NOTE: The following is protected by federal copyright law and is an excerpt from the book Marxianity written by Brannon Howse and is not to be published online. The footnotes that document the content in this article are found in the book Marxianity or the eBook.
There seems to be a familiar theological thread among the people involved in this sweeping new approach to doing church. Even Time magazine noticed and reported on the phenomenon in an article called “The New Calvinism” in its March 12, 2009 issue:
Neo-Calvinist ministers and authors don’t operate quite on a Rick Warren scale. “But,” notes Ted Olsen, a managing editor at Christianity Today, “everyone knows where the energy and the passion are in the Evangelical world”—with the pioneering new Calvinist John Piper of Minneapolis, Seattle’s pugnacious Mark Driscoll, and Albert Mohler, head of the Southern Seminary of the huge Southern Baptist Convention.
The “huge Southern Baptist Convention” has other connections as well. After working at Southern Seminary, Russell Moore became director of Southern Baptist Convention’s Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission. At his inauguration to the post, Al Mohler offered the keynote address and referred to Moore as the man from Issachar—an obvious reference to the Old Testament men honored for their perception of the current times. Yet, this “man for the times” has worked with President Obama to promote amnesty for illegals and has favored bringing in more refugees. He has also promoted communitarianism and the common good and signed on to the Evangelical Immigration Roundtable, a group of religious folks—useful idiots I would call them—for globalism, Marxists, and Muslims. The Evangelical Immigration Roundtable has been funded, according to numerous sources, by globalist George Soros.
And then there’s John Piper, another of Time magazine’s “pioneering new” Calvinists. Among other dangerous positions, Piper has said Christians should not own guns, and he promotes “Christian Hedonism.” He also declared in September 2017:
[quote] Essential to the Christian life and necessary for final salvation is the killing of sin and the pursuit of holiness. [end quote]
Piper is obviously confusing sanctification and justification. Through justification, a person is saved one time, not by anything he or she can do—“not by works, lest any man should boast.” It is a gift from God. Yet, if a person were able to “slay sin and pursue holiness for salvation,” that would be earning salvation through works.
Piper’s claim seems to completely sidestep the truth that, in accepting Christ, we are immediately saved because of what Christ has done through His death, burial, and resurrection. His righteousness is imputed to our account. The righteous life that none of us could live, Christ did live. Justification brings instant salvation through faith and repentance in Christ alone, not by works of man. Beyond that, though, we have sanctification—ongoing faithfulness and obedience. We constantly struggle with sin, but we’re not to confuse justification and sanctification. Piper’s teaching notwithstanding, we aren’t saved by slaying sin and pursuing holiness.
And his concept of Christian hedonism is bizarre, at best. He claims that the problem of Adam and Eve in the garden was not that they disobeyed God. Their problem was that they didn’t seek pleasure in God—Christian hedonism. Piper has also rejected the idea that the moral law is meant for today, despite Paul’s contention that “I would not have known what sin is without the law, the reflection of God’s moral character.” Or Jesus’ teaching that “He who loves Me keeps my commandments.” And on top of his false gospel, John Piper now promotes social justice. For instance, he praises liberation theology advocate Martin Luther King, Jr.
According to Time magazine, Mohler and Piper are among the new Calvinists—networked, of course, through The Gospel Coalition. Other influencers who are tied to The Gospel Coalition include Thabiti Anyabwile. Originally from the Grand Cayman Islands, Thabiti is the pastor of Anacostia River Church in Washington, DC, who scolded John Piper for criticizing Black Lives Matter. His admonitions prompted Piper to capitulate and produce a video about his “counseling session” with Thabiti that set Piper straight on the issue. Why on earth would John Piper promote or commend the communist-founded Black Lives Matter Movement? Talk about Marxianity! David Platt, former president of the International Mission Board of the Southern Baptist Convention, and the current voice on Back to the Bible radio program, is also a member of The Gospel Coalition.
At best these are strange bedfellows, and coming full circle, Al Mohler encourages his Southern Seminary students to participate in Acton University studies. The seminary’s website notes that:
[quote] Southern students have a unique opportunity to attend Acton University, a conference with a wide range of speakers and topics on theology, liberty, economics, government, and more while earning credit. Some conference scholarships are available. [end quote]
Southern Baptist seminarians are encouraged to go to the Acton University and learn theology from an organization whose president is a Roman Catholic priest who came out as a homosexual in the 1970s and now promotes the Jesuits and social justice. The website further claims that “Southern students who attend Acton University can register for the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary course . . . Sessions at Acton and reading for the course will focus on a Biblical understanding of work.” But I have to ask: how biblical can the teaching really be from this Catholic priest and those who work for him?
Al Mohler himself seems to be strangely double-minded about the Acton Institute’s libertarianism. He supports the organization, and yet has this to say in a video interview about his understanding of libertarianism:
[quote] I think we have to be very careful here and say, first of all, this libertarian temptation is written into the American experiment. You can look at some of The Federalist Papers and see that some of our forefathers were making very similar arguments countered by people who had better arguments, such that there was a boundary established. The Conservative Coalition in America since 1979 has had as one of its three main legs, a libertarian impulse. It’s very popular among young people, because it basically gives them a way out of the cultural collision.
If you’re in the cultural vice, the way out of this is to adopt a libertarian understanding. The ideological base of libertarianism is idolatry. It’s Ayn Rand. It’s Randian individualism, and she was at least honest in saying that she was like Nietzsche, that Christianity is the religion for weak people who need this kind of support. I mean, we need to realize what we’re up against. And frankly, we need to call these people who claim to be libertarians and say, “Look, if you’re a libertarian, and you’re buying into that, then you’re denying the gospel by doing so.” [end quote]
Mohler says libertarianism is idolatry, a denying of the gospel. Yet, he works hand in hand with the libertarian Acton Institute and encourages students from his Southern Baptist Theological Seminary to attend Acton University. This creates a credibility gap that’s hard to get over. But it does make sense when you “follow the money.” The deep-pocketed Kern Family Foundation is a sponsor. It appears to have enough influence behind the scenes to enable Mohler to say one thing when he’s at Bible conferences teaching pastors, and another thing when he runs back to academia. Mohler may well have the most schizophrenic worldview I have ever seen in the evangelical world.
One of the troubling faculty members of the Acton Institute is Peter Kreeft, the Roman Catholic theologian best known for the book Ecumenical Jihad. I address his worldview more thoroughly in my book The Coming Religious Reich, but I’ll recount here one revealing story. Kreeft claims that he was surfing one day when a big wave knocked him unconscious. He doesn’t know if the head injury triggered a dream or an out-of-body experience, but he claims to have gone to heaven where he saw the leaders of all the various faith groups—Mohammed, Jesus, Buddha—sitting together in a circle. They all had made it to heaven, and he writes in Ecumenical Jihad about the universalism the surfing accident led him to accept as truth. This is one of the faculty Mohler apparently hopes will have the opportunity to influence Southern Seminary students who attend Acton Institute courses—in spite of the fact that Mohler elsewhere talks about the problems within the Catholic church and its false teachings and false gospel.
So, now we’re going to have churches influenced through a network that Al Mohler and the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, Trinity Divinity, Dallas Theological Seminary, and a host of other colleges work with to create young pastors willing to plant transformational churches. What they’re really doing, though, is turning churches into community organizations, claiming that this social gospel is the real gospel—but it’s not!