New Calvinism

Discussion in 'Calvinism & The Doctrines of Grace' started by SolaSaint, Jun 18, 2012.

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  1. SolaSaint

    SolaSaint Puritan Board Sophomore

  2. Jack K

    Jack K Puritan Board Professor

    The article in summary...

    Oh, the gall of those the New Calvinists! Some of them actually find a nice thing or two to say about a few Roman Catholics... and have the nerve to say it publicly!!! Everyone knows no Catholic has even gotten anything right. Guilt by association!

    Others have failed to denounce their fellow New Calvinists who have said a few nice things about a Roman Catholic. Guilt by associating with association!

    Those New Calvinists must be very, very evil! Up with Arminianism!
  3. SolaSaint

    SolaSaint Puritan Board Sophomore

    But Jack don't you see a problem with all this embrasing of Catholic Myticism?
  4. Philip

    Philip Puritan Board Graduate

    In fairness, the authors of the website claim to be reformed and subscribe to the LBCF and Westminster Standards. Otherwise, excellent summary. The article failed to address what specific concerns they had with these authors and their exercises other than "they're Catholic." The argument, such as it is, is fallacious. By this logic, I shouldn't recommend that Christians read and profit from Chesterton.

    In reading a couple of the articles in this vein, they seem to consistently miss the point. I wonder if, for instance, they would have commented had Keller, rather than drawing on the Catholic Flannery O'Connor, had drawn an example from the deistic-moralistic-transcendentalist Charles Dickens, or from the Eastern Orthodox Fyodor Dostoevsky. Somehow I think they would have glossed over it---because in those cases they would have seen the points he was making rather than the fact that he was appropriating flawed sources to make them. The whole set of arguments seems to be based on equivocations of this kind.
  5. Philip

    Philip Puritan Board Graduate

    Can you give some examples of places in these authors that are problematic? It's fairly obvious, for instance, that Keller etal. are not embracing, for instance, transubstantiation.
  6. Jack K

    Jack K Puritan Board Professor

    The article is alarmist and unfairly critical. To cry that the Gospel Coalition "embraces Catholic Mysticism" because Tim Keller once had some positive things to say about the Catholic stream of meditation vs. the Quaker stream sounds like someone is awfully giddy about the opportunity to throw mud. And to implicate guys like Ligon Duncan and Kevin DeYoung on account of that is, indeed, guilt by associating with association.

    Not everything Catholic is bad, or belief in the Trinity would be bad. If there's something in the church's history we can draw from (and reform where necessary, of course), a proper scholar gives credit where it's due. I haven't heard the Keller lectures the article refers to, but I'd bet money that he advocates the sort of Christian meditation his close mentor Ed Clowney advocated. In that case, doesn't it fit pretty well within the Reformed mainstream and confessions?

    If a discussion of the theology involved is needed, this hardly seems the way to get it off to a profitable beginning. I'd like to be charitable and assume only the best motives, but the tone of the article reads as if someone already has other beefs with these guys and went looking for new dirt.

    Okay, I missed that. The criticism aimed so broadly that I wrongly assumed they weren't Reformed at all.
  7. SolaSaint

    SolaSaint Puritan Board Sophomore


    Do you think this Aprising Ministries is known for digging dirt and giving unfounded accusations? I've read a few articles by them on Contempative prayer and Emergent Pastors. At times it does look like they try to prove heresy with guilt by association. I wonder if we should just ignore this ministry or try and glean what is profitable from them?
  8. SolaSaint

    SolaSaint Puritan Board Sophomore

    But then again after doing a short research on Keller, I think I will stay away from his teachings. He does promote this "Inner Monk" meditation. Lecto Divina and other Catholic practices referring to a Divine Office (sounds like bringing God down to the church). Did you also know he signed the Manhattan Dec. and promotes women teachers. I think my discernment ears are twitching with this guy, sounds similar to a Rick Warren to me.
  9. Philip

    Philip Puritan Board Graduate

    Question: would you use C.S. Lewis? Because I find him much more problematic than Keller, and I regularly recommend Lewis.

