Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Daniel Chew on the New Evangelical Calvinism

With the publishing of Colin Hansen's book Young Restless Reformed by Crossway Books in 2008, and the formation of The Gospel Coalition around the same time, New Calvinism has emerged as a supposed revival of interest in Reformed theology. With Time magazine even giving the New Calvinism the spotlight, it seems as the next revival in Christianity has arrived - Reformed Christianity as that. However, is everything going fine in this supposed revival?

In this paper modified and submitted for the blog conference, Daniel Chew addresses certain concerns regarding this New Calvinist movement, which he sees as a descendant of the New Evangelicalism from 50+ years back. An excerpt:

A phenomenon is growing and spreading within the churches in the USA. Spurred on by the degradation of culture, the downgrade of [New] Evangelicalism, the passion and appeal of charismatic personalities such as Pastor John Piper, C.J. Mahaney and the Sovereign Grace Movement among others, and above all to the providence of God, a renewed interest in Calvinism and the reformed worldview is spreading within the Evangelical movement. Journalist Colin Hansen has researched this phenomenon and published his results in his book Young, Restless, Reformed, truly an illuminating book which shows us the growing resurgence in Calvinism in myriad sectors of the Visible Church.

As Reformed (and reforming) Christians, the current resurgence in Calvinism surely is cause for gladness. Believing with Spurgeon that "Calvinism is the Gospel and nothing else”, the turning away from the destructive errors found in modern-day bankrupt Evangelicalism with its embrace of semi-Pelagianism and Pelagianism is indeed cause for joy. Nevertheless, in observing the movement, many areas of concerns, some serious, have came up and it in this spirit that these concerns are brought up for our consideration.

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Edward Sim has reviewed the article as follows:

I read Daniel Chew's article, titled "New Evangelical Calvinism: An analysis of the Calvinist Resurgence", with mixed feelings. There is so much that one can agree with. In this article, Chew highlighted 5 major issues that he found within the recent so-called "Calvinist Resurgence". These 5 issues are summarized in 4 questions and the call to be unashamed ambassadors of Christ. The 4 questions are: Will we learn from history? Will we embrace the material principle of the Gospel without embracing the formal principle of Sola Scriptura? Will we aim for rational and lifestyle consistency? Will we reject the New Evangelical infatuation with positivity? There is a sense that there is much that we can and must embrace together. It should be said from the outset that these warnings are great reminders and should be heeded. However, am I to understand these questions as veiled (if not then apparent) attacks on the recent Calvinistic Resurgence? And if so, the validity of these charges being brought forth takes on paramount importance. The aim of this review is to examine Chew's case and leave the readers to decide whether it has been convincingly and conclusively presented.

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Daniel Chew has responded to Edward Sim's review here, as follows:

I am grateful for Edward Sim’s review of my article on the New Evangelical Calvinism. Though I would most definitely not be in agreement with him on some of the issues he raised, I appreciate his frankness and his desire for the truth. In a culture which desires peace at all costs, those who are willing to disagree and do it in a Christian manner as based upon the authority of Scripture are indeed rare, and it is in this sense that I appreciate Sim’s review (cf Prov. 28:23).

It must first be reiterated that this paper was initially written in response to the attack of Tim Challies on “watchbloggers” on his blog. This paper was not therefore intended to be a full-scale analysis of the current Calvinist Resurgence, and thus of the positives and negatives found in it. Also, being a movement, it is definitely the case that the movement is not monolithic and thus not everything stated would apply to everyone. The article therefore was meant to be a clarion call towards the New Calvinists of the concerns with regards to possible deficiencies in the movement itself, which of course may or may not apply to them as individuals. It must be said that I am sympathetic to the movement, being able to identify with them on certain issues like the need for having a dynamic and passionate faith in our Lord Jesus Christ, after all having experienced the transformation that comes with embracing the Doctrines of Grace later in the Christian life.

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[This paper is now open for discussion]

44 comments:

PuritanReformed said...

In order to encourage comments, I would resist from responding to anyone and everyone here, unless the question addresses issues and specifically asks for my reply.

Augustinian Successor said...

1. The New Calvinist obsession is relevance. This is grounded in common grace.

2. Common grace supposedly provides the common ground between believer and un-believer.

3. Relevance never makes for consistent witness.

4. Thus, New Calvinism is characterised by antinomianism and legalism. The performance of the church is measured by how relevant she is (Law), rather than fidelity to the Word (Gospel). At the same time, culture is treated as neutral because of common grace (Law becomes Gospel; Gospel becomes Law).

