Category: calvinism

WHEN Some Calvinists Argue In Favor Of Free Will

There is a time when some, and indeed many, who are ideological-Calvinist, talk about the free will of men and women.  They are willing and able to briefly discard their Calvinistic ideology because it provides space for excusing their failure.  Suddenly the “free will” of fallen humanity comes into play.

I use the term “calvinistic-ideologues” because their Calvinistic ideology reinterprets passages that get in the way.  They are theological extremists and, therefore, will find a way around the clearest of passages that in no way can be understood as supporting their ideology.  “For God so loved the world” is now the “world of the elect.”  “Whosoever will” does not mean whosoever — et al.

However, this situation is kind of a reverse gear.  Instead of redefining words, some decide that maybe there is a place for free will in their theological manual after all!

When confronted with their own failure in the home and unable to even persuade their children of the truth of the Gospel, some suddenly call up their child’s free will!

They haven’t failed at training (Proverbs 22:6).  They are still qualified to be in the ministry even though they do not have “faithful children (Titus 1:6).  Surely, they are not like Eli, who failed in his home!

The cause of their child’s rebellion (and worse) is . . . .

 “Well, you know, children have to make their own decisions at a point in time.  In the end, you need to realize that they have a free will.  They can walk away from all that has been taught them in our home!”

How many times I have heard that from pastors who have failed to raise faithful children! [1]

Another alternative is that they have miserably failed in their most important and primary responsibility while preaching to others about godliness.

For some, children now have free will, and it was their child’s decision to walk away from the faith.

There is only one other alternative, and it isn’t very sellable — God has ordained that my child will not receive the gift of faith, (that has been given to others). Before creation, The Lord Himself determined that he/she was destined to be a child of Hell. [2]

1 – Sad to say, but John Piper is a prime example of such failure as a father.  If you would like to read his explanation of that failure, here is the link. Piper speaks as if what we do as parents influences the outcome…huh?  Piper never mentions the reality that his theology dictates….that the Lord has determine not to give them the faith too believe, as He has others.

2 – “By predestination we mean the eternal decree of God, by which he determined with himself whatever he wished to happen with regard to every man. All are not created on equal terms, but some are preordained to eternal life, others to eternal damnation; and, accordingly, as each has been created for one or other of these ends, we say that he has been predestinated to life or to death.” John Calvin, Institutes of the Christian Religion — 3.21.5

How Is “Hyper-Calvinism” Being Redefined?!

It has become all too evident in the socio-political world that if we can change, stretch, or twist the definition of words, we can control the conversation. . . . . and this is also true when it comes to theological discussions!

“Hyper” means “to go beyond. ”  Outside of “hypersonic,” “hyper-anything” is generally not meant as a compliment.
“Hyper-Calvinism” means that one has gone beyond what John Calvin taught.

  • “You are more Calvin than John Calvin!”
  • “Not even John Calvin taught or believed that!” [1]
  • “You have taken what Calvin taught and are running it off the tracks.”

“Hyper-Calvinist” is recognized as an unattractive description, and the easiest way to avoid being called a “hyper-Calvinist” is to redefine the term.

In order to dodge the charge that one is a hyper-Calvinist, the term is redefined in a way to exempt those who are, in fact, on the extreme theological fringes.

AND what is even more advantageous is that by changing the definition, there is no need to change one’s theological-ideology.

√  Change the meaning so that the definition avoids theology and focuses on some supposed after-effects!
√  Change the meaning by setting up a “strawman,” a caricature that exempts most everyone . . . .

. . . . . and the problem is solved.

Here is how “hyper-Calvinism” is being defined today . . . .

“It is a teaching that downplays evangelism, church-planting, and going to the nations, on the basis that God is sovereign.  God is in control, and God has elected his people, so he’s going to save his people whether we speak the truth or not, whether we give our money to foreign missions or not. . . . Hoax-Calvinism . . . mimics Hyper-Calvinsim by never putting the boots on the ground, never befriending unbelievers, and only begrudgingly, at best, telling people about Jesus.” [2]

Sorry  — this is not “hyper-Calvinism,” but a strawman that seeks to distract from legitimate biblical issues.  IT is the “Hoax-Definition” of hyper-Calvinsim!

Such a definition moves the focus away from the genuine theological issues that surround Calvinism and hyper-Calvinism, by repeating this well-known historical extreme parody. [3].

The author’s strawman is disingenuous and duplicitous!

What biblical ministry or local church does not . . . .

  • believe that God’s sovereignty also includes instrumentality?
  • understand that God’s Gospel program includes sharing the Word of God, praying for the souls of men, and living godly before them?
  • financially support foreign missions?
  • encourage telling others about Jesus — putting the boots on the ground?

What biblical ministry teaches or believes that . . . .

  • We should NEVER befriend unbelievers?
  • We should ONLY begrudgingly — and at best begrudgingly — talk to people about Jesus? [4]

These “strawman” definitions are merely an attempt to redefine hyper-Calvinism by calling up some fictional side-effects, without touching the real theology that underpins both Calvinism and hyper-Calvinism!

Calvinism and Hyper-Calvinism are about doctrine, not these “fabricated strawman” behaviors! [5]

Hyper-Calvinism primarily revolves around doctrinal issues of “sovereignty,” “limited atonement,” “the perseverance of the saints,” and the push to make grace, along with repentance and faith, all part of God’s gift. [6]

Hyper-Calvinism is NOT “hyper” because it spawns the behaviors cited in its strawman-camouflaged definition. [7]. It is “hyper” because of doctrinal issues that revolve around what is typically called — “The Five Points Of Calvinism.”  Those “Points” are all doctrinal, not behavioral strawmen.

Extreme or “hyper-Calvinsm” results when . . . .

  • Calvinistic-ideology takes precedence over all the other doctrines and truths of Scripture.
  • There is little willingness to balance out the doctrine of God’s sovereignty with human responsibility.
  • Clear biblical passages are marginalized because they “disturb one’s doctrinal consistency & peace.”
  • The demand to be intellectual consistency refuses to allow the doctrines of God’s sovereignty AND human responsibility to co-exist  — unresolved in our minds, but divinely resolved in the mind and plan of God.
  • One downgrades passages that call on believers to pray for, witness to, and live godly lives before those who are without Christ, rather than abandon, amend, and/or temper their doctrinal positions. [8]
  • There is an unwillingness to give room for divine “mystery” – for the fact that there are unknown and unrevealed truths that are not part of God’s revelation to men, that there are truths that are unknown to us and that would resolve our lack of understanding if known.
  • Preachers and pastors are unwilling to invite people to come to Christ because their “doctrine”  holds them back from calling on all men to trust Christ for the forgiveness of their sin.
  • Words no longer mean what words mean (whosoever will, God so loved the world, not willing that any should perish, all men) because it disrupts and disturbs one’s theological ideology.

Calvinism and “Hyper-Calvinism” are doctrinal issues, and there are real-life implications to those doctrinal beliefs! 

If it is biblical accurate that . . . .

