What's wrong with YRR?

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Jake

Puritan Board Junior
Interesting article and perspective, coming from an Anglican teaching at a PC(USA) college. I think a lot of his criticism most pointedly directs to the cage-stage Calvinism, but it is helpful in illustrating how it is dangerous to cling tightly to one particular doctrine when removed from a theological tradition. I spent time in a YRR church. The church was entirely independent and was trying to feel its way around how to do church. Among the elders all were "Calvinists," but there were disagreements on the spiritual gifts, dispensationalism, eschatology, church government, male/female gender roles, and so on. There was barely anyone in the church above 30, including the pastors. 3/4 of the teaching pastors did not even have a M.Div, and one did not even have a B.A. In general, there was no common ground beyond Calvinism.

I think there is a lot of insight into what he says that relates to my personal experience. For me, these problems were cured by coming into a fellowship and under the oversight of elders where the whole counsel of God's word is taught, where God is worshiped as he commands, and the church is subject to a confession of faith allowing for unity within the elders and deacons, and ideally, the whole congregation.
 

Zach

Puritan Board Junior
Is the WCF as prominent in YRR as he seems to intimate?
I too was surprised by this. From the YRR that I know, most do not know much about the WCF. If I remember correctly, he also listed a number of authors as "dominating the landscape of Calvinism" that I don't think are commonly read by the broader Calvinistic community.
 

Backwoods Presbyterian

Puritanboard Amanuensis
Not a whole lot of Presbyterians that I run into really have a love affair with the WCF and its system of doctrine, so I am not sure how the YYR crowd would.
 

NaphtaliPress

Administrator
Staff member
Maybe it is not a critique of the YRR crowd so much as general modern Reformed? But I seriously question if Calvinism is any different than any other new found belief. Young turks are that whatever the stripe.
 

arapahoepark

Puritan Board Graduate
The church was entirely independent and was trying to feel its way around how to do church. Among the elders all were "Calvinists," but there were disagreements on the spiritual gifts, dispensationalism, eschatology, church government, male/female gender roles, and so on. There was barely anyone in the church above 30, including the pastors. 3/4 of the teaching pastors did not even have a M.Div, and one did not even have a B.A. In general, there was no common ground beyond Calvinism.
That is really sad
 

Marrow Man

Drunk with Powder
If you click through to the source article, it appears on the website of Peter Lumpkins, who I believe is a notorious anti-Calvinist in the SBC. While some of the critiques of the YRR are well-warranted, the whole thing struck as having a certain agenda. I did not care for it.
 

Jerusalem Blade

Puritan Board Post-Graduate
I believe Dr. Owen, in said article, errs when he says, "Since regeneration happens through the operation of faith (an act on our part), man's consent and cooperative response to God's grace is constitutive of that regeneration, and not only the effect of it (as Calvinists sometimes assert when they wrongly insist that regeneration precedes faith)."
 

reaganmarsh

Puritan Board Senior
If you click through to the source article, it appears on the website of Peter Lumpkins, who I believe is a notorious anti-Calvinist in the SBC. While some of the critiques of the YRR are well-warranted, the whole thing struck as having a certain agenda. I did not care for it.
You're correct as to Mr. Lumpkins and his anti-Calvinist stance. I share your assessment that some of his critiques are warranted but on the whole, this smacks of an agenda.
 

arapahoepark

Puritan Board Graduate
If you click through to the source article, it appears on the website of Peter Lumpkins, who I believe is a notorious anti-Calvinist in the SBC. While some of the critiques of the YRR are well-warranted, the whole thing struck as having a certain agenda. I did not care for it.
You're correct as to Mr. Lumpkins and his anti-Calvinist stance. I share your assessment that some of his critiques are warranted but on the whole, this smacks of an agenda.
I see. I ended up reading some of the comments and Mr. Lumpkins said exegesis 'drained his pool of Calvinism.'
 

