The Calvinistic Moral High Ground
What do you say to someone who usurps the moral high ground and accuses everyone else of being false, blasphemous, heretic, off the track and guilty of offering strange fire when he himself follows a path that is leading millions to destruction? (Proverbs 14:12). I suppose the appropriate thing would be to quote to him Matthew 7:1. Nevertheless, I doubt whether that would do any good, particularly when you’re a Calvinist who believes that you are one of the chosen few who must defend the sovereignty of God at all costs, albeit a false and distorted view thereof.
In all my dealings and debates with Calvinists on the internet throughout the years, there is one particular thing they stressed with clockwork precision — the absolute sovereignty of God in salvation and in Providence. No Christian in his right mind would ever want to disparage God’s sovereignty. Calvinists know this very well and have forged it into a formidable weapon to make the unsuspected feel guilty when they do not agree with what they teach. “You are defaming the sovereignty of God” is a phrase I heard so many times when I dared to refute Calvinism from the Word of God. A former Calvinist who escaped their clutches explained her obsessive compulsion to defend the sovereignty of God at the expense of His other equally important attributes, wrote as follows:
The overarching presupposition, never doubted, was unconditional election. Every scriptural understanding I learned had to coincide with this type of election. As new information entered my mind, it had to fit with my previously constructed framework of thinking. I was synthesizing a spread sheet of theology. I adjusted all doctrines to accommodate election. All my doctrinal entries assembled a system where ‘God sovereignly chooses.’ As one verse was understood more fully, other entries in my data sheet of theology would be adjusted so the whole system seemingly added up. New answers prompted more questions which kept me circulating in this theology. It became a quagmire of logic and rational interpretation without the freshness of the Spirit. One adjustment led to another and another and another and so on. (Read here). (Emphasis added)
John MacArthur, John Calvin’s alter ego – a moral dilemma
A Calvinist who probably deserves to take the moral high ground in ethics and good moral conduct is John MacArthur Jr. This is what one of his most ardent opponents has to say about him:
Before addressing these very weighty questions, let me express my deep appreciation for Pastor MacArthur. He has been in high-profile ministry for decades without a hint of a sexual or monetary scandal. He has been an unashamed witness for Jesus before the world; he has preached the cross and the blood; he has renounced cheap grace and emphasized the importance of the lordship of the Son of God; and he has been a devoted student of the Scriptures.
In all these ways, if we had more leaders like John MacArthur, the church and the world would be in much better shape. (Read here – Charismamag)
This may be a very good testimonial for someone who needs a new job but it means less than zero and zilch when he needs a new life in Christ. In fact, the devil just loves to use men of high moral values to spread his lies. “Oh he is such a nice guy and so pristinely irreproachable in moral conduct. He MUST be a Christian” Really? “He has been an unashamed witness for Jesus before the world” and “has preached the cross and the blood.” Really? – whilst he unashamedly proclaims that Jesus never loved and never died (shed his blood) for all people? Paul never thought much of men who were held in high esteem.
Moreover, [no new requirements were made] by those who were reputed to be something—though what was their individual position and whether they really were of importance or not makes no difference to me; God is not impressed with the positions that men hold and He is not partial and recognizes no external distinctions—those [I say] who were of repute imposed no new requirements upon me [had nothing to add to my Gospel, and from them I received no new suggestions]. (Galatians 2:6)
John MacArthur and several other evangelical Christian ministers aim to gather in October at his Sun Valley, Calif., church to take a counteractive stance against what he describes as “strange fire” practices in the charismatic movement. He says:
“There is a dramatic account of God’s judgment in Leviticus 9 and 10. The people had been ready to worship. They now had priests. They had standards by which they were to come before God and offer Him their worship,” explains MacArthur in one of many promotional videos highlighting areas the conference will touch on. “In the ninth chapter, they came according to God’s law, a sacrifice was offered, and God sent down miraculous fire and consumed the sacrifice. In chapter 10 (verses 1-3), however, another sacrifice was offered, and God consumed the offerers because they violated His standard and offered strange fire.”
