Paul's Passing Thoughts

Sent by “Ghostwriter”: Recipe for a Hostile Takeover

Posted in Uncategorized by pptmoderator on October 31, 2014

Originally published June 28, 2013

PPT HandlePreamble: An anonymous person sent me the following satire of New Calvinist Ernest Reisinger’s article on how to take over a church covertly. Reisinger left the Earth in 2004. He was one of the forefathers of the present-day New Calvinist movement. I detail Reisinger’s departure from Presbyterian circles for the sole purpose of taking over the SBC with the Australian Forum’s doctrine in my fifteen-page addendum to The Truth About New Calvinism: Volume One (TANC Publishing 2011). Reisinger and his brother John were part of a small group of men associated with the Forum who believed that they had rediscovered the true Reformation gospel. And they were right. But key was the fact that they were also armed with the Forum’s brilliant systemization of the doctrine for contemporary consumption—a feat that has given New Calvinism its staying power.

This small group of men set the precedent and procedure for covert takeovers. The protocol was further articulated in Dan Southerland’s book, “Transitioning: Leading Your Church Through Change” (Zondervan 1999). Ghostwriter is a member of a church in America, which means that it is in the process of being taken over by New Calvinists or the takeover is complete; hence, good reason to remain anonymous because these guys will utterly ruin your life if you stand up to them. How? Well, for one, most American Christian wives just want to be a member of a church and enjoy the community of it without any controversy. It’s just the way Protestants have been programmed over the years. This is one of the points of exploitation, among many that are used. And unfortunately, a change of membership will more than likely find the same problem.

The only answer is to reject the New Calvinist premise altogether and come out from among them. Unfortunately, much more carnage will have to be displayed before that happens to any significant degree.

paul

 

Recipe for a Hostile Takeover

It’s the “Little Red Book” of hostile Reformed church takeover, publically available for all to see. (My italics are the satire, obviously)

“Therefore He says: “Awake, you who sleep, Arise from the dead, And Christ will give you light.”

“whose minds the god of this age has blinded, who do not believe, lest the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine on them.”

_______________________________________________________________________________________________________

REFORMING A LOCAL CHURCH

STRENGTHEN THE THINGS THAT REMAIN

by Ernest C. Reisinger

Rev. 3:2

“Wake up! Strengthen what remains and is about to die…”

Rev. 3:4

“Yet you have a few people…who have not soiled their clothing.”

Chapter III

SOME PRACTICAL SUGGESTIONS FOR THE CONTEMPORARY SCENE- ( i.e. an unsuspecting, biblically sound free-grace preaching Church in need of radical reform )

Some who read this pamphlet are in, or will be in a reforming (hostile takeover) situation. And each situation has some different obstacles to deal with. The size of the church and the staff will make some difference in the approach as will the kind of membership, (discerning Christians- avoid these churches like the plague, or ripe-for-harvest mindless troglodytes already under the influence of Nicolaitanism, seek these for takeover) the spiritual caliber of the leadership (see above). I wish we had some little pamphlet with ten rules to success (we don’t now but one is probably forthcoming, every other dictatorship on earth has a pamphlet like the little red book, etc), but it is not that simple. There are not ten rules to guarantee success. There are some principles, however, that will always be helpful and will save some shipwrecks .

1. Don’t try any reformation until you have earned some spiritual credibility with the church (Pretend you are what you aren’t, hide your true views from the search committee and the congregation until you have suckered them in, be sure to throw in an old-time revival/gospel meeting every now and then to woo the wary).

2. The first suggestion is study the biblical principle of accommodation. There is a little pamphlet on this subject (The Principle of Biblical Accommodation as Applied to the Invitation System), (shows you how to pretend to be a free-grace preacher until you have your hand-picked elders and a quarter of the congregants under your sway) and an excellent message on tape by Thomas K. Ascol. This is available through The Christian Gospel Foundation, 521 Wildwood Parkway, Cape Coral, FL 33904, or Pastor Thomas K. Ascol, Grace Baptist Church, 204 SW 11th Place, Cape Coral, FL 33991.

3. Three questions should be asked, and carefully answered:

a) What is the right, biblical thing to do?

b) How should these changes be implemented?

c) When should they be implemented? Don’t try to do too much too soon. Many mistakes have been made by doing the right thing in the wrong way or at the wrong time (because even ignorant congregants were able to quickly see through the cloak.

4, The principle of priorities must be applied. You can’t change everything at once–first things first (go slow, it will take time to deceive).

5. The principle of two churches must be before us at all times.

a) The church as it should be, conceived from the scriptures (actually the Calvin Institutes, Westminster, various Baptist confessions of faith), in idealism–never abandon this.

b) The church as it is–the one you look at 11:00 on Sunday morning (you know, the one that has real people with real Scriptural beliefs in it?).  One must realize that the two shall never meet on earth, but you will find joy and satisfaction in narrowing (weeding out the Arminian Free Grace miscreants) the difference between them, that is, when you see the one you look at on Sunday morning make some steps toward the (Calvinist) ideal one.

