December 3, 2013

Al Mohler’s RAPPINT4G

On December 1st R. Albert Mohler posted an article under the title, “Thinking about Thinking about Rap — Unexpected Thoughts over Thanksgiving.”1 He wrote,
I do admire its [RAP’s] virtuosity…. I want that language taken for the cause of the Gospel…”
For those who have been objectively watching Al Mohler’s ecumenical compromises, and they are many,2 this article by him should have come with no surprise whatsoever. In fact, it should have been anticipated. Mark Dever, as I documented in 2011, was way out ahead of Al Mohler on RAP in the ministry of the church.3

The line is long since cemented on Al Mohler and the T4G/Gospel Coalition men. We have the, “I don’t care what Mohler (Dever, Mahaney, MacArthur, Piper, et. al.) does, he writes good books,” crowd. Those folks are essentially lost to the new wave of New Evangelicalism sweeping the Church of Jesus Christ. The greater concern many have in IFB circles is with the influence Al Mohler, Dever, Piper are having among some fundamental Baptist churches. Increasing the concern is that certain men who circulate in fundamental circles, most notably Dr. Kevin Bauder primarily and Dr. Dave Doran, are acting as apologists for these so-called “conservative” evangelicals, who are in fact the new wave of New Evangelicals among us.

Will this latest manifestation of Al Mohler’s misguided and worldly methodology give Drs. Bauder or Doran cause to rebuke him and/or warn believers to avoid him? Men who claim be “militant” separatists, loyal to the principles of authentic biblical separation certainly would have said something long before this.  There has been ample opportunity to rebuke Mohler and/or warn others about him. To date, however, there has been no level of aberrant doctrine, ecumenical compromises and cultural relativism coming from Al Mohler that has given either Bauder or Doran cause to publicly “rebuke” (2 Tim. 4:2), or warn the body of believers to “mark, avoid” (Rom. 16:17-18), to “withdraw from” (2 Thess. 3:6, 14-15) Mohler and his expanding foray into New Evangelicalism.

With history as our guide the reaction we can reasonably expect to Al Mohler’s RAPPIN’ for the Gospel will be either heaps of “lavish praise” for it, and/or be tolerated, allowed for, ignored or excused.

Finally, in light of Al Mohler’s vision of rappin’ “for the cause of the Gospel,” I would propose a revision of the T4G acronym to R4G, which is to say, “Rappin’ foda Gospel.” The kids will love it.


Addendum (12/6/13)
See thread comment #3 for analysis and reaction to Kevin Bauders predictable Nick of Time article posited today.

For additional reading on Al Mohler and RAP please see Kent Brandenburgs What is Truth blog.


2) Following are but a few examples of Al Mohlers egregious ecumenical compromise. There will be more.
What Does John Piper and Al Mohler Have in Common? Rick Warren!

3) Mark Dever’s affinity for RAP was ignored by Kevin Bauder and Dave Doran. The RAP on Mark Dever They participated in a cooperative ministry with Dever in the 2011 Advancing the Church conference at (the soon to be defunct) Calvary Baptist Seminary, Lansdale, PA. The Closure of CBS: Predictable and Repeatable

November 14, 2013

Secondary Separation: When to Stand Apart, and Those Who Won’t

Dr. Peter Masters, pastor MetropolitanTabernacle (1970- present), recently published, Secondary Separation: When to Stand Apart.1 This was a well-defined explanation of a biblical principle, namely secondary separation and necessary application of it.

Dr. Masters gives understanding to and several practical applications of the principle.  The section, Dr Lloyd-Jones and Billy Graham, has a direct bearing on how one current day so-called “conservative” evangelical ignored applicable scriptural mandates under the very same circumstance.
Dr Lloyd-Jones and Billy Graham  
The question arises – how should evangelicals who obey God’s call to stand apart treat fellow-evangelicals who refuse to do so? Should they maintain full fellowship, or stand apart from those who disobey? The latter is called secondary separation.” 
To prove the point we remember the way in which Dr Lloyd-Jones refused to work with Billy Graham, and this is a significant example of secondary separation. In 1963 the evangelist asked Dr Lloyd-Jones to chair the first World Congress on Evangelism (eventually held in Berlin in 1966; predecessor to Lausanne). Dr Lloyd-Jones told Billy Graham that if he would stop having liberals and Roman Catholics on his platform and drop the invitation system he would support and chair the Congress. 
Billy Graham would not change his views, and Dr Lloyd-Jones declined to endorse or commend or work with him. No doubt the meeting between them was courteously conducted (it lasted three hours) but the outcome was a firm application of secondary separation. 
Dr Lloyd-Jones adopted the same attitude to Billy Graham’s London crusades. He took the view, and stated it publicly, that to have visible unity with those who are opposed to essential matters of salvation was sinful. (He also believed the invitation system was a source of mass-delusion and harm to churches.) 
Despite Billy Graham’s high standing with most British evangelicals, the enthusiastic support he received from the secular media, the fact that his name was a household word, and despite the significant place in world evangelicalism that he was offering to Dr Lloyd-Jones, the latter stood by his biblical principle, and declined all the overtures. He would not commend or work with Dr Billy Graham. This is true loyalty to God’s Word, and protectiveness of one’s congregation. 
For what it’s worth, as far as the present writer is aware he goes no further in his view of secondary separation than Dr Lloyd-Jones (although he does not share the great man’s latter day enthusiasm for a new evangelical denomination). [Bold added]