  • even lost men, dead in their trespasses and sins, can see and understand that there is a Creator God (Romans 1)
  • the Good News / the Gospel is good news
  • that the Gospel is for all men
  • the “gift” is not grace or faith, but our salvation [9]
  • whosoever will” can take of the water of life freely, [10]
  • the Lord calls on all men to repent
  • God is not willing for any to perish
  • that . . . . .
  • that . . . .

. . . . then this is not about two equally tenable positions, and the souls of men and women, adults and children, are at stake. 

And that has real-life eternal repercussions! [11]

Theological-ideology matters!

1 – Interestingly, John Calvin did not teach that faith is a gift!
“Many persons restrict the word gift to faith alone. But Paul is only repeating in other words the former sentiment. His meaning is, not that faith is the gift of God, but that salvation is given to us by God, or, that we obtain it by the gift of God.” — John Calvin

2 – Humble Calvinism, by Medders, pg 120

3 –  “At a meeting of Baptist leaders in the late 1700s, a newly ordained minister stood to argue for the value of overseas missions. He was abruptly interrupted by an older minister who said, ‘Young man, sit down! You are an enthusiast. When God pleases to convert the heathen, he’ll do it without consulting you or me.'”

As the author notes, “such an attitude is inconceivable today,” and it is!

Do not let such a strawman distract from the real theological issues that surround both Calvinism and “hyper-Calvinism.”  There are legitimate and relevant theological issues that surround both, and the proof is found in the many articles that attempt to argue that Calvinism does not dampen evangelistic zeal!

4 –  Using the word “never” and “only begrudgingly” reveals the true nature of this strawman!

Sadly, “Hoax-Calvinism” is not the strawman that explains the excesses that pervade the theological world today.  “Hoax-Calvinism” is a distraction!  “Calvinism,” “Extreme Calvinism,” and “Hyper-Calvinism” are theological movements that deserve serious conversation and examination.

5 – Obviously, one could find a church or ministry that believes and/or practices such absurd positions, but that hardly makes such a strawman anything less than disingenuous!

6 – One could easily include “God’s granting of repentance,” which is also taken out of its context.  The passage is focused on those who have stubbornly, and to their own spiritual demise, hardened their hearts.   Interestingly, Paul states that it will be by our patience and demeanor that we might perhaps soften their hearts to the truths of the Gospel.

7 – It is worth noting that both Calvinism and “hyper-Calvinism” have historically, presently, and repeatedly precipitated some very real practical repercussions.  They include a general lack of evangelistic zeal, the paucity of sermons that preach a clear and direct Gospel message, the unwillingness to give public invitations to call on Christ, a portrayal of “a God of judgment” more than a God of love, grace, and reconciliation, and a general coldness towards Gospel winsomeness and persuasion.

I taught at Baptist Bible College, Clarks Summit, Pa.  I was moving from Tennessee Temple to BBC in the late 70s.  During my 2-3 hour interview at BBC, I was asked if I had any questions or reservations about joining the faculty.  I indicated that I did. . . .

“I am struggling with the reputation that BBC has about its Calvinistic / hyper-Calvinistic position, and I have had some compare BBC to an evangelistic dustbowl.”

They responded that the reputation was due to “poor press” and that they had failed to make the case that they were evangelistic.  In fact, they stated that one of the reasons they were interested in having me join the faculty was that I taught at Tennesse Temple College and Seminary.  They wanted some men and women on their faculty who had taught at such evangelistically recognized schools.

Let me assure you that it was not just “poor press.”

I recall a chapel message by the President of BBC – Mark Jackson.  He exhorted the students about the historic tradition and position of Baptists as it relates to Gospel preaching and the giving of invitations.  After that chapel service, a faculty meeting, President Jackson was challenged by the Bible faculty and others about that chapel message and, even more specifically, about giving public invitations.  I was taken back that the President had to defend that position.

8 – How absurd are these comments if both are not true — #1 – That God is sovereignly working, and #2 – that men also have some level of “free will” that can be appealed to by preaching.

“Knowing therefore the terror of the Lord, we persuade men; but we are made manifest unto God; and I trust also are made manifest in your consciences.”

And the servant of the Lord must not strive; but be gentle unto all men, apt to teach, patient,
In meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth.”

9 -The implications are significant if it is God who gives them “faith” to believe.  Making “faith” the gift is far different than making grace or salvation a gift.  As soon as you make the agent of salvation, “faith,” the gift of God, you now make God the sole person responsible for one’s salvation.  If He alone can give “faith,” and that “faith” is now a gift to whosoever He wills, you now have Him as the one responsible for whether a person does or does not believe and accept His Son as their Saviour!

10 – “And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely.”

11 – Unlike the “camouflaged strawman attempt” used to deflect from the real doctrinal issues, the real-life implications of hyper-Calvinism carry with them potentially damnable consequences. 

Fortunately, there is a lot of inconsistency in “theology” and “practicology” — between what Calvinists/hyper-Calvinist say they believe and what they actually practice and/or allow!  Those who need Christ still come to know the forgiveness of sin, even when men twist biblical truths to fit their ideology!

A pastor’s Calvinistic-ideology is often dismissed as unimportant because the church still engages in significant evangelistic endeavors.  
“Whatever our pastor believes . . . . what does it matter . . . . we support missions and engage in outreach ministries.”

At other times, a pastor’s Calvinistic-ideology is hidden from plain sight by weasel words and biblical statements that seem to imply that they are not on the extreme fringes of Calvinism.
“Our pastor talks about reaching the lost, salvation by grace through faith alone, and the need to share Christ.”

Unprincipled Calvinist: At Least Be Honest

If we are going to disagree and assume different positions as to what the Scriptures teach . . . . let’s at least be honest & trustworthy!  That should be true all the time, but surely we ought to be even more precise when it comes to the Gospel!

When someone makes a biblical argument and distorts the very words of a passage of Scripture, they have broken trustworthiness.  If a ministry and/or pastor can ignore the clear teaching of a passage of Scripture, for the sake of maintaining their position, they are no longer to be trusted in how they handle the Word.

“Well, what do you mean when you say ‘clear?'”
Your “clear” or my “clear?”

How about “It is well acknowledged that the passage cannot and does not teach that position!” [4]

There is no dispute as to what the Greek language and grammar allow when it comes to antecedents.  Unlike English grammar, the antecedent is not identified by its positioning, but by its gender.  After taking 6 years of Greek, I know that such is taught, well-acknowledged, and understood!

As is often stated, you are welcome to your opinion, but it is an uninformed opinion if you believe that case endings do not matter in the Greek language, and in many-to-most other languages.

Those who maintain that Ephesians 2:8 teaches that “faith is a gift God grants to some and not others” well understand that the Greek grammar rejects such a translation-interpretation.

The word “that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God” cannot have “grace” or “faith” as its antecedent!

To not acknowledge that fact as a Bible teacher or pastor is disingenuous — at best!




#1 – The word “‘that’ not of yourselves” is in the singular neuter case (“touto”)! [1]

No Greek speaker/writer would take a word that is in the neuter case and connect it with a word in the feminine or masculine case.

