The New Calvinism is not the Old Calvinism

We can be sure of that thanks to Jared Oliphint:

Twelve Thirteen features of the New Calvinism:

1.The New Calvinism, in its allegiance to the inerrancy of the Bible, embraces the biblical truths behind the five points (TULIP), while having an aversion to using the acronym or any other systematic packaging, along with a sometimes qualified embrace of limited atonement. The focus is on Calvinistic soteriology but not to the exclusion or the appreciation of the broader scope of Calvin’s vision.

1. The Old Calvinism begins with the doctrine of Scripture summarized in confessions like the Westminster Confession of Faith and is willing to use TULIP as a handle for understanding Calvinist soteriology. Old Calvinism also relies on systematic thought.

2. The New Calvinism embraces the sovereignty of God in salvation, and in all the affairs of life in history, including evil and suffering.

2. The Old Calvinism affirms divine sovereignty in everything, even in Christ’s death on the cross for the elect.

3. The New Calvinism has a strong complementarian flavor as opposed to egalitarian, with an emphasis on the flourishing of men and women in relationships where men embrace a call to robust, humble, Christ-like servant leadership.

3. The Old Calvinism follows biblical teaching on male ordination and refuses to describe human life this side of glory as flourishing.

4. The New Calvinism leans toward being culture-affirming rather than culture-denying, while holding fast to some very culturally alien positions, like positions on same-sex practice and abortion.

4. The Old Calvinism understands salvation to be distinct from culture, hence Old Calvinists’ belief that deceased saints are saved even though they no longer inhabit a culture.

5. The New Calvinism embraces the essential place of the local church. It is led mainly by pastors, has a vibrant church-planting bent, produces widely-sung worship music, and exalts the preached word as central to the work of God locally and globally.

5. The Old Calvinism does not exist apart from congregations where the marks of the church are evident and which are part of regional, national, and ecumenical assemblies.

6. The New Calvinism is aggressively mission-driven, including missional impact on social evils, evangelistic impact on personal networks, and missionary impact on unreached peoples of the world.

6. The Old Calvinism actually calls and supports home and foreign missionaries through assemblies of presbyters that oversee such ministry.

7. The New Calvinism is inter-denominational with a strong (some would say oxymoronic) Baptistic element.

7. The Old Calvinism is Reformed Protestant and seeks fraternal relations with communions of like faith and practice.

8. The New Calvinism includes charismatics and non-charismatics.

8. The Old Calvinism excludes charismatics because Old Calvinists believe in the sufficiency of Scripture.

9. The New Calvinism puts a priority on pietism or piety in the Puritan vein, with an emphasis on the essential role of affections in Christian living, while esteeming the life of the mind and being very productive in it, and embracing the value of serious scholarship. Jonathan Edwards would be invoked as a model of this combination of the affections and the life of the mind more often than John Calvin, whether that’s fair to Calvin or not.

9. The Old Calvinism does not drop names and includes Reformed Protestants who are temperamentally restrained (read Scots, Dutch, Germans, Swiss).

10. The New Calvinism is vibrantly engaged in publishing books and even more remarkably in the world of the internet, with hundreds of energetic bloggers and social media activists, with Twitter as the increasingly default way of signaling things new and old that should be noticed and read.

10. The Old Calvinism has more books than New Calvinism, and many of them are ones that New Calvinists need to tell the difference between Calvinism and other kinds of Protestantism.

11. The New Calvinism is international in scope, multi-ethnic in expression, culturally diverse. There is no single geographic, racial, cultural governing center. There are no officers, no organization, nor any loose affiliation that would encompass the whole. I would dare say that there are outcroppings of this movement that nobody (including me) in this room has ever heard of.

11. The Old Calvinism was and still is international in ways that the New Calvinists would not understand. Old Calvinists also appreciate in ways that New Calvinists don’t how European and Western Calvinism is. This means that Old Calvinists speak English without feeling guilty.

12. The New Calvinism is robustly gospel-centered, cross-centered, with dozens of books rolling off the presses, coming at the gospel from every conceivable angle, and applying it to all areas of life with a commitment to seeing the historic doctrine of justification, finding its fruit in sanctification personally and communally.

12. The Old Calvinism teaches that Christ died on the cross only for the elect and Old Calvinists are happy to let the Reformed creeds and confessions define the way that Reformed pastors teach and apply the atonement (among other doctrines taught and professed by the Reformed churches).

13. The New Calvinism uses words like robust, vibrant, embrace and lots of adverbs.

13. Old Calvinists don’t.

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251 thoughts on “The New Calvinism is not the Old Calvinism

  1. Help me out please, DG. I’m slow. The second line for each is your composition?

    Does anyone else besides me find the caveat Oliphint gives disingenuous: “As you read the list, keep in mind it is descriptive, not prescriptive or evaluative.” If “Old Calvinism” were sufficient, why develop a “New” one?

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  2. It is easy to forget how baptist/non-covenantal, charismatic-friendly, enthusiastic (old sense), and congregational the Called to Coalitionists and YRR crowds are. They’d like to buy an “R” but they have not the currency to do so.

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  3. Dr. Hart, thanks so much for letting me read some Piper without even realizing it. Since I discontinued this practice 3 yrs ago my heart has been so Luke warm. Now, I have felt Edwardsian embers begin to warm once again. So grateful Dr. H! “Spirit of the Living God, fall fresh on me…”

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  4. Re #3, it would seem that old Calvinists went beyond the boundaries of sex and conceived of ordination in terms of those specially called and those not–women by definition weren’t, but neither were most men. It could be that where the new Calvinists show their cultural colors by using the category of complementarian to oppose egalitarianism, the older variety might be more inclined to use elitism. Ministry may be restricted from women among the new Calvinists, but without elitism every-member-ministry still thrives (children leading worship is not unheard of among the Dutch neos).

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  5. About Moe B.:

    The primary intent of CMC/Christ My Covenant is to serve the growing interest in the Biblical Covenants and sanctification within the New Covenant. But that’s not all there is to CMC. You’ll find articles, reviews, teaching and sermon outlines along with commentary, opinion and a little media promo. All that we publish is intended to feed your soul and encourage you to think biblical. It is not our intention to focus on “hot button” topics that are designed to grow a website and personal fame. We prefer a slow growth model of web ministry that will serve the student of God’s Word through an emphasis on study and sermon outlines that focus on God’s Word. Though there is much published today under the banner of “Christian,” thinking biblical, remains a rare commodity and practice.
    The reader should understand that CMC may not be in full agreement with the views of all of its contributors and writers. It should also be understood that not all of our guest writers understand themselves to be advocates for a Biblical Theology, Progressive Covenantalism, Progressive Dispensationalism or any other flavor of New Covenant Theology, commonly called NCT. That being said, a fair many of the writers whose content is published here at CMC do share a common interest in furthering our understanding of God’s Word with regards to the New Covenant ministry of the Holy Spirit and the Biblical Covenants as defined by 2 Corinthians 3. A lesser number of our content providers bring to our table things we should consider digesting in whole or in part. We are thankful for the writers who have permitted CMC to bring a small portion of their labors to our pages.
    Our sole desire is to learn of Christ.
    But we do not trust through Moses or through the law; for then we would do the same as yourselves. But now (for I have read that there shall be a final law, and a covenant, the chiefest of all, which it is now incumbent on all men to observe, as many as are seeking after the inheritance of God. For the law promulgated on Horeb is now old, and belongs to yourselves alone; but this is for all universally). Now, law placed against law has abrogated that which is before it, and a covenant which comes after in like manner has put an end to the previous one; and an eternal and final law—namely, Christ—has been given to us, and the covenant is trustworthy, after which there shall be no law, no commandment, no ordinance. — Justin Martyr [source]
    About our publisher: Maurice “Moe” Bergeron
    At the present time Moe serves on the pastoral team of Sovereign Grace Fellowship located in Boscawen, New Hampshire. For fourteen years he served as pastor for Sovereign Grace Fellowship in Salem, NH. He has also enjoyed speaking engagements at numerous churches and conference venues in the North East United States and the Virgin Islands.
    On the Internet front our brother did establish Piper’s Notes in 1995 which for many years had served as the foundation for the sermon library for Dr. John Piper and Desiring God. For a brief history of Moe’s relationship to John Piper and Desiring God open to this blog page at Desiring God.
    Intro to the video below from John Piper….
    Dear Friends,
    It may surprise you the way the Desiring God website began. That’s what this video is about: how one ordinary man got an extraordinary vision from God. I hope the story of Moe Bergeron inspires you.
    For decades, Moe was a factory worker and bi-vocational pastor on the rugged spiritual soil of New England. He was one of the first to believe in the power and potential of computers “talking” to each other, and he may have been the first that dared to dream about a radical new way to freely spread the gospel.

    This isn’t New Calvinism. It’ No Calvinism.

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  6. The New Calvinism uses words like “human flourishing,” “cosmic (fill in the blank),” “transformational,” and “the shalom of the city.” The New Calvinism uses the word “gospel” as an adjective.

    Old Calvinists don’t.

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  7. You got me, Moe. I’m comin’ clean. I do secretly envy those who have awesome dude pastors with untucked shirts, barbed-wire bicep tatts, and shark-tooth necklaces. I hate the fact that my pastor has been Reformed for more than 15 minutes, concentrates on his local church, and hasn’t felt the need to issue any major public apologies or make object lessons of his family members’ moral failings and/or”faith journeys.” I’d prefer an elite, unaccountable board to my biblically-accountable (and presbyterially-connected) elders and deacons. I want the piano and congregational singing out and some Mumford and Sons wannabe band in — next Sunday. I want what the Newbies have!!

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  8. D.G.,

    10. The Old Calvinism has more books than New Calvinism, and many of them are ones that New Calvinists need to tell the difference between Calvinism and other kinds of Protestantism.

    By all means please elaborate. A resource list would be helpful. I am relatively new to the reformed faith, i.e. 3 or so years. Thank you!

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  9. The one thing that Old Calvinists must confess, they are not old Calvinists, but new Calvinists that have adopted a methodology and mindset that is 400-500 years old. The old Calvinist is just a title that an Old Calvinist of 450 years ago would be amazed at. They might be amazed at the liberalism in their seminaries, the liberalism in their marriages, the worldliness in their actions, the real lack of bible reading and devotion to Christ. The Old Calvinist was under persecution and targeted by the RCC at various times and places. The Old Calvinist is at home in American ways, american thinking and american culture. Do not think for a minute they are not. Then on top of all this, the Old Calvinist has done little to nothing in terms of Evangelism, no enthusiasm for him, no crusades, no big meetings to present the gospel. No, leave it in very good but very ancient books that only Calvinists read. The Old Calvinist is content to complain about the Arminian spreading false teachings but wont lift a finger to buy one plane ticket, send one Evangelist ( Oh yea, they don’t have any) to any country. No, before you break your arm patting yourself on the back, remember the Church morphs, and if you are not semper reformata, you are just dust in the wind.

    It’s not that God has picked any Old Calvinist above any New Calvinist, its that God is faithful and loving to his elect even if they are learning how to be inert in the culture and generation they live in. The New Calvinist will have its extremes its problems and its sinful mistakes, but make no mistake about it, God has made the New Calvinist and they are here to stay. When the Old Calvinist recognizes this, it will be an extension of their ministry, a continuation of life. If they don’t; they will do what they have done for the last 150 years in American history, fade into obscurity become irrelevant and die off without a harvest. God’s mercy upon Old Calvinism is to make a New Calvinism so that God is faithful to the Fathers in who’s spirit semper reformata exists. But, those who are like the Church of Sardis, they need to take heed to strengthen what remains lest it die.