5. The distinction between the secular and sacred is destroyed in the name of relevance and common grace.

Augustinian Successor said...

The New Calvinists, heirs of Puritanism, have departed from their heritage.

From an apocalyptic worldview, the pendulum has swung to a dualistic worldview.

The root problem is a wrong view of the Christian life - the theology of glory versus the theology of the cross.

valleyofvision said...

Hi Jason,

To say that the "New Calvinists" are obsessed with relevance is a rather unsubstantiated charge. I guess the onus would be upon you to provide evidence for it.

Edward

Augustinian Successor said...

Dear Edward,

I am not sure why you think it's unsubstantiated. The worship style and approach to culture is for all to see. (Also, I am speaking from personal experience having mingled with New Calvinists for a good few years in the UK).

Augustinian Successor said...

Hollywood is not neutral. The worldview of the creative and artistic community in Hollywood is not neutral. The actors and actresses are not neutral.

But the New Calvinists think that the movies offer wonderful insights for the Christian and allows them to engage with non-Christians. They think this is sanctification too - sanctifying themselves by sanctifying culture.

If the church is not into these things, i.e. claiming the movies for the Lordship of Jesus, then the church is not being relevant.

This is covert antinomianism *and* legalism. The Law is replaced by man-inspired laws.

The Christian is already in solidarity with the non-Christian. Both are under the Law in its political (outward) and accusing (inward) functions. Both have the same desires and appetites. Both are in Adam.

Culture is the arena not of engagement or accommodation but *conflict*. The Gospel of justification by faith alone is by nature polemical. It is antithetical to this world. It is the Gospel which smashed the idols of this world.

Recall that Calvin (together with Luther) insisted that the heart of man is an idol factory.

The Gospel precisely tears down all pretensions to the divine ambition of man as expressed in culture. The Law is helpless to transform culture. It cannot be confused with the Gospel. The Gospel can only, and nothing else but only destroy the idols inherent in culture.

Practical application: Christians have the freedom or liberty to go to the movies. But Christians should not pretend to redeem culture. This is hypocrisy. By going to the movies, Christians only serve to expose the truth that they are saints and sinners at the same time. This is the Christian life. But there are limits to this scenario precisely because the Law has its limits. Where the Law is limited, the Gospel comes in.

And the Gospel demonstrates that there is no continuity between the Law (Old Man) and Gospel (New Man) as far as the Kingdom of God is concerned. Just so that by faith, the Christian sees culture for what it is and re-envisions the world, creation as the eternal gift of God to be received back in gratitude. Thus, he cares for the world in anticipation of the Last One.

And when Jesus comes, then the union between nature and institution is restored. The Christian no longer walks by faith. He is forever free to be human ...

Augustinian Successor said...

The other extreme, of course, is to engage in a culture war which compromises the Gospel - accommodation on a broader, i.e. theological, level such as the Evangelicals and Catholics Together (ECT). Here again the confusion between Law and Gospel is evident.

Others look for a transformation via a counter-culture where the ecumenical endeavours of the churches constitute catholicity as the basis and anticipation to the catholicity of the world, i.e. in enabling the world to realise or fulfil its potential.

valleyofvision said...

Jason,

I am not sure of where you are going with this. What I understand New Calvinism to be is a largely recent, and American phenomenon. So the UK reference is kind of intriguing, to say the least. At least, almost everyone Daniel named in the article resides in North America (including Tim Challies, who is a Canadian).

So, I think that if we need to use labels, we need to identify who are are labelling and what we intend to mean with that label.

Edward

Augustinian Successor said...

Edward,

I know that the young people I mingle with identify themselves as New Calvinists. Of course, you can see that for yourself in the blogs too. Personally, I have friends who share the same worldview as the New Calvinists in the US. The book by Colin Hansen may have appeared in 2008, but the phenomenon well predates that. I speak from experience too.

Augustinian Successor said...

For a Puritan critique of the New Calvinist, Peter Masters has come out quite strongly in the context of the UK also.

http://www.metropolitantabernacle.org/?page=articles&id=13

Augustinian Successor said...

Of course, my critique is aimed at New Calvinism, and not just in the context of the UK. Like Rev. Dr. Masters, New Calvinism is not restricted to the US alone.

PuritanReformed said...

