Eagle’s Recommendations on how to Improve Neo-Calvinism and Make it Healthy

In today’s journal entry I write a post on how to make Neo-Calvinism healthy.  While Neo-Calvinism can offer a lot to the Christian faith, I would suggest in its current form it offers very little of anything that is either healthy or constructive. This is an outsider’s recommendation on ways to make Neo-Calvinism more robust and in the process help shore it up. Besides why read Mark Driscoll, Mark Dever or CJ Mahaney when you can read Richard Baxter, Jonathan Edwards, and Martin Lloyd Jones?

 “True and sound wisdom consists of two parts: the knowledge of God and of ourselves.”   

John Calvin

“Although upon doctrines of grace our views differ from those avowed by Arminian Methodists, we have usually found that on the great evangelical truths we are in full agreement, and we have been comforted by the belief that Wesleyans were solid upon the central doctrines.”   

Charles Spurgeon

“For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters. 30 And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified.”

Romans 8:29-30 NIV

I would like to take some time today and reflect upon the issue of Neo-Calvinism and pose the question…how can it be made healthy? I will go on the record and state this…I believe there is very little in current Neo-Calvinism that is either healthy nor holistic. Neo-Calvinism is not a sound movement. It its current form Neo-Calvinism doesn’t offer much at all to the church. That’s sad because I think it could in many ways.

I am neither an Arminian nor a Calvinist, I am actually somewhere in the middle. In another post I would like to write about what I can appreciate from Calvinism because there are some features that I think the church can learn. If Calvinism were healthy than I think the American evangelical church could become healthier. The problem is that much of Neo-Calvinism is a fad and people jump on board without thinking critically or asking the hard and difficult questions. As I said in this post, someone needs to be a gadfly and I have no problem being one. As I write all this I want to be clear that I am not trying to stir up conflict or be needlessly difficult.  I believe that if some of these recommendations were implemented Neo-Calvinism would be healthier,  and actually offer something meaningful to Christianity.

 

Focus on the Bible

Above all else I would spend time being focused on the Bible. That actually should be the first focus. For me its discouraging and alarming how many people are choosing to read a celebrity “pastor” but not spend time reading scripture. This is a major mistake playing out over and over in many Neo-Calvinist churches plus I would also suggest Bereans are created when people study scripture over books or pastors sermons any day. It would be great and healthy if people quoted Romans, Ephesians or the Psalms instead of Wayne Grudham or John Piper.  Also when it comes to the Bible be open to differing versions such as the NIV or the New Living Translation. The ESV has problems and issues which I don’t hear many Neo-Cals talk about as well. Instead I see them praise it like in this example here.

For example in this post here, Ben Wirthington, who is one of the top New Testament scholars explains the problems of the ESV and how it has more of an agenda to it. The agenda that Wayne Grudam has is that of complementarism. When scripture is manipulated for an end goal, then that scripture which is being promoted cannot be trusted. Here’s what Ben Wirthington says here:

The real question is whether the decision in the ESV to go back to using more male pronouns and nouns, even in some places where gender inclusivity seems obvious from the context has more to do with an attempt to repristinize patriarchy than an attempt to be faithfully ‘literal’ and so ‘more like the KJV’. I’m afraid that the former really is often the agenda when it comes to the ESV. And I find this both unhelpful and profoundly sad.

Here is another take on the problems with the ESV from a pastor in South London. What I would suggest for full comprehension is rotating and studying differing Bibles at the same time. For example have people who use the NIV, NLT, KJV, NKJV and ESV much more can be gleaned and learned by looking at differing versions together.

 

Push Back From Celebrity Pastors

I keep saying this but I need to write a post about how celebrity pastors are idols in Neo-Calvinism.  The best thing that Neo-Calvinism can do is push back from celebrity pastors. Instead I would recommend they focus on established individuals who are more proven, safe, and known.  Its no secret that many people in the Neo-Calvinist crowd are making celebrity pastors idols. When I had rejected Christianity for years I was puzzled why someone outside the faith can see the problems in Mark Driscoll or CJ Mahaney but many others internally could not. I was not only baffled but the spiritual abuse hemorrhaging from them helped me to justify atheism. The celebrity pastor crowd has been nothing but scandal after scandal, and it leaves me to wonder who is next? Instead of the current fad pastor who looks “hip” or “popular” I would recommend looking at individuals like Martin Lloyd Jones,  Charles Spurgeon, Richard Baxter, John Bunyan, Octavius Winslow, and Jonathan Edwards. However, Jonathan Edwards has issues and I will discuss him down below in greater detail. Edwards needs to be kept in perspective, and I will attempt to explain why.