6. The principle of church membership. Don’t make church membership any narrower than the New Testament (suck in as many poor saps as you can before you uncork the bottle).

7. The principle of restraint. Don’t tackle the whole church at one time (this will never work for reasons stated above).  Choose a few men who are sincere, teachable (unwary, biblically unlearned, unwilling to engage brains in coherent thought, nice guys but mindless) and spiritually minded (religious but not holding to any solid beliefs except that somehow Christ died for them) and spend time with them (indoctrinating them in your intellectually superior beliefs ) in study and prayer. They will help you to reform (because they don’t know any better). This principle is found in Titus 1:5: “For this cause left I thee behind in Crete, that thou shouldest set in order the things that are wanting and ordain elders in every city, as I had appointed thee.” Acts 14:23: “And when they had ordained them elders in every church, and had prayed with fasting, they commended them to the Lord, on whom they believed.” Acts 1 1:30: “Which also they did, and sent it to the elders by the hands of Barnabas and Saul.” Acts 20:17,28: “And from Miletus he sent to Ephesus, and called the elders of the church. Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood.” Don’t get bogged down with what you call these men until they are trained (indoctrinated)–they are called overseers–elders (putty in your hands, yes-men).

8. Don’t get hung up on secondary matters  (like preaching the Gospel, helping the poor, widows in the congregation).

9. Don’t use theological language that is not in the Bible, in the pulpit, such as, Calvinism, reformed, doctrines of grace, particular redemption etc. (duh, these aren’t in the Bible for a reason, moron. We are trying to take over a church here, not preach the truth). Most people will not know what you are talking about (because it is not found in the Bible and any discerning Christian will throw you out on your ear if they hear these terms, indoctrinate them slowly with simplistic language).

10. Use sound literature, not indiscriminately, but wisely. Little things at first, that is, pamphlets and books with some doctrinal and experimental substance (written by John Piper, RC Sproul, perhaps Jonathan Edwards… Those first two are the most important).

11. Don’t use the pulpit to scold people. You cannot scold people into reformation (you can only trick them into reformation).

12. Exercise common sense (see above. Don’t be an impatient idiot and get yourself canned).

13. Depend on the only weapons we have: prayer, preaching and teaching (wielding the newfound power of your inner circle of yes-men).

14. Be sure that you understand the foundational doctrines and how they are related to each other and to your situation (you freakin well better have completely aced the TULIP test).

15. I would suggest that you check the history of your church in respect to early constitutions or declarations of faith. Often you will find, particularly, in older churches, a statement expressing the doctrines which you desire to establish (in other words a Church that has already tried reform theology but it blew up in their face, don’t worry, our new brand will work). A gracious appeal to this document will help to give you credibility, at least they will know that you are not coming from Mars (just from infiltrated seminaries completely out of touch with reality and the laity and completely under the influence of the doctrines of men).  Hide behind these articles of faith (I can’t even think of anything sarcastic to say to this, can’t believe it is so blatant). Hide behind our Baptist fathers, such as Bunyan, Spurgeon, Fuller, Boyce, Dagg, Broadus, Manly, W. B. Johnson, R. B. C. Howell and B. H. Carroll (because they will love you if you quote their founding fathers until you are ready to reveal your true colors).

Most of these suggestions come from experience, and, she is a queer old teacher. She first gives you the test and then the lesson. Unlike other teaching (which relies on Scripture to give the lesson).

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Sent by “Ghostwriter”: Recipe for a Hostile Takeover

Posted in Uncategorized by Paul M. Dohse Sr. on June 28, 2013

ppt-jpeg4Preamble: An anonymous person sent me the following satire of New Calvinist Ernest Reisinger’s article on how to take over a church covertly. Reisinger left the Earth in 2004. He was one of the forefathers of the present-day New Calvinist movement. I detail Reisinger’s departure from Presbyterian circles for the sole purpose of taking over the SBC with the Australian Forum’s doctrine in my fifteen-page addendum to The Truth About New Calvinism: Volume One (TANC Publishing 2011). Reisinger and his brother John were part of a small group of men associated with the Forum who believed that they had rediscovered the true Reformation gospel. And they were right. But key was the fact that they were also armed with the Forum’s brilliant systemization of the doctrine for contemporary consumption—a feat that has given New Calvinism its staying power.

This small group of men set the precedent and procedure for covert takeovers. The protocol was further articulated in Dan Southerland’s book, “Transitioning: Leading Your Church Through Change” (Zondervan 1999). Ghostwriter is a member of a church in America, which means that it is in the process of being taken over by New Calvinists or the takeover is complete; hence, good reason to remain anonymous because these guys will utterly ruin your life if you stand up to them. How? Well, for one, most American Christian wives just want to be a member of a church and enjoy the community of it without any controversy. It’s just the way Protestants have been programmed over the years. This is one of the points of exploitation, among many that are used. And unfortunately, a change of membership will more than likely find the same problem.

