Paul's Passing Thoughts

Kevin DeYoung Bagged by the New Calvinist Slither Police, Part 2: Is Special K the Forerunner of the Great Slither?

Posted in Uncategorized by Paul M. Dohse Sr. on June 18, 2011

Kevin DeYoung, hereafter affectionately referred to as “Special K” (SK), offered a response to officer Tullian Tchividjian’s (hereafter, OTT) “pushback” regarding an article he wrote that sounded too orthodox. You can’t blame him; after all, OTT is one bad dude. Anybody who is privy to OTT’s merciless hostile takeover of Coral Ridge would certainly hesitate to ruffle his feathers. Even James D. Kennedy’s daughter barely got out of there with her hairdo still intact.

In SK’s response to OTT’s response, he mentioned that he is on sabbatical to write a book on sanctification. Funny, just last week, a reader wrote an email to me—asking  what I thought of sabbaticals. I told him they are a joke, with the exception of a pastor doing so to search the Scriptures for himself regarding serious theological issues of our day. Bingo, what’s more important in our day than the whole question of sanctification? Compare SK’s sabbatical with Piper’s last sabbatical where the purpose was to expunge several “species of idols” in his heart. The sabbatical was predetermined to be eight months, so we can only assume that his consultants, Tim Keller and Paul Tripp, identified the idols as those that can always be rectified by deep repentance in an eight-month period—just in time to return on January 1; because after all, like everything else, the new year was all about him.  I almost went myself, video cam in-hand, to document the fawning (complete with glazed-over eyes, perspiration, and weak knees) of his Koolaid drinking followers waiting with bated breath as he walked up to the podium to pontificate his first Sunday morning message after his “sabbatical.”

But, back to SK. I found the interpretive questions he is asking himself during his sabbatical to be very interesting, and leads one to think that his church may be populated with a rare breed of Christians known as homo thinking sapiens:

1. Can the justified believer please God with his obedience? [Yes, du, Paul said, “it is our goal to please Him”]

2. Is the justified believer displeasing to God in some way when he sins? [Yes, du, the opposite of “please” is “displease.”]

3. Is unbelief the root of every sin? [No—read about king David and Jonah] Or is it pride? Or idolatry? Should we even both  trying to find a root sin? [No]

4. How are justification and sanctification related? [Read JC Ryle’s “Holiness”]

5. Can we obey God? [ SK, see John 14:15,16. Why is the Holy Spirit called our “helper”?]

6. Can we feel confident about our obedience, not in a justifying way but that we have done as we were commanded? [Yes, see 2Peter Chapter 1]

7. How does Scripture motivate us to obedience? [Start with Romans 5:13, then read verse 4 in the same chapter, and many other Scriptures like those. It’s NOT either the Holy Spirit  or Scripture—it’s both.]

8. Are most Christians too hard on themselves (thinking they are filthy scum when they actually walk with the Lord in a way that pleases him)? [Not if they have a biblically trained conscience]

9. Or are most Christians too easy on themselves (thinking nothing of holiness and content with little progress in godliness)? [Ya think?]

10. What is the role of union with Christ in sanctification? And how do union with Christ and sanctification relate to justification? [SK: see the Australian Forum archives for a review of what you presently believe on that. It’s called the “centrality of the objective gospel.”]


But stop the presses! DeYoung wrote another article after he capitulated to the fearsome OTT entitled, “Is Sanctification By Faith Alone?” I will just say it plainly: dead on!  With the exception of one whopper in the beginning of the piece, the rest of the post is a masterful articulation of true biblical sanctification. Is this the first time I have complimented a New Calvinist in the two-year history of this blog? Yes! In regard to the whopper: “Though it sounds very Protestant, it is not correct to say ‘sanctification is by faith alone.’” Uh, Special K, it has never been Protestant to say that, but hey, you’re going in the right direction.


This is major. DeYoung’s post is clearly in the face of New Calvinist doctrine, and the ten questions asked in the prior post are intimately connected to the conclusions stated in the latter. I can only pray that his healthy infatuation with JC Ryle will result in a positive outcome regarding the book he is writing on sanctification (and such a book is long overdue). In fact, Ryle’s “Holiness,” a book DeYoung often quotes, was written to refute false doctrines running amuck in Ryle’s day that were evil twins to present-day New Calvinism.

So, will SK take a hard stand and separate himself from the New Calvinism cartel? Or will he stay and be a lynchpin for the Great Slither? (See part 1): “Uh, ya, I agree with SK, absolutely! Yep, that’s been my position all along. In all of those other quotes of mine, I was talking about justification—not sanctification. But I will admit, I should have put a grammatical transition between the two—my bad dude.”

Or, if SK stays the course, will the New Calvinist throw him under the bus? Will the dreaded tweet come from the High Priest of New Calvinism?:  “Bye, bye, Kevin DeYoung.”


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