To the teaching and to the testimony! If they will not speak according to this word, it is because they have no dawn. (Isaiah 8:20)

Postmodernism And Sola Scriptura Are Mutually Exclusive

We must come to realize that a lot of what e.g. I’m covering here at Apprising Ministries these past five plus years is, in fact, interrelated because they are moved by the very spiritual seductions of deceitful spirits who’ve been known right in the pages of Scripture for duping people with “nice” experiences. Haven’t you ever read of those — who say to the seers, “Do not see,” and to the prophets, “Do not prophesy to us what is right; speak to us smooth things, prophesy illusions” (Isaiah 30:10). Or when God said — “They have healed the wound of my people lightly, saying, ‘Peace, peace,’ when there is no peace” (Jeremiah 6:14). Now quite obviously these very real, smooth, i.e. nice, pleasant, and peaceful things—referred to by the Lord as illusions—weren’t blessed by God.

The emerging rebellion against the Bible referred to as the Emerging Church aka the Emergent Church—with its postmodern version of liberalism i.e. Emergence Christianity (EC)—certainly does not speak in accord with Isaiah 8:20, and has called us to return to the Egypt of the spurious spirituality of apostate Roman Catholicism. It’s crystal clear to those of us whom God has sovereignly, and graciously, given eyes that see this current fad of Contemplative Spirituality/Mysticism (CSM) is a revival counterfeit form of Christianity and therefore cannot be a genuine move of the Holy Spirit. But that does not, however, rule out CSM producing very real, and very pleasant, experiences. Here’s where it’s so critical to keep in mind what was well-stated elsewhere: Deceptions that do not “work” have a short shelf life. Make sense now.

In Rick Warren To Be Featured At Desiring God 2010 I was among the few who broke the story that Dr. Piper had made the ill-advised decision to invite Leadership Network’s propped-up Purpose Driven Pope Rick Warren to DG 2010 as a keynote speaker. Then, as I shared in Rick Warren Doctrinal And Sound?, unfortunately it got even worse when Dr. Piper decided to defend his decision:

At root I think [Rick Warren] is theological and doctrinal and sound.
(as cited Online source)

So whether one even knows it or not, Warrengate still is slowly simmering; Dr. Piper’s choice here has had the rippling effect of people, even outside of any discernment ministries, beginning to look a little closer at his theology, educational background, and associations; e.g. his charismatic bent, his connection to Fuller Theological Seminary, and with the late Ralph Winter. I had received a tip from a source back in June of this past year; and as I followed up on it, it would eventually lead me to discover some disturbing information which I orginally began sharing in Questions Concerning Dr. John Piper and Dr. John Piper And Unanswered Questions. When I wrote those initial articles Dr. Piper was on his much talked about sabbatical; now however, he is back and a few of the mystic books I pointed in the latter piece are no longer in the BBC online library.

However, questions remain because what you’ll see below is still available; for example, one finds in the Bethlehem Baptist Church library as we search online Prayer Finding the Heart’s True Home by Richard Foster:

(Online source)

I’ve also pointed out that it’s an incontrovertible fact the main purveyors of CSM would be the Living Spiritual Teacher and Quaker mystic Richard Foster, along with Southern Baptist minister Dallas Willard; whom many people don’t seem to realize is quite literally Foster’s spiritual twin and teaches, and practices, the exact same things. You may recall that I’ve also told you, in no uncertain terms, it’s well past time for evangelical leaders to begin recognizing the inclusive, and increasingly universal, fruit of this spiritual skubalon of Foster-Willardism. Yet we also find Foster’s fellow mystic Dallas Willard and his own ode to asceticism Spirit of the Disciplines: Understanding How God Changes Lives:

(Online source)

Why would Dr. John Piper want his flock to have the chance to be exposed to the warped and toxic teachings of these leading proponents, and personal practitioners of, Quaker—and refried Roman Catholic—mysticism; and in addition, both Foster and Willard are also sinfully ecumenical and hostile to Reformation theology. A critical question is: What could a Calvinist, supposedly holding to the doctrines of grace inherent within Reformation theology, be learning about proper Christian spirituality from a Quaker mystic, whose own prolonged practice of spurious CSM has led him into the sinful ecumenicism of—contra Reformation—considering the apostate Roman Catholic Church, which Dr. John MacArthur calls a front for Satan, as a genuine expression of the Christian faith? This even though she long ago placed her anathema on the very Gospel itself?

