Reformed vs. Reformed

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  1. Michael says:

    Big thank you to BrianD for finding this!

  2. Xenia says:

    Have you ever wondered…

    Sometimes when I read stuff like Horton’s I wonder why these people can’t just leave off their everlasting Protestant protesting of all things that even give off a hint of a whiff of Roman Catholicism and just get on with doing some GOOD WORKS. But they have convinced themselves that the doing of good works smells like Catholicism whereas continually ranting against other believers by book, blog and podcast smells like…. what? What does it smell like?


  3. Michael says:

    “Salvation in the Bible is not only justification, being declared righteous for Christ’s sake, but also sanctification, being transformed from within by the Spirit of God. Horton does refer occasionally to sanctification in the book. On 62, he notes rightly that sanctification, like justification, comes through the gospel (here as opposed to “gimmicks”). On 109, he says, “when faith alone receives the gift, it immediately begins to yield the fruit of righteousness.”
    True enough, as far as it goes. But unlike justification, sanctification is not simply given to us once for all. Scripture does not tell us merely to receive passively the gift of sanctification. Rather, there is a race to be run and a battle to be fought. Scripture constantly exhorts us to make efforts, to make the right choices. As I emphasized in section 3, there is not a zero sum here between divine sovereignty and human responsibility. Rather, God energizes our efforts and brings them to fruition. We work out our own salvation, knowing that God is working ”in” us.”

    This is the Calvinism I know…I’m so happy someone with clout is finally speaking up.

  4. Xenia says:

    If Horton really believed what he says then why does he even bother with his White Horse Inn? Why does he bother writing persuasive books if everything is external to us? Yet he’s one of the most over-wrought personalities out there. Why? If he believes what he teaches, why can’t he “Let go and let God?”

  5. Sister Christian says:

    Xenia! 😀
    theres something to that rootword of protestantism isnt there?
    Continually protesting… hmm. I dont like to use the word protestant here, especially the way its pronounced, the last sylable being emphasised. Sounds harsh to begin with.
    Reformed or Reformé has a far better sound and connotation to it.

    Guess what, the lady we visited on Sunday asked if she could come and help me at the church. She came today and later said she had a really good time, and says she will join me tomorrow!

    looks to be a review very well done, filled with tact and grace.
    especially in reading the last statement.
    “So I must render a negative verdict on this book, though commending the author’s passion for the purity of the church and for the gospel. In doing this, I must disagree with many friends and respected colleagues, who have commended this volume lavishly. They should have known better.”

    While i dont follow many of these guys, but I sure do appreciate these reviews.

  6. Michael says:


    Behind the scenes…I’ve been very discouraged by the narrow, sectarian school of thought that is becoming modern Calvinism…actually most of evangelicalism.

    Frames article is something I never thought I would see and it was so needed…I am so thankful.

  7. Sister Christian says:

    “let them do good
    that they may be rich in good works
    ready to give willing to share.”

    1 Tim 6:18

    “In all things showing yourself to be a pattern of good works…” titus 2:7

    “And let our people
    also learn to maintain good works
    to meet urgent needs
    that they may not be unfruitful”

    Titus 3:14


    Ephesians 2:10 niv

    “For we are God’s workmanship,
    created in Christ Jesus to do good works,
    which God prepared in advance for us to do.”

    I so dont get the aversion to “doing good”,
    or those who are opposed to “encouraging people in good works”….

  8. Xenia says:

    Here is something I have never understood about Calvinists. Here’s a group of people who believe that every sneeze and hiccup has been decreed by God in Eternity Past. Not just foreknown by looking into the future, but Decreed with a capital “D.” I would expect Calvinists to be the most serene of all Christians, people who would not feel compelled to strive or to get angry. Que sera, sera. Yet as a group, they seemed pretty over-wrought. They seem very concerned that other people might think differently than they do- even if it was God who predetermined who was going to be a Pentecostal and who was going to be a Lutheran and who was going to be a Calvary Chapel Attendee and who was going to be a Calvinist. This being the case, why all the anger? Why all the blogs, books, magazine articles and podcasts lambasting other believers for being the way God decreed them to be? And if any change in these people were to occur it would only occur because that was God’s decree, not because of the podcasts, blog articles, bait-and-switch dinners, etc.

