New Calvinism

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

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  1. Philip

    Philip Puritan Board Graduate

    If heretics cannot be saved, then there I go. On the last day, we will all have some bit of heresy to repent of.

    How so? To me, meditating on some bit of Scripture seems very contemplative. Dietrich Bonhoeffer used to give his students a verse of Scripture and ask them to spend thirty minutes each day meditating on it. If that's not a contemplative practice, I don't know what is.
  2. Bill The Baptist

    Bill The Baptist Puritan Board Graduate

    Just so we have our history straight here, the counter reformation was not a movement that was against the reformation neccesarily, but rather was a movement within the Catholic church in response to the reformation that recognized a need for some measure of reform, just not to the level that the reformers did.
  3. Fogetaboutit

    Fogetaboutit Puritan Board Freshman

    I didn't say that Keller opposed the reformation, but Ignatius Loyola is the founder of the Jesuit and father of the Counter Reformation, by quoting such people, especially on on the subject of Spiritual Meditation you associate yourself with mysticism since that is what Loyola is famously known for in his Spiritual Exercises. Keller himself says:

    "we have 2 stream which are full of good helpfull material on meditation, the Catholic stream and the Quaker stream, that are not primarily base on meditating on the scriptures"

    Also Quoting Richard Foster:

    "If you want to meditate and find God there's 3 steps: first of all, center, behold and listen"

    Then he goes on and say:

    "There all great but the order is maybe not the best, center means, and we'll talk about this next month, collect yourself, realise you're in God's presence, spend some time collection your attention, now behold him, now what does he mean behold him, well imagine him, think of him smiling on you think of him in all these ways"

    Unless I'm missing something this is explaining how to create a perception of God in your mind "outside of scripture" and meditating on your thoughts, I call that idolatry. This is also what Loyola basically explain in his "Spiritual Exercises" therefore this is good reason to believe this is what Keller was refering to when he mentioned Loyola. I don't think I have misrepresented what Keller was saying. My goal is not attack Keller or to misrepresent him but I certainly do not agree with what he is advocating here and I actually believe that it would be extremely dangerous to participate in such practices.
  4. J. Dean

    J. Dean Puritan Board Junior

    Question: has anybody here emailed, commented to, or messaged Keller himself about this?
  5. Fogetaboutit

    Fogetaboutit Puritan Board Freshman

    What I was refering to is that Roman Catholicism deny that salvation is attain through faith in Christ alone, therefore if you are truly Roman Catholic and believe such thing your are not saved.

    There a difference between meditating on scripture by repeating mindlessly verses and meditating on what scriptures says and what it means. I'm not familiar with Bonhoeffer but hopefully he didn't mean meditating mindlessly on a verse without proper context and application.
  6. Fogetaboutit

    Fogetaboutit Puritan Board Freshman

    So you believe that all the anathemas of the Council of Trent were not directly aimed at the reformation?
  7. Philip

    Philip Puritan Board Graduate

    I know Catholics who would affirm that Salvation is by faith in Christ alone, just not by faith in Christ alone. And as I recall, salvation is by having said faith, not by affirming said doctrine.

    There have been times where what I needed most was Scripture itself, not my own thoughts and deductions about Scripture. I needed to meditate, not cogitate.
  8. Fogetaboutit

    Fogetaboutit Puritan Board Freshman

    By affirming such thing they would deny the Roman Catholic faith. I never said that affirming a doctrine was the way to salvation, but "believing" such bad doctrine makes a difference.

    You can meditate on scripture without the specific intent to increase your theology, you can go to scripture for a reminder of its promises to appease your soul and to fill your mind with the precepts of God. I do that often, this is not the same as mindlessly repeating scriptures, and it's certainly not "imagining" God outside of scripture, it's actually the opposite. I'm not trying to split hairs here, I just want to clarify what I believe proper meditation according to scripture is.
  9. Jack K

    Jack K Puritan Board Professor

    Yeah, I strongly suspect Keller would not generally advocate Catholic mysticism. Having heard him speak a little on the topic of Christian meditation (not much, because it is not a big interest to him), I only recall him echoing what Clowney said about meditating on what the Scripture teaches. Are you basing your criticism on a talk or some writing of his that you've actually seen? Or are you basing your criticism on a guess?