Nor would any Greek writer use the singular case to speak of something in the plural (“grace” and “faith”).  The writer would have stated . . . “and these not of yourselves.”

If, in Paul’s mind, he was thinking that faith is the gift of God, and if he wanted to convey that meaning, he could have easily used the feminine singular case “haute.” 

However, the Spirit of God, who was guiding Paul, chose not to use that word!  If the Spirit of God had used that word, then that meaning would have been clearly established.  The Spirit of God knows how to add clarity by using the established rules of Greek grammar!

“That” refers back to the whole — “For by grace are you saved, through faith.”  It is the whole salvation experience of rejecting the law and accepting the gift of grace that comes through exercising faith. [4]

Just as the whole salvation experience is “not of works” and refers back to the whole.  We come to Jesus without works, but only by exercising saving faith in His work for us.

Imposing English rules of grammar is not only improper but disingenuous.  In the English language, we determine antecedents by position.  What is the closest word, and that is the antecedent.  That is not how it works in Greek.  In Greek, word endings are vital!  In Greek, word order is often used to place emphasis.

At least be honest and state that . . . .

“The Greek text does not support my “interpretation” of “faith” being the “gift.”

Be honest and state that such a rendering is only your theologically motivated opinion, supported nowhere else in the Scriptures.


#2 – The Scriptures clearly teach that “faith” is not a work!

Faith is not a work, and that is clear because Paul contrasts faith (pistis) against works (ergon) (i.e. Gal 2:16; 3:2-5, 9-14; Rom 3:27-28; 4:1-3; 4:14-5:2; 9:30-32).

Faith is what abandons all previous attempts to work one’s way to reconciliation with God.
Faith rejects the belief that one’s works can justify him/her.
Faith accepts Who Jesus is and the work He has accomplished on Calvary.

Faith is the means by which we accept the free gift of grace — “through faith.”  No one who accepts a gift would claim that accepting a gift is doing something for the gift.  Imagine being given a gift, and then saying that your acceptance of that gift was a work that earned you the gift.

Likewise, there is no reason for glory or boasting in accepting a free gift of salvation.  Paul states that there is only glory if righteousness comes by works of the law (Romans 4:1-5).  But Abraham believed (pisteuo) God and therefore had no reason to glory because (as Paul states!) it was not by works of the law, but by faith.


#3 – The gift is not grace.

The gift of God is our salvation, the forgiveness of sin — “by grace are you saved.”
The gift of salvation was made possible because of His grace, and it is ours by faith, by believing in Who Jesus is and what He has done for us on Calvary, by trusting that He, as God, has graciously provided full payment for our debt.

The salvation experience is the foundation of all that follows.

And “grace” is the reason anyone was or can be saved (“you have been saved”).
And grace comes through faith.
And grace is the contrast to works.


That is illustrated in John 11: 25-26, as Jesus addresses Martha. . . .

Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live:
And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die. Believest thou this?

Martha responds (11:27) by saying . . .

“She saith unto him, Yea, Lord: I believe that thou art the Christ, the Son of God, which should come into the world.

In both the words of Jesus and Martha, there is not a hint that her faith was anything less than her own belief concerning Jesus, and that she had that belief before being asked the question.

Likewise, the question of Jesus clearly states that she could exercise or not exercise a personal belief as to who He was — “Do you believe this?”

AND her plain and clear response was . . . .

“Yes … I believe that thou art the Messiah and the Son of God that should come into the world.”


I understand that there are those who want to make faith the gift of God (which was not even John Calvin’s position!). [2][3] I also understand that there are those who can find no other passage which states that faith is a gift and this is their best attempt.  But as Charles Spurgeon stated . . . .

 My love of consistency with my own doctrinal view is not great enough to allow me knowingly to alter a single text of Scripture.  I have great respect for orthodoxy, but my reverence for inspiration is far greater.


1- Word order is vital to the English language, but it is unlike Greek and most other languages.

Ephesians 2:8

τῇ    γὰρ    χάριτί      ἐστε      σεσῳσμένοι    διὰ       τῆς πίστεως·  καὶ    τοῦτο     οὐκ      ἐξ   ὑμῶν             θεοῦ      τὸ δῶρον·

the    for     by grace    are you        saved      through    the    faith      and      that        not       of     yourselves     of God   the  gift

τῇ    χάριτί   — chairs = grace
the grace — both words are singular and feminine

τῆς πίστεως — pistis = faith
the  faith — both words singular and feminine

τοῦτο – touto = that
that — singular neuter

. . 

2 – “Many persons restrict the word gift to faith alone. But Paul is only repeating in other words the former sentiment. His meaning is, not that faith is the gift of God, but that salvation is given to us by God, or, that we obtain it by the gift of God.” — John Calvin

3 – Likewise . . . .

God so loved the world, and the world means the world!
He would have all men to be saved, and that means all men.
He is not willing that any should perish, and any means any.


4 – A T. Robertson . . . .

Note: There are only two other places where the Greek words — “kai toutos” = “and that” appear in the same nominative case, in both a singular and plural use.  In I Corinthians 6:6 “and that” refers back to the general subject of “goeth to law.”  In I Corinthians 6: 8 “and that” is in the plural and is plural because it refers back to both “do wrong” and “defraud.”  Paul makes reference to the general subject here, as he does in Ephesians 2:8 when speaking about salvation.  Paul also knew how to use the plural to refer to both doing wrong and defrauding.

5 – I have read the works of two commentary writers who make the claim that the case agreement is “not fatal” and “not irreconcilable”  However, two points in their commentary are noteworthy — #1 – They still maintain that the best understanding is that faith is NOT a gift, and #2 – They do not cite one other instance in the Greek language where such occurs which would make it not fatal!


“And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely.”

καὶ  θέλων
and the “willing”

The same word used in Matthew (and many other places). . . . .”Then Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not willing to make her a publick example, was minded to put her away privily.”

For “calvinists” who claim Spurgeon as one of their own!

While Spurgeon is read and cited by many who believe him to be a “Calvinist” after their liking, most do not realize that he faced the same theological backdrop that exists today.

Outside of his speaking and writings around what was called the “Downgrade Controversy” (near the end of his life’s ministry) [1],  Spurgeon wrote and spoke extensively against the extreme Calvinistic movement that was infecting the theological culture.

Appropriately, Iain Murray chose to devote one of his multitudinous books to make known the historical legacy of Charles Spurgeon’s battle against the Calvinism of his day. [2]  Murray’s book is just as relevant today because the same battles continue to surface and resurface.  As Murray well understands,  . . . .

“To confine our view of the church to a few short and passing years (would be ) a serious mistake.
We need to see and remember the big picture.”

While Spurgeon repeatedly identifies himself as a “Calvinist,” his definition of that term is far more “Gospel general” and is primarily in distinction to those of the Arminian camp.

“And I have my own private opinion that there is no such thing as preaching Christ and him crucified,
unless you preach what nowadays is called Calvinism.…
It is a nickname to call it Calvinism;
Calvinism is the gospel, and nothing else.”

