G3: Baucham; Washer; Lawson; a Gathering of Calvin’s Spiritual Despots
You have heard of T4G (Together for Gospel Sanctification), and The Gospel Coalition. Now we have G3: Gospel, Grace, Glory. The conference will be held near Atlanta in January of 2013. The conference will feature avowed Calvinists Voddie Baucham, Paul Washer, and Steve Lawson. Baucham has been increasingly more visible among the New Calvinist club. He was all the rage at this year’s, uh, well, what they call the “Shepherds” Conference at John MacArthur’s Grace Community Church. Baucham’s association, along with The Counsel on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood makes the strong connection between the New Calvinists and the Patriarchy movement apparent. More and more, all of the players in the spiritual despot tsunami are networking together to bring the American church under the bondage of Reformed spiritual despotism spawned by their adulated father, John Calvin.
Studying New Calvinism for five years now, my secondary curiosity concerning various abusive groups that I suspected were somehow connected with New Calvinism are coming more into focus. Their gospel/philosophy is basically the same, with spiritual abuse following. For several months, many have been encouraging me to focus more on the tyranny than dissecting the theology, and I am listening. Doctrine aside, New Calvinism is old Calvinism, and G3 is Geneva 3.
All three of these men proudly proclaim themselves to be Calvinists, and well they should. American jurisprudence is the only thing that limits their persecution of dissenters to bogus church discipline, character assassination, and misogynism. Jesus himself said that the student is like the teacher. As the despotic spirit of Calvin continues to manifest more and more as these groups consolidate resources, the fact that they would utilize the sword of government to control the masses is evident. They barely stop short of it now, using the government courts to sue bloggers, and holding members hostage under threat of being declared damned if they walk away from hybrid systems that combine counseling and church discipline.
In at least one case that I know of, a pastor who left Paul Washer’s ministry for doctrinal reasons was literally stalked for months, including elders who harassed the man’s wife at her workplace. Baucham’s “accountability” system at his church is a copy of the system that Calvin’s doctrine police used in Geneva—complete with yearly in-home inspections by elders. Many New Calvinist mega-churches now have their own in-house security teams that are practically full blown police stations. MacArthur’s church would be one good example of this. Accounts of MacArthur’s use of this security team to escort unwelcome dissenters off GCC property, and in some cases to their cars, is lengthy. There are even claims that this security team has apprehended people, and taken them into the church where they were confronted by GCC elders. As a former rabid respecter of John MacArthur, I have found reports of his heavy handed leadership style hard to accept; nevertheless, this is part of the Calvin motif.
They claim to be Calvinists while excusing Calvin’s murderous behavior because he supposedly lived in times when going Old Testament on people was socially acceptable, while on the other hand, claiming that he was an exegetical genius. Really? While continually beating the drum of doctrine = behavior, somehow, that doesn’t apply to their daddy, and “A tree is known by its fruit” must be read in its “gospel context” lest we think that it might apply to the enlightened Calvin as well.
Rather than replaying much of the sordid details of Calvin’s atrocities against those who disagreed with him, Martin Luther summed it up best:
Martin Luther said of Calvin’s actions in Geneva, “With a death sentence they solve all argumentation” (Juergan L. Neve, A History of Christian Thought, vol. I, p. 285).
In fact, Calvin had a word for anybody who dared to object to him having “heretics” put to death:
Whoever shall now contend that it is unjust to put heretics and blasphemers to death will knowingly and willingly incur their very guilt. This is not laid down on human authority; it is God who speaks and prescribes a perpetual rule for his Church. It is not in vain that he banishes all those human affections which soften our hearts; that he commands paternal love and all the benevolent feelings between brothers, relations, and friends to cease; in a word, that he almost deprives men of their nature in order that nothing may hinder their holy zeal. Why is so implacable a severity exacted but that we may know that God is defrauded of his honour, unless the piety that is due to him be preferred to all human duties, and that when his glory is to be asserted, humanity must be almost obliterated from our memories? Many people have accused me of such ferocious cruelty that I would like to kill again the man I have destroyed. Not only am I indifferent to their comments, but I rejoice in the fact that they spit in my face.
Ya, I want to be a Calvinist, how about you?
Observing the minutes of the Geneva counsel between 1541- 1549 also endears one to Calvin as well:
During the ravages of the pestilence in 1545 more than twenty men and women were burnt alive for witchcraft.
From 1542 to 1546 fifty-eight judgements of death and seventy-six decrees of banishment were passed.
Another, tired out on a hot summer day, went to sleep during a sermon: prison.
Another praised Castellio’s translation of the Bible: expelled from Geneva.
A couple of peasants talked about business matters on coming out of church: prison.
Two bargees had a brawl: executed.
A man who publicly protested against the reformer’s doctrine of predestination was flogged at all the crossways of the city and then expelled.
A book printer who in his cups [columns] had railed at Calvin, was sentenced to have his tongue perforated with a red-hot iron before being expelled from the city.
Jacques Gruent was racked and then executed for calling Calvin a hypocrite.
Each offence, even the most paltry, was carefully entered in the record of the Consistory, so that the private life of every citizen could unfailingly be held up against him in evidence.” (See Pike, pp. 61-63).
Sources quoted in Philip Schaff’s History of the Christian Church, vol. 8:
The death penalty against heresy, idolatry and blasphemy and barbarous customs of torture were retained. Attendance at public worship was commanded on penalty of three sols. Watchmen were appointed to see that people went to church. The members of the Consistory visited every house once a year to examine the faith and morals of the family. Every unseemly word and act on the street was reported, and the offenders were cited before the Consistory to be either censured or warned, or to be handed over to the Council for severer punishment.
Three men who laughed during a sermon were imprisoned for three days.
A girl was beheaded for striking her parents.
A banker was executed for repeated adultery.
If anybody wants details on the difference between New Calvinism and old Calvinism from a doctrinal perspective, and the supposed life application thereof—it’s a little complicated, but behavior isn’t complicated. New Calvinist hacks like Lawson, Washer, and Baucham want to separate Calvin’s tyranny from his doctrine
…lest you would think they would ever do the same thing.