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  10. Re: #10 and #12, I’ll wager that my children’s children will still be profitably studying Old Calvinism’s work product and not New Calvinism’s book on gospel-centered [fill in the blank].

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  11. Marvin, definitions change when required.

    Neo-conservative for a long time meant one spent his first 40 years as a Marxist before moving over to “the light.”

    Then it meant people who were students of Leo Strauss.

    There is nothing set in stone…. fortunately…

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  12. Marvin invokes Finney, Moody, Billy Sunday and Graham: “the Old Calvinist has done little to nothing in terms of Evangelism, no enthusiasm for him, no crusades, no big meetings to present the gospel.”

    Marvin speaks a falsehood:”wont lift a finger to buy one plane ticket, send one Evangelist ( Oh yea, they don’t have any) to any country.”

    Marvin quotes a Kansas song haughtily, which I didn’t think was possible: “No, before you break your arm patting yourself on the back, remember the Church morphs, and if you are not semper reformata, you are just dust in the wind.”

    It’s all Paul Washer, Steve Lawson, and John Piper on your site — baptists to a man. That ain’t us, Marvin.

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  13. Marvin, are you serious? Crusades? Talk about an Americanism when Muslims are still smarting (though they may deserve it) over the Christian invasions of Jerusalem. And you associate crusades with Billy Graham. Say hello to American ways.

    Are you so confident of New Calvinism after what has happened to C J Mahaney and Mark Driscoll? Or how about Gilbert Tennent or Samuel Hopkins?

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  14. “4. The New Calvinism leans toward being culture-affirming rather than culture-denying, while holding fast to some very culturally alien positions, like positions on same-sex practice and abortion.”

    “9. The New Calvinism puts a priority on pietism or piety in the Puritan vein, with an emphasis on the essential role of affections in Christian living, while esteeming the life of the mind and being very productive in it, and embracing the value of serious scholarship. Jonathan Edwards would be invoked as a model of this combination of the affections and the life of the mind more often than John Calvin, whether that’s fair to Calvin or not.”

    Hard to have a very productive conversation on “culture” with a guy who won’t watch any movies that aren’t G-rated (or that has Jesus in it) and won’t read any book that contains bad words. The conversation lasts about 60 seconds before he’s looking down his nose at you and doubting your salvation.

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  15. “The Old Calvinist is content to complain about the Arminian spreading false teachings but won’t lift a finger to buy one plane ticket, send one Evangelist ( Oh yea, they don’t have any) to any country.”

    Marv, did you miss #6? And somepin tells me you think we know who the Elect are. Is that why you wrote “they don’t have to” ?

    Old Calvs all the way! Gimme Turretin, Warfield etc. and not Washer, Mahaney, etc.

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  16. Chortles: What you name yourself, what criteria you use and what divisions you make all belong to a carnality and divisiveness that masquerades as right doctrine. This is a silly and inert division between Christians who believe the same people eg. Turretin, Calvin, Ursinius, Berkhof. The difference is of course you are actually going so far as to claim “we are of Apollos”. Yet, it seems ignoring the injunction of Paul that such division is coming from a mindset that does not belong to the Spirit of God.

    I am not baptist, but I listen to them and love them as brothers, don’t you? You realize you are proving my point; the Old Calvinist is simply name dropping yet has no more affinity to the Old Calvinism that died out in Europe some 300 years ago. You are a 21st century man using 16th and 17th century men to divide the 21st century Church. Are you proud of what you have received as though you didn’t receive it? Cant the New Calvinist make the same claim? Those who believe in Sovereignty should also believe God can and does as He pleases, He chooses how and why the Church morphs and changes over time.

    I am no fan of Finney, but if it helps you make a division between brothers so that you can boast in your own Apollos at the expense of Paul you do so to the weakening of yourself and those who follow your example. Don’t you get it? These petty divisions instigated by these kinds of articles foster more weakness and propagate ill feelings instead of mutual care.

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  17. Aw, no crusades from the New Calvs? But I want the anxious bench. Guess that’s why they ain’t got no enthusiasm. (They actually do have enthusiasm, just not the kind that is vain belief of private revelation)

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  18. Moe – Summary: Old Calvinist jealous of the advances of the gospel through New Calvinists.

    Erik – You should see how jealous I was of the guy at the mall on Saturday wearing the cool bell bottoms and the fanny pack.

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  19. Marvin,do you disagree with Machen: “In the sphere of religion, as in other spheres, the things about which men are agreed are apt to be the things that are least worth holding; the really important things are the things about which men will fight.”

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  20. Am I reading this correctly? That because there are flaws and failures in the ministers, that the ministry and gospel they preach is false? Shall I ask God to reveal your own sins? Shall I say then that Old Calvinism is false? What shall we do when we validate the ministry of the word by the perfections of its ministers. The Non Conformists all got the boot, shall we say they were disobedient to Church Government and therefore their message bunk?

    Your argument is illogical, and just to find fault, use these men and their failure to bolster a division that has no business existing. Instead of praying and encouraging I am reading the undertones of a good burning at the stake.

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  21. Well, guys its been enlightening to listen to the spirit of Old Calvinism at work. I don’t think Machen would have been so cavalier in denigrating the New Calvinists with you all. But, we wont know for a while.

    I’m done here, thanks for allowing my posts and for the interaction.

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  22. Marvin – Then on top of all this, the Old Calvinist has done little to nothing in terms of Evangelism, no enthusiasm for him, no crusades, no big meetings to present the gospel.

    Erik – We tried the First Great Awakening thing. Didn’t work out so well for Old Calvinists or the Church.

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  23. I love Old Life because just when I think I’m the conservative another dude comes out of the woodwork to get to my right. Never fails. There must be some Sauron-like Orc factory turning these guys out somewhere.

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  24. Instead of the New Calvinism making me restless, reformed, missional, tattooed, relevant, flourishing, etc. it made me depressed. Then it made me a Lutheran. Just sayin’

    Great article, DH.

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  25. Machen may have given you a high five for your avatar, Marv. You are right, we just won’t know this side of glory..

    Yeah, good Calvinists know the value in waiting Peace to you on your journey.

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  26. ” I am reading the undertones of a good burning at the stake.”

    We old Calvinists confuse steak cookings and stake burnings. By the time they start smelling different it’s like oh darn too late.

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  27. Marvin, it’s more specific than that; their claim to calvinism and presbyterianism and being ‘reformed’ is what is false. Ecclesiology tells the truth. Driscoll and Keller are kissing cousins of Chuck Smith and Calvary Chapel and TBN.

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  28. How could someone call a movement “Calvinist” of any sort if someone can be a ~4-point, Charismatic, Credo-baptist, who rejects a Presbyterian form of church life and government, and the systematic framework that the whole 5 Points are built on?

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  29. Marvin, how unifying is the new Calvinism if it excludes the old (whether self-righteously or not)?

    You need to think this through, which is where some systematic thought might help.

    Plus, if the Old Calvinism is like the Old Old Calvinism, just dying off, then why is New Calvinism not going to die off?

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  30. Marvin, do you read yourself? You don’t believe in the sufficiency of Scripture (charismatic gifts) and you don’t believe in limited atonement. That’s not a recipe for Calvinism. But you want the name. Let’s call that status envy (except no one ever wants to be a Calvinist because it belongs, as Mencken said, in the cabinet of horrors next to Cannibalism).

    Don’t New “Calvinists” believe in telling the truth?

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  31. The old Calvinism—-“It is sometimes said that the merits of Christ cannot be imputed to us as long as we are not in Christ, since it is only on the basis of our oneness with Him that such an imputation could be reasonable. But this view fails to distinguish between our legal unity with Christ and our spiritual oneness with Him, and is a falsification of the fundamental element in the doctrine of redemption, namely, of the doctrine of justification. Justification is always a declaration of God, not on the basis of an existing (or future) condition, but on that of a gracious imputation–a declaration which is not in harmony with the existing condition of the sinner. The judicial ground for all the grace which we receive lies in the fact that the righteousness of Christ is freely imputed to us.” Berkhof, Dutch Reformed, systematic, p 452

    new Calvinism– “The justification of the ungodly is not arbitrary but synthetic with respect to the believer only because it is analytic with respect to Christ (as resurrected). Not justification by faith but union with the resurrected Christ by faith is the central motif of Paul’s applied soteriology” , Gaffin, OPC, Resurrection and Redemption, p 132

    mark’s paraphrase of the “Calvinism which is now happening”—Not propitiation by Christ’s satisfaction of the law in the past but union with the present resurrected Christ, and this union is not God’s imputation of the past but God presently (now) giving me faith today (now) in the Christ who is risen (without any doctrinal controversy about what He did by His death in the past). so that I can be united to Christ now and thus justification is analytic with regard to who Christ is now, and not to what Christ did or did not do by His death in the past.

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  32. New Calvinism: ” That’s what this video is about: how one ordinary man got an extraordinary vision from God. I hope the story of Moe Bergeron inspires you…he may have been the first that dared to dream about a radical new way to freely spread the gospel..”

    Old Calvinism: “Moe is good with computers. By God’s Providence we teamed up and he was helpful in spreading the gospel. Thanks, Moe.”

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  33. My cupboard is bare, about one jigger of rum and some irish cream being all there is to show for St. Patty’s. The Scotch disappeared over the holidays and this long winter.

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  34. D. G. Hart
    Posted March 17, 2014 at 8:37 pm | Permalink
    Marvin, how unifying is the new Calvinism if it excludes the old (whether self-righteously or not)?

    You need to think this through, which is where some systematic thought might help.

    Plus, if the Old Calvinism is like the Old Old Calvinism, just dying off, then why is New Calvinism not going to die off?

    Or perhaps all of it will all die off. It’s only been 500 years for Calvinism, far younger than heresies such as Arianism and universalism. It’s far too soon to tell. [Although as the history of Christianity shows us, the really good heresies never really die. There’s hope yet.]

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  35. If the gospel is union with Christ through faith, then the “gospel” is based in the subjective experience of the believer. No longer is the gospel that objective ground of solid rock upon which I stand (something outside of me, done and declared effective for me, a sinner who believes the promise given), it now rests on my faith appropriation/experience of the Christ who saves? Sinking sand of the subjective…

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  36. The trouble for the New Calvinism is they want to have their cake and eat it too. How can a movement be settled on the issue of roles of men and women and yet undecided on the role of the Spirit’s work today? “New Calvinists can be Charismatic or not Charismatic” – is unhelpful as it is confusing. It’s this kind of lack of clear doctrinal stance that makes NC weak. How can you help others plant churches and do missions if you’re undecided, and worse so, choose not to decide how the Spirit speaks today?

    And how much the worse for those churches that the NC seeks to plant and peoples they intend to reach (points 5 & 6) if they make matters of church polity and practice to be adiaphora? Would Calvin ever stand for this kind of indifferentism?

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  37. Nate, but this is always the way it goes with inspiration. Don’t ask difficult questions. Rotarians don’t answer them, neither do general managers in MLB.

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  38. d4v34x
    Posted March 18, 2014 at 7:08 am | Permalink
    I missed the adverb(s) of which I must be wary.

    This comment is OLTS Rule § 13.1a(2) compliant.

