"Phonity. noun: superficial unity for which fundamental differences are ignored."

“As long as Reformed—which I assume to be cessationist*—and Charismatic Christians continue to pretend the differences between them are minor and sweep them under the couch, their unity is fake, false, phony, fraudulent, and fraught with failure.” Phonity

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Donn R Arms's picture

Mark_Smith wrote:

I'll leave.

I knew it was too good to be true. I was thankful as the moderators seem to have abandoned this thread. When Dave Doran weighed in I was doubly thankful. Dave has a way of settling a matter when he writes.

Donn R Arms

Todd Bowditch's picture

Mark_Smith wrote:

The  blog starter is the Thirsty Theologian. He is clearly a Calvinist. I was using Calvinist as a synonym for Reformed. He uses the "sola gratia...semper reformanda" in his title. The man is a Calvinist. OK.

The actual text has near the beginning "As long as Reformed—which I assume to be cessationist*—and Charismatic Christians continue to pretend the differences between them are minor and sweep them under the couch, their unity is fake, false, phony, fraudulent, and fraught with failure." He assumes all Reformed believers are cessationist. That is his point. He provides a link to another article making the same assertion. In that article there is a picture that features none other than Grudem, Piper and Mark Driscoll. Clearly though, not all Reformed believers are cessationist. Some have drifted over into continuationism.

 

The author is speaking to Reformed believers, asking them to reconsider the fashionable connection among some of them with Charismatics. I addressed that by suggesting that one reason for the appeal between Reformed believers (i.e. Calvinists) and Charismatics is continuationist leaders like Piper and Grudem.

 

Mark, I think it is important to recognize the difference between Reformed Theology, Calvinism (and for that matter, Covenant Theology). They are distinct theological concepts and they are not equivalent terms to each other. You are muddying the waters by 1) making these terms synonymous, and 2) by understanding them to be necessarily pejorative.

As someone who enjoys the writings of Piper and Grudem, I can assure you that I have not automatically taken any theological position merely because Piper believes it. I am certain that there are some that have an undue acceptance of all the teachings of Grudem and Piper, but I doubt that they even comprise a significant minority.  It is an interesting hypothesis...but it is certainly un-quantifiable and it does not appear to pass the "sniff test."

Overall, I think that your intent was to stay on topic. Perhaps you were a target of unwarranted castigation for straying from the topic. However, you have opened yourself up to some criticism because of your not-so-subtle digs at various topics along the way (i.e. "bashing" Piper and Grudem [too strong?], dismissing "CCM" [however you define it], mocking a pastoral title that you weren't familiar with, and generally attacking Calvinism). You can certainly entertain all of your opinions on these topics...but don't expect others to give you a free pass.

May Christ Be Magnified - Philippians 1:20 Todd Bowditch

Larry's picture

Moderator

I was thankful as the moderators seem to have abandoned this thread.

Hi Donn, My name is Larry. Have we met??

Mark_Smith's picture

What is the difference between Calvinist and Reformed? Why the reaction to it? Is it that Reformed adds in paedo-baptism, covenant theology to so called Calvinism? By Calvinism I mean TULIP, in a nut shell.

 

I have hovered over at James White's Alpha and Omega blog and website and never noticed them make a distinction between Calvinist and Reformed.

Todd Bowditch's picture

Reformed theology is so-called for its systematization and reemphasis during the time of the Reformation. The basic points of Reformed Theology are summarized in the five solae (Scriptura, fide, gratia, Christo, gloria Deo). Though it shared these solae with the Lutheran church, the term "Reformed" came to be used to distinguish this branch of Protestantism from the Lutherans. It is almost always Covenantal and most frequently Calvinistic. Arminian theology is actually an off-shoot of Reformed theology. However, Arminius' infamous umbrage with Calvinism has led some to assume that Calvinism and Reformed theology are equivalent. You may realize, depending on your view of Baptist origins, that Baptists are within the realm of Reformed Theology (broadly speaking), though they might wish to distance themselves today. The Reformed Church is not necessarily the perfect embodiment of Reformed Theology.

