Paul's Passing Thoughts

Cluelessness Saves Southern Baptist Pastors From New Calvinist Heretic David Platt

Posted in Uncategorized by paulspassingthoughts on June 27, 2012

New Calvinism is a resurgence of authentic Calvinism. Since its conception during the so called “Reformation,” authentic Calvinism dies a social death from time to time because of the spiritual tyranny that its basic philosophy produces. Most of the rediscovery/resurgence movements of the past since authentic Calvinism died out after the Reformation have made little impact on Christianity.  However, Calvinism Light (sanctified Calvinism) is left behind to live on after these movements die. When resurgence happens, the sanctified Calvinists actually take offence, not realizing that they are not really authentic Calvinists. Authentic Reformation theology in the vein of Augustine, Luther, and Calvin, is gross heresy. It is a works salvation with Gnosticism as its practical application. This also contributes to its eventual demise, but this takes a while because Augustine, Luther, and Calvin were masters of nuance and using familiar terms to articulate their doctrine.

The rediscovery movement that has become New Calvinism is different. Robert Brinsmead, the father of contemporary New Calvinism, argued that the recovery movements of the past failed due to a lack of systemization. Three other Reformed theologians agreed, and they started a theological think tank (the Australian Forum and its theological journal, Present Truth Magazine) to prepare the doctrine for a proper launching. That was in 1970, when the doctrine was originally known as the centrality of the objective gospel completely outside of us and New Covenant Theology.  NCT took a brutal beating in Reformed Baptist circles and caused a split in at least one convention. Eventually, the doctrine was only represented by about twenty churches in those circles. However, the doctrine found new life in Presbyterian circles as Sonship Theology. Nevertheless, Sonship experienced a severe pushback by sanctified Calvinists in Presbyterian circles and was forced underground in circa 2000. It was renamed, “Gospel Transformation” and experienced massive growth between 2000 and 2004.

In 2004, the fallout from its tyranny became more evident, but no one could identify the doctrine. It was coined “Gospel Sanctification” by a small group of protestants including Dr. Jay E. Adams.  But its influence and controversy continued to expand and the whole world started taking note when it was dubbed “New Calvinism” in 2008. Like the prior rediscovery movements, it has spawned a massive wave of spiritual abuse in the church under the auspices of several different sub movements such as Patriarchy and the Shepherding Movement. New Calvinists have also reached back into history and revived movements that were based on authentic Calvinism and brought them back into the fold. The whole thing is a perfect storm of mystical despotism dressed in orthodoxy.  Robert Brinsmead was right; the movement needed the systematic touch.

In 1981, a Presbyterian started an organization for the sole purpose of taking over the Southern Baptist  Convention with this doctrine, and today that organization is known as Founders Ministries. Until last week’s controversy concerning one of the speakers at the annual SBC Pastors Conference, authentic Calvinist heretic David Platt, I was convinced that the SBC was doomed to be taken over by this doctrine. But the response by 80% of the pastors who attended has given me great comfort.  Per the normal, my beloved Southern Baptist brethren are too theologically illiterate to be led astray by a false doctrine. Their utter incompetence is demonstrated by the fact that heretics such as Platt could even be invited to speak at such a conference, and the additional fact that the flagship seminary of the SBC is run by New Calvinist “Big Al” Mohler.

Platt dissed the Sinner’s Prayer in his message, calling it “superstitious and unbiblical.” His particular beef with the prayer is the concept of “accepting Jesus into our hearts.”  Platt’s message was full of nuanced and peculiar use of the English language, including the misidentification of subjects and objects, and turning verbs into adjectives, which should have begged the question: “What is this guy’s particular beef with the Sinner’s Prayer?”  But my beloved Southern Baptists didn’t even blink, and did what I can always count on them doing lest they think below the surface of anything leading to possible deception; they focused on the ridicule of one of their sacred traditions. Thank goodness for that ole time religion. My dumbed down faithful brethren moved quickly to submit a resolution to the convention to confirm the validity of the Sinner’s Prayer. The resolution passed by more than 80%. Whew, that was a close one! Platt, apparently amazed at his inability to deceive them, responded to the clamor by saying that he wished he would have presented it differently. In other words, I think he meant that he wished he would have simplified it more. Platt need not worry; it wouldn’t have made any difference. I am now totally assured that my brothers are safe.