By embracing celebrity pastors the Neo-Calvinists are making grave errors. They are embracing people who should never have been teachers and preachers from the very beginning. Quite simple CJ Mahaney and Mark Driscoll should never have been teachers. They are not above reproach (1 Timothy 3:2). Also when these celebrity pastors fall which I believe more are destined to do, its going to do two things. It will shake up those inside the faith, and for a watching world help validate atheism.  Many atheists have stood on the outside watching the scandals with Mark Driscoll unfold and its given them reasons to further criticize the Christian faith. The other problem with celebrity pastors is that they are too divisive and pit people against each other. To be honest I believe many Neo-Calvinists will deny this. I think if 1 Corinthians 1:10-12 could be re-written to the American church Paul would write the following,  “I appeal to you, brothers and sisters,[a] in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree with one another in what you say and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be perfectly united in mind and thought. 11 My brothers and sisters, some from the Jone’s household have informed me that there are quarrels among you. 12 What I mean is this: One of you says, “I follow John Piper”; another, “I follow Mark Driscoll”; another, “I follow Matt Chandler”; still another, “I follow Christ.” 13 Is Christ divided? Was John Piper crucified for you? Were you baptized in the name of Mark Driscoll? 14 I thank God that I did not baptize any of you except Bill and Mike, 15 so no one can say that you were baptized in my name. 16 (Yes, I also baptized the household of the Lombardis; beyond that, I don’t remember if I baptized anyone else.) 17 For Christ did not send me to baptize, but to preach the gospel—not with wisdom and eloquence, lest the cross of Christ be emptied of its power.”  My advice…ditch the celebrity pastors.

 

Ditch Membership Covenants

Ditch the membership covenants. In the future I plan to write a post about how membership covenants are a modern form of slavery. Membership in many Neo-Calvinist churches are about control I would propose. Jesus came to set free and taught that his yoke is easy and his burden is light (Matthew 11:30). Membership covenants are a heavy burden that is un-necessary. I used to be a firm believer in church membership but my thoughts have been changing and the Neo-Calvinist crowd is altering my opinion on church membership all together by their emphasis on control. Jesus was very clear on let your yes be yes and your no be no (Matthew 5:37). Membership covenants are a form or bondage and legalism. I would strongly suggest that they are the antithesis of the Christian faith and stand against what Jesus stood for. To illustrate this point let me also ask this question….what shows more love in the end? Visiting a person in the hospital because you love and care for them? Meaning you are sincerely concerned about their health or wellbeing. Or you’re visitng someone in the hospital because it says in the membership covenant that you love the community and do this out of requirement. To a watching world which do you think shows more love, humility and faith?

There is another problem with membership covenants and this also drives me in writing against them. Paul called the church to scan the scriptures and compare what is being taught to what is written. Its in Acts 17:11. Membership covenants keep Bereans out of churches because of the emphasis Neo-Calvinists have on authority which discourages questions or differing ways of thought. For example in Sovereign Grace, Acts 29, ands other churches people who asked questions that were challenging or of a differing point of view could and did face church discipline. Thus membership covenants I would claim go against scripture. You can have membership that is meaningful, rich and serves its purpose and at the same time not a situation where you sell your soul in the process. Why do I say that? Membership was one of the things Wooded Hills Bible did right, and its one of the reasons why I became a member. If Wooded Hill had a membership covenant like Jonathan Leeman pushes I never would have joined. Again, when Jesus said let your yes be yes and your no be no, what is wrong with what Jesus is teaching?

