September 3, 2013

New Calvinism & the Millennial Generation: The Perfect Storm

In recent years there has been a great deal of attention focused on the New Calvinism. “New Calvinism” is a serious threat to the Church of Jesus Christ. Among others many of the so-called “conservative” evangelicals have been at the forefront of advocating this movement and its devastating effects.

For the most comprehensive review and analysis of, and the answer to the New Calvinism you must read the works by Dr. Rob Congdon. You can find them at his website, Congdon Ministries International in the bookstore. Previously he wrote and we featured here New Calvinism’s Upside-Down Gospel.1
For those who are genuinely saved but have fallen under the teaching of New Calvinism, there is also concern. They, along with unsaved New Calvinists, are being led down a path that quite possibly is leading to a re-unification of Protestant churches with Roman Catholicism. Eventually, this union will spawn the worldwide religion described in Revelation…. John Piper, Al Mohler, Mark Dever, Mark Driscoll, and other New Calvinist leaders influence these young adults through their speaking, writing, and Internet blogs. They also encourage their followers to read the writings of past authority figures such as Augustine, Jonathan Edwards, and John Owens, as well as other influential Reformers or Puritans. While some of these writings provide useful spiritual insight, they also contain false biblical teaching. It is these and other writings that encourage mysticism, signs and wonders, and a continual looking back to the cross. Instead of complacent Christianity, New Calvinism seems to offer a sense of passion that is experienced through meditation on the majesty of God and the cross.
Rob Congdon’s new book is titled, New Calvinism & the Millennial Generation: The Perfect Storm.2

New Calvinism is a system of theology that combines: Reformed, Covenant, Puritan, and Augustinian theologies with present day, Post-Modern culture in an attempt to make Christianity seem more relevant to today’s Christian. Recognizing that churches are declining in numbers, fewer people are being saved, and that many Christians are carnal, not leading holy lives, concerned Christian leaders are looking back to the earlier days of the church for a solution. One solution they are turning to is New Calvinism. They are re-thinking and re-invigorating their teachings in order to make it relevant to our generation of Christianity. 1) Relevant is a key goal of New Calvinism.2) Adherents to New Calvinism believe that the answer lies in reaching out and building bridges between all segments of Christianity.3) According to the teachings of New Calvinism, the spiritual gifts of signs and wonders are valid for the church today.4) New Calvinism seeks to create and redeem culture.5) New Calvinism unites with Worldliness.
Related reading from 2009 by Dr. Peter Masters, The Merger of Calvinism With Worldliness.3
The new Calvinists constantly extol the Puritans, but they do not want to worship or live as they did. One of the vaunted new conferences is called Resolved, after Jonathan Edwards’ famous youthful Resolutions (seventy searching undertakings). But the culture of this conference would unquestionably have met with the outright condemnation of that great theologian. 
C J Mahaney is a preacher highly applauded in this book. Charismatic in belief and practice, he appears to be wholly accepted by the other big names who feature at the ‘new Calvinist’ conferences, such as John Piper, John MacArthur, Mark Dever, and Al Mohler. Evidently an extremely personable, friendly man, C J Mahaney is the founder of a group of churches blending Calvinism with charismatic ideas, and is reputed to have influenced many Calvinists to throw aside cessationist views. 
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 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.
If you cannot recognize error you, your church and your family are at risk of being unwittingly swept into this anti-biblical movement. New Calvinism is introduced with great subtlety by certain star personalities in evangelicalism. The unsuspecting could easily be deceived into believing that New Calvinism is God’s plan for the New Testament church. I can think of no current resources that will better equip to you recognize, reject and refute the egregious errors of the New Calvinism than that of Dr. Rob Congdon’s works on this subject.

Yours faithfully,

Lou Martuneac

Site Publisher Addendum:
I reject all 5 points of Calvinism and the extra-biblical theology (regeneration before faith; faith is the gift of God) that flows from it. Recognizing Dr. Masters is a Calvinist I feel his voice is much needed in this debate over the new threat from his Calvinistic brethren.



  1. I’ve read several of Rob Congdon’s books. There seems to be more and more material available against New Calvinism which gives me hope that Christians are starting to see through the New Calvinist’s flawed view of election mixed with their flawed understanding of the church. Congdon’s latest book, “New Calvinism and the Millennial Generation” is well thought out and shows why so many Generation Y’ers (Millennial’s) are being drawn into and indoctrinated by New Calvinist like Piper, Mohler, and Keller to name a few. Lou, please continue to make us aware of good reads like this.

    1 Corinthians 3:18-19 “Let no man deceive himself. If any man among you seemeth to be wise in this world, let him become a fool, that he may be wise. For the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God. For it is written, He taketh the wise in their own craftiness.”

    1. I appreciate that. I will do what I can to offer answers to these movements and expose the men who advocate them.


  2. Lou,

    A good article and a good warning for all Christians. However ... Rob Congdon named Jonathan Edwards in a list with other Calvinists who he said had writings containing false teachings. Then Peter Masters wrote that Jonathan Edwards was a great theologian. This doesn't compute. Which is it - is he a false teacher or a great theologian? I don't think he can be considered both. I side with Rob Congdon on this one. I think I've made similar comments here before regarding Spurgeon as someone having writings with useful spiritual insight but containing false teachings.