MacArthur adds, “But it’s in the context of Leviticus 9 and 10 that I want to direct your attention toward strange fire that’s being offered to God today, and it could well bring His judgment.
“What I’m talking about is the charismatic movement that offers to God unacceptable worship, distorted worship. It blasphemes the Holy Spirit. It attributes to the Holy Spirit even the work of Satan. People are caught up in it, deceived, led astray.”
Read here, if you will.
No doubt, the worship of God other than the prescribed way in Scripture is very dangerous because it is likened to strange fire. Saints are commanded to worship God in spirit and in truth (John 4:23). The Holy Spirit is called the Spirit of Truth (John 14:17; 15:26; 16:13; 1 John 4:6) and whoever offers strange fire either does not have the Spirit of truth in him (is unsaved) or is saved but worships God in another spirit (2 Corinthians 11:4). Indeed, as MacArthur says and I agree with him, there is a lot of strange fire going on in the charismatic churches. When you type in “Fire of God” on the YouTube search engine a multitude of videos pop-up ranging from Benny Hinn to the so-called holy bartender, Rodney Howard-Brown, to Reinhard Bonnke, to the Bay of Holy Spirit Revival (Nathan Morris, John Kilpatrick, Guilermo Maldonado, Marina and Renny McLean), to as many more so-called prophets and teachers popping up like toadstools throughout the world.
In most cases the word “fire” in the Bible has absolutely nothing to do with blessing, revival, and healing but with judgment, indignation, and wrath. The fire on the altar in Leviticus was an emblem of God’s righteous judgment on sin and anyone who failed to bring the offerings exactly as God commanded him was guilty of misrepresenting God’s holy anger on sin, of whom Nadab and Abihu are examples. Jesus, our Sin-, Trespass-, Peace-, Meal- and Burnt Offering, was consumed by God’s holy fire on the cross and thus bore the full brunt of God’s holy anger and judgment on the sins of every single person who ever lived. God’s righteous judgment on sin was satisfied completely and in its entirety for all people when Jesus cried out with a loud voice “Tetelestai” (It is finished; the payment due to God for our sins was paid in full). No! saith the Calvinists, “Tetelestai” was only for the elect. This, my dear friends, is no less an abomination than the strange fire in charismatic circles. It misrepresents God’s holy consuming fire of anger and judgement on the sin of mankind as a whole when they claim that God’s holy consuming fire fell only partially on his Son Jesus Christ because He allegedly only died for the sins of the elect. Mr MacArthur, you are just as guilty of offering strange fire to God as the charismatic fraternity and therefore Matthew 7:1 can be applied to you with ease because you are misrepresenting God’s holy anger and judgement on sin in the very same way as did Nadab and Abihu.
The evidence for strange fire in Calvinism does not stop here. There is more to come.
Calvinism and the Charismatic Word of Faith Movement espouse similar views in regard to the function and role of the mind which is the seat of man’s free-will. In fact, both want you to check your mind at the door because a free-willy mind, as Calvinists refer to it, supposedly dishonours and demeans God’s sovereignty. In their zeal to uphold and defend God’s sovereignty they have fallen prey to a type of mind control. It is a self-imposed form of mind control because the deceived person aggressively and defiantly refuses to believe that he/she has a free will, even to the extent that they tell themselves that any shape or form of free-will is blasphemy and idolatry. Adolf Hitler said: “Make the lie big, make it simple, keep saying it, and eventually they will believe it.” If you keep on telling yourself that free-will is a thing of the devil, anti-God and Anti-Christ, blasphemous and idolatrous you will eventually believe it. No wonder Satan has chosen the mind as his battleground and does everything in his power to fasten his strongholds of lies in the mind.
A former Calvinist, Brenda Nickel, who had been in the grip of Calvinism for fourteen years explains it thus:
This insidious elitist attitude, pervasive within Calvinism, occurred without my notice. Mind control, operating by stealth, implanted these ideas through mere suggestion, deepening them with a false and superficial knowledge, to hold me both willingly and unwillingly. On one level I knew something was wrong, yet on another level, things appeared correct. The resulting confusion prompted queries, but sadly in the case of Calvinism, the answers were sought from the very people who imbedded the deception in the first place. (Read here).
