April 29, 2010

Very Soon Now: What to Expect, 2

Lou Martuneac clearly shows that the debate over “Lordship Salvation” is not whether or not Jesus is Lord, but what is the real condition for salvation. He exposes a theology that actually infringes on the finished work of Christ by subtly making man a part of the object of dependence in the name of making Jesus Lord. In a day of so much confusion surrounding the simplicity of the gospel, this is a much needed clarification. This work aids in understanding, recognizing, and confronting the errors of the Lordship Salvation position—a truly needed emphasis at the present time.

Evangelist John R. Van Gelderen

Revival Focus Ministries

In the new edition of IDOTG I added several paragraphs to succinctly define and narrow the crux of where the Lordship Salvation controversy truly lies. Following are samples.
As we begin to look at Lordship Salvation it is imperative that a clear distinction be drawn in regard to where the core area of debate is, and where it is not. The major issue and crux of the doctrinal controversy is over Lordship’s definition of how the lost are born again. Concerns in regard to the discipleship of genuine believers are an important discussion, but for me that is not where the main controversy lies. The crux of the Lordship debate is over the requirements for salvation, not the results of salvation.

One of the central questions that fuels and defines the Lordship debate is: What is required of a sinner that would constitute “saving faith,” i.e., the faith that results in his being born again? For a lost man to be born again must his faith in Christ include a “willingness to forsake everything, wholehearted commitment, unconditional surrender and a full exchange of self for the Savior?” Numerous statements to that effect from the advocates of Lordship Salvation are the focal point of the doctrinal controversy. These alleged “overstatements” have never been edited, explained, or eliminated by the men who make them. In fact, over the years, these statements have been reiterated and reinforced.

Is God satisfied with the finished work of Jesus Christ? Is God satisfied with His Son’s propitiation for the sins of the whole world? Is God satisfied with Christ’s atoning work? Since we are assured from the Scriptures that God is fully satisfied, why is John MacArthur’s Lordship “salvation (only) for those who are willing to forsake everything?” Why must the lost come to Christ for salvation with a “wholehearted commitment” to bear the cross, “full-scale self-denial,” and “even (the) willingness to die for His sake if necessary?” Since Jesus paid it all why does Lordship Salvation condition eternal life on faith plus commitment of life and the lifelong performance of that commitment? (IDOTG: Revised & Expanded Edition, pp. 47, 259)

LM

Available for ordering now from Amazon.

For additional endorsements and excerpts see the following links:

Very Soon Now, Dr. Robert Lightner

Very Soon Now: What to Expect, 1, Dr. Ron Comfort & Dr. Charlie Bing

April 26, 2010

In Defense of the United States of America

April 23, 2010
1st RT BN, CHARLIE CO. (
HONOR) Platoon 1043

Private PW Martuneac, MOS: Infantry

















“The raising of that flag on Suribachi means a Marine Corps for the next five hundred years.” (James Forrestal, Secretary of the Navy; 23 February 1945).

“Some people spend an entire lifetime wondering if they made a difference in the world. But, the Marines don’t have that problem.” (Ronald Reagan, President of the United States; 1985)

“Marines I see as two breeds, Rottweilers or Dobermans, because Marines come in two varieties, big and mean, or skinny and mean. They’re aggressive on the attack and tenacious on defense. They’ve got really short hair and they always go for the throat.” (RAdm. “Jay” R. Stark, USN; 10 November 1995)

“The United States Marine Corps, with its fiercely proud tradition of excellence in combat, its hallowed rituals, and its unbending code of honor, is part of the fabric of American myth.” (Thomas E. Ricks; Making the Corps, 1997)

“We are United States Marines, and for two and a quarter centuries we have defined the standards of courage, esprit, and military prowess.” (Gen. James L. Jones, USMC (CMC); 10 November 2000)

United States Marine Corps

April 22, 2010

Is There a Second Defintion for “Separation” in Academic Contexts?

Dear Guests of IDOTG:

Do the Scriptures allow for two sets of standards for the definition and application of biblical separatism? Is there one standard for the God ordained mandates for believers in a local church and a different, moderated, redefined standard for believers in a ministry under the auspices of a local church?