If you want to understand where Spurgeon stands on this issue of his day, read Murray’s book, or even some of the extensive reviews [4] that lay out Spurgeon’s case against extreme Calvinism.  Spurgeon’s argument against and utter rejection of the position that “faith is a gift of God” is devasting!

Here is a taste of Iain Murray’s book, and Spurgeon’s refutation of the extreme Calvinism that also marked his day . . . .

“All men,” say they; “that is, some men”: as if the Holy Ghost could not have said “some men” if he had meant some men. “All men,” say they; “that is, some of all sorts of men”: as if the Lord could not have said “All sorts of men” if he had meant that. The Holy Ghost by the apostle has written “all men,” and unquestion­ably he means all men. I know how to get rid of the force of the “alls” according to that critical method which some time ago was very current, but I do not see how it can be applied here with due regard to the truth. I was reading just now the exposition of a very able doctor who explains the text so as to explain it away; he applies grammatical gunpowder to it, and explodes it by way of expounding it.  I thought when I read his exposition that it would have been a very capital comment upon the text if it had read, ‘Who will not have all men to be saved, nor come to a knowledge of the truth.’  Had such been the inspirited language every remark of the learned doctor would have been exactly in keeping but as it happens to say ‘Who will have all men to be saved, his observations are more than a little out of place.  My love of consistency with my own doctrinal view is not great enough to allow me knowingly to alter a single text of Scripture.  I have great respect for orthodoxy, but my reverence for inspiration is far greater.[3]

“The final conclusion has to be that when Calvinism ceases to be evangelistic, when it becomes more concerned with theory than with the salvation of men and women, when acceptance of doctrines seems to become more important than acceptance of Christ, then it is a system going to seed and it will invariably lose its attractive power.” [5]

1 –

2. Spurgeon v. Hyper-Calvinism : the battle for gospel preaching by Iain Murray, pgs. 70-71

3 – Iain Murray — Pgs. 150-161

4 – A Three Part Review Of Murray’s Book, By Sharper Iron Links:

TGC Article Reviewing Murray’s Book Link

Stephen Unthank (MDiv, Capital Bible Seminary)  –“I don’t remember how I came across the book but I do remember the warming light of its content breaking into my immature thinking when I started reading it. I couldn’t put it down. And it seemed like after I finished each chapter I found myself repenting and praying, “Lord, help me to love those who are lost like Spurgeon did. No, help me love the lost like you do!” (Link) 

5 – Murray, pg. 120

6 – D.A. Carson Link

Ideology Matters!

In response to the Biden administration appointments of judges to U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, Law School Dean Erwin Chemerinsky stated . . . .

“We all know that there are many cases where the ideology of the judges makes all the difference . . . . As a lawyer, the first thing I want to know, as soon as I can find out, is who is [on] my panel.”

Chemerinsky understands that the law is not always what you think the law is, but laws are interpreted through the ideological glasses of the judge adjudicating the matter.  Just like in politics, facts do not dictate actions when an ideology prevails.  “Ideologies” is why your mind spins when trying to figure out the thinking that explains decisions and actions.  Sometimes you say, “That sounds (or is) crazy!”  It is because the decision or action is ideologically driven.  It doesn’t compute because the ideology dictates the response, not the “real world.”  “Trust the science” goes by the wayside if an ideology is the guiding rule.

That is also what happens theologically!  There are strong theological ideologies that color how one reads the Scriptures.  Those theological ideologies also color what is preached and not preached, taught and not taught, from the “pulpit,” among the staff, and in discipleship.

When ministries are driven ideologically, they emphasize verses and passages that support their ideology.  They fail to provide the counterbalance that other verses and passages provide, losing the Scriptural balance.

I have often said that when we read about “the beauty of the Lord” (Psalm 27; 90), “beauty” includes the idea that everything is in proper proportion.  All of us probably have something about our appearance that we wish were different.  Cosmetologists and plastic surgeons make a living off of that fact.  Maybe it is a strong chin, a large nose, big ears, skinny or heavy legs, deep-set eyes, a big mouth, wild eyebrows, long legs, short fingers, or a balding head.  A beautiful person has everything in proper proportion!

Theological ideologues lose that proportionality.  A “single” truth seems to override all other truths.  Most everything they read in the Scriptures somehow ends up revolving around that truth!  When that happens, things can get ugly!

Ideologues are prone to bypass the fact that some truths are enveloped in mystery — the inability to reconcile the fact that two truths are equally presented and cannot be harmonized except in the mind of God.  We just won’t be able to put them together without some uneasiness.

Ideology drives one into theological ditches.  The ditches may be “left” or “right,” but they are ditches.

After a period of commitment to an ideology, the ditch begins looking like the main road!

The idealogues limit their consideration of other “maps.” Their ideology is bolstered by other “theological cartographers” who support their theological-ideology.   Their study desk is replete with old and new commentaries written by those of the same ideological persuasion.  Reading a commentary or religious book that significantly challenges their ideology “is a waste of time, no less money.”

The result is a ministry or church that learns to ride the ditch — all with his map in their hands!

No matter what the realities — few saved, fewer baptized, little-to-no outreach, a slowly dwindling overall attendance, financial concerns, et al. —  the ditch is now believed to be the main road by all who are still aboard.

“Ditch managing” is the solution, as one seeks to convince other map holders that we are not where we obviously are!

Regardless of the realities that coincide with “ditch riding,” the solution is to purposefully select messages to explain away the realities that naturally come with “riding in the ditch” — “We are standing on what the Bible teaches no matter what the impact on our church or church ministries!”

Yes, theological-ideologues are a clear and present danger in law, politics, and ministry!

Typically, just as in judicial appointments and politics, someone new will come along and assume the leadership after enough damage is done.

How does it all end? Most ministries survive such theological-ideologues.  After a period of time of slow erosion, a new ministry leader will assume leadership, and he will try to re-map God’s people out of the ditch that they have come to believe was the road.

Look For These Two Church Trends!

Calvinists are correct when they state that their theology has significant practical implications for life and living. [1] It is far more than just a set of theological beliefs revolving around the doctrine of salvation or delineating of the word “T-U-L-I-P.”

It has some significant and serious implications regarding pastoral counseling and care!

This is most apparent and pronounced when dealing with two groups of individuals within the local church — those who have been abused and those who are struggling with their assurance of salvation!

#1 – Those who have been abused physically, emotionally, psychologically, or sexually are all too often given a “theological schematic” to interpret what has happened to them. After experiencing a devastating emotional and psychological experience, he/she is told the Lord is in control of everything. Nothing crosses His desk that He has not stamped with His approval. He loves us, and He is sovereign in all the affairs of life!

“The Scriptures teach that ‘all things work together for good for those who love God.'” Therefore, this horrific experience will redound to your good after all is said and done! No matter how painful it may be, you are not to rely on our feelings and/or how it may seem to look, but you need to rest in Him.

