April 12, 2010

Together for the Gospel: “A Final Sad Spectacle?”

Dear Guests of IDOTG:

Aside from pastors, we know some ‘new’ young Calvinists who will never settle in a dedicated, working church, because their views live only in their heads and not their hearts. We know of some whose lives are not clean. We know of others who go clubbing. The greater their doctrinal prowess, the greater their hypocrisy.

These are harsh words, but they lead me to say that where biblical, evangelical Calvinism shapes
, and especially worship, it is a very humbling, beautiful system of Truth, but where it is confined to the head, it inflates pride and self-determination.

The new Calvinism is not a resurgence but an entirely novel formula which strips the doctrine of its historic practice, and unites it with the world.

Why have the leading preachers servicing this movement compromised so readily? They have not been threatened by a Soviet regime. No one has held a gun to their heads. This is a shameful capitulation, and we must earnestly pray that what they have encouraged will not take over Calvinism and ruin a generation of reachable Christian young people.

A final sad spectacle reported with enthusiasm in the book [
Young, Restless, Reformed] is the Together for the Gospel conference, running from 2006. A more adult affair convened by respected Calvinists, this nevertheless brings together cessationists and non-cessationists, traditional and contemporary worship exponents, and while maintaining sound preaching, it conditions all who attend to relax on these controversial matters, and learn to accept every point of view. In other words, the ministry of warning is killed off, so that every error of the new scene may race ahead unchecked. These are tragic days for authentic spiritual faithfulness, worship and piety.1
In the less than 12 months since Dr. Peter Masters wrote this article the so-called “new” Calvinists in the conservative evangelical community have had two major controversies arise from among them.

1) Al Mohler and Ligon Duncan joining with Roman Catholics and rank liberals as original signatories of the Manhattan Declaration; a raw act of ecumenism that compromised the Gospel.2

2) John Piper invites Rick Warren to be a keynote speaker at Desiring God.3

Add both of these to the concerns Dr. Masters addressed which is the CCM (Rock-n-Roll) culture and Charismatic theology at T4G, all of which are making serious inroads throughout much of the “new” Calvinism in the evangelical community.4

If the established pattern among the leadership of T4G follows all of these are going to brushed aside for the sake of unity, but for unity at what cost? The cost is become an obvious disregard for the Scriptures that command men to separation from unbelievers (2 Cor. 6:14-17; Eph. 5:11), from the world’s anti-God culture (1 John 2:15-16) and from brethren who are among the disobedient (2 Thess. 3:14-15).

These passages are not mere suggestions to the wise. They are the commands of God and He expects men who call Him “Lord” to OBEY Him.

For the sake of these fellowships men are demonstrating a willingness to tolerate, excuse and/or ignore what many of the high-profile stars of conservative evangelicalism have done to compromise the Gospel. Is it possible that the magnetic attraction of fellowship around the stars of conservative evangelicalism at these events has finally come to trump fidelity to the Word of God? These mounting examples of ecumenical compromise and worldliness in methods ministry are still not enough reason for them who ought to know better to flee from them.

Is this an indication we are seeing signs of the coming supra-religion of Rev. 17-18 among the so-called conservative evangelicals? Some may scoff at that, but I suggest they rethink it in light of Piper’s embrace and defense of Rick Warren, an extreme ecumenical compromiser; as well as Al Mohler*/Ligon Duncan signing the Manhattan Declaration, which gave Christian recognition to the deadly “enemies of the cross of Christ” (Phil. 3:18).

Over the weekend a pastor sent me an e-mail that included commentary that I’d like to share here just before I close.
“…the sour nature of ungodly fundamentalism with its tendency to separate over non-essentials. Their motto in essence would be: ‘In the non-essentials, unity.’ The opposite end of that spectrum is the sickening sweet nature of ungodly evangelicalism with its tendency to unify at the expense of the essentials. Their motto in essence would be: ‘In the essentials, liberty.’ However, this is a case of the essentials and if we can’t have unity on the essentials then there is to be separation. This is the mistake Piper is making and the mistake that Mohler has made especially with regards to the Manhattan Declaration.”
Virtually every error in doctrine or practice of the keynote speakers who converge around “new” scene Calvinism is most certainly allowed to “race ahead unchecked.” Not one of these keynote speakers convening at T4G has come forward with the boldness of an Elijah or Paul. Why?

Is this week’s T4G a “final sad spectacle?” No, it is not. Not as long as the trends toward disregard of the biblical mandates and ecumenical compromise for the sake of unity remain rule of the day. Instead we are going to see a worsening of these thngs in the coming months and years and increasing tolerance for them.

To be part of this “new” Calvinism, which converges again this week at T4G one must agree that the “ministry of warning [be] killed off,” and so it is.


1) Dr. Peter Masters, The Merger of Calvinism With Worldliness

Al Mohler Signs the Manhattan Declaration: Is This a Case for “Gospel-Driven Separation?”