    Haven't heard that one. I know he advocates deaconesses (then again, so does the RPCNA), but I hadn't heard that he advocated the ordination of women to teaching office. Can I see a source on this one?

    My advice is to actually read Keller's work and decide for yourself whether you think it helpful. Personally, I've found him very edifying and useful, but I realize not everyone feels the same way.
  10. Pilgrim

    Pilgrim Puritan Board Doctor

    I don't read Ken Silva's site often (Apprising Ministries) so I can't give an opinion as to whether he is in the habit of painting with too broad of a brush, etc. But there's definitely fire amongst the smoke there. At least with regard to what I have knowledge of, he seems to usually have the goods.

    I think I first came across him with a controversy over Catholic contemplative practices being taught by at least one of the faculty members at New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary. This was posted and basically ridiculed on a NOBTS centered blog about 4-5 years ago. A year or two after that, I had occasion to go to NOBTS and sit in on some classes. Lo and behold if one of them wasn't a promoter of those Romish practices. We did not go into details, but he said something like "There's something we've missed" and that they've got it. At some point he had taken some classes at a local RC seminary to learn more about it, ostensibly. I didn't have a chance to ask if he had any familiarity with Reformed or Puritan (or even "old evangelical) spirituality. Well, it's possible I had the chance and just couldn't get the words out. They have a mandatory Spiritual Formation class and if memory serves this particular professor taught one of the classes. (Not everyone took his class, but his was one of several available.) Since then I've assumed that the "something that we've missed" statement is in the context of revivalistic religion i.e. Walk the aisle, 1,2,3 repeat after me--If you've prayed that prayer and really meant it you're saved and don't ever doubt it. And don't drink or smoke. There certainly is something lacking with that.

    There's a RC monastery/retreat center near here. It has come to my attention that several Southern Baptists, including staunchly Calvinistic men, periodically visit it for short retreats. That's not to say they are engaging in Romish practices while there. I have no idea. But most if not all of them would say I'm a fundamentalist for even questioning the association.
    Last edited: Jun 18, 2012
  11. SolaSaint

    SolaSaint Puritan Board Sophomore

    Philip I will gladly take your advice and check out Kellers work. What I do is check certian web sites regularly, like Aprising Ministries, Sola Sisters, Pyromaniacs, etc. I look for Emergent articles and such and I came accross Tim Keller and some of what he is promoting, particularly the Catholic mystic claim. I don't know much about Keller but know he is reformed, so I thought I would cast out a line in here to see what the reformed community thought. I'm thinking if he advocates deconesses then he most likely advocates women teachers. in my opinion

    I haven't read much of C S lewis. I've heard many who advocate his works and many who don't.
  12. SolaSaint

    SolaSaint Puritan Board Sophomore

    Thanks for the reply Chris, that is troubling. I wonder if Tom Ascol or Al Mohler have commented on this stuff, I think I will do a little research. I know it is dangerous to take everything a web site claims as truth but it is equally or more dangerous to trust someone because of a reformed or evangelical label. We don't need to look far to see many who appear orthodox on the surface and find out they are false in some of what they dabble in. Discernment seems to be lacking these days.
  13. Backwoods Presbyterian

    Backwoods Presbyterian Puritanboard Amanuensis

    The differences between the RPCNA (and the ARP) and Tim Keller on deaconnesses has been gone over here ad nausem. Suffice to say the differences between their reasoning, both historical and exegetical, are wildly different.
  14. Jack K

    Jack K Puritan Board Professor

    This is the first time I've seen that site and I don't know the folks who write for it, so I want to avoid offering an assessment of them in general. I was only commenting on how that article's tone felt eager-to-condemn and how the criticisms seemed to leap to conclusions that weren't founded from the evidence offered. Even at that, I worried I was close to being too critical of people I know little about.

    I do know about Keller. He's on the "progressive" side of the PCA, but he's not a Catholic mystic. When I've heard him and Ed Clowney speak on Christian meditation, it's been the sort described in Psalm 1: "On his law he meditates day and night."