    I know the proper answer is “God uses means” but it still doesn’t account for the anger and the striving.

  9. Xenia says:

    PS- I’m not talking about you Michael. You are a unique Calvinist.

  10. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    ““when faith alone receives the gift, it immediately begins to yield the fruit of righteousness.” – how can you say true enough, BUT…”? How can you add the BUT?

    Then you say, “Rather, there is a race to be run and a battle to be fought.” That’s the point, we run the race and fight the battle BECAUSE Christ is in us and He has sanctified us.” Without Christ in us ans without the sanctification, we have no race and we have not battle – we just sit around and play with our poop.

    Even sanctification is outside of us – our whole salvation is outside of us. Justification = all God; Sanctification = all God; and Glorification = all God.

    and Xenia, I don’t get where you continually come up with the false charge that this kind of thought leads to a lack of good works or fruit. My peach tree produces fruit good fruit each season with NO EFFORT of it’s own. It produces because it is a peach tree and any thing that affects the fruit comes from the ‘outside’ – the care taker.

    This is why Horton claims the Christless Christianity to be a Theology of Glory – because the old man, the old Adams still has his hand it it saying “surely I must have some part in this salvation thing – so I will split it with God – I will do the repentance and the sanctification and God will do the Justification and the Glorification.

    Come on, let’s get serious.

  11. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    and I’m not a Calvinist, but I will stand up for them. What Horton is preaching is Christianity.

  12. Xenia says:

    I am not going to engage you in this, MLD. Been there, done that.

  13. Michael says:


    I am convinced that the Scriptures call us to active, vital participation in our sanctification.

    It is absolutely enabled, empowered and completed by the Holy Spirit.

    With Frame, (and Calvin) I believe that divine sovereignty does not negate human responsibility.

  14. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    I wonder about people who default right away to “now that you are a Christian, you have to do good works. You need to get busy with your sanctification.” My testimony is not like the many you hear. I didn’t come from a ‘bad’ background and lifestyle.

    I was a good son, a good husband, a good father a good citizen and a good employer and I gave plenty to charity. So, when I got saved, what good work was I too add to that? I continued in the good works I had already been doing. The only thing that changed, were my motives. So, to the naked eye, the only difference in my life was where I spent Sunday mornings and Wednesday nights.

    But God had changed my heart and that included my motives – he didn’t change my actions. So, the sum of my sanctification was I now had a ‘real’ reason (from the outside) for doing the things I did, not a new list of things to do.

    So, where did my sanctification take place?

  15. Michael says:

    By the way…Frame is considered one of the foremost Calvinist theologians in the world.

  16. Michael says:

    “I wonder about people who default right away to “now that you are a Christian, you have to do good works. You need to get busy with your sanctification.”

    Oddly enough…I’ve never heard that.

  17. Michael says:

    Honestly…I’m damn near giddy over this. 🙂

  18. Xenia says:

    When I read Dr. Frame’s list of Horton’s beliefs I realize that Horton has a Humanless Christianity.

  19. Michael says:


    “When I read Dr. Frame’s list of Horton’s beliefs I realize that Horton has a Humanless Christianity.”

    Confession time…that is how I have been feeling about my tribe for a year…doctrine without heart or Spirit…cold facts about God with no engagement with God.

    That’s why I love Packer and why this article is huge for me…Frame is a big shot and this will start tremors through the movement.

  20. Xenia says:

    Michael, God bless you. I hope you are right about this- time for the pendulum to swing back the other way, I’m thinking.

  21. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    “Oddly enough…I’ve never heard that.” (I didn’t see a winky, so I will assume you were serious.)