Actually, Platt’s problem with “asking/accepting Jesus in our hearts” is directly related to authentic Calvinism’s rejection of the new birth. Classic: one of the rising stars in the SBC, like Big Al, rejects the new birth, but how dare them diss the Sinner’s Prayer! You see, authentic Calvinism borrows the Platonist concept of emphasis. Though shadows are true, they are only a result of the sun’s true reality. Therefore, to emphasize shadows is to reject the only thing that can truly give life—the sun. Shadows can’t give life, only the sun’s light can. Since authentic Calvinism believes that life only comes from meditating on the works of Christ outside of us, an emphasis on the new birth, which is inside us, is to emphasize the result of Christ’s works and not Christ himself. So, to the degree that we focus on regeneration, we take away from the only thing that gives life: the personhood of Christ and His works. That is exactly what Platt’s beef is in regard to “accepting Jesus in our hearts.”

The crux of what Platt is really after was articulated by the Australian Forum. They dedicated a whole issue of their theological journal to  The False Gospel of the New Birth. One article was titled as such. I will quote two members of the Australian Forum on this wise and throw in other quotes by contemporary New Calvinists as well:

“The false gospel of the new birth” imagines that the new birth refers primarily to what happens in the believer and that this is the greatest news in the world. This is classical Roman Catholicism. It teaches that a good thing is the best thing, that the work of the Spirit is greater than that of the Son. It takes the fruit of the gospel and elevates it over the root, which is the gospel. It confuses the effect of the gospel with the gospel itself.

~Geoffrey Paxton: Present Truth; The false Gospel of the New Birth Volume Thirty-Seven — Article 4

How can my life, my doing, be fruit and not root? The fruit of the tree of justification and not the root of justification? The fruit of God being on my side rather than the root of making God be on my side? How can it be the fruit of the Holy Spirit so that I’m acting in the power of another and not in my own power?

~John Piper: http://marshill.com/media/guests/be-killing-sin-or-sin-will-be-killing-you

Bultmann’s existential gospel led him inevitably to a negative view of the Old Testament. And the new-birth oriented “Jesus-in-my-heart” gospel of evangelicals has destroyed the Old Testament just as effectively as has nineteenth-century liberalism.1 [Goldsworthy’s footnote #1] (1 See Geoffrey J. Paxton, “The False Gospel of the New Birth,” Present Truth Magazine 7, no.3 (June 1978): 17-22).

~Graeme Goldsworth: Present Truth; Obituary for the Old Testament Volume Forty-One — Article 2

It robs Christ of His glory by putting the Spirit’s work in the believer above and therefore against what Christ has done for the believer in His doing and dying.

~ Geoffrey Paxton (Australian Forum)

But to whom are we introducing people to, Christ or to ourselves? Is the “Good News” no longer Christ’s doing and dying, but our own “Spirit-filled” life?

~ Michael Horton

As my lovely wife said in her first session at last week’s conference on spiritual tyranny:

By glazing over the finer details of Christianity and focusing  on more moderate doctrines he [Billy Graham]  made evangelism enticing, non-threatening, and easy to swallow, and in a lot of ways gave definition to easy believeism.

His mission to present the “gospel” and get people saved and on their way to heaven permeated the focus of many fundamental churches thereafter, particularly the Southern Baptist denomination with which Billy Graham was associated.

As a result of the success of Billy Graham, many other evangelists and pastors adopted and adapted his mode of operation in order to” bring in the sheaves.”  This is often referred to as the first gospel wave that swept over America in the 50’s and continued on into the early 70’s.

Please do not misunderstand my opening remarks. The biographical remarks were taken from an article written of Billy Graham. We all believe that people were genuinely saved as a result of the ministry of Billy Graham; but I want to also say that many thought they were saved as a result of his ministry as well.  Here’s the dilemma his type of evangelism created: a) genuine salvation experiences occurred and   b) professions of salvation made but no outward change in living or life-style and   c) lack of assurance of salvation as a result of poor follow-up and discipleship.

In my neck of the woods the “At least he is saved mentality”  which the Billy Graham Association innocently created, helped people rationalize sinful lifestyles, make valid  emotional experiences and equate them with regeneration, and issued “fire insurance” policy mentality amongst church going people.  Just say the sinner’s prayer and you are guaranteed a home in heaven.

So, at least some people get saved, and they’re too doctrinally illiterate to be taken over by a movement that is completely of the devil.

Maybe it’s not all bad!

paul

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19 Responses

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  1. paulspassingthoughts said, on June 27, 2012 at 9:47 pm

    Reblogged this on Clearcreek Chapel Watch .