Mind control is as prevalent in the Word of Faith Movement as it is in Calvinism although in the latter it is more subtle and therefore more dangerous. Whereas the Calvinist rejects outright mind control methods such as slain in the spirit, exceedingly long musical praise and worship sessions, shouting, uncontrollable shaking, speaking in tongues etc., they very effectively shut out the mind (the seat of man’s free-will) by bullying themselves and other dupes into a mind-set that tells them they have no free-will. Some Calvinists even go so far to say that man is not capable of choosing between good an evil and that life is nothing but a bizarre interplay of choices you make between two or more different kinds of evil. In fact the choices you make are merely your uncontrollable responses to the choices God Himself made for you in your behalf before the foundation of the world. RC Sproul explains it as follows:
“I no longer feared the demons of fatalism or the ugly thought that I was being reduced to a puppet. Now I rejoiced in a gracious Savior who alone was immortal, invisible, the only wise God. (Chosen By God, p.13, emphasis mine)
“This statement [The Westminster Confession of Faith: ““God, from all eternity, did, by the most wise and holy counsel of his own will, freely, and unchangeably ordain whatsoever comes to pass: . . .”] refers to God’s eternal and immutable decretive will. It applies to everything that happens. Does this mean that everything that happens is the will of God? Yes.” (What is Reformed Theology?, p.172, emphasis mine)
“Predestination seems to cast a shadow on the very heart of human freedom. If God has decided our destinies from all eternity, that strongly suggests that our free choices are but charades, empty exercises in predetermined playacting. It is as though God wrote the script for us in concrete and we are merely carrying out his scenario.” (Chosen by God, p.51, emphasis mine)
As long as you espouse these ideas you will have no need to “press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus”, and have no need to persevere to the end (although Calvinists believe they ought to), because you have been reduced to a puppet with God pulling and manipulating the strings as He sovereignly wills. If God wrote the immutable script for our lives before the foundation of the world it follows that the misuse of our free-will to choose only between two or more forms of evil was indelibly and permanently written into that script. Therefore, we are prisoners of our own choices between two or more forms of evil and henceforth we will never be able to choose between good and evil, good and bad, true and false, righteousness and unrighteousness.
Charismatics who have fallen under the spirit and have been infused with the so-called fire of God are under the very same bondage as the Calvinist who believes he has no free-will. Charismatics lose control over their own bodies and minds when they do all kinds of uncontrollable movements or lay on the floor for hours on end as slain in the spirit victims of Satan. As exposed by DTW, Andrew Strom has not been delivered from the false fire in the Charismatic Church (See here). However, the footage in the video presents us with a good example of the false fire in the Charismatic Church throughout the world.
One cannot say this of Calvinists who soberly resist and reject these kinds of manipulative shenanigans but the result is the very same – they lose control over their own minds as Brenda Nickel experienced while she was in bondage to Calvinism: “Mind control, operating by stealth, implanted these ideas through mere suggestion, deepening them with a false and superficial knowledge, to hold me both willingly and unwillingly.” Please note how she describes the bondage; she defines it as being both willing and unwilling at the same time – unwilling to listen to the well-meant exhortations of other Christians and willing to be led astray by the lies of her former peers. Charismatics are in bondage to the very same spirit but in their case is is not called Calvinism but the “fire of God.”