In 2001 Dr. R. Albert Mohler shared no such principled conviction, such as Lloyd Jones in 1963, when he (Mohler) agreed to chair the Billy Graham crusade in Louisville, Ky. Where Lloyd-Jones determined to obey the scriptural mandates for “secondary separation,” Mohler simply brushed them aside. From the Graham crusade, through numerous ecumenical compromises since,2 Al Mohler has routinely and irrefutably ignored the Lord’s Word on biblical secondary separation.

Dr. Masters begins to wind down his article with this challenge,

May I say to pastors, elders and deacons – we have a choice. We either show unreserved kindness, protection and solidarity toward the offender, or we show it to the Gospel and our congregations. We either commend one or the other. Which will we embrace? No pastor or church officer can be truly loyal to the Word and protective to the flock of God without the practice of biblical secondary separation, applied with all the sensitive discretion of charity.”

In spite of Al Mohler’s long time, consistent pattern of egregious ecumenical compromises Dr. Kevin Bauder has been relentless in “lavish praise” for, tolerating, ignoring or excusing Dr. Mohler.  By this I think we can know the measure of Kevin’s loyalty to the “Word” in “the practice of biblical secondary separation.”


See thread comment #1 for Dr. Masters on the Texts for Biblical Separation & References to Separation from Worldliness and Harmful Practices.

1) Secondary Separation: When to Stand ApartSword & Trowel 2013: Issue 2, pp. 23-32.

2) Examples include: 

We also learned, “Richard Mouw was a featured speaker at the celebration of the life of Carl F.H. Henry [one of the architects and high priests of New Evangelicalism] held at SBTS in September, in conjunction with Fuller Theological Seminary.”

Related Reading:
“The new Calvinism with 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.”

November 11, 2013

Al Mohler Joins Hands With the Mormon Church

Pastor Brian Ernsberger recently published a new article titled, [Al] Mohler Joins Hands with Mormons.

Now some who call themselves fundamentalists have chimed in to say that there’s nothing really wrong with this picture, that Mohler at BYU to speak on marriage is just perfectly fine… 
So, were Al Mohler and the Mormons actually talking about the same thing when talking about “marriage?” Like so many other common words used by Christians and Mormons, they don’t mean the same thing to both groups. Believers, or more specifically the Bible has one meaning for words and Mormons, using those same words, have a completely different meaning. Mohler and the Mormons were not even on the same page in the conversation that they had. Which ultimately begs the question, Why DID Al Mohler accept the invitation to speak at BYU?
Continue to The Parsings of a Preacher to read Pastor Ernsberger’s article in its entirety.

Site Publisher Commentary:
When I first read Dr. Kevin Bauder defending Al Mohler, Mohler, Mormons, and Militancy, my initial reaction was, There He Goes Again: More Lavish Praise for Al Mohler. This is a continuation of a long time pattern just as he (Kevin) and Dr. Dave Doran gave Mohler a pass (and still do) for Al Mohler signing the Manhattan Declaration (MD). An action that Al Mohler have never genuinely, biblically repented of.*

Kevin Bauder’s pattern has been to relentlessly allow for, tolerate and defend the ecumenical compromises, cultural relativism, aberrant doctrine and worldliness of Mohler and his fellow so-called “conservative” evangelicals. Last week at, the pseudo-fundamentalist site, Sharper Iron, Dr. Mike Harding noted the trend with Mohler and the Mormon Church.
As Mohler said we will likely being going to jail together with people of whom we will not go to heaven. True enough. The bigger picture is that Mohler is planning a return trip to BYU. Richard Land et. al. are also building bridges to the LDS. There is a disturbing trend here. Mormonism wants to be considered as Mormon Christianity as opposed to a cult. This is where the real danger lies.
Dr. Harding continued here with additional concerns with the SBC leadership joining hands with the Mormon church.
Mormons stand to benefit greatly from this dialogue, as they have been working tirelessly in recent years to be seen as a Christian denomination rather than an aberrant American-made, cult founded by a 19th century soothsayer.
There is, however, more to come from this pattern with Al Mohler and one of his chief apologists Kevin Bauder. Kevin will no doubt continue to ignore, excuse or dismiss the on-going ecumenical compromises of Mohler. He, for example, has never critically addressed the ramifications of Al Mohler sitting as chairman for the Billy Graham crusade in 2001.

