"new" calvinism

Discussion in 'Calvinism & The Doctrines of Grace' started by presbyterianintexas, Apr 30, 2010.

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  1. MW

    MW Puritan Board Doctor

    I provided you with the "New Calvinist" statement which consciously distinguishes its aims from Old Calvinists. One of the things it finds disagreeable about Old Calvinism is "separation." For you to ask where they "fail to separate" is irrelevant. By their own confession, they aim not to separate. Either you agree with that distinctive or you don't. You indicated that you agree with it, but now your question supposes that not separating might be considered a failure.
    Last edited: May 5, 2010
  2. Herald

    Herald Administrator Staff Member

    If I may elucidate a bit more on what Rich wrote. One criticism levied against Reformed confessional churches is that they have their head in the sand. They have what they believe is truth and are unwilling to consider other teachings. That's simply not true. Reformed churches don't believe they have exclusivity in the realm of biblical truth. Confessional churches are such because the confessions have been tested, tried, prodded, poked, and run through the ringer and are still standing. They are a lighthouse that brings us safely home and keeps us from shipwrecking our faith over new and untested doctrines. If a new doctrine appears on the scene it bears the burden of proving it's case against scripture.

    Are there confessional churches that have lost their way? Yes. Are there confessional churches that have become satisfied with their own numbers that they are more dead than alive? Again, sadly, yes. But that can be said about all Christian movements and denominations. The neo-Calvinist churches will be no exception. There's a reason that none of the seven churches of Revelation are around anymore. Churches that stray from the truth, even a little, eventually go extinct. Confessional churches are not immune from that same fate, but they have a solid foundation on which to stand; biblical truth that has been clearly explained and placed in a format that can be understood by all. If the neo-Calvinist churches are a moving target in respect to doctrine, how can they expect to avoid history?
  3. PuritanCovenanter

    PuritanCovenanter Moderator Staff Member

    Sorry, I have not checked back in on this. This is my blog on whether Reformed Baptist are Reformed or not. We are not historically called Reformed unless you want A. A. Hodge's definition to take hold. According to him at one time we were the most thorough reformers.


    You evidently have a lot to learn as I do.
  4. Kiffin

    Kiffin Puritan Board Freshman

    New Calvinists are departing from a certain type of "separation" and not separation entirely. Where an aspect of culture is deemed sinful, I am pretty sure New Calvinists wouldn't have a problem separating. The reason why I need clarification is because I come out of Fundamentalism--a movement where the Gospel became secondary to separation. This movement assumed its interpretation of culture was always correct (music, dress standards, alcohol, etc). So again, which areas do New Calvinists fail to separate and sin?
  5. MW

    MW Puritan Board Doctor

    "Fundamentalism" holds to the fundamentals of the faith, so I'm not sure how you can claim that the gospel becomes secondary. Your particular situation might have warranted that assessment but it does not characterise the movement as a whole.

    I think you need to go and read some of Driscoll's writings because your idea of "separation" is not what New Calvinists hold. As I've stated, there is no point descending to particulars when there is no agreement on the universal. While you continue to speak of separation you are maintaining a different paradigm.
  6. Philip

    Philip Puritan Board Graduate

    It originally meant that. Today it denotes a brand of Christianity that tends toward pharisaism, particularly in America. It is the modus operandi of a lot of Baptist churches here in the states, particularly in the American South (the so-called "Bible Belt"). The result is a narrow legalistic view of Christianity that is largely cultural rather than evangelical (Gospel-centered).

    The term at one time did mean all that you say, but has come to denote something far different. In our own time, the term "evangelical" is undergoing a similar change.
  7. Kiffin

    Kiffin Puritan Board Freshman

    Philip hit it dead on.

    Rev Winzer,

    Here is Driscoll himself on culture:
    YouTube - Christian Culture vs. Biblical Culture

    YouTube - Worldliness and Culture

    YouTube - Biblical Principles and Cultural Methods

    Where would you disagree with him in these videos?

    He exhibits a level of separation to me. You might feel uncomfortable with a few words in the third video--but he's right, all of us practice some level of contextualization. Please direct me to some of Driscoll's writings that contradict what he says in these videos.

  8. Jared

    Jared Puritan Board Freshman

    My take on this is that the definition of calvinism and reformed is dependent on who you ask. If you ask someone who is truly reformed, they will tell you that you can't be reformed or a calvinist unless you are truly reformed or truly calvinist. However, if you ask someone like Erwin Lutzer, John MacArthur, Mark Driscoll, or C.J. Mahaney, they would probably say that you could be reformed or a calvinist without being truly reformed or truly calvinist although they would probably prefer reformed to calvinist since the word calvinist carries more negative connotations than the word reformed.

