Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Unpacking the Wineskins - 2

Next I want to examine the points that Mike Newnham brings up as to the "new movement" he yearns for.

But first, two things:

  1. I at the outset want to point out I don't think that the CC Movement is calcified, cracking, inflexible, or Spirit-choked. In general.

  2. I don't think that the Spirit stops moving. Pedantic point, to be sure, and I'm certain Mike didn't mean otherwise, but I want to make clear that I believe that right at the outset.

I like his list of things that are "keepers" with regard to Calvary Chapel.

  1. A complete commitment to the Bible as God's inspired word.

  2. A commitment to worship.

  3. A commitment to evangelism.

Good list.

I believe that the two primary, sine qua non essentials that universally define Calvary Chapel - what we are known for - are:

  • The primacy of the expositional, Genesis-to-Maps, verse-by-verse teaching of the Bible.

    • Yes, I know that some guys don't do the V-B-V thing, and I know that Chuck teaches topicals. But the topicals are couched within the larger context of the Sunday night V-B-V teaching and, to be quite honest, Chuck (and CC by extension) aren't known for our brilliant topicals, but for our unswerving commitment to the whole "line upon line" thing.

    • One of the reasons I really don't understand why anybody would even want to be identified with Calvary Chapel who eschews the V-B-V thing in favor of the "this month, we're doing a series on ______________________!" thing in the stead thereof. But I digress.

  • A balanced view of the Gifts of the Spirit.

    • Mike doesn't think afterglows in the back room are sufficient. Let me categorically state - I agree with him. However, administering the whole "decently and in order" thing in churches the size of Costa Mesa necessitates the whole "afterglow" thing - and hence a practice that arose out of practical necessity becoming a CC hadith followed by many protégés without questioning why and understanding the original reasons behind it - and thus after questioning, taking away the principles rather than simply copying.

    • Here on the glorious West Coast of Michigan, we do the afterglow thing every Sunday night at our prayer meeting. Our fellowship here is orders of non-magnitude tiner than Costa Mesa - I would venture to say, smaller than Costa Mesa's men's room. So it's easier to administer. Plus, nobody shows up to the prayer meeting (no food), so it's real easy for me & my lovely and gracious wife to go get our Azusa Street freak on. But, whatever works...

Quick interlude, on the whole subject of Sunni CCs. The Murrieta Pastor's Conference is coming up in June - an event I look forward to every year. Not primarily for the teaching, which is always great - but let's face it, I can always get the DVDs - but for the fellowship with brothers-in-arms that I don't get to see but once a year. Most of the ministry to me happens between the sessions and during the glutto-- er, that is, "eating".


But it was really funny the first two years to see all these dudes from the Midwest walking around with Hawaiian shirts on.

Chuck wears Hawaiians.

I minister in Michigan. We don't have too many flights to the Islands from the Muskegon airport or Gerald R. Ford International Airport (which can be called "international" because some flights go to Canada - the Maple Leaf State). In tongue-in-cheek semi-protest, I purposefully didn't wear Hawaiians while out in Murrieta, instead wearing a Red Wings sweater (that'd be "jersey" for those of y'all in the south - like Indiana) or a Mossy Oak RealTree (TM) shirt under a flannel outer or something.

...but I've now taken to wearing Hawaiians, too.

Largely because, let's face it - nothing's funnier than to watch a furry fat guy sweat in SoCal because he pridefully won't follow the crowd - and Hawaiians are a lot cooler to wear.

So to be consistent, I've started wearing Hawaiians here in Michigan.


To be fair, it's really opened a lot of conversations up here, and I get to brag on our "simple hippie noncomplicated you don't have to wear shoes if'n yer don't warna" church.

Go figure.

Back to the point.

Which brings us to the point where I'm going to begin some disagreeing with Mike's points.
4. Freedom in non-essentials.

To break fellowship or disqualify someone from ministry based on their eschatology is senseless beyond belief.

To exclude people based on where they stand on the line that runs between Calvinism and Arminianism is equally inane.