For those who are interested, Prof R. Scott Clark has written an introduction to the Federal Vision heresy at http://www.wscal.edu/clark/tuning.php

Paul said...

Thank Jason,

Thank for you post.. it is helpful

Try merge worldliness with Calvinism ..try worship with Hollywood style of music?

today we can still worship .., but after if we leave this world, what do will the next generation of leaders will lead our children? Martyn Lloyd Jones flirts with the Charismatics at the end of his ministry (while still continue to preach Calvinism), what happen to Westminster Chapel today?

Peter Masters started his ministry in the 1970s, he has seen it all.

Augustinian Successor said...

"Peter Masters started his ministry in the 1970s, he has seen it all."

Spot on, Paul.

I'm afraid nothing is new under the sun.

Lloyd-Jones's flirtation with the Charismatics is due to his theology of glory. The real presence of God is never to be sought apart from the Cross. Apart from the Crucified One, God is hidden.

The Christian experience is always a Cross-centred experience. And the Cross is always mediated by the Word and Sacraments. Where the Word and Sacraments are, there the *Holy Spirit* is.

Revival(ism) is contrary to the spirit of the Reformation simply because Word and Holy Spirit are never separated.

In the New Calvinism, God is sought where He precisely hides Himself, and ignored where He precisely reveals Himself.

CREDO500 said...

Thanks for arose the classical and new Calvinism discussion, the paper and review are very readable.

I agree with Daniel and Jason positionally, that God’s work must be done God’s way. Having taken the slippery slope of infiltration will be a disaster for evangelical and reformed churches now and tomorrow.

Nevertheless, I don’t think we should separate from our buddies for some minor doctrinal differences. We have to be very careful where we draw the line, lest instead of being separatists, we become isolationists.

valleyofvision said...

I would just like to clarify a few points:

1. I totally agree (and insist!) that practice must conform to scripture.

2. My disagreement with Daniel is not of a doctrinal nature. My disagreement is with how he assesses certain individuals and groups that are named in the original article.

3. I think that the New Calvinism vs. Classic Calvinism thingy has been over-simplified. Not everyone who calls himself a "New Calvinist" is a "New Calvinist". In partcular, I found Driscoll's blog post on the old vs. new to be confusing and unhelpful. Broadly speaking, there are overlaps between diverse groups and it is extremely tempting to take one group's features and make it typical of the entire movement. Take for example, I don't see any of the 9marks ministries guys to disagree with the substance of what is written here. (faithfulness vs. relevance etc).

4. Gospel Coalition should be construed as merely having overlaps with the reformed resurgence because as far as I know, the Coalition is not limited to Calvinists. (i.e. Arminians can join too.) I guess it can be criticized as being too broad in that case. But again, it never touted itself as being ever so reformed ostensibly. So it needs to be considered on its own merits before raising external concerns.

regards
Edward

PuritanReformed said...

Edward:

4) From (http://thegospelcoalition.org/about/foundation-documents/confessional/)

T- Total Depravity - As a result, all human beings are alienated from God, corrupted in every aspect of their being (e.g., physically, mentally, volitionally, emotionally, spiritually)

5. The Plan of God
We believe that from all eternity God determined in grace to save a great multitude of guilty sinners from every tribe and language and people and nation, and to this end foreknew them and chose them. We believe that God justifies and sanctifies those who by grace have faith in Jesus, and that he will one day glorify them—all to the praise of his glorious grace. In love God commands and implores all people to repent and believe, having set his saving love on those he has chosen and having ordained Christ to be their Redeemer

U - to this end foreknew them and chose them
L - having ordained Christ to be their Redeemer
I - having set his saving love on those he has chosen and having ordained Christ to be their Redeemer - those chosen will be irresistably saved
P - We believe that God justifies and sanctifies those who by grace have faith in Jesus, and that he will one day glorify them.

I think this answers your question.

The Hedonese said...

It is interesting to note that many young Calvinists I have met do not come to Reformed theology because of how irrelevant it is to their lives and surrounding culture :)

Precisely the opposite. Many do so through the ministry of folks at TG4 and Gospel Coalition - with names like DA Carson, Tim Keller, Marc Driscoll, John Piper, Mark Dever, CJ Mahaney come to mind.