    BTW: I thought of an interesting scenario. The Assemblies of God is presbyterian in their form of church polity. The SBC is more congregational. So, you could at least in theory have someone in the A/G who was truly reformed more easily than in the SBC. Of course, there's also the issue of continuationism on the A/G side, but I did see someone on here who had pastored an A/G church who was a cessationist. So, I guess that it's possible.
  9. ThomasCartwright

    ThomasCartwright Puritan Board Freshman

    This is a somewhat bizarre argument that allows you to always win as you reject what most historically regarded as worldly and sinful as being so - so then you can never be accused of not separating from "sin."

    Your real premise is that you believe what is called Fundamentalist today is wrong in its beliefs as to what constitutes worldliness. How that leads to the sweeping generalisation that biblical separation is more important to Fundamentalists than the essential doctrines of the gospel is beyond me. If Fundamentalists believe a certain practice is sinful or unhealthy for their local churches are they not entitled to separate over it? I would have thought that most people on PB recognise that doctrines that go beyond the essential doctrines of salvation are worth separating over - hence e.g. Reformed Presbyterian and Reformed Baptist churches.

    It never ceases to amaze me that people who claim to be committed to the historic Refomed Faith are so intolerant of those who try, albeit imperfectly, to live as separated a life from the world/age around them according to their conscience. As Mr Spurgeon put it,

    Spurgeon and Places of Entertainment
  10. kvanlaan

    kvanlaan Puritan Board Doctor

    Very well put.
  11. pesterjon

    pesterjon Puritan Board Freshman

    Jason, absolutely.

    And I am not saying it is unbiblical to say "Reformed = holding to a Reformed confession." What I am saying is that in my exposure to Reformed writers Reformed faith and theology was always explained more directly through the Bible, rather than simply confessional subscription. This clear and compelling biblical definition of Reformed theology is what has drawn me to the Reformed faith, so I find it rather interesting and somewhat unhelpful when Reformed faith is framed in a very different way by simply saying one is judged to be Reformed or not on the basis of confessional subscription.

    We are at St. Jude and I am 750 miles from my library, but can get you some examples when I get home. Off the top of my head contemporary examples would be Boice and Frame. I have already linked on this thread to helpful articles in this regard.

    Just received the latest Tabletalk on New Calvinism, and there are several helpful articles on this topic.

    ---------- Post added at 10:14 AM ---------- Previous post was at 09:58 AM ----------

    Clearly I have much to learn. Am just finding I relate a lot better to discussions of content rather than arguments over labels. On the surface, Reformed peoples start to sound like the Fundamentalist peoples I thought were in my past.
  12. Jeffriesw

    Jeffriesw Puritan Board Freshman

    Couple of good articles on the subject of "New Calvinism" in tabletalk magazine..
  13. Kiffin

    Kiffin Puritan Board Freshman

    Umm, no. What has been regarded as “worldly and sinful” has always been a point of contention. Please read Romans 14. If you cannot differentiate culture and sin, you will end up with liberalism or at the other extreme end, monasticism. Please watch the videos I posted.

    Yes I do. That's why I left Fundamentalism (the movement).

    Ok, my apologies. My experience and the version I was a part of focused so much on the externals, it became its primary focus. There are some segments that have maintained its historical fervor, but those groups are rare. Many of these groups became anti-calvinist. So yeah, some groups did forsake the essential doctrines of the gospel. I’ve posted this article before, but here it is again. Dr. Bauder rebukes this flavor of Fundamentalism in this article- In the Nick of Time

    I’m not intolerant of those who separate from apostates and sin. I advocate separation. But I do feel uncomfortable around those who want to separate over petty things. The church should seek to be holy, not isolated.

    I'm sure that there are many in Bible Presbyterianism that would view smoking cigars as "the appearance of evil." Yet, Spurgeon wouldn't have a problem puffing a Cuban :rolleyes:.
  14. Michael Doyle

    Michael Doyle Puritan Board Junior

    This Presbyterian happens to love Cubans as just an FYI;)
  15. pesterjon

    pesterjon Puritan Board Freshman

    When I hear Roman Catholics talk about "holy smoke," my mind always goes to a high quality cigar for some reason.
  16. Semper Fidelis

    Semper Fidelis 2 Timothy 2:24-25 Staff Member

    Just FYI EJ. Something you may want to keep in mind is that the American experience with Fundamentalism is not always well understood outside our borders. We use the term "Fundamentalist" and it conjures ideas that others outside our country might not identify it with.
  17. Kiffin