We have just such a question to address from an article published by Pastor Dave Doran at his blog Glory & Grace. The article I refer to is titled, Separation in Academic Contexts.1

I am going to discuss the article in light of the following statement that appears at the Detroit Baptist Theological Seminary (DBTS) web site:

Detroit Baptist Theological Seminary has faithfully prepared men for the gospel ministry since its founding in 1976. As a ministry of the Inter-City Baptist Church in Allen Park, Michigan, it provides graduate level training with a balance between strong academics and a heart for local church ministry. Detroit Baptist Theological Seminary is-

•Baptist in Heritage
•Fundamental in Position
•Dispensational in Approach
•Local Church in Ideology 2
As we consider Separation in Academic Contexts we will keep a keen focus on the fact that DBTS is a ministry of a local church, that being Inter-City Baptist Church (ICBC). Dr. Doran wrote,
Since the local church is the pillar and support of the truth, guarding the gospel through biblical separation is primarily at the level of relationships between churches, ministries that serve churches, and those who are recognized as ministers among the churches
Should men be any less militant about “guarding the gospel through biblical separation” in the ministry of a local church than guarding the church itself?

The desire to have scholarship presented and/or accepted by others in your field has the potential to pull one away from the local church and toward an institutional focus. My concern is that this completely opposed to the biblical focus, which centers on the church’s role in maintaining sound doctrine and separation from error or disobedient brethren. I am not anti-scholarship. I believe in and support the pursuit of academic excellence! It should, however, play a subordinate role to the mission of the church. Unfortunately, there can exist a natural tendency in the institutional setting to make scholarship preeminent, creating an ongoing temptation toward tolerance of error in the pursuit of credentials, academia and recognition.

Whether Pastor Doran sees it this way or not, having conservative evangelical speakers, lecturers, etc., into the seminary is tantamount to having them come to Inter-City Baptist Church. If ICBC is the parenting agency and DBTS is a ministry of the church - it’s tough to reconcile the “academic freedom” his article seems to be seeking.

In his reaction to Kevin Bauder’s Let’s Get Clear on This Dr. Gerald Priest noted, “Kevin has been quite lavish in his praise of conservative evangelicals while castigating so-called fundamentalists.” Dr. Priest went on to make a statement that was quite direct on the danger of opening the gates to conservative evangelicalism’s Trojan horse. I feel it is thoroughly applicable to Dr. Doran’s new definition of separation for a local church academic setting to the kind of conservative evangelicals such as Bauder was, “quite lavish in his praise of.” Dr. Priest wrote,
What I fear is that we may be allowing a Trojan horse into the fundamentalist camp. And after a while, if we keep going down this track, any significant difference between conservative evangelical and the fundamentalist institutions may disappear.”3
Separation from believers who are disobedient is a loving response to their disobedience. It is a demonstration of our love for the Lord (John 14:15) and it is a demonstration of our love for the disobedient. It is through separation that the wayward one learns to hunger for communion with committed Christians and is both made “ashamed” (2 Thess. 3:14-15) and perhaps even attacked by Satan in the body that the Spirit may be saved (1 Cor. 5:5-7).

Pastor Doran says that “gospel separation is primarily at the level of relationships between churches, ministries that serve churches, and those who are recognized as ministers among the churches.” Doran leaves the door open to violate his own premise when he allows for a broadening of fellowship in order to allow some form of academic freedom or scholarly exposure. This premise is violated in 3 ways:
•DBTS is a ministry of ICBC,
•DBTS is a ministry to serve local churches,
•Dave Doran is a recognized minister in and among the churches.
Remember, it’s one thing to read a book critically. It’s another thing entirely to tacitly extend the hand of fellowship because a person is a “scholar.”

Exposing impressionable students to compromised Christian leaders and scholars is not only dangerous it is an act of disobedience.

Such actions fail to show love to the wayward brother now brought in as a teacher and fails to recognize that students, regardless of their age, are “impressionable” by nature or they are really not qualified to be called “students.” Paul gave recognition to “Alexander the Coppersmith” when writing to Timothy (2 Tim. 4:14). It does not appear that Paul was ready to have Alexander come as a guest lecturer at the School of one Tyrannus (Acts 19:9) any time soon.

Conclusion:
I am challenging our friends, our brothers in Christ, to resist the movement toward embracing the so-called “conservative” evangelicals. To refrain from exposing impressionable students to men who identify with a movement that disregards the “biblical obligations” for Gospel-Driven separation.

Growing numbers of men in Baptist circles who identify themselves as biblical separatists are becoming desensitized to the egregious errors and disconcerting practices of the conservative evangelicals. Self described separatists are desensitized to the point of tolerating, excusing and allowing for aberrant theology, ecumenical compromises and/or worldly methods of ministry of conservative evangelicals that would thus far not be tolerated in their own ministry.

