a bit so I thought I would buy Grudem's systematic.

    Anyway, that's how I came to embrace the doctrines of grace. I bought Grudem's book and read a lot of it and I have learned a lot about what the Bible says about the sovereignty of God.
  14. MW

    MW Puritan Board Doctor

    Acts 2:42, 43, "And they continued stedfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers. And fear came upon every soul: and many wonders and signs were done by the apostles."

    The people adhered to the apostles' doctrine and the apostles did the signs and wonders.
  15. Semper Fidelis

    Semper Fidelis 2 Timothy 2:24-25 Staff Member

    I don't "feel" theology Jared, I think about it. I also don't care what others "experience" in their theology. I care about whether or not what they believe in their theology is true.

    Thus, I don't "feel" that the Reformed Confessions on these matters are accurate summaries of the doctrines in the Scriptures, I am convinced of it: both what we are to believe concerning God and how that worship manifests itself.

    As a creature, I am no better than another creature created in God's image. It is not a matter of haughtiness to be peculiar - to stick with God when the winds of doctrine are blowing others around who have no Anchor.

    I am happy that you've had your eyes opened to the doctrines of grace but my suggestion to you is to be more thoroughgoing. The practices of these Churches is the fruit of wicked dogma. You cannot paste fruit picked from a bad tree on to a good tree and pretend as if it fits. It is double-minded. I would suggest that, as your eyes are becoming increasingly opened, you look around and see where the seedbed for these practices are and do not cozy up to them simply because you have affinity for the people that practice them.

    My concern is very personal both for you and for those that read this board. I believe these movements to be idolatrous. If men within them are either self-deceived or ignorant that they cannot hold together light and darkness then that doesn't mean we look at their confession in one area and conclude that "...wel it works for them so I guess it's OK." I am thankful for the grace of God but I also don't sin all the more by giving approval to strange fire simply that grace may abound.
  16. DMcFadden

    DMcFadden Puritan Board Doctor


    May God continue to bless you as you open yourself up to the glories of our electing Lord's sovereign grace. People like Piper and Grudem are excellent tutors to point you in a substantial direction. They both have earned PhD's in New Testament/Theology and bring to their works a seriousness about being more committed disciples of Jesus Christ. Together, they have had an immense impact upon the broad evangelical movement. Grudem, for instance, has now crossed the 250,000 books in print mark for his systematic theology! Those kinds of numbers for that kind of book are simply mind boggling.

    Their practice at times and that of the majority of PB members is not always the same, however. Calvinists do not all come in the same sizes or shapes. Some, are openly charismatic, others mildly so, and still others strongly anti-charismatic. Confessionally Reformed refers to embracing a set of beliefs that come out of the various Reformed (and Calvinistic Baptist) confessions. They go well beyond the 5 points, the 5 solas, and the like. They touch upon issues of sabbath and the proper attitude toward innovations in worship, for instance. In time you may find that some of your views change as "iron sharpens iron." On the other hand, you may determine that these are not the kind of Calvinists that you want to learn from now.

    When I joined the PB, my background was all in the broad evangelical movement. So, some of the jargon, in-house short-hand, and particular concerns and attitudes confused me or went in one ear and out the other. I learned quickly that there was wisdom to be gained by listening carefully and asking lots of questions of the right people. In time, the board makes lots more sense, even to those of us who come from outside the Reformed tradition. Successful participation here is enhanced by knowing where people are coming from as you prepare to engage them.

    And, in God's providence, I found some of my bigoted ideas dissolving away in the face of Godly wisdom and biblically based answers. I would encourage you to listen carefully and to learn as much as the Lord has to teach you from this place.
  17. KMK

    KMK Administrator Staff Member

    The bottom line is, many of us, through participation on PB, have had to redefine what we thought was the word 'Reformed'. It has been my observation that the majority opinion, as Rich has pointed out, is that being Reformed means worshipping according to the RPW. (As well as other things)
  18. Ricardus

    Ricardus Puritan Board Freshman

    I agree completely with what Semper Fidelis has said. When I left Roman Catholicism, I ended up in the Charismatic movement. I then read Charles Hodge's Systematic Theology, B. B. Warfield's Counterfeit Miracles, Perfectionism and etc. I also read Brunner's A Theology of the Holy Spririt. Soon after I left the Charismatic church and repudiated its teachings. These groups along with Neo-orthodoxy cannot abide with "Calvinism" or the Reformed branch of the Protestant movement. This, to me, is synonymous with true biblical Christianity. A half truth treated as the whole truth is an untruth. Something that many have forgotten.
  19. TheocraticKingdom31

    TheocraticKingdom31 Puritan Board Freshman

    Being a part of that movement for years, before God saved me, I have to say not a chance on Wimber.
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