C. M. Sheffield

Puritan Board Senior
In general, I don't put the YRR crowd in the "confessionally reformed" category. So, it is odd how he seems to suggest this love affair with the WCF. One could only wish that were true. However, TULIP (or even TU IP) is about all we can say holds the YRR together.
 

Loopie

Puritan Board Freshman
With all due respect to Dr. Owen, I believe he errs in several important areas, namely in his 7 'concessions' to non-Calvinists:

1. "The problem is not that fallen man is literally unable to believe, but that (without divine grace) fallen man is unwilling to believe."

I would argue per Romans 8:7-8 that the mind of the sinful man is BOTH unable and unwilling to please God. Is faith in God pleasing to him? Then the fallen man is unable to do it apart from the regenerating power of the Holy Spirit.

2. "God's grace does not exclude consent and a cooperative response on the part of man."

Sure it does, when it comes to regeneration. It is a good thing that God brought me to spiritual life without first consulting me or asking for my consent. Had God consulted me first as a fallen sinner, I surely would have said no. Certainly after regeneration the new man DOES 'cooperate' and 'respond positively' to God, but by that point the man has already had the heart of stone removed.

3. "God's grace does not exclude our free, active, consenting, cooperating response in the arena of salvation; rather, it makes conversion possible for all, and actual in the elect (however "elect" be understood)."

What does he mean by 'free, active, consenting, cooperating' response? Do slaves to sin have that? I would argue that those things exist after we are born again, once the heart of stone has been replaced by the heart of flesh. More clarity is needed when he says that grace 'makes conversion possible for all'. I affirm that anyone could be saved if God so chose to save them. But I think he needs to be careful when he speaks of salvation being 'possible' but not 'actual' in the non-Elect.

4. "Since regeneration happens through the operation of faith (an act on our part), man's consent and cooperative response to God's grace is constitutive of that regeneration, and not only the effect of it (as Calvinists sometimes assert when they wrongly insist that regeneration precedes faith). "

That is not the impression I got from reading about the Valley of Dry Bones in Ezekiel. Man's consent and cooperative response might be the result of regeneration, after having his heart of stone removed, but the act of being brought to spiritual life, and having 'heart surgery' is all a result of God's grace, and not man's cooperative response or consent. Does God ask for our consent before he changes our hearts or calls us to spiritual life? I hope not, because I am fairly certain that all unregenerate men would not give consent.

5. "Whenever men hear the gospel, it is truly possible for them to put to good use their natural faculties in the process of conversion."

That's interesting, because I thought that Paul taught in Romans 8 that the natural man is 'unable' to please God? So when a group of unbelievers hear the gospel, and only some of them believe, is it because they put their natural faculties to use better than those who did not believe?

6. "and since we know fallen men will not make good use of their natural faculties without the help of God's grace, this must mean that the preached word is accompanied by the operation of the Spirit, which supplies grace sufficient to make actual conversion a real possibility."

My issue here is with his use of the term 'possibility'. It seems like Dr. Owen is saying that the Holy Spirit supplies only enough grace to make conversion a possibility, not an actual certainty. That does not make sense in light of the fact that those whom the Father draws WILL come to faith. There is no doubt in my mind that when God chooses to save someone, they are without a doubt saved. It is not a matter of 'possibly being saved'. I think Dr. Owen here is denying (or misunderstanding) the concept of irresistible grace (though he claims to be a Calvinist).

7. "What kind of light would it be, that leaves people without the chance to escape from the darkness? And is not that opportunity itself a real operation of God's grace?"

Again, the language here needs more clarity. People who are enslaved to sin and in rebellion against God are not 'trying' to escape from the darkness. The natural man hates the light, and loves the dark. So what does it mean that God's grace gives people 'the chance to escape from the darkness'? When God chooses to bring someone into the light, that is what they do, they come to the light. God does not merely make salvation 'possible'. He makes it certain with those whom he has chosen to save.

