July 25, 2011

Has John MacArthur Promoted the Creation of the Young, Restless & Reformed Who, “Embrace the World’s Fashions and Values?”

From his Grace to You blog Dr. John MacArthur laments what has become of the so-called “young, restless and reformed [Calvinists],” (YRR). Did John MacArthur contribute to the creation of what the YRR have become? John MacArthur now tells the YRR to “settle down.” In his introductory article, Grow Up. Settle Down. Keep Reforming. Advise for the Young, Restless, Reformed he says,

The YRR, “cannot be genuinely ‘Reformed’ and deliberately worldly at the same time. The two things are inconsistent and incompatible. To embrace the world’s fashions and values—even under the guise of being ‘missional’—is to make oneself God’s enemy (James 4:4).
In 2009 Dr. Peter Masters wrote The Merger of Calvinism With Worldliness that addressed what he saw then that MacArthur only now acknowledges, but accepts no responsibility for having contributed to.

With Dr. Master’s permission I published his article here (July 2009). In it Dr. Masters names John MacArthur, and by inference Grace Community Church Executive Pastor Rick Holland as contributors of the worldliness that would infect the young Calvinists. This article aggravated many of the so-called "conservative" evangelicals, the very like-minded Stateside Calvinists whom Masters was admonishing for their excursion into aberrant theology and worldliness. His article was prophetic. The only question remaining is whether or not men like John MacArthur will continue the same pattern of contribution(s) to the worldliness he fostered that he now laments. Read this article for that and further details on the problem with the YR&R.

The Merger of Calvinism with Worldliness:
An alarmed assessment by Dr. Masters of the ‘new Calvinism’ promoted among young people in the USA

When I was a youngster and newly saved, it seemed as if the chief goal of all zealous Christians, whether Calvinistic or Arminian, was consecration. Sermons, books and conferences stressed this in the spirit of Romans 12.1-2, where the beseeching apostle calls believers to present their bodies a living sacrifice, and not to be conformed to this world. The heart was challenged and stirred. Christ was to be Lord of one’s life, and self must be surrendered on the altar of service for him.

But now, it appears, there is a new Calvinism, with new Calvinists, which has swept the old objectives aside. A recent book, Young, Restless, Reformed, by Collin Hansen tells the story of how a so-called Calvinistic resurgence has captured the imaginations of thousands of young people in the USA, and this book has been reviewed with great enthusiasm in well-known magazines in the UK, such as Banner of Truth, Evangelical Times, and Reformation Today.

This writer, however, was very deeply saddened to read it, because it describes a seriously distorted Calvinism falling far, far short of an authentic life of obedience to a sovereign God. If this kind of Calvinism prospers, then genuine biblical piety will be under attack as never before.

The author of the book is a young man (around 26 when he wrote it) who grew up in a Christian family and trained in secular journalism. We are indebted to him for the readable and wide-reaching survey he gives of this new phenomenon, but the scene is certainly not a happy one.

The author begins by describing the Passion, conference at Atlanta in 2007, where 21,000 young people revelled in contemporary music, and listened to speakers such as John Piper proclaiming Calvinistic sentiments. And this picture is repeated many times through the book – large conferences being described at which the syncretism of worldly, sensation-stirring, high-decibel, rhythmic music, is mixed with Calvinistic doctrine.

We are told of thunderous music, thousands of raised hands, ‘Christian’ hip-hop and rap lyrics (the examples seeming inept and awkward in construction) uniting the doctrines of grace with the immoral drug-induced musical forms of worldly culture.

Collin Hansen contends that American Calvinism collapsed at the end of the nineteenth century and was maintained by only a handful of people until this great youth revival, but his historical scenario is, frankly, preposterous. As one who regularly visited American seminaries to speak from the early 1970s, I constantly met many preachers and students who loved the doctrines of grace, preaching also in churches of solid Calvinistic persuasion. But firmer evidence of the extensive presence of Calvinism is seen from the fact that very large firms of publishers sent out a stream of reformed literature post-war and through the 1980s. The mighty Eerdmans was solidly reformed in times past, not to mention Baker Book House, and Kregel and others. Where did all these books go – thousands upon thousands of them, including frequently reprinted sets of Calvin’s commentaries and a host of other classic works?

In the 1970s and 80s there were also smaller Calvinistic publishers in the USA, and at that time the phenomenon of Calvinistic discount Christian bookshops began, with bulging catalogue lists and a considerable following. The claim that Calvinism virtually disappeared is hopelessly mistaken.

Indeed, a far better quality Calvinism still flourishes in very many churches, where souls are won and lives sanctified, and where Truth and practice are both under the rule of Scripture. Such churches have no sympathy at all with reporter Collin Hansen’s worldly-worship variety, who seek to build churches using exactly the same entertainment methods as most charismatics and the Arminian Calvary Chapel movement.

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.
Resolved is the brainchild of a member of Dr John MacArthur’s pastoral staff, gathering thousands of young people annually, and featuring the usual mix of Calvinism and extreme charismatic-style worship. Young people are encouraged to feel the very same sensational nervous impact of loud rhythmic music on the body that they would experience in a large, worldly pop concert, complete with replicated lighting and atmosphere. At the same time they reflect on predestination and election. Worldly culture provides the bodily, emotional feelings, into which Christian thoughts are infused and floated. Biblical sentiments are harnessed to carnal entertainment. (Pictures of this conference on their website betray the totally worldly, showbusiness atmosphere created by the organisers.)

In times of disobedience the Jews of old syncretised by going to the Temple or the synagogue on the sabbath, and to idol temples on weekdays, but the new Calvinism has found a way of uniting spiritually incompatible things at the same time, in the same meeting.

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.

It was a protégé of this preacher named Joshua Harris who started the New Attitude conference for young people. We learn that when a secular rapper named Curtis Allen was converted, his new-born Christian instinct led him to give up his past life and his singing style. But Pastor Joshua Harris evidently persuaded him not to, so that he could sing for the Lord.
New Calvinists do not hesitate to override the instinctual Christian conscience, counselling people to become friends of the world.
One of the mega-churches admired in the book is the six-thousand strong Mars Hill Church at Seattle, founded and pastored by Mark Driscoll, who blends emerging church ideas (that Christians should utilise worldly culture) with Calvinistic theology [see endnote 1].

This preacher is also much admired by some reformed men in the UK, but his church has been described (by a sympathiser) as having the most ear-splitting music of any, and he has been rebuked by other preachers for the use of very ‘edgy’ language and gravely improper humour (even on television). He is to be seen in videos preaching in a Jesus teeshirt, symbolising the new compromise with culture, while at the same time propounding Calvinistic teaching. So much for the embracing of Puritan doctrine divested of Puritan lifestyle and worship.