I am calling on brethren, who claim a heritage in and allegiance to the principles of biblical separatism, to live in absolute fidelity to those principles. To obey the God-given mandates whether they speak to unbelievers or our brethren.
Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness? And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel? And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you,” (2 Cor. 6:14-17).

And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them,” (Eph. 5:11)

Whosoever transgresseth, and abideth not in the doctrine of Christ, hath not God. He that abideth in the doctrine of Christ, he hath both the Father and the Son, If there come any unto you, and bring not this doctrine, receive him not into your house, neither bid him God speed: For he that biddeth him God speed is partaker of his evil deeds.” (2 John 9-11)

Now we command you, brethren, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye withdraw yourselves from every brother that walketh disorderly, and not after the tradition which he received of us…. And if any man obey not our word by this epistle, note that man, and have no company with him, that he may be ashamed. Yet count him not as an enemy, but admonish him as a brother,” (2 Thess. 3:6, 14-15)

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,” (Rom 16:17-18).
Brethren, where does your first loyalty lie; to friends, fellowships and academic pursuits or to the Lord and His commands?


LM

1)
Separation in Academic Contexts, February 24, 2010 (accessed 4/20/10).

2)
Detroit Baptist Theological Seminary (emphasis added)

3) Dr. Gerald Priest from an extended thread comment posted at the
pseudo- fundamentalist Sharper Iron blog, (accessed, 3/28/10).

See comment thread for an Appendix entry.

April 19, 2010

Very Soon Now: What to Expect, 1

I have gone through Brother Martuneac’s revised edition of In Defense of the Gospel. He has done Christians a great favor in his expose of Lordship Salvation. He also added helpful comments in the main text as well as two appendix entries to briefly discuss and identify the Calvinistic roots from which Lordship’s theology flows. Thank you Brother Martuneac for your arduous work in authoring this book.

Dr. Ron Comfort
President,
Ambassador Baptist College

The first edition of IDOTG (pictured left) was published in Spring 2006. In the new revised and expanded edition you will find several new sections. One of the additions is a brief discussion of the Grace Evangelical Society’s (GES) *Crossless Gospel. This teaching, originated by the late Zane Hodges, is the most extreme reductionist assault on the Gospel of grace ever introduced to the New Testament church by one of its own. On GES repentance, for example, I noted,
“The teaching of these men entirely eliminates repentance toward God as a condition of salvation. Furthermore, Hodges and Wilkin reject the almost universally held ‘change of mind’ definition of repentance.”
I added new sections on GES to help all readers, especially Lordship advocates, understand that the Hodges, Bob Wilkin
Crossless gospel is **NOT representative of any believer’s position on the nature of saving faith outside the GES or its friends.

There are revisions to several original chapters with the chapter on repentance being the most heavily revised and especially expanded. In it I add a number of citations from Lordship advocates allowing them define their interpretation of repentance for salvation in their own words.

IMO, the most significant addition to this chapter is taking a passage of Scripture, a favorite of Lordship advocates, and demonstrate from the text that it cannot possibly be interpreted to bolster Lordship’s repentance. From the Inspired text I demonstrate how Lordship advocates extract an interpretation that is not found in and cannot be supported from the passage, but nevertheless attempt to force it into conformity with Lordship’s repentance.
The Lordship Salvation controversy must be kept in the forefront of Christian discussion because so much is at stake theologically and practically. Lou Martuneac has written and now revised a valuable resource that will help Christians understand and evaluate the Lordship position. I encourage every believer to read this helpful book for a greater grasp of this crucial issue.

Dr. Charlie Bing

GraceLife Ministries

For additional endorsements and excerpts see the following links:

Very Soon Now, Dr. Robert Lightner

Very Soon Now: What to Expect, 2, Evangelist John R. Van Gelderen

*Is the “Crossless” Label the Right Label?

Available for ordering now from Amazon.

**For additional reading see- The Free Grace Fracture: What Every Advocate of Lordship Salvation Should Know and Is “RE-DEFINED Free Grace Theology- Free Grace Theology?”

April 16, 2010

Very Soon Now



This volume is a thorough biblical expose of what has come to be called Lordship Salvation. Throughout the volume, Lou Martuneac rightly emphasizes that one’s personal salvation from sin is by God’s grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone. The Lordship of Christ is not a condition for salvation, but is most assuredly God’s desire for His own.