I’ve told you before that the main vehicle for CSM is corrupt Contemplative/Centering Prayer (CCP); a type of meditation in an altered state of consciousness, which itself is a form of neo-Gnosticism that flowered in the antibiblical monastic traditions of apostate Roman Catholicism. You see, the Reformers understood that this kind of highly subjective personal experience—the antithesis of the proper Christian spirituality of sola Scriptura—is precisely what shaped the deceived dogma of the apostate Roman Catholic Church in the first place. Surely Dr. Piper knows the Protestant Reformation concerned the very Gospel of Jesus Christ itself. Here’s DG 2010 speaker Dr. R.C. Sproul:

The Roman Catholic Church condemns “sola fide! (L.)” Now if, please understand this, if “sola fide (L.)” is the gospel, then the Roman Catholic Church has condemned the gospel of Jesus Christ. Now, nobody who went to the Council of Trent, as a delegate, went there with the intention of condemning the gospel. The theologians of Rome really believed that they were defending the gospel and that the Protestants had in fact committed apostasy. And I admire the Church, the Roman communion of the 16th century for at least understanding what apparently people don’t understand today, and that is what is at stake here.

That they understood that somebody is under the anathema of God! And we can be as nice, and as pleasant, and as gentle, and as loving, and as charitable, and tolerant as we can possibly be, but it’s not going to change that folks. Somebody is preaching a different gospel! And when Rome condemned the Protestant declaration of “Justification by faith alone” I believe, Rome, when placing the anathema on “sola fide (L.),” placed the anathema of God upon themselves. I agree with his [John MacArthur] assessment, that the institution [Roman Catholic Church] is apostate! (Online source)

This brings me to a 2008 article by Dr. Piper about G.K. Chesterton entitled How A Roman Catholic Anti-Calvinist Can Serve Today’s Poet-Calvinists, where Dr. Piper celebrates the anniversary of Chesteron’s 134th “birthday by recommending his book Orthodoxy.” This kind of thing is why I’ve referred to this new Calvinism by the oxymoronic term postmodern Calvinism, which apparently Dr. Piper has deemed poet Calvinists. Let me remind you here that the flawed philosophy of postmodernism, like  neo-orthodoxy ala Karl Barth, is “anti-logical” and “embraces Paradox”[1] while deconstructionists viciously attack rational thought with what’s commonly known as irrational philosophy:

Irrational philosophies accordingly stress the will at the expense of reason, as exemplified in the existentialism of Jean-Paul Sartre or Karl Jaspers. (Online source)

Roughly put, its influence in our culture is why you’ll so often hear people say things like: “With all my heart I feel that’s a good thing”; in other words, truth is being decided by how someone feels as opposed to what is known objectively. Dr. Gene Veith, Culture Editor of World Magazine and former Associate Professor of English at Concordia University-Wisconsin, tells us this all results in “postmodernism assum[ing] that there is no objective truth, that moral values are relative, and that reality is socially constructed” by various “communities.” Veith then explains:

Whereas modernism sought to rid the world of religion, postmodernism spawns new ones. Unconstrained by objectivity, tradition, reason, or morality, these new faiths differ radically from Christianity. They draw on strains of the most ancient and primitive paganism. Even the deconstructionists speak in mystical terms…

The deconstructionists dissolve every positive statement, every rational argument, every truth claim—destroying form, they say, so as to open up what lies beyond the possibilities of representation… The inadequacies of language will be left behind,… Postmodernism, in its rejection of objective truth, have clear affinities with Hinduism and Buddhism, which teach that the external world is only an illusion spun by the human mind.[2]

Because of this, in his excellent sermon A Beginner’s Guide to Postmodernism Phil Johnson, executive director of John MacArthur’s fine Grace to You ministry and who blogs at the popular Pyromaniacs blog would say:

I am convinced that postmodernism is inherently incompatible with biblical Christianity; and in fact, the most essential elements of post modernism are hostile to the fundamental truth claims of Scripture. And for that reason, I would argue that a postmodern mindset involves some positively sinful ways of thinking.[3]

Dr. John MacArthur adds the following insight:

Neo-orthodoxy is the term used to identify an existentialist variety of Christianity. Because it denies the essential objective basis of truth—the absolute truth and authority of Scripture—neo-orthodoxy must be understood as pseudo-Christianity… Neo-orthodoxy’s attitude toward Scripture is a microcosm of the entire existentialist philosophy… [Contemplative Spirituality aka] Mysticism is perfectly suited for religious existentialism; indeed, it is the inevitable consequence.