 

Reign in 9 Marks and Avoid the Shepherding Movement

I’m going to be blunt, in my usual Eagle style. 9 Marks needs to be reigned in as it serves no meaningful purpose. Before you start saying, “But Eagle what is wrong with membership, expository preaching, church discipline, etc…” My answer will be the following, “Save your breath 9 Marks was undermined and made worthless when Mark Dever let CJ Mahaney flee Covenant Life Church and take refuge at Capital Hill Baptist Church. The 9 Marks that Mark Dever violated are leadership, membership, “The Gospel”, discipline, and discipleship. I wrote about this is deep detail in this post here.  All the benefits of membership and importance of 9 Marks were undermined in letting Mahaney flee and take refuge at Capital Hill Baptist. I think about this every time I hear about church discipline as defined by 9 Marks/Jonathan Leeman/Mark Dever. 9 Marks is damaged goods. I may start a movement called the Galatians 5:22-23.  Wouldn’t it be amazing if instead of 9 Marks people within Christendom and outside of it noticed love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control emanate from Neo-Calvinist churches. Actually that in itself should be the 9 Marks I would suggest as that is the mark of the Holy Spirit.

I would also recommend that Neo-Calvinists stay away from the shepherding movement which has come back. I remember first hearing about the shepherding movement when I was a student leader in Campus Crusade and planting a chapter at Marquette years ago. The shepherding movement is the hallmark of Sovereign Grace, 9 Marks,  Mars Hill Seattle and other Neo-Calvinist churches. The shepherding movement is dangerous, destructive and harmful. It is destroying individual’s faith, and harming the sheep. People can’t be forced to follow the Gospel and if they are…well is that a true follower? Shouldn’t we follow the Gospel in both spirit and truth (John 4:24)? Just as you can’t force someone into a friendship or to love you; likewise you can’t force them to follow you.

 

Putting Jonathan Edwards in Perspective

I never thought I’d be writing about this as I remember being in High School Literature and reading “Sinners in the Hand of an Angry God” as part of American Literature. I’m speaking from a person who has studied American history in the graduate level realm. The key I think to understanding Jonathan Edwards lies in understanding the culture in which he was raised and the time in which he lived. To view him out of that perspective I believe is a mistake and you are going to make mistakes in understanding his theology. Jonathan Edwards is as much a by-product of American culture as is John Piper today. Its from this frame of mind that I say the following,  Jonathan Edwards needs to be kept in perspective. I never had a chance to speak to Andrew White about this but for many people he has become an idol. I would like to write about this more in the future. How do we know that Jonathan Edwards is an idol to the Neo-Calvinist? Its quite simple…they only address the parts of Edwards that they choose to while ignoring the blemishes or more controversial aspects. What I don’t hear many people talk about is the fact that Jonathan Edwards was a slave holder. Now please stay with me as I am not giving him a hard time while dismissing other slave holders such as Thomas Jefferson or George Washington. For me its deeply disturbing to know that the man who penned the words, “that all men are created equal” did so as a slave holder as well. Plus its clear that our country and society has made Thomas Jefferson an idol, but that is something we should expect from secular society. I mean in the secular realm we turn everyone from a NFL player to Bruce Springsteen into an idol. However in the case of Edwards I would venture to suggest as a pastor that he should be held to a higher standard (1 Timothy 3:2), and it should be remembered that he has his flaws as well. This is not being talked about and its time that we remember that Jonathan Edwards is human to, and like any human he had his flaws, demons, and troubles. In the end its time the Neo-Calvinists had a more down to earth approach on Jonathan Edwards that is grounded in reality.

 

Avoid Fads and Don’t Make Doctrine an Idol

I would recommend that Neo-Calvinists steer clear of the fads, as evangelical Christianity is hurting because of fads. Fads show the extreme weakness in evangelicalism especially as it lurches from one fad to another on a regular basis of every few years.  One of the reasons why I think Neo-Calvinism in its current form is so destructive and harmful is because its a fad for many people, with people jumping on the band wagon without thinking it through, or the Reformed Industrial Complex profiting from it and making money.  Fads reveal the  consumer mentality of modern day evangelicalism. Fads also create problems that bring deep harm and danger. The first fad I was exposed to was the ‘Left Behind’ craze and then some got more ridiculous with the passing of time. In the future I would like to write a post about some aspects of Neo-Calvinism I do appreciate, and not having rapture theology is number one for me! 🙂 That said, the prayer of Jabez one was the worst fads I witnessed. Even to this day I can’t believe how some people took it hook, line and sinker. Whatever the next fad is steer clear of it.