    In other words D4, you is all right, partner, except you sunk my battleship with your moniker (insert emoticon)

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  39. jack miller: If the gospel is union with Christ through faith, then the “gospel” is based in the subjective experience of the believer. No longer is the gospel that objective ground of solid rock upon which I stand (something outside of me, done and declared effective for me, a sinner who believes the promise given), it now rests on my faith appropriation/experience

    mark: Amen. And this old vs new Calvinism debate is pretty old. Jonathan Edwards: “We are really saved by perseverance…the perseverance which belongs to faith is one thing that is really a fundamental ground of the congruity that faith gives to salvation…For, though a sinner is justified in his first act of faith, yet even then, in that act of justification, God has respect to perseverance as being implied in the first act.”

    mark: But justification is not by our works, not even by our works after faith and justification. If we are already justified, then it’s too late for us to be justified by works. If we think we will lose our justification if we don’t work, then we do not yet understand what God’s justification is. If we think that our works will give us the evidence that we are still justified, then we have not yet understood and believed the gospel, which is the good news of Christ’s work and not about our works.

    Even after we are justified saints, we are not yet glorified, not yet raised from the first death and given immortality. But neither is the rest of salvation conditioned on our works. Our future resurrection from death is not about God enabling us to do what is required, but about God doing for us what we cannot do and never will do.

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  40. Hmmmm, new Calvinists are big on complementarianism, not so big on the Bible: looking at Bethlehem Baptist Church’s website didn’t see any women with a headcovering. And I’d imagine lots will be wearing trousers. Maybe they should master the basics before they start getting all macho.

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  41. In the Shorter Catechism before justification is specifically addressed (Q.32) there are four questions which address union with Christ, particularly Q.30 on how the Spirit applies the redemption purchased by Christ to us- through uniting us to Christ in effectual calling. Justification is then given as one of the benefits which results from this union.

    Wouldn’t this suggest that union with Christ is quite an important aspect of redemption?

    Jack/mm: you say that union with Christ is “subjective”. I don’t know who says that the Gospel is one’s union with Christ. Do you mean it’s subjective to say one’s salvation is based on union with Christ? The Gospel is the good news is that Christ has died for sinners. But in order to appropriate that redemption one must have faith worked in him in effectual calling and be united with Christ.

    I agree that experiencing this union can be subjective, but merely assenting to certain propositions is also subjective: how do you know that your belief isn’t merely an intellectual knowledge? This is why the Westminster divines also spoke about self-examination and why the requirements for Baptism are less stringent than for partaking of the Lord’s Supper.

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  42. Just tuning in and reading through this. Have a question about this one …

    “9. The New Calvinism puts a priority on pietism or piety in the Puritan vein, with an emphasis on the essential role of affections in Christian living, while esteeming the life of the mind and being very productive in it, and embracing the value of serious scholarship. Jonathan Edwards would be invoked as a model of this combination of the affections and the life of the mind more often than John Calvin, whether that’s fair to Calvin or not.”

    If this is true and the NC’s are all about pietism and Christian living, then why do I see them walking 2 and 3 abreast going to and coming from their churches, refusing to move out of line for those going in the opposite direction? Why do I see them nearly running over congregants in their mad rush to fight over a parking place in the lot? Why do I see them parking their oversized SUV’s on the grass in parkways, claiming an illegitimate spot so they don’t have to walk a few extra steps to the building? Why do I see them rush through the hallways because they’re “on fire” about the latest NC fad, nearly running over children and elderly? On so on.

    In other words, if these societal “extras” mean anything then theses NC’s are far from practicing what they think they preach. The general population in a large metropolitan area behaves the same way during rush hour. How can I tell the difference?

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  43. You have to go out of your way to learn about Union, as I found out, it is out there for those who want to sit down and read a book for once.

    DGH pointed this out on a podcast with RSC awhile back.

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  44. George is onto something.

    What the New Calvinism is mainly about is a way of “doing church” that is capable of drawing a relatively high number of upper-middle class white people to church, to conferences, to websites, and to buy books.

    These 12 points are like a political party platform designed to draw large numbers while being just distinct enough to separate the group from the “other guys” who draw large numbers (Catholics, secularists, political liberals).

    “Old Calvinists” are really not even on the radar because they are too small to be seen as a rival — they don’t really matter. They’re just a quaint little sect that hasn’t figured out effective 21st century religious marketing.

    These are new rules for a new game.

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  45. Why do John Piper and Doug Wilson get together? Why do Doug Wilson and Marc Driscoll get together?

    Is it a shared theology or a shared ability to create religious buzz?

    Fame, not a shared Confession, is the common currency.

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  46. Noob-Cal is like junior college where you can prolong your teen years for a few more years, try to get your act together and get into a real post-secondary place of learning

    That’s okay, but you eventually have to grow up and get a job and maybe raise a family, then you can join Old-Cal

    and don’t worry, we’ll help you through that realization that you have nothing to fall back on when the options train runs out on your staying young and carefree forever… 😀

    probably better to get this all resolved before spending needless time in the wilderness when it’s inevitable you will have to grow up

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  47. The really telling thing is these guys thinking they have the “freedom” to set aside things like Baptism and Charismania in determining who they will be in ecclesiastical fellowship with. What would Calvin have said to that? Christians unite in doing ministry around historical Confessions, not opinions, skinny jeans, or the Republican Party Platform.

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  48. Alexander, all I’m getting at is this: the phrase – union with the resurrected Christ by faith is the central motif of Paul’s applied soteriology – by definition seems to lead in a subjective direction because it points towards something in me that is to happen (union) by faith rather than receiving by faith something done for me and outside of me (imputation of Christ’s death and resurrection). ‘Union… by faith’ focuses on the experiential aspect of our union, i.e. something that happens to us and in us by the Spirit, as opposed to legal (election) in which the elect are identified as ‘in Christ’ (Eph 1:3; Rom 6:3-5) yet apart from our experience or faith. My concern is that union becomes the focus of faith rather than the gospel which is the message that

    to him who does not work but believes on Him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is accounted for righteousness, just as David also describes the blessedness of the man to whom God imputes righteousness apart from works

    The power of salvation is in that message – the gospel. And it is that message of free justification that communicates Christ and all his benefits to sinners who believe. We are united to Christ by faith, but the focus of that faith isn’t our union.

    Walter Marshall: “Therefore, saving faith must necessarily contain two acts, believing the truth of the gospel, and believing on Christ, as promised freely to us in the gospel, for all salvation. By the one, it receives the means in which Christ is conveyed to us; by the other, it receives Christ Himself, and His salvation in the means, as it is one act to receive the breast or cup in which milk or wine are conveyed, and another act to suck the milk in the breast and to drink the wine in the cup… Blessed are they that hunger and thirst after righteousness, for they shall be filled (Matt. 5:6). The former of these acts does immediately unite us to Christ, because it is terminated only on the means of conveyance, the gospel; yet it is a saving act, if it be rightly performed, because it inclines and disposes the soul to the latter act, whereby Christ Himself is immediately received into the heart. He that believes the gospel with hearty love and liking, as the most excellent truth, will certainly with the like heartiness believe on Christ for salvation.”

    The means of communicating salvation is the gospel which is news of an event that has nothing to do with us subjectively. And of course the gospel is not our union with Christ. It is the good news about an accomplished act of God’s grace towards sinners in history, received by the gift of faith as God effectually calls. Through believing the good news that Christ died for sinners, indeed me, one believes not only the good news of righteousness through faith alone but at the same time receives Christ himself. The gospel received through faith, by the working of the Holy Spirit, unites believers experientially to Christ.

    Q. 86. What is faith in Jesus Christ?
    A. Faith in Jesus Christ is a saving grace, whereby we receive and rest upon him alone for salvation, as he is offered to us in the gospel.

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  49. Calvinist Baptist John Gill—
    There is a federal union between Christ and the elect, and they have a covenant subsistence in him as their head and representative. The covenant flows from, and is the effect of the love, grace, and mercy of God; these are spoken of along with it as the foundation of it, Ps 89:2,3,33,34 Isa 54:10 … Rom 5:14 so the covenant was made with Christ as the federal head of his spiritual offspring; and for this reason a parallel is ran between them in Rom 5:1-21 1Co 15:1-58 as if they had been the only two men in the world, the one called the first, the other the second man. Christ represented his people in this covenant, and they had a representative union to him in it; all that he promised and engaged to do, he promised and engaged in their name and on their account; and when performed it was the same with God, as if it had been done by them; and what he received, promises and blessings of grace, he received in their name, and they received them in him, being one with him as their common head and representative.

    Gill—There is a legal union between Christ and the elect, the bond of which is His suretyship for them, flowing from his strong love and affection to them. In this respect Christ and they are one in the eye of the law, as the bondsman and debtor are one in a legal sense; so that if one of them pays the debt bound for, it is the same as if the other did. Christ is the surety of the better testament; he drew nigh to God, gave his bond, laid himself under obligation to pay the debts of his people, and satisfy for their sins; who being as such accepted of by God, he and they were considered as one; and this is the ground and foundation of his payment of their debts, of his making satisfaction for their sins, of the imputation of their sins to him, and of the imputation of his righteousness to them.

    Gill— In short, it is the saint’s antecedent relation to Christ in eternity, in the several views of it in which it has been considered, which is the ground and reason of all that Christ has done and suffered for them, and not for others; and of all the blessings of grace that are or shall be bestowed upon them, and which are denied to others.

    mcmark– to which the “unionists” will answer, we don’t deny that “union”, and because we don’t deny that aspect of “union”, from now on let it be understood that every time anybody says “union”, they are not talking about that but about the experience of faith, which is the cause and condition of “union”….The order is not important, because “union” stands above and beyond order, and faith comes before “union”….

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  50. Reformed Calvinist Louis Berkhof
    “It is sometimes said that the merits of Christ cannot be imputed to us as long as we are not in Christ, since it is only on the basis of our oneness with Him that such an imputation could be reasonable. But this view fails to distinguish between our legal unity with Christ and our spiritual oneness with Him, and is a falsification of the fundamental element in the doctrine of redemption, namely, of the doctrine of justification. Justification is always a declaration of God, not on the basis of an existing (or future) condition, but on that of a gracious imputation–a declaration which is not in harmony with the existing condition of the sinner.” (systematic, p 452)

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  51. D.G. Hart:
    To answer a couple of your questions.

    1. I do not exclude the Old Calvinist in the slightest, I only complain they attempt to exclude me and those like me who do so based not upon scripture but upon “old calvinist” litmus tests that are extra-biblical.
    2. I have thought this through and discussed it with many other besides you and the posters here.
    There is no reason for what you are calling Old Calvinism to die off, but what you consider Old Calvinism is simply the title you assign to a group of believers that meet a certain litmus test. If Old Calvinism is to remain and so too New Calvinism, it must flow with the work of God in that generation, it must morph as God morphs it. Semper Reformata.
    3. Saying I don’t believe in limited atonement must be your attempt at using ‘word of knowledge’ because I no where expressed that here nor in my blog.
    4. As for the sufficiency of scripture, I fully believe it is sufficient for faith and practice. I, unlike many Old Calvinists, do believe in inerrancy, but how many O.C’s do that? Believing in the continued manifestation of the Spirit is biblical and genuine, its a right interpretation of the sufficient scripture. If you do not believe in them, you have a wrong interpretation of scripture and must in effect invalidate portions of the New Testament. It is you and those who are cessationist that really should check themselves about how much they value scripture.
    I wonder if it is some kind of falsehood that you spread among yourselves that say to one another “the charismatics need the gifts to add to scripture or because they devalue the scripture and therefore need to experience some prophetic word to complete their knowledge of God”. Charismatics do not do that, they believe in the sufficiency of scripture, but alas you can find loonies just like I can find liberal loons in Old Calvinism too. Shall we use our extremists to invalidate both our positions? Inventing strawmen to burn down among yourselves gives you no win even against the worst and heretical let alone genuine believers who experience God’s manifestations.

