May 28, 2014

Archival Series: New Calvinism’s Upside-Down Gospel

Dr. Rob Congdon recently published a new book, New Calvinism’s Upside-Down Gospel. From the preface,
This booklet is the first in a series on New Calvinism that is intended to assist you in understanding the movement rapidly spreading throughout Christianity and dividing many churches and even families….
In light of New Calvinism’s impact and influence, especially on Christians between the ages of twenty and forty, it is hoped that a careful clarification and examination of the teachings and beliefs of New Calvinists will reveal why they are in error. After several years of studying this movement, the author desires to explain why New Calvinism appeals to the next generation of Christian leaders and how older men, such as John Piper and Al Mohler, are providing what appears to be deep biblical teaching, but what, in reality, is traditional Reformed/Covenant theology that has been repackaged in post-modern “wrappings.” Unfortunately, these new “wrappings” are cloaking the errors of traditional Calvinism as well as introducing some new doctrinal deviations.
You can read the preface in its entirety at the ordering page, link below.  Here are select excerpts from New Calvinism’s Upside-Down Gospel.
Instead of a gospel that leads individuals to salvation and spiritual growth, the gospel of New Calvinism is a distorted gospel that is setting a path to a mechanical, robotic, fatalistic, and corporate Christianity that offers only a false hope of salvation. Already, New Calvinism is creating a generation of twenty to forty year-olds that lacks a sense of direction, a sense of responsibility, a sense of holiness, a sense of God’s will, and a sense of God’s plan and purpose for creation. According to Time Magazine, New Calvinists are proclaiming a God who is a “micromanaging deity,” totally controlling a “sinful and puny humanity.” 
Because Calvinists do not fully comprehend or understand God’s plan to reveal characteristics of His nature through the redemption of human individuals who have the freedom to accept or reject His offer of salvation, they cling to and promote the doctrine of “Irresistible Grace” for the chosen or “elect” only. How can God be glorified for redeeming a pre-programmed “robot?” 
“Revelation History” as opposed to “Redemptive History” provides both the time and the “stage” necessary to reveal all of God’s attributes, not just His attributes relating to man’s redemption. To limit God’s purpose of history as New Calvinists do is to limit the revelation of God’s Person unnecessarily. 
The New Calvinist’s view of history is an outgrowth of a modified Reformed/Covenant theology called “Biblical Theology” or “redemptive historical hermeneutics,” first proposed in the 18th century.Men like Anglican clergyman Geoffrey Paxton, Geerhardus Vos, and former Seventh-day Adventist, Robert Brinsmead, have clarified and refined it. New Calvinists have repackaged this view of history to make it culturally relevant and have given it various labels such as: “The Centrality of the Objective Gospel” (COG); “The Gospel-Centered Theology;” (GCT) or simply, “Gospel-Driven.”* 
New Calvinism’s “gospel-driven life” may sound biblical, but upon closer examination, one finds that it is not one that is based upon the… “faith [that] cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God” (Romans 10:17). We are not talking merely about semantics, definitions, or a fad movement; we are talking about the eternal destinies of many for whom Christ died—Heaven or Hell! 
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. 
It is reasonable to wonder how earnest individuals can be deceived if leaders urge them to read their Bibles. This question leads to the second great danger of New Calvinism: it denies the power of the Word of God to change lives by relegating it to a minor mystic role…. What was going on is called Lecto Divina, which is a mystic Roman Catholic monastic practice of Scripture reading, meditation, prayer, and contemplation that supposedly promotes communion with God. The focus is “not a theological analysis of biblical passages but to view them [the Scriptures] with Christ as the key to their meaning.” In other words, this is Christo-centric meditation, now being practiced by both Emergent Church movement and New Calvinist leaders. 
To counter the “shifting sands” of today’s world and to provide authoritative leadership that young adults are seeking, New Calvinism offers a micromanaging God who controls every event, experience, or circumstance in a person’s life, down to the minutest detail, apart from any individual accountability for choices and acts. To a generation seeking stability, direction, security, and authority, a God who controls every aspect of life is welcome. 
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.
Dr. Congdon closes his book with a section of Suggestions for Countering New CalvinismI encourage each of you to purchase this powerful and compelling exposure of, and biblical response to the dangers of the New Calvinism. Click on New Calvinism’s Upside-Down Gospel to order your copy.