The other problem is that Neo-Calvinism has made doctrine an idol, or a golden calf. And yet their view of doctrine  has shifted and changed. For example look at all the shifts in doctrine Sovereign Grace has made over the years. You can’t speak of “sound doctrine” when its constantly being changed or shifted. There is another problem to as I’ve learned and its this…you can have “sound doctrine” and still be miles away from the faith. When it comes to faith its not about what you believe but how you live that is the key component. For example Mark Driscoll claimed he had sound doctrine, in the end how well did that serve him? CJ Mahaney advocated sound doctrine. Then it came out that he allegedly blackmailed his ministry partner and was allegedly involved in the cover up of child sex abuse in SGM. You can be conservative about doctrine while remembering the cultural changes. For example the United States in 21st century is not Israel in 4 BC. Doctrine needs to reflect that fact. Also it should be noted that you can still indeed reject the emergent side of the debate.

 

Focus on Love and Serving

Love has been defined as discipline and in extreme situations church discipline is appropriate. However, in many situation strong Christians are facing discipline for erroneous reasons. So I want to be clear that when I talk about love I am not discussing church discipline. The way Neo-Calvinists do church discipline is a form of spiritual tyranny and its is designed to force the Bereans out the door. Its the result of individuals misusing authority. So when I speak of love in this section I want to be crystal clear that I am not speaking of church discipline.

Neo-Calvinists should focus on love in the following ways.  Serve the poor serve the least of these, and serve those outside your camp. Feed the homeless both physically and spiritually, and if the homeless reject your message love them so that in the course of time they will re-visit their thinking and question themself. Visit the sick in a nursing home, and those in a hospital. Get to know your co-workers, hear their concerns and serve them in love. Open up your homes and your refrigerators to those in need. Make yourselves available around the clock and exhibit extra-ordinary love. Love can’t be questioned when you open your home at 2:00 in the morning and hug someone in distress. These are some of the things that James Crestwood and Dee Parsons taught me. Love that has strings attached isn’t really love in the end. Love that has conditions attached in the end is not love. A person that loves, selflessly serves, gives their life sacrificially points more to a faith in Jesus Christ than someone that spits out what John Piper says. The problem is that serving and loving someone can be hard. What do you do when people reject that love? Or can’t see or recognize it.  So my advice to the Neo-Calvinists in order to grow healthy is to focus on love and serving.  After all much of evangelicalism is missing love today and that is a huge part of the problem. Pure, un-adulterated love can indeed move mountains. I am not talking about the “emergent” or any kind of liberal love by the way. I am talking about a sacrificial and sacrificing love. For example Christianity grew in Europe when Christians risked everything to show love and grace to victims of the plague, especially when others would not.

 

Be Open to Outside Voices

Be open to loving, kind and challenging outside voices. One of the enemies of Neo-Calvinism is group think and circular thinking.  Outside voices can offer a perspective that is desperately needed and gives insight that Neo-Calvinists cannot see. There are many outside voices who do not mean harm but want to help. I am one of them…as I would rather see the Neo-Calvinism mess improve. I’m familiar with the evangelical landscape and know there are many problems. Constructive criticism can be healthy and it also can reveal your blind spots. Also as I pen these words it should be noted that I am not immune to this as I deserve criticism as well. In the end who would I be if I turned a deaf ear to others and wouldn’t listen to their advice? In the end I would only be hurting myself.  As such I invite criticism from Neo-Calvinists or atheists or anyone for that matter. I think if some of those in the Neo-Calvinist camp are honest they can discern honest criticism from cynicism. For example criticism from an orthodox evangelical vs. someone in the emergent camp such as Tony Jones. But being open to outside voices can make the Neo-Calvinism faith strong. Build bridges and not walls. There are too many walls in evangelicalism as it exists.