The minimum outcome of such counseling is spiritual dissonance — trying to couple God’s love for us and the atrocious actions of others against our personhood. “Conflicted” is an understatement. The victim cannot understand such teaching and refuses to believe that it has come from a God who loves them.

Nevertheless, they now believe that they must always be joyous and thankful for what has happened since this is part of God’s plan for their life.  Sadly, this trend should be called what it is — Christian stoicism!

The shame and guilt that comes with not being able to thank, praise, acknowledge it as coming from His hand, and/or accept it as “good that is working together, only deepens the pain. Then some wonder why these people, and those who hear about such counseling, leave the church!


#2 – “Coincidentally,” it also has some significant and serious implications regarding a believer’s assurance of salvation!

Those struggling with doubts and fears will find little to no comfort from those pastors and ministry leaders who traffic on the extremes of Calvinistic thinking (or even those far less than the extreme edges).

The lack of pastoral care in these situations is far removed from the words of Jesus to Peter, after his blatant denial of the Lord — Peter, who, after three years of personal ministry and contact with the Lord, who was warned that such a denial would happen, who adamantly denied the possibility of such a denial!

“But go your way, tell his disciples and Peter that he goeth before you into Galilee.”
“Jesus saith unto him, Feed my sheep.”

The first and natural impulse is to conclude that one is not a believer. Rather than seeking a sincere and meaningful discussion about what is causing such doubts and/or fears, far too often, the road taken is to readily confirm such doubts. The doctor’s first diagnosis, with little or no sincere inquiry, is a confirmation of the worst of all possible conclusions — he/she is a child of Hell!

That is followed by calling up passages that cause consternation for any and all believers. Who hasn’t read this-or-that passage and felt the weight of such words? [2] Nevertheless, the very fact that one is sincerely and meaningfully concerned about their soul and eternity is of little-to-no import to such “doctors.” He/she must not be a true believer!

Instead of recognizing that assurance is a privilege given to those living for Christ, the theological momentum is toward “lostness.” The tendency is to put more of a burden on the back of believers rather than inquire about one’s devotional life, spiritual activities, friendships, prayer life, interest in the things of God, reading, music, social media, amusements, etc.

The cause of one’s doubts may be poor decisions and choices. The Holy Spirit is a noisy resident, and it may well be his residency that is causing the doubts. It may be one’s dissatisfaction with one’s growth, stagnation, progress, or a life experience that is causing the doubts!

It is just another form of “theological abuse,” as is the theological-ideology that allows marital abuse!

The doctrinal fountainhead [3][4] of this pastoral-ministerial approach is the belief that one can lose their salvation, that one must persevere to be a true Christain, and/or a practical denial of progressive sanctification.  Some can affirm their belief in “eternal security,” while also repeatedly creating doubt as to whether one is a believer based on some behavioral failure.  The theological term is “doublespeak.”  [5]



1 – If you believe that such teaching is but a strawman, then take time to read what Tom Hicks of “Founder Ministries (headed by its president, Tom Ascol) has to say about marital abuse.

“The Bible teaches that God works “all things after the counsel of His will” (Ephesians 1:11) and “all things work together for good, for those who are called according to His purpose” (Romans 8:28). People often feel anxious or fearful because they’re trying to control things that are outside of their control (Luke 12:25).

But Scripture teaches that God works all things for the good of His chosen people which means we have no reason to be anxious. We can know that everything which comes to pass is God’s love to us, no matter what we feel or how things seem. We, therefore, can quiet our fears because God governs all things for the good of His people . . . . But the Bible says that God controls everything, and that means He rules over all the results of our obedience. As we obey Him, He will certainly keep all His promises. While obedience will often bring suffering into our lives, that suffering cannot destroy us because God sovereignly guarantees that it will not. “For everyone who has been born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world – our faith” (1 John 5:4).”

Survivors also struggle deeply with God’s sovereign purpose in their lives. . . . Doctrinally, they often know the right answers to these questions, but emotionally and experientially, they struggle profoundly . . . . Christian spouses who are abused are suffering for Christ and are being persecuted for righteousness sake. God the Father spared not His only begotten Son to accomplish the redemption of poor sinners. And Christians who are abused share in His sufferings. Therefore, the church must be very tenderhearted and supportive toward abuse survivors. The Lord Jesus Christ does not crush the bruised reed or extinguish the smoldering flax.

2 – Before quoting Matthew 7 about “fruits,” check out its aim! It is about how to recognize false prophets who prophesied   (7:15, 22)!

While Christians should bear signs of being a believer, and there ought to be fruit that reflects what has happened in the heart, there is more to “fruit” than a definition that doesn’t touch one’s own life. Let’s talk about our prayer life, or who we have shared the Gospel with recently, our self-serving spirit, materialism, gluttony, pride, ego, etc.

3 -The practical fountainhead is a lack of self-awareness about one’s own sinfulness.

4 – Link To Lloyd-Jones’ Full Message

External Link To Lloyd-Jones Full Message


D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones on Eternal Security . . . .

“If this doctrine (Eternal Security) isn’t true, well then if you ever find yourself in glory, the glory will have to go to you for holding on.

The position would be this — that you like a number of other people, have been given the same gift of salvation and eternal life — They foolish didn’t hold on it, but that you did.  And therefore the glory goes to you for holding on.

But that’s a blank contradiction of the teaching of the Scriptures everywhere. . . . Man has nothing to boast of at all.  And when you and I arrive in heaven — my dear friends — we realize that we are there not because we held on while others gave up — but because He held on to us. . . . and we’ll give Him all the praise, the honor, and the glory.”     

Is Matt Chandler A Believer?


One of the dynamics that seemingly operates among those in the New Calvinist (and many Calvinists) ideological camp is a questioning of one’s salvation experience —  Are you actually a Christian, a believer in the person and work of Jesus for your forgiveness of sin, if you are not living that out consistently in your life?

Much more could be said about that dynamic.  Nevertheless, it is interesting that this dynamic is not in play when it comes to the pastors and teachers of the Scripture who experience significant moral failures in the ministry! I only need to cite one of the most immediate examples, Matt Chandler. [2] There are others who illustrate this dynamic and about whom could be asked the same question. 

Why is no one asking (and no one is!), including Chandler himself, whether he was a Christian, a genuine believer, all the years of his pulpit ministry?  Shouldn’t that question be asked?  Should he publicly confess his new faith in Christ through the waters of baptism now that he has “repented” from such sinful practices — a sinful pattern that lasted for an extended period of time? 

While preaching to others the truths found in the Scriptures, he himself was sinfully hypocritical and found to be so by those closest to the situation within his local church. That ought to be sufficient reason alone for those who hold to this theological-ideology to call on Chandler to declare that he was not a believer and has since come to Christ as Saviour!

Yes, it is an interesting dynamic within the New Calvinists camp! Calling into question one’s salvation and/or shaking one’s faith in Christ doesn’t seem to operate when it comes to some of the most primary fallen preachers within the movement!  They themselves neither claim lostness, nor do other leaders within the ideological movement call out those who, like Chandler, occupy the pulpits while living a duplicitous sinful life

In contrast, there seems to be little hesitation when it comes to those sitting in the pew, struggling with real-life issues of Christlikeness as they navigate their lives outside of the local church employment.