The only answer is to reject the New Calvinist premise altogether and come out from among them. Unfortunately, much more carnage will have to be displayed before that happens to any significant degree.

paul

 

Recipe for a Hostile Takeover

It’s the “Little Red Book” of hostile Reformed church takeover, publically available for all to see. (My italics are the satire, obviously)

“Therefore He says: “Awake, you who sleep, Arise from the dead, And Christ will give you light.”

“whose minds the god of this age has blinded, who do not believe, lest the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine on them.”

_______________________________________________________________________________________________________

REFORMING A LOCAL CHURCH

STRENGTHEN THE THINGS THAT REMAIN

by Ernest C. Reisinger

Rev. 3:2

“Wake up! Strengthen what remains and is about to die…”

Rev. 3:4

“Yet you have a few people…who have not soiled their clothing.”

Chapter III

SOME PRACTICAL SUGGESTIONS FOR THE CONTEMPORARY SCENE- ( i.e. an unsuspecting, biblically sound free-grace preaching Church in need of radical reform )

Some who read this pamphlet are in, or will be in a reforming (hostile takeover) situation. And each situation has some different obstacles to deal with. The size of the church and the staff will make some difference in the approach as will the kind of membership, (discerning Christians- avoid these churches like the plague, or ripe-for-harvest mindless troglodytes already under the influence of Nicolaitanism, seek these for takeover) the spiritual caliber of the leadership (see above). I wish we had some little pamphlet with ten rules to success (we don’t now but one is probably forthcoming, every other dictatorship on earth has a pamphlet like the little red book, etc), but it is not that simple. There are not ten rules to guarantee success. There are some principles, however, that will always be helpful and will save some shipwrecks .

1. Don’t try any reformation until you have earned some spiritual credibility with the church (Pretend you are what you aren’t, hide your true views from the search committee and the congregation until you have suckered them in, be sure to throw in an old-time revival/gospel meeting every now and then to woo the wary).

2. The first suggestion is study the biblical principle of accommodation. There is a little pamphlet on this subject (The Principle of Biblical Accommodation as Applied to the Invitation System), (shows you how to pretend to be a free-grace preacher until you have your hand-picked elders and a quarter of the congregants under your sway) and an excellent message on tape by Thomas K. Ascol. This is available through The Christian Gospel Foundation, 521 Wildwood Parkway, Cape Coral, FL 33904, or Pastor Thomas K. Ascol, Grace Baptist Church, 204 SW 11th Place, Cape Coral, FL 33991.

3. Three questions should be asked, and carefully answered:

a) What is the right, biblical thing to do?

b) How should these changes be implemented?

c) When should they be implemented? Don’t try to do too much too soon. Many mistakes have been made by doing the right thing in the wrong way or at the wrong time (because even ignorant congregants were able to quickly see through the cloak.

4, The principle of priorities must be applied. You can’t change everything at once–first things first (go slow, it will take time to deceive).

5. The principle of two churches must be before us at all times.

a) The church as it should be, conceived from the scriptures (actually the Calvin Institutes, Westminster, various Baptist confessions of faith), in idealism–never abandon this.

b) The church as it is–the one you look at 11:00 on Sunday morning (you know, the one that has real people with real Scriptural beliefs in it?).  One must realize that the two shall never meet on earth, but you will find joy and satisfaction in narrowing (weeding out the Arminian Free Grace miscreants) the difference between them, that is, when you see the one you look at on Sunday morning make some steps toward the (Calvinist) ideal one.

6. The principle of church membership. Don’t make church membership any narrower than the New Testament (suck in as many poor saps as you can before you uncork the bottle).

7. The principle of restraint. Don’t tackle the whole church at one time (this will never work for reasons stated above).  Choose a few men who are sincere, teachable (unwary, biblically unlearned, unwilling to engage brains in coherent thought, nice guys but mindless) and spiritually minded (religious but not holding to any solid beliefs except that somehow Christ died for them) and spend time with them (indoctrinating them in your intellectually superior beliefs ) in study and prayer. They will help you to reform (because they don’t know any better). This principle is found in Titus 1:5: “For this cause left I thee behind in Crete, that thou shouldest set in order the things that are wanting and ordain elders in every city, as I had appointed thee.” Acts 14:23: “And when they had ordained them elders in every church, and had prayed with fasting, they commended them to the Lord, on whom they believed.” Acts 1 1:30: “Which also they did, and sent it to the elders by the hands of Barnabas and Saul.” Acts 20:17,28: “And from Miletus he sent to Ephesus, and called the elders of the church. Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood.” Don’t get bogged down with what you call these men until they are trained (indoctrinated)–they are called overseers–elders (putty in your hands, yes-men).

8. Don’t get hung up on secondary matters  (like preaching the Gospel, helping the poor, widows in the congregation).

9. Don’t use theological language that is not in the Bible, in the pulpit, such as, Calvinism, reformed, doctrines of grace, particular redemption etc. (duh, these aren’t in the Bible for a reason, moron. We are trying to take over a church here, not preach the truth). Most people will not know what you are talking about (because it is not found in the Bible and any discerning Christian will throw you out on your ear if they hear these terms, indoctrinate them slowly with simplistic language).

