New Calvinism, Young Calvinists & Radars

I am glad to see a growing interest in Reformed doctrine.  It seems many in the younger crowd are realizing that “relevant” and “Purpose Driven” teaching is neither relevant nor in alignment with the purposes of God and I, for one, couldn’t be happier.  While I myself do not claim the name “Calvinist”, I do hold that the teachings of the Bible are true, which automatically puts me deeply inside the Reformed camp.  To see and hear of growing interest in Biblical doctrine is terrific.  It means the true Gospel is being preached and folks are coming to Christ.  God the Holy Spirit is bringing about conversion.  Wonderful!!

Those are my feelings toward what is being labeled (we always have to have labels, don’t we?) “new” or “young” Calvinism.  So what is the relation to radars?  Well, if we are to believe the warnings laid out by Peter and Paul, right about now is when we should have our radars turned on, looking for the attack.  Not for the attack from the outside, but from within the camp in the form of false teachers and their teachings.  This has always been and will always be the most effective weapon the enemy has.  Read the warnings for yourself:

But false prophets also arose among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them, bringing upon themselves swift destruction.  And many will follow their sensuality, and because of them the way of truth will be blasphemed.  And in their greed they will exploit you with false words.   2 Peter 2:1-3

For certain people have crept in unnoticed who long ago were designated for this condemnation, ungodly people, who pervert the grace of our God into sensuality and deny our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ… 

These are hidden reefs at your love feasts, as they feast with you without fear, shepherds feeding themselves; waterless clouds, swept along by winds; fruitless trees in late autumn, twice dead, uprooted;  wild waves of the sea, casting up the foam of their own shame; wandering stars, for whom the gloom of utter darkness has been reserved forever.  Jude 1:4 & 12-13 (ESV)

Anyone who thinks a revived interest in Biblical doctrine will go unchallenged by false teachers is sorely deceived.  When the Holy Spirit uses the Gospel message to bring about repentance and conversion, there will also be false teachers springing up in the midst of the movement, and so the radar must be turned on.

Myself, I believe we are starting to see “blips” on the radar.  We are starting to see signs of what may be coming just around the corner in the progression of this movement.  False teachers have to pollute teachings, or they aren’t effective false teachers.  They usually start with 1% error, and slowly increase the mix, thereby not setting off the alarm bells as quickly.  This method also brings about division in the Church as those who see what is happening raise their voice and the vast majority scolds them for being judgmental about “an insignificant 1%”   So what kind of “blips” am I seeing?  A slow but steady infusion of teachings usually found in the Emergent Church.  No doubt many young reformed readers will gasp and say “not a chance!”  But look at what is starting to happen.  Mark Driscoll is promoting contemplative prayer and meditation.  He has even gone as far as to recommend books and teachings put out by mystics and monks.  Men who were by no means saved by Christ’s atonement, but were instead trying earn a sense of communion with God through eastern practices.  This article is not about Driscoll.  I have no idea if this man is truly saved or not.  I am aware of his leadership position in the Acts 29 organization and his huge influence on the young Calvinist.  But his past methods combined with current teachings make him a “blip”.  Someone to be watched closely.  Another “blip” would be John Piper.  Again we have a highly influential man embracing a false teacher (Rick Warren) as a Brother.  Rick Warren’s man-centered Purpose Driven”other Gospel” is completely unbiblical, and yet Piper is giving him a platform before thousands of impressionable people.  Warren is also another who has nodded his approval of the Emerging Church in the past.

This article is not meant to focus on names.  Perhaps Driscoll will repent and return to the promotion of sound teaching.  Perhaps Piper will surrender his stubbornness and instead listen to sound counsel.  I do not claim to know the state nor the future of these particular leaders.  What I do know is that we need to be alert.  We all need to have our radars turned on.  I am not calling for a witch-hunt with a campaign of mistrust toward every reformed Christian leader.  But we do need to pay attention to “blips”.  When something not in alignment with the Word of God pops up, do not discount it (or vigorously defend it) thinking it is only a 1% error.  Keep these “blips” in mind as you inspect the fruit of each teacher.  If more and more “blips” start occurring, it is a good sign you may be looking at some bad fruit.  Remember the words of our Lord:

Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves.  You will recognize them by their fruits. Are grapes gathered from thornbushes, or figs from thistles?  So, every healthy tree bears good fruit, but the diseased tree bears bad fruit.  A healthy tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a diseased tree bear good fruit.  Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.  Thus you will recognize them by their fruits.   Matt 7:15-20 (ESV)

Lots of “blips” probably means some bad fruit, and the Bible states that bad fruit = bad tree.  It doesn’t matter what their name is nor does it matter how popular they are.  Keep the radar on, folks!!

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