 

Make Repentance a Core Part of the Faith

Repentance is key to making many of these changes. The list is long and needed and I will get into it below.  But what is repentance? Repentance in its truest form actually gives life and allows someone to realign their life with the Lord. Repentance doesn’t have to be legalistic and I think what many people in the Neo-Calvinist camp need to do is embrace it. In the near future I would like to write that repentance is linked to forgiveness in order for it to work. Either one without the other is dangerous and leaves people hurt. But repentance is necessary for several reasons. Its necessary for the offender, the church, Neo-Calvinism and the outside world. Repentance is not just saying, “I’m sorry..” its words coupled with deeds. Quick diversion the one bright spot in repentance actually exists with Matt Chandler. When Matt Chandler repented to Karen Hinkley he did what Mark Driscoll and CJ Mahaney were unable to do. I actually respect Matt Chandler for that fact. Oh and by the way…hey Karen I understand you read me! Really happy for how things are going for you. Any problems with The Village Church let me know and I’ll be happy to write about it! 🙂 I’ve actually noticed when people Google Matt Younger my post on him actually pops up right under his homepage for The Village Church.  Okay end of side note.  Neo-Calvinism needs to repent for a lot, and I am going to list it down below.

  • The Gospel Coalition is tainted and corrupt. I look at The Gospel Coalition as a spiritual version of Tammany Hall that is bleeding corruption. The difference is that in the days of Tammany Hall people were at least honest about their corruption. The Gospel Coalition needs to repent for being silent for 178 days during the Sovereign Grace lawsuit.
  • Justin Taylor, Kevin DeYoung and DA Carson of The Gospel Coalition need to repent for this racket of a statement on the SGM lawsuit. They also need to repent to Happymom, Wallice and the families of those afflicted by child sex abuse in SGM or former SGM churches.
  • Many former SGM Churches need to repent of past affiliation and associations of SGM. It would be beautiful if Eric Simmons and Jordan Kauflin led the way and repented of past association with SGM. In the process they could give direction to other former SGM Churches
  • Mark Dever needs to go before Covenant Life Church and repent for letting CJ Mahaney flee CLC and avoid church discipline.
  • Mark Dever needs to go before Capital Hill Baptist Church  and repent for letting CJ Mahaney take refuge at Capital Hill Baptist and avoid church discipline.
  • CJ Mahaney needs to repent for fleeing CLC and eventually going to Louisville. He needs to shut down his run away church plant and come back to CLC and make amends and repent.
  • Those who have enabled and supported CJ Mahaney in Louisville need to repent or supporting him in sin. I am not going to name names, everyone knows who the individuals are enabling CJ Mahaney.
  • Denny Burk needs to repent of his support of CJ Mahaney when Mahaney was in sin.
  • Mark Dever, Ligon Duncan, Al Mohler need to repent for this racket of a statement in support for CJ Mahaney. (Note the original one has been removed I believe..so this one will have to do)
  • John Folmar and United Christian Church Dubai can repent of both selling CJ Mahaney’s books and of how they treated Todd Whilhelm.
  • Mark Driscoll needs to go back to Seattle and repent to Ron Wheeler, Rob Smith, Paul Petry, Bent Meyer and others who he hurt.
  • Justin Taylor needs to repent for attacking Janet Mefferd on her claims that Mark Driscoll was plagiarizing. I think Janet was vindicated in the end and Justin Taylor needs to be a man, own his mistake and make a phone call.
  • John Piper needs to repent for supporting Mark Driscoll. John Piper actually needs to repent to Paul Petry, Bent Meyer, Rob Smith and Ron Wheeler.
  • Acts 29 needs to repent to Ron Wheeler for how he was treated by Mark Driscoll and standing by and not intervening.
  • John Piper needs to repent for allegedly trying to get Greg Boyd fired from Bethel.
  • The following individuals need to repent for going to SGM Louisville and supporting CJ Mahaney in light of his inability to lead and own his sin. Those individuals are Thabiti Anyabwile on January 19, 2014; Jerry Bridges twice in March 2013; H.B. Charles Jr in October 2013; Kevin DeYoung in August 2014; Mark Dever June 2013; Ryan Fullerton on March 16, 2014; Wayne Grudem July 21, 2013; Jon Payne on October 26, 2014; John Piper February 17, 2013; Dr. Tom Schreiner on October 21, 2012; and Bruce Ware on April 21, 2013.
  • Members of Neo-Calvinist churches need to repent for their past support of Mark Driscoll.  For example Andrew White should repent of his past support of Mark Driscoll. Repentance isn’t just collective of the pastors its the responsibility of the individuals inside the churches.  Individuals in those churches need to take a sense of ownership. Not only that but could Andrew White when he was at the Air Force Academy  have plagiarized like Mark Driscoll did in the reformed industrial complex? How many grad students or college students can get away with plagiarism and not face serious consequences?
  • David Horner of Providence Baptist in Raleigh, NC needs to repent to Bill and Dee Parsons and those hurt by the alleged cover up of Doug Goodrich.
  • If the leaders of Sovereign Grace approached those on SGM Survivors and worked out all these issues and stories on there? Can you imagine what would be communicated to the world? How the Gospel would shine?