Most of the well-known preachers who promote and encourage this ‘revival’ of Calvinism have in common the following positions that contradict a genuine Calvinistic (or Puritan) outlook:
1. They have no problem with contemporary charismatic-ethos worship, including extreme, heavy-metal forms.
2. They are soft on separation from worldliness [see endnote 2].
3. They reject the concern for the personal guidance of God in the major decisions of Christians (true sovereignty), thereby striking a death-blow to wholehearted consecration.
4. They hold anti-fourth-commandment views, taking a low view of the Lord’s Day, and so inflicting another blow at a consecrated lifestyle.
Whatever their strengths and achievements (and some of them are brilliant men by any human standard), or whatever their theoretical Calvinism, the poor stand of these preachers on these crucial issues will only encourage a fatally flawed version of Calvinism that will lead people to be increasingly wedded to the world, and to a self-seeking lifestyle.
Truly proclaimed, the sovereignty of God must include consecration, reverence, sincere obedience to his will, and separation from the world.
You cannot have Puritan soteriology without Puritan sanctification. You should not entice people to Calvinistic (or any) preaching by using worldly bait. We hope that young people in this movement will grasp the implications of the doctrines better than their teachers, and come away from the compromises. But there is a looming disaster in promoting this new form of Calvinism.

Why do some British Christians who hold the doctrines of grace give enthusiastic reviews to a book like this? There have been times in the past when large numbers of young people have suddenly become intellectually enthusiastic about solid Christian doctrine, only to abandon it almost as quickly. One thinks of the tremendous response the unique oratory of Francis Schaeffer secured on university campuses in the 1960s, and no doubt some young people were truly saved and established, but very many more turned aside. Gripped by the superiority of a biblical worldview, they momentarily despised the illogical, flaccid ideas of this world, but the impression in numerous cases was natural rather than spiritual. The present new, heady Calvinism, shorn of practical obedience will certainly prove to be ephemeral, leaving the cause compromised and scarred.

Has this form of Calvinism come to Britain yet? Alas, yes; one only has to look at the ‘blogs’ of some younger reformed pastors who put themselves forward as mentors and advisers of others. When you look at their ‘favourite films’, and ‘favourite music’ you find them unashamedly naming the leading groups, tracks and entertainment of debased culture, and it is clear that the world is still in their hearts. Years ago, such brethren would not have been baptised until they were clear of the world, but now you can go to seminary, no questions asked, and take up a pastorate, with unfought and unsurrendered idols in the throne room of your life. What hope is there for churches that have under-shepherds whose loyalties are so divided and distorted?

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 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.
True Calvinism and worldliness are opposites. Preparation of heart is needed if we would search the wonders and plumb the depths of sovereign grace. We find it in the challenging, convicting call of Joshua:
Now therefore fear the Lord, and serve him in sincerity and in truth: and put away the gods which your fathers served on the other side of the flood, and in Egypt; and serve ye the Lord. And if it seem evil unto you to serve the Lord, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.

1 His resolution of the question of divine sovereignty versus human free will, however, is much nearer to the Arminian view.

2 A recent book entitled Worldliness: Resisting the Seduction of a Fallen World by C J Mahaney and others, hopelessly under-equips young believers for separation from the world, especially in the area of music, where, apparently, the Lord loves every genre, and acceptability is reduced to two misleading and subjective questions.

(Italics his, bold and underline mine. Images have been added to illustrate some of that, which Masters warns of.)
The Merger of Calvinism with Worldliness is a clarion call to “young people in the USA” and especially timely for young American Fundamentalists. This is a sermon in print, a “ministry of warning” that has been nearly non-existent in American IFB circles. This is a much needed “ministry of warning” to men in Fundamentalism who are rapidly moving toward increased dialogue, fellowship with and tolerance for the “new” Calvinism of “conservative” evangelicalism.

Reprinted by permission from Dr. Peter Masters

Please continue to the next in this series, Dr. MacArthur, “Reforming” Is Not The Answer. Repentance Is!

July 18, 2011

In Defense of America

You may be aware that Peter Martuneac (my oldest son, 20) is a Marine (Lcpl.) currently deployed in Afghanistan. See- In Defense of the United States of America. Peter is deployed with (3/4 Lima Company, 1st Platoon), which had a British journalist (John Cantlie) embedded with them for a few weeks in June/July. The journalist has published several stories about the Marines of 3/4 Lima.

On June 26 the reporter followed 1st platoon on a patrol when they suddenly came under fire from Taliban forces. The reporter took a number of pictures during the action, which lasted almost an hour. The picture at right is of Peter, who according to the journalist’s caption, ran through sustained Taliban fire coming to the aid of a wounded Marine. In the photo below Peter is calling in medivac while the medic attends to the wounded Marine.
The following link is to the reporter’s site with 35 photos from the Afghanistan. Peter appears in five of those pictures. See #’s 8, 9, 10, 14 and 18. Photographs
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)

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)
Remember and pray for our Marines and soldiers in harm’s way fighting in defense of our nation and way of life.

Update (Feb. 2012): "For heroic achievement in the superior performance of his duties...in the dangerous green zone of the upper Gershak Valley, Afghanistan," Peter W. Martuneac was awarded the Navy & Marine Corps Achievement Medal (With Combat Distinguishing Device)

July 12, 2011

“Evangelical Orthodoxy is not an Acceptable Guise for the Embodiment of Error”

C.J. Mahaney is one of the star personalities of the so-called “conservative” evangelicals. He has been a keynote speaker for The Gospel Coalition (TGC) along side Mark Dever, Al Mohler and Ligon Duncan. These four as well as John MacArthur* and John Piper are scheduled keynote speakers for TGC’s sister conference Together for the Gospel1 in 2012. C.J. Mahaney has, furthermore, been a regular keynote speaker for John MacArthur and Rick Holland at their annual Resolved conference.

On July 7 C.J. Mahaney announced a personal leave of absence. See C.J. Mahaney: “Why I’m Taking a Leave of Absence.”2 The following comment was posted by Alex Guggenheim in a discussion thread under a Filing at the pseudo- fundamentalist Sharper Iron site about Mahaney’s leave of absence.3 I present it here for your consideration because of its spot-on analysis with my personal commentary to follow.
SGM [Sovereign Grace Ministries] (formerly PDI/People of Destiny International) is basically a neo-Purtian, neo-Charistmatic, and neo-Calvinistic/Reformed sect/organization whose history provides a backdrop to why “we” (since Mahaney makes this public then “we” is appropriate here) find so many problems and objections concerning its leadership and operations. As well, Mahaney’s complete lack of formal theological matriculation, no doubt, has contributed to his rise and maintenance as a novice with the Scriptures.