That's where the future is - be culturally engaging with the gospel, not by masking insularity in the name of supposed faithfulness. There's a whole world out there to be won while the Reformed fundamentalists keep making narrower hair-splits amongst themselves, folks. It wud indeed be a sad day if Asian Calvinists lose tomorrow by failing to major on the majors and minor on the minors :)

The Hedonese said...

http://hedonese.blogspot.com

When I first discovered "Calvinism" during my first year of college (working at Evangel), I almost believed I was a 'lone-ranger'.
Who would have thought it would be 'cool' to be Reformed now? :)

Why is the Reformed faith attractive to the younger generation?Among the Chinese-speaking churches, the tireless, almost-weekly expository efforts of Stephen Tong ministry has been very influential. He still packs the auditorium after so many years. There's also "Right Path" which organised seminars by folks like Dr Sam Ling, Dr Lee Ken Ang and Pastor Wang Fu etc.

Among the English speaking community, like it or not, formally Reformed churches tend to be more 'separatist' and 'cessationist'- Bible Presbyterians which have their own seminary, distinctly Premillenial and KJV Only and the Reformed Baptists which hold to the 1689 London Baptist Confession

But i feel the evangelical Reformed Christians make a wider difference. They are "unified around the essentials of evangelicalism but entirely accepting of variant views on non-essentials", more inclined towards the more 'inclusive' model of JI Packer, Francis Schaeffer, Millard Erickson, Wayne Grudem, Jerry Bridges, Sproul, John Piper

Some have a less adversarial attitude (even adopt an eagerly seeking posture) towards charismatic gifts though critical of the excesses of 'health and wealth' gospel. Three main reasons

1) Many of them come from a background where personal experience is emphasized to the point of being almost anti-intellectual, anti-theological, anti-propositional. At least, the life of the mind and doctrine and truth have been neglected.

So it is wonderfully refreshing to see a robust and coherent theology when they enter seminary or go overseas. They become disillusioned with shallow preaching and yearn for something 'solid' that engages and encourages to think after God's thoughts

Yet it wud be wrong to accuse them of being 'rationalistic' since Reformed folks like Plantinga, Wolterstoff, Frame, Van Til, Dooyeweerd, Kelly James Clark have always emphasized that reason functions as a 'minister', in service of Scripture, rather than a 'magisterial' use of reason where reason acts as a judge over and above Scripture.

2) A private, dualistic, insular religion separated from the world and culture has NOT been a huge problem for Reformed folks.

So an important contribution of the reformed tradition is the cultural mandate, calling the church to reclaim every sphere of life for the Lordship of Christ. Every facet of life is to be lived 'coram Deo' (before the face of God).

Abraham Kuyper wud say that not a square inch on earth that Christ does not claim as His. Rather than just harping on predestination, Calvinism is a comprehensive worldview of life, world and God.

3) Ironically, some people are very suspicious of 'systematic theology' and putting God in a conceptual 'box'. These folks are big on hermeneutics, exegesis, greek/hebrew languages, exposition etc.

They dun like labels like 'Calvinism' but for all practical purpose, they came to be 'Reformed' through biblical studies! (thx to reliable commentaries of D.A. Carson which graced many a church or seminary library)

But we Calvinists have not been doing extremely well in the past is evangelism. We're just nowhere as effective and zealous as our Arminian brethren :)

What next?

I hope I'd live to see the day when both 'fundamentalist' and 'evangelical' Reformed Christians will plant churches that reach out without selling out. We need to emphasize missionaries and evangelists like William Carey, Spurgeon, David Brainerd, Adoniram Judson, Zwemer, George Whitefield as our role models rather than scholars like Benjamin Warfield, Charles Hodge etc.

Biblically faithful and culturally relevant.
Gospel demonstrated and declared.
Deeply theological and widely missiological.
Naturally supernatural and supernaturally natural :D

The Hedonese said...

100% support for Edward Sim! Yoo hoo! Way to go, bro :)

Amen and amen! Your article review is spot on, readable, irenic and sets the record straight

Augustinian Successor said...

"It is interesting to note that many young Calvinists I have met do not come to Reformed theology because of how irrelevant it is to their lives and surrounding culture :)"

I guess, David, it depends on whether the Gospel was already relevant or made to be relevant. I believe the Gospel is already relevant.

The Gospel does not come to add something lacking in this world. It comes precisely to liberate nature from sin. This is why culture is irrelevant.

Augustinian Successor said...

"That's where the future is - be culturally engaging with the gospel, not by masking insularity in the name of supposed faithfulness."

The Gospel is by nature polemical and antithetical to this world. The only strategy is to discern and critique culture, not accommodate it, and thus by exposing culture's irrelevance and by extension, the old creation's/old age's.