I think I have covered the main ones, if I have made any mistakes I invite correct. Trust me my pride won’t be hurt! Again as I say this…I’m a guy who approached 140 people to work things out repentance does a lot of good! Its freeing and it gives life. Can you imagine what would happen if some of those above situations were resolved?

 

Discipline CJ Mahaney and Mark Driscoll

In the Neo-Calvinist movement there are two situations that are a negative mark on the movement that need to be addressed and resolved. Those two situations are that of Mark Driscoll and CJ Mahaney. Both situations and messes happened in key cities of the United States, that of Seattle and the suburbs of Washington, D.C. In both cases the individuals led a questionable ministry and gave birth to a lot of pain. In both cases they both fled instead of addressing the issues at hand. Both often claimed as to what a man was, and wanted to define being a man. They put such talk in the context of being “Biblical”. I’m going to be blunt in saying this, but a man isn’t a man because of his sexual reproductive organs that he has hanging between his legs. One can go to the Serengeti on the eastern horn of Africa between Tanzania and Kenya and find gazelles who also have a similar sexual reproductive system. No what makes a man a  man is that they own their mistakes and they clean it up. The pain from both Sovereign Grace and Mars Hill Seattle needs to be addressed and cleaned up. Someone needs to intervene and tell CJ Mahaney and Mark Driscoll to stop preaching, shut things down and go back to their former communities and clean things up.

After all how many times have we heard about how Godless Seattle is, or how lost the Washington, D.C. area is? What would happen if both CJ Mahaney and Mark Driscoll went back  and straighten things out? How many people actually want them to seek out forgiveness? Washington, D.C. is a city that is image based. Its very type A, conscious driven. This area attracts a lot of type A’s and people driven with a sense of power. People in Washington, D.C. do not confess their mistakes its how the culture is here. Can you imagine then if a Christian minister who made a number of mistakes stopped what he was doing in Louisville and went back to Washington, D.C. and said, “I screwed up…will you forgive me please?” What if he met with the people he hurt and work things out in detail? Could you imagine what that would show to the Washington, D.C. area? Could you imagine what is being communicated? CJ Mahaney could communicate the Gospel in an amazing way and do something that that could be the most significant act of his life. It would speak louder than anything that he has preached or done in his ministry. The same applies to Mark Driscoll.

 

Don’t Hijack Churches and Don’t be Deceptive

Another recommendation I have is the following. Its one thing to plant churches its another thing to hijack them. Part of my history is in the Evangelical Free Church of America and I am deeply concerned about how many Evangelical Free have been theologically hijacked. The SBC also has this problem. Its driven people from their home churches. Its split families and destroyed friendships. People who have called a church home for years have been forced to leave because they don’t like what it has became, or they disagree with the theology. These are people who are serious about their faith. and love the Lord. So I want to be crystal clear that these are not people who are fly be night casually committed individuals. When a Neo-Calvinist is being considered for a pastor position he needs to be open and honest about his theology and what he believes. Mormons are known for being deceptive in their theology and how they recruit people, and I can say that I learned that first hand. A Neo-Calvinist should not behave like a Mormon in the sense that they are deceptive about their faith. Deception doesn’t glorify God and if you are Neo-Calvinist why not be open and proud about it? Honestly be proud of it.

 

Ditch the Conferences and Reign in the Reformed Industrial Complex

Dee Parsons told me once that she heard me talking about the business of the Reformed Industrial Complex or at least coining the phrase long before others. I’m sure there were others I was very loud as an outsider at the time. Many of the Neo-Calvinist conferences need to come to a close. A conference here and there I have no problems with. I understand how some like listening to the talks, the worship and the opportunities to hang out with others and make new friends or acquaintances in the process. So an occasional conference here or there is okay…I want to be clear about that. However what troubles me is how much of an industry the conferences have become in the end. They are connected to the needless publishing of books that don’t offer anything substantial or new to the theological perspective. Many of the books that the Neo-Calvinist are cranking out have little value. People are publishing because they can. Its cheapening the publishing industry and filling it with scandal. Should a legacy of a follower of Christ include plagiarism and defrauding the New York Times bets seller list? Absolutely not! I’d rather see 5 good and solid books published that offer something to the Christian faith and Neo-Calvinism than 25 or 30 books that largely say nothing but are published because someone knows someone at Crossway and has the connections to do so.