  2. anon@anon.com said, on July 1, 2012 at 10:15 am

    You may find comment #16 interesting given your work on New Calvinism:

    http://sgmrefuge.com/2012/06/28/board-update-defining-sovereign-grace-leadership-positioning-c-j-mahaney-as-president/#comment-73508

    In part, it discusses how Mark Dever has an influence on the SBC.

  3. Lmelton said, on July 2, 2012 at 8:19 pm

    David’s last name is Platt, not Pratt.

  4. pauldohse said, on July 2, 2012 at 10:47 pm

    Whatever the proper spelling of his last name, who he is spells H-E-R-E-T-I-C.

    > —–Original Message—– >

  5. Lin said, on July 3, 2012 at 12:23 am

    I find a lot of cognative dissonance in Platt. He has his “Radical” doctrine yet he is a mega church pastor on the speaking circuit selling “Radical” and Calvin doctrine.

    But boy, you say anything about him and the knives come out. Here is an interesting review of his book and a follow up post and some of the Platt followers are deadly.

    http://jamaljivanjee.com/category/book-reviews/radical-by-david-platt/

    http://jamaljivanjee.com/category/book-reviews/radical-by-david-platt/

    What is interesting is in the comments a former member who was featured in the book as one of the people doing the “radical” challenge ended up getting burned out and leaving. It was a sort of “keep up with the jones’ ” in being “radical”.

    I am wondering how Platt has time to be “Radical” with his speaking circuit gigs. He seems to be the latest hot Reformed star.

  6. esthersrequest said, on July 3, 2012 at 12:33 am

    Anon, I went to the link at SGM Refuge and read this as part of the long comment:

    1. Everyone I discuss has confessed Jesus as their savior, including Mark Dever and CJ, will be saved by the grace of God. The good news of Jesus, his death and his resurrection is simple: Believe that Jesus died for your sins. Since everyone we are discussing has confessed Jesus, I believe they are saved by God’s grace

    2. God’s people sin and they sin in very big ways. God’s leaders sin. And they sin for long periods of time. His chosen people, as a group, sin. And they may do this unintentionally. People who are blessed with all of God’s mercy in turn sin and they sin often prolonged periods of time. There is a reason why the first three sinners mentioned in Leviticus are: (1) if it is the anointed priest who sins, thus bringing guilt on the people… (2) “If the whole congregation of Israel sins unintentionally and the thing is hidden from the eyes of the assembly, and (3) a leader sins, doing unintentionally any one of all the things that by the commandments of the LORD his God ought not to be done….

    God knows that anointed priests, congregations, and leaders sin – often unintentionally.”

    This person commenting is CONVINCED what they wrote is true. It is a lie from the pit of hell. And it is one reason that most of the sgmsurvivors cannot move on.

    Friend, If we can confess Christ and live like wolves spritually abusing people, wanting control over others and being deceptive, I have to wonder why the Cross was needed. Where is the new birth? Where is the Holy Spirit convicting of sin? Where is Born Again? where is growing in Holiness? Or without Holiness we will not see God?

    This is a false religion, friend. And it is keeping a ton of people from moving on to a REAL relationship with Jesus Christ because they still believe this stuff taught to them from SGM and CHBC. I honestly think they need cult exit counseling. I am serious.

    It makes me weep. Please do not come back and trot out David, etc. We are in a New Covenant with the promised Holy Spirit and Christ dwelling in us. We do NOT “PRACTICE” SIN IF WE ARE SAVED. And we do not redefine sin so we can lord it over others.

  7. pauldohse said, on July 3, 2012 at 7:04 am

    yep.

    > —–Original Message—– >

  8. Born4Battle said, on July 3, 2012 at 1:36 pm

    So are you the only non-heretic left on the planet yet?

  9. pauldohse said, on July 3, 2012 at 2:33 pm

    B4B, Look, I really don’t want to go back to moderating because of Newbies wasting my time, and the time of this blog’s visitors with moronic comments, but I will if I have to. paul

    > —–Original Message—– >

  10. Born4Battle said, on July 3, 2012 at 2:50 pm

    I thought it was a valid question. When I do stop by, there are more ‘heretics’ on your list, and now even the leades of the Protestant reformation.

  11. esthersrequest said, on July 3, 2012 at 5:51 pm

    B4B—Only warning about wolves.

  12. trust4himonly said, on July 4, 2012 at 9:02 am

    BornforBattle…..

    What matters here is not these leaders (they are men)- what matters is the inerrency
    of Gods Word. When man replaces Gods Word with his own doctrine, such as Calvin did with his Institutes, then we have got a problem.

