“More Reformed than Jesus”?
I just stumbled upon a re-post in Unida’s LEK Facebook account of this post by Danny Slavich, a Baptist pastor, via Ed Stetzer. Here’s his slander against us Reformed Christians:
On Being More Reformed Than Jesus
I often joke with guys about being “more Reformed than Jesus.”
By this, I mean that they are so enthralled with Calvinistic theology, that they neglect the commands to love other Christians and reach people with the Gospel.
They love their theology, but they’ve missed the heart of their God. They’re all head with little heart for reaching people suffering, dying and lost in sin.
But there are others in the Reformed/Calvinistic camp who want to see their churches grow. They’re preaching the Gospel every Sunday in half-empty auditoriums built in cities where people need to hear the truth of Jesus. They’re afraid to violate their theology, so they don’t formulate a strategy to get the Gospel out to people who need to hear it.
They don’t mobilize their people for mission. Their belt is missing some key tools, like mine was.
Typical Arminian caricature of Reformed Christians. This post reminds me of Mark Driscoll’s slander against “Old Calvinism,” where he said, “Old Calvinism was fundamental or liberal and separated from or syncretized with culture. New Calvinism is missional and seeks to create and redeem culture.”
Slavich probably thinks being Reformed (or “Calvinistic”) is about being “once saved always saved.” Just a conjecture, since most evangelicals who critique “Reformed” or “Calvinistic” Christians think along these lines. (I can’t find anything in his blog that resembles a Statement of Beliefs, and he keeps referring to Reformed believers as “they.”)
So Jesus needed to be Reformed, and us Reformed Christians exceed His Reformed status?
And yes, we’re “enthralled” with our “Calvinistic theology,” because as his Baptist brother Charles Spurgeon said more than a century ago,
The old truth that Calvin preached, that Augustine preached, is the truth that I must preach today, or else be false to my conscience and to God … I cannot find in Scripture any other doctrine than this. It is the essence of the Bible … Tell me anything contrary to this truth, and it will be heresy … The doctrine of justification itself, as preached by an Arminian, is nothing but the doctrine of salvation by works…
Do we “neglect the commands to love other Christians and reach people with the Gospel” when every Lord’s Day, we read the Law, where God reminds us of his two great commandments: love God and love our neighbor? Do we love our neighbor less when we remind them every Lord’s Day that they fall short of God’s commandments, and exhort them to confess and repent of their sins?
And do we not reach people with the Gospel when we proclaim to them the true Gospel—the life, death, resurrection, and intercession of Christ, all of these to save us from God’s wrath on Judgment Day? (I wonder if Slavich or his church even know this true Gospel, not their testimonies about their new life in Christ.) This is what we preach every Lord’s Day and every opportunity outside the Lord’s Day to everyone—saints or pagans—because one of the biggest false doctrines taught today is that believers in the church do not need to hear the gospel!
As I mentioned, we “love our theology.” Better to love our beliefs, than not even knowing what we believe in and why. And we guard our theology because we know that it is the most Biblical of all “theologies” out there. We search Scriptures, discuss and debate our theology, because we’re scared that we might preach and teach false theologies if we don’t. Most evangelicals couldn’t care less. Their creed, “We have no creed but Christ” (or the Bible), is merely a smokescreen for Biblical illiteracy.
Because of his Arminianism, Slavich probably thinks that Reformed evangelism through painstaking Bible study and discipleship is “all head with little heart for reaching people suffering, dying and lost in sin.” For him, no Finneyite and Grahamite altar call, easy believism, and decisional regeneration means no evangelism or missions. Our invitations to “come to Christ, repent and believe,” is not “evangelistic” enough. It will never produce a “revival.”
We “don’t formulate a strategy to get the Gospel out to people who need to hear it,” because our only strategy is to invite everyone to come to Christ, repent and believe, then pray that if it’s the Lord’s will, they might also be members of God’s elect whom the Spirit will indeed give regenerated hearts and minds. We don’t do the work of the Spirit because we aren’t and so we can’t.
And yes, we “don’t mobilize their people for mission,” if “mission” means telling everyone that Jesus “loves you and has a wonderful plan for your life,” and that he is “knocking on the door of your heart because he wants you to accept him into your heart.”
So for Slavich, to be Reformed like Jesus means we have to always focus on the goats during our worship services, de-emphasize doctrines, and formulate strategies to fill our half-empty auditoriums? And if we preach the gospel and teach doctrines to God’s people, then we’re more Reformed than Jesus?
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