    I venture to say that because of continued Old Calvinism being out of touch with other believers or not doing the requisite study or maybe just plain meanness that some figure the Charismatics are adding to scripture when they prophecy or bring forth a word of knowledge. If its doctrinal, and you believe that prophecy is always to be an inclusion to the New Testament canon, its no wonder you respond so negatively. No Charismatic thinks that, only their dissenters; even the unlearned Charismatic knows that a prophecy in the congregation is judged by the canon, their prophecy is not an addition to the canon.

    I didn’t intend to post anything, I let this subject go. Negative comments about my postings would not have initiated a further response. But since you did ask me several questions for clarification ( I suppose) I responded to them.

    Ive had similar conversations of late with Old Calvinists that didnt take this route, some Old Calvies were very inviting, cordial and reasonable about my complaints. Toward them I was impressed that their litmus test didnt exclude me or those like me do to church government, or profession of charismatic gifts.

    In the end, some of the Old Calvies didnt want me to take the name ‘reformed’ because I was not cookie-cutter similar and so fell outside of their litmus tests. They were not so much against me personally as they were protective of the name ‘reformed’. I was in the minds of some, a de-formed reformed which classified me as no-reformed. Of course they used Old Calvie jargon and strict WCF adherence to justify my disqualification for fellowship. But in the final analysis their division was made upon traditions that do not hold up as scriptural qualifiers. They were content to think of themselves better off with out me and this I take as the worst sort of division, a divisiveness that blinds the Old Calvies to the need of all the body of Christ, respected and received as Christ should be received.

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  52. D. G. Hart
    Posted March 18, 2014 at 8:56 am | Permalink
    vd, t, esq, if it does die, how will you spend your nights?

    Quite honestly, Dr. Disingenuous, it hadn’t dawned on me that Calvinism–or at least your, um, only true and correct version of it–might go the way of the Manichees until I started reading you. I had not realized your position is so structurally tenuous, magisterial but without a magisterium.

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  53. Marvin, New Calvinism is inherently exclusive. Why not just say “Calvinism”? Why refer to a variety as New? Think this through.

    Jared Oliphint, summarizing John Piper, says that New Calvinists don’t affirm limited atonement. If you don’t like that, don’ refer to yourself as a New Calvinist.

    Old Calvinists put inerrant into inerrancy. For you to suggest that Old Calvinsts don’t hold to inerrancy shows how little you know about the Old Calvinist world. Have you never heard of Princeton or Westminster, or Warfield, Hodge, Machen, and Murray?

    As for semper reformanda and moving with the flow, we Old Calvinists actually believe God told us all we need to know in Scripture. As for where history is moving, that is like your opinion.

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  54. Mr. Hart-

    I don’t believe I said union was more important than effectual calling. I pointed out that the SC puts union as the end result of effectual calling, and addresses it before justification. I was merely looking for some explication on that point. But I don’t think we’d want to be say, or imply, that union with Christ is UNimportant would we?…

    Jack- I agree that neo-cals are far too focused on the subjective. My point is that whilst the basis of salvation is objective- Christ’s redeeming work- our personal faith will always have a subjective element. A Christian does not doubt Christ but can often doubt his appropriation of Christ.

    Also, the declaration of justification is based upon the imputation of Christ’s righteousness to the person, through faith. The WC tells us that one is not justified until the Holy Spirit actually applies Christ to that individual. So it’s not a legal fiction when the believer is declared justified: he has appropriated Christ by faith, no? He’s not justified BEFORE he has faith is he?

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  55. So, is Samuel Rutherford a new Calvinist then?

    And you 2Kers wouldn’t be embraced by the Puritans when it comes to your political views.

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  56. Daniel, boo hoo. But that’s the point anyway–tolerance in political views but intolerance in spiritual. And anti-2kers wouldn’t be embraced by Kuyper who said he’d rather lose the name Reformed than embrace theocracy.

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  57. “And you 2Kers wouldn’t be embraced by the Puritans when it comes to your political views.”

    I don’t let Puritans hug me. Actually no Puritan has tried to hug me. Win win.

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  58. In fairness, Daniel, there aren’t many today who the Puritans (easily definable, definite category) would embrace. And what’s more important — a man’s views on the gospel and the the church (eternal) or his political and cultural opinions (temporal)?

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  59. Alexander,
    No arguments with you on the above. The point is that raising “union by faith” as the central motif of the NT blurs where the eyes of faith are to look – to the objective finished work of Christ or to the present subjective work of the Spirit? The means of communicating Christ is the gospel not union. WSC Q.86.

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  60. Daniel Wells, since you appear to be a resident of North Carolina and a citizen of the U.S., do you think the Puritans would approve of your politics? Or have you started a rebellion to restore Christ as king that I missed?

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  61. Darryl, I don’t embrace Puritan politics, and you don’t embrace WCF 23. I don’t think that is a big deal. But I doubt you can call yourself an old Calvinist in light of the Standards.

    By the way, you are 10 seed in the Warfield region. Good luck.

    Missioconfessio.wordpress.com

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  62. Mr. Hart-

    Again, important in what context? Without being united to Christ one cannot be saved: that is a true statement. So, big picture, it’s pretty important. Now, if you mean in a nitty gritty systematic context where we want to parse out all the individual elements of salvation then, yeah, there are other doctrines we want to focus on. But the problem is you make these broad brush statements which are, without proper qualification, rather silly. I’ve always been puzzled by the heat of the union debate because it seems that you’re all arguing over who own the stream when there’s a great big river rushing past.

    Jack- I’d say the life of faith is looking to Christ and also examining oneself to see the evidences of faith in one’s life and experience. But I certainly agree that putting union out front and centre can be problematic.

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  63. Alexander, “without being united to Christ one cannot be saved” is not a broad brush statement? Why do you get to set the rules?

    Where do any of the Reformed confessions say what you are saying? That is the question and you haven’t answered. You read into the confession or catechism a broad brush.

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  64. So Daryl, we have the Old-Old Calvinists, the Old-New Calvinists, and now the New Calvinists? I guess you are an Old-New Calvinist.

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  65. And, Mr. Hart, you have not addressed with the fact that the SC gets to union with Christ before it gets to justification.

    And Daniel’s right: your “old” Calvinist moniker is just bizarre. You do realise there was 300 hundred years of Reformed theology BEFORE Warfield? Warfield’s not old! And try to get your history right: the American Presbyterians amended c.23- not the “old Calvinists”.

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  66. Alexander,
    “without being united to Christ one cannot be saved”… And without believing in God one cannot be saved… Neither of them are the ‘principle hinge‘ (central motif), as old Calvin would say, ‘by which religion is supported.’

    “Whenever the knowledge of it [doctrine of justification] is taken away, the glory of Christ is extinguished, religion abolished, the Church destroyed, and the hope of salvation utterly overthrown” (Calvin’s Reply to Cardinal Sadoleto in Tracts I:41). That sounds pretty central.

    All of creation and redemption were accomplished “in union” with Christ (Col. 1:15-20), So as a central motif of Paul’s soteriology I’m not sure how helpful it is to emphasized ‘union by faith’, which may be the reason why it isn’t emphasized in the Westminster Standards.

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  67. A thought: does Old Calvinism include having children? Last OP church I visited was like the First church of the Vasectomy.

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  68. Johnny
    Posted March 19, 2014 at 4:15 pm | Permalink
    A thought: does Old Calvinism include having children? Last OP church I visited was like the First church of the Vasectomy.

    No, but good riff, there. Johnny-boy.

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  69. J, my old school presby (PCA — I know, an anomaly) church is crawling with kids. In fact, we’re trying to come up with a scheme to attract single or childless millionaires until we have time to build on.

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  70. Noobs remind me of the Pope, kent, always attempting to stir up trouble:

    And that makes Pope Francis’ affect all the more remarkable because at times he seems more interested in playing the court jester than the king:

    “I want things messy and stirred up.”

    Very different from presbyism

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  71. Jack-

    I agree with you. What I was saying was that a statement like “union with Christ isn’t that important” is silly. It depends on what we’re taking about. My statement- no salvation without union- is clearly a broad statement, but also true which is why more is needed to be said by those who take issue with the union guys. The standards do talk about union. They may not emphasise it as much as other doctrines, but it is there- and not just when talking about the sacraments. Indeed the SC addresses it first, and puts justification as a benefit of union. But some people hear union and their ears close and their pre-recorded message starts to play.

    I’m quite happy with the forensic emphasis but I don’t see why I need to ignore union or see it as “unimportant”, especially from a preaching/pastoral perspective. This is why, looking from the outside, this whole union debate seems strange: you’re not debating the definition of justification (ala FV) but which doctrine to emphasise.

    Also, when you guys talk about the puritans, do you mean the British or American puritans because the British ones wrote the standards so if they’re a blip then we’re in trouble.

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  72. Johnny, it may be a regional and/or ethnic factor. In Little Geneva the OC and NC churches alike are reproductive Catholics–single families take up whole pews. Sounds like your OP embodies the older virtues of moderation and restraint.

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  73. 11. The Old Calvinism was and still is international in ways that the New Calvinists would not understand. Old Calvinists also appreciate in ways that New Calvinists don’t how European and Western Calvinism is. This means that Old Calvinists speak English without feeling guilty.

    In what ways do the “Old Calvinist” appreciate how European and Western Calvinism is?

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  74. Eric, ding ding.

    Grandma told me that # of kids is a personality thing.

    I think Johnny is trying to answer some tough questions in his life. Let’s here him chime in again. But if he’s catholic, ain’t no way the pope is letting him do THAT.

    Emoticons

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  75. Alexander,
    “but I don’t see why I need to ignore union or see it as “unimportant”

    Who is saying to ignore union? As you said, it’s part of our doctrine.

    But ’emPHASis’ is quite important in terms of the doctrine. Example: over-emphasize the necessity of obedience and good works and before too long we’re back to the Galatian controversy or Rome vs. Reformers regarding the priority of justification over sanctification.

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  76. Jack-

    I think the accumulative effect of comments by certain people- and a long period on a blog where every week there was a post devoted to the LACK of importance and the LACK of presence of this doctrine in the standards and Reformed works is to suggest that we needn’t really bother about union. All I wanted was some contextualising of the SC questions 29-32.

    I agree over emphasis is dangerous. 1) This is not the Reformers v. Romanists; 2) Over emphasis of justification is dangerous too: sanctification is the forgotten doctrine today. All we ever read/hear about is justification. Yes, the FV is a real concern but so is antinomianism but any charge of that is met with “legalist! Legalist!” (I believe it’s the b-side of that Oldlife hit “No union! No union!”)

    But I say again: I’m pretty much in agreement with you on this, but again union is causing unnecessary division.

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  77. The Bible does not say “union”. The Bible says “in Christ” or “Christ in us”. People who want to put an emphasis on “union” need to define what they mean by the term.

    Alexander, is there a difference between “in Him” and “Him in us”? If “union” is so important, why is it so often left undefined, as if the meaning were obvious?

    It does no good to agree that “union” has various aspects (ie, it’s by election and it’s legal also) if we then go on from that to use the word “union” as meaning something very close to “regeneration” or “definitive break with a pattern of sin”.

    So what is “union” and why does it so often come down in the end to assuming that “union” means the work of the Spirit in the elect sinner? (btw, we need to define words like “regeneration” and “sanctification” also).

    Romans 6 is certainly a key text on the relationship of justification and the Christian life. Many read Romans 6 as if it were saying: don’t worry about that two legal heads stuff in Romans 5, because there is another answer besides justification as to why we don’t sin, and that is “baptismal union”.