But these are all, really, his concern and the concern of those who are gullible enough to choose to yield themselves to such leadership and teachings. But what is striking is the emphatic allegiance by Dever and the like within the Reformed community to SGM and Mahaney over the past decade. Did they not do their due diligence or is this simply another case of so-called Conservative Evangelicals in the Reformed sect sycophantically revolving around Augustinian/Reformed/Calvinist (ARC) theology and not the Scriptures so that they ignore their very own teachings on the qualifications required for leadership that when a rising group or personality comes along that has had their own ARC epiphany, they welcome them with opened arms without requiring them to scrub themselves of their many errors before being embraced and promoted within their ranks?

Now one might respond with, “But CJ Mahaney is being called out, isn’t that enough that they are dealing with him?” Well that doesn’t undo their lack of due diligence and having their eyes closed (and if they didn’t have their eyes closed then either ignoring what was evident or worse, calling into question their judgment) before they ever embraced Mahaney and this group. But of course with the words “sovereign grace” in one’s title, what’s to be concerned with, right?

A little bit of research would shine a light on the many erring teachings of Mahaney. I know some of you want to retort, “but he teaches orthodoxy,” right? To that I respond, Evangelical orthodoxy is not an acceptable guise for the embodiment of error.” Jack Hyles was orthodox. In fact, I tell you what I see with these groups, more of the same but under another name and the very same kinds of objections when anyone levels a concern about leadership abuses and doctrinal departures.
Brother Alex Guggenheim got it exactly right and more so than he may have intended. I draw your attention especially to this statement by Alex,
But what is striking is the emphatic allegiance by Dever and the like within the Reformed community to SGM and Mahaney over the past decade. Did they not do their due diligence or is this simply another case of so-called Conservative Evangelicals in the Reformed sect sycophantically revolving around Augustinian/Reformed/Calvinist (ARC) theology and not the Scriptures….
The irony and lesson here is the strikingly similar actions, or more accurately, lack thereof by Drs. Kevin Bauder, Dave Doran, Matt Olson and Tim Jordan to the egregious errors of the evangelicals whom they eagerly seek to join in cooperative fellowship and ministry. I have been writing and documenting for many, many months a clear pattern from these men in regard to the conservative evangelicals in which they allow for, tolerate, ignore and/or excuse egregious doctrinal errors, ecumenical compromise and worldliness for the sake of fellowship around “Augustinian/Reformed/Calvinist (ARC) theology.” Calvinism, its soteriology in the form of Lordship Salvation, is the magnetic attraction of Reformed men in fundamental Baptist circles to their Calvinistic counterparts in evangelical circles.

Kevin Bauder and Dave Doran have a history of heaping lavish praise on evangelicals including John Piper. Among the most recent issues that neither Kevin Bauder and Dave Doran have not and apparently will have nothing substantive to say about is John Piper’s new and expanding cooperation with Rick Warren. Al Mohler signing the Manhattan Declaration (MD)4 was excused by both Bauder and Doran. Dave Doran has attended T4G and MacArthur’s Shepherds conference where Mahaney and/or Piper have been keynote speakers. Yet, on Piper and Mahaney’s charismatic teachings virtually nothing. Mark Dever’s SBC entanglements, amillenialism and personal affinity for and use of the RAP/Hip Hip medium in ministry is also ignored for the sake of cooperative ministry5 such as at the 2011 Leadership Conference at Calvary Baptist Church & Seminary, Lansdale, PA. Virtually no ministry of warning emanates from self identified biblical separatists.

Evangelicals, with highly questionable doctrines and practices, are “being embraced and promoted within [our] ranks.” In the new day resurgence of New Evangelical like tolerance and compromise for the sake of unity there appears to be no boundaries. In compromise, are cousins becoming twins?


Site Publisher Addendum:
Additional related comments by Brother Guggenheim, worthy of your consideration, include #: 19, 25 and 47. Among sources (provided by Alex Guggenheim) that might be of interest concerning the excesses and charges of abuse by SGM/Mahaney can be found at: SGMSurvivors; SGM Refuge; The Wartburg Watch: The Mahaney Money Machine and CJ Mahaney and SGM: The Systematic Approach to Sin Sniffing.

*On June 22 Phil Johnson (at SI) indicated that John MacArthur will not appear at the 2012 T4G. Johnson wrote, “The few reasons I gave for John MacArthur's non-participation in T4G 2012 were by no means an exhaustive list. There are some additional factors that have contributed to his decision to quietly back away from some of the large coalition meetings....” As of this date, however, MacArthur’s name and photo still appear under the featured speaker section of the T4G site as a scheduled speaker for the 2012 conference.

1) Together for the Gospel: “A Final Sad Spectacle

2) C.J. Mahaney: “Why I’m Taking a Leave of Absence”

3) Comment #8 under the discussion CJ Mahaney’s Leave of Absence

4) Al Mohler Signs the Manhattan Declaration, Part 2
Dave Doran’s final determination on Al Mohler’s signing the MD was that it was merely a “wrong decision based on bad judgment.” Kevin Bauder’s only known reference to the MD was to state that Mohler’s signing was only an “occasional inconsistency…single episode,” which is widely known to be only one of several ecumenical compromises in the ministry of Al Mohler. Al Mohler’s “Occasional Inconsistency”
5) The RAP on Mark Dever: What is the “Militant” Separatist to Do?
Are there any concrete reasons why militant, biblical separatists should avoid a cooperative ministry with Mark Dever? Does Mark Dever embrace any “worldly approaches for the church’s growth and/or worship?” Is there a clear “distinction between the church and the world [that] must be guarded?”

July 8, 2011

Top 10 Most Viewed #1: Is NIU “Unchanged?” Northland Baptist Bible College Position Statement on Contemporary Issues in Christianity

An individual recently provided me with an official document used at Northland International University. The document is titled, Northland Baptist Bible College Position Statement on Contemporary Issues in Christianity. This document was originally prepared by the college and endorsed by the NBBC board. This document was once and still may be distributed to visiting guests with questions about Northland’s stand on issues. Topics that the NBBC Position Statement address, but is not limited to, but includes: Accreditation, Divorce, Promise Keepers, Social Drinking, Billy Graham, Jack Hyles, Calvinism, Bible Versions and Navigators. For today’s purposes, however, I am highlighting four topics from the document. Let’s review these four categories from the NBBC Position Statement and then consider certain current events at Northland in light of those official position statements.