Is Matt Chandler A Believer In The Person & Work Of Christ? 

I have no doubt that he is, but not based on what some pastors are teaching from the pulpits of their local churches! [1]


  1. “Humble Calvinism” — A Good Read!

    “We Calvinist leave behind a trail of destruction in our churches and families and friendships . . . .
    . . . We Calvinist might be the ones who don’t ‘get it’ yet.”


  3. The same question could be asked of Robert Louis Dabney, an undeniably ardent racist yet a theological luminary.*  His writings may be some of the most cited works by men like John Piper, John Mac Arthur, et al.  Should we be citing the works of “lost men” like Dabney? 

He never repented in the slightest of his ardent racism!

One Reason You May Be Speaking Past Your Audience — Maybe It’s Near The Top?

Taking into account to whom you are speaking is basic to all communication. You do not speak or preach to children, teens, young people, adults, women, men, and/or seasoned saints the same way. In several ways, they are different audiences — intellectually, emotionally, in life experiences, and in their spiritual growth.

There is a brand of preaching that disregards that broad span of Christian spiritual growth. Most every speaker-preacher-teacher would quickly acknowledge that his audience includes those who may not even profess Christ, or who are new believers in Christ, or who have walked with Christ for a number of years, as well as those who are mature believers.

However, their preaching falls far short of that reality, not in content but in prospects or expectations. It is not that what is being said cannot be understood by most all the listeners. Rather, it is that their spiritual maturity — or lack of it as new believers — gives them different ears. Being told that they need to be where others are, or where the preacher believes mature believers ought to be, (or where the preacher “humbly states or implies” that he is), can easily lead to great discouragement!

One could preach about the faith of Abraham in the offering of Issac, Daniel in the lion’s den, Shadrack, Meshach, & Abednego in the fiery furnace, Samson in the final day of his life, Peter’s boldness to speak the Gospel in the book of Acts, Joseph’s response to his brother’s presence, et al. However, all of them had many chapters of life that preceded any one of those great events.

They give the impression that “this” is where one who names the name of Christ needs to be NOW. The implication is that there is no real-life progression. In fact, even more extreme tendencies imply that one may not even be truly saved if they are not there in their Christian walk.

There is little difficulty in calling up a response of struggle, difficulty, and/or failure. Any preacher knows that he can preach a message on prayer and easily challenge everyone in attendance (and if honest, it includes himself).

  • There are areas of Christian life and living that all believers generally struggle with. 
  • There are areas of Christian life and living that some do, and some do not struggle with — some find sharing the Gospel with others easy, and others fail and fail at it!
  • There are areas of the Christian life that some struggle with early in their Christian lives, and others later in their lives.
  • There are areas that come with age, circumstances, finances, marriage, child-rearing, old age, etc. . . . . .

Often, I would say this . . . . 

“The question is not — “Are we where we should be?” or “Are we where this passage presents?” Rather, can we be “more” or “better” in this? It is not “we are” or “we are not,” but can we be more than we are?

Do we fail, over and over, when it comes to temptation? The truth is that most of us cannot even resist that brownie; how will we ever claim consistent victory on this side of glory? But we can continually confess and repent and go at it again — and again — and again!

You preach differently when you genuinely take into account the spiritual span of those listening, the wide variety of people who are seeking to live for Christ in real life and living. God’s people are encouraged to continue the battle. There is hope (and there is – ask Peter) for those who stay in that battle. 

When God’s people are told (over and over and over) that they are not where they should be, they are dispirited! The preacher-teacher confuses and stifles them because he fails to take into account that they are babes, or still children in Christ, or young men — but are not old men in the faith (I John 2).

Let me also say that there are some preachers-teachers, not all, but far more than we would like to admit, who need to get out of their ivory tower and/or lay aside their own disingenuous self-confidence. Such ministries are marked by dispirited and disheartened people who may have concluded that they never will reach this-or-that measure! They are not done a disservice at best, and great damage at worse. When God’s people could be striving and pursuing, they have lost all heart. They are not even sure they are saved.

Some will find a different ministry that again speaks to their heart’s desires. They may not be able to pinpoint the difference, but they know their hope of living for Christ in this world has been renewed.  They will re-enlist and get back on the road with newfound excitement.

Sadly, some will just drop out of church, never to return. Not only because of them but also because of a pastor who made it hard to live for Christ! They put burdens on mens’ spiritual shoulders. They could never reach the standard held out as a here-and-now absolute rather than our aspiration. Like some fathers who have provoked their children and discouraged them! They do it with God’s children, over who they claim to be shepherds.

No, like in families, there is a shared responsibility between both children and fathers, between pastors and people, when we dishearten! 


Trend #2 – Sadly Left Unchallenged

As stated, two preaching-teaching trends seem to be repeatedly showing up in our day. They are found in local church ministries and subtly appear in online Bible studies, magazine articles, books, or podcasts.

Some congregations may not recognize what is unadmittable being taught. Nevertheless, the groundwork for extreme theological-ideological positions is being laid.

Theological Trend #2: A Denial Of Our Security In Christ.

There seems to be a willingness and even a wantingness to conclude that someone is not a Christian if they are not living as they ought — and, indeed, may not be living as Christ would have us live.

Of course, being a Christian is more than making a profession.

However, this is kind of strawman statement that is used to obscure what is actually being said.  This is where the duplicity and nuanced double-talk shows up.  The existent theological position on eternal security is unexpressed and/or wittingly left unclear.

When it is subtly intimated that one can lose their salvation, or that one’s faith is suspect because he/she is not living for Christ, what IS seemingly being suggested is typically papered over.  

Even the preacher-teacher knows that what he is saying sounds like what he actually believes. Therefore, even though overly unchallenged as he speaks (or when actually challenged), he calls up that obvious truth upon which we all agree. . . . 

 “Well, we all know that one can be professing and not possessing.” 

“We would all agree that there must be some fruit in one’s life if one is truly a Christian.”

 “I am not saying that you can lose your salvation, but when there is no fruit, no life of faith . . . .” 

While he claims that he is not saying what he is saying, he sure sounds like he is saying just that.

Who can disagree with “no,” or “some fruit,” or the reality of professors?  “No” and “some fruit” are the weasel words that leave the real question unanswered. 

And “Yes,” we all know that you can profess and not possess, but that is not the point. That is a diversion!    

But what about inconsistent, sporadic, or a very erratic pattern/trajectory?  

The real question is — “Can a person who has truly professed Christ as their Saviour lose their standing in Christ even if they live a very inconsistent “believer’s” life that we might believe is a reflection of those who are lost?”

It may take “twenty more questions,” (and maybe by someone who holds to and knows the biblical position on eternal security)  to get at what the preacher-teacher actually believes.