3) See-
John Piper to Feature Rick Warren at 2010 Desiring God

4) Tragically, through the efforts and/or nearly non-existent
ministry of warning of men like Dr. Kevin Bauder and Dr. Dave Doran the same disconcerting trends are making an appearance in Fundamentalist circles. See- Let’s Get “CRYSTAL” Clear on This: A Response to Kevin Bauder’s “Cannonball” Cogitations

*Add to Al Mohler’s signing the
Manhattan Declaration that he: chaired the 2001 Billy Graham crusade in Louisville, honored former SBTS president Duke McCall, a rank liberal, and sits on the board of the ecumenical Focus on the Family. See- Al Mohler Signs the Manhattan Declaration: Was This a First Foray Into Ecumenism?

Site Publisher’s Note:
I personally reject all five points of Calvinism as I understand them and the Lordship Salvation interpretation of the Gospel that flows from it. I cite Dr. Peter Masters because he is a Calvinist and highly respected in Calvinistic circles. His ministry of warning and admonition to his Calvinistic brethren is not easily dismissed by them.


  1. Lou, have you ever been to a T4G event?

  2. No Jonathan, I have not.

    I could never be part of a fellowship with men who are gathering around the works-based Lordship Salvation interpretation of the Gospel. That is a nonstarter for me even before we get to the other doctrinal aberrations and irresponsible practices such as I have noted.


  3. I have a question that I am asking sincerely....I dont know much about seperation and secondary seperation from brothers in Christ. I know that we are to not have fellowship with those bringing a false gospel but not so much with the brethren....(I remember when one of the disciples was concerned about people that were teaching Jesus but were not in the group with Jesus and the Lord told them to forbid them not)....so I guess I am wondering how we cut fellowship with people that we really believe we will be fellowshipping with in heaven for eternity? Or could I be misunderstanding and you dont believe men like Piper, MacArthur and Mohler (just examples) are actually brothers? Or, are you not calling for seperation and I just misunderstanding that?

  4. Melissa:

    Fine question.

    I do believe that men like MacArthur, Mohler and Piper are genuinely born again. Some do not.

    As for separation there are biblical mandates that apply to both unbelievers and to the brethren. In this article I cite those mandates, for example:

    2 Cor. 6:14-17; Eph. 5:11 is for the unbeliever.

    2 Thess. 3:6, 14-15; Romans 16:17 is for the brethren.

    Every genuine believer will enjoy fellowship in Heaven, but the Lord is crystal clear that there are times for separation from disobedient brethren among us, this side of Heaven, for the sake of purity toward Him and the Gospel. Tragically the men who are in leadership at T4G refuse to obey these God-given mandates as I have detailed the examples above.

    It is a difficult decision, but when the circumstances warrant there is no subjective decision to make. We must ask ourselves: is our first loyalty to God and His Word or to my friend and/or fellowships.

    Thanks again for the good question.


  5. Lou

    These are two contrary statements that you have written here.

    I could never be part of a fellowship with men who are gathering around the works-based Lordship Salvation interpretation of the Gospel.

    I do believe that men like MacArthur, Mohler and Piper are genuinely born again.

    If you believe that Lordship Salvation is a works-based interpretation of the gospel (to which I agree), then those who preach it as true, must be trusting a works-based interpretation of the gospel for their salvation, which in the end we know will prove to be utterly worthless.

    There are only two directions to go, towards Christ or away from Him. LS clearly points away from Christ, and as blind guides teachers of it lead others the same direction they themselves are heading.

    What then can be the basis that you believe these men are saved?

    Some do not. Write me in with the some in this group.

  6. Look Up:

    Good to see you back for a visit. I appreciate your take, but let me expand on mine

    IMO, these men have simply, but horribly gone wrong in their doctrine. I think Dr. Pickering expressed it well in his critique of MacArthur's original of The Gospel According to Jesus when he (Pickering) wrote,

    "John MacArthur is a sincere servant of the Lord, of that we have no doubt.... We believe in his advocacy of the so-called lordship salvation he is wrong. He desperately desires to see holiness, lasting fruit, and continuing faithfulness in the lives of Christian people. This reviewer and we believe all sincere church leaders desire the same.... But the remedy for this condition is not found in changing the terms of the gospel."

    Thanks again for the comment.


  7. Lou,
    Thanks for the scriptures....we have lots of divisions and lots of differing on secondary issues (especially the gifts)...how then do you set out to determine those whom you mark? Is it the gospel that you guard? I get how you can see the teaching of Lordship as dangerous the way you understand it so that would be your reason for marking Macarthur but what do you do with Calvinism and the gifts? I guess I have always thought it was the gopel that we would divide over?

  8. Melissa:

    You asked, “how then do you set out to determine those whom you mark?” I’ll defer to Ernest Pickering who, in his classic, Biblical Separation, wrote,

    When our brethren do things that are wrong—caused by an incomplete knowledge of or deliberate disobedience to some teaching of Scripture—we should not merely continue fellowship with them as those who have done nothing wrong, but we should warn them, remonstrate with them and seek to recover them to a Biblical position. . . . If one should ask, Does 2 Thessalonians 3 teach secondary separation?—then the response would have to be given, It depends on what you mean by secondary separation. . . . It is the principle of refusing to condone, honor or utilize persons who continually and knowingly are following a course of action which is harmful to other believers and to the welfare of the churches.”