Bob Jones, Jr. and Bob Jones III speak on campus occasionally. We are a Baptist school but appreciate their strong stand on Fundamentalism.1

1. Principles of Music- We believe that all music must glorify and be a direct reflection on the life of a Spirit-filled believer (Ephesians 5: 18-20). We do not believe that music is amoral or “Value-neutral,” but that music plays an important role in the spiritual life of a believer. The style in which a piece of music is written and the manner in which it is performed strongly colors the message of the music. Or desire is to promote the style and type of music that will edify the believer and encourage holy living, and to avoid styles that contradict or hinder the spiritual well-being of the Christian. With these principles in mind, we have developed the following guidelines:

2007 Resolved, "Rock Out?"

2. Types of Music- Sacred music must be conservative in style. The music should support the message, and the message should be scriptural. We avoid music classified as “Contemporary Christian Music”- sacred music which is written or performed in a popular or worldly style. These styles include rock, Blues, Jazz, “big band,” rap, New Age, and other styles normally associated with worldly entertainment or dancing. We also avoid “pop” or rock arrangements of traditional hymns, recordings with the typical rhythm section of bass and drums used in pop and dance music.

Some styles of secular music, such as classical music, marching band music, fun songs, or traditional folk songs may be appropriate for certain occasions. However, some styles, such as jazz, rock, rap, punk, dance band, or New Age are never considered appropriate.

3. Music Performance- We do not encourage a singing or playing style which mimics the style of popular musicians. This includes scooping, sliding, breathiness, unnecessary syncopation, “scat” singing and other techniques common to nightclub, jazz, and other popular singers. We do encourage a style of singing and playing based on traditional, legitimate principles of good musicianship, including rhythmic precision, breath and tone support, proper intonation, and a direct, unaffected mode of expression.
From Resolved 2008

4. Music Performers- Because of our conservative stance regarding music and performance, we do not endorse “Contemporary Christian” artist who use worldly techniques in performing or recording their music.

Christian Rock Music
We view this as a contradiction in terms and reject it as being Christian.

John MacArthur
We have no institutional ties with Dr. MacArthur. We disagree with his view of church polity, but see value in his writings and in his expository preaching. We disagree with his neo-evangelical associations.2

With those NBBC Position Statements in mind, please consider the following four events that took place on NIU’s campus in 2010. Read objectively, and as you do ask yourself, has anything changed in principle and application at NIU?

1) NIU Initiates and Establishes Institutional Ties with John MacArthur
In April 2010 NIU President Matt Olson with Sam Horn, Les Ollila and Doug McLachlan traveled to the Grace Community Church to meet with John MacArthur, Phil Johnson and Rick Holland. This meeting was not publicly disclosed until Matt Olson’s Friends in Ministry open letter (Nov. 2010).3 See- NIU’s Convergence with Evangelicalism and Our Children Learn Not Only By What We Teach Them, But by What We Tolerate

2) Rick Holland, executive pastor of Grace Community Church Founder/director of John MacArthur’s CCM/Rock youth conference Resolved was presented to the undergraduates in an October chapel meeting.4

While NIU views Christian Rock “as a contradiction in terms and reject it as being Christian” by putting Rick Holland in the chapel pulpit NIU’s leadership, at the minimum, gave tacit endorsement to his Resolved conference. Dr. Peter Masters correctly describes Rick Holland’s Resolved Conference as an,
...extreme charismatic-style worship…sensational nervous impact of loud rhythmic music on the body that they would experience in a large, worldly pop concert.... Biblical sentiments are harnessed to carnal entertainment. Pictures…betray the totally worldly, show business atmosphere created by the organizers [Rick Holland].”5
3) Wayne Simien Speaks in Undergraduate Chapel
Simien’s Called to Greatness, among other ministries, offers dance classes for girls age 8-12, “intended to instill in young people a love for dance along with the fundamentals of ballet and jazz,” as well as Jazz/Contemporary dance instruction for girls 13-17. See-
Former NBA Player Speaks in Chapel 6

4) NIU Students and Staff Perform Music From and Dance to Broadway play Wicked
In the video link you will see Wynne Kimbrough, dean of students, on the platform with another student performing the duet lead role along with four off stage (student) dancers. You will see Dr. Kimbrough and five students performing a song and dance selection from Wicked, What is This Feeling, Loathing.

From the Music section of the NBBC Position Statement above, “We avoid music...styles normally associated with worldly entertainment or dancing.” Not anymore! One might assume that since this was Spirit Week on campus that this was done as a parody. Nevertheless, there is no justification whatsoever for this presentation on the campus of a fundamental Christian college. As the NBBC Position Statement indicates, “…some styles, such as jazz, rock, rap, punk, dance band, or New Age are never considered appropriate.”

In his Friends and Fellow Followers letter Les Ollila wrote, “…the foundational principles and historic theological positions to which we have always been committed remain unchanged.” In Matt Olson’s Open Letter to Friends in the Ministry he stated,
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…. 7
Has NIU remained unchanged? In 2010-11 school year would NIU hand the Northland Baptist Bible College Position Statement on Contemporary Issues in Christianity to a visiting pastor and/or parent and state that the university still abides by the philosophy and practice it defines? Is the NBBC Position Statement still in force, or has it been set aside to allow for what has the appearance of a change in direction for NIU? Did the name change from NBBC to NIU negate and dissolve the Northland Baptist Bible College Position Statement on Contemporary Issues in Christianity?

NBBC was so “Baptistic” that when the NBBC Position Statement was written they found it necessary to offer an explanation for having in Dr. Bob Jones, Jr. and Dr. Bob, III. Today, NIU presents non-Baptists and Southern Baptists in the classroom and chapel pulpit who are not known as, and do not want to be indentified as fundamental Baptists or with Fundamentalism. Yet NIU’s president and chancellor insist the university “is unchanged.”

The happenings of recent months from Northland’s campus strongly suggest that NIU is moving in a direction that is at odds with some elements that the NBBC Position Statement articulates. In light of tangible evidence that NIU has embarked on a new course in its philosophy and has formalized ties with evangelicals, the administration must decide to either:
1) Publicly disavow the NBBC Position Statement or,

2) Repent of recent activities identified above and live up to the NBBC Position Statement in principle and application. Cease and desist immediately from the new trajectory the administration has set for the university.
What tires objective observers is letters like those from Les Ollila and Matt Olson where they seem to use subjective imprecise language to quell any concerns. Complete details of what is transpiring in the administration and on campus are obscured for the sake of the new philosophy, trajectory and agenda for impressionable NIU students.
“Northland’s new trajectory has a historic parallel. The devastating effects of introducing Evangelicalism’s philosophy and practices into a biblical Fundamentalist setting are no more stark than the demise of Pillsbury Baptist Bible College.”8


Headline Update: May 8, 2011
For details see, Dr. Matt Olson UnInvited from BJU Baccalaureate

1) Northland identified itself as a, “Baptist school but appreciate their (Bob Jones, Jr. and Bob Jones, III] strong stand on Fundamentalism.” Fall 2010 semester’s guest speakers on NIU’s campus (Rick Holland and Wayne Simien) are not Baptists and do not have a “strong stand on Fundamentalism.” So, what is it that NIU appreciates about Holland and Simien that would have them invited to speak on campus?

