Paul's Passing Thoughts

Often Asked By Those Looking For a Church: How Do I Know If It Is New Calvinist Or Not?

Posted in Uncategorized by Paul M. Dohse Sr. on December 7, 2011

“Really, number one and number six are the most significant answers to the reader’s question.”


New Calvinism is not only dangerous to one’s soul, it is very subtle, and its proponents are deliberately covert. A post on what to look for is overdue, and my thanks to the reader who wrote and reminded me of this need. First, know this: in our day, New Calvinist churches will be the rule and not the exception. When you visit a church, assume that it is in the process of being taken over by New Calvinists, or has been in that camp completely for a period of time. Churches that have been solidly New Calvinist for a number of years will have cult-like characteristics.

Now, let me first begin my list by specifically answering the readers question and then I will expand from there: “….and would like to have a few questions to ask a Pastor to be able to know for sure if he is or is not in the NC camp by how the questions are answered.  At the top of your head what questions would you recommend be asked that would be very telling?”

1) The biggie: “What hermeneutic do you use when you are preaching? Do you use the grammatical historical hermeneutic, or the redemptive historical hermeneutic?” Whether the pastor is NC or not, a deer in the headlight look will follow because most parishioners of our day do not know any theology.  Think about it for a moment. These are two very different ways of approaching the Bible with the results being radically different; but yet, 99% of the parishioners out there have no idea which one their pastor uses.

GHH  seeks to be exegetic; all ideas about everything are drawn from the text. RHH has an eisegetic approach; the sole purpose of the Bible is to gain a deeper understanding of Christ. It is sometimes called the “Chrstocentric” hermeneutic.

If the pastor admits that he is RHH, he is a NC. If he becomes aloof, for example; “Well, why don’t you come and see what we are about at one of our services, and then if you still want to talk about theology, we can do that” (by the way, that’s an actual quote from a pastor in response to my question concerning his hermeneutics), he is suspect. If he claims to be both, he is also suspect. If he is NC, he will know the very second  you asked that question that he does not want you in his church.

2) Ask him who his favorite teachers are (you may want to word the question in a different way).  If aloofness follows, he is suspect. If his favorite teachers are the likes of John Piper et al, he is either undiscerning or NC. In other words, he’s suspect.

3) You can ask him about his view on obedience, but you have to ask it this way in order not to be roper-doped: “Does all legitimate obedience and duty come out of a deeper understanding of our salvation? And when it does, is it a ‘mere natural flow?’”

4) “Do you believe that we are sanctified (set apart) by contemplating the  gospel that saved us, or colaboring with the Holy Spirit in applying the word to our life.”

Bottom line: a skilled NC pastor can get around all of these questions except question number one. Even then, he can claim that he uses both hermeneutics.

Things to Look For

5) Is everything going on in the church about the gospel and Jesus? Is all of the music about redemption? Are all the messages about salvation, even though it’s a Christian setting? Is God the Father and the Holy Spirit rarely mentioned?

6) Another biggie: The missing transition communication technique in teaching and conversation. Like number one, this is huge. A message will begin with the subject of our Christian walk, but then will move into the subject of salvation without a transition in subject, as if the two are the same thing. Really, number one and number six are the most significant answers to the reader’s question.

7) The either/or communication technique, or the missing option C communication technique. The classic example is this prayer I heard spoken by a New Calvinist elder: “Lord, forgive us for obeying you in our own efforts.” The prayer insinuates that it’s either all of our effort, or all of something else that we don’t need forgiveness for. New Calvinists use this communication technique over a wide spectrum of teachings.

The Danger Zone

8.) Don’t forget, New Calvinist elders believe they have authority over you if you are a professing Christian and you are in their neck of the woods. Never, never, never, never meet with an elder or a group of elders ALONE. Never. And document everything. If you find yourself trying to ascertain where a church is doctrinally, and things are getting uncomfortable—that’s a New Calvinist church, or a cult, one or the other. Also, in this type of situation in a NC church, they consider these meetings to be steps of Matthew 18. They also consider any type of formal or informal counseling to be part of the discipline process. Regardless of whether you are a member or not, they will formally excommunicate you from the church universal in a Sunday morning service. And by the way, you have no legal grounds for a lawsuit in any state. Please, please, avoid these situations.

9) Watch for signs of exclusiveness; such as, “We preach the scandalous gospel,” ect. Or, “We teach this, as opposed to the ‘vast majority’ of other Christian churches.” “This is what makes us unique.” If you hear verbiage like this, gather your family and run for the nearest exit door. And don’t look back.

10) Watch out for love bombing. An overemphasis on love usually replaces things that are missing—like TRUTH! True loving relationships, even among Christians, are developed over time.

Also, in a NC church, if you are thought to be discerning, you may be approached by an elder with an unsolicited offer to “disciple” you on a weekly basis. This is more than likely for the purpose of neutralizing you as a threat. In many NC churches, this is considered counseling/discipline whether you are aware of it or not. It is known as “redemptive church discipline.” The goal is to bring you to a “redemptive” view of sanctification.


