The Dangers of Calvinism (Part 2)


Mike picked up a booklet on the alleged dangers of Calvinism in 1998. Is the booklet right?


The Priority of Preaching - Part 3

Welcome to No Compromise Radio Ministry, forcing you to go to 1 .5
speed. My name is Mike Ebenroth, and I'm glad you have tuned in. You can always write me, mike at nocompromiseradio .com
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Christ for power, then maybe people don't listen as much. But hey, there's a lot of podcasts out there.
We've been doing this, I think, for over 15 years, so we're kind of grandpa podcasters.
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I have no idea if it helps or not. Today is part two, the dangers of reformed theology.
Ooh, the dangers of reformed theology. There's no danger of reformed theology.
That's the show. Have a good day. Welcome. The dangers of reformed theology.
Part two, published by Middletown Bible Church. Middletown Bible Church, Middleton, Connecticut. I got this booklet there for 50 cents in either 1997 or 1998.
Saw a conference there by John Whitcomb. I think he was going through Joshua, maybe Zechariah.
I can't remember exactly, but I wanted to hear John Whitcomb. And he kind of pulled me aside, by the way, and confronted me for being in the
John MacArthur circles, which I thought was interesting. I didn't understand what was going on.
And I just talked to him. He was kind of a grandpa at the time, and I was younger. I think I was 36 or 37 years old, so I just listened.
And that was that. Then I picked up the dangers of reformed theology. They were nice to me there,
I have to say that, even though they didn't really like my education. I believe I met George Zeller and a couple of other people, and they were kind to me.
And they didn't shun me. I believe, if memory serves, when I walked into that church, it's an
IFCA church, there was a dress code printed there upon entrance.
So, that's interesting. Today, we're up to the fifth danger of reformed theology.
So, to give you the update, according to George Zeller's... I don't know if he wrote it or not.
The questions go to him, so we better be safe. Middleton Bible Church. They gave a few good things about reformed theology.
Said some good things about William Hendrickson's commentaries, making significant contributions.
What else? Teaching that Jesus died for the elect only. That's the first danger.
Kept calling things extreme Calvinist. Are you a Calvinism? Calvinist? I don't know.
Well, you're more Calvinist than me, you must be extreme. That kind of thing. Number two, the danger of teaching that regeneration precedes faith.
So, we're on no -compromise radio. I guess we're dangerous. Extreme, because we believe that Jesus died for the ones that the
Father had given him. And he didn't die for Judas, he didn't die for Goliath, that type of thing,
Korah. And we believe that the only possible way you could ever believe is if you were made alive.
And you instantly believe, and in time, I guess they're simultaneous. From our perspective and theological perspective, it's regeneration precedes faith.
Philippians 1, verse 29. Faith is a gift, which, by the way, it says here.
I'm kind of arguing about that a little bit. And then Ephesians 2, 8 and 9. And Acts, maybe it's 18 -something.
I said 16 last show, but it might be Acts 18. They believe by grace. You can look that up on your own and find that.
That's in the book of Acts. Number three, the teaching, dangerous teaching that faith is a gift of God.
Seems like a—I don't know why they would go after that. I get the election thing in terms of Jesus dying for the elect.
I understand that. I sometimes understand the regeneration and faith part, although it's just a biblicalism type of thing in my mind.
It's not a theological issue, because theology would help you. I don't understand that, that faith is somehow a gift.
Yeah, I know you have to do it. I mean, you're responsible to believe, but you can't believe. And so he gives you the gift of faith.
I mean, what don't we have that we haven't received? Everything but faith?
Anyway. And then number four, the danger of adding additional requirements to saving faith. He doesn't say who it is.
I think he must be talking about MacArthur. I don't know exactly, because there are other proponents of lordship salvation.
Maybe he's talking about, in the old days, Gil Rue. Maybe he's talking about—I don't know.
But they are right at Middleton Bible Church that commitment and surrender and willingness to obey and demands of discipleship are the fruit and not the requirement.
They're the result, not the requirement. So I gave them some kudos there, even though I thought it could have been better.
More better. More better than Lee Dunn. All right. Number five on No Compromise Radio today, the dangers of reformed theology.
Why am I obsessed with this soundboard today? I need some more music. I need some different music.
What if you combine those two together? Sounds bad. The danger of teaching that the believer does not possess an old nature.
Not all reformed men hold on to this position, but many do, including John MacArthur, Mart Lloyd -Jones, and David Needham.
It was Needham who brought this one nature position to the forefront by publishing his book,
Birthright Christian, Do You Know Who You Are? MacArthur seems to be the spokesperson or spokesman, saying,
Biblical terminology, then, does not say that a Christian has two different natures. He has but one nature, the new nature in Christ.