 

Concluding Thoughts…

I  offer all this as a way to improve Neo-Calvinism and make it healthy. Like I have said I think Neo-Calvinism can offer something to the table but not in its current form. Evangelical Christianity is in a mess, I see it when I pop up at church and I deal with the frustrations of trying to avoid the seeker sensitive crowd and the prosperity gospel crowd. Its a mess, it really is. If Neo-Calvinism could clean itself up I think it could offer something that is substantial and a solid alternative. Even better is that it could force some of these seeker sensitive and prosperity gospel crowd to face their own issues, and that could help those people in those churches. Or those like me on the outside who are frustrated with the other issues in evangelical Christianity.  Not only that but let me offer this for those who are reading this who are of the Neo-Calvinist persuasion. I believe there are some aspects of Neo-Calvinism that I could learn from, especially as someone in the middle. I ma neither Calvinist nor Arminian but I think there are aspects of Calvinism that could be good and that I could learn from. But the problem is you are turning off people like me and driving them away due to your methods, scandals, corruption, membership convents,  and celebrity pastors who are known more for a talk or a book about oral sex than preaching the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  Neo-Calvinism can be part of the solution or part of the problem…which will it be?

 

16 thoughts on “Eagle’s Recommendations on how to Improve Neo-Calvinism and Make it Healthy

  1. So question Eagle, what would the mechanism be to do these sort of improvements? In the Catholic church you have the magisterium and a hierarchy to bring change (Vatican II, admitting Galileo was right, etc…). Protestantism doesn’t really, the only recourse seems to be the power of the purse with members either supporting or withdrawing that financial support. Which I’m sure is pretty effective if it’s ever used, since that’s these guys livelihood and they do like their perks.

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      • Yeah, it’s a tough problem. How do you cause change in a group when the power structures are so weird and convoluted? It’s one of the things I think about as the atheist movement grows bigger and more organized. What can we learn from those who’ve been there, how do we avoid abuse of power, stuff like that. Hmm, maybe I should check into how Hindu or Buddhists do it, see if they have any insights.

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  2. “Don’t Hijack Churches and Don’t be Deceptive”
    I have read a lot of stories of hijacked churches where the new pastor deceived the selection committee. He begins to recruit new elders that support his theology and by the time opposition is formed the deed has been largely accomplished. The only choice then is an awful divisive battle or leave. I have come across numerous similar accounts but I continue to hold some reservation due to the lack of specifics. I can understand peoples reluctance to be specific about what church they are speaking of, I’ve done the same thing. Had I posted the name of my former church some of the people there that I’ve know for decades, who have turned a deaf ear and haven’t responded to polite emails, would likely then find the time to contact me and not for the purpose of fellowship.

    I’ve only been reading on the subject for less than a year and I may have missed it, have there been some leaked documents that expose such deceitful stratagems? Is there a compilation of local churches that have been stealthily “reformed”? Just wondering if you have some handy links.

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    • This is happening in the SBC and Evangelical Free. At least with many Acts 29 they are just plants and a person can choose not to get involved. But what do you do when your church has been hijacked? That is another issue that is quite serious.

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      • In the case I’m familiar with theological changes were masked by cosmetic changes that caused a good deal of grief. I wonder if that is part of a planned deception, a strategy of distraction. Cause strife over unimportant matters, belittle opponents by saying they are only concerned with trivial matters, all the while the basic theology is secretly changed.

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  3. I like your idea about apologizing. What is it about becoming part of the Gospel Glitterati that makes it OK to never say you are sorry or that you made a mistake. Yes, Justin Taylor needs to apologize to Janet Mefferd.

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  4. Pingback: Opportunities Lost when Andrew White, a Care Group Leader from Redeemer Arlington Refused to Reconcile in the 2013 to 2014 Time Frame | Wondering Eagle

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