I'm tempted to go all John Kerry here and say "I agree... and I disagree...," but in the final analysis, I really don't agree.

First, as I pointed out in an earlier blogpost examining Mark "Blankety-Blank" Driscoll's treatment of the issue of Calvary Chapel and eschatology, I reject the idea that CC breaks fellowship with someone based on their eschatology. We had Jacob Prasch recently speak at a pastor's conference - and I could be wrong, but I don't think he's a dyed-in-the-wool dispie. This is not a litmus test issue for fellowship.

Now, for ministry...? Yeah, I'll grant that. Much like the dudes at Chalcedon are really committed to postmillennialism and will disqualify a dispie from ministry in a Chalcedon-affiliated church (like Messiah's Congregation in New York - Steve Schlissel's church). Hey - pretrib premil is a universally recognized aspect of Calvary Chapel - you know that going in.

I look at it like the issue of baptism. I wouldn't expect to be welcomed into ministry with opened arms in a (consistent) Presbyterian church if I started preaching credobaptism and against paedobaptism.

And baptism is (arguably) a much less central issue than is one's eschatology.

Unless, of course, you're into Covenant Theology, in which case it becomes the outward, visible sign of the covenant.

ADD... ADD... ADD...

Back on track.

So, I don't apologize for insisting that, if someone's going to be identified as representative of the official, hands-laid-on-by-the-elders ministry of Calvary Chapel, that they'd be copasetic with the doctrinal particulars - including eschatology.

We're not alone in that, by the way. The Christian and Missionary Alliance is unapologetically pretrib, too. And they're an honest-to-gum denomination.

To quote the great philosopher of old: D'OH!!!

Now, as to the Calvinism-Arminianism thing (BTW - for some of my compadres - it's "Arminian," not "Arminianist" or "Armenian." An "Armenian" is a dude from a landlocked country in the Caucasus region of Eurasia. Rousas J. Rushdoony's forebears hail from thence.

I have no idea what an "Arminianist" is.)

But as to the whole Calvinism-Arminianism thing... with all due respect, "Yadda, yadda, yadda." And I mean that respectfully.

I am decidedly non-Calvinist. As a non-Calvinist, I am forever barred from partaking of the joys and privileges of the Acts 29 Network, no matter how much I'm diggin' on Driscoll, simply because I don't burn incence on any of the five altars of the Dordrecht Divines.

I'm quite certain that I wouldn't be looked at twice for a ministry position with John Piper's "Desiring God" organization, or his Bethlehem Baptist Church.

In fact, I'm almost certain that there are distinctly Reformed (read: Calvinist) denominations - whole slews of them.

To say nothing of the sundry an assorted Presbyterian churches.

Sooooooooo... are they allowed to discriminate on the basis of soteriology, but we aren't...?

Look: personally, I don't care if anybody's come down with a mild case of Calvinism, so long as they take plenty of fluids, get plenty of rest, and don't operate heavy equipment until they're sure how the Genevan system will affect them. Many people lead long, productive lives after testing Tim-Keller-positive. To me, it's like the whole Emerging thing; the milder cases are actually quite innocuous. Amusing, cute, but overall innocuous.

And in fact, Calvinism wasn't a big deal in Calvary Chapel until sometime in the late '80's, early '90's, when some young bucks got hit by a bad case of the Westminster Catechism went all Rambo over the...ah...doctrines of grace...and somewhat ungraciously began pummelling all us mindless semi-Pelagian heretics over the head with their copies of A.W. Pink.

Or so I'm told. I wasn't there. I was still doing my best to finish out High School with something approaching a passing grade. Erckh.

But I believe it was an older, wiser Calvary pastor on the PP blog which pointed out that what ruined it for the rest of the Augustinians in the movement was that these few "didn't adorn the doctrine well."

So, now it's an issue.

Bottom-line (and I have to bottom-line this one, because the puck's about to drop), we aren't a denomination, nor are we opposed to deno-- drat. Sorry. It comes so easy...