The old self dies. The new self lives. They cannot coexist. A Christian is a single new person, a total new creation, not a spiritual schizophrenic.
And they quote MacArthur at length. Now, Middleton says, Holding such a view has some very practical significance.
If the believer only possesses a new nature, then we should expect the believer to be remarkably free from sin.
We would expect the believer to exhibit a quality of life which is truly exceptional. And they don't really say anything after that.
They tell you, buy their little booklet for $2 on one nature by Miles Stanford.
But that's really all they say. They don't get into anything about translations.
I think the NIV used old nature, new nature. But that wasn't from the original Greek. I don't think they have anything here about the flesh and the sin dwelling in me.
And they certainly don't have anything about simultaneously righteous and sinful.
From one perspective, we are counted righteous because of Christ's righteousness.
And on the other side, you know, I'm the foremost of sinners, Paul said. I am, right?
Not I was, but I am. And how we are saved from the penalty of sin, justification.
The presence of sin, glorification. And now on this earth, the power of sin has been dealt with. Think of union with Christ in Romans chapter 6, 1 to 11.
But it doesn't have anything to do with that. It just says, okay, if there's two natures, that explains sin.
And if there's only one nature, how do we explain sin? So, I think this is their weakest section here for dangers.
Number six, the danger of denying the literal thousand -year kingdom. That's a danger, they said, of Reformed theology.
Now, I think, you know, this whole back and forth with MacArthur that this church has had.
And I don't mean personal, but just antagonistic against his doctrine. I don't know why they brought this up, because it seems to be they're afraid of John MacArthur and him introducing
Reformed theology into dispensational circles. I think that's what they're after.
And so, now denying a literal thousand -year kingdom, John doesn't deny that. So, here they hardly say anything except this.
The early Reformers never totally freed themselves from the allegorical method of origin and from the church kingdom concept of Augustine.
Most Reformed theologians are still entrapped and crippled by these approaches to the prophetic word.
In contrast, the dispensational approach insists that biblical prophecies be interpreted in their plain, obvious, and normal sense.
And then you can buy papers by Alvin MacLean, George Peters, Charles Ryrie, Paul E.
Tan, Charles Feinberg. That's all they're going to say, that they deny it?
That, I guess, amillennialism and postmillennialism and historic premillennialism, there's no credence at all there.
There are no arguments. There aren't books that say these are the three, four views and opposing views.
And, I guess, if it was really easy, everybody would believe the same thing. I would like to say that if they're going to be pre -trib, pre -mill,
I don't know how far back they're going to go, but not very far. Obviously, you'll see some folks of the
Church Fathers teach a version of a Kiliastic kingdom, a thousand -year kingdom, but you're not going to find dispensational pre -trib, pre -mill.
You're going to find historic premill back in the day, until we have the Darbys and others that are much more recent.
And so, is that a danger of Reformed theology? I'd like to tell my friends on both sides, why don't we, and mainly this is the dispensational side, but why don't we just say that our future judgment section in the
London Baptist Confession, Savoy, Westminster, Belgian Confession, why don't we just say there's something to be said for the wisdom of not parsing out eschatological views when we don't need to.
There's personal eschatology, resurrection of our own bodies, and judgment for our sins if we haven't been forgiven in Christ, and our name's written in the book, so no judgment for sins if we have been forgiven in Christ, and then the bodily eschatology of Jesus in his real body, coming back, judged the living and the dead, etc.,
etc. So, the danger of denying the literal thousand -year kingdom, and you don't tell me why, because it's allegorical?
I don't think that's quite enough. So, I used to think the other section was bad. This was even a worse section, in my opinion.
Number seven, the seventh danger according to Middleton Bible Church. I'm pronouncing it like a New Englander.
The danger of covenant theology. Ooh, I need to have some type of special music for that.
I see dead people. Maybe, I don't know. Are they allegorically dead? Or what do they say about the witch, the wicked witch in Wizard of Oz?
Something like that, something about being dead. Something spectacularly dead, supernaturally dead, certifiably dead.
Maybe that's it, certifiably dead. Quote, those in the Reformed tradition generally embrace covenant theology.
Uh, no, they don't generally, they just do. The system of theology evolved after the
Reformation. Oh, I wouldn't say that, but okay, there's a little credence there.
Some finer points put on as time has gone on. It explains all relationships between God and man from the beginning to the end of time, under the covenant of works, the covenant of grace, and sometimes covenant redemption.
Okay, true, sometimes. Reformed covenant theologians teach that Old Testament Israelites and New Testament believers are one people and that the church is but a continuation and successor of Israel.
That's true, right? One of the best ways you could think about that is Ephesians 2 and the wall is down.
