Paul's Passing Thoughts

Beaverton Scandal is Just More New Calvinist Spiritual Tyranny

Posted in Uncategorized by Paul M. Dohse Sr. on May 16, 2012

Frustrating. Once again, we are focused on symptoms and not the disease. New Calvinism and its doctrine/philosophy is the disease, Beaverton is a symptom. Beaverton what? Beaverton as in Beaverton Grace Bible Church in Beaverton, Oregon. Here is their website: And here is the scandal:

Another survivors website to add to my blogroll. But it is the same old story: 1; New Calvinism comes to a church. 2; Members start asking questions. 3; New Calvinists use the techniques they learn at conferences to dissuade concerns. 4; But most churches have at least a few people that can think for themselves which = trouble/possible exposure that the leadership is slowly assimilating the “unadjusted gospel” into the minds of the people. 5; Since one of the tenets of this doctrine is that the (usually newly appointed under the new system) elders can bring someone under church discipline for ANY sin, and contesting the “underestimated” gospel is paramount to propagating false doctrine, the pesky member is disciplined and thereby neutralized as a threat to the authority of the elders. And, to discuss why the “sinner” is under discipline would be, but of course, gossip. The pesky member can now scream, squawk, or anything else they would like to do to no avail; their credibility is history. It’s the same old, worn out, five-step story being played out over and over again while rolling up the body count on the landscape of American Christianity.

This has been going on now for 42 years. The sharp increase in church discipline reported by the Wall Street Journal in 2008 is directly related to the New Calvinist movement which was launched by the Australian Forum think tank in 1970. It is a return to heavy handed Geneva style Reformed leadership—the days when Calvin had “heretics” burned and beheaded. Here in America, the scarlet letter of church discipline and lawsuits are the next best thing for those who dare contend against the “scandalous gospel.” Granted, many who contend against it don’t understand the theology per se, but have concerns about the results they see: control issues; fast changes without regard to the feelings of others; unbalanced preaching; and troublesome ideas like our total inability as believers to please God. That’s too close for comfort for most New Calvinist spiritual despots. This movement is also the primary supporter and catalyst for other movements like Quiver Full, Patriarchy, Vision Forum, SGM, Shepherding, etc. These movements comprise easily 90% of the spiritual abuse that takes place in American Christianity.

But yet again, even though it would seem like New Calvinists are on the ropes with the embarrassing revelation in the Beaverton situation concerning John MacArthur’s Grace Community Church, they win. Why? Because once again, symptoms are the issue, and not the movement’s doctrine/philosophy driving the behavior. Ronald Reagan knew how to get rid of a problem. He didn’t focus on the naughty behavior of communism—he sought to destroy the beast. And for certain, many bloggers don’t want to see the demise of New Calvinism for they would have nothing to write about anymore. In the same way, the National Inquirer dreads the idea that movie stars and politicians would start behaving.

This is a nasty philosophy: a play scripted with three primary characters; the enlightened totally depraved chosen by God to contain the total depraved peasantry until the day of apocalypse, and using the law and government for guardrails. Phil Johnson’s response to the Beaverton situation is beyond disingenuous. He knows grade A well that once a parishioner is excommunicated, they can be “treated like an unbeliever.”  I can confidently say that his reference to the defendants as “believers” is not what he believes about them. With this doctrine, authority = truth which is why MacArthur will once again entertain with CJ Mahaney at this year’s Resolved Conference despite the fact that CJ has never repented of his criminal activity. Stuff happens in the messy business of controlling the totally depraved in order to present them to God as those who excepted the fact that Jesus has always obeyed for them (and any obedience on our part rejects the atonement).  CJ’s behavior is unfortunate collateral damage in a war where the one in 99 is expendable for the Geneva commune. By the way, while New Calvinists pontificate about the virtues of separation of church and state, this ministry receives information regularly about their consorted effort to get in bed with the government, especially through the U.N.

I guess my only question is how high does the destroyed family body count have to get before people wake up?

As James Carville said in the four words that got Bill Clinton elected: “It’s the economy doctrine stupid.”