The Gospel is not in the business of a repair job, supplying something which is lacking in culture. The Gospel creates something completely new. Thus, in the meantime, the Christian lives an antithetical life in this world, rightly dividing the judgments according to divine and human perspectives consistent with his/her dual citizenship.

Augustinian Successor said...

"Among the English speaking community, like it or not, formally Reformed churches tend to be more 'separatist' and 'cessationist'- Bible Presbyterians which have their own seminary, distinctly Premillenial and KJV Only and the Reformed Baptists which hold to the 1689 London Baptist Confession"

Not all confessional Reformed are fundamentalists.

Augustinian Successor said...

On JI Packer, as a confessional Reformational, he displayed confusion of Law and Gospel.

The Reformation Christian does not cooperate with the Roman Christian on the Gospel.

He/she cooperates on the Law. On abortion, homosexuality, just as the Reformation Christian can cooperate with non-Christians on these issues, and for social justice. This is why Christians can take part in politics, not to transform culture which is what some of the evangelicals are doing (culture war) but to serve the neighbour.

There is no such thing as Christian Law, only Law.

Augustinian Successor said...

"Abraham Kuyper wud say that not a square inch on earth that Christ does not claim as His."

But he was mistaken in thinking that Jesus rules the right-hand kingdom in the same way that He rules the left-hand kingdom. The distinction is absolutely vital. or else we end up working to bring in the Kingdom of God by our efforts of being relevant when the Kingdom of God comes solely by the proclamation of the Gospel.

We walk by faith, not sight. Faith enables us to see this world marred by sin as a gift received back from God. Faith enables us to see culture as something passing away ...

Augustinian Successor said...

"So an important contribution of the reformed tradition is the cultural mandate, calling the church to reclaim every sphere of life for the Lordship of Christ. Every facet of life is to be lived 'coram Deo' (before the face of God)."

The Church has no mandate apart from the Great Commission which is *proclamation* of the Gospel in Word and Sacraments. Nothing more is needed.

The creation mandate still applies even though in the context of a fallen world. And that is to subdue the resources for the building up of civilisations so that this world can be preserved for the time being for the sake of the Gospel, and at the same time an arena of battle between Jesus and Satan.

Augustinian Successor said...

"Deeply theological and widely missiological"

The 16th century Protestant Reformation, both Reformed and Lutheran were not only deeply theological but at the same time widely missiological.

Augustinian Successor said...

At the end of the day, it is not Christian above culture nor Christian below culture, nor Christian against culture but Christian and culture - in culture, but not of culture ... in the world but not of the world.

The distinction between Law and Gospel, divine and human righteousness, left- and right-hand kingdom, grace and nature, old and new creation, Old Adam and New Adam, sacred and secular, etc. is absolutely vital.

The Kingdom of God comes solely by the proclamation of the Gospel in Word ans Sacraments alone and thus the worship of the church must flow from justification by faith *alone*.

Augustinian Successor said...

By faith the Reformation Christian understands that there are limits to what the church can and is supposed to do here on earth. (The two-kingdom distinction).

By faith the Reformation Christian appreciates the arts, sciences, cultural expressions, etc. in society and at the same time conforms to the judgment of God. (the two righteousness distinction). The inspiring talent of the unregenerate ought to be recognised as such, but in the sight of God it is sin. Common grace is unr-Reformational precisely because of the failure to observe the distinction. This is why this world is irrelevant from God's perspective.

Watching movies is regulated by the Law, not Gospel, or else pornography would be permissible in the first place. Hence, it is not Christian freedom in view but the Old Man. (The distinction between the Old and New Adam). Christian freedom is true freedom, unlimited freedom with respect to creation, not culture (The distinction between the old and new creation) in vocation where sanctification also takes place - in the state &society alongside the family and church - the three estates or stations of life.

Augustinian Successor said...

The concept of grace in the Reformation theology is not something in us that we do, but something that is done to us. When we talk about grace, the human object is always rendered passive. So, grace is strictly eschatological not ontological. it comes from above, from an alien land, and is the in-breaking of the Kingdom of God.

Augustinian Successor said...

What is needed is not the "fundamentalist" and "liberal" which represent mirror versions of one another ... one which advocates separation; and the other confusion, but distinction grounded in the hypostatic union of Christ, in which the Incarnate God came down not to transform society but usher in a new society visible only in the proclamation of the Gospel.

PuritanReformed said...

