October 16, 2015

Calvinism Is Not a Cure-All

We Calvinists are rarely as hard on our own as we are on non-Calvinists. It seems that many in the so-called young, restless, and Reformed movement believe that the leaders of the movement—men like Albert Mohler, Timothy Keller, and John Piper—can do no wrong. How dare you second guess Albert Mohler?! Don't you know what he's done for the SBC?! Don't criticize Russell Moore. He's one of us! Don't believe me? Just look at the reaction the guys at Pulpit & Pen get when they criticize one of our own.

Well, these men (and others among the Evangelical power elite) can and do make mistakes. They are not above criticism. Tim Keller is a great preacher, but he's also a Marxist. His preaching shouldn't get him a free pass for his misguided social ethics. The books of Sam Storms and Wayne Grudem have been a tremendous blessing to me, but that doesn't mean we shouldn't call them out for the charismatic antics they endorse and/or participate in. John Piper's ministry literally changed my life, but that doesn't mean he shouldn't be criticized for associating with false teachers. I could make similar points about Russell Moore, Ed Stetzer, Thabiti Anyabwile, Carl Trueman, C. J. Mahaney, David Platt, or just about anyone else. No one is above criticism.

These men have done and continue to do much good. They may be worthy of our respect, but they are not perfect. They have feet of clay. They are only worthy of imitating insofar as they imitate Christ (1 Corinthians 11:1). If we put them on a pedestal, they are bound to disappoint us. We can look up to them without idolizing them. We can appreciate their ministries without necessarily modeling our own on theirs.

We need to toss the us vs. them mentality. We need a willingness to stand on the side of truth even if it means we're standing alone. What our movement needs is a bit more constructive criticism (Psalm 141:5; Proverbs 27:6; 29:1). We need to be willing to criticize our guys instead of accepting everything they do uncritically. A bad idea doesn't become a good one just because Mark Dever/D. A. Carson/R. C. Sproul comes up with it.

If the Reformed resurgence is built on men rather than the on the truth, it will not last. Nor should it.

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