    I've also noticed that no one who writes about Mahaney, Mohler, Piper, etc. ever talk about their ministry at the Council of Biblical Manhood and Womanhood ( They were ministering in this organization together back in the 90's when I was a strong supporter, and many are still listed as leaders and speakers today. I was very much impressed with their teachings on gender roles, and this is quite possibly another reason these men and their wives have gained such popularity. I've often been baffled at the lack of similar teachings by so many fundamentalists. I stopped supporting CBMW when I realized that their standards of modesty weren't the same as mine. Before that, I almost contacted C.J. Mahaney to ask if I could court a lady working in his office but she was becoming increasingly immodest and getting caught up in more and more worldly activities. At the time I was willing to overlook the Calvinist and Charismatic aspects of their ministry but eventually decided I couldn't go there and started warning against them instead.

    I also helped sponsor Joshua Harris' father Greg as a speaker at several homeschool conferences. At that time I was willing to look the other way too. Greg Harris was an early nationwide homeschool leader and quite possibly the founder of the Reformed Charismatic "movement." When I visited his church I couldn't quite handle the rock'n roll but other than that, I would have a hard time saying that the people in his church and other churches he planted in the Pacific Northwest were as worldly as what is mentioned in some of these articles, but maybe the authors wouldn't consider them New Calvinists in this case?

    1. You als wrote, "I think I've made similar comments here before regarding Spurgeon as someone having writings with useful spiritual insight but containing false teachings."

      I agree with that as well. Furthermore, I have found, in my reading of Spurgeon, that it is not uncommon to find him on both sides of certain theological debates.


  3. Scott:

    Thanks for sharing your input and perspective.

    On your writing, "I've often been baffled at the lack of similar teachings by so many fundamentalists." Over the course of nearly 30 years as a member of particular IFB churches I have attended several conferences dedicated to the biblical role of the man/father, woman/mother and marriage that were organized by my local church(s). I also recall Sunday school classes that taught a series or more on the same subject. I suspect a great many married folks in local fundamental churches across America have a similar experience.

    Thanks again,


  4. Let me try to clear up the confusion. The Reformation gospel itself is progressive justification.

    1. Paul:

      You wrote, “The Reformation gospel itself is progressive justification.”

      I want to address your comment by documenting that many Calvinists do indeed believe that justification is progressive. First, however, I want to note that this view is one of their extra-biblical teachings that flow from Calvinism and it is a key component of their advocacy of Lordship Salvation’s perversion of the gospel. Examples of Lordship’s corruption of the gospel include,

      “Salvation is for those who are willing to forsake everything.” (John MacArthur: TGATJ, p. 78.)

      “That is the kind of response the Lord Jesus called for: wholehearted commitment. A desire for him at any cost. Unconditional surrender. A full exchange of self for the Savior. It is the only response that will open the gates of the kingdom.” John MacArthur: TGATJ: What is Authentic Faith? p. 150.)

      “If you want to receive this gift it will cost you the total commitment of all that you are to the Lord Jesus Christ…. Have you submitted to the Lordship of Christ? Have you really come to the end of self? Because Jesus does not begin until you end.” (Steve Lawson: The Cost of Discipleship, It Will Cost You Everything, Resolved Conference, Feb. 2007.)

      “If you want to receive this gift it will cost you the total commitment of all that you are to the Lord Jesus Christ…. Have you submitted to the Lordship of Christ? Have you really come to the end of self? Because Jesus does not begin until you end.” (Steve Lawson: The Cost of Discipleship, It Will Cost You Everything, Resolved Conference, Feb. 2007.)

      I would direct your attention to these brief articles explaining the core of LS’s message that corrupts the simplicity that is in Christ (2 Cor. 11:3) and frustrates grace (Gal. 2:21). They are,

      Summary of LS From a Single Page (of John MacArthur’s books)

      John MacArthur’s Mandatory Guidelines for “Lordship Salvation.”

      The two additional extra-biblical teachings of Calvinism are 1) regeneration occurs prior to and apart from faith, 2) that faith is the gift of God. Links to Brother George Zeller’s biblical refutation of and answers to these egregious errors are included in the footnotes of the main article above.

      Now, to your statement that Calvinists believe in progressive justification. We have documentation of that position from John Piper and R. C. Sproul. I cite these men at this blog teaching that position.

      There is no doubt that Jesus saw a measure of real, lived-out obedience to the will of God as necessary for final salvation.... What God will require at the judgment is not our perfection, but sufficient fruit to show that the tree had life-in our case, divine life.” (John Piper: What Jesus Demands From the World, pp. 160, 221).

      Endurance in faith is a condition for future salvation. Only those who endure in faith will be saved for eternity.” (R. C. Sproul, Grace Unknown, p. 198.)

      See, What is Kevin Bauder’s “Strongly-Worded Version of Lordship Salvation?”


  5. LM,

    Hmmmmm, interesting. That coincides with Luther's Heidelberg Disputation; ie., the complete eradication of self in order to be saved. I suppose Mac got a lot of cover for this under the auspices of contending against "easy believism."