The mystic disdains rational understanding and seeks truth instead through the feelings, the imagination, personal visions, inner voices, private illumination, of other purely subjective means. Objective truth becomes practically superfluous… Mysticism is therefore antithetical to discernment. It is an extreme form of reckless faith. Mysticism is the great melting pot into which neo-orthodoxy, the charismatic movement, anti-intellectual evangelicals, and even some segments of Roman Catholicism have been synthesized.[4]

With this all in mind, I find it interesting that Dr. Piper begins his post by telling us, “Nobody exploits the power of paradox like Chesterton.” Then he tells us:

I celebrate his birthday by recommending his book Orthodoxy. The title gives no clue as to what you will find inside. It had a huge influence on me forty years ago in ways that would have exasperated Chesterton. He did all he could to keep me from becoming a Calvinist, and instead made me a romantic one—a happy one.

If I thought his broadsides against predestination really hit home and undid true biblical doctrine, I would keep my mouth shut or change my worldview. But his celebration of poetry and paradox undermines his own abomination of the greatest truth-and-mystery-lovers around today, the happy Calvinists. (Online source)

You are likely aware, that while I don’t identify as a Calvinist per se, I do hold to the Biblical doctrines of grace; here however, I’m not going down the predestination rabbit trail. Lord willing, I have more on this next time; my goal at this point is to draw your attention to the rather curious language used by Dr. Piper as he tells us, in words reminicent e.g. of Emerging Church rock star mystic Rob Bell, that “the greatest truth-and-mystery-lovers around today, [are] the happy Calvinists.” In closing this, for now, as a former Roman Catholic let me introduce you to the Roman Catholic G.K. Chesterton:

It may surprise some to know that Chesterton was raised as a Unitarian. His discovery of “orthodox” Christianity (as described in his book Orthodoxy), led him first to the Church of England in 1901, which he said later was simply his own uncompleted conversion to Catholicism. Before becoming Catholic, Chesterton acknowledged the fact that he was ushering many others into the Church without having entered it himself. He is still ushering them in. It was not until 1922, at the age of 48, when Chesterton was received into the Roman Catholic Church. This came as a shock to many. Casual observers were surprised because they thought he already was Catholic, since he’d been defending the Church for years. But many who knew him better, among both his allies and his opponents, thought it would simply never happen. George Bernard Shaw fired off a letter: “Gilbert, this is going too far.”

Five years after he finally entered the Church, Chesterton wrote The Catholic Church and Conversion. He says that although all roads lead to Rome, each pilgrim is tempted to talk as if all roads had been like his own road. “The Church is a house with a hundred gates; and no two men enter at exactly the same angle.” (Online source)

What I just showed you here should give us real concern as the obstensibly Reformed, “happy,” and “romantic,” Calvinist Dr. John Piper is sounding less like a charismatic and more like a mystic as he points us to apostate teachers of Roman Catholicism and its spiritually bankrupt mysticism; and from what we can see, this has been going on for quite some time now. Perhaps, now that his discernment is so far off he’s even promoting the double-minded Rick Warren, the time has finally arrived for some of his DG speakers to take a closer look at what’s going on in this neo-Reformed camp.


[1] Gordon Clark, In Defense of Theology [Milford: Mott Media, 1984], 58, 61.

[2] Gene Veith, Jr., Postmodern Times: A Christian Guide to Contemporary Thought and Culture [Wheaton: Crossway, 1994] , 193, 198, 199.

[3] http://tinyurl.com/36o6ky8, accessed 1/18/11.

[4] John MacArthur, Reckless Faith: When The Church Loses Its Will To Discern [Wheaton: Crossway Books, 1994],  25, 26, 27, 28, 29.

HT: Surph’s Side

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