...but seriously; we're not a denomination. "We" are a group of independent fellowships who voluntarily choose to identify with the vision, philosophy of ministry, and principles that God has given us through the example set by Chuck Smith. As such, Chuck has the right to define what that looks like - and he's delegated that to CCOF.

And the parameters of what that looks like are the Distinctives.

Gotta go - I need to have a few moments of prayer and fasting for my Wings so that they take a 2-1 series lead tonight on the Ducks' ice. Oh, please, oh, please, oh, please, oh, please...


Shane said...

Good post! I'm a little jealous that you are going off to Murrieta without me. I lived there for 5 years with my family. A lot of good memories there in the land of sunshine. I now live in the Ohio Valley in Kentucky. Allergy heaven. What do you think of the hot-tubs? I used to lay in those almost every night.

It's amazing what they did with that old resort. To think that it used to be a new age resort complete with mud baths and homosexual bars. It's come along way my friend.

There was this homeless lady that used to get kicked out of there from time to time. She had a thick German accent and could speak quite eloquently on a whole range of academic topics. They used to joke and say that she was an exiled Nazi scientist. She was quite smart--yet weird at the same time. I once overheard her talking at the public library on Bio-ethics. Good stuff.

Memories, memories. Hopefully, they will post the teachings again. I liked downloading them every year--but I think last year they decided not to do it.

I'll be sure to inform security to keep Peter-John out.

Looking forward to your post on the insecurity of the believer--I mean the Eternal Security of the believer. Gotta go!

mike macon said...

Yeah, I'm getting antsy to get out there already...

Ah, the Eternal Security issue. I believe in Eternal Security - just not Eternal Presumption. Can't make Hebrews 6 say what it doesn't say. ;D But more on that later.

Actually, I hope PJC goes. I always appreciated what he had to say. Still do, even though I'm disagreeing with him more and more of late. He's young yet (says me - oh, the irony), and has gotten caught up in a bunch of Wright-MacLaren-ECM pabulum...

He can come back... back from the Dark Side... cooooooooome baaaaaaaaaaaack...

Brian J Buchanan said...

Mike, Just a comment on the issue of people being disfellowhipped because of disagreements on certain issues, eschatlogy,dispensationalism, baptism, ect. I don't think Michael Newhnam was singling out CC but arguing against dividing over some of these issues in the true church universal. I was in CC for thirteen years and left because of my disagreement on government ie. the Moses model thing. But i still have a generally favorable view of CC and an appreciation for its ministry and impact in the world.
But I have to agree with Michael on disqualifying people in from participating in leadership because they are not pre-trib. I have this same issue with the denominations on their particular views. It tends to indoctrinate people into one viewpoint on perepheral issues and discourages personal accountability for study.In other words we need to encourage each to be true Bereans, as opposed to partial Bereans(I believe what I am taught) Brian

Shane said...

I would have to agree with Brian. The pre-trib rapture thing is a hard pill to swallow. Should a deduced doctrine (at best) disqualify one from leadership?

By the way Mike. You don't have to be a Calvinist to be in the Acts 29 group of churches. Our church is in the Acts 29 group and our lead pastor/elder is not a Calvinist. Most would be, what I call, Reformed in their thinking. You know, Man is lost in sin, the solas, eternal security, etc. FYI for the 2nd time.

mike macon said...

Brian - Thanks for your comment, sir.

I can see your point IF you're talking about the Church Universal; but the overwhelming majority of CC critics aren't coming at the issue from the Church Universal, but the Church Calvary Chapel in specific.

And when talking about any particular church, denomination, associative fellowship, church planting movement, or what have you, each has the full right to define what the parameters of what makes them "them."

I can share comfortable fellowship with (for instance) a stark raving pinko commie Calvinist. But that same Calvinist would be awfully uncomfortable/upset/frothing-at-the-mouth when I teach (for instance) Hebrews 6, and refuse to make it say what it doesn't say so as not to offend his supralapsarian sensitivities.

For instance.

Now, eschatology... the plain fact is that pretrib premil defines Calvary Chapel - that comes as a surprise to precisely NOBODY. So really - what's the big deal? If you don't agree with pretrib premil - great! You'll quite simply be more comfortable fellowshipping with brothers in the Lord who hold to your particular eschatological flavor. No harm, no foul.