And the other way you can think about it that probably will turn you into a one people of God person more than anything else is if you do believe in the covenant of redemption, or call it a pact, or call it a pactum, call it agreement, call it a guarantee,
I don't know what you want to say, but certainly you, even if you're not a covenant theologian, have to realize that the
Father sent the Son to do something. See the gospel of Jesus according to John, especially in chapter 17, but riddled throughout
John, sent, sent, sent, sent, sent. Why was Jesus sent? And He was sent to redeem the ones that the
Father had given Him in eternity past. God long ages ago, the God who cannot lie.
Who's He giving long ages ago to? The angels? No, within the
Trinity, an intra -trinitarian promise. And it's not for two peoples of God, it's not for Israel and the church, it's one people.
So they're right here as they describe it. The church is usually understood in including all saints of all the ages.
That's true. They teach that the church, as the successor of Israel, I wouldn't do that, that's not what
I would say, has now absorbed and appropriated Old Testament prophecies and promises. According to their thinking, the promises which
God made to Israel are now being fulfilled by the church, or they have been forfeited because of Israel's unbelief.
This system of theology is directly opposed to dispensationalism, that part's true, which makes a clear and biblical distinction between God's program for Israel and God's program for the church.
Well, let's see, what do we want to say here? We want to say, to live is Christ and to die is gain.
No, what do we want to say? Here is a formulation by the men of the New England Bible Conference.
Hey, that's the one I went to, but I wasn't one of the formula writers. I was one of the formula writers of the
New 95 Thesis put out by the European Bible Training Center for the 2017 500th of Luther.
I was actually the theological editor for that. I remember the room I was in. There was a lot of grueling days after I was asking
James White and Steve Lawson all kinds of questions in front of everyone as I was the moderator. When God's word, the
Bible, is taken in a consistent, literal manner, it will result in dispensationalism. Dispensationalism is a result of a consistently literal, normal interpretation.
We believe that in order to be rightly dividing the word of truth, it is essential to distinguish things that differ and to recognize certain biblical distinctions, such as the difference between God's program for Israel and God's program for the church.
The separation of a thousand years between the two resurrections. The difference between the various judgments which occur at various times.
The difference between law and grace. And the difference between Christ's present session at the right hand of the
Father as the church's great high priest, and Christ's future session on the restored Davidic throne as Israel's millennial king.
Well, that kind of makes me wheeze a little bit. So much to talk about here when it comes to the
Davidic covenant, etc. They go on to say, The church is not the new Israel or the spiritual Israel, but rather one new man created of two groups, saved
Jews and saved Gentiles. The term Israelite and Jews are used in the
New Testament to refer to national ethnic Israel. The term Israel is used if the nation or the people as a whole are the believing remnant within.
It is not used to the church in general or the Gentile believers in particular.
We believe that in every dispensation, God's distinctive programs are worked out for His great namesake, and that in every dispensation, persons have been saved by grace and faith.
So probably what they're doing there is kind of going against the original Scofield Bible, and sometimes
Lewis Perry Chafer in unguarded statements, to be nice. Kind of two ways of salvation, a
Jewish way and a Gentile way or a Jewish way, a church way or an Israelite way and a church way.
Excuse me, I should have hit my cough button. That was an involuntarily ordered cough.
Number eight, starting to lose my voice. The danger of putting believers under the law.
Really? Well, Reformed theology would teach three uses of the law, correct? For the unbeliever to see their sin, like a mirror.
For the believers and unbelievers in society to have curbed sinning, restrained sinning happen.
And then lastly, believers now adopted in Christ, obviously, and they have
God's guide not as a condemning agent, a condemning thing, but as a guide. Three uses of the law.
Three kinds of law, civil, ceremonial, moral, but three uses of the law. And so they're not under law anymore, they're under grace.
That is, they're not under the law of covenant works. They're under grace because it's received from the hands of Christ.
That's what we teach. That's what the Reformed faith has taught. The danger of putting believers under the law.
Extreme Calvinism attacks the essence of the gospel. So Reformed theology attacks the very essence of the
Christian life and the rule by which it should be lived. So far, I'm thinking to myself, this is just ignorance.
This is not understanding the different uses of the law. The Reformed men would never say that a person is justified by works of the law.
That's true. They rightly insist justification by faith and not by works. Justification by faith was the faithful cry of the
Reformation. The problem does not relate to justification, but to sanctification. Reformed theologians consistently teach believers are under the law as a rule of life.
Well, maybe I was wrong. They do understand it because that's exactly what we teach. Usually they say that the believer is not under the ceremonial law, but he's under the moral law, the
Ten Commandments. They say the believer is under the law as a rule of life. Now, I don't know why they're getting into civil and ceremonial there and moral, but they now say
Miles Stanford, author of Complete Green Letters, has given the following list of pro -law
Calvinist Reformed authors whose theology permanates the thinking of vast numbers of believers.