Anyways, I just think that Dr. Owen makes some rather large errors in his concessions to non-Calvinists. Earlier in the article he called himself a Calvinist, yet I do not think he fully understands the doctrines of TULIP. Those are just my two cents.
 
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Semper Fidelis

2 Timothy 2:24-25
Staff member
I found the entire article to be incredibly ironic. On the one hand, he accuses some "Calvinists" of being arrogant and, frankly, this is one of the most arrogant screeds I have read in a while. I would expect the caliber of dialog (calling people "know nothings") from a blog that deals in the irrational rhetoric of the internet but not from an article that purports itself to be measured concern from a scholar.

I found his "Calvinism" to be quite peculiar. His analysis pretty much states that you need to abandon the System of Doctrine in Dordt and the WCF or you're a member of the "Cult of Calvinism". If you don't agree with Arminians or Roman Catholics about how they might want to modify our system of doctrine on a number of issues then you're not only more interested in following your cultic dogmas than Scripture but you're also historically ignorant of the great thinkers and writers of the Reformation.

I believe there are some things that we need to recognize as real problems in those that claim Reformed theology. I'm no fan of those that wrest doctrines that can only be properly understood within the context of a believing, Covenant community where even Justification and Sanctification are seen as fruits of the Church's fulfillment of the Great Commission and the charge to Christ's commissioned officers.

I also think there is a real problem of party spirit within many Churches where disputes are "us" against "them" instead of having a genuine concern for our Brothers and Sisters in Christ. Yet, this article is a perfect example of how an entire group of those who would see in the Reformed Confessions a summary of the Scriptures is treated with utter disdain. They are not even worthy of interaction by him but simply "know nothing" people who are too ignorant to realize their Confessions don't represent "real" Calvinism but simply a cult that he would indicate is non-Christian altogether.

Whatever he accomplishes in pointing out the errors of people in our culture who struggle to fully integrate their beliefs into a Biblical orthodoxy and orthopraxy, he completely overshadows by an arrogant dismissal of not only those who are Saints in need of discipleship but also every person who still think that the Confessions represent Reformed orthodoxy.
 

Gforce9

Puritan Board Junior
I agree with the criticism of the article's author; he seems to be a "Calvinist" much like Norm Geisler is a "Calvinist"........
 

Philip

Puritan Board Graduate
I'm going to disagree with the consensus here on this thread for a number of reasons:

1) traditional confessional Calvinism with careful scholarship and concern for the full reformed tradition does not seem to be what he is attacking. He seems to be attacking a Calvinism divorced from any sense of historical background and the nuances and subtleties of a glorious tradition. Notice, for instance, how Covenant theology barely warrants a mention. Why? Because he's not attacking it. I'm not sure what you all are getting hung up about on the confessions, given that they barely warrant a mention, and he has no problem with them at all, but merely suggests taking other parts of the tradition into account as well.

2) His concessions to non-Calvinists are fine. I really have no problem with them because, as a Calvinist, he will never claim that they are the whole story. From a human perspective, yes I did make a choice, ergo it was possible (logically) for me to make said choice.

3) He is absolutely right to draw the attention back to the sufficiency of Christ, His incarnation, and His death and resurrection. That's the heart of Christianity and therefore the heart of Calvinism. If you take nothing else away from this article, this is sufficient criticism. Our first love in Jesus the God-man, not TULIP. A Christ+ religion is one that I want to stay away from as much as possible, and the whole point of TULIP is to highlight the sufficiency of Christ and His accomplished work.
 

Contra_Mundum

Pilgrim, Alien, Stranger
Staff member
My only purpose in chiming in here is to give a tiny bit of support to Philip's comment, above. We are observers here of a completely different conversation going on in a completely different context from our "world."

Our "bubble" just passed close-by another "bubble," and the internet snatched a digital image of a conversation with several "keywords" in it (can you say: domestic spying?) and up the link went on one of our newsfeeds. Boom, now we're talking about someone else' "in-house" conversation.