But insisting that Calvary Chapel "loosen up" on eschatology is exactly as wacky (no offense intended, there) as would be loudly demanding that Pentecostals loosen up on the whole Holy Spirit thing and allow cessationists to become pastors.

Does. Not. Make. Sense.

Now, you can be a cessationist and fellowship just fine at an AG church... but you'll cringe every time someone teaches through the continuationist passages.

I believe that there's no one right church; we all see through a glass, dimly. I believe it's a good and right and healthy thing that there's so many distinct and particular expressions of the Body of Christ. We can certainly share fellowship with and learn from each other.

But when we demand across-the-board doctrinal homogeneity or essential insipidity, that's just plain silly.

In conclusion, I again and respectfully reject the idea that CC's insistence on our honestly arrived at and dearly held Distinctives creates "partial Bereans." You are to be a Berean; which means if you come to a differing conclusion on a doctrinal particular which happens to still remain within the pale of Biblical orthodoxy - wonderful! There are other great expressions of the Body of Christ that you perhaps might find closer agreement with.

Rock on.

mike macon said...

Shane - Yes, I read your assertion the first time... but Acts 29's own stuff contradicts you, bro.

Quoting from their FAQ for potential church planters:

Beliefs & Core Values
What does Acts 29 believe?
The short answer is that we are first Christians, second Evangelicals, third Missional, and fourth Reformed. The more lengthy answer is included below and intentionally omits some finer points of doctrine and secondary issues as we allow the elders in our local churches to operate according to their convictions on these matters.

We believe that God’s saving grace is ultimately irresistible and that God does soften even the hardest heart and save the worst of sinners according to His will.
(One of the two major points of contention betwixt myself and A29.)

We are not eschatological Theonomists or Classic Dispensationalists (e.g. Scofield) and believe that divisive and dogmatic certainty surrounding particular details of Jesus Second Coming are unprofitable speculation, because the timing and exact details of His return are unclear to us.

Well, the details are not unclear to me. Sorry, bro; I can't pretend like the pretrib position doesn't jump right off the page at me when I read the Word.

So I also reject the contention that pretrib is a "deduced doctrine (at best)."

...oh, and by the way... pot? Kettle? Black? CALVINISM is, to my mind (obviously, since I'm not one) a "deduced doctrine (at best).

And I know you really want to think that Acts 29 doesn't discriminate against non-Calvinists buuuuuuut... their own stuff sure seems to argue against your argument.


And now I must close this comment with a series of smiley emoticons to show that I am not angry while typing or mean-spirited, but brimming with joy and love for my fellow man, of which you are one.

:) :D ;) ;D

Thank you. And please tip your waitresses.

Shane said...


Mike,I sat in during our churches interviews at the Mars Hill Church in Seattle. I was there--flesh and blood, face to face with the big boys of Acts 29. They DO allow for differences on Election. Our lead Pastor is NOT A CALVINIST. We are now an Acts 29 Church. PERIOD.

We simply affirmed the Biblical truths presented in their core values and doctrines. That does not mean that we have to be one point, two point, three point, etc, etc, Calvinists. That does not mean that our lead Pastor has to have all things figured out with these issues. They do allow for what some call "mystery" in issues like election, the Trinity, etc, etc. Not everyone in the group of churches looks upon it the same way. They don't want doctrinal robots on these issues. People are free to explore and sharpen up their understandings over time.

Notice how far down they put their identity as being REFORMED. They are trying to put things in their proper order of importance.

I don't know how else to say it Mike--you DON'T HAVE TO BE A CALVINIST to be in Acts 29. Our church is a case in point.

Everyone HAS TO AFFIRM ELECTION in one way or another--it is Biblical. Some are very dogmatic in how they understand it (James White) others allow for mystery (John MacArthur). But there's no way around it---Romans 9 and Ephesians 1 exists. You can't take it away, nor can Chuck. It is what it is.