    It's always good to base our criticism on facts, not guesses. If you're interested in the topic, could you research the guy's position and what he's said, in context, and then give appropriate criticism that you know is deserved because you know it's based on the facts? One sentence used out of context, chosen to make a guy look bad on a blog that seems to delight in criticizing just about everyone, is not something you want to have guide your opinions of others. Better to be above that sort of thing.
  10. Fogetaboutit

    Fogetaboutit Puritan Board Freshman

    I realize that you have a lot of respect for Mr. Keller and I know he generally profess sound doctrine, but when he's quoting Quakers and Catholic mystics when discussing the subject of meditation I believe it is hard to explain away. Maybe I completely missed the context but in my opinion there's absolutely no reason to use Loyola as a source for any subjects when it come to discuss any matters of christian faith especially not spiritual meditation. If you listen to the video in the OP I would like for you to explain to me what was the context of what he was saying and how could it be interpreted as sound teaching concerning meditation.
  11. Unoriginalname

    Unoriginalname Puritan Board Junior

    If you missed the context then the onus is on you to find out the context since you are the one who is publicly accusing him. Since he is our brother you ought not be so hasty to condemn him. Furthermore if you are unfamiliar with the actual content of the writings (not just who wrote them) that he is referencing you should not be as quick to condemn them.
  12. Fogetaboutit

    Fogetaboutit Puritan Board Freshman

    Obviously I have hit a nerve with my comments, I have quoted what Mr. Keller has actually himself quoted and noted what I disagreed with and why. If you believe that I have misrepresented Mr. Keller I have no objection in reviewing your comments about my remarks as to why I would have misrepresented what was said. If I have indeed misunderstood what was being said I would recognise my error. But so far I have seen no argument as to what I have misunderstood about what was being said. I'm not attacking Mr Keller personnaly but showing my disagreement with what he said.
  13. CuriousNdenver

    CuriousNdenver Puritan Board Sophomore

    The video clip featuring Tim Keller that I watched on Apprising Ministries website appears to have been spliced together and shows the same statement repeated by Keller, back to back. The visuals were inserted by the creator of the clip, and seem designed to elicit a response from the viewers. I have to agree with others who have commented that this clip seems a bit alarmist, and does not appear to present Keller's comments in a continuous format. It leaves me wondering what they left out, and what Keller truly said in context.

    That said, the very fact that Keller quotes the people you mentioned would seem to indicate that he has read their works (to some extent) and is making his point based on primary documents rather than what he thinks they may have said. Quoting them may subject him to friendly fire from those passionately contending for the faith, yet there is nothing innately wrong about quoting them. I have quoted Marx in papers I have written for school, and actually used one of his quotes to aid my argument, which I presented from a Christian worldview.

    Statements that cast doubt on these individuals (Loyola etc.) without actually referencing the specific things in their work that are problematic seem to be weak arguments that would discredit them without providing facts to back up the reason to discredit their work. It seems wise that we be discerning, even when consuming content from well-meaning brothers and sisters in Christ. I don't believe there is enough evidence in the piece on Apprising Ministries for us to have the whole picture of what Keller's intent was in the discussion presented. Keller may indeed be treading on thin ice, and we may do well to avoid the teachings of Loyola and the others, but we should base these conclusions on specific facts rather than guilt by association.
  14. CuriousNdenver

    CuriousNdenver Puritan Board Sophomore

    deleted duplicate post
    Last edited: Jun 23, 2012
  15. Fogetaboutit

    Fogetaboutit Puritan Board Freshman

    I did notice that as well but the portion where he quotes Richard Foster and then explain what it means is continuous and from what is being said it is describing contemplative meditation which I certainly disagree with. I would also have like to hear the entire sermon but that portion alone was enough to raise red flags for me.