    Kiffin Puritan Board Freshman

    Yes that is a good point. But considering that "Fundamentalism" was historically an American (primarily) movement, and that it has been exported beyond the States, I believe that what I am critiquing actually correlates with what happens in "international" Fundamentalism.
  18. Semper Fidelis

    Semper Fidelis 2 Timothy 2:24-25 Staff Member

    Again, I don't know what "judgment" is going on. You are right to place your finger on the idea that the Reformed Churches have always excelled in providing very clear and systematic views of what they believe the Scriptures teach. An extension of this clear exposition of the Scriptures was a confession of the same. In other words, as I noted above, the Churches came together and clearly articulated and wrote down what they believed. They confessed, together, these things.

    You are drawing a contrast between clarity in Biblical and Systematic theology and the Churches' confession of the same. I don't see the tension or the contrast.

    It seems to me that the movement away from a Church being able to confess a standard exposition of the Word and be defined by it is an admission that there is a lack of clarity in Biblical theology.

    But, again, I go back to my original comment about modernity. You seem very bothered that a Church can confess a standard exposition and call it a Confession and then be defined by it. You find it more appropriate to witness individual theologians writing about a common set of theological ideas with variations that individuals can sort of gather for themselves and consider themselves generically Reformed. It's less important that the individual's self-expression be challenged in the deliberations of Churchmen working together to clearly confess them together than that the individual has settled on some Reformed ideas for himself. The idea that he might be "checked" by a Confession seems out of turn because he's just studying the Bible.

    My repeated point is that the Confessions represent centuries of thousands of men studying the Scriptures and coming together, clearly and articulately, and saying: "We believe the Scriptures teach this."

    It's not that the Confession stands at the level of Scripture but the point is that if it's appropriate for the individual to study the Scriptures then its appropriate for the Church, together, to study and conclude matters as a Body. The individual's interpretation can hardly be considered to be more faithful to the Word simply because he's doing so outside a Church but that's what we're basically saying whenever we keep treating Confession as if it's some sort of odd appendage to the study and writing of theology.

    I don't know what this is supposed to mean. Repeatedly, you call for charity toward new Calvinists and yet you seem to want to extend very little to those that believe the Church has something to say about theology and that centuries of Confession are somehow something that needs to be defended because it's odd.
  19. Semper Fidelis

    Semper Fidelis 2 Timothy 2:24-25 Staff Member

    Not true. The denials that provoked the affirmation of Fundamentals were happening across the Western Church and there were similar movements in Europe. We may have exported certain Fundamentalist ideas but we can hardly claim to have the monopoly on the reaction to Modernism.
  20. christianyouth

    christianyouth Puritan Board Senior

    EJ, it's been a point of contention but it doesn't mean that there isn't a right answer. Some clothing is modest and others is immodest even though some people will insist that bikini's are modest and people like me will think they're crazy for that. But the standard of modesty still has to exist even if it's not accessible to all people in all cultures or able to be demonstrated by clear argument, otherwise modesty/humility/soberness of mind and phrases like that are meaningless. There has to be a way to determine what is 'modest' and what humility implies, and how, as a believer, I'm supposed to be sober minded.

    You probably agree with that--and I think most of the New Calvinists would, that there is such a thing as 'modest' and 'immodest' apparel even though believers don't agree on what that is--but you would appeal to Romans 14 to make it a thing to be decided individually. That's an extreme anti-Christian tradition, one scholar who I like calls it gnostic Protestantism. It's what Rev. Winzer talked about earlier when he mentioned the evangelical passive participation in the cultural rebellion against social institutions.

    It says that I'm more fit to determine the application of Gospel principle A in my life than my leadership, the historical witness of the church(esp. on birth control), or the council of the godly. But I don't even think we are just wondering about the correct application of Gospel principle A, I think you and most of the evangelical community are saying it can't have a correct application.

    I could be wrong though: Do you think we can designate cultural practices as immodest? Could we decide that a certain music does not aid in the type of worship we should portrayed in the scriptures, that is, thoughtful, deliberate, meditative worship?

    - Andy
  21. Kiffin

    Kiffin Puritan Board Freshman

    Well, I agree that modesty does exist and that it is commanded. But like you have suggested, that some people like me would believe, that modesty "applied" is different across cultures. I believe modesty has to do more with the heart than any dress code. I would ask, "What is your motivation behind your choice of garments?" Modesty encompasses the entire being.

    For example, there are some who believe that pants on women is sin and that they should only wear dresses that extend down to the ankle. Other women wear pants (I am sure you are familar with this considering you are IFB). In the Middle east, or any other strict cultures, would apply modesty different as well.