How much more clear could Ephesians 1 be? Romans 9? You can try to get around it all you want, but you simply can't say that it is "deduced".

Regarding the Rapture, however, it is deduced. I've heard even Missler refer to it like that. There isn't ONE scripture that states: "Before the great tribulation period, the church will be raptured." Unlike Election in Ephesians 1, there is no clear affirmation of the pre-trib rapture in the scriptures. Most scholars would agree with that statement. By the way, Mike, I do believe in the pre-trib position, but I do not think that we need to kick people out of fellowships over it (as Calvary has done in the past). That turns you into a fightin fundie really fast. It breaks my heart when I hear of Calvary Churches disfellowshiped because their pastor became post-trib or Amil. I think that is an unhealthy use of a secondary issue of doctrine.

You're right in saying that Calvary and dispensationalism go together like peas and carrots. But can you honestly say that is healthy? Should I bring up 1988? Do we need to talk about Missler's many blunders? Hal Lindsey? Dave Hunt? Can you honestly say that these things have been healthy for Calvary?

Hyper-Dispensationalism can never be healthy. Robert Thomas, John Walvoord, John MacArthur are all healthy, conservative Dispensationalists. Hunt, Missler, Lindsey, Smith are on the hyper fringe.

Hate to break the news to you Mike...but Calvary goes way to far on this issue. Chuck is still waiting for the rapture and when he dies that obsession dies with him. That won't be the future of Calvary after him. Even some of the top leaders are saying that. Times are a changing my friend. People have grown tired of the endless hype over endtimes. Hopefully, Christ will be the new focus of the church, not endtimes.

It is NOT my great hope. Christ is my hope. And if I'm wrong on the pre-trib rapture then I'm wrong. I stand on that which is solid and clear. I will live with Christ forever because He justified me-not by my works, but by what HE did for me.

In review, it's okay to say that those in Acts 29 affirms Election, but it's wrong to conclude that they use it as a litmus test for their church planting. Our church won't be kicked out because our lead pastor doesn't see it quite as clear as Driscoll. He hates it being a divisive issue in the church...as do I.

I would highly recommend that you download and listen to Dr. Ware's lectures on this issue from the Resurgence Blog. You'll find him very balanced and fair. I want you to compare his presentation with...lets say...a Dave Hunt. Ones a respected scholar and the other isn't either of the two. It's not even close.

Still looking forward to the Eternal Security thing.

God bless,

mike macon said...

One question before I head out the door to my day job to support my habit...

You say: "We simply affirmed the Biblical truths presented in their core values and doctrines."

Soooooo... does that include the "We believe that God’s saving grace is ultimately irresistible and that God does soften even the hardest heart and save the worst of sinners according to His will" part, which, incidentally, is inherently, intrinsically, and uniquely Calvinist...?


mike macon said...

Okay, one more.

You say, "Everyone HAS TO AFFIRM ELECTION in one way or another--it is Biblical. Some are very dogmatic in how they understand it (James White) others allow for mystery (John MacArthur)."

Two things:

First, both White and MacArthur are Calvinists. I notice you don't put (for instance) a prominent AG dude in with that mix - who would be thoroughly Arminian - and therefore, per Mark "Blankety-Blank" Driscoll, a semi-Pelagian. Iiiiiiiiiiiiiiiinteresting...

Second, while I affirm election, I don't affirm it in the classical Calvinist sense - and I certainly don't affirm the inevitable and necessary corollary of the Calvinist doctrine of election, that regeneration preceeds faith in the ordo salutis.

So - again - according to Acts 29's own stuff, I'm out.

No, to be honest, I haven't called them up for clarification - I pro'lly should. All I can go by, bro, is what A29 has in the ASCII equivalent of black-and-white.

mike macon said...

Okay, two more things.

You say: "How much more clear could Ephesians 1 be? Romans 9? You can try to get around it all you want, but you simply can't say that it is "deduced".

Shane, Shane, Shane... ::sigh::

Dude, I teach what both those sections say, where they say them, how they say them, without trying to shoehorn them into a preconceived theology. Hence, election. I sound awfully Pinkian when I do so.