Earlier this year Al Mohler joined with Rick Warren in cooperative ministry. Furthermore, “Richard Mouw was a featured speaker at the celebration of the life of Carl F.H. Henry [one of the architects and high priests of New Evangelicalism] held at SBTS in September, in conjunction with Fuller Theological Seminary.” What did we read or hear from Kevin Bauder about these events with Al Mohler? Nothing!

Signing the MD was not Mohler’s first time foray into ecumenical compromise. I said, at the time, that it would not be his last. Kevin Bauder would, furthermore, continue the pattern of tolerating, allowing for, ignoring or excusing new ecumenical events as they would surely, and have unfolded since the Manhattan Declaration.


*See, Critical Review of Kevin Bauder’s Open Letter: The Manhattan Declaration

November 5, 2013

Remembering Revival by Dr. Rick Flanders

 “Wherefore I will not be negligent to put you in remembrance of these things, though ye know them, and be established in the present truth.  Yea, I think it meet, as long as I am in this tabernacle, to stir you up by putting you in remembrance; knowing that shortly I must put off this my tabernacle, even as our Lord Jesus Christ hath shewed me.  Moreover I will endeavor that ye may be able after my decease to have these things always in remembrance.”

(2 Peter 1:12-15)

The Bible book we call Second Peter was written as the final inspired statement of Simon Peter to Christians before his death.  From the beginning of the letter, he lets the reader know that the purpose of his writing it is to remind us of important things so that we will remember them after he is gone.  It is not hard to forget important things, but such forgetfulness is harmful.  Many of the truths about real New Testament Christianity are easily and soon forgotten by Christians who once knew them, both by study and by experience.  And the first step in reviving the abundant life is to remember what it is, and the truths upon which it is based.

In the first chapter of Second Peter, the apostle lists faith, grace, peace, as well as “all things that pertain unto life and godliness,” as precious things that men can get “through the knowledge of God.”  He also warns us that we lose ground as we forget such knowledge.  That’s why he is reminding us.

What truths in particular are we in danger of forgetting?  He says that divinely-revealed knowledge gave us “exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust” (1:4).  The right response to this knowledge will “make you that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ,” but lack of it will cause a believer to become “blind,” and bring him to the place where he has “forgotten that he was purged from his old sins” (1:8-9).  Have you forgotten that Christ has freed you from bondage to sin (John 8:35), that He enables you to partake of God’s very nature (including His holiness—Hebrews 12:10), that abiding in Him will make you fruitful (John 15:1-14), and that you have been purged from your old sins (Romans 6)?  This high and happy level of living is the experience of life “more abundantly” that Jesus told us about (John 4:13-14, 6:35, 7:37-39, 8:12, 10:9-10, and 15:7) and came to bring to us, and we associate it with revival.  Revived people can live this way (see First Thessalonians 5:15-24) but it is easy for those who were once revived to go back to fleshly living, fruitless service, regular defeat, and domination by sin, because we forget.  This is why we need to be reminded of revival.

The young preacher that the apostle Paul adopted as his spiritual “son” was almost overcome with anxiety and sorrow in the days when his mentor was approaching violent death.  Timothy received the final inspired message of Paul (we call it Second Timothy), personally addressed to him, and found that it was filled with messages of “remembrance” (such as Second Timothy 1:6-7).  As in Second Peter, in Second Timothy the Lord calls on us all to remember the truths that kept us on higher ground in the past.  The “beloved son” in the faith is reminded of his spiritual gift, of the Holy Spirit, of the afflictions that come with preaching the gospel, of the faithfulness of Christ, of the form of sound words he has been taught, of the faithfulness of good Onesiphorus, of the things he should be as a minister of God (a son who passes truth on to the next generation, a soldier who endures “hardness,” an athlete who keeps the rules, a farmer who is first partaker of the fruits of his labor, a workman who must cut straight like a tentmaker as he teaches God’s Word, a vessel of honor fit for the master’s use, and a gentle servant who doesn’t strive), and of the example of selfless dedication he has seen in his mentor.  Virtually the whole book is a reminder.  Timothy, and each of us, must remember the truths of the revived life to be prepared for an uncertain future.

