But the Puritans didn’t have air condition and other strains of logic

Within days of Spurgeon and MacArthur celebrating the same birthday (see previous post), the current, long-time pastor of the Metropolitan Tabernacle (Spurgeon’s church) has come out swinging at just about every American who dares call himself “reformed” in any shape of the word. Unlike some folks, if the world stopped employing the word “reformed” or “calvinist” I would somehow manage to move on with my life.

It seems that Peter Masters wants to define the word backward to such an extent that the next thing he will have to do is sell his automobile because after all the Puritans didn’t drive cars. Such logic may seemed strained but that is exactly the kind of logical skill one finds in this “review” of Collin Hansen’s Young, Restless, Reformed. What Masters fails to realize is that there is no one leading figure, central publishing arm, seminary, or conference that makes up this broad thing some are calling a movement. Yet that doesn’t keep him from painting with the broadest brush he can find in his quiver. The problem with movements, especially those of a political or theological nature, is that viewed too broadly there is something for everyone to hate. So Master’s looks at everything that gets near the word “reformed” and seeks to, well, hate it. You can read the review for yourself but here is one sampling that is so wrong it doesn’t want to be right:

Resolved is the brainchild of a member of Dr John MacArthur’s pastoral staff, gathering thousands of young people annually, and featuring the usual mix of Calvinism and extreme charismatic-style worship. Young people are encouraged to feel the very same sensational nervous impact of loud rhythmic music on the body that they would experience in a large, worldly pop concert, complete with replicated lighting and atmosphere. At the same time they reflect on predestination and election. Worldly culture provides the bodily, emotional feelings, into which Christian thoughts are infused and floated. Biblical sentiments are harnessed to carnal entertainment. (Pictures of this conference on their website betray the totally worldly, showbusiness atmosphere created by the organisers.)

Advertisements

11 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by chuck on June 23, 2009 at 5:04 pm

    I did not get the feeling Master’s “looks at everything that gets near the word “reformed” and seeks to, well, hate it.” From his article, he seems to believe very much in reformed doctrine.

    Maybe he pushed some of your buttons because he named some popular pastors and conferences, but it seems to me that the purpose of his article was to distinguish between true holiness and a movement. It’s basically summed up with “These are harsh words, but they lead me to say that where biblical, evangelical Calvinism shapes conduct, and especially worship, it is a very humbling, beautiful system of Truth, but where it is confined to the head, it inflates pride and self-determination.”

    • Chuck,

      Peter Master’s didn’t “push my buttons” as if bearing false witness was just some mere personal preference of mine. He grossly misrepresented some godly men and their ministries which says more about Master’s own unbiblical views of strict separation than it does these men.

      The quote you provided also bolsters the point of my post. Since when have Mahaney, MacArthur, Rick Holland, Piper, Banner of Truth Trust, et al sought a calvinsim “confined to the head” thus inflating “pride and self-determination.” Either Masters doesn’t understand his subject or he is willfully misrepresenting these men for the very same reasons he addresses in his rant.

  2. Paul,

    Thanks for the post!

    Chuck and other persons who comment here. Please use your first and last names when posting here at ET.

  3. Posted by Hayden Norris on June 24, 2009 at 8:30 am

    Paul,

    My question is, has Dr Masters ever attended Resolved??? Does he know someone that has??? Has he listened to the preaching? Does the atmosphere invalidate the preaching?

    He makes so many leaps in logic in the article it is startling. It caused me to examine my own presuppositions as well.

    Here is a good response in an article that I liked on this topic.

    http://bibchr.blogspot.com/2009/06/on-peter-masters-rant-in-which-i-add.html

  4. I guess I remain not “TR.”

    I recently completed a series at our church on a biblical view of music. At some point in their ministry, I think every worthwhile pastor will address this issue – maybe multiple times.