We don't have the contextual awareness to interact intelligently with what is being said. Our criticisms--as valid as they may be on whatever grounds we choose--ought to be muted, and we should be examples of charity.

The only reason I know who PLumpkins or POwen is, is because a decade or so ago I read the record of James White going back-and-forth with both of them in different exchanges. Very, very limited knowledge of these two--but enough to know that the way both men express themselves here reflects their respective worldviews. Neither one of them belong or wish to belong in our "bubble."

The original article is one man's outsider's perspective on something going on in a third "bubble," the YRR-bubble that is only touching the side of ours. We really need to keep all that in perspective.

:2cents:
 

Semper Fidelis

2 Timothy 2:24-25
Staff member
I really tried to read the article with an eye toward accepting criticism as far as it went. I even didn't feel myself to be the particular target of the criticism, per se, because I'm not really of the YRR crowd.

Here's what I have a problem with:

This makes it very difficult for some Calvinists to acknowledge common ground with non-Calvinist theologies, or to admit when they are making good points. I have tried to avoid this insular way of thinking in my own theological reflection. There are verses in the Bible that Arminians seem to handle with more integrity than the typical Calvinist does. As far as it is possible, I try to listen to Catholic, Arminian and Lutheran theologians, and be willing to modify my Calvinism when I perceive it to be chastened by the Word of God. And the broad stream of theology which I follow is enriched not only by the views of Calvin, Beza, Turretin, Owen and the Westminster Confession of Faith (which seem to dominate the landscape of Calvinism today), but also by more moderate tributaries: Augustine and Aquinas, Garrigou-Lagrange, Bullinger, Vermigli, Hooker, Amyraut, Ussher, Davenant, Ward and the Second Helvetic Confession.
The paragraph treats the issues as if it's a choice between systems and each may or may not be handling some issues with full "integrity". He proposes himself as the wise reader of these tributaries - not committing himself to any because that would lack full "integrity" but integrating them into what would be "really" Biblical.

I'm not against reading those tributaries but I just don't buy the argument that, in order to have full integrity, you have to find the eclectic mix from Calvinism, Arminianism, and Roman Catholicism and that anything less is lacking integrity.

In this light, then, it is why I have a problem with the general call that "it's Christ and not a system". Perhaps he might feel I'm being unfair but I'm reading him in the light he's sort of already proposed. That is - the man of integrity does not embrace any system such as the WCF as being a summary of Scripture and so, by deifintiion, someone would be more interested in the system than Christ.

I mean, seriously, it sounds great to say: "Hey guys, he's got a point, it's all about Jesus!" My problem is that's an easy charge to make that "we're about Jesus and they're about systems" but assuming the best in my fellow Christians, I assume they are trying to be "about Jesus" even when it looks from the outside that they're kind of caught up into what I think are non-Biblical assumptions. I've got plenty of friends in other strands of Christianity that I think have notions of Jesus that are based on a "system of thought" but I don't think they'd be able to see that. They might say the same about me but the point is that most are trying to follow Jesus with integirty.

And that includes whatever "jerks" he has in mind in his article (if he reads this then I might even be in that group) but that's my problem to begin with. Whether he perceives them as "jerks" he's reacting to them in the same way he despises to be reacted unto and so only makes himself seem just as unyielding as they in calling them cultists and know-nothings. If they're not interested in hearing from him because he's too far out there for them then he has certainly returned the favor in casting them to outer darkness.

It's like the Pharisee thanking God that he's not like a Publican and so the Publican finds it so offensive that he feels he's justified in pointing out that he thanks God that he's really about Jesus and not like those Pharisees out there. If he wanted to impress me with his concern for what he fears is a form of enslavement to the doctrines of men then I would not expect such a reverse triumphalism but more brotherly concern even if he views them as obnoxious.
 

housta

Puritan Board Freshman
I went to a "reformed" church that is part of a "reformed" and "continuationist" "denomination". When I mentioned my adherence to the WCF and the importance of confessional adherence as I was leaving, I was told that they weren't planting Tulips in the front yard...
 

