Christ-Centered Confessionalism or Childish, Carnal Conceits

Worldliness is departing from God. It is a man-centered way of thinking; it proposes objectives which demand no radical breach with man’s fallen nature; it judges the importance of things by the present and material results; it weighs success by numbers; it covets human esteem and wants no unpopularity; it knows no truth for which it is worth suffering; it declines to be “a fool for Christ’s sake”. Worldliness is the mind-set of the unregenerate. It adopts idols and is at war with God. ~Iain Murray

Confessional

The 1689 London Baptist Confession is a gigantic harvest of doctrinal fidelity. It would be incumbent upon confessional Baptists to acquiesce in all of the distinctives that summarize the Christian faith. What are the 1689 distinctives?[1] This article will explain a few, to show the disparity between Christ-centered confessionalism, and childish, carnal conceits.
The regulative principles of worship will poignantly turn believers to worship God in a manner that He commands and prescribes in His sufficient and irrevocable truth (Scripture).  Worshipping the triune God according to the imaginations and devices of men are not suggestions from the Savior, but from Satan.
Covenant theology has vexed many for years. There are faithful resources (Reformed Baptist Academic Press) that are providing careful erudition in cultivating covenantal works that articulate the continuity and centrality of the covenants along with its necessities and implications. The beauty of covenant theology is that it provides a profound comprehension of the transcendent glory of God and redemption by interpreting the Scripture through the trajectory of His covenants.
Another distinction would be a proper understanding of the law and Gospel. The Gospel will subdue the dead (unconverted) and rescue them from the law, so they will become subservient to the law.
A healthy affirmation of church membership will enable a believer to experience a foretaste of heaven that emanates a new passion for the bride that Christ suffered for (marred beyond human semblance) and subsequently trampled by the ineffable justice of God.
All of the aforementioned distinctives mentioned in this article are just “a few examples” that are Gospel-centered, and should cause believers to remain steadfast to doctrinal integrity, biblical maturity, faithfulness, Godliness, holiness, and to embrace the confessional distinctives that glorify Christ and the Gospel—not gimmicks.

Conceits

There are several New-Calvinists (NC) that will affirm the distinctives of reformed theology. There are also many NC that will faithfully herald the Gospel, but also gimmicks. Unfortunately, the proponents and supporters of NC are misguided by their own notions that their affirmations are reformed in their orthodoxy, when they are rather ridiculous in their orthopraxy (they are Calvinistic, but not reformed). Here is why:
The NC model is attractive to carnal Christians because it is lauded as being cool and relevant because it promotes beer, skinny jeans, medium t-shirts, long beards, and substitutes integrity for immaturity, holiness for being hip, purity for popularity, confessionalism for carnality, and in one case, offering tattoos to raise funds for church plants and calling it cool,[2] while many supporters of NC choose to be groupies in lieu of godly.
The NC misguided stipulations of being the cool and relevant reformed folks are appealing to carnal Christians because it offers them everything they already have as unbelievers. Why? It provides the carnal Christian with everything they want as unregenerate, natural people, because it sells the Gospel as being appealing and cool since they can have alcohol at conferences, look like hipsters, hang with popular ministries, and even receive tattoos to raise funds for a new cool church plant. Is this integrity or idolatry? I believe it is idolatry because it promotes gimmicks above the Gospel, and it elevates Christian liberty above Christ.
It is important to note that the NC characteristics previously mentioned are paradoxical, because many proponents of NC are gifted apologists, and are exceptional at preaching. Consider the proponents of Federal Vision for example. Many of them are gifted apologists, and their messages are lauded as being instrumental. Nevertheless, the Federal Vision is egregious. Why aren’t professing Christians correcting and rebuking proponents of Federal Vision for their pollution? It is because they would rather compromise their faith for friendship, and they cannot say that everything is considered obsolete in their lives compared to the glory of Christ because they have chosen to accept biased friendship above biblical faithfulness. This is the same thing I would say for those who are condoning the NC movement. It’s obvious what lord they serve when they are accepting of worldliness and their friendships are the ultimate test of truth.
How should Christians respond to immaturity and gimmicks that are causing their loved ones to forfeit purity for popularity? Exhorting, convicting and rebuking are just a few biblical examples. They are examples of holding a brother or sister accountable to Christ and His Church.
Sadly, the young, restless and professing reformed groupies have become execrable when something impedes on their worldliness. That’s because the popular advocates of NC will run to social media where they can find consolation from their groupie converts that idolize them. There they will pretend to be persecuted (cry persecution, without clarifying position), and they will categorically decry anyone who questions their gimmicks as being non-evangelistic Pharisees who are mean spirited, judgmental from afar, and contentious people who are more worried about tertiary issues, which are the exact excuses most unbelievers and antinomians make when they are evangelized. Even worst, they are more worried about protecting their reputation, then they are prostrating themselves in repentance. Again, this is why young men and women need godly, mature examples to hold them accountable so they act more like sound Christians, instead of spoiled children.

A final note

All of the relevant and cool gimmicks of NC may be popular now, but it will not last for long. It is imperative that young men and women are catechized to be faithful, and not compromise because of friends. When young men and women are not taught Biblical maturity, godliness and holiness, it would eventually lead them into worldliness. Just ask Mark Driscoll.
 
 
 
[1] For more clarification, please see the 1689 London Baptist Confession.
[2] http://christiannews.net/2016/06/28/tattoos-for-jesus-group-raises-funds-for-church-plant-by-tattooing-members-sampling-booze/
 


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