And then he just lists all kinds of people here. Thomas Watson, William Shedd, William Romaine, John Owen, John Murray, Leon Morris, Charles Hodge, John Bunyan, Thomas Boston, Louis Burkoff, and the list goes on.
Many of these mentioned above could and should be considered as great and godly men. However, they were not dispensational in their theology, and they err whenever they insist a believer is under the law as a rule of life.
For sanctification, a believer must be directed to Mount Calvary, not to Mount Sinai. It is at the cross that true freedom is found.
See, that's where they don't understand it. That's where they don't get it at all. They don't understand guilt, grace, gratitude model.
They don't understand that the law can't motivate, and it's the grace of God that motivates.
Christ incarnate motivates. The grace of the triune God motivates, and we're not trying to put people back under Sinai at all.
The relationship to the lawgiver has changed because of the Father sending the Son. The begotten
Son is sent by the unbegotten Father, and that the Spirit proceeds from the
Father and the Son, and He does His great work. He, God, does
His great work, and that instead of now being under the law as a covenant of works, we have it as a rule of life.
Well, why wouldn't we have it a rule of life? I think I know where they're going, though. They don't want the Ten Commandments to be part of the moral law of God.
Now, you can have a little Kleinian take on the moral law of God. Is this only the moral law of God, or does it encapsulate the moral law of God?
And we can go through all kinds of things, but just generally speaking, to make it easy, the dispensationalists, especially here the
Middletown folks, in my opinion, they don't want the Ten Commandments to guide in any way, shape, or form.
Although they would probably say that every commandment given on Sinai is reinstituted or reiterated in the
New Testament except for the Sabbath. And so these laws of Christ, they would say, using terminology of 1
Corinthians 9, I believe, then that would be fine, but it's not Moses' system because Moses' system was tied together by the
Sabbath, and therefore we're not under Moses. And, of course, that was for Israel, and we're not Israel, et cetera.
So what else do we have here? All kinds of quotes. A Macintosh quote, a Schofield quote, an
Ironside quote. Maybe they're talking a little bit about Galatians and the fruit of the
Spirit stuff. Number nine, the ninth danger, according to Middleton Bible Church, the danger of neglecting the heavenly ministry, overemphasizing the earthly life and ministry of Christ, to deemphasize
His heavenly life and ministry. I'm not reading ahead. I don't know who does that. I think it's the
Reformation that tends to focus on the session of Christ, His intercession and how
He preexisted. He took on flesh. He lived. He suffered.
He died. He was buried. He rose, ascended, exalted, seated, praying,
His session, His intercession, et cetera. For example, they teach often that the
Sermon on the Mount is the Magna Carta of the Christian living. John MacArthur is typical of this approach when he insists that the Sermon on the Mount's primary passage is for Christians today and must be considered truth for today.
Oh, interesting. That's where they're going. That's where they're going. Is the Sermon on the
Mount for today or not? Very, very interesting. Interesting.
They said 183 verses speak of Christ's death, 97 speak of His resurrection, 162 speak of Christ's heavenly life and ministry, and 203 speak of Christ's return.
Only eight passages speak of His earthly life and ministry. What? Acts 20,
Acts 2, Acts 10. Well, what about the
Gospels? What about the Gospels? What is going on here? Why don't I understand this?
The heavenly life and ministry of the exalted Lord. I think they're adding things up wrongly and they're ignoring the
Gospels, but just let's give them that and then say, but the Reformation teaches
He always lived to make intercession for us, just like Hebrews 7, verse 25 says. Number 10, and finally, the danger of neglecting the heavenly position.
Identification with Christ. Keep looking up. We may not lose perspective.
I don't even know what they're saying here. Quote, the early pioneer dispensationalists, Darby, Kelly, McIntosh, were thrilled because of their position in Christ.
Though walking on earth, they saw themselves as seated in heaven. They understood their high, heavenly, upward calling. They understood their identification with Christ, not only in His death and resurrection, but also with His ascension and present session.
While most Reformed men encourage us to keep looking down, dispensationalists say keep looking up.
That's not true at all. That's just, that's just farcical. Conclusion, extreme
Calvinism, and then a bunch of end notes.
Oh, man. Oh, some of these transcribed from John MacArthur's tape dealing with lordship salvation.
I think that's who they're after, really, for the most part. I don't think they liked it that John MacArthur was introducing
Reformed doctrines into dispensationalism. That's what I'm taking out of all this, but that's okay.
Anyway, my name is Mike Cavendroth. This is No Compromise Radio Ministry, Duplex Gratia Radio, DGR. DGR.
Desiring God Radio. Not quite. I do have
Piper's new book, Saving Faith, and I'm afraid to read it, because it's going to cause me to do some discernment ministries, right?
I know. I know it might. You want answers? I think I'm entitled. You want answers!