Philip

Puritan Board Graduate
The paragraph treats the issues as if it's a choice between systems and each may or may not be handling some issues with full "integrity". He proposes himself as the wise reader of these tributaries - not committing himself to any because that would lack full "integrity" but integrating them into what would be "really" Biblical.
Rich, I think you're stretching what he actually says here. He claims, at least, that Calvinism is where he falls theologically, but that he takes these other systems seriously. Frankly, that's a methodology that I'm fine with.

In this light, then, it is why I have a problem with the general call that "it's Christ and not a system". Perhaps he might feel I'm being unfair but I'm reading him in the light he's sort of already proposed. That is - the man of integrity does not embrace any system such as the WCF as being a summary of Scripture and so, by deifintiion, someone would be more interested in the system than Christ.
Again, please point to where he makes this move. It seems to me that his main point here is that if we are to have a system, it ought to be Christ-centred. The WCF merits one reference in the piece, and it's a positive one. If anything, I would argue that Owen is making a great argument in favour of confessionalism as opposed to TULIP divorced from its context in the historic reformed tradition.

And it also seems that he's attacking YRR Mark Driscoll types, not confessional presbyterians.
 

Semper Fidelis

2 Timothy 2:24-25
Staff member
Rich, I think you're stretching what he actually says here. He claims, at least, that Calvinism is where he falls theologically, but that he takes these other systems seriously. Frankly, that's a methodology that I'm fine with.
Let me be charitable and state that he "says" he is Calvinist but then makes 6 qualifications that seem to indicate otherwise.



Again, please point to where he makes this move. It seems to me that his main point here is that if we are to have a system, it ought to be Christ-centred.
I thought I tried but if I failed to make the case or read into it improperly then I'm willing for the author to prove that my inferences about "integrity" to be improper. While he speaks to his being "influenced" by Reformed theologians (and speaks to the WCF as "dominating" Calvinism), he also indicates that these are not "moderate" by the theologians that follow. He also indicates in this paragraph, and later, that other systems of thought have more "integrity" on some points.


And it also seems that he's attacking YRR Mark Driscoll types, not confessional presbyterians.
As I stated, I never felt personally attacked. He may have Driscoll in mind but also speaks broadly about how this is tearing up the SBC as a whole so he's got people within that communion in mind as well.

I'm more concerned about how he goes after those as a whole, however. He's completely dismissive where more charity ought to be granted. I once served on a Pastoral Search committee in an SBC congregation trying to call a mature Christian pastor. When it was learned that he had Reformed leanings, there was an article presented about "Calvinists" that broad brushed in the same way that the author broad brushes the YRR.

In many ways, I'm sympathetic to the concerns about the YRR and have written my concerns about a "Calvinism" based only in TULIP that has no Confessional or Eccelsiological grounding to it. It's a contradiction in terms.

That said, one also needs to recognize the sad reason that many are left with little understanding of Ecclesiology or a richer tradition of discipleship, etc. I was just telling someone the other day that one of our problems in American Evangelicalism is that there are movements that latch on to one aspect of Christianity and distort it out of proportion. One man my friend is dealing with is convinced of a certain form of discipleship based on a book that has some Scriptural example but is wrested outside of a broader understanding of Church membership, eldership, etc. The man is so convinced of this model that it makes it difficult to teach him. In other areas, he's sympathetic to the Reformed tradition but is pretty unbending in being instructed on this issue of discipleship.