    Others (like Robert Haldane) read Romans 6 to say that the answer to the question about the Christian life is not something else besides legal identity with Christ’s death and resurrection. We read Romans 6:7 as saying that the answer continues to be “justified from sin”. Alexander, we insist on that because Christ became dead to sin, was justified from sin, and that certainly was NOT “regeneration” or the work of the Spirit in Him.

    Therefore we insist on reading Romans 6 in terms of “sin shall not be your master, because you are not under law”. People too often confuse Holy Spirit baptism with “union”. They don’t talk about Christ giving the Spirit (which is not in Romans 6). They talk about the Spirit giving Christ (which is also not in Romans 6). Others talk about sacramental water.

    But for many who put the emphasis on “union”, it is no way acceptable to them to think that Romans 6 is still about justification and legal identification. They already have their minds made up that God’s imputation with Christ’s death is not the Romans 6 answer to the question of Romans 6.

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  78. Alex, two can play that game. Someone can be united to Christ without being effectually called? Why do unionists show such disregard for effectual calling? Like, when do they even talk about something that gets an entire chapter? Doesn’t matter. I say union is important. Oh.

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  79. Alex, and SC talks about the trinity before union. So you can’t be saved without the trinity?

    BTW, I did write a book on Calvinism. You know that, right?

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  80. Jack, it’s like Ellen DeGeneris’ joke at the Oscars, if you didn’t vote for 12 Years a Slave, you’re a racist. If you don’t say union is important, you ignore it.

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  81. Erik Charter
    Posted March 19, 2014 at 9:46 pm | Permalink
    Zrim,

    I have never seen that. I need to see it and a lot more Python than I have.

    Sounds like Driscoll.

    I thought everyone had. I saw that around age 16, same time as Life of Brian.

    It’s a goodie, Erik!

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  82. What does this have to do with the tension between Kuyperians and Escondidoists? I know which side I’m on in that one. My wife and I are Calvinists because we are tired of the Great Commission Deist Utilitarianism of so much of the evangelical world. The Soteriology is OK but secondary to us.

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  83. Mr. Hart-

    What game are we playing? Why does everything come down to being a game? Why do you always resort to point scoring?

    1) Union was being discussed in this thread before I joined it- I didn’t start the conversation about union all I wanted to know was your thoughts on how the SC mentioning union before justification fitted with your thesis that union was not as important a doctrine as justification and your oft-repeated claim that we do not find union in the standards until we reach the sacraments. Could you not have addressed this point rather than attack me as another subjective unionist, which is your knee jerk response to any hint of disagreement with you on union.

    2) When did I say effectual calling wasn’t important? If you read my comments you’ll see I specifically mentioned that union is the end result of effectual calling. Can you not engage with the points I make rather than the points someone else has made elsewhere? I have never said union should take precedence over justification. What I said was that your approach to this subject gives the implication that union is not important. All I’ve said is that such a position is extreme. My question about someone being saved without bring united to Christ was in response to a point you made; I have never said effectual calling isn’t important. I wasn’t talking about effectual calling. Do we have to talk about everything every time we talk about redemption? Can’t someone just ask one question and get an answer to that question (which isn’t sarcastic)?

    3) I’m not sure what past discussions you mean. I remember many instances of you stating your position and playing games with anyone who disagrees with you, as you’ve done here with your sarcastic remarks. I remember your posts on union and I also remember waiting for an explanation why this debate was so important but never reading one. Rather I read post after post about how union was not in the standards and is not a Reformed emphasis. I read a lot of criticisms of others but I didn’t read a proper parsing of terms and concepts.

    Mm-

    I don’t disagree with anything you say and I don’t know why you think I do. I never said union was the same as regeneration. You say we need to define terms but that can’t happen if you insist on ascribing false motivations and positions to people rather than just simply engage with them. I get that there are unionists over there who say silly and confusing things. I say silly and confusing things all the time, but I’m not one of those unionist guys. If I take time to understand your context, you should take time to understand mine.

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  84. Alex, I misunderstood. I thought you were playing games. You said no broad brush statements and then issued one. You claimed I disregarded union by saying it wasn’t important and then you tell me that you have always affirmed effectual calling. You have been known to play games about psalm-singing and the magistrate. Now I’m confused.

    Of course, you didn’t say effectual calling isn’t important. But you never mentioned it and it is a category that finds much more coverage in the SC than union. Just playin’.

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  85. If Erik or anyone is still contemplating the OL NCAA bracket challenge (we have 5 takers so far..woohoo), you can do what I did, and cheat. You could even google for Obama’s picks, and choose his.

    You have until the first game tonight to join (you gotta join, DG! yes that means you :-))

    Grace and peace.

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  86. D. G. Hart
    Posted March 19, 2014 at 9:52 pm | Permalink
    It’s got to be newbie, otherwise it looks like you’ve misspelled boob (and that will set Greg off).

    There’s a noob (bad) vs. newb (good) distinction. Let urban dictionary be your guide here, if you are this far into this comment and can still make sense of what goes on out here in the webernet..

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  87. I’ve been following this blog for several months, but not until now did I realize that I’m in the New Calvinism. I don’t think I want to be a noob, but my Acts 29 church certainly is. I’m not about to leave my church but I would love people here’s help in understanding what’s so bad about it and helping others in my church see it. Being a newb (not a noob), I’m a little slow. I honestly think the new calvinists think they (we?) are calvinist because they believe the 5 (or 4) points and they are ignorant that there’s more to being Calvinist/Reformed than that. Zeal without knowledge. At least that’s my story. I’ve only come this far because of white horse inn.
    Can anyone point me to resource to help better understand why noobs are wrong on all these points?

    1. I have no problem with TULIP. I embrace L unqualified. I like systematic thought and would love for my church to adopt LBCF (being baptist). The strange thing for me is that I embraced God’s sovereignty (#2) before I ever heard of TULIP, which I became exposed to through Bethlehem Baptist. Anyway, whenever I’ve heard complaints about TULIP it’s because it doesn’t line up with the Canons of Dort, which is to affirm confessions. See Richard Muller on Was Calvin a Calvinist, or Greg Forster in the Joy of Calvinism. I would also argue that, at least in my circles, the doctrine is systematically organized around the concept of mission. More on that below.

    2. Again, I’m down with L.

    3. I don’t see gender roles as a confessional boundary marker. But it seems like your complaint is less with complementarity as it is with transformationalism. If I talk about complementarity as living according to how God ordered creation, without talk about flourishing, are you ok with that? It so happens that life works best, albeit still broken and fallen, when we stop working against the nature of things. Isn’t that 2k? Following Scott Clark’s QIRC model, I don’t see the systematic link between the Reformed confession and any one view of gender roles in the home.

    4. I’ve been complaining about cultural “relevance” for a while. Since missionalism is the organizing principle, noobs seem to think that if something brings in more people then it is good and right (pragmatism). So the church music etc. needs to be hip and “relevant.” That’s IMO the driving thought behind all the culture stuff.

    5. I see the church government thing as another way of saying noobs are Baptist or missional. I’m guessing they’d say all that government stuff stifles church planting and mission.

    6. Missionalism feeds on every member ministry. It isn’t enough to call and send other people. Every Christian ought to see himself as a missionary called and sent. That’s what I hear anyway. Missionalism is a pervasive hermeneutic.

    7. So they’re mostly Baptist. It’s because they follow Piper and Grudem. Believer’s baptisms are more revivalistic and thus more missional. Again, it’s just ignorance about what “Reformed” means. I’ve insisted to my pastors that we aren’t Reformed or Calvinist, and they want to keep the term qualified to Calvinist soteriology. But the system is organized around missiology, from which ecclesiology and everything else follows, so Calvinist soteriology is relegated to that thing we talk about when we get to Rom 9 or Eph 1, and otherwise plays little part in how anything is done. Help me understand the systematic link from soteriology to sacramentology?

    8. I’m not charismatic. I’ve been debating this with my pastors as well. They claim “charismatic with a seat belt,” but functionally there is nothing charismatic happening in church life to my knowledge, so it’s not a huge deal. They are more interested in affirming the missiological implications of continuing gifts of the Holy Spirit. You know, bold evangelism. Hence “Acts 29.” It’s more of a hermeneutics problem across the board.

    9. This might be the biggest one I don’t understand. What’s the problem with being inflamed? I get the problem of name dropping Edwards, but noobs do that only because Piper is all about Edwards.

    10. Ok, so I need to read these books, right? Can you recommend a book to start with? IMO the pragmatic use of media goes back to missionalism. Dead guys in archaic English isn’t culturally relevant.

    11. I think the supposed great breadth of New Calvinism needs to account for its lack of connection to the historical Calvinists. I took a Porterbrook course through my church which had a module on church history, titled Church History in Missional Perspective. It complained a lot about the reformers’ christendom and then celebrated the anabaptists. Calvinist just seems the entirely wrong label for this stuff.

    12. Again, missionalism. A pastor’s teaching one hour a week isn’t enough for all the ministry that’s supposed to go on during the week by every member. We need more books.

    13. Piper is a word nerd. I don’t fault him for wanting to be precise and descriptive. But the movement has picked up and run with his quirks.

    I hope you get my tone. I don’t know if New Calvinism is “we” or “they” for me. Help me out please? Thanks.

    Like

  88. Jordan, I was raised in a “converge worldwide” church, which is John Piper, from birth until college. Went to a non-denom church as freshman in college, when my girlfriend invited me to the OPC. The rest is history.

    If 2k is of interest, Google “living in God’s two kingdoms” by David Van Drunen.

    I’ve been ordained a deacon in the OPC since 2007.

    Thanks for chiming in. There’s a lot to say on the topics you raise. If you have one or two specific questions, eithrler myself or many who frequent this site would enjoy sharing our views.

    Take care.

    Like

  89. Jordan,

    A book I would strongly recommend is Hart & Muether’s “Seeking a Better Country: 300 Years of American Presbyterianism”. Pay close attention to the distinctions separating Old School & New School Presbyterianism and the problems that arose from the First Great Awakening. “The New Calvinists” fall squarely in the New School (and many are Baptists to boot!).

    Infant Baptism is a critical part of embracing Reformed Theology as it is God, not us, doing the work and this thread runs all the way back to Abraham and circumcision. The Patriarchs weren’t heroes of the faith, they were poor schlubs like us who God chose to work through.

    http://www.amazon.com/Seeking-Better-Country-American-Presbyterianism/dp/0875525741/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1395329112&sr=8-3&keywords=d.g.+hart

    Like

  90. Mr. Hart-

    To clarify, because this IS becoming confused: my broad brush point was this: you said that union is less important than some would have us believe. I said that that is too broad a statement. How are we measuring importance? And so I made an admittedly broad statement to make the point that in one sense at least union is very important: one cannot be saved without it. My issue was with the absolutist tone of your statement.

    I would not say I’ve played games over psalm singing and the magistrate. My issue in these areas has always been one of what is meant by Reformed when it’s used here. My church, which is a direct descendant of the historic Reformation Church of Scotland, has never amended the Confession: we hold to the Establishmeny principle and we hole to unaccompanied exclusive Psalm singing, which is the regulative principle as laid out in the Westminster standards. So when you say the Reformed churches have changed their minds on the CM I take issue with that because my church hasn’t and it’s still the official position of various Presbyterian churches over here. What you mean is the American Reformed churches, and that’s fine, but that’s slightly different.

    As to Psalm singing: the unaccompanied exclusive Psalm singing position is the RPW. The RPW has never included musical instruments or man written hymns. If you want to argue that older hymns are better than modern songs then fine, but I must take issue when you say that the position of the OPC is in line with the RPW because it’s not.

    Like

  91. Jordan, “charismatic with a seatbelt” is priceless. Kinda like monkey with bib — still gonna make a mess sooner or later.