31 Responses

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  1. terriergal said, on July 9, 2012 at 1:59 PM

    “It is a return to heavy handed Geneva style Reformed leadership—the days when Calvin had “heretics” burned and beheaded. Here in America, the scarlet letter of church discipline and lawsuits are the next best thing for those who dare contend against the “scandalous gospel.” Granted, many who contend against it don’t understand the theology per se, but have concerns about the results they see: control issues; fast changes without regard to the feelings of others; unbalanced preaching; and troublesome ideas like our total inability as believers to please God. ”

    Ok I’m a little confused here. I thought the scandalous gospel was exactly the opposite. The ones who do NOT want to preach the scandalous gospel are the ones who are doing the strong-armed law-based leadership…? Certainly there are modern Calvinists like Horton, Tchividjian, etc who are not fans of this kind of behavior.

    I would put Driscoll in this basket of “law gospel law” (which isn’t the scandalous gospel at all, even if he insists it is) but not Tullian or the White Horse Inn guys.


    • pauldohse said, on July 9, 2012 at 2:12 PM

      terriergal, TT’s heavy-handed takeover of Coral Ridge was classic New Calvinism in action. Horton’s “Modern Reformation” isn’t named such for no reason. Both of these sectarian New Calvinists believe today’s evangelical church is awash in the false gospel of synergistic sanctification, or what they call, “Semi-Pelagianism.” This is based on their belief in the fusion of justification and sanctification. Hence, “We must preach the gospel to ourselves everyday.” On page 62 of “Christless Christianity,” Horton plainly states that if we try to grow spiritually by any other way than to continually revisit justification “afresh,” we will loose both our justification and sanctification. Both of these men are New Calvinist heretics who preach a false gospel.

      ….and please quote me on that. paul

      > —–Original Message—– >


  2. terriergal said, on July 9, 2012 at 2:04 PM

    I’m not sure it has to do with Calvinism as much as the fact that we are sinners trying to run a church of sinners and we wrongly understand what constitutes Biblical leadership. (Thank you Rick Warren and Leadership Network). They put ‘leaders’ in charge of these churches which are decided based on worldly values, business acumen, and other unbiblical criteria. And then when it falls apart we blame Calvinism, Arminianism, or Lutheranism or something, when it was something FAR more basic than that and actually if you looked deeper into it, it was a departure from and inconsistent application of what they claim to believe (the Bible) about the church.

    I highly recommend listening to Rod Rosenbladt’s “The Gospel for those Broken By the Church” available for free at his son’s website, New Reformation Press. I think it might shed some light on the fact that it isn’t Calvinism at all, as Lutherans and Wesleyans and every group suffers from it… but what it is is a confusion of God’s two words – law and gospel – resulting a law-driven approach to dealing with people both inside and outside the church. It is essentially a mixing of man’s natural religion (law, which we can never measure up to, even our own silly rules) and God’s religion (forgiveness of sins in Christ).


  3. terriergal said, on July 9, 2012 at 2:24 PM

    A couple easy to read books I might recommend (for a negative eye opener) is “Transitioning: Leading your church through change” (Dan Southerland) and “the Purpose Driven Church.” (Rick Warren)

    Rick warren wrote a glowing foreword to the former, and wrote the latter himself. Both books teach pastors that the Bible instructs them to ‘get a vision’ for the church (i.e. a business goal) and assume it’s from God and then ignore criticism and steamroll everyone who has objections. THAT is where it comes from. I also listened to all 8 People think that because of Rick Warren’s Purpose Driven Life emphasis on nothing being an accident that he’s a Calvinist. But in spite of his claims, the way he goes about things is actually quite Pelagian, or at best semi-pelagian, which tells me what his true belief is.

    Unfortunately people like John Piper (who must be losing it) and others who ought to know better keep buying the lies Rick is selling. Another name that is essentially the midwest’s Rick Warren would be Bill Hybels. And then you have people like Steven Furtick and Perry Noble who routinely verbally beat up on people all in the name of doing church for the unchurched. Pastors circle the wagons, pat each other on the backs, and think they keep each other accountable. But they are not accountable to each other at all. They OUGHT to be accountable to the people with whom they have to deal on a day to day basis. But too often they get popular and find they have the power to just cut that person out of their life instead of listening to them.