“Assurance of salvation” affects the way we live life as a believer — confidently or with great uncertainty. Uncertainty breeds all sorts of troubles.  

Go to work every day with the feeling that you are about to lose your job.  

Experience a marriage that feels like your spouse is going to walk out on you one day.

OR fall into some sin, or fight a sin that so easily besets you!


Instead of seeking to encourage those who struggle in their faith, some pastors-teachers seem to find their intentional focus on such uncertainty. It is intentional because their theological-ideology pushes them into that ditch.

Of course, there is good reason to challenge some who are living inconsistent lives about their faith, and to periodically preach a message on being in the faith. But again, such is used as part of the “papering job” to cover what is really believed and being covertly taught — THAT . . . . at the end, some might not make it if they do not persevere to the end. Oh, they are saying that without saying that!

I suggest we might ask these individuals about perseverance. . . . 

  • Saul — who consulted a witch before he died
  • Moses — who floundered at the end and was forbidden by God Himself to enter the promised land
  • Solomon — who seemingly lost his wisdom when it came to obeying God’s commandments
  • Samson — who did more in his death than his life
  • Lot — one of the most immoral characters of the Bible
  • Peter and the other disciples — who walked with Jesus (24/7/365/3 years, and saw and heard what we have but a small record of, and denied their Lord
  • The Corinthians — one of the most carnal churches we have a record of in the Bible
  • Uzziah — who died of leprosy
  • Many of the other godly kings of Israel — who did not wholly follow the Lord
  • David — and it’s far more than only Bathsheba.
  • The many preachers-Bible teachers, who into the middle 20th century, supported chattel slavery, owned and sold slaves, and/or were truly racist all their lives and ministry [1]
  • Disgraced preachers-teachers of today — who do not claim that they were lost during their sinful escapades and now have found Christ.

What about those levels of inconsistency?
Let’s talk about those sins and their “trajectory” in life.   

√ Which sins do we want to identify as indicators of lostness when it comes to those who claim Christ as their Saviour? Which “inconsistencies” and sins do we want to use as our markers for unsettling God’s people about their faith in Christ?

√ Can a person who has called on His name (Acts 9:14; Romans 10:12, 13, 14), has been born-again from above (as Jesus says to Nicodemus — a believer?), or who is justified (Romans 8:35) — also be a person who can lose the “eternal life” they were given (John 10)

√ Can a Christian be a person who will not persevere?

Rather than repeatedly shaking the faith of God’s people, let’s strengthen them and individually deal with those questionable cases as they arise.  

Rather than quickly and easily concluding that some must not be a believer because someone is struggling in their Christian life — and even significantly struggling — Let’s talk to them about the love of Christ . . . . . 

“Come unto me all ye who labor and are heavy laden.” — Matthew 11:28

“that the world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them, as thou hast loved me — John 17:23

When someone has called on Christ, in their earliest years, as teenagers, or beyond, and have sought to follow Christ over years (and even decades), but are now facing some real spiritual battles, do not glibly assert — “Well, you are probably not a believer” — as your diagnosis. Such a simplistic diagnosis disregards the nature of the spiritual battle all of God’s people face DAILY. [2]

Their need is not salvation, but the call is to move on to maturity, not find some more comfortable resort by which to explain their worldly walk, such as, “Well, maybe I’m not really saved.” 

“No man can say that Jesus is the Lord, but by the Holy Spirit.”

We well understand that you can repeat the words — “Jesus is the Lord” without the Spirit’s work in your heart. The obvious point is that it takes the work of the Spirit of God to say that and mean it in your heart.  

However, when you have said — Jesus Is Lord — and it is from your heart, you mean it. It is because the Spirit has done a work in your heart. That supernatural work the Spirit will not repent of, or the Godhead will disavow. God did not adopt you, place you in Christ, forgive your sin, promise you life and life eternal, and seal you with the Spirit — only to take it away at some point in time.

There is a great deal of duplicity and dexterity when it comes to being theologically honest with God’s people. These trends [3] are more subtle and, at times, reflect a level of artifice in order to avoid questions about what is being taught by the ministry.  While the typical layman-woman may not fully grasp or understand what is being taught in their church, the groundwork is being laid for the acceptance of a dangerous twisting of what the Scriptures teach about our security in Christ.


I am so grateful for the works and words of men like D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones, whose works and words are still available today.  He provide great clarity, argument, and insight on this doctrine!

Link: D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones on Eternal Security . . . .

“If this doctrine (Eternal Security) isn’t true, well then if you ever find yourself in glory, the glory will have to go to you for holding on.

The position would be this — that you like a number of other people, have been given the same gift of salvation and eternal life — They foolish didn’t hold on it, but that you did.  And therefore the glory goes to you for holding on.

But that’s a blank contradiction of the teaching of the Scriptures everywhere. . . . Man has nothing to boast of at all.  And when you and I arrive in heaven — my dear friends — we realize that we are there not because we held on while others gave up — but because He held on to us. . . . and we’ll give Him all the praise, the honor, and the glory.”     [4]

1. Check out the works of Robert Louis Dabney, the oft-quoted preacher and reformed theologian of the 1800-1900s.  

Oft quoted by John Mac Arthur, John Piper, Joe Rigney (President of BC&S), and their oft conference speaker, Doug Wilson.

Reformed White Supremacist
(Reformed, not as in “changed,” but as in theology)

In his time, Robert Lewis Dabney (1820–1898) was considered one of the greatest teachers of theology in the United States. Revered theologians such as Hodge, Shedd, Warfield, Bavinck, and Barth viewed him with appreciation and respect. Dabney was a thoroughly Reformed, five-point Calvinist who believed in the supremacy of God in all things. However, his view of God’s sovereignty, a true and beautiful doctrine, tragically became interwoven with his racism, as he consistently used the doctrine of “providence” to reinforce his white supremacy.

Read on for more of the horrid position Dabney held on race.

2. I might suggest that this trend seemingly travels with those who have adopted Trend #1, as well as a theological ideology that embraces the edges extreme ditches of Calvinism. 

This trend dates back to and includes John Mac Arthur and his position on “Lordship Salvation.”

3. That is Paul’s argument in Hebrews 6. As Paul states, let us move on to maturity-perfection! For it is impossible for those who have been enlightened and partakers of the Holy Spirit . . . . that if they have fallen away as you might believe, it is impossible to renew themselves unto repentance for Christ would have to be crucified anew!

4. Link To Lloyd-Jones’ Full Message

External Link To Lloyd-Jones Full Message


D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones on Eternal Security . . . .

“If this doctrine (Eternal Security) isn’t true, well then if you ever find yourself in glory, the glory will have to go to you for holding on.

The position would be this — that you like a number of other people, have been given the same gift of salvation and eternal life — They foolish didn’t hold on it, but that you did.  And therefore the glory goes to you for holding on.

But that’s a blank contradiction of the teaching of the Scriptures everywhere. . . . Man has nothing to boast of at all.  And when you and I arrive in heaven — my dear friends — we realize that we are there not because we held on while others gave up — but because He held on to us. . . . and we’ll give Him all the praise, the honor, and the glory.”     