  9. Melissa:

    You asked, “what do you do with Calvinism and the gifts?

    I am not an advocate for absolute separation from a man who may be Calvinistic in his theology. I do, however, advise caution. I have a history as a missionary who worked in happy cooperation for the cause of global missions with some supporting churches that were decidedly Calvinistic.

    The separation comes when a man’s Calvinism takes him to the works based, man-centered Lordship Salvation, as MacArthur defines it, which corrupts the simplicity that is in Christ (2 Cor. 11:3) and frustrates grace (Gal. 2:21).

    The scriptures are very clear: The miraculous sign gifts have ceased! Piper and Mahaney are in grave error teaching that these are in operation today and should be sought after. John MacArthur has written very effectively against the charismatic movement. Yet, he (JMac) will not openly admonish and confront Piper and Mahaney over their non-cessationism. He will instead invite them to his church/venues, which lends them and their teaching credibility.

    This week MacArthur sits on the platform at T4G with these men. He joins Al Mohler who comprised the Gospel when he signed, along with Ligon Duncan, the Manhattan Declaration and we all know of Piper’s latest egregious error with his hosting Rick Warren at his own conference later this year.


  10. The miraculous sign gifts have ceased! Piper and Mahaney are in grave error teaching that these are in operation today and should be sought after...

    as far as the gifts what if you are wrong about them ceasing? Then are you ok with marking those that in the end could possibly be right? This is where I struggle because I know that we are all capable of believing wrongly so if its not the gospel but if its something that could or could not be....such as the gifts, the music, the dress....etc...I would hope to give grace since I am a receipient of that grace by the Lord.......I would take words of Mr Pickering to mean that I should not even listen to the sermons of these men? Is that a correct assumption?

  11. Melissa:

    The only way the sign gifts have not ceased is if the Bible is wrong. Sorry, to be blunt, but the Charismatic sign gifts is not even a debatable issue and I won’t debate it here.

    As for Dr. Pickering’s commentary, take it for what it is worth, but do above all obey the Scriptural mandates, which I have shared in this article and thread.

    Kind regards,


  12. Lou, on the one hand you say that the T4G folks believe in a “works-based Lordship Salvation interpretation of the Gospel” and on the other hand say that they are sincere servants of the Lord. Are you saying that people who believe in works salvation can be saved? Look Up drew attention to your inconsistency but you did not give a clear answer.

    What then is the point of this post? Are you trying to show heretics how they should separate from other heretics concerning music, gifts, and social issues?

    PS- I do not believe that Peter Masters is “highly respected in Calvinists circles” as you claim. This article you cite is a primary reason. He is legalistic on such things as music and separation. If you had been to a T4G gathering, you would know that the music is led solely by a pianist (Bob Kauflin), and hymns are sung. You can listen to all the music of the 2008 T4G on iTunes: “Together for the Gospel Live.”

    And of course, as you know, no proponent of the so-called "Lordship" view would say that sinners add anything to justification by faith alone. Faith and repentance are both unmerited gifts of God.

  13. Jonathan:

    I thought I was pretty clear in that I believe most LS advocates born again, but who have over-reacted to the obvious errors in the reductionist heresy of Zane Hodges and Bob Wilkin commonly known as the Crossless Gospel have gone into gross error on the Gospel right into a works salvation message.

    An unsaved person who adds a work, promised through surrender/commitment of life or actually performed, to faith in Christ cannot be born again.

    What I’m trying to say is that, as Pickering noted, the LS advocates are sincere, they mean well, they are trying to correct error at the far end of the soteriology pendulum swing. In so doing, however, they have gone into another extreme, namely Lordship Salvation’s commitment, surrender, submission FOR salvation message, which is a radcical departure from the one true Gospel of grace.

    For clarity on the music issue Masters was addressing MacArthur’s Resolved and the Passion conferences, which are CCM Rock-n-Roll fests for the younger generation. I should have drawn that distinction. Here is the link to my reprint by permission from Masters of his article with photos to illustrate.

    I’ll give you benefit of the doubt on Masters’s popularity in Calvinistic circles. A number of preachers I know who are Calvinistic appreciate his ministry greatly.

    You also wrote, “ Faith and repentance are both unmerited gifts of God” I need to unpackage that for my readers who may not be aware of what that, for most Calvinistic/LS men, means. I’ll do that in the next comment.