    If I quoted everything that is wrong in "The Spirutal Exercises" of Loyola it would fill pages, search it online there are many free versions of it. Compare his way of meditating and mortifying sin with John Owen for example ( On the mortification of Sin) and see the difference. I would also suggest you read the 4th chapter of the 3rd book of the Institute of the Christian Religion by John Calvin and compare it with what Loyola teach in his exercise. Loyola do not use scripture but his own version on how to attain spiritual control etc. It sound like eastern mysticism.
    Last edited: Jun 23, 2012
  16. CuriousNdenver

    CuriousNdenver Puritan Board Sophomore

    I encourage you to re-watch the video clip on Apprising Ministries and take note of how it was put together. It is choppy, contains two different instances where the author of the clip spliced Keller's same words in back-to-back, presumably to emphasize the author's point, and has clearly extracted part of Keller's words from one or more larger works. According to what I have read, the statement at the end of the clip regarding Loyola's intent in founding the Jesuits is partially true. What the author left out was that it also appears to have been motivated by a sincere attempt on the part of the Catholic's to expunge corruption from their ranks and return to a more authentic faith and teach their leaders from the Bible.

    Please don't misunderstand: I am not defending either Loyola or the counter-reformation. The point I make is that this video clip is suspect and it would be wise to consult the full source from which they extracted the clips of Keller before making a decision on whether Keller is right or wrong in his seeming endorsement of mystic practices. This clip was clearly crafted with a specific intent in mind, and does not pass the test of good scholarship.

    It is sad that sometimes in zeal to expose error some believers may cut corners and present "evidence" that does not adequately address the issues they are hoping to expose. We would be wise to avoid this practice and to use discernment when we encounter presentations such as the one on Apprising Ministries, particularly if they cast a brother in the faith in a bad light.
  17. Jack K

    Jack K Puritan Board Professor

    Well, it's crazy to suggest that the men attacked in that post—Keller, DeYoung and Ligon Duncan (really?!)—are more influenced by Catholic mysticism than they are by Owen or Calvin. Anyone who's actually heard more than a few isolated clips from their sermons or an out-of-context quote could tell you that. And we have told you that.

    There are "Reformed" people with websites who get their kicks from deciding who the bad guys are (often defined as anyone who acknowledges, in the least, any good contributions from folks outside the pure Reformed stream, whatever that is), and then take whatever means necessary to try to skewer such men. It's a obsession with specks in others' eyes. They call it "discernment." Well, I agree we need to be on guard against doctrinal error. But the us-against-them attutude seems to be pushing aside fairness, and the group that qualifies as "us" seems to be very small.

    Yes, I appreciate some things about Keller... including the way he quotes all sorts of people in order to gain an audience with skeptical New Yorkers, and then, having done so, turns them to the God of the Bible and to faith in Christ. Someone needs to be doing that. Someone needs to be out there enlarging the camp. Sadly, for people whose goal is to keep the camp small and keep the gang that's counted as "us" as narrow as possible, preachers who bring many new faces into the Reformed camp will always be unpopular and viewed as dangerous.
  18. Fogetaboutit

    Fogetaboutit Puritan Board Freshman

    You accuse me of misquoting people and falsly accusing them, where have I said this? I did contrast Loyola with Owen and Calvin, as for Keller and company I do not know enough about those guys to know what is their greatest influence. I just pointed out that he quoted Loyola on the subject of spiritual meditation. Then I pointed to the difference between Loyola and Owen and Calvin. I nowhere said that Keller was getting all of his influence from Catholic mystics nor that he wasn't influenced by Owen or Calvin.

    I understand your concern for not falsly accusing brethrens and I do agree that some site go overboard, but we have to be carefull not to go at the other extreme where we can't say anything without being accused of being crazy heresy hunters. We should not have respect of persons and even if somebody is highly esteemed in our eyes, it doesn't mean they are above reproach.