Dr. Robert P. Lightner

Professor Emeritus of Systematic Theology
Dallas Theological Seminary


Available for ordering now from Amazon.

For additional endorsements and excerpts see the following links:

Very Soon Now: What to Expect, 1, Dr. Ron Comfort & Dr. Charlie Bing

Very Soon Now: What to Expect, 2, Evangelist John R. Van Gelderen

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
conduct, 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.


LM

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

2)
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.

April 8, 2010

John Piper, “I’m Going to Need Help to Know Why I Should Feel Bad About This Decision.”

Dear Guests of IDOTG:

This is the latest in my series that began with publishing, John Piper to Feature Rick Warren at 2010 Desiring God.

The title of this article is taken from John Piper’s video in which he explained why he invited Rick Warren to speak at the 2010 Desiring God conference. In two stages, the obvious and the scriptural, I will help John Piper “to know why [he] should feel bad about this decision” and to repent of it.

I. What are the Obvious Reasons?

A. Warren embraces deliberate pragmatism of the worst kind:
He believes that anyone one can be reached based on “finding the key to that person's heart.” Therefore, the unbelieving community sets the agenda for his church: Warren says, “We let the unchurched needs determine our programs; the unchurched hang-ups determine our strategy; the unchurched culture determine our style; the unchurched population determine our goals.” (PD website)

B. Warren routinely misuses Scripture
The Bible is a tool that Warren manipulates to cover his own ideas with a veneer of divine authority. For example, in the Purpose Driven Life he quotes from 15 Bible versions and paraphrases, picking and choosing the one that fits his pragmatic need. This process often wrenches texts out of context.

C. Warren is guilty of serious theological reductionism:
He discounts the value of a well-rounded system of doctrine and even considers doctrine an obstacle to unity. On his Purpose Driven website he lists his doctrinal statement that any Bible college graduate would find completely inadequate. His doctrine of theology proper is the following: “God is bigger and better and closer than we can imagine.” That’s it for the doctrine of God. It is so insufficient one could say that it falls short of an adequate understanding of the Christian concept of God the Father.

D. Warren promotes extreme ecumenism:
He has forged ties with the Roman Catholic Church, the Baptist World Alliance and the United Nations. Warren is involved with and a member of the Council on Foreign Relations. Warren said, “I see absolutely zero reason in separating my fellowship from anybody,” Noting he has theological differences with many of the diverse denominations that invite him to speak, Warren added, “That doesn’t stop me from fellowshipping with them.” When he heard of the SBC’s withdrawal from the Baptist World Alliance, he added, “I thought, ‘This is silly! Why would we separate ourselves from brothers and sisters in the world?’” (Rick Warren, Global Baptists Are in This Together.) Warren signing the Yale Center for Faith and Culture1 document for unity among Christian and Muslim faiths.

E. Warren redefines ministry in terms of social activism:
Alan Wolfe of the Wall Street Journal says, “Historians are likely to pinpoint Mr. Warren’s trip to Rwanda as the moment when conservative evangelical Protestantism made questions of social justice central to its concerns.” Warren’s Global Peace Plan for “Purpose Driven Nations” includes involving himself with the UN, Council on Foreign Relations, etc. in order to rid the world of “poverty, disease, and illiteracy” by forming entangling alliances between churches, secular businesses, and governments. This is an agenda completely foreign to and for Warren replaces the Great Commission and the New Testament church as laid out in Acts and the Pauline Epistles. Through his cooperative efforts, Warren aligns himself with the same UN that seeks to rid the world” of unborn infants through their murder while still in the womb.

F. Warren justifies cultural capitulation by embracing anti-God cultural norms:
A notable example of this occurred when Warren sang the Jimi Hendrix song, “Purple Haze,” during the 25th anniversary celebration service of Saddleback Church. Most recently Warren hosted the Jonas Brothers (boy band) for Saddleback’s 30th anniversary celebration and Easter Sunday service. [Editor’s Note: With Piper hosting a RAP artist at his church and MacArthur featuring Christian Rock-n-Roll bands at his Resolved conference this from Warren may be unworthy of notice for them.]

G. Warren propagates some the worst soteriological reductionism:
Wherever you are reading this, I invite you to bow your head and quietly whisper the prayer that will change your eternity: ‘Jesus, I believe in you and receive you.’ If you sincerely meant that prayer, congratulations! Welcome to the family of God!” (PDL, p. 74).

H. Warren relies heavily on pop psychology:
Popular themes in secular psychology appear regularly in Warren’s writings, shaping everything from outreach strategy to discipleship curricula.