  14. Hi Lou,
    I understand you not wanting to debate the gifts...I really wasnt trying to do that...I already know your stand on that...i appreciate your bluntness and will be as blunt, the scripture says the gifts will pass about when the perfect comes....so you would take the perfect to be something other than Jesus and I would say its Jesus...so my point isnt to argue gifts but to understand how I would have to seperate from you or you from me because one of us does not understand what the perfect is? Its like the old earth/young earth issue....do you seperate over that? That is all I am asking...when the issues are not really so clear (many people debate the gifts scripturally) do you still seperate? I dont know half as much as I think I do sometimes so I would want to be right in the seperation...again, thank you for the scriputres and I did get some really good information from commenting so I will prayerfully continue to search this out....I love to listten to sermons from Adrian Rogers as well as CJ Mahaney so I kinda need to figure out if its biblical to continue listening to some of what I listen to....In His Name...Melissa

  15. To All:

    Jonathan wrote, “ Faith and repentance are both unmerited gifts of God” What does this indicate?

    LS advocates believe regeneration must precede faith, i.e., the lost man is regenerated (born again) prior to and apart from faith in Christ. How do they arrive at this extra-biblical view: They take the biblical truth of Total Depravity and skew that into Calvinism’s Total Inability.

    Another extra-biblical teaching that flows from Calvinism is the teaching that faith is the gift of God. They arrive at this by skewing Ephesians 2:8-9 to force it into conformity with Calvinism’s system.

    Furthermore, LS men misinterpret biblical repentance and turn it away from the biblical definition which is to “change the mind,” into a matter of turning from sin in the form of an upfront commitment, “to stop sinning…the inclination to start obeying” to receive the gift of eternal life.

    This, in a nutshell, is what T4G is gathering around. This is why I call T4G: Together for the “Lordship Salvation” Gospel. And why I will have nothing to do with it or men who are the prime advocates of this works based assault on the Gospel of grace: Lordship Salvation.

    IMO, Brother George Zeller has provided some of the most sound and penetrating refutations of these extra-biblical views. You may these article and archive them for further study. See-

    The Dangers of Reformed Theology, links numbers three and four in particular.


  16. Melissa:

    I appreciate your kind response. I guess one thing I dislike about blogs is that I have to squish a lot of thought into a little thread space, which sometimes can come through to be blunt. No offense intended.

    Frankly, I’m not real interested in discussions of Charismatic theology. As for whether you should listen to some of the men you named that is your call and as the Spirit guides you, but listen with discernment.

    Yours faithfully,


  17. Lou, forgive me if I missed it, but I still don't see that you answered the question. If the "Lordship" message is inherently works based, then how can anyone of that persuasion be saved?

    To all: I do not agree that Lou has accurately represented the Lordship or Calvinist positions. Instead of getting bogged down on this much-debated issue, I simply want an answer to the above question.

  18. Bursting Bubbles4/13/2010 3:28 PM

    These men should have backed away from Piper over his extending the invitation to Federal Visionist Doug Wilson. If they didn't do it then they're not likely to back away now over the Warren invite.

    "Not one of these keynote speakers convening at T4G has come forward with the boldness of an Elijah or Paul. Why?"

    To know that we'd have to know something of the character of the men. We can't read their minds or know the motivations of their hearts, but we can learn some things from their track records and the sort of compromising and the loyalties they've demonstrated in the past.

    One of the most high profile cases that gives us some insights into at least one of these men was how RC Sproul reacted to the 2006 defrocking of his son, RC Sproul Jr. How did RC Sproul respond to the church discipline of his wayward son?

    1. He ignored the numerous pleas he received to cancel his son's appearance at the upcoming Ligonier Ministries national conference, slated for barely a month after his son's defrocking, at least until such time as RC Jr could be properly "restored" and reordained to the ministry.
    2. Rather than calling his wayward son to repentance he publicly attacked the RPCGA.
    3. He publicly declared the charges to be "fraudulent", even though RC Jr had already confessed to the charges in writing.
    4. He threatened "legal action" if the Whitefield Seminary (RPCGA's seminary) didn't remove his picture from their web site, the seminary from which he'd graduated, and from which he'd given his permission to post his picture.
    5. Ligonier ministries subsequently sued a Christian blogger whose very first blog article had exposed the hypocrisy of RC Sproul Jr preaching at the Ligonier Ministries national conference barely a month after he'd been defrocked from the ministry. The lawsuit turned into a very public scandal that cost Ligonier dearly. Sproul ultimately withdrew the lawsuit, but he never gave any apologies for the scandal that was widely publicized, including even in USA Today.

    I know you mean well, Lou, and that you want to think well of these men. But I believe you're overly optimistic to expect them to do the principled thing. They can be principled... when they find it expedient to be principled.

  19. Jonathan:

    I think I’ve answered the question. Maybe you need to rephrase it? Let’s split this off between the unsaved and genuinely born again.

    If you are asking how an unsaved person can be saved by faith, plus an upfront commitment to discipleship, the “good works” (Eph. 2:10) expected of a believer to BECOME a believer, which is Lordship Salvation’s message; he can’t. If that is your question the Bible answers it in Eph. 2:8-9.

    Genuinely born again men can and have fallen into the LS persuasion. Giving benefit of the doubt as I do with MacArthur, he very well must have been saved prior to, but later adopted and now propagates LS. IMO, he is saved, but has gone horribly wrong in his interpretation of the saving message.

