Increasingly, the dominatrix churchwatcher has so imposed Reformed theology on the chookdom, that even the secretive main churchwatcher is saying he is of the elect and a plethora of the Christian world is fascist.
Add to this the Irate Christian Radio’s Lutheran cessationist criticism of all things outside his world view of faith, and it’s a fete accompli. The female chookwatcher entity has completed her coup in the coop.
Me elect, you damned fascist
To illustrate this, in response to another commenter who challenged his newly acquired Reformed outlook, chookwatcher numero uno declared of himself that he is of the elect whilst condemning many who consider themselves Christians to be damned (using that word).
I’m not sure how he could know he is of the elect, or even who is damned, actually, since it must, by Reformed definition, be God who makes that choice, not chookwatcher, or anyone, so how could a person know who is in or out?
Couldn’t it be possible, as we saw in one article here, that God is using chookwatcher as an example of a person who thinks he’s saved now but will, later in his life, reject Christ?
Thus he will merely be seen by the real elect as someone who is used by God to show the world how God uses certain individuals as stooges to demonstrate the doctrine of the elect, Calvin-style, when it goes wrong.
This logic, of course, came from Calvin himself when asked why some seeming elect persons ultimately backslid and rejected Christ utterly. Could God make such a big mistake? Impossible. Well, was the person even elect in the first place? How could he know?
Did God merely use him to demonstrate a rather strange doctrine – such as how to be completely convinced you are of the elect whilst being of the unelect, and this state of self-delusion being completely introduced to that person by God Himself, whilst all the time the person is already set, from eternal past, for eternal destruction?
So then, are you saying that the person was an eternally condemned man who was used by God to fool the Church into thinking he was of the elect, but later backslid to teach us all some lesson or other? This strange doctrine of Calvin does rather beg these questions, you must admit.
‘E’ for experts
I did actually consult John McArthur and Phil Johnson on this, but they didn’t really come up with anything concrete, merely saying you’ll know if you’re of the elect if you stay in the Word and love God.
Well, I’m not a Calvinist or Arminian, but I stay in the Word and love God, so does that mean a non-Reformed believer is elect also or are we merely born again because we are saved by grace through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, according to scripture?
On the other hand, Ps McArthur stated that you can’t know who is elect, so there you go. He says he is, yet he says you can’t know for sure. So how does he know if you can’t know for sure?
Quoting Spurgeon (a Calvinist in between being an amazingly profound communicator), McArthur says he preaches to anyone and everyone on the premise that there must be people in the audience who have an ‘E’ invisibly marked on their chest – ‘E’ for ‘elect’, presumably.
This seems something of a scattershot approach to ministry. How can you know if anyone you are addressing at any given time is elect, and therefore ready to receive the milk or the meat of the Word? You can’t really plan your meetings very well if you don’t know who’s saved or not.
And there must be an awful amount of Seed that is falling on barren ground if the audience is predominantly the unelect.
I guess this means he preaches to himself, too, in case he has an ‘E’.
Ps Johnson was equally up in the air with it all. He wasn’t sure, but he was increasingly becoming reassured, he thought, maybe, looking around the room for confirmation…please.
Presumably, he hasn’t found the ‘E’ either, then, which asks the question, if you can’t be sure who is elect, how do you know the preacher is elect and therefore qualified to preach in a pulpit in the first place. And if you can’t know if you’re elect yet, why are you standing in the pulpit at all?
Chookwatcher should write a post about this, because, as we have seen, he believes that you can’t preach from a pulpit unless you are a qualified pastor.
But Reformed theology is, as they admit, complex and not easily understood by the layman. As Ps Johnson says, “But the starting point for the gospel and the starting point, I think, for an understanding of the sovereignty of God is a solid understanding of justification by faith. That’s the heart of the gospel. That’s what I want to know, to really understand, whether I think this person I’m talking to is a believer or not.”
Works, in other words. He’s effectively saying that we can’t know the gospel until we’ve understood the Reformed doctrine of justification by faith. Once a person can relate the doctrine of justification by faith you can know he is saved, and, therefore, of the elect.
Which doesn’t answer the question of what happens to a person who can completely outline the doctrine of justification by faith standing on his head that utterly backslides later in life and denies Christ.
Quoting doctrine is obviously no guarantee of being of the elect.
Besides, I thought faith came by hearing and hearing by the Word of Christ – the preached gospel, which is the power of God unto salvation for those who believe. Justification is by faith. It’s never been by understanding a complex set of doctrines.
We don’t have to understand justification to be justified. We’re justified by believing in the Justifier. We’re not saved by doctrine. We’re saved by grace through faith in Christ.
Grace from God, salvation from God, by faith from Christ the Word of God.
And we know we are saved, and, therefore, elect, by the inner witness, incidentally. The Holy Spirit bearing witness with our spirit that we are the children of God (Romans 8:16). For as many as are led by the Spirit, these are the Sons of God (Romans 8:14).
It has nothing whatsoever to do with knowing doctrine. That comes later as we grow as disciples.
It is all about relationship with the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. That’s how you know. This response was not given by the experts.
As an aside, I was a bit saddened by Ps Johnston’s attitude towards John Wesley, which seemed to me to be rather pompous and condescending of a great man of God.
Here’s what he says, “You know, read the life of Wesley. He was a classic, flaming Arminian. I deplore his theology. And yet, we read about his conversion. It was the doctrine of justification. When he came to understand that—somebody was reading through the introduction to Luther’s Commentary on Romans, which is a great treatise on justification by faith—it opened his eyes to those truths and he saw it. And for the rest of his life when he preached the gospel, he preached justification by faith as—as well and as soundly as any Calvinist I’ve ever heard. I would expect to see him in heaven, with his theology all straightened out.”
So he begrudgingly admits Wesley, who, being used of God, helped transform a nation on the brink, bringing a major revival of faith that resonates to this day, may be found in heaven, albeit with his doctrine straightened out – to Calvinism, no doubt, or perhaps Reformed theology.
And, at the same time, Ps Johnson ‘deplores his theology’.
This is the same spirit revealed at the chookwatcher sites. A condescending attitude towards anyone who is not doctrinally aligned with their cessationist Reformed theological stance.
Sadly, unless one of them sees the light soon, it’s unlikely to change. They are sinking deeper into this type of critical spirit and judgmentalism that seems to pervade Reformed and cessationist discernment sites.
Answer all their objections
Going forward, then, we have to merely view the chookwatcher sites as another of a growing set of Reformed theology critical environments where they consider themselves to be the only real Church and everything else is anathema. They even criticise their own, like Grudem and Piper, for embracing other theological stances.
So, having established this we need to treat the critical Reformed crew as people who have gone down a certain track, missing the straight road somewhat, and shouting legalistically religious slogans over the hedge at those who have been blessed to receive the grace and liberty that is in Christ.
Living in liberty is a blessing from God not to be neglected.
So we can shrug our shoulders at the illogical inconvenience of their rants and get on with cooperating with Christ in building His Church, winning souls, taking ground for the kingdom, and making disciples of every nation.
As Wesley said of the Calvinists, “Answer all their objections, as occasion offers, both in public and private. But take care to do this with all possible sweetness both of look and of accent…Make it a matter of constant and earnest prayer, that God would stop the plague.”
So maybe I’ll indulge in an occasional foray into this doctrine.
With all possible sweetness, of course.