10. Use sound literature, not indiscriminately, but wisely. Little things at first, that is, pamphlets and books with some doctrinal and experimental substance (written by John Piper, RC Sproul, perhaps Jonathan Edwards… Those first two are the most important).

11. Don’t use the pulpit to scold people. You cannot scold people into reformation (you can only trick them into reformation).

12. Exercise common sense (see above. Don’t be an impatient idiot and get yourself canned).

13. Depend on the only weapons we have: prayer, preaching and teaching (wielding the newfound power of your inner circle of yes-men).

14. Be sure that you understand the foundational doctrines and how they are related to each other and to your situation (you freakin well better have completely aced the TULIP test).

15. I would suggest that you check the history of your church in respect to early constitutions or declarations of faith. Often you will find, particularly, in older churches, a statement expressing the doctrines which you desire to establish (in other words a Church that has already tried reform theology but it blew up in their face, don’t worry, our new brand will work). A gracious appeal to this document will help to give you credibility, at least they will know that you are not coming from Mars (just from infiltrated seminaries completely out of touch with reality and the laity and completely under the influence of the doctrines of men).  Hide behind these articles of faith (I can’t even think of anything sarcastic to say to this, can’t believe it is so blatant). Hide behind our Baptist fathers, such as Bunyan, Spurgeon, Fuller, Boyce, Dagg, Broadus, Manly, W. B. Johnson, R. B. C. Howell and B. H. Carroll (because they will love you if you quote their founding fathers until you are ready to reveal your true colors).

Most of these suggestions come from experience, and, she is a queer old teacher. She first gives you the test and then the lesson. Unlike other teaching (which relies on Scripture to give the lesson).

The Hostile Takeover of the SBC by “Aggressive Calvinism” Began in 1982

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

Addendum to Second Edition: The Truth About New Calvinism

Very well, if folks want to refer to the New Calvinists taking over the SBC as “aggressive Calvinism,” that will work; New Calvinists are very aggressive. The events going on in the SBC right now are a mirror image of Coral Ridge, Clearcreek Chapel, NANC, and many, many other examples. Some months prior, a Presbyterian pastor/acquaintance of mine warned a church that called him for references regarding a new pastor for their church; in essence, he told them, “there is a dangerous movement afoot and the proponents are very stealth in regard to what they really believe—be careful.” They didn’t listen. The tragic results are all too common. The present debate over the SBC name change is part of it, and Southern Baptists better win that symbolic battle in order to hold ground. There is hope; the Daviess-McLean Baptist Association recently took a stand against “aggressive Calvinism.” If the SBC survives, it will only be because others follow their example.

More hope: there are lots of folks in the SBC who do not like hyper-Calvinists who also concern real Calvinists. New Calvinism is hyper-Calvinism in both justification (salvation) and sanctification (plenary hyper-Calvinism). So if many Southern Baptists do not like hyper-Calvinism, they should dislike the double hyper-Calvinists even more who are in the process of taking over the convention, and seeking to wipe out the memory of the SBC they secretly despise. Yes, there is hope, but SBC protestants need to better identify the enemy. We need to get rid of the “aggressive [New] Calvinists” first,  and then have discussion about the hypers and the standards later. Aggressive Calvinists threaten the very existence of the SBC. We have our problems, and we may even be on life support, but Dr. Kevorkian presiding over our condition is not the answer—neither do I think he should be able to plunder SBC resources before he pulls the plug.

The Difference Between the Old and the New    

This is not difficult. One only needs to examine their mantras to know the difference between Old and New Calvinism. “The same gospel that saved you also sanctifies you.” “We must preach the gospel to ourselves every day.” “The gospel isn’t the entry point of Christianity, it is the A-Z of Christianity” [even though Christ referred to the gospel as an entry point to the kingdom, and the apostle Paul referred to the gospel as a “foundation”: 1Corinthians 3:10-15, Romans 15:20]. If we are sanctified by salvation, what does that say about what Aggressive [New] Calvinists believe about sanctification? All Christians, whether Calvinistic or otherwise, believe that salvation is by faith alone and not works. Theologians call this “monergistic.” However, we also believe that sanctification is “synergistic,” meaning that the new birth enables us to co-labor with God in the sanctification process as friends devoted to Him in the truest sense. In other words, our marvelous God has made a way to be reconciled to Him while also enabling us to participate in His work in a truly legitimate way despite our weakness. The Bible specifically refers to us as God’s co-laborers in 1Corinthians 3:9, 1Thessalonians 3:2, and 2 Corinthians 6:1.