    Now, that is the best I can offer.


  20. To All Others:

    As is always the case with most Lordship Salvation (LS) advocates Jonathan has resorted to the mantra like cry of “misrepresentation.” This is what nearly every advocate of LS will say of you if will not agree with and accept their LS interpretation of the Gospel. It starts with “you can’t understand LS;” then, “you don’t understand LS”; then, “you are misrepresenting LS.”

    You can faithfully quote any LS advocate, letting the meaning unfold in his own terms and still he will say “you don’t…can’t understand and/or misrepresent LS.”

    I encourage all of my guests to read these two articles,

    Lordship Salvation: Charles Spurgeon Speaks (more than once) Against It

    Summary of Lordship Salvation From a Single Page (of John MacArthur’s TGATJ)


  21. BB:

    I have heard only very little of what you've shared on Sproul, never investigated it and no plans to since as you indicated it is widely reported.

    If the half is true I find it highly disconcerting and instructive, but we'll leave it there.

    Yours in Him,


  22. Hi Lou,

    I enjoy the economy of Dr. Fred Lybrand's use of the title "The Cliche" for the "It is therefore faith alone that saves but the faith that saves is never alone."

    Possibly, for economy, we could simply call the long winded "misrepresentation" posts simply "The Mantra."

    I can sympathize with those who are not familiar with the subject, who OUT OF IGNORANCE, interpret a statement as being a "misrepresentation." Still, I almost never run into people like that.

    In the last 4 or so years I think there has been one person who was honestly ignorant of the debate, and so thought you and I were misrepresenting the LS position.

    Nearly always the objector camps on a stretched interpretation of a minor detail in something said, and uses their complaint about that as the thrust of their rebuttal of the anti-LS message.

    For example, Jonathan Moorhead's discussion of whether you think that these men are saved or not. He feigns ignorance of the saving nature of the Gospel, in that one can be saved and later come into great error even regarding the Gospel it self. We see this in 1 Cor 15, and the life of Peter explicitly.

    Jonathan's feigned ignorance of this is used to side step this truth for the purposes of having a point of argument with your stance against LS.

    I have no solution, other than prayer & perseverance but I thought you may like another voice of confirmation.


  23. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  24. Read this at Challies and posted a reply there, which will of course be swept away. Reproduced here

    Quote of the Conference? "I think if Jesus were here he would make a whip and go straight to TBN." -John MacArthur

    Interesting, so what of and why did John MacArthur appear on TBN with Kirk Cameron? Certainly that was not taking the whip to TBN; was it? Certainly did not hurt TBN’s viewership either; did it?

    This is another example of lip service to the Lord and then woeful inconsistency in practice, which of course will be swept away just like:

    Al Mohler and Ligon Duncan signing the Manhattan Declaration and his (Mohler) sitting as chairman for the 2001 Billy Graham crusade. Just like Piper and Mahaney’s non-cessationism, which by the video evidence thus far drew plenty of Charismatics to the conference. Just like Piper’s invite of Rick Warren.

    All ignored and swept aside for the sake of unity, but at the expense of fidelity to the Scriptures.

    If we are to be like Jesus in this world why then is MacArthur hobnobbing with TBN? Why does Al Mohler and Ligon Duncan give Christian recognition to the “enemies of the cross of Christ?” (Phil. 3:18) Why does Piper invite the extreme ecumenical Rick Warren to speak his perverse things at DG to draw away disciples (Acts 20:30)?

    T4G is a sad spectacle of compromise and treason to the Lord Jesus Christ with a forward look to the coming supra-religion of Rev. 17 & 18.

    If Jesus were to take a whip to TBN, IMO T4G would have to be His next stop or He’d be remiss in His duty to His own. (Hebrews 12:6).


  25. Jonathan:

    As you can see I published and then deleted your last submission. I have no problem with your participation here, but I have certain long held guidelines. One of which is that I do not allow for propagation of doctrine or practices that I feel is error and Lordship Salvation is an egregious doctrinal error.

    Furthermore, your submission was article, not thread comment length. You have a blog for articles.

    If you want to propagate your theology and suggest “misrepresentation” and/or “straw men,” where there is none, I encourage you to post those things at your own blog.


  26. Kev:

    Thanks for your input. You aptly described the “Mantra” that Jonathan exemplified, which is the typical reaction as you well know.

    He feigns ignorance of the saving nature of the Gospel…” I felt he was trying to play “gotcha,” and I wasn’t going to go along. He got the answer, more than once, and any objective reader would not have had to query for more.

    I do appreciate your added voice of confirmation of the obvious.

    Your friend,


  27. From Christian Research Network:

    Rick Warren, the Reformed ecumenicist, tweets a quote from his new friends at the Together 4 the Gospel conference to butter them up show his agreement:

    “Grumbling, Griping, Gloating & Gossiping grieve the Spirit. The GOSPEL is grace-filled. Christ died 4my sins & rose again #T4G”

    CRN ventures a guess that they feel it’s those “discernment ministries” who dare touch the anointed of the Lord-a are the ones “Grumbling, Griping, Gloating & Gossiping.”