Brother Piper, are these not enough to help you know why you “should feel bad about this decision” and repent of it?

Maybe they aren’t. So...

II. What are the Scriptural Reasons?
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,” (Rom. 16:17-18).

Now we command you, brethren, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye withdraw yourselves from every brother that walketh disorderly, and not after the tradition which he received of us…. And if any man obey not our word by this epistle, note that man, and have no company with him, that he may be ashamed. Yet count him not as an enemy, but admonish him as a brother,” (2 Thess. 3:6; 14-15).
In regard to Rick Warren the mandates in verse 17 apply and there is no subjective decision to make about it. Piper, however, chose to ignore the Scriptures to embrace Rick Warren, to defend and give him recognition, which will lend credibility to Warren and his methods. Piper puts impressionable believers, who follow him (Piper) at risk. Piper offers Warren a national platform, which could through his, “good words and fair speeches deceive the hearts of the simple,” draw away disciples (Acts 20:30) and lead to their spiritual demise.

What Piper has done is inexcusable! His action is a blatant disregard for 2 Thessalonians 3:6. Piper’s invite of Rick Warren, apart from his repentance from it, IMO numbers him among the disobedient. The Scriptures have an application to and mandate the believer’s response to Piper just as they do to Rick Warren.

In his classic Dr. Ernest Pickering 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.”2
Pay close attention to that the final sentence from Dr. Pickering’s excerpt (see bold). It, “secondary separation,” can be appropriately applied to both Rick Warren and now John Piper because both are, “following a course of action which is harmful to other believers and to the welfare of the churches.”

For the sake of a convergence around Calvinism and the Lordship Salvation3 interpretation of the Gospel men in evangelical and some in fundamental circles will tolerate, allow for, ignore and/or excuse Piper’s unwillingness to separate from those he knows to be in biblical error, i.e., “open theists” within his denomination; thinking the Toronto Blessing is a blessing; RAP in his church and his embrace of Mark Driscoll in spite of his (Driscoll’s) disgraceful speech and speaking at Schuler’s Crystal Cathedral. Not even this present indefensible error with Rick Warren, which violates the mandates of Scripture, is enough to “withdraw from” and caution others to refrain from promoting the ministry of John Piper.

What men won’t acknowledge, due to their fear of labeling, is that John Piper is a New-Evangelical.
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,” (Acts 20:28-31).
Hobnobbing with unbelievers through the Manhattan Declaration opens the door for “grievous wolves [to] enter in among you.” Furthermore, “of our own selves” men, such as Rick Warren, have arisen “speaking perverse things.” Al Mohler and Ligon Duncan have given Christian recognition to the deadly “enemies of the cross of Christ,” (Phil. 3:18). 4 John Piper is giving a platform, his own, for the “perverse things” of Rick Warren.

Yet none of these issues are sufficient motivation for men who claim fidelity to the Scriptures, including biblical separatism, to obey the biblical mandates to “withdraw from,” to “mark” and “avoid,” to warn others also.

Numerous blog articles have been generated since I first published (March 30, 2010) confirmation of John Piper’s invitation to Rick Warren to speak at this year’s Desiring God conference.5 John Piper has embraced and subsequently defended Rick Warren. He has demonstrated that he is firm in his decision and shows no inclination to repent of it.

How to Express Christian Love to John Piper:

Every person who attends T4G, who loves John Piper in the Lord, can help John Piper toward repentance. You can do that by admonishing him as openly as he has embraced and defended Rick Warren. If you are convinced that Piper is wrong, and that the Bible mandates our response, then follow that conviction and admonish him. If he refuses to respond and repent, then you have one option if you are to live in fidelity to the biblical mandates: “withdraw yourselves from...have no company with him that he may be ashamed.”

You might ask, “How do I make a practical application of those mandates at T4G?” The most practical application of the principle would be depart the hall when Piper has the platform. On Wednesday evening John Piper has the platform at T4G. That will be your opportunity to show fidelity to the Scriptures by being a no-show in the hall for that session. Radical; maybe, but:

Just where does your first loyalty lie: to the Word of God or to your friends, mentors and fellowships?

John Piper is not an enemy and I do not appreciate those who might portray him as one. He is, however, a brother who has gone horribly wrong in theology and practice with the Warren invite being the latest and most stark example. If members of the body of Christ do not take biblical steps to admonish and withdraw from to restore him he will eventually make even worse decisions than this one with Rick Warren.