2) NIU disagrees with John MacArthur’s “neo-evangelical associations.” Yet, NIU officials (Olson, Ollila, Horn, McLachlan) flew to California to meet with John MacArthur, Phil Johnson and Rick Holland. the meeting resulted in establishing “institutional ties” with the invitation to MacArthur’s executive pastor, Rick Holland, to speak in NIU’s chapel to the undergraduates. Who changed? It wasn’t MacArthur, Johnson and Holland!

3) Dr. Matt Olson’s Open Letter to Friends in the Ministry

4) See- NIU Presents executive Pastor of Grace Community Church to Its Student Body

5) “Resolved is the brainchild of a member of Dr John MacArthur’s pastoral staff [Rick Holland], gathering thousands of young people annually, and featuring the usual mix of Calvinism and extreme charismatic-style worship. Young people are encouraged to feel the very same sensational nervous impact of loud rhythmic music on the body that they would experience in a large, worldly pop concert, complete with replicated lighting and atmosphere. At the same time they reflect on predestination and election. Worldly culture provides the bodily, emotional feelings, into which Christian thoughts are infused and floated. Biblical sentiments are harnessed to carnal entertainment. (Pictures of this conference on their website betray the totally worldly, show business atmosphere created by the organizers.)” (Dr. Peter Masters, The Merger of Calvinism With Worldliness)

6) See Rick Simien’s Called to Greatness Event Information tab, CTG Dance link.

7) Dr. Matt Olson’s Open Letter to Friends in the Ministry

8) Discussion Over the Closing of Pillsbury Baptist Bible College

Originally published January 2011 Is NIU “Unchanged?” Northland Baptist Bible College Position Statement on Contemporary Issues in Christianity

July 7, 2011

Top 10 Most Viewed #2: Summary of Lordship Salvation From a Single Page

In each of the three editions of Dr. John MacArthur’s The Gospel According to Jesus there is a single page that summarizes one of the most egregious errors of the Lordship Salvation interpretation of the Gospel.

The page I refer to appears in the original and revised versions (pp. 218 and 252 respectively). In the 20th Anniversary edition, you will turn to page 250 and read,

One of the most comprehensive invitations to salvation in all the epistles comes in James 4:7-10... The invitation in 4:7-10 is directed at those who are not saved...
This is the passage Dr. MacArthur refers to as an “invitation to salvation.”
Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded. Be afflicted, and mourn, and weep: let your laughter be turned to mourning, and your joy to heaviness. Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and he shall lift you up,” (James 4:7-10).
At this point I want to remind my readers that the crux of the Lordship Salvation controversy is with the requirement for salvation, NOT what should be the natural results of a genuine conversion. In this section on the James passage MacArthur is making his application to, “those who are not saved.”

Is the epistle of James, “
directed at those who are not saved?” The epistle begins, “James, a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ, to the twelve tribes which are scattered abroad, greeting. My brethren, count it all joy…,” (James 1:1-2). “Brethren” appears approximately 190 times in the New Testament, and when does appear it is used almost exclusively in reference to born again Christians.

Dr. MacArthur views the carnality that James addresses as though it proves these “
brethren,” were never saved in the first place. He views them as “sinners…unregenerate…in desperate need of God’s (saving) grace.” MacArthur’s answer to the problem is that they need to be born again. He goes on to delineate what he believes are the ten “imperatives” for the reception of eternal life. The saving message to “sinners,” the “unregenerate,” according to MacArthur is,
...submit yourself to God (salvation); resist the devil (transferring allegiance); draw near to God (intimacy of relationship); cleanse your hands (repentance); purify your hearts (confession); be miserable, mourn, weep and let your laughter and joy be turned to gloom (sorrow). The final imperative summarizes the mentality of those who are converted: ‘Humble yourselves in the presence of the Lord’.”
If MacArthur’s statement was shared as instruction to Christians on how they should live wisely as born again disciples of Jesus Christ that would be a fair application of what he wrote. He is, however, stating what he believes are the necessary conditions of saving faith that results in a lost man becoming a Christian.

What we have in this single page (250) of
The Gospel According to Jesus is the Lordship’s classic error of failing to distinguish between the doctrines of salvation and discipleship. Lordship Salvation frontloads faith with commitment to the “good works” (Eph. 2:10) one would expect of a mature born again Christian.

Do we find salvation by the grace of God through faith in Christ (
Eph. 2:8-9) anywhere in James 4:7-10? No, we do not, because James is addressing “brethren” some of whom behaved as “carnal” Christians.

The example from page 250 of
The Gospel According to Jesus typifies and exemplifies the error of Lordship Salvation. The crux of the Lordship controversy is contained in the three paragraphs of that single page. That one page is all one needs to know about John MacArthur’s Lordship Salvation to realize he has changed the terms of the Gospel into a non-saving, man-centered message that corrupts the simplicity that is in Christ (2 Cor. 11:3) and frustrates the grace of God (Gal. 2:21).
I do not frustrate the grace of God: for if righteousness come by the law, then Christ is dead in vain,” (Galatians 2:21).


For additional reading on the Lordship Salvation interpretation of the Gospel please proceed to any of the following articles.

John MacArthur’s Discipleship Gospel

How Does the Lordship Advocate Define Repentance?

Lordship’s “Turn from Sin” FOR Salvation

Can God Given Faith Be Defective?

Is Lordship Salvation a "Barter" System?

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

Ominous Signs of Lordship’s Coming Storm

An Example of Lordship’s Man-Centered Message

Originally Published July 2008, Summary of Lordship Salvation From a Single Page, with 135 comments in the discussion thread.

July 6, 2011

Top 10 Most Viewed #3: John Piper to Feature Rick Warren at 2010 Desiring God

Dear Guests of IDOTG:

Earlier this month I requested and have now received written confirmation from Bethlehem Baptist Church (BBC) that John Piper invited and will host Rick Warren as a keynote speaker at his (Piper’s) 2010 Desiring God conference.

The source from BBC said Desiring God will, “…eventually be posting registration instructions and conference details, including a video from John Piper on why he invited this year’s speakers,” including Rick Warren.

To date the Desiring God site for national conferences does not disclose Rick Warren or any other speakers for this year’s event. Piper’s explanation for the invitation to Rick Warren will I’m sure be thoroughly critiqued by a wide circle of concerned believers.

Rick Warren needs little introduction to Fundamental or evangelical circles. Most would recognize Warren has personally done more harm to authentic biblical Christianity in recent years than most any other pastor in Christian circles. For example:

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.” 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.” (Purpose Driven website)

Warren routinely misuses Scripture: The Bible is a tool that Warren manipulates to cover his own ideas with a veneer of divine authority.