The False Fire of Limited Atonement
The false fire of limited atonement is not limited to Calvinism. The Charismatic movement has its own form of limited atonement but theirs is linked to the speaking in tongues phenomenon and not the sovereignty of God. Whereas Calvinists assert that the atonement of Jesus Christ is limited to the elect, the Charismatics believe that it is limited to those who speak in tongues because it allegedly is the evidence of the baptism in the Holy Ghost and salvation. Although some reformed theologians tenaciously defend the sovereignty of God in salvation, they have now come out of the closet in favor of the charismatics’ understanding of the gifts of the Holy Spirit and openly call themselves Reformed Charismatics. They seem to be keen to marry the sovereignty of God in salvation with the charismatic view of the spiritual gifts of the Holy Spirit, especially the gift of speaking in tongues. They believe that regeneration precedes faith but alongside this, they say, the spirit of God is free to work as He pleases in the lives of God’s saints, including the speaking in tongues. The ACRC (Association of Reformed Charismatic Churches) was established to facilitate a working relationship between churches who are both reformed and charismatic in their spiritual outlook.
The question that may be burning in your mind right now, is: Do Calvinist Charismatics speak in tongues? Well, maybe this will give you an idea of what’s happening in Reformed Charismatic circles right now. On July 29th 2011 John Piper said on Twitter, “God humbles Charismatics by making their children Calvinists; and Calvinists by making their children speak in tongues.” Some say he spoke this in jest (“jest” is not a foreign language). The fact is, he was dead serious because Pentecostalism and Charismania have gained a strong foothold in reformed theology.
John Piper invited Tope Koleoso to be one of the key note speakers at their Desiring God 2013 Conference for Pastors which gives a clear indication how far Charismania has already influenced a very large contingent of reformed theologians. It is interesting to note that John Piper chose Koleoso’s theme for him to speak on, which was “How should a Reformed Pastor be Charismatic?” Is this not one of the main reasons why John MacArthur and other reformed theologians are so desperate to take a counteractive stance against the strange fire in Charismatic circles during their scheduled conference in October this year?
Who is Tope Koleoso? He is the lead pastor of Jubilee Church in London. In 1995 he moved to Enfield to help plant Jubilee. From 2004, Tope has led the team of elders. He is responsible for preaching and vision. Tope is also involved in planting and supporting other churches internationally. The most alarming fact about Koleoso is that he hails two of the most influential figures in the NAR (New Apostolic Reformation) as his mentors on whose soldiers he says he stands. They are Jack Hayford and Terry Virgo. Last but not least, he also mentions John Piper as one of his spiritual mentors. It is not too difficult to add up two plus two to see how he manages to marry the reformed and charismatic traditions.
Jack Hayford has no qualms to associate with the most notorious false teachers of our day. He appeared with John Wimber, Peter Wagner (the head apostle of the entire Charismatic movement who decreed in the above video that Todd Bentley’s power, authority, favour and influence would increase . . . and then he fell flat on his behind), Vinson Synan and Paul Yonggi Cho at Lausanne II in Manila, the Philippines, in 1989 to discuss the progress, resources, and methods of evangelizing the world. (Read here). They are not evangelizing the world for Christ Jesus. They are preparing it to be initiated into Antichrist’s false religion of peace, health, wealth, prosperity and false signs and wonders. Jack Hayford also attended the Fast for Revival Conference at Bill Bright’s Campus Crusade for Christ in December 1994 where Robert Schuller, Charles Colson, E.V. Hill, James Dobson, W.A. Criswell, Charles Stanley, Paul Crouch, Luis Palau, Bill Palau, Bill Gothard, Pat Robertson, Jay Arthur and Larry Burkett played a prominent role (Read here). During the Jerusalem Celebration 2000 in February 1996 where Robert Schuller was featured Jack Hayford, Paul Yonggi Cho and C Peter Wagner was also in attendance. Schuller’s 1996 autobiography, “My Soul’s Adventure with God,” was endorsed by Jack Hayford, John Wimber and popular Southern Baptist leader W.A. Criswell (See more here). Jack Hayford is also involved with Promise Keepers (Read here).