    When popular books today replace truly searching Scripture and relying on the Holy Spirit to guide in all truth according to Scripture, then we have got a problem.

    When men usurp power in the pulpit and demand their congregation to adhere to their “certain” doctrines instead of adhering to Gods Word, then we have got a problem.

    I have seen, heard, and witnessed the false doctrines of Calvinism and find them sorely lacking against the simple, yet highly intelligent and meaty words of God. I can always read Scripture yet always be learning. What I find in His Word is His gracious and extreme love for sinners and His desire to have ALL know who He is (unfortunately many will not choose to see Him and be lost). I see a God who loves His people – US, who have chosen to believe in Jesus Christ as our Savior, to do His will and joyfully and with love for our Savior- if we so choose to follow His Word, we can so benefit from it by being filled with the fruits of the Spirit. Unfortunately man will always choose his own way, both Christian and non-christian – man will choose to irresponsibly fall back into sin; man will choose to come up with his own theologies and doctrines to place oppressive burdens upon the people of God that were never intended by Christ our Savior. Jesus said “My yoke is easy, my burden is light”. When we listen to the Holy Spirit instead of man our growth in Him blossoms and, yes, hallelujah!!! I am far away from the oppressive burden of Calvinism and whatever manmade doctrine of works that might meet me along the way.

    And by the way Paul- hello- :)

  13. pauldohse said, on July 4, 2012 at 10:40 am

    T4H, Hello, and the only thing I can add to your comment is what Susan shared with me yesterday. Some precious elderly saint that is far from being any kind of doctrine hound complained to Susan that, “All we ever do in Sunday School anymore is have studies on books written by men. What’s wrong with using the Bible?” Another thing I have learned from John Immel is that “orthodoxy” is comprised of counsels, confessions, and creeds. paul

    > —–Original Message—– >

  14. gracewriterrandy said, on July 8, 2012 at 7:58 pm

    In a multitude of counselors there is wisdom. Though church councils are not authoritative, I suspect they are more reliable than a lone ranger who likes trashing the orthodox doctrines of the Christian faith because it doesn’t fit into his narrow and errant concept of Christianity. A bit of theological education might not hurt you, Paul. Perhaps you should consider it.

  15. paulspassingthoughts said, on July 9, 2012 at 7:23 am

    I am soooooo sorry that this uneducated zombie lamb is feeding information to hundreds who are trying to figure out what is going on in their church. And I really hope I don’t have to go back to moderating. If you don’t like what I write—change the channel.

  16. trust4himonly said, on July 10, 2012 at 10:05 am

    The problem gracewriterandy is that the lovely orthodox church is dictating how the sheep must believe, instead of the humble leadings of a pastor we are getting dictatorships. Maybe a little reflection would do one good in the discipleship and leading of Jesus Christ to see how He treated and treats His sheep. Just a good study in the Gospels will set things straight- if a pastor would truly listen.

  17. trust4himonly said, on July 10, 2012 at 10:47 am

    Another thing is…I have read portions of David Platts book Radical and found many doctrinal errors, so if this is a part of “true” Christian orthodoxy then you can have it. No thank you.
    In his book, is a mass amount of confusing “to dos” and then tries to justify itself by stating this does not have anything to do with salvation but if you “don’t do” you aren’t truly a believer. These “to dos” in his book mostly have to do with feeding the poor. So what about heart? Ones relationship then ends up being about the social gospel instead of a true love relationship with Christ and doing acts of service to the Lord because you WANT to not because you are guilted into doing it.

  18. davidbrainerd2 said, on September 22, 2013 at 1:53 pm

    @gracewriterrandy “Though church councils are not authoritative, I suspect they are more reliable than a lone ranger….”

    The lone ranger Calvin’s belief in determinism was condemned by councils before he was ever born, so you may be on to something there. The same council that condemned Pelagius condemned Calvin in advance because it condemned rigid predestination as much as it condemned the notion that one can save themselves by freewill apart from grace.

  19. davidbrainerd2 said, on September 14, 2014 at 10:43 pm

    The real problem with the sinner’s prayer is not the concept of inviting Jesus into your heart (as the New Calvinists say) but that the sinner’s prayer is nothing but a modern replacement of baptism. In Acts, whenever anyone confesses belief in Jesus they’re instantly baptized for the remission of sins. Today, whenever anyone confesses faith in Jesus they’re told to pray the “sinner’s prayer” and if they ask to be baptized they’re beaten upside the head with “you don’t need no sticking baptism; what would you think that for? that’s works salvation, you heretic. We might baptize you in 5 years, but certainly not right now!”


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