Warren promotes extreme ecumenism: He has forged ties with the Roman Catholic Church, the Baptist World Alliance and the United Nations. 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, he added, “I thought, ‘This is silly! Why would we separate ourselves from brothers and sisters in the world?’” (Rick Warren at the Baptist World Alliance- Global Baptists Are in This Together.)

Warren redefines ministry in terms of social activism: 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.

Warren accepts the worst sort of evangelistic 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).
Rick Warren’s Saddleback church is one of this generation’s most stark fulfillments of the Apostle Paul’s prophetic statement,
For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; and they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables, (2 Tim. 4:3-4).
Even all of this is not enough for John Piper to exercise restraint and refrain from featuring Rick Warren at Desiring God.

John Piper hosts and endorses the ministry of Mark Driscoll who has preached at Robert Schuler’s Crystal Cathedral and is notorious for his disgraceful filth speech in the pulpit. Now Piper adds Rick Warren to his approved list of keynote speakers. No one can understand or explain why Piper embraces Rick Warren except Piper himself. 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.

Will this be enough for John MacArthur, author of The Truth War, to finally obey the warranted biblical mandates to withdraw from John Piper. To cease from featuring Piper at his Resolved youth conference and/or sharing platforms with him? If MacArthur’s track record speaks to this, he will not.

There is a Trojan horse being allowed access to IFB circles and seminaries. In a thread at the pseudo- fundamentalist site Sharper Iron, Dr. Gerald Priest (DBTS faculty) wrote,
Kevin [Bauder]…has spent very little time warning us about the pitfalls and problems of conservative evangelicalism…. 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.” (See- Let’s Get “CRYSTAL” Clear on This: Kevin Bauder’s, “Foremost Defenders of the Gospel Today?”

Is this finally enough to halt the Trojan horse, in the form of John Piper, at the door and bar him from entrance into the Fundamentalist camp?

Kevin Bauder and Dave Doran are among Fundamentalism’s most vocal advocates of tolerance for and acceptance of the so-called conservative evangelicalism. Will John Piper’s hosting Rick Warren finally be enough for them to raise a genuine alarm to our next generation over Piper’s theology and practice? Is this finally enough to openly call for separatism from Piper in unvarnished terms? Will this be enough to discourage lavish praise of Piper’s ministry apart from any serious ministry of warning?

Will this be enough for a segment of Reformed IFB men to finally “withdraw from” and “have no company with” (2 Thess. 3:6, 14), to “mark” and “avoid” (Rom. 16:17) John Piper? Or will Piper’s hosting Rick Warren, just as his charismatic theology, hosting a RAP artist in his church, etc., be tolerated, allowed for and excused for the sake of increased exposure to and fellowship with him?


Please continue to John Piper Explains Why He Invited Rick Warren to Desiring God for his web cast explanation in his own words.

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

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

UPDATE (3/31/10):
Here is a 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. IMO, whatever Piper’s reason for hosting Warren it is inexcusable!

Site Publisher’s Note:
John Piper has announced he is taking an extended leave of absence from ministry through 2010. He will, however, be engaged in Desiring God.
As you may have already heard in the sermon from March 27-28, the elders graciously approved on March 22 a leave of absence that will take me [John Piper] away from Bethlehem from May 1 through December 31, 2010…. I asked the elders to consider this leave because of a growing sense that my soul, my marriage, my family, and my ministry-pattern need a reality check from the Holy Spirit.
See Desiring God for his full disclosure.

Originally published March 2010, John Piper to Feature Rick Warren at 2010 Desiring God, with over 5,000 hits in the first three days.

July 5, 2011

Top 10 Most Viewed #4: Northland Int’l. University’s Convergence with Evangelicalism: What Does it Mean for Impressionable Students?

Dear Guests of IDOTG:

In September I announced and discussed Rick Holland, executive pastor of John MacArthur’s Grace Community Church, speaking in chapel to the undergraduate student body of Northland International University.1 In recent days I am hearing of and from pastors around the country who once they heard/read about Northland’s opening its student body for the ministry of Rick Holland have contacted the NIU administration, NIU’s president Matt Olson in particular.

Why Was Rick Holland Invited by NIU?
In my first article on NIU I wrote,

When a man’s shoes are pointed west, he is headed west; pointed east, he is headed east. When you look at a man’s friends, fellowships and conferences he attends; whom a man opens his pulpit, chapel ministry or seminary to, whom he shares platforms with, it tells you something about him. It tells something about an institution. It tells you what he and the institution is now or what they soon will be.”
In April 2010 Matt Olson, Sam Horn, Les Ollila and Doug McLachlan traveled to the Grace Community Church (GCC) to meet with John MacArthur, Phil Johnson and Rick Holland.* After a day of discussions the NIU men came away finding no reason not to have and increase fellowship with them. Inviting GCC’s executive pastor, Rick Holland, to speak in chapel confirms a new alliance for NIU with evangelicalism. That decision means one of two things about the discussions in the meeting at GCC:
1) The Gospel was not discussed or,
2) NIU’s official position and the position of its leadership is that Lordship Salvation, as John MacArthur defines it, is the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
No one who understands that Lordship Salvation (LS) is a works based corruption of the Gospel, and that it frustrates grace (Gal. 2:21) would ever allow a man who preaches that message to speak in chapel to young people in Bible College.2 Those who recognize the danger and egregious errors of John MacArthur’s LS would have all the compelling biblical reason they need to “withdraw” from, “mark” and “avoid” the leadership of Grace Community Church (MacArthur, Johnson, Holland, et. al.)