If you love John Piper as a brother, you will admonish him as a brother. There is no more loving course of action than to restore a brother who has gone into “contrary” doctrine or practice than to admonish him. If he is unrepentant the loving response is to withdraw from, have no company with, to mark and avoid him.


LM

For an important related article see Ken Silva's Warrengate, John Piper and the New Calvinism at Apprising Ministries.

For previous articles in this series see-

John Piper to Feature Rick Warren at 2010 Desiring God

John Piper Explains Why He Invited Rick Warren to Desiring God

John Piper to Feature Rick Warren: What Are the T4G Men For to Do?

1) Yale Center for Faith & Culture: Loving God & Neighbor Together

2) Biblical Separation: The Struggle for a Pure Church, pp. 221-222.

3) Summary of Lordship Salvation From a Single Page

4) Al Mohler Signs the Manhattan Declaration

5) John Piper to Feature Rick Warren at 2010 Desiring God


April 5, 2010

John Piper to Feature Rick Warren: What Are the T4G Men For to Do?

Dear Guests of IDOTG:

On the morning of March 30th I posted the first article in this series, which verified that John Piper had invited Rick Warren to speak at Desiring God (DG). Shortly afterward numerous sites/blogs picked up on and ran the story. Many include threads with commentary. See the listing below. My previous articles in this series include:

John Piper to Feature Rick Warren at 2010 Desiring God

John Piper Explains Why He Invited Rick Warren to Desiring God

The revelation of John Piper’s invitation of Rick Warren to his Desiring God (DG) conference could not have been welcome news for Together for the Gospel (T4G)1 organizers and its key note speakers on the eve of their event. The Piper/Warren issue is sure to be the buzz of the conference. I do not expect anything on the Rick Warren invitation from the platform speakers unless it comes from Piper, which he may feel compelled to address in an attempt to quell the buzz.

The true irony of this year’s T4G is the theme, which is, “The (Unadjusted) Gospel.” Rick Warren is among the high priests of a watered down, non-saving message. IMO, only Zane Hodges, Bob Wilkin and the GES’s Crossless Gospel could possibly eclipse Rick Warren’s heretical reductionism. See- The Gospel of the Christ: One is Baffled…

I half-suspect Piper may take the platform at the outset to address the Warren invite. Why? For the purpose of getting it on the table, hashed out and hopefully quelled so that it is not a major lingering distraction during the conference. Nevertheless, there will undoubtedly be a huge buzz on the floor of T4G and in small groups settings throughout the conference.

Among the group of high profile evangelicals at T4G are men who know and minister frequently with one another, who have become a peer group. I speak of men such as, but not limited to: John MacArthur, Mark Dever, R. C. Sproul, Al Mohler and John Piper. Each has many years of ministerial experience and are respected by one another. Because of the close cooperation with one another over the years Piper would have no reason to brush them aside and they would likely feel at liberty to approach him.

I have pondered how men like John MacArthur, Al Mohler, R. C. Sproul, et. al., might react to the revelation of Piper’s invitation to Rick Warren. Mohler and Sproul have a larger consideration than MacArthur because they are scheduled to speak at DG along with Warren. Over the last week one nagging question I’ve had is:


Before agreeing to appear at DG were Mohler and Sproul informed by Piper that Rick Warren had also been invited?

I’ve also been speculating on what might be going on behind the scenes in these few days before T4G convenes. Frankly, what I am going to share would IMO be going on whether or not T4G were just on the horizon.

What will be the reaction of the T4G men: MacArthur, Dever, Sproul, et. al.? I suspect some private attempts to admonish Piper have already taken place. All indications are he (Piper) will reject any admonishment from his brothers. Will there be some public negative reaction from the other T4G men? Will, for the sake of T4G/TGC fellowships, all be forgotten. At T4G will all embrace one another as if nothing is amiss?
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,” (Rom. 16:17).
In regard to Rick Warren the mandates in verse 17 apply and there is no subjective decision to make. Piper, however, chooses to ignore the Scriptures to embrace Rick Warren, to defend and give him recognition, which will lend credibility to Warren and his methods. Piper puts impressionable believers, who follow him (Piper) at risk. Piper offers Warren a national platform, which could through his, “good words and fair speeches deceive the hearts of the simple,” and lead to their spiritual demise.

Piper is irrefutably acting “contrary” to the Scriptures and it is inexcusable.

