Friday, January 20, 2006
In 1510, while teaching at the University of Wittenberg, Martin Luther visited Rome and was appalled by the corruption and worldliness he saw in the papal court. Do you have a problem with this? How could he judge worldliness? Isn't that an external? What was he seeing that the "reformed" do not see today? People like to tie themselves into the Calvinism and Protestantism of Luther, Calvin, Spurgeon, the Puritans, and the Westminster divines, yet, without their personal separation. Don't get me wrong. I'm not reformed or protestant, and if I was alive in the the reformer's day, I would likely have been jailed or drowned. They took their separation to a certain extreme befitting their church state views. Nothing separates you from people like 20 feet of water with a large rock tied to your ankle. It also separates you from necessary oxygen to breathe. You get my point there, but I am an avid proponent of the sovereignty of God, so much so that I see many, many of these "reformed" as weak compared to their historical counterparts.
For instance, I teach the doctrines of grace. I don't believe that these "reformed" do. They teach the false grace that is license and lasciviousness. God's grace teaches us to deny ungodliness and worldly, fleshly lust (Tit. 2:12). Much of it has to do with their desire for, literally, the best of both worlds. They want to be a success in this world and one in the next. This is John Piper's Christian hedonism. Piper centers on his delight in God. Delight has become preeminent so that discernment suffers--God becomes only prominent in delight's preemenince. Because of that, his definition of delight becomes skewed. When he goes to passages, he looks at them, yes, but through an evaluation altered by his overarching purpose.
How much worldliness existed in Luther's or the Puritan's day? They risked horrible lust after women's ankles. Yet, these men seemed deathly concerned about it. But not John MacArthur or John Piper. They embrace contemporary Christian music, casual dress standards, lack of distinction in dress between men and women, and sinfully worldly activities. They make a huge deal about how they want to change the "church" and the "body" by writing, and ignore the Scriptural teaching of ecclesiastical separation. They say they desire God, but God desires them to separate over what He said. His desires must become superior to their and our own. These guys get heaven. They are so set for heaven. They were predestined to it. I believe this is why they are so popular---just enough worldly to reasonably fit into the world and on their way to heaven too. They are very, very protected by God. However, unlike what John Owen and the Westminster divines said about God's sovereign preservation of Scripture; God couldn't do that miracle. God's sovereignty brings them pleasure and security, but not His purity, themselves or the Bible. These modern translations aren't reverent to God, but they give people delight---hey, they're OK. Think of that. He could keep them secure, but not His Word, and even though He said He would. This is their selective sovereignty.