Terry Virgo, another one of Tope Koleoso’s mentors, is one of the leaders in the New Apostolic Reformation (NAR)/Latter Rain Movement (Joel’s Army) run by C Peter Wagner and Chuck Pierce. These modern day prophets insist that the church be governed by them on the structure of the Ephesians 4:11 FiveFold Ministry – with absolute authority (See more here). Some may argue that the mere association with false teachers and your appearance with them on the same charismatic platforms do not make you guilty of false teaching. However, when you admire them and hail them as your mentors on whose shoulders you stand, it become a whole new kettle of fish. Indeed, it really begins to smell very fishy. “Can two walk together, except they be agreed?” (Amos 3:3). The obvious answer is, no, they can’t!
John MacArthur has no assurance of his salvation and yet lambasts the Charismatics for their strange fire (false conversions)?
In an interview Phil Johnson had with John MacArthur, John explained his conversion as follows:
PHIL: So you’re saying . . . are you saying it would be difficult for you to put your finger on when your conversion took place?
JOHN: Yeah. I’ve never been able to do that. And it doesn’t bother me. I think I’m one of those kids . . . I was one of those kids that never rebelled and always believed. And so when God did His saving work in my heart, it was not discernable to me. I went away to high school and for all I knew, I loved Christ, I was part of the ministry of the church. I went away to college and I wanted to serve the Lord and honor the Lord. I was certainly immature. But at some point along the line, I really do believe there was a transformation in my heart, but I think it may have been to some degree imperceptible to me because I didn’t ever have a rebellious time, I didn’t ever revolt against, you know, the gospel or not believe. And I guess that’s . . . in some ways that’s a grace act on God’s part. So that all that wonderful training found some level of fertile soil in my heart and none of it was wasted. [Thomas says: Calvinists don’t agree among themselves. Paul Washer says: “Since every man is radically depraved, they all hate God. they all blaspheme Him, walk away and go to hell. The whole world goes to hell.” – See more at Luke 18:11. He never published my comment. W hat does that tell you? Phil Johnson agrees with John MacArthur’s testimony.]. Washer says John MacArthur is/was radically depraved, hated God and blasphemed him. No no Mr. Washer, you’ve got it all wrong, saith John MacArthur. “I never rebelled against God and always believed. I never blasphemed God or walked away from Him.” Well, at least some Calvinists weren’t so radically depraved as Washer said. I commented on Phil Johnson’s site and mentioned to him how similar John MacArthur’s testimony is to the prayer of the Pharisee in
http://www.gty.org/Resources/Sermons/80-33 and click to listen to John Macarthur’s Non-Conversion Statement
I’m sure John wouldn’t mind if I dramatized his conversion a wee bit. The Holy Spirit whom Jesus sent to convict the world of sin, righteousness and judgment hovered over John MacArthur and said:
Jesus was sent to seek and to find the lost and I am sent to convict them of their sins and lost status before the Lord. But this guy! Wow, this guy is an extraordinary exception. I don’t need to convince him that he is a lost sinner on his way to hell cause he’d never been lost and on his way to hell.
Praise the Lord, he has always been one of those rare wiz kids who never rebelled and always believed, despite the fact that “all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.” This makes it so much easier for me to save him. I will monergistically zap him into a state of regeneration without him having to know what really happened to him. His salvation won’t be discernable to him.The only real discernable proof that he is saved will be his love for Jesus Christ, a love so infinitely and profoundly deep that he will start preaching that Jesus does not love all people in a saving way. In fact , he will boldly proclaim the reasons why God does not love everyone savingly: “He will tell people: “Why did God choose not to love everyone like that? I’ll give you a good guess, and maybe not a guess. The reason God did not choose to love everyone savingly, is because the love of God is qualified and controlled by his glory . . . by His GLORY!”
I have never come across anyone with such a deep-seated love for Jesus Christ as John MacArthur, so intensely deep that he’s prepared to tell the world that God does not love all people with saving grace. Wow! Heaven needs more preachers like John MacArthur.
Calvinists like John MacArthur, Paul Washer and Justin Peters are quick to take the moral high ground when they judge the Pentecostal, Charismatic and Word of Faith Movements as being of the devil while they blindly proclaim one of the most dangerous deceptions in all the history of mankind – CALVINISM (TULIP). May God have mercy on their pitiful souls.