Al Mohler has plenty of ecumenical baggage of his own. First, knowing Billy Graham has turned thousands of (alleged) converts over to Roman Catholic and modernistic churches when he accepted the chairmanship of Graham’s 2001 Louisville crusade. Second, signing the Manhattan Declaration 2 (along with Ligon Duncan), which extended Christian recognition to the deadly “enemies of the cross of Christ” (Phil. 3:18). If Mohler were to raise any legitimate concern it would be highly hypocritical of him. It would be impossible for Piper or any believer to take Mohler seriously with his recent track record of ecumenical compromise.

R. C. Sproul may be one who will admonish Piper and by conviction withdraw from DG.

John MacArthur has written effectively against the Charismatic movement, church marketing and emergent movements. Piper is a charismatic, he is irrefutably become a new evangelical with his embrace of and invitation to Rick Warren. If Piper’s belief in the miraculous sign gifts was not enough for MacArthur to cease from hosting and sharing platforms with Piper should we expect the Rick Warren invitation to compel MacArthur to withdraw from, mark and avoid him?
“Yet count him not as an enemy, but admonish him as a brother.” (2 Thess. 3:15).
IMO, MacArthur will and very likely has approached Piper in private to reason with and/or admonish him. If, as I am certain, Piper will not respond, MacArthur will likely post something from the Grace to You site and then back to situation normal with Piper. This convergence of high-profile evangelicals is IMO fragile in the first place because of the charismatic issue with Piper and Mahaney. Adding Warren to the mix has the potential to shatter this T4G/TGC/DG camp. I do, however, think they are all going to put unity before fidelity to the biblical mandates that apply. This has been the pattern of evangelicalism.

I believe the convergence of T4G and The Gospel Coalition around Calvinism and Lordship Salvation trumps other doctrinal considerations. Many conservative evangelicals are willing to tolerate, allow for and excuse Piper and Mahaney’s Charismatic theology and practice for the sake of cooperation around Lordship Salvation. I suspect for the sake of this unity, some conservative evangelicals will raise a form of protest and then will brush Piper’s invite of Warren aside. Some will happily sit on the platform with Warren and Piper.
“A final sad spectacle reported with enthusiasm…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.”3
Is the “ministry of warning” to be “killed off” over the Rick Warren controversy just as it has been over Piper’s charismatic theology? To date, there has been no “ministry of warning.”

If Piper’s charismatic theology were not bad enough now add his embrace of Rick Warren and invitation to him for DG and you have T4G on the cusp of division. That is IF evangelicals ever come to the point of obeying the God-given mandates for biblical separation themselves. Only MacArthur has shown any proclivity toward separatism, but has been woefully inconsistent.


LM

Please continue to- John Piper, "I'm Going to Need Help to Know Why I Should Feel Bad About This Decision."

*Indicates additional articles and commentary.

1) T4G and The Gospel Coalition are converging around a “particular” interpretation of the Gospel that defines well the tenants of Calvinism, while allowing non-cessationists [Charismatics] and ecumenicals to be part of their coalition platform. That interpretation of the Gospel is Lordship Salvation. When T4G and The Gospel Coalition events converge in alternating years they converge around Lordship Salvation. For the sake of clarity these conferences should come to be better known as: Together for the Lordship Salvation Gospel, and The Lordship Salvation Coalition. See- “Foremost Defenders of the Gospel?”

2)
Al Mohler Sign the Manhattan Declaration: Was This a First Time Foray Toward Ecumenism?

3)
The Merger of Calvinism with Worldliness

Addendum:
What about “secondary separation?” In his classic Dr. Ernest Pickering 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.” (Biblical Separation: The Struggle for a Pure Church, pp. 221-222.)
Pay close attention to that the final sentence from Dr. Pickering’s excerpt (see bold). It “secondary separation” can be appropriately applied to both Rick Warren and now John Piper because both are, “following a course of action which is harmful to other believers and to the welfare of the churches.”

April 1, 2010

John Piper Explains Why He Invited Rick Warren to Desiring God

Dear Guests of IDOTG:

On Tuesday morning I posted- John Piper to Feature Rick Warren at 2010 Desiring God. In less than 48 hours that article has had well over 3,000 hits and counting. It triggered a significant number of like-minded articles at other blogs. Since then two videos have surfaced, in which Piper explains why he invited Rick Warren to speak at the 2010 Desiring God (DG) conference.