But obviously, if we are sanctified by monergism, sanctification must also be monergistic (a work by God alone). And as indicated elsewhere in this book, this is critical because the law (Scripture) is a primary conduit used to participate in God’s work. If we cannot participate in sanctification, neither can we uphold God’s law in sanctification any more than we could in justification. This is the crux of the matter. The real issue is the church’s primary nemesis used by the kingdom of darkness throughout the ages: against every word that proceeds from the mouth of God. This is what theologians call “antinomianism,” and as discussed in chapter one, the Bible predicts that it will be the spirit of the last days. Christ and the apostles framed the last days in context of “anomia” (primarily, 2Thessalonians, chapter 2; Matthew 7:23, 13:41, 24:11,12; 2Corinthians 6:14; Titus 2:14). It’s the same type word, used in all of these cited verses regarding the spirit, fellowship, love, antichrist, and redemption of the last days, as our English word “atypical,” or “against/anti what is normal.” Old Calvinists do not believe in monergistic sanctification which necessarily makes us antinomians. And orthodox evangelicalism has never believed in sanctification by faith alone. The modern-day epitome of Old Calvinism, Dr. Peter Masters, stated the following:

     The new Calvinism is not a resurgence but an entirely novel formula which strips the doctrine of its historic practice, and unites it with the world (The Merger of Calvinism with Worldliness from Sword & Trowel 2009, No. 1 by Dr Peter Masters).

And this by Calvinistic Baptist Donn Arms, M.Div.:

    Justification is monergistic, sanctification is synergistic. Walking is what I do, not something Christ does for me (Institute for Nouthetic Studies blog: Archives; Gospel Sanctification, May 13, 2011 Gospel Sanctification comments section).

Despite their adamant denials concerning the above, the simplicity of the Aggressive Calvinist mantras will always betray them in regard to their lies. And as discussed elsewhere in this book, all of their massive doctrinal pontification is discussion on how to make an overly passive sanctification work with the blessed truth of our Lord and Savior. Our brother Jude called Him our “absolute ruler” (despotace) and “supreme commander” (kooreeos).

Thirdly, Old Calvinists, unlike the Aggressive Calvinists, do not believe in the fusion of justification and sanctification. Listen to what Old Calvinist Jay Adams (no pun intended) said about “Gospel Sanctification” (the name given to New Calvinism [Aggressive Calvinism] before it was realized they are the same thing):

    The crux of the issue has to do with the unbiblical fusion of sanctification with justification. The latter is set forth not as “keeping” God’s commandments, but as bringing about change by concentrating on the cross. As one immerses himself in the cross of Christ, sanctifying growth occurs. The biblical truth is that we are to pursue fruit, which becomes a reality and the Spirit helps us grow in grace (Institute for Nouthetic Studies blog: Archives; Gospel Sanctification, May 9, 2011 by Jay Adams).

The fact that Aggressive Calvinism fuses justification and sanctification together can be seen clearly in their mantra-like anthems such as, “The same gospel that saves you also sanctifies you.” This completely distorts the orthodox view of justification which is a onetime declaration by God that His righteousness has been credited to our account in full. According to their own pithy truisms, justification continues and completes itself. That’s a huge problem. If justification is progressive (what they deceptively call “progressive sanctification”), we cannot be involved, except in whatever our involvement was concerning justification. Hence, “….because the believer’s role is reduced to a point that is not according to Scripture, he/she is deprived of the abundant life in a way God wants us to experience it for His glory and the arousing of  curiosity from  those who don’t have the hope of the gospel.” And, “….while reductionist theologies seek to reduce the believer’s role to the least common denominator, supposedly to make much of God and little of man, the elements that attempt to make it seem plausible are often complex and mutating. Therefore, instead of majoring on the application of what is learned from Scripture, believers are constantly clamoring about for some new angle that will give them a ‘deeper understanding’ of the gospel that saved them.”(p. 77, The Truth About New Calvinism).

Unless this doctrine is exposed and halted, it will leave the SBC in ruins.

New Covenant Theology Cannot be Separated from New Calvinism

It is important to note that New Calvinism entered into the SBC through Reformed Baptist circles. New Calvinism was conceived by the Australian Forum’s Centrality of the Objective Gospel (COG). The detailed history can be observed in the “History” section of The Truth About New Calvinism. Jon Zens, the father of New Covenant Theology (NCT), worked with the Forum to develop a systematic theology that would make COG plausible. Present Truth magazine was the Forum’s theological journal. Citing from volume 16, article 13, it is obvious that the Forum’s doctrine is exactly the same as present-day New Calvinism:

    Unless sanctification is rooted in justification and constantly returns to justification, it cannot escape the poisonous miasma of subjectivism, moralism or Pharisaism…. Since the life of holiness is fueled and fired by justification by faith, sanctification must constantly return to justification. Otherwise, the Christian cannot possibly escape arriving at a new self-righteousness. We cannot reach a point in sanctification where our fellowship with God does not rest completely on forgiveness of sins…. Christian existence is gospel existence. Sanctification is justification in action (emphasis mine).

