Friday, 14 March 2014

monte's workshop

OK, my somewhat judicial friend Ryan Hayden recommended the above contribution ("well worth your time") by our mutual friend's Dr Monte to the Outreach Conference which he had this week.  So I downloaded it and listened to it via my mobile phone mp3 player en route to some door to door evangelism in Co. Monaghan. 

I enjoyed it. In fact, it finished about 15 minutes shorter than my journey, so I started to listen to it again. A few thoughts:

I only know Dr Monte through Twitter. He attacked Calvinism a while ago with some pretty strong stuff so I did what I tend to do in such provocative circumstances - I just trained the big guns on him and sent a couple of salvos in his direction. Then I learned something. When you seriously challenge Marc as to why he thinks Calvinists are heretics, but quotes Spurgeon and reads the Puritans, he grins (as much as you can grin on Twitter) and draws in the horns. IOW: IMHO he is a benign bluffer! So I like him. I had a wee go at him during the week over his recommendation of John McArthur the 5 point Calvinist's book. And he favourited it.

In the above workshop, he had another pop at Calvinism. Just a one liner about having his deacons know when he passes on that they should not have a Calvinist in the pulpit. That's alright. The #IFB's are gloriously riddled with Calvinism and according to this lament from David Cloud, we are nearly winning the war. So you might as well surrender now ;o)  

Having made arrangements to keep the dread Calvinists out of his pulpit, Marc then, in the course of his workshop, used two Calvinists as examples of passionate preaching and solid Bible teaching. The first was John Piper and the second was James Kennedy. True, there was the usual "While I would have theological differences..." but still, he knew where to turn to give classic examples. The lack of depth that characterises some #IFB preaching is being made up by the hungry sheep in the pew (especially among the young people) turning to the likes of Piper. While many #IFB's might not like our Calvinism - or (to be more precise) what they perceive our Calvinism to be - they know where to turn when they need examples of how to do it right. 

My friend Ryan (an ex-Calvinist) actually runs a series of articles on what #IFB pastors can learn from the Calvinists and it is all the right things. 

I am going to download some of the other messages from Pastor Monte's contributions. Whether they match the above message remains to be seen. The one entitled Pastoral Awareness of Theological Trends is potentially gritty, but if he has another pop at Calvinism, then just read again the third paragraph. It works every time.

By the same standard, someone might say of this post: "The Calvinists know where to turn when they need help with this and that." Of course, we do. Even diluted Calvinism tastes good in any palate. 

Update: Listened to Dr Monte yesterday en route to preach in a church 40 miles away.  His Pastoral Awareness of Theological Trends session had its usual take on Calvinism with the emphasis more on how it stands in the way of Dr Monte's somewhat novel Dispensational theories. For all that, the Teaching your people through preaching session (with the usual health warnings) gave us several quotes from various people about effective preaching. Approximately 75% of these quotes were from die hard Calvinists e.g. Spurgeon, Bunyan and John McArthur while at least two others were from Calvinist sympathisers i.e. Richard Baxter and AW Tozer. I must say, that I really enjoyed these sessions though. They were relaxed in style and very listenable and overall instructive. 

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