Here is a somewhat dated recording of John Piper explaining why he Invited Rick Warren to speak at Desiring God (4:36). I don’t think [he’s] a pragmatist...I don’t think he’s emergent. At root I think (Rick Warren) is theological and doctrinal and sound.” Really? You decide.

The following video is a recent web cast from the Desiring God site.



For an edited version of this video, which contains excerpts from Warren, see below. There are elements in each commentary from Piper that will be highly disconcerting for those who recognize:

Rick Warren embraces deliberate pragmatism of the worst kind; routinely misuses Scripture to cover his own ideas with a veneer of divine authority; promotes extreme ecumenism; redefines ministry in terms of social activism and accepts the worst sort of evangelistic reductionism.
Knowing these things and then hearing Piper’s attempt to legitimize his invitation to Warren leaves one to ask: Does Piper not recognize or understand the harm Rick Warren has done to the New Testament church and the Gospel of Jesus Christ? Has John Piper lost touch with or knowingly decided to trample the Scriptures that forbid this kind of fellowship?

IMO, no matter how John Piper tries to legitimize hosting Rick Warren
it is INEXCUSABLE.

No one can understand or explain why Piper embraces Rick Warren except Piper himself. IMO, this is a huge disconnect from what Piper writes in his books. One must question that Piper believes what he writes in his own books.

From these companion statements from John Piper one can reasonably assume he will not be responsive to those who will “admonish him as a brother” in Christ. He appears set in his decision and will not repent of it. If Piper is unrepentant, keeps Warren on the roster, other DG speakers who want to obey the biblical mandates will “withdraw from” Piper and pull out of the DG conference rather than share the platform with Warren. Others will refrain from attending this conference in which Piper will have them set at the feet of Rick Warren to learn from him.
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 20:30-31).
I want to be wrong, but I suspect for the sake of unity, some conservative evangelicals will raise a form of protest and then will or be willing to happily sit on the platform with Warren and Piper. Al Mohler and R. C. Sproul are also scheduled to speak at DG. Sorry, but don’t count on Al Mohler who: 1) Knowing Billy Graham has turned thousands of (alleged) converts over to Roman Catholic and modernistic churches when he accepted the chairmanship of Graham’s 2001 Louisville crusade, and 2) Signed the Manhattan Declaration (along with Ligon Duncan), which gave the Roman Catholic Church Christian recognition. See- Al Mohler Signs the Manhattan Declaration: Was this a First-Time Foray Into Ecumenism?

Finally a reiteration of questions (from the previous article) to my brethren in the Independent Fundamental Baptist community: Kevin Bauder and Dave Doran. The men who are among Fundamentalism’s most vocal advocates of tolerance for and acceptance of the so-called conservative evangelicals.

Will John Piper’s hosting Rick Warren finally be enough for you to raise a genuine alarm to our next generation over Piper’s theology and practice? You men claim a heritage of and commitment to Gospel-Driven separation. Is this finally enough to openly call for separatism from Piper in unvarnished terms? Will this be enough to personally cease from and discourage lavish praise of Piper’s ministry apart from any serious ministry of warning?
Now we command you, brethren, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye withdraw yourselves from every brother that walketh disorderly, and not after the tradition which he received of us… And if any man obey not our word by this epistle, note that man, and have no company with him, that he may be ashamed,” (2 Thess. 3:6, 14).

Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them,” (Rom. 16:17).
Will Piper’s hosting Rick Warren be enough for self-proclaimed biblical separatists to finally “withdraw from” and “have no company with,” to “mark” and “avoid” John Piper? Or just as his charismatic theology, hosting a RAP artist in his church, etc., will this be tolerated, allowed for and excused for the sake of increased exposure to and fellowship with him?


LM

See the third in this series, What are the T4G Men For to Do?

Addendum:
I believe separation from believers who are disobedient is a loving response to their disobedience. John Piper has, however, abandoned this biblical principle. Piper prefers fellowship at the expense of ignoring what the Bible calls for when we encounter the disobedient among us, and Rick Warren is among the disobedient.

Now we command you, brethren, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye withdraw yourselves from every brother that walketh disorderly, and not after the tradition which he received of us…. note that man, and have no company with him, that he may be ashamed. Yet count him not as an enemy, but admonish him as a brother,” (2 Thess. 3: 6, 14-15).

IMO with his invitation to Warren, John Piper joins the ranks of the disobedient. We, therefore, have no subjective decision to make. If Piper rejects the admonition of brothers, and remains unrepentant, believers who desire to live in fidelity to the Scriptures must “withdraw from...and have no company with him” because of it.