I also teach sections like Hebrews 6 without trying to twist it to make it fit into a Canons of Dort-ish straightjacket. Sorry.

Because of that, I cannot be Calvinist - or whatever other lesser degree of Calvinist you want to come up with and give it a new name so as not to offend people who are offended by Calvinism.

Call it... Shaneism. Or Goopelactyanism. Or call it "Bob." Or come up with another name. But the Belgic Confession by any other name would smell as... well, it would still smell.

You state: "Hyper-Dispensationalism can never be healthy. Robert Thomas, John Walvoord, John MacArthur are all healthy, conservative Dispensationalists. Hunt, Missler, Lindsey, Smith are on the hyper fringe."

::heavy sigh, rubbing eyes::

Shane... do you know what Hyperdispensationalism is...?

When has Chuck ever taught that only the Epistles apply to the church?

When has Chuck ever taught that? Or any other distinctive of hyperdispensationalism?

For that matter, when has Hunt, Missler, or Lindsey?

Are you aware that Walvoord and MacArthur both highly respect (or, in the case of Walvoord, respected) Chuck?

And what does Chuck teach that differs in any appreciable degree from Walvoord or MacArthur, eschatologically speaking?

And you can continue to assert all day long that "Calvary goes way too far on this issue." I have one response:

Says you.

And as for A29 not making Calvinism (or whatever other lesser variety you wish to invent) a litmus test for church planting - I defy you to name an openly, out-of-the-closet, stark raving pinko commie Arminian who's an A29 planter.

And Shane - Jesus is the focus of the church. The Blessed Hope is directly tied to that - we're looking for His return. His return is not some ontologically distinct thing; it's organically and inextricably tied with the Person we're waiting for.

My lovely and gracious wife was just in Cleveland for almost a week. I love my wife. So I was longing for and anticipating her return. The anticipation of her return wasn't somehow fractured off from my anticipation for her. They are inseparable aspects one of the other.

To disingenuously lop off our longing for Jesus' return and our looking for Him to come back for us in immanency from our longing for Him is - and Shane, I know you're better than this - pure sophistry. I will not continue arguing this point. I feel like I'm pointing at straw men that you're placing up and kicking them down to show you they're made of straw and aren't the real deal.

Enough already.

And now I must again close my post with a series of smiling emoticons to show that though I've been necessarily somewhat abrupt in my response here due to the strictures of time, I love you long time, like you bunches, thing you're a swell individual, am smiling, and would like to share a nice venti latte with you at some indeterminate time in the future.

:) :) :) :)

Shane said...


I guess your too smart for me Mike. I guess we really didn't go to Seattle and become an Acts 29 church. I guess our lead pastor doesn't still affirm an Arminian understanding of election. You're right Mike you know it all. You were secrectly hiding behind the couch in our interview process. You have the special gift of being a know it all.

One last time Mike. Our lead pastor is NOT A CALVINIST. WE ARE AN ACTS 29 church plant. Our pastor still maintains a classic Arminian understanding of election.

In terms of Calvary being hyper-dispensational. I apologize, I wasn't using that term in it's most technical sense. What I meant to say is that Calvary takes things FARTHER than classic dispensationalists. Walvoord had stated that before about Missler, Lindsey, and Smith. Thus, hyper...

1988? That was hyper. Missler's hype over Y2K. That was hyper. I know that you hate to think that Chuck Smith has goofed up from time to time on these issues. But there you have it. 1988 is well documented complete with witnesses, mp3 audio, etc, etc. There's no way around it Mike. Chuck Smith went hyper with his dispensationsalism. And that is UNHEALTHY.

As far as Calvinism is concerned. Hebrews 6 is a total bore. It doesn't negate clear statements on eternal security. Just like James doesn't trump Paul after he spent so much time laying out the gospel in Romans and Galatians. Once again, you have listened to too many Chuck tapes. Just like Brian Broderson at chapel--you aren't being honest with the text--or you haven't spent much time there.

Oh well, you're too smart. I'll leave you alone now.

mike macon said...