    And it's a big mistake (and uncharitable) to assume and announce that because he's advocated for women deacons this means he must favor giving women teaching authority. He actually speaks quite strongly against teaching authority for women precisely because he's trying to make clear his position that the deacon role (or certain other roles, like Scripture reading in a service) is not that sort of authority. There are plenty of points where one might disagree with him. I don't agree with him on everything. But it's good to ground disagreement in fact rather than in guesses... or in the criticisms of alarmist bloggers.
  15. SolaSaint

    SolaSaint Puritan Board Sophomore


    I haven't put a lot of thought into what I said about the women teaching comment, I guess I should have. I always thought an ordained woman held as must authority over a man as a teacher did, unless they are ordained for authority over women only? I've never been in a church that ordains women so I am speaking out of ignorance, so please ignore my comments until I can get up to speed on this. Thanks
  16. Philip

    Philip Puritan Board Graduate

    Not disputing this. Merely commenting that the position in and of itself should not be taken necessarily as a danger signal.

    Keller, by and large, is an apologist for "mere" Christianity in much of his work and is usually writing either to a secular or inter-denominational audience and he has an unconventional style that makes some uneasy because often he does sound like he's soft-pedalling. However, his tactic, generally, is to speak and write in a way that catches the reader off-guard with the Gospel.

    What particular practices and why problematic?
  17. SolaSaint

    SolaSaint Puritan Board Sophomore

    Do you really feel I was being unloving by stating my opinion on this. Please look at my comment, I never put words in Keller's mouth. I thought a forum of this sort was for making opinions and asking questions? If we are to come here and state facts only and have no room for opinions then it will be a boring place to be. in my
  18. Backwoods Presbyterian

    Backwoods Presbyterian Puritanboard Amanuensis

    Well Keller does have women in places of teaching authority in his church. It is not some big secret.
  19. Jack K

    Jack K Puritan Board Professor


    I tried to avoid accusing you directly in the way I said this. Though it was in response to your comments, which did concern me, I tried to phrase it as a caution for all. I think you've handled yourself well in this discussion, inquiring honestly and listening to responses. Please don't feel accused. I should have been more clear about that.

    I've spent half my life as an old-fashioned, facts vs. non-facts journalist. I get passionate when I see something in print (or on the Web) that makes accusations based on conjecture or confuses guesses with facts. It did seem to me that you were playing a bit loosely with those areas, but in my passion to step in I seem to have forgotten to be careful to write in a way that maintains kindness toward you. Please forgive me. I truly think your approach to the back-and-forth we've had here has been supurb, and I appreciate your disposition.
  20. Jack K

    Jack K Puritan Board Professor

    But not if you ask him. The question that must be addressed if one is going to engage his position on this issue is what constitutes teaching authority. That's really the spot where he tends to be at odds with conservatives and where, in fairness, the challenge should come if one is going to challenge him. The only people who disagree with his view on women and teaching authority, per se, are the liberals.

    Again, my main point is simply that all of us (myself included) do well to make sure we read and understand someone's postition before we criticize that position.
  21. Backwoods Presbyterian

    Backwoods Presbyterian Puritanboard Amanuensis

    Look Tim Keller is wrong on his position on women and teaching authority. Just because he is well liked and famous it does not place him above reproach and correction.
  22. Jack K

    Jack K Puritan Board Professor

    I'm not debating the rightness or wrongness of the position. I'm just suggesting that we get to know an opponent's position and be able to state it in a way that he would agree, "Yeah, that's my position," before we launch into criticism. It makes for more fruitful and civil discussion. Plus, it means we avoid saying things about another that are not truthful.

    It's equally important to remember that just because a person is disliked and rightly criticized (not implying that about any particular person) does not mean it's okay to to play loosely with the truth regarding that person or to misrepresent his positions in order to discredit him further. Again, I'm a facts vs. non-facts sort of guy, and it troubles me sometimes that folks think it's okay to assume the worse about a person and publicly speculate on such things so long as the person in question is one of the "bad" guys. As a result, I often find myself defending people who're unpopular on this board, whether or not I agree with their positions. I was always taught that when you don't agree with someone you ought to guard yourself and be particularly careful to be factually accurate and to be able to first state that fellow's position in a way he would agree with... then criticize, if you feel it's necessary.
  23. GulfCoast Presbyterian

