Paul's Passing Thoughts

An Allusion to Inclusion and “Spiritual Formation”

Posted in Uncategorized by Paul M. Dohse Sr. on December 21, 2011

“In other words, their definition of the new birth is the living Christ being formed within spiritually dead believers.”


A reader alluded to the ecumenical aspect of New Calvinism based on the core doctrine of Gospel Sanctification, or COG (the centrality of the objective gospel) or COGUS (the centrality of the objective gospel outside of us). If you believe in COG, you’re in the tribe, and anything else, including things like snake handling, are fair game (“secondary issues”):

And I am picking up on something else with these guys after reading over at an SBC Reformed blog and other Reformed blogs: If you are deemed to have correct doctrine concerning this, you can get by with just about anything. It is one reason they totally ignore the antics of Driscoll and Mahaney. See, they have correct doctrine and that is more important than what they do. But one would think that correct doctrine would bring about doing the right things at some point.

Not by them, because they deny the new birth. And they clearly teach that we are still totally depraved. So, what is their version of spiritual growth? They do have one that would ordinary appear orthodox if you start throwing excerpts around. This is the weakest link in the near complete picture we have of the New Calvinist theological system and its life application. It’s called “spiritual  formation.” Notice that many elders in Reformed churches are being referred to as “elder over spiritual formation.”

Basically, instead of us growing spiritually as persons (which would be supposedly “infusing grace into us and reversing justification and sanctification” [John Piper et al ]), The works of Christ are “formed within us” as we meditate on the gospel.  “We have this treasure in earthen vessels,” right? In other words, their definition of the new birth is the living Christ being formed within spiritually dead believers. This is a constant theme throughout the book “How People Change” written by Powlison Kool-Aid drinkers Paul David Tripp and Timothy Lane.

This is bringing this ministry into a deep study of the postmodern Spiritual Contemplationism movement. There are many ministries out there that have been griping for some time that the likes of Mark Driscoll  and Tim Keller are guilty of this. Of course, New Calvinism has enjoyed incremental criticism for years without a vetting of the full picture of who they really are. The second volume of TTANC will complete this part of the puzzle. They believe the new birth is a formation of Christ within spiritually dead believers via Gospel Contemplationism.

Incredibly, John MacArthur Jr. criticized the postmodern view of interpreting Scripture as a meta-narrative in “Truth War” while enthusiastically supporting New Calvinists that hold to that same view. The shameful embracing of New Calvinism by Grace to You ministries will be addressed in volume two as well.


2 Responses

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  1. gracewriterrandy said, on December 21, 2011 at 7:58 PM


    Have you considered the apostle’s words in Galatians “my little children for whom I travail in birth until Christ be formed in you?”


    • paulspassingthoughts said, on December 21, 2011 at 10:09 PM

      Good grief.


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