Much of what preachers and their hearers need in our time amounts to reminders of our high calling.  Almost imperceptibly good people can slip back into walking by sight instead of faith.  People who have partnered with the Spirit tend to go back to living according to their flesh.  Love of the world so easily replaces love for God in the hearts of once-useful servants of the Lord.  We do need to be reminded.

Although we are “established in the present truth,” let us remind ourselves of what we know by asking ourselves important questions:

1.    Do I believe that I can live the Christian life in the energy of the flesh, by natural means, through dedicated effort, or do I remember that it must be lived by faith in Christ, in the power of the Spirit, day by day?
2.    Do I believe that growth in grace is inevitable, or do I remember that I must continue to take steps of faith to keep me victorious?
3.    Do I believe that evangelistic work is for somebody else, or do I remember that every believer is called to be a witness for Christ?
4.    Do I maintain the form of godliness without the power of God in my life?
5.    Do I think that God has given me challenges that I just cannot meet successfully, or do I remember that I can do all things through the strength that Christ gives me?
6.    Do I think that the day of revival has passed, or do I still believe that God’s promises in Acts 1:8 have no expiration date except for the second coming?
7.    Do I forget that Christ actually lives in me, or do I need a reminder?
Our times call for Christians to be all that Jesus meant for us to be.  If we have forgotten the truth about the abundant Christ-life, let us be reminded.
“Yea, I think it meet, as long as I am in this tabernacle, to stir you up by putting you in remembrance…”

(2 Peter 1:13)

“Wherefore I put thee in remembrance that thou stir up the gift of God…”

(2 Timothy 1:6)

May we be stirred to revival by remember the truths that bring it.  May we remember that the One Who saves men from the penalty of sin also saves them from the power of their sins.  May we return to the God of revival and experience anew the fire that once burned inside us.

Dr. Rick Flanders

October 22, 2013

Reality Sets In

The last two Shepherd’s Staff articles have revealed some disturbing realities.  First, that doctrinal error is rampant in our circle; second, that there is widespread ignorance of what the Bible text actually teaches, and finally, that there is a segment of people who are busy defending error.  It could be summed up as ignorance and apathy sprinkled with denial.  This premise has been constantly confirmed as we have tried to use social media to bring attention to God and His glory by discussing the Bible.

I definitely don’t know everything, and over my fifty-three years of ministry have learned that I know even less than I thought I did!  There are some things, though, that are clear, and years of consideration and discussion about the Bible text have left them as a solid foundation.  One of these principles is that what a person states he believes is not nearly as important as how he reached that conclusion.  How we view God and His Word will make all the difference in our conclusions.   

The Bible begins and ends with God, and everything in between is about God's revealing himself to man.  God is the source of truth, and only He has the answers.  All man-made systems and much of man’s wisdom are flawed.  Fallen man does not have the ability to create anything perfect, despite which much of Christianity has made man the center of almost everything.  Perhaps that is why people feel free to rewrite scripture when they come to something in the text they don’t like.

I don’t get a lot of hate mail, but crude personal attacks and unacceptable language are a clear confession of man-centered thinking.  This is not about the discussion of ideas -- such exchanges are welcome -- rather, it is about personal attacks on someone’s character.  For the person who presses the discussion of content and meaning, such unkindness can be expected; but what is of greater concern is that these attacks are often against God, not against a human being.

Much of the defense of error comes from those who think it is terrible to disagree with someone, particularly if they are a popular Moderate Evangelical.

Some fly to the defense of flawed men with respect to a person, but have little concern about the offense to God.

They are unable to separate the discussion of ideas, content, and meaning from the individuals who hold those ideas.  They are so occupied with form that they tend to miss the heart of the issue.

Redemption, the person of Christ, and the failure of man are all great themes throughout scripture; but they are not the central issue.  God and His glory constitute the centerpiece of the scriptures.  The reason some men choose another subject for their focus is because of their motive: it allows them to build their own system in disregard to God…at their own peril.

The discussions I referred to at the outset of this article included the Millennium, the Rapture, the Kingdom, the New Covenant, and some practical issues such as benevolence being an obligation of the believer.  All of these had one thing in common: the various views all came from the fact that participants used different systems of interpretation.  It was these systems that allowed them to stray from the centricity of God and to put man at the center instead.

The problem here is that when man is considered central, people are no longer sensitive concerning the offence to God.  That is why error is winked at or ignored, and what is even worse is that it is defended.  The current worship systems are filled with theological abuse and error, but who seems to even notice or care?  The mainstream of publishing pushes erroneous doctrine, and hardly a murmur is heard.  If someone does challenge this disdain of God and His word, he is attacked as being anti-intellectual or a “baggy pants,” a backwoods know-nothing.