Jason:

Is it just me, or is the New Calvinist adament on misrepresenting and portraying confessional Reformed Evangelicalism as "Fundamentalism"? One wonders where the New Calvinsits were when John Calvin sent missionaries to places around the world like Spain and Brazil, where they face the wrath of the Inquisition.

Augustinian Successor said...

Dear Daniel,

Yes, to be confessional is to be missional. One can be confessional (and traditional/liturgical) and work in slums amongst the inner city poor and marginalised is missional, even though there is nothing about cultural relevance. Work amongst the orphans is missional even though cultural engagement does not enter into the equation.

I am wary about the church, especially by what I see are the heirs of Puritanism swinging from the holier-than-thou attitude towards a cooler-than-thou attitude ... based on my personal experience in the UK *especially*, this is what is happening(!)

Augustinian Successor said...

The trouble with Fundamentalism amongst the nominally Reformed circles is that precisely they are Reformed in name only. Likewise, amongst the theonomists, they are Reformed in name only.

The theonomists envision/envisage a society ordered by the Mosaic Law which is simply a time-bound and space-bound expression of the Law. This is bondage, not freedom. It does not bring down the reign of Jesus but bring up the reign of Satan.

Augustinian Successor said...

Likewise Fundamentalism as David rightly observed confuses the minor with the major, the non-essential with the essential with the result that form becomes substance and substance become form. This, more often than not, reflects a legalistic mentality.

Augustinian Successor said...

The Reformation was about the theology of the cross versus the theology of glory of mother church.

The church is confident of her triumph even though she may appear to be irrelevant in this world. By faith, she is confident.

The gates of hell shall not prevail against the Church.

For the church wears the badge of irrelevance with pride knowing the suffering the contempt of the world is part of her *calling*.

PuritanReformed said...

Jason:

in this regard, Pastor Bob Dewaay pastors a church in the [urban] city of Minneapolis, Minnesota, and he reaches out to people with the Gospel without all the need to be "cool" and "culturally relevant". I respect all these pastors who are reaching people with the Gospel far more than Tim Keller and Mark Driscoll who are more interested in "contextualiing" the Gospel and being "culturally relevant".

IMO, it says a lot about the knowledge of church history one has when one thinks that opposing "cultural relevance", "contextualization" etc is symptomatic of 'Fundamentalism'. I wonder how much of the history and development of Fundamentalism they actually know (instead of the caricature they have heard), nevermind the Reformers, who call the Pope the Antichrist (My, how unloving they were [ / s ])

PuritanReformed said...

The problem with Fundamentalism is that it partakes of the spirit of Dispensationalism, which is schismatic from its very inception as seen in the countless splits within the Plymouth Brethren (ie "open", "close" Brethren, Bethesda etc). The failure to see this has the New Evangelicals and their New Calvinists descendents confuse the Reformed spirit of contending for the truth with the schismatic Dispensationalist spirit of majoring on the minors. The pendulum has swung from one extreme (splitting hairs over everything) to the other extreme ("broad-minded" ecumenism). And all the while the Church suffers.

Augustinian Successor said...

Dear Daniel,

I cannot agree more. Dispensationalism also confuses a lot of things. Which is why they support the State of Israel for the *wrong* reasons. Israel deserves to exist not because it is special in the eyes of God today, but that just like any group of people, the Jew deserves to return to their ancestral homeland.

PuritanReformed said...

Jason:

Amen. I have not read as much into that particular issue as I would like to, but I am against both "Christian Zionism" and "Christian Palestinianism".

valleyofvision said...

It's a fine line between making the gospel "relevant" and "showing" how it is relevant. The former is the sin of conforming to this world. The latter is the necessity of communicating gospel to this world.

Augustinian Successor said...

Dear Edward,

Your point is well taken.

Having said this, I fear that many, like the Roman Church, and her adherents in the Protestant communions (wannabes) tend more often than not to confuse message with medium, with the medium ending up as the message. of course, we see this in revivalism too, and Charismaticism.

Augustinian Successor said...

"Christian Zionism" and "Christian Palestinianism".

Yes, yes very dangerous indeed. Very dangerous ... the two extremes ... which glosses over who the Jews are, just like the Gentiles who must be held accountable as any Gentile would, and glosses over the sheer anti-Semitism, racial and religious bigotry against the Jews ...

Augustinian Successor said...

In other words, the "Jews can do no wrong" and the "Palestinians are always the victims" are both wrong.