    Ecclesiology is the big, big thing as we’re seeing with Driscoll and will see with many other Noob Cals ere long. Reformed doctrine needs/necessitates/requires right worship and right order. There are not optional equipment on the Reformed family truckster.

    Like

  92. This is way off topic for this blog but I’m looking for something that I think I recall seeing on this blog site some time in the past, but I’ll be doggoned if I can find it. It was a link to an essay that appeared another blog site (Front Porch Republic? – not sure) in which the author contrasted the violent French revolution with the more peaceful one in Britain and the reasons why each of them occurred the way they did. If anyone can tell be where to find this it would be greatly appreciated.

    Like

  93. Alexander
    Posted March 19, 2014 at 2:11 pm | Permalink

    And Daniel’s right: your “old” Calvinist moniker is just bizarre. You do realise there was 300 hundred years of Reformed theology BEFORE Warfield? Warfield’s not old! And try to get your history right: the American Presbyterians amended c.23- not the “old Calvinists”.

    Ouch. Whose Old Calvinism is it, anyway?

    Like

  94. Tom-the-conservative-culturalist, whose America is it anyway? See, you might begin to understand the conservative Calvinist’s dilemma in that he conceives of the church the way the culturalist does the polis. The former thinks there is an established ecclesial tradition worth preserving and calling its adherents back to, much the same way the latter does of a cultural tradition and its citizens. So your constant one-liner is like the multiculturalist’s plea for diversity.

    Of course, while the old cals around here may have some sympathy for the cultural conservative, see more room for a diverse polis than a diverse church. But some of that owes to actually believing the Bible and that eternal life really does outpace provisional life.

    Like

  95. I’d just like to make clear that I am quite happy to include Warfield in the stream of “old school” Reformed and that my “not old” label was in terms of historical position not theological. But I do think when contrasting the neo cals to true Reformed theology we should be referring beyond/further back than Warfield and Machen because whilst they are orthodox, there’s a richer, fuller testimony before them.

    Like

  96. Zrim
    Posted March 20, 2014 at 4:59 pm | Permalink
    Tom-the-conservative-culturalist, whose America is it anyway? See, you might begin to understand the conservative Calvinist’s dilemma in that he conceives of the church the way the culturalist does the polis. The former thinks there is an established ecclesial tradition worth preserving and calling its adherents back to, much the same way the latter does of a cultural tradition and its citizens. So your constant one-liner is like the multiculturalist’s plea for diversity.

    Of course, while the old cals around here may have some sympathy for the cultural conservative, see more room for a diverse polis than a diverse church. But some of that owes to actually believing the Bible and that eternal life really does outpace provisional life.

    “…thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.” That’s from the highest source possible. I don’t see where r2k fits in there.

    And hey, Mr. Z, I do get the point that Jesus did not institute a theocracy. But I think the “radical” part of 2k makes life on this earth meaningless, that we’re to be some sort of ever-praising crypto-Amish cherubim, at least until the cigarettes and whisky kill us.

    And I quite do see the “the conservative Calvinist’s dilemma,” and also that you have no real way of freezing your Semper Reformanda at any certain time or point. It’s a structural problem, like Mexico’s PRI, the “Institutional Revolutionary Party,” which to us seems an oxymoron.

    You become the very wall that you push against. [?!]

    Like

  97. Andrew Buckingham
    Posted March 20, 2014 at 6:51 pm | Permalink
    Tom, please elaborate. What is r2k, exactly?

    Wow, the addiction to disingenuousness never ends around here. You know perfectly well.

    http://rcsprouljr.com/blog/ask-rc/rc-r2k-theology/

    Why can’t you people ever play straight, AB? Everything around here seems to have a hook or a slice.
    ____________
    RC Sproul, alleged Calvinist:

    “At their best, those who espouse R2K theology rightly reject the common temptation among evangelicals to wrap up our theological convictions in the American flag, to confuse God’s kingdom with these United States, and the temptation common to some Reformed to insist that the tiniest detail of a given government policy debate comes equipped with a peculiarly perspicuous proof-text to tell us what to do. Sometimes we end up saying, “Thus sayeth the Lord” when we ought to be saying, “Our understanding of the implication of this text leads us to believe option A is more wise than option B.”

    At their worst, however, R2K theology can silence the prophetic voice of the church. While many R2K advocates would be comfortable with individual Christians speaking to the great moral issues of our day, the church is forbidden to do so. When the state punishes a landlord for refusing to rent to fornicators, the church cannot speak. When the state engages in empire building, waging unjust wars across the globe, the church cannot speak. Worst of all, when the state uses its God-given sword to protect those who murder the unborn, the church cannot speak.

    The church is the bride of Christ, called to be a help suitable to the second Adam as He fulfills the dominion mandate, bringing all things under submission. She is not confined to the garden, but goes forth into the jungle, wherever He goes to glorify His name, to make visible His reign. She speaks what He speaks, to all who would stand against Him. She speaks for the downtrodden, for those unable to speak for themselves. May we who are Reformed ever affirm this radical truth- there is one King, and one Kingdom.”

    Like

  98. Why should I listen to that blogger, Tom?

    You don’t have a church, as I recall. So what exactly should my church do that would satisfy you?

    I can’t get past the fact that you are here just to create trouble. If my kids boss me around and tell them to get them snacks, ok, I get it. They are age 7 and younger.

    You coming here to boss us around baffles me. Strikes me as childish, quite frankly.

    Or do you prefer we just keep going round and round. I honestly don’t get your approach, man.

    Peace.

    Like

  99. Tom, the paleos of a 2k variety are hardly monastics. Haven’t you noticed how Christian bubble is a neo by-product? In the world but not of it is a paleo ethic, while of the world but not in it is neo.

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  100. Putting initials before 2K means bring out the butterfly nets.

    But Tom isn’t Reformed so he doesn’t know any better.

    Like

  101. “At their worst, however, R2K theology can silence the prophetic voice of the church. While many R2K advocates would be comfortable with individual Christians speaking to the great moral issues of our day, the church is forbidden to do so. When the state punishes a landlord for refusing to rent to fornicators, the church cannot speak. When the state engages in empire building, waging unjust wars across the globe, the church cannot speak. Worst of all, when the state uses its God-given sword to protect those who murder the unborn, the church cannot speak.”

    Which must mean that WCF 31.5 is at its 2k worst:

    Synods and councils are to handle, or conclude nothing, but that which is ecclesiastical: and are not to intermeddle with civil affairs which concern the commonwealth, unless by way of humble petition in cases extraordinary; or, by way of advice, for satisfaction of conscience, if they be thereunto required by the civil magistrate.

    How could anyone with Sproul’s disdain have written that? So, Tom, again, the 2k point is to remind those who claim Reformed and would have the church intermeddle with civil affairs remember that if the Confession really is the standard for Reformed then it’s actually 2k at its best. Why not go Kuyper and rather gladly relinquish the name Reformed than claim it say the church should mind her own ecclesiastical business?

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  102. I don’t mean to insult R.C. Sproul Jr., just Tom.

    O.K., not Tom either.

    Jr. does not carry the clout of Sr. at this point, though, and is not in the “mainstream” as much as his dad is/was. He’s much more combative and tends toward the Federal Vision and Federal Visionists.

    Tom, being an outsider, doesn’t realize this, which is the problem that arises when an outsider tries to use a figure against insiders. It’s like trying to insult someone in a foreign language. Not smart.

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  103. Erik, and it wouldn’t take much reading for Tom to start getting it. He’s been here almost a year now. I’m calling into question why he is doing what he does. To me, he disagrees, and now only intends to disrupt. I knew he was gonna give me a Google answer. He didn’t disappoint.

    Nothing you all haven’t seen before. I know.

    Like

  104. Imagine the “prophetic voice of the church” getting involved in the matter of a landlord who is “punished by the state for refusing to rent to fornicators”.

    What must that three-ring circus look like?

    What box on the application did the landlord use to determine that his potential tenants were fornicators?

    Do people think through these things or is enough to sound righteous by being against fornicators?

    1. Do you have sex? yes or no

    2. Are you married? yes or no

    3. Do you only have sex with the person you are married to? yes or no

    How in the world is any of this any of a landlord’s business?

    How does he plan on monitoring it?

    Like

  105. Erik (says Sir Andrew of the Links regarding TVD) To me, he disagrees, and now only intends to disrupt…

    Nothing you all haven’t seen before. I know.

    Indeed…

    Like

  106. Here’s how these things work in the real world for mature Christians: If you’re renting a room in your house, you don’t advertise it widely. You maybe tell your pastor and friends about it and they help you find someone who you will probably be able to get along with.

    If you own rental properties detached from your house, you probably mostly care whether or not tenants will treat the property well and pay their rent. You’re busy and don’t even want to delve into their private lives. If you do have time for that, you try to be a friend to them where they are at. Maybe they are fornicators, but you treat them nicely and maybe even let them know you are a Christian. Maybe if you get to know them you invite them over for a meal. Maybe they come visit your church, become a Christian, and stop being a fornicator.

    What you probably don’t do is make a huge deal about them being a fornicator, invite State intervention, drag the church into it, act like a martyr, and create a media circus.

    Duh.

    Like

  107. You needn’t talk about me in the third person behind my back, Andrew. I’m “standing” right here. Further, the fact remains you were being disingenuous pretending you don’y know what “radical” 2Kk means. You didn’t play straight and now you’re emitting the old Old Life smokescreen.

    As for RC Sproul not being his Dad, OK, I missed that one. Still, he’s allegedly a Calvinist, and whose Calvinism is it, anyway? He’s not the only one who opposes the “radical” 2k theology, and his argument is valid, that there is only One Kingdom. [That there are “Two” Kingdoms, one not to touch the other is not in the Bible, O Solo Scriptros, except by extrapolation.]

    Sproul fils’ argument remains valid, even if he’s from a smaller subdenomination than yours.

    ________

    Like

  108. Erik Charter
    Posted March 20, 2014 at 10:06 pm | Permalink
    Imagine the “prophetic voice of the church” getting involved in the matter of a landlord who is “punished by the state for refusing to rent to fornicators”.

    What must that three-ring circus look like?

    Thx for actually engaging the question, Erik. I would say that you’re undervaluing religious freedom. Flesh that out a little bit–it’s a duplex, and the landlord has kids. Further, it’s a guy with two “wives” and children by each of them. How about incest? The mind reels.

    You’ve actually furthered the Hobby Lobby argument, that a Christian family must go the Amish route and separate himself and his family from all commerce–even volunteer work like adoptions–with the “outside” world.

    Sproul Jr.’s argument is solid, regardless of who it comes from.

    Zrim
    Posted March 20, 2014 at 9:49 pm | Permalink

    Which must mean that WCF 31.5 is at its 2k worst:

    Synods and councils are to handle, or conclude nothing, but that which is ecclesiastical: and are not to intermeddle with civil affairs which concern the commonwealth, unless by way of humble petition in cases extraordinary; or, by way of advice, for satisfaction of conscience, if they be thereunto required by the civil magistrate.

    Yes, but the American Presbyterians rewrote WCF 23 which originally read

    “…yet [the civil magistrate] hath authority, and it is his duty, to take order, that unity and peace be preserved in the Church, that the truth of God be kept pure and entire; that all blasphemies and heresies be suppressed; all corruptions and abuses in worship and discipline prevented or reformed; and all the ordinances of God duly settled, administered, and observed.”

    That’s some pretty heavy involvement by the government. Whose Old Calvinism is it, anyway?

