TANC Prediction: The New Calvinists Are in the Process of Forming Their Own Denomination or the Completed Takeover of the SBC is Imminent
Some recent trends have tempted me to partake in a little prognostication. First, the primer for all of this is the brazen disregard for bad press in light of recent sex scandals among the “Gospel-centered” crowd. Look, I know “Gospel-centered” sounds spiritually generic but it’s not. “Gospel-centered” is indicative of a radical worldview that many in the church don’t comprehend. Two-thousand years later, even in the midst of the Information Age, they are propagating an, “underestimated,” “unadjusted,” “scandalous” gospel. That should be your first clue. And indeed, there is plenty of scandal.
This worldview disregards the concept of justice and has an antinomian pedigree. That is causing a significant pushback between this movement and others in the church. That is perhaps the primary catalyst that will provoke some kind of significant separation. Historically, spiritual tyranny ALWAYS follows this movement, and the chickens have come home to roost. Unfortunately, the church has done a poor job of pinpointing this logic and rejecting it beforehand, but the one thing everyone understands is when bad things start happening.
Again, justice isn’t even on the radar screen, but if you want to pay the bills you act like it’s important. The New Calvinists no longer portend that it is—so something is up in my book. ABWE, which has strong ties to the New Calvinist cartel and its four Dons, “Big Al” Mohler, Mark Dever, Ligon Duncan, and CJ Mahaney, just snubbed its nose up at the Evangelical world by firing the feel-good intermediating organization GRACE. The public facts surrounding this scandal, now ten years in the making, has destroyed GARB credibility in the minds of anyone who is not a consummate Kool-Aid drinker. Creditability in the GARB community may no longer be relevant; i.e., a merger with likeminded despots may be in the works. By the way, New Calvinist Dr. William Brown has been fired from GARB enclave Cedarville University. He was the president thereof, and has been temporarily appointed as chancellor to candy-coat the event as much as possible. But there is a serious catfight going on there that is difficult to sort out. Here is one example: http://cedarvilleproblems.com/index-1.htm . But at any rate, it’s not surprising; some kind of fight ALWAYS follows a New Calvinist beast. Always.
The business as usual motif in regard to CJ Mahaney, the Underboss of the Charismatic wing of the New Calvinist cartel, is also striking. As president of SGM, he has been besieged with controversy over sex scandal cover ups and basic run of the mill despot leadership style. His behavior was so outrageous that his cult following at SGM, including his own son-in-law, dismissed him. The cartel bosses in Louisville, Kentucky (home of their front organization, “Together for the Gospel”) partook in an image makeover and had Mahaney reinstalled as president of SGM. The outrageous event squeezed so hard that every bit of integrity oozed out of SGM and several of its member churches jumped ship. Regardless of all of this, including the fact that Mahaney is a defendant in a class action sexual abuse law suit, he is scheduled as the main act in all upcoming cartel conferences. Again, a total in your face- kiss our sanctified booties stance toward the rest of the Evangelical community. This is hard to miss as the Evangelical community at large has launched a petition for CJ to step out of the limelight while the trial flaunts itself in the mainline news media: http://www.causes.com/actions/1730803-an-appeal-to-national-leaders-regarding-c-j-mahaney
But beyond this snubbing of the Evangelical community, take note that Mahaney recently moved the corporate headquarters of SGM to Louisville, Kentucky. This is the home base for Big Al, president of Southern Seminary, and well known as “ground zero” for the New Calvinist movement (Collin Hansen: Young, Restless, Reformed; A Journalist’s Journey With The New Calvinists, chapter four, “Ground Zero: Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, Louisville, Kentucky”). I mean, I know they are buddies and all, but you just don’t move a whole organization to another city for sentimental reasons. Something is up.
The New Calvinist movement has been hard at work to take over the SBC since 1981. A Presbyterian started Founders Ministries for the express purpose of that agenda. They even printed a manifesto accordingly. Scoff at the conspiracy theory if you must—but it is just plain fact. I document those facts in The Truth About New Calvinism: Its History, Doctrine, and Character. That’s why Southern is “ground zero” for the New Calvinist movement. It is also behind the attempted name change of the convention. If that goes through—it’s over—what the cartel has been working for since a small group of egomaniacs met at the Holiday Inn in Euless, Texas circa 1981 will be complete.
But the Southern Baptist faithful have proven to be a tuff nut to crack. To some degree, the doctrinal illiteracy of Southern Baptists has saved them. It is difficult to deceive people into changing their soteriology when they don’t even understand the difference between justification and sanctification. Southern Baptist New Calvinist heretics like David Platt only end up offending the faithful by dissing the concept of asking Jesus into my heart and reciting the sinner’s prayer. Hence, Southern Baptists don’t disdain New Calvinists because they propagate the false gospel of progressive justification, but because they offend their traditional sensibilities. Perhaps the greatest sin is the New Calvinist absence of Southern Baptist absolution: the alter call that replaced aggressive sanctification long ago.
So, this is down to the wire. The New Calvinist takeover of the SBC is at hand, or these guys are going to start their own gig. They have what’s left of SGM, they have the Passion Movement, they have the Emergent Church for the most part, the biblical counseling culture, and many Presbyterian churches as well. This is a gargantuan mass of time tested Kool-Aid drinking humanity. They no longer need to feed off of the Evangelical community. But what is immensely sad is the fact that we have ignorantly funded the cause while ignoring the muffled cries of those buried alive in the backyard.
I would also like to throw something else into my prognostic stew. John Piper recently “retired” from his pastorate at the Bethlehem temple. Do we really think he is going to retire to a life of seashell hunting in Florida? Yes, I know, he’s not beyond such hypocrisy, but it’s still highly doubtful. Trust me; he’s moving on to something bigger—much bigger. But what? I know where I would put my money if I had to.
This is all going somewhere because history always repeats itself. This movement has died five times since its conception in Geneva, and it will die again. It’s getting more and more difficult to suck the blood out of churches that the movement has covertly taken over because of the internet and those pesky discernment bloggers. For the first time since 1972, New Calvinists are being fingered in the pastoral interview process. The gig is up. There is not much more to pilfer in the Evangelical church at large, so they will separate.
But that will be the beginning of the end. Progressive justification always implodes. Progressive justification is like the lollypop knives Eskimos use to kill wolves. Fitting. Christians do not grow by staying at the foot of the cross. We do not grow by feeding on the gospel of first importance that saved us. Children in adult bodies will eventually devour themselves. It’s already happening: in all major wings of the New Calvinist movement there have been scandals that have made national headlines. It’s time for them to prove that bastard Semi-Pelagian evangelicals are to blame. If only they were not held back by the zombies of synergistic sanctification. If only they were not defiled by those who believe Jesus is a precept and unable to see His astounding personhood! Why, we don’t even know what Jesus’ favorite color is! Away with those who will not be wowed by what Jesus did rather than anything we can do! Ahhmen.
One way or the other, regardless of how wrong or right my prediction is, something is going to give. Every day, the Evangelical community is gaining a clearer picture of what’s going on. But if they do start their own denomination, the scene would be to die for. The Star Wars bar scene could not hold a light-sabre to it.