PO Box 1785, Greer, South Carolina 29652

*Note:Gospel Driven” is a preferred term of Dr. Dave Doran. In 2009 Dave wrote, “My goal through these posts on gospel-driven separation has been to lay out what I believe are the biblical obligations regarding separation that are explicitly stated in or implied by clear biblical texts.” (Starting at the Right Spot, Nov. 2009) Just days later it was learned that Dr. Al Mohler compromised the gospel by signing the Manhattan Declaration (Nov. 2009) with Roman Catholic priests. Mohler had given Christian recognition to the deadly “enemies of the cross of Christ,” which he (Mohler) has never apologized for or biblically repented of. Instead of making an application of his “gospel-driven biblical obligations” Dave elected to excuse Mohler’s ecumenism. Dave Doran dismissed the incident as merely, “a wrong decision based on bad judgment.”  Kevin Bauder suggested it was nothing more than a, “single episode...an occasional inconsistency.”


Al Mohler Joins Hands With the Mormon Church

Al Mohler: So Much for Sola Scriptura

May 21, 2014

Dr. AbuJamra shares my complementarian conviction.” Not if She Has Anything to Preach About it.

Whether one calls it, “teaching, preaching or lecturing,” where the Bible is concerned it does not fit for a woman to teach or usurp authority over men. (1 Timothy 2:12).

Lina AbuJamra: NIU

On April 22, 2014 Dr. Lina AbuJamra preached a Bible sermon to the student body at NIU. See, A Woman Preaches in Northland's Chapel.

Reaction to having a woman preaching in the NIU pulpit was swift. In response, from his blog, NIU president Daniel Patz wrote,
I am strongly complementarian in conviction, and I do not believe women should preach in Northland chapel…. Dr. AbuJamra shares my complementarian conviction as well.” (College Chapel and “Women Preachers” April 23, 2014)
Daniel Patz assured his readers that he personally, NIU and Lina AbuJamra are complementarian.1 That is to say they believe that although women can make contributions in a ministry setting, they are forbidden from teaching and usurping authority over the men. Within the Patz article Lina was never said to be sorry for the NIU chapel speaking. Mr. Patz, writing for her, assured readers that she is complementarian.

Under the title, Dan Patz Responds to a Woman Preaching in NIU Chapel I posted a review of the Patz article. For this writer the complimentarian issue was over with.
Mr. Patz comes close to, but ultimately sidesteps admitting that this was ‘preaching.’ Mr. Patz at least knew her reputation as that of a preacher, and went forward with having her. He had to ask her not to preach. He knew and now he’s trying to do damage control.”
Lina AbuJamra: Taylor University, 05/02/2014
Over with, that is, until just 9 days later (May 2, 2014) when Dr. AbuJamra was preaching at Taylor University to a mixed audience. See video below.2

If Lina is complementarian, and in alignment with Daniel Patz’s official position, then how can she go to Taylor University and preach again to a mixed group? Is she committed to the biblical principle- complementarian?

From her website we can find an answer. At Lina’s website there is a Q&A section. One question is: Do you only speak to women…?
No. I am open and willing to speak to any audience or event. I have had the privilege of speaking at colleges, women’s retreats and variety of conferences.”
Lina AbuJamra does not limit her teaching to women only. This is not the answer one would expect from a committed complementarian. There is, furthermore, a problem for Daniel Patz, his credibility in particular. He wrote,
I am strongly complementarian in conviction, and I do not believe women should preach in Northland chapel…. Dr. AbuJamra shares my complementarian conviction as well.”
President Patz vouched for Lina, but at Taylor University she has done what is contrary to the NIU president’s official position on women usurping authority over men.
  1. Lina AbuJamra was preaching at NIU, and again at Taylor University. Between the two engagements she attended Willow Creek CC and praised the church.3 Lina is a NIU board member. We now ask: Are claims that Lina AbuJamra is complementarian believable?
  2. Can NIU president Daniel Patz maintain that NIU board member Lina AbuJamra is not teaching, usurping authority over the men (1 Tim. 2:12)?
Yours faithfully,


LM

Site Publisher's Addendum:
During her sermon at NIU Lina used a very inappropriate phrase. She does it again at Taylor. This time, however, different subject, and much more graphic. I will not cite here what she said. You will hear her remarks at 2:10 of the You Tube video below. It is disgraceful and pathetic. You will be disgusted with and for this woman who seems to know nothing of a meek and quiet spirit.