    BTW, “ecclesiastical” in the above I would take to understand as John Calvin’s Consistory in Geneva and the ecclesiastical courts of the Old World, which regulated marriage, divorce, blasphemy, drunkenness, and yes, Erik, landlord-tenant disputes! OLD Old Calvinism!

    Like

  109. You need to stop arguing by link, Andrew. Another boring and annoying Old Life convention–the answer lies behind that curtain over>>>>>>>>there. The time it takes for you to look it up and HTML it, you just could have made your point, if any.

    Like

  110. Jack Miller
    Posted March 20, 2014 at 11:47 pm | Permalink
    Hmm, Tom wrote, You need to stop arguing by link, Andrew…

    Tom wrote, Wow, the addiction to disingenuousness never ends around here. You know perfectly well.
    http://rcsprouljr.com/blog/ask-rc/rc-r2k-theology/

    Just linking Tom to Tom…

    Jack. Jack. Are you dishonest or are you being silly, Jack? With all due respect. Perhaps the point is elusive: I posted the relevant part of Sproul, Jr.’s argument in his own words. The link was a courtesy for those who wanted to read the whole thing, a footnote, as it were. I hope that rests the matter, Jack.

    Sproul’s–and my–argument was not tucked behind a curtain, it was cee&peed for all to read.

    Surely not another Old Life smokescreen that hassles the author over chickenspit in order to bury what he wrote? You wouldn’t do that, would you, Jack?

    What are your thoughts on the argument so far, Jack? I won’t mock your name, I won’t misrepresent your argument. If any. Jack. Let’s start over:

    [Sproul Jr.’s] argument is valid, that there is only One Kingdom. [That there are “Two” Kingdoms, one not to touch the other is not in the Bible, O Solo Scripturos, except by extrapolation.]

    Like

  111. Andrew Buckingham
    Posted March 20, 2014 at 11:51 pm | Permalink
    Tom, no.

    Our house. Our rules.

    Stop playing games.

    Who is “our.” Who is “us.” You get really creepy sometimes. Whose Old Life theological society is it anyway? Yours more than mine?

    If Darryl wants to ban me or chastise me, then let him be the man to do it. Until then, kindly get off my back, Andrew. You insist this isn’t a church, so stop acting like it is one. My polite questioning of OLTS-style theologizing is a lot lighter than the attacks on other churches hereabouts. I’m about a 4 on the OLTS vehemence meter.

    Who’s “disrupting,” Andrew? Now where were were we? Oh, yes. New Calvinism and “Old” Calvinism.
    _____________________________________
    Thx for actually engaging the question, Erik. I would say that you’re undervaluing religious freedom. Flesh that out a little bit–it’s a duplex, and the landlord has kids. Further, it’s a guy with two “wives” and children by each of them. How about incest? The mind reels.

    You’ve actually furthered the Hobby Lobby argument, that a Christian family must go the Amish route and separate himself and his family from all commerce–even volunteer work like adoptions–with the “outside” world.

    Sproul Jr.’s argument is solid, regardless of who it comes from.

    Zrim
    Posted March 20, 2014 at 9:49 pm | Permalink

    Which must mean that WCF 31.5 is at its 2k worst:

    Synods and councils are to handle, or conclude nothing, but that which is ecclesiastical: and are not to intermeddle with civil affairs which concern the commonwealth, unless by way of humble petition in cases extraordinary; or, by way of advice, for satisfaction of conscience, if they be thereunto required by the civil magistrate.

    TVD: Yes, but the American Presbyterians rewrote WCF 23 which originally read

    “yet [the civil magistrate] hath authority, and it is his duty, to take order, that unity and peace be preserved in the Church, that the truth of God be kept pure and entire; that all blasphemies and heresies be suppressed; all corruptions and abuses in worship and discipline prevented or reformed; and all the ordinances of God duly settled, administered, and observed.”

    That’s some pretty heavy involvement by the government. Whose Old Calvinism is it, anyway?

    BTW, “ecclesiastical” in the above I would take to understand as John Calvin’s Consistory in Geneva and the ecclesiastical courts of the Old World, which regulated marriage, divorce, blasphemy, drunkenness, and yes, Erik, landlord-tenant disputes! OLD Old Calvinism!

    Like

  112. Tom, you use a link, quote a large selection and ignorantly misrepresent (not intentionally) who the author is. It’s like quoting John Quincy Adams to make a weighty point as to the Constitution and attribute it to the founding father John Adams. Dad carries weight, J.Q. not… The only point is that your mis-linking/attribution of R.C. Jr. is more time consuming as to getting to the the truth than Andrew’s straight forward link, where one would immediately find the relevant info and the proper attribution. It just didn’t seem quite the moment for you to be playing a diversionary link game of one-upmanship with Andrew.

    As to the discussion, I’ve already commented quite a bit. And as to this 2K kerfluffle. I’m decidedly 2K and disagree with Jr. and his ecclesiology.

    Like

  113. @d g hart It is important to
    Me that I am saved by the merits of Christ alone. But I identify myself as a Calvinist less because of the Five Points than because of the holistic world view that frees me from Great Commission Utilitarianism and gives us the Stewardship or Cultural Mandate. I e the Protestant Ethic.

    Like

  114. Jack Miller
    Posted March 21, 2014 at 12:39 am | Permalink
    Tom, you use a link, quote a large selection and ignorantly misrepresent (not intentionally) who the author is. It’s like quoting John Quincy Adams…

    Jack. That’s sophistic BS, an attempt to score cheap debating points and bypass the actual issue. Jack. I quite agree you’ve said enough. Go in peace.

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  115. Tom, growing up, we used to have some guy show up at worship and speak in tounges, while pastor preached, and we sang songs. Leadership took care of it.

    In case you haven’t noticed, you only score points and are winning out here, in your mind.

    Your religion is between your ears. We have a church and a belief.

    How about you? I want to know.

    Peace

    Like

  116. To me, you are an atheist, Tom. The signature is that you describe a reality that makes sense to you, but know one actually lives that way, or by those standards. The atheist says God doesn’t exist. But one need only read how C. Hitchens’ tone changed as he got closer to death.

    If you don’t have a religion, then yes, this theology chatroom is not for you
    There is the Doug Sowers rule, remember?

    You came here on a thread not about 2k, only to knock 2k calling us “radical.” You are mean and full of double talk. We are done.

    Like

  117. You know nothing about me after all this time, Andrew? Or are you being silly again? You should really look me up or something, or read what I actually write. I made my own argument and didn’t just play Sproul Jr. against OLTS. That would be like playing the left-liberal National Catholic Reporter against the Pope.

    Plus you don’t have a pope anyway. What you “believe” or “confess” was voted on by other people, not you, and then revised and besides they’re all dead.

    Whose Calvinism is it anyway? The Reformers? The reformers of the Reformers? The American Presbyterians or the Church of Scotland? I understand why you’re appalled at the neo-Cals like Driscoll but it never ends.

    Your OPC undid some of those American Presbyterian revisions.* Whose WCF is it, anyway? Now THERE’S a theological society question!
    ________
    *Sometimes I think you guys think nobody’s paying attention to your warblings.

    http://www.opc.org/documents/WCF_orig.html

    Mostly they’re not, so y’all really should respect your sparse but devoted listeners just a smidge more, even if they’re just putting a stethoscope up to your echo chamber. 😉

    Like

  118. Hcat
    Posted March 21, 2014 at 12:42 am | Permalink
    @d g hart It is important to
    Me that I am saved by the merits of Christ alone. But I identify myself as a Calvinist less because of the Five Points than because of the holistic world view that frees me from Great Commission Utilitarianism and gives us the Stewardship or Cultural Mandate. I e the Protestant Ethic.

    See, that’s what I’m talkin’ bout, people. Holistic w-w Utilitarianism Stewardship Mandate Protestant. At last someone who gets it! I think you can retire the blog now, Darryl. Our work here is finished. Except the Psalm thing. Gotta work on that.

    Like

  119. Tom:

    So answer your own questions and stop asking, since I “know you” so well, per your view. Or do I need to copy and paste all the responses this last year since you started asking.

    Whose Calvinism is it anyway, Tom Van Dyke?

    Like

  120. Jordan, no problem with being inflamed if you want to keep it to yourself. But if you’re going to call attention to yourself being inflamed, then I’m going to throw the flag. But as I’ve seen it, people who make a big deal of being inflamed generally call all sorts of attention to themselves. What does that do to the rest of us schlubs? More important, what does that do to God’s glory? All about me, not.

    Like

  121. Erik and Jordan, not to cut out my good friend an co-author, but Lost Soul of American Protestantism may be a better guide to confessionalism (old) vs. evangelicalism (new)

    Like

  122. Mr. A M Smith, and my point is that the churches in NAPARC have not made psalm-singing or the magistrate or union the issues that you have with other communions that don’t sing psalms only, that revised the chapters on the magistrate, and don’t go wobblie over union. So what gives you the platform to be noisier on these things than your own church? Feeling newbie are you?

    Like

  123. Jack, thanks for helping me out in my discussion with Tom, by breaking it down.

    Talking with Tom lately feels like playing Pin the tail on the donkey.

    I think maybe he’s just lonely and wants some online friends.

    Which is precisely why he should stop comboxxing and go to church.

    Even once to check out his local OPC would mean something, in my book.

    And yes, I know Tom reads when I speak behind his back.

    I long to visit you all at El Camino again. It’s my favorite church to visit, so we will see you again someday down there, if you are there on our next Disneyland trip.

    Later.

    Like

  124. Tom,

    A duplex should be treated the same way as your own residence, if you care that much who your tenant is.

    Discretion, wisdom, living peaceably with others, not standing on a soap box with a bullhorn, church membership — these are things that mature Christians do.

    Like

  125. We have a picture of the mature Christian vs. the immature, knee-jerk culture warrior Christian: Andy Taylor vs. Barney Fife.

    There’s a reason Barney was only allowed one bullet and even that one bullet had to stay in his pocket.

    Like

  126. Jordan,

    You”re welcome. Welcome to OldLife: Reformed Faith and Practice.

    Don’t let what some of us think and say spook you. Think of us as one big twitter feed.

    Darryl,

    Mullet?

    That’s a ding, per me.

    Auf wiedersehen.

    Like

  127. Tom, keep digging. You attempt to score a point with a link and comment, 2K, by using a quote from someone whom doesn’t carry weight on the subject while attributing to someone who would. Then upbraid AB for using links. And I’m the sophist and the cheap point scorer. Quite a world you live in…

    Like

  128. Tom, right, the revision of 23 aligns better with the original 31 than did the original 23. That’s the beauty of Reformed Protestantism over against Catholicism: revisions are made instead of developing doctrines that contradict because they’re all allegedly infallible. Fallible doctrine can be revised.

    But what you gloss over so seamlessly is that Sproul’s words directly conflict with original and current 31. And you applaud. Does Sproul know he’s got a mere culturalist and nominal Christian cheering him on? I thought neo-Calvinist culture warriors eschewed nominalism. Funny how you people find each other.

    Like

  129. Tom, you no like links?

    you asked for it..

    GOLF AND THEOLOGY
    FEBRUARY 28, 2014 ADB408 LEAVE A COMMENT
    I’ve been known to mention a particular four letter word beginning with the letter G when discussing in the comments section of blogs that exist for no other reason than to discuss and debate the differences we find in the very wide and diverse field of study we refer to as Theology. So if you made it through that sentence and are still reading, it’s entirely possible you are asking yourself: What gives? It’s very simple. The renown 20th century theologian Karl Barth is quoted as saying the following:

    The best theology would need no advocates; it would prove itself.

    Ok, admittedly beginning to meander just a tad, but follow me.

    Regarding the quote above, just how far do we take it?