    Please check out Suzanne Sataline’s report in 07 entitled “Veneration Gap” — that is talking about the Purpose Driven Church’s propensity to create schism in churches. I was one who spoke with her on the phone regarding this phenomenon. In both Purpose Driven Church and Transitioning you will find recipes for ‘church discipline’ – except that it is to oust those who disagree, not actually people who are causing real problems. Typically the really divisive people are the leadership.

    Often when someone approaches a pastor about a real problem, they know there is something wrong but they are unable to express it in crystal clear terms. They may have a bad attitude (I know I did) which makes the pastor feel justified, falsely. A sheep with a bad attitude is a sick sheep and the pastor’s job is to get them the care they need so that they can figure out what the real problem is. This takes a lot of patience and hard work, to which the pastor is called by his Lord. These are the sheep for whom Christ died. How dare we ignore their pleas.

    However most of these guys won’t even listen unless comes with their case laid out in a rock solid manner. And even if they do, they just dismiss it as the sheep’s problem and go on. Or they give a little time to the sheep, to placate them, and send them on their way. But they don’t do the hard work of struggling through the problem with their church member to find out where the real issue lies. This pastor stuff is hard work, it really is, and we have a bunch of jokers out there playing church because they have zeal without knowledge. They think they can run a church on the power of their usually winning personality. But that isn’t what it takes. My brother preached at his brother’s ordination ceremony from Ezekiel 4… where Ezekiel has to bind himself and lie on his side for an unbearably long time and eat bread cooked over human dung to symbolize Israel’s sin. The point being that the pastor must suffer along with his flock, must agonize over them. But these guys want it to be easy and glamorous and ego fulfilling for them.

    This Purpose Driven/Seeker Sensitive deception is actually very subtle, plays on people’s guilt and desire to reach the lost, and sadly is very mixed in among legitimate pastors and churches. You simply can’t lump them all in together these days under the banner of ‘neo calvinism.’ I really start to wonder if this is part of the great delusion because it crosses all denominational and organizational boundaries.


    • pauldohse said, on July 9, 2012 at 2:41 PM

      terriegal, Piper fellowships and networks with Warren/Doug Wilson because as Piper states it: he [they] have the gospel right [ie, the fusion of just/sanc]. everything else is secondary.

      > —–Original Message—– >


  4. terriergal said, on July 9, 2012 at 2:25 PM

    OOPS “I also listened to all 8” I didn’t finish that sentence. I also listened to all 8 of Dan Southerland’s “Transitioning” seminar audio files. The condescending attitude with which he mocked these imperfect sheep in his stories was horrific. And he’s a pastor?? He is STILL a pastor!


    • pauldohse said, on July 9, 2012 at 3:02 PM

      ….and Piper is the same way–he just hides it better.They are all meaner than junkyard dogs with a bite that the latter can only envy. Only once have I experienced the joy of walking past a secretary and barging into an office of one of these guys (NONE OF WHICH ARE MENTIONED HERE, BUT IT WOULD BE AWESOME IF I EVER GOT THE OPPORTUNITY) and rebuking him. The astonished look on his face that anyone would dare do that to someone of his importance was blissfully classic. These guys are really good at pushing women and children around, and instructing their little 20-something minions on how to neutralize thinkers while they hide behind the scenes;so, I really enjoy getting in their faces. All of the stuff these guys teach about humbleness is beyond joke. I have been behind closed doors in private conversations with many of the who’s who of New Calvinism–they are arrogant beyond your wildest imagination. Their false humility just gags me. paul

      > —–Original Message—– >


      • paulspassingthoughts said, on July 9, 2012 at 3:16 PM

        ….I think that comment reflects the fact that I have been cooped up in the office for three days plus I don’t like bullies–I don’t know that anything is more annoying to me than a bully.