  28. Just an FWIW:

    I’ve been watching Twitter on and about T4G. You’ll notice Rick Warren is very active and able to talk real “chummy” now with Al Mohler, another ecumenical, because of Piper’s invite. Warren can portray himself as if he’s closer to them than he may actually be.

    Warren appears to be maneuvering here for the run up to speak for Piper at Desiring God. BIG question still is: Will Mohler or Sproul remove themselves from the event over Piper’s invite of Warren? Or did they agree to speak already knowing Warren would be among the keynote speakers?

    In any event Mohler’s track record of ecumenical compromise suggests he’ll have no problem embracing Warren just as Piper has done.


  29. Rick Warren, the Reformed ecumenicist, tweets a quote from his new friends at the Together 4 the Gospel conference to butter them up show his agreement:

    “Grumbling, Griping, Gloating & Gossiping grieve the Spirit. The GOSPEL is grace-filled. Christ died 4my sins & rose again #T4G”

    Looks like Warren is pressing his advantage right now.


  30. "Looks like Warren is pressing his advantage right now."

    Which is shrewd since Piper has given him the opportunity. Warren is very savvy and political.

    What Piper has done is given Warren an open platform and access to reach a new segment (for him) to reach with his perverse teaching and methods. Modern day example of what Paul warned the Ephesian elders of. And we are now beginning to see the new evangelicals in the so-called conservative evangelical camp (just as Piper is) coming out to defied Warren and Piper's invite of him.

    "Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood. For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock. Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them. Therefore watch, and remember, that by the space of three years I ceased not to warn every one night and day with tears." (Acts 20:28-31).

  31. I wonder how visible Warren is at T4G. I'm going to be asking the folks I know who are there now to tell me if they saw or heard from him.

    What a shame that people spend their lives building a platform and then give it to the likes of Warren instead of the Lord.


  32. Which is shrewd since Piper has given him the opportunity. Warren is very savvy and political.

    It's also interesting that he picked that particular quote. It's like it was said just for this express purpose. To silence/shame us who are affronted by this whole issue and are daring to "gossip" by saying so out loud.

    That is so Warren.

    Shrewd indeed is he. Oh yes.

  33. The scary things is that real, strong, dedicated, Followers of the Way have traveled to this T4G conference believing that it is the largest Gospel conference (7,000 people), and that it is going to be about the "unadjusted" Gospel.

    Will these people understand, or even find out about, what's going with Piper?

    Will they study the Scriptures or will they study the theological positions of men? The truly scary thing is, I don't think most will know what the difference is.

  34. Kev:

    I'm not familiar with Followers of the Way; is this an organization or an expression?

    This movement T4G and its sister conference in alternate years The Gospel Coalition is a convergence around Calvinism and Lordship Salvation. In a previous article I suggested that these conferences be aptly named,

    Together for the “Lordship Salvation” Gospel and The “Lordship Salvation” Coalition

    In any event it is a gathering that includes in its leadership men who ignore the biblical mandates for separatism. Charismatics and ecumenical compromisers. When you have this hodge-podge of undiscerning men you will attract others like them who will ignore error for the sake of being part of something big. There is strange attraction to these gatherings. Hobnobbing with the star personalities is a big attraction to many.

    IMO, these gatherings get men distracted from the Lord’s plan for this age, which is the ministry of the local church. These are becoming ecclesiastical fellowships with a broadening openness to inclusivism. Piper’s invite of Rick Warren and the other leaders of T4G said NOTHING about it.

    Compromise for the sake of fellowship and blatant disregard for the Scriptures to have and keep their fellowship.

    This is going to grow and as I suggested it is along with the Manhattan Declaration an incremental step toward the coming supra-religion of Rev. 17 & 18.

    I still like how Masters expressed his concern when he wrote,

    …it [T4G] conditions all who attend to relax on these controversial matters, and learn to accept every point of view. In other words, the ministry of warning is killed off, so that every error of the new scene may race ahead unchecked

    And so it is with T4G.


  35. Thanks Lou! As a very concerned Calvinist, I sadly appreciate the irony that the Lordship gang is so lax in following Scripture's call to reprove erring brethren and, failing their repentance, to separate from them!

  36. Lou,
    You wrote,

    In any event it is a gathering that includes in its leadership men who ignore the biblical mandates for separatism. Charismatics and ecumenical compromisers.