As noted in The Truth About New Calvinism, Robert Brinsmead, the principle figure of the Forum, was intimately involved with Zens and the development of New Covenant Theology before Zens coined the phrase in 1981 (chapter 5). Zens himself said that Robert Brinsmead wrote articles in the Baptist Reformed Review (BRR) that accomplished the following: “The dynamic N.T. approach to law and gospel was stated forcefully by RDB [Robert D. Brinsmead]….” (Id. pages 56,57).  The BRR was the primary lightening rod in the law/gospel debate raging in Reformed Baptist circles at that time, and Robert Brinsmead was a contributing author at the behest of Jon Zens. Zens took the doctrine into Reformed Baptist circles, while the Forum was primarily responsible for spreading the doctrine in Presbyterian territory, especially Westminster Seminary. Also, according to Zens, Present Truth magazine was “….the largest English-speaking theological journal in the world at that time” (Id. p. 53).

Though COG/NCT  took on different nuances, COG and NCT share the same basic tenets that make the primary doctrine unique. They share the same unique hermeneutic, the same emphasis on progressive justification, the centrality of the gospel, a historic Christocentricity to the understanding and meaning of all reality, the personification of the law, the indicative/imperative prism, so-called “experiential Calvinism,” a majority view of Supersessionism, and especially unorthodox dichotomies of law and gospel (to name a few). The differences come in regard to how law and gospel relate to each other in order to make the doctrine fit together with “truth” in the best possible way. But they all believe that the same gospel that saves us also sanctifies us. Both infuse justification and sanctification.

The recognition that NCT is integral to New Calvinism is grudging and aloof among proponents. For example, DA Carson vigorously supports NCT by his actions, but when cornered verbally, espouses things that sound like, “I was for it before I was against it.” And,  “It depends on what the meaning of the word ‘is’ is.” A good example of this is an article by Jim Gunn entitled,  A Critique of New Covenant Theology (online source:  http://goo.gl/Pm9E9). The article is an apt specimen of how Carson and Tom Nettles vigorously support NCT, but refuse to acknowledge its validity in plain language. Other New Calvinist leaders openly acknowledge that the two are inseparable. One example is the elders of Clearcreek Chapel in Springboro, OH. They are a highly respected New Calvinist church regularly hosting notable teachers such as Paul David Tripp, Stuart Scott, Dr. Robert D. Jones, and Dr. Lou Priolo. While embracing gospel centrality, they consider it all to be under the auspices of NCT. This can be seen best in a series preached there by Dr. Dale Evans entitled, A Gospel-Centered Hermeneutic: Foundations for a New Covenant Theology. In his introduction, Evans stated:

    Over the last several weeks, the pulpit ministry at Clearcreek Chapel has focused on presenting texts and issues related to the concept know[n] as New Covenant Theology. This morning we will look at a text and suggest that this idea under this label is exactly how the apostle Paul read and interpreted Scripture.

As a ministry that vigorously supports all the major tenets of New Calvinism such as Heart Theology, Redemptive Historical Hermeneutics, and Christian Hedonism, one of their pastors on staff, former radio personality Chad Bresson, is sometimes referred to as “the golden boy of central Ohio NCT.” He is also a member of the Earth Stove Society formed to promote NCT. On the other hand, he has a blog dedicated to the “Biblical Theology” of Geerhardus Vos, the father of Chrsitocentric Hermeneutics. He often posts articles by two former key figures of the Australian Forum on that same blog: Robert Brinsmead and Graeme Goldsworthy.

The Plot to Take over the SBC With COG

The plot to  take over the SBC with the Forum doctrine was hatched in a hotel room in Euless, Texas on November 13, 1982:

    Then, on November 13, 1982, [Ernest] Reisinger, Nettles and Malone met at a Holiday Inn in Euless, Texas, for prayer to seek God’s direction with respect to a Southern Baptist conference ministry. Nettles brought to the meeting several young men who had embraced the doctrines of grace. Among them were Bill and Tom Ascol, Ben Mitchell and evangelist R.F. Gates. Reisinger later called this one of the most meaningful prayer meetings in which he had ever participated. The attendees spent the first half of the day in prayer, reading Psalms and hymns. During the second half of the day, they discussed ideas. They finally settled on the idea of a conference with the doctrines of grace as its foundation. Thus began the Southern Baptist Founders Conference (Founders Ministries blog: The Beginnings of Reformation in The Southern Baptist Convention: The Rise of the Founders Movement).

Reisinger was a former Presbyterian turned Reformed Baptist, then Southern Baptist. He also knew Cornelius Van Til personally. Van Til, a Reformed Presbyterian with an inclination towards mysticism like his close friend Geerhardus Vos,  attended Reisinger’s ordination in 1971. As far as the movement begun by Reisinger and others to restore the “doctrines of grace” to the SBC, another Presbyterian by the name of John H. Armstrong was apparently present at its conception and describes the movement as the beginnings of the “neo-Calvinism” movement in a review of Time magazine’s  2009 assessment of the New Calvinism movement:

    I have watched this movement for neo-Calvinism from its infancy. I personally attended the first meeting (and several more the years following) of the group that started this effort back in the 1980s. I personally knew the founder who dreamed up the idea of recovering Calvinism in the SBC [Ernie Reisinger] and then spread the “doctrines of grace” very widely. He is now with the Lord [ie., five years prior in 2004]….I was also involved in the various “gospel” recovery groups which were begun, now creating large gatherings of folk who believe they are the people who are preaching and recovering the “biblical gospel” (John H. Armstrong blog: The New Calvinism, Archives; March 31, 2009).