    In regards to music, there is music that may be inappropriate in worship. But again, some of this "appropiation" is culturally motivated.
  22. christianyouth

    christianyouth Puritan Board Senior

    Thanks for clarifying abit on that. When we think about modesty differences and music differences, why do we assume that because there are different takes on it God doesn't have a standard for it? Don't you think we can reason ourselves to a position that says bikini's are immodest? To some, I even bet some of the New Calvinists, that's not even a possibility(I don't think anyone here on the PB is representative of them since we all have confessional subscriptions).

    What about with music? I have my own observations about how music effects me, this morning I listened to some classical music on PBS and, as always, it put me in a very happy/reflective mood. A lot of the people I talk to say the same thing about this style of music. When I hear Pie Jesu, even though I don't know what they are saying, I sense holiness.

    I don't know, I'm just saying that I have made personal observations like this and I don't even reflect a lot. Imagine a saint of 50 years who also is steeped in the Christian traditions and is well read enough to see things in our culture--the origins of certain cultural trends and how they deviated from previous trends--think of the accuracy in his thought when he says he see's TV as a danger and feels led by God to ban his congregants from using them? That's anti-Protestant gnostic but it just makes sense to me that there are people out there who are able to answer the 'grey areas' for us just as Paul answered a grey area for the believers in Rome. They may have a heightened spiritual awareness, like a wisdom from communing seriously with God--or they might have immense knowledge of our culture and Christan history so they can see connections we can't see(ie the RCC position on Birth Control, if you type in sean hannity catholic on YT you can see a good example of a priest doing something like I'm describing).

    You were raised in the IFB, we probably have some war stories brother. :) I think it's a good movement and I see the rationale for the positions taken--but there should have been some type of disclaimer like : only obey these if you're a Christian and don't speak of this if you don't believe the principle duty of a Christian is love. We would have been an awesome movement brother. We still can be.
  23. Kiffin

    Kiffin Puritan Board Freshman

    I appeal to Romans 14 not to decide individually, but to decide on truth. Truth according to the word, not according to tradition. Paul was anti-Christian?
  24. christianyouth

    christianyouth Puritan Board Senior

    I'm saying that to use Romans 14 to affirm the liberty of individual Christians to decide how the Gospel applies to their life is anti-Christian, because it denies the role of the leadership in the Church. Because so many of us have that attitude, that it's up to me to determine the applications of scriptural principles(modesty, sobriety) we trivialize the role of elder/pastor and totally destroy the shepherding imagery that the Bible uses when talking about them.

    Edit to add: It's anti-Christian because it's anti-authoritarian. It denies that God has a 'social order' in place to figure out issues like this. It also, as my good brother pointed out up a few posts, provides extreme laxity for rebellious Christians because they can interpret 'modesty' in a way that allows them to go nude, as long as they have downcast eyes or something. Does the leadership have the ability to rule on that subject, to offer an interpretation of this Gospel principle? If so, that has massive implications man.
  25. Kiffin

    Kiffin Puritan Board Freshman

    I'm not suggesting that God doesn't have a standard. I just believe that a "standard" is applied differently across cultures.

    ---------- Post added at 01:32 PM ---------- Previous post was at 01:29 PM ----------

    Ok, I see what you're saying now. But don't you believe that pastors are to submit to the teaching of Romans 14? Anyways, I believe that Romans 14 is just as much about contraint as it is about liberty. Both types, weaker and stronger, need to exercise grace.
  26. christianyouth

    christianyouth Puritan Board Senior

  27. Kiffin

    Kiffin Puritan Board Freshman

    If this is your interpretation of my statements, then you have misread. You cannot be rebellious and apply modesty at the same time. That was my whole point: that modesty is beyond the external and is an internal posture.
  28. christianyouth

    christianyouth Puritan Board Senior

    Well, I don't know about that. I might come back and contribute but I want to see others interact with your points for now.
    Last edited by a moderator: May 6, 2010
  29. KMK

    KMK Administrator Staff Member

    Who is the 'we' in this sentence? You and EJ? You and your family? Your church? A discussion board? You can reason with others all you want, but your reasoning has no authority over the consciences of others. In addition, for some cultures a bikini would actually be more modest than what they normally wear.
  30. Philip

    Philip Puritan Board Graduate

    Not necessarily---in many parts of Africa, it is perfectly normal to have mothers breastfeeding during Lord's Day worship, but it is also considered immodest for a woman to wear a skirt that doesn't reach the knees. Are they wrong? No, just applying biblical principles in a particular context.
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