Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Peter Masters on "The Merger of Calvinism with Worldliness"

A friend sent me a link to this article by Peter Masters, pastor of Metropolitan Tabernacle (Spurgeon's church) in London, with a frank critique of "the New Calvinism."
The article concludes:
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.

Why have the leading preachers servicing this movement compromised so readily? They have not been threatened by a Soviet regime. No one has held a gun to their heads. This is a shameful capitulation, and we must earnestly pray that what they have encouraged will not take over Calvinism and ruin a generation of reachable Christian young people.

A final sad spectacle reported with enthusiasm in the book is the Together for the Gospel conference, running from 2006. A more adult affair convened by respected Calvinists, this nevertheless brings together cessationists and non-cessationists, traditional and contemporary worship exponents, and while maintaining sound preaching, it conditions all who attend to relax on these controversial matters, and learn to accept every point of view. In other words, the ministry of warning is killed off, so that every -error of the new scene may race ahead unchecked. These are tragic days for authentic spiritual faithfulness, worship and piety.

True Calvinism and worldliness are opposites. Preparation of heart is needed if we would search the wonders and plumb the depths of sovereign grace. We find it in the challenging, convicting call of Joshua:

‘Now therefore fear the Lord, and serve him in sincerity and in truth: and put away the gods which your fathers served on the other side of the flood, and in Egypt; and serve ye the Lord. And if it seem evil unto you to serve the Lord, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.’


Anonymous said...

So the attempts of men like Al Mohler, Mark Dever, CJ Mahaney, John Piper, John MacArthur and others to exalt the Gospel above third level issues is causing worldliness? Are they preaching a Gospel other than that of Christ? No, certainly not. To tolerate non-cessationism or contemporary praise songs for the purpose of standing together for the Gospel of Christ is not to be equated with tolerating sin. In fact, if you take the time to read the works of the men who lead a conference like Together for the Gospel you'll find that they write forcefully from God's Word against any such thing.

Jeffrey T. Riddle said...


Maybe the question is, "Who gets to determine what a third-level issue is?" Mainline Lutherans might well say that the ordination of those unashamedly engaged in homosexual practice is "third level."

I have, in fact, read quite a bit from all those men, and I still resonate with Master's critique. Like Spurgeon, his predecessor, he is warning against a subtle "downgrade."


Travis Hilton said...

Brother Jeff,

I read this a while back. I'm still thinking deeply about where I saw a "downgrade" in the Gospel at the Together for the Gospel Conference. Still searching where I saw worldliness at such a meeting. The music was a mere piano with hymns. If that is considered worldly, then I'm afraid that many are without hope.


Jeffrey T. Riddle said...


To be clear on Master's point:

It does not seem to be about the music or content of the meeting itself (which he says featured 'sound preaching') but that it brought together "cessationists and noncessationists, traditional and charismatic worship exponents." His concern is that this "conditions all who attend to relax on these controversial matters, and learn to accept every point of view."