Let me dare to illustrate this.  When a major Evangelical figure [John MacArthur] states in a public forum that Christ did not die for Hitler or some other evil figure, there is silence, no matter what is the clear statement of scripture.*

The humanly devised system has to be right; no matter that it includes rewriting the text and inserting convenient wording.

So, when the ESV study notes (in reference to John 16:7 - It is to your advantage that I go away) read as follows:  “This is because while Jesus was on earth he could be in only one place at a time, but the Holy Spirit would carry on Jesus’ ministry over the entire world at all times.  In addition, in God’s sovereign plan for the unfolding of history, the Holy Spirit would not come in new covenant power and fullness until Jesus returned to heaven,” there is silence.

At best, this is misleading; but at the worst it is an attack on the person of Christ.  This is what happens when we are silent.  It is the result of pressing a humanly devised system on the text and making it say whatever the “scholars” want it to say. 

I don’t even have to guess at this one.  In the next article, I will confirm that the responses to such questions will be just as they were outlined at the beginning of this article…but then, “who am I?”

Shepherd’s Staff is prepared by Clay Nuttall, D. Min
A communication service of Shepherd’s Basic Care, for those committed to the authority and sufficiency of the Bible.  Shepherd’s Basic Care is a ministry of information and encouragement to pastors, missionaries, and churches.

Previously from Dr. Nuttall:
1) How Could it Happen?

2) How Do You Know When?

*Site Publisher’s Commentary:
This statement is attributed to Dr. John MacArthur with John Piper agreeing.
“John MacArthur holds to Calvinism’s five points, including limited atonement (the ‘L’ in TULIP). He departs from his generally literal hermeneutic in handling 1 John 2:2, arguing that ὅλου τοῦ κόσμου does not refer to the whole world ‘Jesus didn’t pay for the sins of Judas…or Adolf Hitler.’ He actually said that. MacArthur explains that the verse is simply explaining that atonement was now available to the whole world, but that it does not mean that Jesus paid for the sins of the whole world.” (Christopher Cone blog)
And what do we hear from men who want fundamental believers to be under the impression that they have not changed, that they are faithful to the Scriptures? Crickets!  Instead, they heap lavish praise on the teachers of error, turn away from fidelity to the Scriptures that mandate admonishing or withdrawing from, marking and avoiding a brother (2 Thess. 3:6, 14-15; Romans 16:17-18). Silence for the sake of unity with the star personalities of the so-called “conservative” evangelicals, their like-minded Calvinists and advocates of the false gospel, originated by John MacArthur, known as Lordship Salvation. The established pattern of men and/or sites like Kevin Bauder, Dave Doran, Sharper Iron and its Blogroll is to tolerate, allow for, ignore, or excuse egregious doctrinal error, cultural relativism and ecumenical compromises of the evangelicals.

September 19, 2013

Archival Series: The Merger of Calvinism With Worldliness: “A New Calvinism With New Calvinists

Shortly before the July 2009 Fundamental Baptist Fellowship Annual Fellowship convened The Merger of Calvinism with Worldliness by Dr. Peter Masters was published (Sword & Trowel 2009, No. 1 by Dr Peter Masters). Copies of the article were distributed to delegates at the fellowship. The articles release could not have been better timed because it dealt squarely with the subject matter of the Q&A Symposium, “Let’s Discuss Conservative Evangelicalism.”

Near the close of the symposium The Merger of Calvinism with Worldliness was mentioned within the context of a question. The first responder, Kevin Bauder, immediately redirected the discussion away from the article and its implications for the so-called “conservative” evangelicals. The focus was never recovered for a detailed discussion of the articles relevance to the subject for which the symposium was convened.

I contacted The Metropolitan Tabernacle with a request for permission to reprint The Merger of Calvinism with Worldliness in its entirety. Shortly thereafter I received their permission. I have posted the permission as the first comment in the thread under the original article (see link below).

Read the following article as a study. Prayerfully consider this compelling polemic.

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.
Site Publisher Addendum (9/19/13)
This article originally appeared here in July 9, 2009.
Doctrinally, I reject all five points of Calvinism and the extra-biblcial extremes that flow from it. The extremes are: 1) Regeneration occurs prior to and apart from faith, 2) Faith is the gift of God, 3) The works based, man-centered message known as Lordship Salvation.

Related Reading:
New Calvinism & the Millennial Generation: The Perfect Storm

New Calvinism’s Upside-Down Gospel