The Tulip Driven Life Podcast

Tuesday, December 18, 2018


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By: Thomas F. Booher

The Reformed church is dying at the feet of Wokeback Mountain, and some prominent ministers are beginning to erect high places on Wokeback Mountain.

If you told me ten years ago, when I first became a flame-throwing, cage-stage Calvinist, or even several years later after I matured a bit, that this is where we would be at the end of 2018, I would not have believed you. The Reformed church has been cowed by the culture, especially the homosexual culture and the so-called racial reconciliation movement. The Revoice conference put this on the map for homosexuality, and the MLK 50 conference did the same for racial issues, but make no mistake, these things didn't just pop out of the ground overnight. They have been growing and festering long before I knew anything about the doctrines of grace.

Nine years ago I saw it at Covenant College, which is the college of the PCA, when my psychology professor praised his gay friend for marrying a woman and only occasionally cheating on her with another man. I've seen it in my current presbytery where the first presbytery meeting I went to featured a white guilt sermon and a terrible understanding of the church and the gospel. What repulsed me more was all the old white men Amen-ing the sermon left and right and trying to boogie right and left during the groovy smooth Jazz worship music. 

The Gospel Coalition shoulders much of the blame here. They got woke before we knew what woke was. But now even Al Mohler and SBTS is trying to get half woke. The SOGI compromise is leading to churches and Christian colleges accepting greater freedom and liberties to the LGBT community. And men who know better on all these counts are very slow to respond, either out of fear or hopefully because they think the long process/game is still the best one. But it is clear to me that we need more prophets crying in the pulpits, in the town halls, and in the streets. Shoot, even a blast by way of a blog post from a bigshot in the Reformed world would be helpful. But mostly they are keeping silent or blasting for the wrong team.

R.C. Sproul is dead, and he hasn't been punching the same as he did in his earlier years for quite some time. Probably due to poor health. John Piper is a bit of an enigma, but some of the stuff posted on Desiring God is soft and fluffy, and he seems to be trying to work out his own racist past, which he has admitted to having. Ligon Duncan seems to be trying to exorcise his racist demons as well by getting woke and crying on stage and talking about how foolish and blind he was to ignore racism in the churches in the south, etc. He's writing forewords to books that are going to lead the church away from the Gospel of Jesus Christ and straight into theological liberalism, which is unbelief for those afraid to admit they are unbelievers or who stand to profit by still pretending to keep the faith.

Other compromisers I am seeing are Michael Horton, Derek Thomas, Russell Moore, and probably others that I am forgetting at the moment. The current version of two kingdom theology circulating is not doing the church any favors at all.

Strictly speaking, I don't know any big name in Reformed Evangelicalism that is consistently toeing the line anymore. I appreciate Doug Wilson and John Macarthur, but both are controversial theologically, Doug Wilson for his alleged federal vision theology, and John Macarthur for his Dispensationalism. But believe it or not I've been shaped by Doug Wilson more in the last three years than any other minister outside of my own, and John Macarthur has earned wide admiration and appreciation from me over the years, and was formative in my early years as a Calvinist in getting the gospel right. 

James White, Voddie Baucham, Tom Ascol and the Founders movement, are the faithful few that remain, along with Macarthur, who at 80 years of age may be the last stalwart and elderly statesmen that is holding the line consistently and actually pushing back. I signed this social justice statement (linked below), and you can see the other signatories. I think it is an imperfect statement, and I disagree with it in some places as I do think the Gospel of itself deals with social issues (since the good news is the good news of the Kingdom, and a kingdom must contain a society, in fact it is a society that we pray in the Lord's prayer to be realized on earth as it is in heaven). 

The problem right now is that Satan is using the Gospel message to subvert the Gospel by taking Calvinism and twisting it so that its social ramifications are coming out wrong, wickedly wrong in fact. We are enabling homosexuality in the church, we are at best over-correcting racist sins of the past to now commit racist sins in the opposite direction in the present, and we are doing it all in the name of righteousness! That's how you get Revoice and the MLK 50 Conference and that is also how you begin to be quiet and wonder if baby murder really is so wrong after all. Dealing with sexual sins in society and racial issues are all legitimate, Gospel concerns. The problem is how they are being addressed. Ironically, I think the key issue is that the resurgence of Calvinism has been truncated by a bad or altogether absent Covenant theology. We have seen a revival of the doctrines of grace, but often stripped from its covenantal context, which has led to legalism on one hand and antinomianism on the other. We have cried justification by faith alone and chosen by grace alone for so long that we have lost the context, the covenant soil out of which these doctrines live and move and have their being. Or perhaps we never learned about God's covenant and so we have weaponized these extracted biblical doctrines for wicked ends. 

Anyway, here is the statement on social justice:

And if you want bold predictions, here you go:

1.) In 5-7 years, The Gospel Coalition will either not exist, will exist by another name, or will at least have some on its council who do not accept the inerrancy of Scripture. It will not be Calvinistic, at least not exclusively, in 2-3 years, if it isn't already so.

2.) The PCA will either have a major split, or a significant trickling of conservative churches departing from it, in the next 1-2 years. To be more precise, if there isn't an epic showdown and rally by the conservatives this summer at General Assembly (in wake of the Revoice Conference), the PCA is toast and those who are conservative and biblically faithful are going to wake up quick and realize it.

3.) The fragmentation of the Reformed world will continue throughout the Trump presidency, as everything in our nation seems to be fragmenting at this time. Some will go liberal and prove to be goats and wolves. But some will become more biblically faithful, and there are some small streams of Reformed righteousness already forming, by God's grace. And that is the silver lining. 

The best thing we can do right now, is pray to God and live faithfully. I believe Martin Luther said something to the effect of if he knew Christ was returning tomorrow, he'd plant a tree today. Well, even if we know the bulwark of Christianity in our nation is smoldering and burning down today, we need to plant seeds for the hope of resurrection and revival tomorrow. And Christ, after all, says to take heart, for He has already overcome the world (Jn. 16:33), and in Him we have too. Even the falling and faltering Reformed world.