The early eighties is when the combination of the Forum, their theological journal, and the push among Reformed Baptist by Jon Zens (with the help of Robert Brinsmead) began to rapidly expand. And the torch carried forth was the idea that the Forum had recovered the lost doctrines of grace. Armstrong makes that clear:

    The sixteenth-century rediscovery of Paul’s objective message of justification by faith [and sanctification also because justification is supposedly progressive] came upon the religious scene of that time with a force and passion that totally altered the course of human history. It ignited the greatest reformation and revival known since Pentecost.

Now, if the Fathers of the early church, so nearly removed in time from Paul, lost touch with the Pauline message, how much more is this true in succeeding generations? The powerful truth of righteousness by faith needs to be restated plainly, and understood clearly, by every new generation.

In our time we are awash in a “Sea of Subjectivism,” as one magazine put it over twenty years ago. Let me explain. In 1972 a publication known as Present Truth published the results of a survey with a five-point questionnaire which dealt with the most basic issues between the medieval church and the Reformation. Polling showed 95 per cent of the “Jesus People” were decidedly medieval and anti-Reformation in their doctrinal thinking about the gospel. Among church-going Protestants they found ratings nearly as high.

Reading Scott Hahn’s testimony in his book, Rome Sweet Home (Ignatius Press, 1993), I discovered the same misunderstanding. Here can be found a complete and total failure to perceive the truths of grace, faith and the righteousness of God. No wonder Hahn left his Presbyterian Church of America ordination behind to become a Roman Catholic. He did not understand the gospel in the first place, as his own words demonstrate.

I do not believe that the importance of the doctrine of justification by faith can be overstated. We are once again in desperate need of recovery. Darkness has descended upon the evangelical world in North America and beyond, much as it had upon the established sixteenth-century church (The Highway blog: Article of the Month, Sola Fide: Does It Really Matter?; Dr. John H. Armstrong).

According to Armstrong: “We are once again in desperate need of recovery. Darkness has descended upon the evangelical world in North America and beyond, much as it had upon the established sixteenth-century church.” Apparently, light came “twenty years” prior to his writing of that post via the Forum’s Present Truth magazine. That was the mindset of  the “Reformation” movement in the early eighties that is now New Calvinism. The details of this are  expanded  in chapter four of The Truth About New Calvinism.

A Proven Method   

Reisinger was no stranger to how the formation of conferences could affect the taking over of Christian groups. He witnessed firsthand how this was done by Jon Zens in 1979:

    At the fall Banner of Truth Conference in 1979, Ron McKinney spoke with lain Murray, Ernie Reisinger and others about the possibility of having a conference where some aspects of Reformed theology could be discussed and evaluated by men of differing viewpoints (Jon Zens: Law And Ministry In The Church: An Informal Essay On Some Historical Developments (1972-1984).

That conference ended up being the first “1980 Council on Baptist Theology” held in Plano, TX. It was the coming out party for New Covenant Theology, and eventually resulted in the formation of a denomination that split a large group of Reformed Baptists. Two years later, Reisinger would be leading the way for the same kind of “revival.” From the beginning, NCT/COG came forth from the womb with visions of grandeur,  splitting churches, deceiving, and wreaking havoc on God’s people. It will continue to do so until it is stopped.

But wasn’t Ernest Reisinger an opponent of NCT and a good friend of Walter Chantry who also opposed NCT? Apparently, Chantry was opposed to certain aspects of Zens’ teachings before it was NCT, especially the antinomian parts. As far as the who’s who of the evangelical world mugging together while differing on theology—what’s new?  NCT theology cannot be separated from New Calvinism over one of many disagreements among them concerning how law and gospel relate to each other. Still, they all believe in the fusion of justification and sanctification. Ernest Reisinger stated the following in “Lordship and Regeneration”:

    The Lordship teaching puts the order of salvation as follows: 1) Regeneration, 2) Faith (which includes repentance), 3) Justification, 4) Sanctification (distinct from but always joined to justification), and 5) Glorification.

The “always joined”  justification and sanctification is the fusion thereof,  and the “distinct[ion]” he is talking about is the supposed idea that sanctification is the progressive form of justification. Orthodox evangelicals believe no such thing. Also, his view of the distinctions between law and gospel are endorsed by proponents of Sonship Theology, which will certainly save one research on that wise concerning Reisinger (Gospel Discipling—The Crying Need of the Hour: Stephen E. Smallman; Executive Director, World Harvest Mission, November 1997).