Footnotes:
1) Complementarianism is a theological view…that men and women have different but complementary roles and responsibilities in marriage, family life, religious leadership and elsewhere. (Source: Wikipedia)

2) NIU Board member, Lina AbuJamra preaching at Taylor University.

3) Lina AbuJamra (April 30) on her Twitter account, “Also had an Awe-some time worshipping King Jesus at Willow Creek tonight. My heart is soaring with praise. So grateful for the Church.”

May 7, 2014

NIU’s Thursday Night Live: CCM & Red Hot Chili Peppers, It’s All the Same to Them

Many of you may not be familiar with NIU’s “Thursday Night Live” (TNL).  I, only recently, was made aware of this event. What we can learn from viewing one of these TNL events is that NIU has gone well beyond singing Contemporary Christian music to singing music in honor of the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Lorde, Bob Marley, and more. The group in this video goes by the name Lukie V & the Wisco Kids. 

video


Here is an example of one line of lyrics from the cover song above called “Tennis Court” by Lorde, How can I f*** with the fun again, when I’m known.” Of course during the live version on campus, they mumbled over the offensive lyric with “Yeah” to make it “acceptable.” Some of the other songs covered include:
  • Home” by Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros
  • Porcelain” by the Red Hot Chili Peppers
  • Skinny Love” by Bon Iver
  • Is This Love” by Bob Marley
In addition to the TNL events NIU is hosting the June 2014 Harmony by the Bay1 concert, which will highlight CCM/RAP entertainers.  This is Flame, a Rapper, one of three bands performing for NIU.



Today, I am reminded how former NIU president Matt Olson insisted, “Our Music Philosophy: Philosophically, it is unchanged. Let me say it again... unchanged.”2

The Thursday Night Live event is another example, in a long list of examples3, that demonstrates just how far away NIU has drifted from its “music philosophy,” and abandoned its biblically balanced, conservative fundamental Baptist Bible college foundation. We are witnessing a modern day tragedy!

Recently, I was asked, “Where does it all stop?” Some folks may be under the impression that, with Daniel Patz in the president’s office, the direction NIU was taken under Matt Olson might be slowed or even reversed in part.  There is, however, mounting evidence that Daniel Patz has not only continued the same trajectory that Matt Olson set the school on, but has mashed down on the gas pedal.

So, to answer the question, “Where does it all stop?” There is little doubt left that NIU’s on-going slide musically, and into the New Evangelical orbit, will not stop until NIU folds.


LM

Site Publisher’s Addendum:
In the TNL video there is a banner on the wall above and behind the students. That banner reads, “Nothing of Worth Comes Easily.” Some think that may be attributable to Les Ollila. It has become apparent that nothing of worth is coming from NIU any longer.

Footnotes:

2) Open Letter to Friends in the Ministry, (Fall 2010). The Matt Olson article has since been removed from the NIU website.  The selection above appears here in its full context.
“Our Music Philosophy: Philosophically, it is unchanged. Let me say it again... unchanged. What we have always been trying to do, and will continue to do into the future, is to make sure Northland’s practice of music (as with every aspect of the Christian life) is built principally on clear teachings from the Bible.” 
Furthermore, NIU has/had their own In-house CCM/Rock band. Previously NIU officially participated with the Big Daddy Weave concert. There was the blasphemous rendition of "Jesus Loves Me" RAP students did at the home of an NIU faculty member. Northland Waltzing Toward Extinction.

May 5, 2014

Northland Waltzing Toward Extinction

While Rome burned, Nero fiddled and while the campus of Northland is being abandoned the students learn to waltz away their troubles. In a place where prayer days and passionate lessons on Christ-centered great commission living were once the norm – students now learn to live for their next dance –

One, Two, Three, and One, Two, Three – on the way to tragedy, and One, Two, Three....”

video
While there is very little shock-value in anything from NIU anymore, it’s still worth putting up some items as an added caution.