Covenant Theology explains God's plan for the universe in terms of Covenants. Initially, the Covenant of Redemption is the consensus of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit to create mankind and redeem then redeem him. According to Covenant Theology, this covenant is implicit unless one is to believe that Redemption is "Plan B." The Covenant of Works is the Creator/Creation agreement between God and Adam whereby Adam will have life in exchange for Obedience. As a created being, Adam was still entirely dependent on God's grace. After the Fall, mankind could no longer fulfill their end of the Covenant of Works. With the proto evangelium, God instituted the Covenant of Grace whereby man could receive life by faith implicitly (OT Saints) and explicitly (NT Saints) in Jesus Christ. This was the position to which almost all early Baptists would have held. Basically, Covenant Theology sees one implicit agreement and two explicit dispensations (If you read Hodge or Berkhof, you will actually see the word "dispensation" as opposed to "covenants").

In theological writings, Calvinism specifically refers to the concepts outlined by "TULIP," as you have referenced. They cover issues of Anthropology, Hamartiology, and Soteriology. They affirm man's utter depravity, God's sovereignty in salvation, the limited efficiency (but unlimited sufficiency) of the atonement, the complete efficacy of God's call (and the complete inefficacy of man's will), and God's power to save, sanctify, and glorify the believer. Of course, TULIP can be distorted so as to be unrecognizable to a Calvinist and abhorrent to anyone. But rightly understand, the five points of Calvinism provide the framework on which evangelicalism has been built. Certainly, there are evangelicals that are neither Reformed (select Catholics, select Lutherans, Baptists?, etc) nor Covenantal (the several flavors of dispensationalism), but I am hard pressed to understand how an evangelical is not Calvinistic to some extent on these points. (Mark, this last statement is one of those Easter eggs that I suggested that you occasionally drop in your posts. I apologize for it, and hope that we can discuss it in another forum).

I am certain that others can find fault with this basic comparison of these three distinct, but related theological constructs. You will notice a complete absence of citations...please comment accordingly. I also recognize that it is somewhat off-topic....hopefully it won't distract from the actual discussion.

May Christ Be Magnified - Philippians 1:20 Todd Bowditch

Mark_Smith's picture

Thank you Todd

Mike Harding's picture

Mark,

 

It is my opinion that the influence of Piper and Grudem has affected this generation's view of the cessationist/continuationist debate.  Their popularity makes the acceptance of continuationism more palatable in Calvinistic circles.  In fact I spent considerable effort trying to undo Grudem's interpretation of 1 Corinthians 14 in my Th.M. thesis for DBTS.  I am thankful that MacArthur is making this issue a major theme in his next conference.  As a Calvinistic dispensationalist I am opposed to continuationism.  I share the author's concern. On a more personal note, I am glad that you left the charismatic movement and see the problems in the the CCM world.  Also, a big thank you to Todd and Dave for their clear delineation of both the recent history of continuationism and clarification of the distinction between Calvinism and Reformed Theology.

Pastor Mike Harding

Brenda T's picture

This recent article describes Driscoll (a continuationist) as "conservative Reformed, or New Calvinist" and it highlights Driscoll's latest sermon series in which he's publicly saying cessationists are wrong. It doesn't sound like he's interested in being united with cessationists. In fact, he distances himself from cessationists with public statements that say they are flat-out wrong. Also, Driscoll is a continuationist who's referred to as "Reformed" and "Calvinist."

Jay's picture

I'm not sure why people on SI keep pointing to Mark Driscoll.  He's got so much theological baggage and so many oddities that I'd be surprised if many here agreed with his position or espoused his particular variety of Christianity.

I say that because more that a few have thrown his name out as someone that users of SI or young fundamentalists support, and I've never seen that to be the case here. 

 

"Our task today is to tell people — who no longer know what sin is...no longer see themselves as sinners, and no longer have room for these categories — that Christ died for sins of which they do not think they’re guilty." - David Wells

Brenda T's picture

Jay wrote,

I'm not sure why people on SI keep pointing to Mark Driscoll.  He's got so much theological baggage and so many oddities that I'd be surprised if many here agreed with his position or espoused his particular variety of Christianity.

I say that because more that a few have thrown his name out as someone that users of SI or young fundamentalists support, and I've never seen that to be the case here.

 

I can't speak for anyone but myself, so here goes:  My comments were simply an observation, not an indictment of SI users or young fundamentalists. I thought it was pertinent to the two-pronged discussion going on here: labels and unity. My comments were not about who supports or disagrees with Driscoll or whether or not that occurs here on SI.

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