  5. Julie Anne said, on July 9, 2012 at 3:13 PM

    Paul, my former pastor used to preach on humility and every time he did (that I recall), he used himself as an example showing how his humility led Mrs. MacArthur to ask him to sit at the right hand of John MacArthur at a special luncheon honoring young pastors. This same story was told at least 5 times in the 2 years we were there. One member who was there a few years longer than me said under her breath that she’d go crazy if she had to hear it one more time. Humility, no, more like pride.


    • pauldohse said, on July 9, 2012 at 3:27 PM

      Julie Anne,

      I am in a particularly foul mood today because I received another correspondence from a church who “knows something is wrong, but we just can’t put our finger on it.” WHY DON’T NEW CALVINISTS JUST START THEIR OWN CHURCHES??????? WHY DO THEY HAVE TO COVERTLY UNDERMINE THE PAST LABORS OF OTHERS WHILE CLAIMING THOSE DEAR PEOPLE ARE THE PROPONENTS OF AN EVANGELICAL DARK AGE?????? Humility my @#&%. Gag, gag, gag, gag.

      > —–Original Message—– >


      • Julie Anne said, on July 9, 2012 at 3:36 PM

        I guess I’ve been in a foul mood for 3-1/2 years, huh? LOL Let’s have a gag party. blech! Each and every spiritual abuse story I receive (and I usually get at least one a day from people all over the country), sends my head spinning and I go the whole range of emotions, sadness, anger, etc. My poor family.


      • pauldohse said, on July 9, 2012 at 3:55 PM

        JAR, It must blow their minds that you aren’t backing down, and frankly, if CTR wins, we will see all out lawsuit war on bloggers. You wait, the same one’s telling CTR that he overreacted will follow his example.

        > —–Original Message—– >


    • paulspassingthoughts said, on July 9, 2012 at 10:52 PM

      Soooooooo, CTR is/was that tight with Mac which means where I’m putting my money is on the idea that CTR was given the green light to sue you and others who have real jobs. And let’s pretend: it was really Phil Johnson’s idea to stop blogging.


  6. BR said, on July 28, 2012 at 4:55 AM

    Wow… this conversation has shamefully decended into some seriously self-righteous judgement and gossip. Taking this poor woman’s situation with a very abusive pastor and then twisting it into fodder that serves a mis-guided, anti-calvinism agena is pretty startling. Do you not realize the very attitiude many of you are accusing these “new calvinism” pastors of having, you are proudly displaying yourselves?? You have subtly but systematically abolished anyone who identifies with calvinist theology from the true church of Christ. How sad.

    Here’s a news flash for ya’ll… churches don’t descend into error and abuse because they believe in the sovereign God the Bible teaches of (Calvin’s comments on Scripture echoed words penned hundreds of years before him, including words of men like St. Augustine and the apostle Paul). No, churches decend into error because they are full of PEOPLE, and people are fallen and broken. Spiritual abuse happens in churches from ALL kinds of denominations, and where it may happen slightly more in certain circles… I guarantee you other errors and abuses of other kinds are happening in the rest. It’s simply because we are all sinners and in desperate need of a Savior.

    But here’s the crazy thing: God still chooses to love and use His broken church full of broken people… and He always has! If you read many of Paul’s letters to the churches, and the words of Jesus to the churches in Revelation, you’ll quickly see that churches have been pretty messed up since the beginning. This does not mean I advocate the continuation of error and sin… but our approach to it should be sober and in the greatest measure of grace. The church is still the bride of Christ, and one day He will come for it and redeem it.

    I sincerely hope the pastor of Beaverton Grace Bible will repent and start to show others the grace he has been shown by God, and I do hope this lady who was hurt by him can heal. Even in all this, I pray as Jesus prayed that His church would be one, united in love and on mission for the Kingdom.


    • paulspassingthoughts said, on July 28, 2012 at 7:05 AM

      Super 77,
      Your four paragraph treatise is the same old scripted response handed down by mystic despots to their Kool-Aid drinking followers. Please learn to think for yourself.


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