Now, I could write a blog post about how ignorant this fellow is of all the tributaries of Reformed thought and refer to him as a "know nothing" and even cultic in his apprehension of Calvinistic ideas because he's somewhat unyielding but I'm called to treat him as a Brother in the Lord. In a real sense I pity the broad Evangelical Church that has lost its rich heritage of Church government and discipline and so the context of teachings that get integrated badly is not surprising. It doesn't eliminate responsibility for the sins some commit in their unbalanced zeal but it mitigates it and requires some compassion. I'm not a paragon of patience and compassion and have much to repent of but it ought to be my aim to gently correct them rather than sitting in a lofty perch of knowledge proclaiming how much more I know about such things than they and they are, after all, "know nothings".

Returning to the example of this young man, I had my occasions of rushing to teach a bit too quickly at times. I shamed him at one point with a 9th Commandment violation and it sent him through the roof. It was only after I spent some concerted effort trying to bridge his concern and helping him to understand a larger principle that he felt shepherded by me.

I've got a lot to learn as an Elder in Christ's Church. I was telling a friend at GA that I've made it a habit to look back over the years and remind myself how immature I have been and remain. I remind myself that, in ten years, I will look back with sorrow at how I used the gifts God gave me as very sharp weapons not to help but to harm.

I think the article, in general, is not helpful because it is treating a group as a bubble of those worthy of disdain. If there's one thing the Lord has taught me through adversity, is that grouping people and thinking of them with disdain is not what the Lord calls me to.

If I have overstated the case that this author seems to be calling confessionally Reformed people rigid then I will need to repent. I probably ought to have just stuck with the larger concern and point out that we are not given warrant from our positions of knowledge and office to treat other Christians with disdain. In a sense, I can hear Paul telling Timothy that he needs to keep working on those Cretans because the Lord is able to even work with people who are always liars.
 

Philip

Puritan Board Graduate
Let me be charitable and state that he "says" he is Calvinist but then makes 6 qualifications that seem to indicate otherwise.
Qualifications that I could myself make, properly defined. In his first section he affirms all of the essentials of Calvinism. What more do you want?

I thought I tried but if I failed to make the case or read into it improperly then I'm willing for the author to prove that my inferences about "integrity" to be improper. While he speaks to his being "influenced" by Reformed theologians (and speaks to the WCF as "dominating" Calvinism), he also indicates that these are not "moderate" by the theologians that follow. He also indicates in this paragraph, and later, that other systems of thought have more "integrity" on some points.
Again, you seem to be reading between the lines here and assuming an agenda that I just don't see. He's speaking the way that Calvinistic Anglicans speak. Of course he's going to like more moderate Calvinists! But you seem to think that this implies that he's trying to slam the WCF, Calvin, etc. Calvinism as such is not what's under fire here, but a certain abrasive misuse of Calvinism.

If I have overstated the case that this author seems to be calling confessionally Reformed people rigid then I will need to repent. I probably ought to have just stuck with the larger concern and point out that we are not given warrant from our positions of knowledge and office to treat other Christians with disdain. In a sense, I can hear Paul telling Timothy that he needs to keep working on those Cretans because the Lord is able to even work with people who are always liars.
I don't sense disdain for Calvinists as such in this article (again, I would say that its points could be used to argue in favor of confessionalism!). And he certainly isn't treating confessionalists with disdain, given that he isn't dealing with them at all. If anything, he's arguing for a historically and biblically grounded Calvinism which sees itself as part of the the great tradition of the Western Church.
 

Semper Fidelis

2 Timothy 2:24-25
Staff member
I don't sense disdain for Calvinists as such in this article (again, I would say that its points could be used to argue in favor of confessionalism!). And he certainly isn't treating confessionalists with disdain, given that he isn't dealing with them at all. If anything, he's arguing for a historically and biblically grounded Calvinism which sees itself as part of the the great tradition of the Western Church.
I didn't state that he expressed disdain for Calvinists as such but he expresses disdain for those at whom his article is targeted. If you believe that calling someone a "know nothing" is not an expression of disdain then I can offer no other arguments to sustain my concern.
 

alb1

Puritan Board Freshman
I read this essay after it was posted on Lumpkin's site last week (about the same time the SBC's Calvinism Advisory Committee released their statement about Calvinists and non Calvinists working together for the Gospel). From reading some of Lumpkin's previous writings, Owen's "concessions" to non Calvinists listed in the article are just a smoke screen in order to promote Lumpkin's real agenda. The focus is really on Owen's "studied, scholarly opinion" found in the rest of the essay which Lumpkin says cannot be ignored. ( since it agrees with his own and Owens has Dr. in front of his name.)