    I've been visiting your blog for a while now, and you have visited mine just a few times. You popped in to voice your concern of the charismatic issue I was writing about. As I have read your many articles railing against LS, I can almost admire your zeal in that area. You are quite eager to voice your opinion on the LS issue so much so that you have dedicated an entire website to the issue, as well as written a book and now even expanded on that piece of theological literature. Even though I would disagree with you on the issue of LS, I am perplexed at how you come to the idea that one should separate him/herself from those who would hold to "charismatic"persuasion. Those you have lamented about separating from because of their "charismatic" persuasion would be considered "clear thinking charismatics." You know, Piper, Mahaney and such. I can't understand why you have not given your reasons as of yet, biblically speaking for separating from a "clear thinking charismatic" and not some nut case way on the other end of the issue, like say, a Todd Bentley type. Now, you use verses that the Apostles penned under inspiration of the Holy Spirit, and rightly so, to show the biblical doctrine of separation. But, I don't see how you can use those verses to say we are to separate from a "clear thinking charismatic". Since at the time the writers wrote such things the doctrine of the charismata was in full swing and even taught by the apostle Paul on how to use the gifts of God properly.
    There can be much debate on whether these "gifts" have ceased or continue today, in it's proper usage of course, if you believe they continue. You even quote Johnny Mac's book Charismatic Chaos.
    I think it is about time that you explain to your readers why you believe separation from those men on the issue of charismata is equal to the separation of "ecumenical compromise." Now, in the past when asked about this issue you have stated that you will not enter into a debate on this issue. I think you stated on my blog that you were not studied enough on this issue and did not want to lead someone astray. I respect that. But, why encourage separation on an issue that you admittedly know nothing about? Is that wise?
    I think it is time for you to address this issue. I most certainly do not want to debate you on this at all. Just trying to give you a friendly nudge to explain yourself on this issue. If you think that separating from these men because of their view of the charismata is as equal to compromising the gospel, wouldn't you think it is just important to explain to the masses why this is as dangerous as LS and ecumenical compromise?

    In Christ,

  37. Hugh:

    Thanks for the input.

    T4G has all the appearance of unity for the sake of fellowship, but at the expense of tolerating and/or ignoring known error and of compromising the biblical mandates to have and keep the fellowship.

    FWIW, I'm still very interested to see what if anything Mohler and Sproul do, now that they know Piper has Rick Warren joining them on the platform at Desiring God. Maybe they knew and agreed to appear knowing they'd share the platform with Warren. If the Warren invite was given after Mohler/Sproul agreed, I have to think they feel ambushed.

    Mohler's track record of ecumenical compromise gives him no leg to stand on to object. Sproul, maybe. We'll see.


  38. Nolan:

    Thanks for stopping by. Boy, that's a chunk to wade through.

    As for LS, give my polemic a chance. There are fair number of Reformed preachers who do not agree with LS as it defined by MacArthur and for very good reason. You might give my new edition a chance.

    FWIW, I am not going to debate Charismatic theology. The practice of the miraculous sign gifts is antithetical to Scripture. I do not condone its use in the church or any venue. I do not cooperate with and I discourage any cooperation with Charismatics by those who are aware of its errors and the confusion it brings into the church.

    It is IMO reckless to share venues with Charismatics because it may expose the unsuspecting to that teaching and consequently corrupt their theology as well.

    That is my take and again I won’t be debating Charismatic theology here. There are men and sites who might find that debate more appealing than I do.

    Kind regards,


  39. Hey Lou,

    Hehehe, you're gonna laugh - I hope. Acts 9:2 (and several other spots in Acts) calls Christianity "the Way"


    Very good insight. It is ironic. That's long been one of the most perplexing things about the Lordship Salvation folk - they don't actually expect people to submit to the Lordship of Christ, just give lip service to Him. Because they say that one can not actually be fully submitted - sinless - but they must be fully submitted (in word at least) in order to be Saved.


  40. Honestly, I have planned to read your book. I am very aware of those who hold to Reformed teaching who disagree with LS. Much to my surprise, I was listening to a S Lewis Johnson sermon on the Gospel. He also disagrees with LS. As you may know S Lewis Johnson was very influential in J Mac's early christian walk as well as Steve Lawsons. I have heard these men testify to this fact. S Lewis Johnson was ran out of Dallas Theological Seminary for his Calvinistic teachings.

    Lou, with all due respect you seem to want to side step this issue of explaining why you should separate from those who are considered "clear thinking charismatics." No debate on whether one is a cessationist or a continuationist, just an exegetical explanation from scripture as to why or why not.
    I find "your" interpretation of the doctrine of separation from these brothers who hold to the continuation of the gifts to be like flaky peeling paint. It seems you have not prepared the surface very well before you top coat with your view of biblical seperation. Therefore it just will not "stick"and hold up scripturally.

    With utmost respect,

  41. Nolan:

    I appreciate your comments on LS and how you recognize that there are men who are Reformed in their theology that reject Lordship Salvation as MacArthur defines it. I know a fair number myself.

    As I said, in this present day, charismatic theology is antithetical to the Scriptures. Therefore, I do not believe there is any such thing as a ”clear thinking Charismatic,” simply because he has adopted a theology that the Bible makes clear is no longer needed and is not in operation today.

    If I were to recommend a book that addresses the errors of the Charismatic I frequently recommend John MacArthur’s Charismatic Chaos. MacArthur has, of course, erred grievously on soteriology with his Lordship Salvation, but on the Charismatics he has it down pat.

