In the August 17 edition of the Reformed Baptist Trumpet Pastor Jeffrey Riddle of Christ Reformed Baptist Church in Charlottesville, VA reviewed Holding Communion Together. In light of the controversy which has greeted this book, I appreciate the restrained tone of this review. While critical, Pastor Riddle did not make wild accusations and for the most part avoided imputing motives to us. Appreciating this, I thought that a response to the points made in his review might prove beneficial. Continue reading
One of the most fascinating descriptions of sanctuary design which I have heard came from an unbelieving architect hired to design a new facility for a Reformed Baptist church. After meeting with various members and officers, interviewing them about their beliefs, their concerns and their architectural theories, he concluded, “So we’re trying to point to something which ultimately cannot be defined, right?”
Far from making a post-modern statement about the know-ability of truth, he was approaching a matter of great importance in Christian theology. The Christian can never define God, because definition requires absolute comprehension. To define God, we would need to know the limits of His essence, and He has no limits. That which is infinite may only be described; it can never be dissected. Continue reading
A few weeks ago I began blogging about the phenomenon which is called “New Calvinism.” The immediate impetus for this series was an article from Iain Murray of Banner of Truth on the Together for the Gospel Conference. I, too, have been encouraged by the gatherings of so many Christians in which old literature is read, old hymns are sung, and old doctrine is preached. However, I am deeply concerned by statements such as this:
‘New Calvinist’ too easily suggests some kind of departure from ‘the Old’. But what is now occurring in many parts of the United States can patently be seen to have sprung out of what is far from new. It is no more ‘new’ than the doctrine that was heard under Whitefield and Edwards in the 1740s, or later, under Spurgeon or Lloyd-Jones. What was supposed to be ‘as dead as Queen Anne’ is very much alive in what is happening today. Old authors are being read more eagerly than for a long time, yet it is not the literature, significant as it is, which can account for what is happening.
As I have written about the New Calvinism, some have commented to the effect that it is wrong of me to write about the problems inherent in the new movement without first saying what is good about it. I suppose I could reply in simple and curmudgeonly fashion that the “Calvinism” part is good, while everything “New” about it is bad – which wouldn’t be too far from the truth.
Underlying this charge is the assumption that the New Calvinism is essentially a good thing. I increasingly find myself reading the critiques of Calvinism from outside the Reformed camp – written by bloggers and others who really don’t know anything but the New Calvinism – and agreeing with them! Calvinism as it is known to many today is fraught with theological danger, although I would insist that the problem isn’t the Calvinism so much as the New! At some point we need to ask the question: Is New Calvinism even a reliably orthodox movement? Continue reading