Dr Owen has met many "intellectually arrogant, argumentative, insecure" Calvinists of both the Baptist and Presbyterian persuasion (evidently no such Anglicans exist, must be due to the "maintained apostolic succession"). Coming to embrace the Doctrines of Grace leads to "obnoxious personalities". A "sense of superiority" is always attached to those who adhere and promote the Doctrines of Grace. "Scandals of a sexual nature" are an expected extension of the "TULIP cult". The Holy Spirit will never operate through any involved with the "TULIP cult" so all you will find there is "the doctrines of the myths of men".

Owen may be targeting certain Calvinists, I don't believe Mr. Lumpkin and his followers make that distinction.
 

Pilgrim

Puritan Board Doctor
I was a little surprised that he didn't take a shot at James White given the history that Bruce notes above. White seems to be precisely the kind of "TULIP cultist" that Dr. Owen has in mind. (Ironically, White's approach is not viewed favorably by many young Southern Baptist Calvinistic types, who today (in contrast to ca. 2005) prefer a more non confrontational "missional" approach.) Perhaps both of them hoped to avoid yet another battle royal with White. I haven't checked, but I wouldn't be surprised if White didn't discuss it on the DL regardless.

The OP reports that this was linked on The Aquila Report. I don't check in that often, but TAR now almost (in part) seems like a Twitter feed or FB wall where they post items of note whether they agree with it or not. There's nothing wrong with that, but it's an indication that their net is cast much wider than it was in their earliest days.

Anyway, I saw Dr. Owen's essay on "SBC Tomorrow" when it was posted a while back. He basically takes a drive by, scattergun approach, with many of the shots missing their mark. It gives the appearance of having been hastily arranged and could have used better editing. Perhaps there was a word limit but that's ultimately no excuse. While he does more or less accurately capture the "cage stage" phenomenon (one which unfortunately some never seem to leave, as I've found on FB in particular), at times it's difficult to see precisely who he is even aiming at. Other points could have been strengthened considerably had he done a little homework. The fact that many of the "New Calvinists," especially in the Southern Baptist Convention, are 4 pointers, (which is evidently his own view) seems to have escaped his notice. In my experience, these are also generally the ones who adopt the most worldly methods. By contrast, the out of balance "all TULIP all the time" Baptists I've known have actually tended to disparage "praise teams" and most forms of "contemporary worship." He also makes sweeping negative judgments only to somewhat moderate his statements later on. One example is his argument that Calvinism is basically incompatible with free church ecclesiology and then later acknowledging that there have been Calvinistic Baptists from the beginning of the modern Baptist movement. He repeatedly argued the incompatibility of Calvinism with "non-liturgical" churches in previous comments on that blog, which likely led to this solicited essay. (That's how I ended up writing an essay on that site years ago.) But then we're going to argue that the WCF has great influence among "New Calvinists" who have no appreciation for tradition???

With regard to the Sovereign Grace Ministries (SGM) sexual abuse scandals, while I haven't followed that closely, the appalling charges would appear to be much more closely tied to their roots in the charismatic Shepherding movement than it is to Calvinism. Unfortunately, when faced with that kind of abuse of authority, many have rejected any kind of ecclesiastical authority whatsoever as evidenced by the comments at the various sites dedicated to the SGM controversy.
 
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C. M. Sheffield

Puritan Board Senior
Well, I think we've all sufficiently highlighted the problems with this "scholarly" treatment of Calvinism. And I think we can conclude that his time would have been better spent "sneering at Mont Blanc."
 
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