The Influence of Impressionable Students
NIU’s administration will defend hosting [Southern Baptist Convention] evangelicals like Bruce Ware in the Doctor of Ministry program, suggesting the men enrolled are mature and established in the ministry. Maturity, however, does not guarantee immunity against error. NIU has, furthermore, presented Rick Holland to a student body of young impressionable undergraduates. Rick Holland is a preacher of LS’s works based, man-centered message. The worldly CCM/Rock culture of the Resolved conference3 is the brain child of Rick Holland. By allowing Rick Holland to preach in chapel before the undergraduate student body NIU endorsed and stamped its approval on his doctrine and practices. Exposing NIU’s undergraduate students to Rick Holland signals that NIU’s administration and board believes Lordship Salvation to be the Gospel, would defend Lordship Salvation as such, and furthermore finds the “extreme charismatic-style worship” of the Resolved conference to be acceptable.
Whom an institution reaches out to and endorses before its student body tells a great deal about what the institution is now or soon will be.
Certain guest speakers and lectures that NIU is reaching out to and presenting to its student body indicate that it is shifting in the direction of evangelicalism in doctrine and practice. When you open your arms and your pulpit to evangelicals you open wide the gate for Calvinism, Lordship Salvation, non-cessationism, ecumenical compromise and worldly methods of ministry all of which, to various degrees, evangelicals bring with them to your ministry and expose your people to. NIU is exposing the student body to men and methods that will influence them to become what evangelicals are in doctrine and in practice.
Many pastors and parents are under the impression that NIU is an Independent Fundamental (Separatist) Baptist Bible college. I do not believe parents are sending young people to NIU to have them put under the influence of Evangelicalism.
Certainty of Fallout
Certainly the NIU administration knew there would be fall-out from their decision to embrace and begin working in cooperation with evangelicals. I am also certain they anticipated the possibility there would be some loss of support and enrollment as a consequence. What I am also certain of is this: The new convergence between NIU and the GCC is not going to end with Rick Holland speaking in chapel. John MacArthur is the bridge to the more disconcerting men and movements in evangelicalism. In time NIU will be opening its chapel to them as well.

Concerned pastors are contacting Matt Olson about this obvious shift in direction for NIU. Pastors and parents are asking themselves if they can in good conscience continue their relationship with NIU. Some have decided to sever long-time relations with NIU and therefore will no longer send students to or host NIU representatives. Others are on the verge of similar decisions.

If a parent rejects Calvinism, Lordship Salvation, the world’s anti-god Rock culture in the form of CCM, ecumenical compromise and loosening standards of biblical separation they will pray for leading to a college where their young person will not be encouraged and/or influenced in the classrooms and chapel to tolerate, receive, adopt and become those things.

If you are one of the concerned over NIU’s new direction, you might pray for and contact the administration to encourage them to rethink and reconsider the path they now trod. IMO, this path is going to lead NIU, and of greatest concern, its students into expanded compromise of biblical truth in principle and application for the sake of fellowship with evangelicals.

A Closing Appeal to Elder Statesman:
Where are the men who are well-known, highly trained and respected in Fundamental circles? Why are the voices of men who recognize the dangers that lay before this and the next generation silent? You know what the problem is, where it is coming from and where this new trend of compromise will all end up. You have the answer from Scripture and a life of personal experience from which to draw and teach. Yet, you say nothing; why? Is there not a cause? Other men who identify with Fundamentalism are using the Internet to influence the young to follow them in a dangerous direction. Star personalities of Evangelicalism are on the Internet wooing impressionable young people. Like the Internet or not, fundamental believers are getting much of their theology reshaped by who and what they are reading on the Internet and the evangelicals own almost all of it.
“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 20:29-30).
While you remain silent the next generation is being swept up by the current craze to embrace a brand of evangelicalism, which has at its root neo-evangelicalism and shows signs of resurgence. If the next generation drifts far off the pathway of fidelity to the Scriptures in principle and application and you wonder how it could have happened- look to your silence.


Please continue to the next in this series, Our Children Learn Not Only What We Teach Them, But By What We Tolerate

*Interesting to note that men who claim to be Fundamental Baptists and separatists are reaching out to Evangelicals, who disdain biblical separation in principle and/or application. Fundamentalists going out of their way to Evangelicals to increase fellowship and cooperation between them. Evangelicals are not moving toward, reaching out to Fundamentalists. This pattern of movement will be discussed in a future article.

1) NIU Presents Rick Holland, Executive Pastor of Grace Community Church to Its Student Body
When Northland adopted its new name, Northland International University, it was IMO a sign telling the Christian community that Northland would be moving in a new and different direction, which is just now coming into full view.”
2) Summary of Lordship Salvation From a Single Page

3) “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. Resolved is the brainchild of a member of Dr John MacArthur’s pastoral staff [Rick Holland], gathering thousands of young people annually, and featuring the usual mix of Calvinism and extreme charismatic-style worship. Young people are encouraged to feel the very same sensational nervous impact of loud rhythmic music on the body that they would experience in a large, worldly pop concert, complete with replicated lighting and atmosphere…. Worldly culture provides the bodily, emotional feelings, into which Christian thoughts are infused and floated. Biblical sentiments are harnessed to carnal entertainment. (Pictures of this conference on their website betray the totally worldly, showbusiness atmosphere created by the organisers.)” (Dr. Peter Masters: The Merger of Calvinism With Worldliness)

Originally Published Nov. 2010, Northland Int’l. University’s Convergence with Evangelicalism: What Does it Mean for Impressionable Students?

July 2, 2011

Top 10 Most Viewed #5: Three Perils of Fundamentalism’s Next Generation

Dear Guests of IDOTG:

For your consideration I am reproducing selected excerpts from Faith Pulpit, February ‘00, Three Perils of Fundamentalism’s Next Generation, by Dr. Alan D. Cole, Th.D.

I. The Peril of Persecution

One characteristic of postmodernism is not just disdain for absolutes or a debate with absolutes, but also an attack on absolutes and on those who hold them. When Fundamentalism declares positions such as the complete authority of the Bible (2 Timothy 3:16-17), the sin of homosexuality (Romans 1:26-27), and the leadership of the parent in the home (Ephesians 6:1), it places itself in a head-on collision with postmodernism and multiculturalism.

II. The Peril of Pride

The new generation of Fundamentalists faces the peril of thinking that they are superior to the founders of the movement. There is the temptation to look at foibles of past men and respond with disdain toward them and the positions they advocated. There is the danger of thinking that one is enlightened, and therefore that past battles were trivial. When this mindset grips a young man, he is in danger of allowing, or perhaps even promoting, a drift from the movement's founding commitments.

In a previous Faith Pulpit article (May/June 1996), Dr. Robert G. Delnay discusses “Third-Generation Christians.” He states that “in the third generation the importance of deliverance and of the founding issues gets less and less.” He further warns of the possibility that “the third generation will have brought about the end of the founder’s dream.” These trends can also be a possibility within Fundamentalism. Personal and ecclesiastical separation, and an exposition and defense of the faith can all become less significant to one who is unaware of their importance or Biblical basis. One may even reject the whole stand with the excuse that “he knows better.” He may struggle with the pride of youth and view himself as superior to those who have sacrificed for his spiritual growth.

III. The Peril of Pluralism

The next generation faces the temptation to avoid controversy under the guise of toleration.

Being a Fundamentalist is not just wearing a label. It is a firm exposition of and commitment to a theological position, and, in particular, to personal and ecclesiastical separation. It is the application of all doctrine to everyday life. It seems that some, in their attempt to promote a softer and less distinct Fundamentalism, have forsaken their commitment to its declaration and practice. At the heart of this issue is an attempt to be more relevant to mankind while forgetting faithfulness to the Lord and to His Word. When one attends ecumenical conventions for male leadership, when one uses “Christian Rock” or Contemporary Christian Music to build his youth group, when one is unwilling to defend and declare personal and ecclesiastical separation, he is guilty of religious pluralism. He is combining the world with the Word and clouding the lines of distinction between them.