    It turns out, the response I would give to Barth were we sitting at the bar and he said that, would actually be a tempered, “Well, OK, buddy. But here, think about this“:

    A change in his traveling plans and the angry reaction of the Corinthian Christians to this change is used by Paul for profound and far-reaching assertions about Jesus “the Christ”: “In him it is always Yes, he is not Yes and No.” This reminds us by contrast of the words of a great Protestant mystic who has said that in Yes and No all things consist, and of philosophers and theologians who are convinced that truth can only be expressed through No and Yes, and above all of Paul’s own central doctrine that God justifies the sinner, that He says “yes” to him to whom He says a radical “no” at the same time. And does not Paul in this second letter to the Corinthians formulate the Yes and No in a most paradoxical way: “Unknown and yet well known, dying and behold we live, having nothing and yet possessing everything.” This certainly is Yes and No. But in the Christ, he says, there is not Yes and No. Really not? Do we not come from Good Friday to Easter, which point to the deepest No and the highest Yes—that of the death and life of the Christ?

    Getting to the point (I promise), I believe to even make the statement, The best theology would need no advocates; it would prove itself is to admit the very thing this statement seeks to suppress. For why else would such a statement be made, other than to prove we don’t even need to debate theology with others who disagree with a given point of view we have (for who knows what reason). But we DO need to debate theology. Why exactly? Well, before that, first consider these words from the Book of Job in Scripture (emphasis mine):

    And the Lord said to Job:
    “Shall a faultfinder contend with the Almighty?
    He who argues with God, let him answer it.”
    Then Job answered the Lord and said:
    “Behold, I am of small account; what shall I answer you?
    I lay my hand on my mouth.
    I have spoken once, and I will not answer;
    twice, but I will proceed no further.” (Job 40:1-5, ESV)

    You see, reader of a theology blog, there truly is a A time to mourn and a time to dance..A time for war, and a time for peace.

    There is a time for speaking up for the deeply held convictions, and a time to listen to those who are sharing the same. So far, so good.

    As it turns out, however, Barth is right, that the best theology would indeed need no advocates. For when we discuss theology, we are discussing matters pertaining to the divine, and in truth, some things we simply are not meant to know for God speaking in the Scriptures says:

    For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
    neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord.
    For as the heavens are higher than the earth,
    so are my ways higher than your ways
    and my thoughts than your thoughts. (Isaiah 55:8-9, ESV)

    Ah, so there it is. The point at last: God is above our debating of theology, online or elsewhere. Wouldn’t that be funny if even if one of us is right, and the other wrong, in such a hypothetical debate on a theological topic, such a person is in fact right, but for all the wrong reasons? God, it may end up in the end, does have a sense of humor.

    My friend, thank you for visiting my blog, reading these pieced together pieces of God’s Word (for indeed Scripture doth abundantly evidence itself to be the Word of God). May you be blessed in your reading here. Before you go, I desire to leave you with words from the constitution of my church(once again, emphasis mine):

    Q. 88. What are the outward and ordinary means whereby Christ communicateth to us the benefits of redemption?
    A. The outward and ordinary means whereby Christ communicateth to us the benefits of redemption, are his ordinances, especially the word, sacraments, and prayer; all which are made effectual to the elect for salvation.

    Q. 89. How is the word made effectual to salvation?
    A. The Spirit of God maketh the reading, but especially the preaching, of the word, an effectual means of convincing and converting sinners, and of building them up in holiness and comfort, through faith, unto salvation.

    Oh wait. Lastly, this is somewhat interesting stuff, right? But truly, this blog post was a wicked slice, and you just witnessed it, friend. I mean, think about it: what exactly am I trying to acheive in writing this? You shouldn’t think about that too hard, just like you shouldn’t consider too long just exactly what is the sound of one hand clapping? In conclusion, it’s now your turn up to the tee. What say you? If you can out drive me and my wicked banana slice of a shot, I’d love to see you try by posting a comment, or we’ll see each other on another blog out here discussing theology, and I look forward to that occasion. If you clicked on the first link in this post and watched, I achieved my goal of planting the seed in your mind that golf may be just as fun as I tend to hold out that it is. You never know, we may find ourselves together on a golf course someday..

    Grace and peace.
    Contact me on twitter: @AndrewBuckingha

    Or better yet, leave a comment below, just to say you stopped by, or to say anything you like 🙂

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  130. Z, I prefer confessional lutheran Trent D calling it mental masturbation. I’ll never forget playing golf with a friend, who first used that.

    Who’s next, around here, in this burlesque house.

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  131. Oh, and Tom, you play your part well around here. We always need someone to play the part of bearmanpig for the initiates and their target practice. You see now what we are about? Or are there still questions in your mind you want to share with us?

    Peace to you on your journey, friend. Remind me to upload my Price is right for you someday. And do your part to help control the pet population (hello B. Barker).

    Like

  132. Darryl, I don’t think Tom is here. He is gettin’ busy with his pals over at Google dot com, finding his answers to the meaning of life.

    Give him time. We might be a while. Got a light?

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  133. Mr. Hart-

    I’m curious to know on what research you base your conclusion that I care more about these issues than my own church? I can tell you that the issues of the Establishment principle and the RPW are frequently addressed in preaching and our publications. The RPW is one of the reasons we maintain a septet are position from all other denominations.

    Like

  134. Andrew Buckingham
    Posted March 21, 2014 at 6:14 am | Permalink
    Tom:

    So answer your own questions and stop asking, since I “know you” so well, per your view. Or do I need to copy and paste all the responses this last year since you started asking.

    Whose Calvinism is it anyway, Tom Van Dyke?

    Why it’s Darryl Hart’s, silly He wrote the book on it, you know.

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  135. I’m not aware of any of my brethren making delegations to the OPC.

    Mr. Murray used to be one of us and he ultimately, it would appear, could not settle in the OPC so
    I’m not sure why you’re surprised by my position. But I’m just one person, reading blogs and commenting.

    Like

  136. Zrim
    Posted March 21, 2014 at 9:04 am | Permalink
    Tom, right, the revision of 23 aligns better with the original 31 than did the original 23. That’s the beauty of Reformed Protestantism over against Catholicism: revisions are made instead of developing doctrines that contradict because they’re all allegedly infallible. Fallible doctrine can be revised.

    But what you gloss over so seamlessly is that Sproul’s words directly conflict with original and current 31. And you applaud. Does Sproul know he’s got a mere culturalist and nominal Christian cheering him on? I thought neo-Calvinist culture warriors eschewed nominalism. Funny how you people find each other.

    You want to talk 31 but the original 23 agrees with Sproul, Jr. [whom I quoted mostly because I liked the way he phrased the argument]. American Presbyterians rewrote 23, but by what authority? The original 23 most closely conforms to John Calvin’s vision.

    There’s Old Calvinists but what about old Old Calvinists? Or New Old Calvinists? What if they un-re-write 23, the way the OPC retroactively un-re-wrote the PCUSA revisions of 1903?

    The possibilities are exponential.

    Like

  137. Andrew Buckingham
    Posted March 21, 2014 at 5:12 pm | Permalink
    No way. My course.

    http://www.santateresagolf.com

    Sorry, AB, to play a round of real golf, I need about seven hours and at least 6 dozen balls.

    They asked Jesus also, “by what authority.” Just sayin’

    Keep it real.

    Just as I suspected. Write a book on Calvinism and all of a sudden you’re Jesus.

    Jack Miller
    Posted March 21, 2014 at 5:32 pm | Permalink
    Andrew and Tom… Linking links? We don’t need no stinking links linking!

    cheers

    Ace, Jack. Peace.

    Like

  138. Andrew Buckingham
    Posted March 21, 2014 at 5:12 pm | Permalink
    No way. My course.

    http://www.santateresagolf.com

    Sorry, AB, to play a round of real golf, I need about seven hours and at least 6 dozen balls.

    They asked Jesus also, “by what authority.” Just sayin’

    Keep it real.

    Just as I suspected. Write a book on Calvinism and all of a sudden you’re Jesus.

    Jack Miller
    Posted March 21, 2014 at 5:32 pm | Permalink
    Andrew and Tom… Linking links? We don’t need no stinking links linking!

    cheers

    Ace, Jack. Peace.

    Like

  139. “Tom, right, the revision of 23 aligns better with the original 31 than did the original 23. That’s the beauty of Reformed Protestantism over against Catholicism: revisions are made instead of developing doctrines that contradict because they’re all allegedly infallible. Fallible doctrine can be revised.”

    But..but…confessionalism! The paper tiger roars again. Team Bigelow is waiting to draft.

    Like

  140. Cletus, give me Dreher any day.

    Refugees fleeing to Rome from the chaos and liberalism of mainline Protestant churches see in Rome a doctrinal rock in which to shelter against the storm and stress of modernity. In theory, this is true. What many new converts find surprising, even shocking, is that despite the theoretical orthodoxy in the Roman church, the orthopraxy, including the teaching of orthodox Catholic doctrine, is extremely hit or miss, varying from parish to parish, diocese to diocese. You will rarely if ever find a bishop speaking out against Catholic orthodoxy — but this is often a matter of keeping up appearances. In practice, many bishops allow all kinds of heterodoxy in their dioceses. You really can parish-shop and find a priest, and a confessor, who will tell you what you want to hear. There should be doctrinal unity in Catholicism, but in practice, this is fairly nominal. I argued in the confessional once, in St. Patrick’s Cathedral in New York, with a priest who told me that my wife and I should start using contraception. I wouldn’t say something like that is normative, but that kind of laxity is far, far more common in American Catholicism in practice (versus in theory) than outsiders believe.

    http://www.theamericanconservative.com/dreher/christianity-east-west-catholicism-orthodoxy/?utm_source=feedly&utm_reader=feedly&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=christianity-east-west-catholicism-orthodoxy

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  141. It seems like you’ve missed three critical distinctions between the Old and the New Calvinists:

    1. Old Calvinists typically adhere to a Law and Gospel hermenuetic that is at odds with the both the “Lordship Salvation” of John MacArthur and the “Free Grace” theology of Zane Hodges.

    2. Old Calvinists seem to follow Calvin in understanding the nature of the sacraments, whereas the New Calvinists tend to follow Zwingli and Bullinger.

    3. Old Calvinists are Covenantal and New Calvinists are Dispensational.

    It seems like the New Calvinists are really only Calvinists in the sense that they affirm the handy little acronym, TULIP. Apart from that, they’re really just American Evangelicals with a legalistic bent (i.e. Lordship Salvation).

    By embracing, supporting, and working with the New Calvinists, Old Calvinists like RC Sproul (whom I otherwise love) are giving these guys a credibility that they don’t deserve. While I’m not advocating separationism, and I’m not calling the New Calvinists heretics, I think the Old Calvinists ought to spend more time making it clear that the New Calvinists are much more “New” than they are “Calvinist.”

    Many young people in the New Calvinist movement believe they are embracing the historic Christian faith, because that is what they are being taught. We do them a disservice when we do not make it clear that their denominations (or non-denominations) have departed from a historic and Reformed view of the faith.

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  142. Ken, one step at a time. I don’t see how it would be possible to become an Old Calvinist unless one was born into the process or did a ton of serious reading after being disaffected by evangelicalism.

    Eventually you find better resources for spiritual needs and conclude to head to an Old Calvinist church, if one is around you.

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  143. This contrast between the “two” ages of Calvinism is quite silly and absurd. If I didn’t know any better, I would think this article was written by some isolated “old Calvinist” who still lives with his parents, blogs online in his bedroom downstairs basement and has done little to nothing to reach out to the dying world around him. Just my observation.

    Like

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