    FWIW, I read numerous articles by Dr. Masters on music and I will simply say that his comments about Resolved are entirely consistent and in keeping with his long standing views on “worldliness.” For those interested in this subject, Col 2:20-23 is text that is oft overlooked and simply detonates this kind of argumentation. The very thing that Masters advocates (rote avoidance of certain actions perceived as inherently unethical), Paul says IS worldliness!

    Simply throwing “worldliness” at something you don’t like is the worst kind of logical fallacy. Everything in some sense is “worldly.” However, the Bible defines worldiness as a matter of worship first, not a matter of behavior. True, your behavior will mimic your worship, but that does not mean a person who worships differently than you is being worldly.

    1 John 2:15-16 Do not love the world nor the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. 16 For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life, is not from the Father, but is from the world.

    That being said, I think Haden makes a good point here. This post made me pause. As an exercise, simply take Paul’s last paragraph above (which is well stated and with which I agree) and put a theological system which you disagree with in it. Here’s my personal example…

    “What [Rich Ryan] fails to realize is that there is no one leading figure, central publishing arm, seminary, or conference that makes up this broad thing some are calling a movement. Yet that doesn’t keep him from painting with the broadest brush he can find in his quiver. The problem with movements, especially those of a political or theological nature, is that viewed too broadly there is something for everyone to hate. So [Rich] looks at everything that gets near the word “Emergent” and seeks to, well, hate it.”

    Can’t you hear Bell, McLaren, Kimball, etc. saying this in exactly the same way?

    When I read this paragraph through that lens it made me pause. Am I accurately understanding the view I am criticizing? Sadly, when I looked in mirror of Dr. Master’s review, I see myself on certain issues.

    I am saddened by Dr. Master’s words – I think he is a fine man of God. However, what would be more sad would be for me to mimic the inconsistencies and fallacies I see in his review in my own interactions with those with whom I disagree.

  5. Posted by Scott Christensen on June 24, 2009 at 11:44 am

    I think Masters has elevated his preferences in musical style to that of principle. IMO his accusation that the brand of music played in some ‘reformed’ venues promotes worldliness is difficult to sustain. I believe worldliness is anything in this world that seeks to gratify self-centered desires at the expense of God. Basically, it is anything in the world that raises our affections higher than what they should be for God. I think the principle here is what jesus said in Matt. 6:19 – “Where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.” If attenders of these conferences treasure the music above God or if somehow the music has lowered their affections for God then perhaps there is a problem with it being worldly for them. For others, the music may facilitate the elevation of their affections for God. In that case, it could not be construed as worldly.

    Obviously this oversimplifies the issue. There are nuances with regard to the nature of music that complicate matters. There is further need of sorting out the issue of preferences versus principles. There is also the matter of lyrical content and so forth. I focus on this particular issue of music because that seems to be the primary focus of Masters. Beyond that, I have other concerns about how he views the Christian life in general.

  6. Posted by chuck on June 24, 2009 at 1:51 pm

    Maybe I’m misreading his article. Basically, he is warning against Sadduceeism (exposition yet a desire to be relevant to Greek/Roman/Western culture) and therefore, you warn against Phariseeism (adding oral Torah as if Scripture).

    Both parties need to realize that both arguments are good at heart, yet harden us to the point that we don’t see the Messiah for who he is!

  7. Posted by James Sizemore on June 24, 2009 at 2:22 pm

    While I am not familiar with Mr. Master’s, it appears that he has confused contemporary with worldliness. He assumes that if you practice a form of worship that is more palatable for a modern audience then you are automatically compromising “reformed” doctrine. The church has always struggled with change in contemporary society and how that fits into classical theology. The truth is that the doctrine of God can be adorned successfully in the 21st century without appearing stoic. Everybody does not have to listen to the same style of music, wear the same hairstyle or conservative suits, in order to be solid in their theology or relationship with God.

  8. well, pastor macarthur is known for his wild dancing during services.

Comments are closed.

%d bloggers like this: