Thursday, July 12, 2012

Learned from my perspective and concerns w/New Calvinism!

Yesterday I wrote a post that was an attempt to get dialogue started on what it is that Calvinists and New Calvinists believe.  The result was much to my surprise.  The folks over at carried the post and the comments can be viewed their also.  Add to the comments the phone calls of yesterday and today and boy did I learn a great deal.  I just finished a phone call with someone who, along with family, have come out of a Calvinist takeover church.  The story is the same and the 9Marks path of reforming a church is being followed to the letter (as with many, it hit major resistance and left a church totally splintered).  Here is more of what I learned from this part of the journey:

1.  The old form of Calvinism is still alive and well and as friendly and cooperative as ever.  I knew it was but was not seeing it much on the internet.  The Soteriology of the old form balances with the Traditional Statement where it counts the most. 

2.  The Founders version grouped with younger learning theologs are not the mainstream but they sure think they are!  I pray these guys learn quickly that God has not taught them so that can call out other Pastors based on their knowledge to enlighten them and clean up other churches.  They will one day soon learn that ministry; real ministry, is more than arguing some point and claiming superiority.

3.  The limit of blogging and the influence there of is growing weaker by the day.  I think I am thankful for this.  Social media may not be as strong as we think in ministry matters other than informing our people of events and ministry needs etc.  We need to acknowledge this and NOT over react.

4.  You can burn an afternoon quickly if one is not careful.  And when the burn is complete, thre is not much to show for it.

5.  I believe there is a way for cooperation in the SBC with the mainstream older Calvinists as there has been for years.  They are not fully aware of the New Calvinists and refute their assertions at every turn.  This is encouraging.  I am not sure how to cooperate with the New Calvinists.  I keep thinking that the way is out there, but I have yet to see it. 

6.  New Calvinism would make a great study of pollsters and PhD students.

7.  How quickly we forget or neglect some of the simple admonitions in scripture when we want to prove our point or set the world straight!

8.  Bearing False Witness is still a sin.  New Calvinists might need remedial training.

9.  I am more convinced than ever that the Calvinists need a mega meeting of their own to figure out how they will deal with this new breed.  Maybe we have approached this wrong.  The old Calvinists need to listen the New Calvinists and seek to learn what makes them tick.  From that learning it may be possible for them to lead them in today's ministry and churches. 

10.  If you do not live within the influence of certain geographic areas, you might not be aware of New Calvinism at all.

11.  I sure do miss Dr. Adrian Rogers.  I wonder if he would have blogged and tweeted?

12.  Leaders in the SBC have their hands full!  Dr. Page and his task force/committee will need our prayers.

13.  We need statesmen in a bad way these days!

14.  There sure seems to be a problem with taking people at their word! 

15.  The elephant in the room is whether or not Founders and New Calvinists will back off their goal of transforming the SBC?  This is the biggie!  I cannot get an answer from anyone on this one.  Why is that?

And there is much more!


JW Dobbins said...

Hey, I personally believe that scripture teaches what we refer to as the doctrines of grace or calvinism. And I'm reading your post and realizing that I have no idea at all whether a traditionalist would consider me a new or old calvinist. Could you perhaps share with me what the difference is and how I'd know what you'd classify me as? I ask this in sincerity. I"m not being sarcastic.


Tim G said...

A New Calvinist desires to transform the SBC into a group of churches totally Calvinistic. In this, the Entities must also follow suit. They seek a Reformed type church polity. They are Calvinist and want to be known as such-and are loud about it.

This is just the beginning!

JW Dobbins said...


Thanks for the response. Though it wasn't very elaborate. It is just that from where I am sitting the whole new/old calvinism thing seems rather artificial. I've not seen any doctrinal distinctives offered on the issue between the two. It appears that anytime a calvinist attempts to actually stand on their belief's they are labled as one of the mean aggressive "new" calvinists. Now I agree that if people are taking pastorates by means of hiding their beliefs and then hoping to transform a church secretly then that is a mistake. But if there is truely some "new calvinist" type then I am sincerely unaware of it. I think it would be a good project to thoroughly explain what you mean by this concept perhaps as your next blog project. You were very elaborate in what concerns you about calvinism. I encourage you to be equally elaborate and thorough about what is meant by new/old calvinists. Because when traditionalists speak of this it sometimes comes across to me (And I doubt that I am alone) that you are simply labling any calvinist that you don't like as "new".
On the other hand, if there is truely some new movement that holds to a different theology than historical calvinism, or truely embrace some sort of ugly practices then by very clearly, plainly, and thoroughly explaining such you will grant us more historical calvinists the opportunity to denounce it. But as is it is now, it seems that by "new" all you mean is aggressive. In which case you don't have a problem with calvinists you have a problem with contentious christians. Those are on both sides of the issue.
In addition, if what you mean by "new" is simply that they want everybody to believe what they do then doesn't that describe every person alive? If I believe scripture teaches something am I not suppose to wish all people would believe it as well? Am I not suppose to teach it in a church? Now I am suppose to do so in ways that are above reproach, sure. I am to do so with a biblical balance respecting that I have a lot more to teach in a church OTHER than the doctrines of grace, sure. I am to do so in love and patience, sure. But I am certainly to teach it in hopes of the listeners actually believing it.
It would just help us to see clearly that a traditionalist means something more by "new" than that an individual had the audacity to teach something he believed.
I truely hope this post doesn't come across as contentious, but when these are my fears, brevity in response to clarifying what a "new calvinist" is only adds to my concerns.

Your brother in Christ, JW

Tim G said...

I am working on series that will include interviews with people who have walked through the church disaster of a New Calvinist coming in and the chaos that followed. This series will highlight the details and hopefully will show the difference between the old and new.