    GulfCoast Presbyterian Puritan Board Junior

    I am not a big fan of "aprising ministries." The site probably started off with good intentions, but has become unfair theological mudslinging in many instances. If you look for a while, the site does things like criticize folks for what they wear (i.e. they look funny) and other such silliness, which causes me, at least, to take the various "theological alarms" with a grain of salt. Further, the entire site is based on guilt by association, especially any minister speaking at conferences with people on the sites "hit list." I often wonder what they would have done with Jesus teaching the Gospel in the synogogues? If they held true to form, I would expect some headline like: "Travelling Minster Endorses Works Righteousness! Speaks in Synagogue with Works Righteousness Prophets Annas and Ciaphas! As we have warned you many times here at Aprising Ministries......" I'll pass, thanks! ;)
    Last edited: Jun 19, 2012
  24. Fogetaboutit

    Fogetaboutit Puritan Board Freshman

    Maybe I'm missing something but I do not think Keller is being treated unfairly, he quotes champion mystics of the counter reformation:

    "The best thing that has been written almost are by catholics during the Counter Reformation, Ignatius Loyola, St-Francis, St-John of the cross, Saint-Theresa of Avila, Great stuff"

    Even if these people would have written usefull stuff he should know better than to quote them, and somehow I kind of doubt they wrote anything usefull concerning spiritual meditation.
    Last edited: Jun 19, 2012
  25. OPC'n

    OPC'n Puritan Board Doctor

    i bet ya Calvin would smack us all for calling ourselves Calvinists lol :p
  26. toddpedlar

    toddpedlar Iron Dramatist

    You should be careful not to assume that if someone teaches (say, in Sunday School studies) then they are ordained to some office. I am quite certain that Keller is favorable to women teaching mixed Sunday School classes (a practice not unheard of by any means in the PCA) but he definitely is not a supporter of women being ordained as TE or RE.
  27. moral necessity

    moral necessity Puritan Board Junior

    I tend to look at these new calvinists with a cautious eye. I'd rather just stick with the old guys, and record a reading of Calvin's or someone else's sermons, and play them in the car, rather than be influenced by these newer people.

  28. Reformed Irish Man

    Reformed Irish Man Puritan Board Freshman

    I agree. A Calvary Chapel pastor who I know recently quizzed me as to why a carry a confession around with me as well as saying that "the old stuff" is a waste of time since nobody can understand the archaic language used. It is so unfortunate that many who have not read the puritans or Calvin, do not do so for fear that they are too unapproachable. In fact the opposite is true! I find Calvin to be quite approachable with a little effort, and 'the Institutes' to be extremely encouraging and edifying. Page after page is filled with God glorifying material. At the moment I am reading Sibbes and am enjoying getting to know him a little better :) Sometimes it is worth the effort of reading Calvin to get a few gems rather than reading or listening to a lot of Mark Driscoll to get a whole lot of nothing.
  29. SolaSaint

    SolaSaint Puritan Board Sophomore

    I'll have to disagree, I think we need to know when Pastors and theologians are heading off the cliff or associating with heretical methods and persons. Do you have a link to the making fun of what people wear? I've not heard them poke fun of people. Unless this was about wearing inappropraite clothing in church, I would agree with you, they shouldn't be doing this. But I do check with them often to see where many in Emergent circles are going wrong. I think it is a VERY important miniostry, especially today.
  30. arapahoepark

    arapahoepark Puritan Board Graduate

    I take the middle ground between you two. I do realize it's there for a reason and it is quite helpful, however Silva (not just him but many, many other discernment sites) can go overboard quick and it just turns into gossip as if there is nothing else to write about. They also bad mouth some helpful people just because they don't adhere to that specific doctrinal subscription of the site. For instance at the Lighthouse Trails Blog, you're a heretic if you don't believe in a literal millennium (the Dispensational way). Lighthouse trails also just recently put up RTS as a seminary to avoid, they have nearly every accredited seminary up their list to avoid. So I have stopped reading their material.

    So again to restate, they can be helpful warning believes to stay away from savvy writers like Bell, McLaren and others, but they can go overboard and become paranoid.
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