September 13, 2016

Archival Series 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.

Originally appeared September 3, 2013.

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.

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