Two Trends – Left Unchallenged

Two preaching-teaching trends seem to be repeatedly showing up in our day. They are found in local church ministries and subtly appear in online Bible studies, magazine articles, books, or podcasts.

Two reasons they are so subtle are congregational discernment and pastoral duplicity! [1].

√  The theological nuances and subtleties within a sermon are often lost on the average layman-laywoman. Fellow pastors easily pick up on the subtleties and nuances. What is artfully promoted or subtly being preached and taught is readily recognized by those who live full-time in ministry.

√  Secondly, pastor-teachers can be duplicitous. They can be teaching something that is not generally accepted by the congregation. What he is preaching-teaching is cloaked in a way that precludes it from being clear, transparent, challengeable, and/or even creating ministry problems — such as unemployment.

I believe that this is what is happening when it comes to these two new theological trends.

Theological Trend #1: A “One Size Fits All” theological axiom.

After decades of repetition, one of the most damaging theological aphorisms has been left unchallenged, accepted, and/or reiterated by many pastors-teachers . . .

“God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in Him.” — John Piper —

Anytime you make a single theology axiom the focus around which all other truths revolve, you are bound to end up in a theological ditch. The obvious damage that this theological ditch creates continues to emerge. [1]

God is not only “most glorified” when we are satisfied in Him.

God is most equally glorified when we . . . .

  • obey His commandments,
  • share the Gospel,
  • read His Word,
  • meditate on His precepts,
  • love our spouse, neighbors, enemies, the lost,
  • suffer for His name,
  • come to Him in prayer,
  • worship Him on His day,
  • sacrifice for others,
  • train up our children in the fear of the Lord,
  • in all our ways acknowledge Him,
  • separate from ungodliness,
  • serve Him in ministry,
  • tithe,
  • go beyond our tithe,
  • behave selflessly,
  • reflect the fruit of the Spirit,
  • obey His call on our lives,
  • resist temptation,
  • are humble,
  • walk in the Spirit
  • confess our sins,
  • repent daily,
  • sing hymns of praise,
  • intercede and pray for others,
  • are compassionate
  • work hard without eyeservice
  • pray for the “king”
  • forgive others
  • trust Him through the toughest trials of life
  •  . . . . . .

Piper, and others, would like to stuff these (and any others) under being “satisfied in Him.” He would like to link all these to being “satisfied in Him.”

That is how “one size fits all” theology works, whether it is Piper or another theological fad of our day. A single truth becomes the sole focus, and a “new religious crowd” is born and identified by that singularity — Seventh-day Adventists / Ruckmanites / Holiness church / Free-will Baptist / etc.

However, one could do that kind of cosmetic linking with many a theological concept such as “loving” (Him & others), “sacrificial” (no greater love than a man lay his life down for another), “spiritual” (walk in the spirit), pride (the original sin of Lucifer),or “obedient” (if you love me, keep my commandments).

Let’s make “obedience” the “most glorified” link!
— “God is most glorified when we are most obedient.” —

First of all, Piper’s overstated principle dilutes the biblical instructions for each and every one of those specific areas of Christian living.

For instance, while “acknowledging Him in all thy ways” CAN spring from being satisfied Him, and does glorify Him, there is far more specific biblical instruction about following God’s will than only being satisfied in Him — i.e. reading His Word, seeking the wisdom of others, waiting on Him, praying for wisdom, observing (I went by the field of a sluggard), be not hasty, staying humble (for He resists the proud), etc.

Second, it is overly simplistic. Not every area of Christian life and living is addressed by extolling — “be satisfied in Him.” If it was, there would no need for much of Scripture.  It may be one answer, but it is not the full biblical response.

For instance, when facing temptation, being satisfied in Him is not the whole of God’s instruction. There is far more than the application of one axiom.

The Scriptures includes . . .

  • putting on the armor,
  • putting on and putting off,
  • turn from that path,
  • abstain from fleshly lust,
  • make no provision to fulfill the lust of the flesh,
  • take heed,
  • walk circumspectly,
  • pray without ceasing,
  • He will provide a way of escape,
  • “Resist the Devil, and he will flee,”
  • “Listen my son,”
  • “add to your faith,”
  • die to self
  • etc.    

Piper offers one solution to all of life and living — find your satisfaction and pleasure in Him.

Third, obedience is expected whether or not it comes from a heart of satisfaction or pleasure. As stated, let’s make “obedience” the “most glorified” link! “Obedience” might be the more foundational issue — from the beginning — in the Garden.

Fourth, it misstates temporal and/or secondary avenues of satisfaction and pleasure that the Lord has provided. There are many avenues of satisfaction and pleasure that the Lord has provided and included as part of life and living. All of them are legitimate pleasures and satisfactions of life! They all come from His hand and plan. And even the lost world share in these God-ordained pleasures and satisfactions of life, even though they may have no interest in glorifying Him — the rain falls on the just and the unjust!


Piper’s singular solution produces aberrated answers for life and living!

For instance, John Piper teaches that even when your husband abuses you verbally and physically, a wife is to accept it, and loving pray and tolerate such abuse, to be satisfied in Him, to find her satisfaction in Jesus and for what He has sovereignly allowed to be part of her life (I can assure you I am not overstating his position.). [1]

♦ As if the Lord did not provide marriage to be just the opposite, a place of security, peace, fulfillment, and warmth — which are all part of the pleasure that He has planned for us through godliness.

♦ As if stoically tolerating and/or willingly declining those avenues of satisfaction and pleasure is being Christlike — while desiring the satisfaction that ought to flow out of a godly marriage is not being satisfied in Him.

♦ As if refusing to accept such spousal abuse, and demanding some level of decency and godlines, is deemed not being satisfied in Him — or worse yet, is a rejection of a husband’s leadership!

♦ As if renouncing the ungodly abuse, and desiring the satisfaction and pleasure that the Lord has essentially designed for marriage, is an unspiritual response.

There is satisfaction and/or pleasure that God has ordained in the temporal, the here and now. Such pleasure and satisfaction would have been part of our daily living were it not for the Fall and will be part of life and living in the new heavens and the new earth.

There is, and we find, satisfaction and pleasure in knowing that your spouse loves us.

There is, and we find, satisfaction and pleasure in seeing your children follow the Lord.

There is, and we find, satisfaction and pleasure in watching the sunset, the mountains, the trees in Fall, and the snow blanketing the ground.

There is, and we find, satisfaction and pleasure that comes out of living in a safe and secure environment — as will be the case in that eternal and holy city.

There is far more in the Scriptures than one axiom that seemingly and dangerously frames all other truths.

Theological Trend #2: (TBC)


1. Check out John Piper’s most recent absurd position, which is ideologically driven — fresh off the press!

It is Piper’s position on spousal abuse.

“If it’s not requiring her to sin, but simply hurting her, then I think she endures verbal abuse for a season, she endures perhaps being smacked one night…” (John Piper)


“If we keep reading the same books,
we will keep thinking and saying the same things”