Shane, I won't defend Chuck on '88. The statements were, to be fair, unclear at best - he did not categorically state Jesus would return before the end of '88. But even so, it was an unwise thing to say, and it did hurt the movement, and I won't defend it - it was wrong.

Strike one for Chuck being the Pope. Darn that lack of infallibility.

But given that, you can only state that Chuck was being hypo-dispensationalist at that point. One of the cornerstone doctrines of dispensationalism is immanency - that Jesus could return at any time. And since He could return at any time, it necessarily follows that He does not have to return at any specific time - and thus you cannot set dates.

Essentially, He could come back before I finish typing out this comment.

He could come back in a thousand years.

Either/or, up to Him and His Father.

But both ways, His return is immanent.

So any date-setting makes you hypo-dispensational, not hyper-dispensational.

As to the Y2K thing... I have no defense for that, either. I'm actually quite embarrassed over it - and I love Missler. He...is...my...biggest...fan. However, that was bad. But again - has nothing whatsoever to do with dispensationalism, so to tie the two together is disingenuous.

And yes, I can guess you'd think that Hebrews 6 makes no clear statements negating a Calvinistic view of eternal security. However, I think it makes pretty clear statements negating a Calvinistic view of eternal security.

Thus, we are at an impasse.

And no, I'm not "too smart" for you, Shane. My apologies if I came across like that. However, you have to admit that A29's own written stuff sure does leave one with the distinct impression that since they hold being "Reformed" as a core value that... you have to be... Reformed... to play along... with... them... or something...

Again: No, I wasn't in the interview. But I can make a good, solid guess that your pastor didn't say, "By the way, I hold to an Arminian understanding of election."

...did he?

I guess I have to call up the A29 dudes and find out what their stance is, myself.

But the hue and cry against Calvary for our eschatology is just as boring to me as Hebrews 6 is to you. If someone doesn't believe in Jesus' immanent return - wonderful! You'd be happier fellowshipping in a local assembly that holds to your distinctives.

(At this point, I'd like to acknowledge that you have stated you do hold to pretrib, so that last wasn't directed at you, bro.)

The Vineyard has a pretty solid stance on the Holy Spirit and continuationism. I dare say if a local Vineyard assembly jettisoned continuationism in favor of cessationism, they'd be gently - then not-so-gently - asked to leave the denomination. That's also a secondary point of doctrine (you like Johnny Mac; he makes a solid - if ultimately unconvincing - argument for cessationism on his blog).

Yet nobody's screaming at the Vineyard for their unhealthy insistence that you actually BE Vineyardish (or, to use a Vineyardism, have the "DNA") to... be a Vineyard.

You're getting uptight that I keep pointing out that A29's own stuff sure does sound awfully Calvinist, so I'll switch analogies.

The Sovereign Grace Fellowships - which you can think of as CCs (Calvinist Chapels) are unapologetically Reformed. Nobody's pitching a fit at them that I'm aware of...

The C&MA are unapologetically dispensationalist. Where's the swift, furious fingers of blogdom typing out ringing condemnations of their evil empire?

The Wesley brothers believed in "entire sanctification" - which I, quite frankly, find even more disturbing than Calvinism. There is a veritable cornucopia of denoms which sprung from the Wesleyan revivals which at least pay lipservice to the doctrine. Where's the vociferous offense at that...?

Shane - I am not trying to be difficult, or to smack back at you, or to be mean; I don't think you're an idiot, wrong, wrong-headed, ugly, a bad dresser, or anything else. The limitations of the blogosphere and hastily-typed comments on a blog can easily contribute to misunderstanding. And I'm not discounting what you're saying about your fellowship and its relationship with A29. Please, please, please let me be clear: What I'm saying is that all that I can go by, beyond your anecdotal assertion, which I don't discount, is the plainly-typed, publicly-declared position of A29 as given in their printed and online stuff. That's what I have to go by, and that's what I'm responding to.

And I'm too fat to hide behind a couch, anyway.

Shane said...