What should be done in light of these blurred distinctives? We must expound the Scriptural truths of separation and apply those truths to daily living. We must recommit ourselves to holiness in the home and in the church.

For the full article follow this link to, Three Perils of Fundamentalism’s Next Generation, Faith Pulpit, February '00 -Alan D. Cole, Th.D.

Site Publisher’s Commentary:
Much of what the author speaks of from 10 years hence is unfolding before us in this present day. Some men who claim a Fundamentalist and/or separatist heritage have undertaken an on line effort (through their own blogs and the pseudo- fundamentalist Sharper Iron site) to redefine and/or, “…promote a softer and less distinct Fundamentalism.” This redefined Fundamentalism calls for toleration of non-cessationism, cultural relativism, ecumenicalism and compromises of the Gospel among so-called “conservative” evangelicals.

By making articles such as this visible to the IFB community reasonable voices are being raised afresh for this generation that they might resist calls for a compromised “softer and less distinct Fundamentalism.” Three Perils of Fundamentalism’s Next Generation may help vulnerable young fundamentalists choose holiness, righteousness and fidelity to the Scriptural mandates for personal and ecclesiastical separatism in the face of a competing message.

Originally Published June 2010-
Three Perils of Fundamentalism’s Next Generation

July 1, 2011

Top 10 Most Viewed: #6 The Joseph Zichterman Issue

Dear Guests of IDOTG:

I trust many have heard the news about Dr. Joseph Zichterman, a well-known man from Independent Fundamental Baptist (IFB) circles. On May 7, 2007 it was suddenly announced Joe Zichterman was leaving the IFB movement and would transfer his church membership to the Willow Creek Community Church (WCCC). Joe’s announcement and departure has apparently caught even his closest friends completely by surprise. Joe’s shift was announced by him at a new web site he opened to break this news. The site, which is now offline, was called Life of Faith Ministry*.

The news of Joe’s departure was broke at Sharper Iron (a pseudo- fundamentalist blog) under this title: Joe Zichterman Launches Website (JZLW)**. This article and the discussion thread was removed by then SI site publisher Jason Janz. In that deleted thread was a comment written by a student from Northland Baptist Bible College now known as Northland International University. I reference his notes below.

The JZLW article and thread which followed generated well over 25,000 hits in just four days. This is pretty much unprecedented for a single article in the Christian blogosphere. I posted several comments in the JZLW thread, which I have republished here:

I do not know Joe and I am not familiar with what I see now appears to be his former ministry in Fundamental circles. I can see many are saddened by this announcement. I sense the loss.

From what I have read in the first few pages of this thread it appears Joe was fairly high profile and quite influential with young people. Joe’s transition could very well become a catalyst or bridge for others to follow him over to the Willow Creek mentality/ministry.

For the sake of those who Joe had an influence with, and while keeping the spirit of Colossians 4:6 in mind, it needs to be made loud and clear that membership with the Willow Creek church is wrong and especially why it is wrong
Another article with a thread discussion was opened as a follow-up to the JZLW article. Like the first, however, this was also deleted by SI site publisher Janz. It was titled, Crossing The Bridge!! There I contributed two posts, and these did generate a good reaction. Following are my two comments from Crossing the Bridge!!
Was it Known?
I am going to wonder out loud for a moment. Did some in positions of leadership over and/or in fellowship with Joe have some inkling, or even a strong sense that Joe's shift was possible, and may even be on the near horizon, while he continued, what we must conclude, was a facade ministry in IFB circles?
Showing Them The Way
Anyone can miss something boiling under the surface. In regard to Joe, however, it seems to me that he did not go to bed one Sunday night as a Fundamentalist and roll out of bed on Monday morning in the Willow Creek community. In cases like Joe’s there is usually a gradual slide from where he was (IFB) to where he just landed (WCCC).

Joe Zichterman was relatively high-profile, and well connected with many in leadership positions in IFB circles. Did this 180 shift take everyone by surprise?

How to respond: That appears to be ramping up in regard to how some might like to address Joe personally. If some men think they can in some way recover Joe I am all for it. My chief concern, however, is how we respond to Joe’s shift back here in our IFB circles. I think a type of Damage-Control is in order.

One need only read the post by Anthonydi (from NBBC) in the Joe Zichterman thread. He wrote, “I know that my opinion as a twenty year old matters little, but there are those students here that respect Dr. Z for what he is doing. Frankly this scares me.”

That post IMO was the most significant and prolific in the entire 20 page thread. That should scare and wake all of us up! Do IFB Bible college students respect Joe’s move to Willow Creek? I would hope the NBBC administration took note of that. We had all better take note of that. Anthony’s note sounds much to me like a cry for help.

Joe Z. did and is still having an impact on college students and his impact may linger and draw some of these young people to the WCC and Emerging Church Movement. I believe Joe has become another bridge that has the potential of showing IFB young people the way to the New Evangelical and Emergent Church movements.

Men, if we pass on addressing this close to home with our young people we are going to see a lot more of what we just saw with Joe Zichterman
My chief is concern is how leadership in Fundamentalism responds in our own circles to what has transpired. I am praying for those in a position who can do so, to take this event with Joe Zichterman to heart and set out to lovingly, patiently, passionately and with power from on High, help our young people understand what has happened.

These concerns I have expressed are NOT about saving a movement (Fundamentalism); it is about preserving a generation to come. A generation who will understand the necessity of being stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, (1 Cor. 15:58). That they will see fidelity to God, His Word and proclamation of the saving message of Jesus Christ, His Gospel, as a sacred duty.
For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life,” (John 3:16).
Vance Havner said, “God has always been in the remnant business.” God does not need an organization or big crowd to accomplish His plan. Just a “faithful few on fire” are enough. We have a task ahead of us. If we don’t pass on to the next generation who sit in the college classrooms:

A passion for God,
Unshakeable desire for fidelity to the Scriptures,
Dedication to personal holiness, and
Heart for the evangelization of the lost;

God will raise up another remnant for His name sake and glory.


For Related Reading:
Purpose Driven’s Compromise of Scripture

Your First Step Won’t Be Your Last: Avoiding the Path to Compromise

*The Life of Faith site Joe opened to coincide with his move to the WCCC was deleted presumably by Zichterman sometime in early 2008.
**Sharper Iron blog also deleted the article in regard to Zichterman’s move.

Originally published May 2007- (still among the most viewed in the last two years)
The Joseph Zichterman Issue