26 Responses

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  1. paulspassingthoughts said, on January 10, 2013 at 8:55 PM

    Reblogged this on Paul's Passing Thoughts.


  2. Anonymous said, on September 15, 2013 at 8:33 PM

    For all who are interested in Compass Bible Church, they obsess on killing sin (not to say that we should slacken this for a moment) and nitty gritty technical theological subjects. They end up missing the basic foundation of the message of Christ: LOVE. They booted a woman who’s husband was beating her out of the church for not SUBMITTING to her husband (THEIR COUNSELING IS HORRIBLE, STAY FAR AWAY). I’m not sure how they interpret submission as enslavement too. I went there in high school and was condemned as a non-christian the first night I was there by some other kids. There is good scriptural knowledge but NO WISDOM at his church. It is very easy to see these people do not have the holy spirit in them (love of Christ). I was speaking with a friend there recently who after many years just realized “Presbyterians, baptists, Lutherans etc EVEN SOME CATHOLICS may go to Heaven” – there is no humility there and they culture (or should I say cult-ure) extreme close mindedness (and I don’t mean “follow your heart” or something bogus like that).


  3. Anonymous said, on June 20, 2015 at 6:33 PM

    NO WISDOM is a very big claim. As one of these people slammed by this poster I am called to defend myself and others. As an attendee of Compass I have seen a few bad examples mostly acting out of scriptural immaturity. HOWEVER …. those people can be found in any church and even more there are so many others in this church acting out their faith in maturity and committed to the service of the Gospel. I challenge anyone to look at Mike’s teaching and find him advocating anything except what can be plainly read from the scriptures with a full examination of the text, not taking small sections out of context. Many times “Christians” want to point out bad examples while failing to look at the log in their own eye. The most loving thing someone can do is to reason from the scriptures in love and discernment, and gently point out to a non-Christian where they have fallen short of the gospel and to help bring them into repentance. Some people willingly choose to accept God’s plan for salvation. Some people are offended by this. Instead of throwing stones at others, people need to reason from the scriptures and let the scriptures reflect on the light or darkness in our lives. And then we need to be honest with others and ourselves where we really stand. This is something lacking in too many churches. I wish it weren’t so. Compass as a whole shines the light on the scriptures and let them speak rather than looking for a people to experience personal feelings of what “Christ” means to them. This happens with both teaching and application, with the congregation serving and helping others in so many ways. I wish the person writing the last comment had met many of the same people I have. I think they would be writing something different.


  4. lakesidebiblechurchexposingthetruth said, on August 18, 2015 at 1:49 PM

    This blogger is DEAD ON……. this is LAKESIDE BIBLE CHURCH IN MONTGOMERY to a T!!!!!!! Everything is true that this person is saying. I am still running for the hills and them persuing us and right on my tail. I’m alleging based on my own personal experience that this is a controlling, cult like church! Everything and I mean every word this blogger posted is this church. You might want to throw in that they have love relationships metaphorically speaking with John MacArthur Mark Dever, Al Mohler and more! They follow their 9 marks which that alone should have you running for the mountains. Check out the village church , SOVEREIGN GRACE MINISTRIES sex abuse scandal the cover up. I assure you sexual abuse is known to be one of the most serious issues these men who seem to benefit each other through selling and promoting each other’s books speaking at one another conferences / churches they all stroke one another’s egos and they all keep the sins of others in the church from the entire body so as to not lose members. They use accusing you of gossip if you raise any questions about leadership or actually express a difference of opinion. You will then be CONFRONTED with the start of Gal. 6:1 and you won’t even know it! My friends child was sexually abused by another member at lakeside bible church in Montgomery. This person was allowed to worship there one week after the assault and remains a member to this day. The leadership has silenced the family to where they left and he remains on their membership with new and old members completely unaware. They have issues allegedly where other members are sharing wives. The pastor and elders have worked to keep this secret and the ones that knows can’t say a word for fear of church discipline. Yes people they use this all the time. Believe me they are all about obedience , submission , and telling believers you have to keep persevering in the faith or you may not be saved. The wordage they use is masked with the gospel. Oh and if you are under discipline you will be shunned if you don’t tow the line and repent!!!! Even by members your kids are close to and have shared years of friendships it does not matter oh and if you have a working relationship with the shunners consider your work with them over with. These churches are destroying the sheep. They are with this whole shepherding movement they say they want to love come along side you to shepherd your soul. That is the biggest crock of you know what. These are key words to look out for or ” we’re concerned for your soul” ” we want to see you grow spiritually and want to come along side of you” don’t get me started on grow group’s. These are home bible studies groups that you are required to sign up for or the church will assign you a group. Of course they use love and care as a mask so that you don’t see the control aspects of it. These home groups are meant to watch the congregation the leaders are elders and people they are watching their members. It’s difficult to control a church body as a whole but break 500 people up into home groups and it’s cake because they group leaders and followers go over the pastors message and discuss it, nothing wrong there right? Seems kosher right? Nope they stroke the pastors ego saying he is such a good teacher of the word, we are so blessed to have pastor ken as our pastor. People they do this all the time and if u have relationships with these people and respect for these leaders those phrases seem innocent and ok to most. To the discernedoor after awhile you think it’s strange but remember your already conditioned to not questions or challenge their leadership / authority. These grow group’s are for conditioning members and to watch and see who may be a problem. I didn’t realize until after years of being committed to this church. There are many loving members like us who have not figured it out and don’t see yet. It’s not the church body but it’s leadership that is run a muck and masked with the gospel. Run from these churches check them out search blogs Christians don’t attack churches normally and lie. You can see testimony after testimony of hundreds of people hurt by these men in sheep’s clothing. They deceived themselves. Oh and another key thing is these types of churches all have some sort of building fund. I find it particularly interesting that lakeside bible church brings in almost 1million a year in tithes and I’m rounding the number based on the bullitens they post with the figure’s. Ok so that is a lot for a church about 500 and nothing wrong with it if it’s truly the Lord blessing the church however can someone explain to me how you have a building fund that the building is about 2 million + it’s built your in it and it has taken years and it’s still not finished? That’s not my main issue how is it your building fund fluctuatees in donations from 200 -500 every week and the weekly giving fluctuates from 16,000 – 24,000 ? It’s odd things seem above reproach but are they really in a controlling church who hides the abuse of children from its members and conceals another members behavior that could put other children in harms way? By the,way this member plead guilty to two counts of felony aggrivated sexual assault on a child of Sodom and oral. Now with this said how I’m the world could you keep this from members who have children running around that church with someone who plead guilty to this crime? You decide call this,church you will get from pastor ken either no comment or blaming the victim which by the way if they do this my friend needs to know so post here if this happens because the child was victimized. It’s LAKESIDE BIBLE CHURCH IN MONTGOMERY TEXAS PLEASE CHECK OUT WHAT I’M CLAIMING THE MOTHER IS SUING THE PERPETRATOR TO GET MEDICAL DAMAGES AND I’M FURIOUS FOR HER. This church refuses to hold the perpetrator responsible.