Does Chantry believe in the synthesis of justification and sanctification? It’s not relevant—the primary point concerning Chantry is that he recognized antinomian elements of NCT early in the movement, and also, his role refutes the story among New Calvinists that this doctrine has always been widely accepted among other Reformed leaders. It might be noted that he didn’t launch an attempted takeover of the SBC which makes him less relevant than Reisinger, who also promoted the Founders movement among Southern Baptists by claiming that James Boyce believed in their form of  “Calvinism.” Did James Boice believe in the fusion of justification and sanctification? That’s doubtful.

Did the COG Come After the Reisinger, or Before the Ascol?

One of the participants in the “prayer meeting”/takeover plot at the Holiday Inn at Euless was Tom Ascol, heir apparent to Reisinger’s pastorate and Founders Ministries. Ascol is a consummate New Calvinist. On Grace Baptist Church’s website, under “core distinctives,” the following statement appears:

    The gospel is not an add-on to our services or merely an entry point to Christianity. The gospel is the message we preach and the means by which we persevere in the faith. We focus on applying the gospel to every area of living, including marriage, family, work, personal sanctification, evangelism, and Christian community.

In 2010, Ascol authored a resolution to the SBC’s annual convention entitled, “SBC Resolution on the Centrality of the Gospel.” In part, it reads:

    ….and be it further

RESOLVED, That we encourage churches in preaching, teaching, and discipleship to proclaim the gospel to unbelievers, showing them how to find peace with God, and to proclaim the gospel to believers, that through the renewing of our minds we might continually be transformed by the gospel.

Did Ascol embrace New Calvinism after the passing of an orthodox Ernest Reisinger? That’s very doubtful. Ascol said the following on Reisinger’s homepage:

    Ernie Reisinger has been a mentor, friend and great encourager to me in the ministry. I thank the Lord for his influence in my life. Tom Ascol Pastor of Grace Baptist Church, Cape Coral, Florida, Executive Director of Founders’ Ministries and Editor of Founders Journal. (The Reformed Reader blog homepage).

Ascol represents what Reisinger believed from the beginning. Ascol learned it from  Reisinger.  Armstrong places Reisinger at the beginning of the movement, and as an eyewitness, describes it to a “T.” And like all New Calvinists, Reisinger possessed an arrogance that crowned him the supposed savior of the SBC.

The SBC’s Dark Future

Unless the hostile takeover of the SBC is halted, Southern Baptists will be removed from history, its service assets compiled by sacred labor plundered, assemblies divided, and replaced with cult-like congregations. The very essence of this movement and its tenets breed cultish assemblies. The following can be read on page 134 of The Truth About New Calvinism:

    All this leads to many New Calvinist churches taking on cult-like tendencies. Exclusiveness (new Reformation), an attitude that some higher knowledge is a part of the movement that many are not “ready” for (the scandalous gospel), and a subjective view of Scripture (a gospel narrative, not instruction) is a mixture that will have bad results, and is the perfect formula for a cult-like church.

The footnote accompanying this quote also reads as follows:

    Many New Calvinist churches fit all eight descriptive points published by cultwatch.com: 1. Deception 2. Exclusiveness 3. Intimidation 4. Love Bombing  5. Relationship Control 6. Information Control  7. Reporting Structure 8. Time Control.

One example of this is New Calvinism’s dirty little secret about what they really believe concerning church discipline. They don’t believe in a Matthew 18 process to correct a particular situation—they believe in “redemptive church discipline.” What’s that?  It holds to the view that all sin is a result of one’s view of justification. Therefore, what they did is not the issue, their view of justification is the issue. So the discipline is “redemptive.” In other words, it is designed to bring the individual into New Calvinism and out of “evangelicalism” which New Calvinists continually liken to the Roman Catholicism that the “first reformers” contended against. This attitude  can be seen in the prior citation by Armstrong. Is this creepy and cultish? Absolutely.  Hints of this can be seen in a 2008 resolution to the SBC that (according to my understanding) Ascol contributed to:

RESOLVED, That we urge the churches of the Southern Baptist Convention to repent of the failure among us to live up to our professed commitment to regenerate church membership and any failure to obey Jesus Christ in the practice of lovingly correcting wayward church members (Matthew 18:15-18).

Notice the implication that church discipline regenerates.

Much could be discussed here just on the “deception” point alone, but I will close with one example that exemplifies the character of this movement. In heated back and forth correspondence with New Calvinists regarding the proposed connection between Founders and NCT, one of the contenders emailed Tom Ascol and asked him to verify that both Founders and Reisinger are/were anti-NCT. Ascol replied in the affirmative for them, and I was copied on the email. As evidence, Ascol claimed that Founders Press published the book, “In Defense Of The Decalogue” by Richard Barcellos (which is a devastating treatise against NCT). I found this very perplexing, and checked my copy. Sure enough, it was published by Barcellos himself through Winepress Publishing. Both the contenders and I have emailed Founders for an explanation, and are still waiting.

paul

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