Thank you for your humble answer. It's a little frustrating when I tell you that a black wall is black and you keep calling it white.

Looks like you took that Joshua Harris course on Humble Orthodoxy afterall.

Acts 29 is aware of our lead pastors position on election...yet still remains. Why? Because he's not a raving mad Arminian like yourself or Dave Hunt. Big difference. We try to take a humble position with it. We accept Arminians and Calvinists into leadership and don't divide over it. We try to create a climate where people can look into these matters and even land on certain stances--yet stay humble and loving. Always seeking the edification of the church. We, as elders, won't be doing a 5-points of Calvinism seminar at our church anytime soon. We don't believe that it needs to the focus of what we do. Acts 29 is okay with that.

I had a guy come up to me the other day at church. He was almost in tears. "I was reading through the Bible and looking at the Scriptures on Election. They are all over the place. It's amazing...I never saw it so clear before."

Now, we don't harp on this at all at our church. Most of our 200 members would be classic Arminians (but believers in eternal security). I cautioned him, "Just rejoice in the fact that you were elected. It was all grace. Don't feel like you have to prove it to the world. The Apostle Paul meant for it to provoke you to worship, not to feel like you have to convince everyone of it." I think that you'll find the younger generations of Calvinists being a little more humble with this subject. I'm probably the firmest believer in Calvinism at our church (and certainly amongst the elders) but it's not my focus. I love Piper, but I also couldn't live without my G.C. Morgan.

I'm glad to hear you admit that Chuck makes mistakes. That's music to my ears. There are many within the Calvary movement who wouldn't even concede that. You were even tempted there on the 1988 thing to say "it wasn't quite clear what he meant". Wrong! He said it, he believed it, and I've talked with Costa Mesa folks who understood him perfectly. Chuck really thought that Christ would come back in 1988. Case closed.

It's time for Calvary to rethink their obession with endtimes stuff. Brian Broderson has even publically disagreed with Pope Chuck on this. I'll leave it at that. They go way beyond what respected scholarship has concluded on the matter. They need to reread Robert Thomas, Walvoord and try to stay with the text and not get into New World order theories and Hillary Clinton is the Anti-Christ junk...it's a black-eye for the church.

Don't bother on the Eternal Security thing. I am content enough to know that Brian Broderson has finally come to the light on the issue. I'll let the Papal Bulls come down in their due time.

Having harped on what I disagree with on Calvary...let it be stated, I am still thankful for them and the time that I had there. Chuck had a big influence on my thinking. The importance of the Word, Holy Spirit, and Servant Leadership will always be imprinted on my heart. I experienced many great things in Calvary. God bless my Calvary brethren.

Have a wonderful day,

mike macon said...

I've long been a Josh Harris fan.

Longer, in fact, than I've been a Driscoll fan. Since the "Kissing Dating Goodbye" book, actually.

And I like Harris' choice of verbiage much better.

I keep calling the wall "white" because I disagree that it's quite as "black" as you're stating it is - much like I keep calling the eschatological wall "black," but you keep saying "fuscia." ;D

I'm aware of Brodersen. And I'm aware of Chuck's humanity. I admire Chuck, agree with his Distinctives, etc., but I am not a Chuckite - that is what I consider truly unhealthy. I'm a CC Fundie, not a CC Sunni.

I further maintain that CC's adherence to pretrib premil is an essential Distinctive of our movement. One can disagree, still be a brother, etc.; but knocking that Distinctive out would be like the Vineyard knocking out the whole healing thing, or asking the Presbyterians to jettison the whole plural eldership thing.

We are decidedly pretrib, premil. That comes as a surprise to nobody. We're okay with others having their honestly arrived at Distinctives; we refuse to budge on ours just because they've become unpopular.

That's all I'm sayin'...

mike macon said...

BTW - I appreciate your last paragraph, there. I feel the same way towards Driscoll. There are large swaths of doctrine I disagree with him on, and huge chunks of practice (his bleepety-blank choice of words, sometimes) I really don't like at all... but overall I do like and appreciate him & his stuff.

Bleepety-blank it all to bleep.