    • Paul M. Dohse Sr. said, on August 19, 2015 at 10:52 AM

      If there is any way we can help let us know. Willing to talk if you want to send your name and phone # to Address the email to “paul.”


  5. Anonymous said, on September 10, 2015 at 11:48 PM

    Being a part of Compass Bible Church, you would know that BIBLE is in the name. The pastors preach from the Bible. Why would anyone preach off anything else? Its straight from the Bible, and everyone knows that the Bible is the truth. A lot of people don’t like the message that is preached at Compass. A lot of people claim it is radical. Radical Christianity is normative Christianity. Our walks with God cannot be lukewarm and we have to be on fire for Christ at all times. (Revelation 3:16). I agree with what was said above by a fellow church member of mine. If the people writing these comments have met some of the people that I have gotten a chance to interact with, they would be saying completely different things. At Compass Bible Church, the messages are preached straight from what the Bible says, with context, not using little bits and portions of the verses and twisting them around. Straight form the Bible, that is all that is needed to be said about Compass Bible Church. Now, if you want to tell me sir, that you are gonna say that because messages are preached from the Bible, that our church congregation is a cult, I think you would even find yourself in the wrong. All Scriptures are breathed out by God (2 Timothy 3:16). So if you want to tell me that God’s words are cultish, go ahead, make my day. Because even you know that it isn’t.

    Yes, at Compass, we strive to get rid of our sin, because it is what God calls us to do if we are claiming Christianity. Luke 14:27 says,”Whoever does not bear his own cross and come after me, cannot be my disciple.” Before we get saved by repentance and faith, we have these desires that go along with what our sinful flesh want us to have. Our sinfulness wants us to sin and enjoys sin. But, when Jesus says here to bear our own cross, he means get rid of our own selfish desires and turn to follow what God wants you to do and follow along with His will. How does one achieve salvation? Read Luke 13:1-5. It will explain. It’t not talking about a physical perish, but it is talking about the spiritual death which is Hell.

    So don’t be going around saying this stuff about Compass if you don’t know the facts. And by the way, Compass is a non-denom church. enough has been said.


  6. Kathy said, on April 11, 2016 at 1:07 PM

    Our weekly Bible study utilizes Mike Fabarez ‘s sermons, (senior pastor of Compass Bible Church), and have been using them for over a year and a half. We are comprised of mature Christians, with completely different denominations, different theological backgrounds, and different opinions, and never have we found wisdom to be lacking in his teaching. Once in a while we have disagreed on small issues, but wisdom is NOT lacking there. It’s hard to go wrong when the teaching is verse by verse, and in context. I can honestly say we have grown much in Christ since beginning to ponder Mike’s teachings. <><


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