    Maybe we disagree on this but I for one believe it is important to have our guards up especially in this time of political correctness and compromise.
    Last edited: Jun 23, 2012
  19. Jack K

    Jack K Puritan Board Professor

    Not really. My critique was aimed primarily at the article that was linked to in the OP. It is good, though, for all of us here to be careful as well. In particular, I think your statement that Keller is "advocating" practices that are "extrememly dangerous" went too far. You can't really know what he's advocating without more context.
  20. Sviata Nich

    Sviata Nich Puritan Board Freshman

    If anyone wants to listen to the lecture in its entirety, it is posted on Redeemer's Website: Meditation - What it is
  21. CuriousNdenver

    CuriousNdenver Puritan Board Sophomore

    Thanks for posting the link! It seems we can all learn from each other in discussions such as this one. It is easy to let emotion carry us when we read something that seems to resonate with a belief we already hold. For example, if I believe "A" to be heresy and a source I am unfamiliar with presents something that indicates Pastor "Y" (whom I am only somewhat familiar with) believes "A", it is easy to be carried by my already held belief and not take the time to validate the source of information. I know I am guilty of this sometimes, and am thankful for this board that allows us to discuss things and come to a better understanding of the issues.

    When sources like the one referenced in the OP also don't adhere to sound practices in presenting information in a straightforward way but slant their presentation intending to hook readers, it sets the scene for misunderstanding at the very least, and discredits them and their argument. The things they are saying may well be true, but if the evidence the source presents does not support it, they may be laying tinder for a witch hunt.
  22. Fogetaboutit

    Fogetaboutit Puritan Board Freshman

    Thanks, I appreciate this acknowledgement. Since the OP makes no mention of Owen or Calvin I assume that your comment was directed towards my comments. I'm not on a crusade against Keller, but this isn't the first time that I hear that he is favorable to contemplative prayer. It appears that he had seminars called "The Way of the Monk" at his church which is to teach how to practice contemplative prayer (which in my opinions is very dangerous).
    Surph's Side: Tim Keller's Redeemer Presbyterian Church Goes Emergent: Contemplative Spirituality/Eastery Mysticism Now Taught

    If all this is falsified information and it can demonstrated that Keller is not favorable to such thing I would actually like to see it, but as somebody mentioned in and earlier post, when there is smoke there is usually fire somewhere.

    Thanks, although he says that medating on scripture is better he still advocate works by people who meditated without the Word of God. He speaks as if the works of Loyola and company were a sufficient substitute for catholics who didn't have the word of God available to them.
    Last edited: Jun 23, 2012
  23. J. Dean

    J. Dean Puritan Board Junior

    Where truth is uttered, it is truth, even if the speaker of that truth is off on other matters.

    If one speaks a quote from a questionable source, one ought to preface that quote with a qualification. For example, I would say "G.K. Chesterton, though incorrect in his embracing of Roman Catholic soteriology, nevertheless was right when he said that the doctrine of Original Sin is the only philosophy that has been vindicated by human history."

    I believe the saying is "Eat the meat, spit out the bones." Just make sure you advise others what bones there are to be spit out.
  24. Fogetaboutit

    Fogetaboutit Puritan Board Freshman

    I agree with this, the problem with Keller's sermon is that he does not quote specifically a portion of a text, he generally promote the works (without being specific) of Loyola and others. Since the topic is meditation, the listenter is left to believe he is refering to Loyola's Spiritual Exercise which is absolute poison.
  25. J. Dean

    J. Dean Puritan Board Junior

    In that case Keller is not being judicious with his reference to Loyola.

    I admire Thomas Aquinas, and he has some very good written items, but at the same time I wouldn't endorse him carte blanche for two reasons: 1.) Perverted understanding of the gospel, and 2.) perverted understanding of the fall of man (that man's will fell but his intellect had not).
  26. Philip

    Philip Puritan Board Graduate

    I disagree simply because as a matter of style, it's cumbersome, and it's understood by one's audience that a quote isn't necessarily an endorsement. If I'm a Protestant and I quote Chesterton, it's fairly obvious that I have a couple of bones to pick with aspects of his theology, I would think.
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