    As for the Scriptural injunction for separation I believe Romans 16:17-18 speaks to it.

    Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them. For they that are such serve not our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly; and by good words and fair speeches deceive the hearts of the simple”.

    Charismatic theology is “contrary” doctrine. In Romans 16:17 the usage of “mark” indicates that believers are to scrutinize doctrine and “avoid” those who are found to be teaching contrary doctrine.


  42. As you may know S Lewis Johnson was very influential in J Mac's early christian walk as well as Steve Lawsons.

    Huh. I wonder what happened? I don't know anything about S Lewis Johnson but if he is not LS and was very influential to both JM and Steve Lawson, I would have to say those apples have fallen very far from the tree indeed.


  43. FROM Hugh McCann:

    I received an ad from the Alliance of Confessing Evangelicals on 4/16/2010 for Dr Mark Dever's latest book. It prompts me to write.

    What DOES God want of us, anyway?!

    (1) Perhaps he wants us to stand for Christ when our closest allies with us together for the gospel coalition (Duncan, Keller, Mohler, et.al.) defect and sign accords with papists. This may mean standing apart from erring brethren. Should we dare call it sin?! Could we?

    (2) It may mean God wants us to question the wisdom of one of our heroes (Piper) when in his hubris he believes he can search a heart and determine that a consistently false teacher is in reality a devout sovereign grace believer! Or, when he in his pride claims he can convince such a one of the limited atonement in 30 minutes! (If you don't hear the arrogance in that, you're deaf.)

    God may even want us to challenge such a brother, when, under such delusion he invites this false prophet to address a conference of Christians. This too may mean standing apart from such an erring brother. Should we dare call it sin?! Could we?

    I think not, in either case. The temperament of so-called "reformers" of our time seems too lukewarm, tepid, timid.

    As R.C. Sproul Sr said after the ECT signing: Evangelicals are not willing to say that the opposite of what they believe is wrong. Much less, would I add, are they willing to rebuke erring brothers. Even less are they willing to separate from these when the latter do not repent. The C.T. crowd has done its work well.

    Reproof and separation are relics from a distant, hopefully-abandoned Fundamentalist past. Archaic anachronisms that are better left in the dustbin of history. We've evolved, matured, and don't need to be so strident as previous generations. Coalition togetherness, relevance, and influence are the order of the day! Rick Warren is the perfect speaker for today's young, restless, & putatively reformed! (But might they be actually wretched, pitiable, poor, blind, & naked?)

    Rather than reprove and remove themselves from the midst of erring brothers, coalition leaders continue to confer together for the sale of their books, audio, and videos, and to extend their crucial and downright indispensible "influence" to the docile and supine.

    The young grow old, the restless settle down, and the "reformed" follow their leaders nose-to-tail, happy to let others lead them wherever.

    "Just preach to us Grace, Grace," they say. "We'll pay you well!"

    Yours for Christ alone,

    Hugh McCann

  44. Hugh:

    I'm posting this one from you here. I don't feel it needs to be replicated in other threads.



  45. Thank you, Lou! I trust this'll get the traffic it deserves here.

    As an increasingly-separated-unto-the-gospel-of-sovereign-grace guy, I am disheartened by the cavalier and seemingly unthinking attitude of too many men who hold men like Calvin, the Puritans, Whitefield, and Spurgeon in high esteem.

    I think especially of the English martyrs: Cranmer, Ridley, Latimer & others actually burnt for our precious faith. Many today might vaunt these men as historic examples of great faith & sacrifice, but they do not follow in their footsteps to stand against Rome or other false teachers with big churches.

    May God help us all to stand faithful in these dark days!

    Thank you for exposing what I must sadly say is hypocrisy among many who profess sovereign grace.

    Yours for God's good grace in Christ alone,


  46. Hugh:

    I really appreciate your input to these important discussions. Reading your comment above reminded me of a segment I included in an article I wrote for the current edition of *FrontLine magazine. The article is tilted, The Manhattan Declaration: Is This an Incremental Step Toward the Supra-Religion?

    The intent of conservative evangelical signatories to the MD may not have been to “concede doctrinal ground,” but the result is tacit recognition of Roman Catholicism as an authentic form of Bible Christianity. Consequently, critical lines of distinction over the Gospel have been blurred. The Gospel has been compromised!

    …in the past true evangelicals were always great defenders of the Gospel, never selling out to error, no matter what the gains. If these stalwarts of the past were to reappear among us today, they would be appalled at the compromises of many evangelical leaders and teachers.”

    The quote is from Dr. Peter Masters, Stand for Truth, p. 4, (formerly Separation & Obedience, 1996) Sword & Trowel, 2009.

    Thanks again for your heart and passion in these days ecumenical compromise among the so-called “conservative” evangelicals and some Reformed men in Fundamentalist circles who lavish praise on the ce men and tolerate their aberrant theology and practices.


    *FrontLine is the official publication of the Fundamental Baptist Fellowship International