    I must have spent more time around Christian bookstores in my years than you have. 🙂

  22. Michael says:


    That’s why I order everything online… 🙂

  23. Xenia says:

    Bookstores! I have some dear girlfriends from days of yore who include me in a yearly Christmas shopping trip in San Francisco. This year one of the stops will be a huge Christian bookstore in San Jose. I know for a fact that the only book they sell that I could use would be a non-footnoted New Testament in an older translation. So I don’t know what I’m gonna do while the ladies peruse the merchandise except maybe plant myself by the Bible display and read the Gospel of Matthew to myself and try to keep my murderous thoughts to myself…

  24. BrianD says:

    Hat tip on the Frame article to TMH over at Boars Head Tavern

  25. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Anyway, the point being that most of Christian books and almost all of the literature given to people “when they decide to follow Jesus” is how to live the Christian (sanctified) life, as if you need special instructions from a bunch of books.

  26. puzzletop says:

    Maybe it’s Michael Horton’s age that should be reviewed. For a relatively young guy he has been pretty far along in his writing and public comments. Sometimes youth is too impetulant for the gray pony tails out there. I suspect that this might be the case.

    It’s good to see a young whipper snapper slapped down occasionally by a seasoned pro. I hope that Michael Horton doesn’t become all stodgy and stiff as he grows older. I appreciate his wit. Hopefully this rebuke might help him give some thought to his writing in the future.

  27. Augustine says:

    “With Frame, (and Calvin) I believe that divine sovereignty does not negate human responsibility.”

    Amen, and Amen.

  28. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Horton may be young compared to you and me, but he is not a youngster – I am sure that he is close to 50.

    In Horton’s defense, it must be remembered that he is a teacher, a writer, a professional theologian. He is not a pastor (although he has been for short periods of time.) But he is fighting against a type of Christianity that is heavily tilted towards “what would Jesus do?” that is followed by program after program to get a Christian to “your best life now.” – versus what he feels should be a teaching more in line with “what has Jesus done?” and a program of how that affects and influences me.

    It’s not like he is writing his books in a vacuum just to have something to say. Also, it needs to be pointed out that this is the first book in a series and must be taken in view of the second book – “Gospel-Driven Life: Sequel to Christless Christianity.”

    Christless Christianity was describing the problem, while Gospel-Driven Life offers a solution. So actually, John Frame’s critic may be a bit premature.

  29. Xenia says:

    I just finished reading Dr. Frame’s entire article. It’s the longest piece of Protestant literature I have read in the past seven years and I was delighted with what I read.

    He even defended Pastor Chuck. 🙂

    Horton’s view of Christianity is about 180 degrees away from my view. He calls many believers Gnostics and Pelagians- I call him a Nilhist- nothing matters. At least, that’s the bottom-line of his view, as far as I’m concerned. Nothing we do or think or feel matters, it’s all done unto us, exterior to ourselves. Nothing matters. Nihilism.

  30. Michael says:

    I don’t want to come off in an insulting manner to Horton.

    Mike has done much good and he seemed to be a decent fellow when I was in his vicinity in Geneva.

    He also is hugely influential with young Calvinists….much more than I had any idea.

    The problem is that many, myself included, have read works like this uncritically and just waited to see which of us could say amen the loudest.

    Frame just turned the whole young, restless, and Reformed paradigm on it’s head with one article.

  31. Ian D. Elsasser says:


    John Frame has been known to take a stand which sets him in opposition to many in the modern Reformed tradition. He has written against a narrow understanding and interpretation of “The Regulative Principle of Worship” and defended the use of contemporary Christian music (see A Fresh Look At The Regulative Principle, a written debate with Darry Hart on the subject of The Regulative Principle: Scripture, Tradition, and Culture, Worship In Spirit And Truth and Contemporary Worship Music: A Biblical Defense). He also said the following about Charles Finney in an interview with Guy Davies’ blog from October 2008:

    “GD: Which theological book have you found most helpful in the last twelve months? It is a must read because….

    “JF: Believe it or not, Holy Spirit Revivals, by Charles Finney (New Kensington, PA: Whitaker House, 1999). Finney here is very different from the picture of him given in the standard Reformed polemics. He is thoroughly dependent on God’s sovereign working, through the prayers of his people, to reach the lost. His opponents, as he describes them, appear to me to be hyper-Calvinists, not authentic Calvinists: people who think that an inquirer should wait passively for the Spirit to change his heart, rather than obeying the biblical command to repent and believe. On that issue, assuming that he has described it correctly, I certainly would have been on Finney’s side. His Systematic Theology, however, contains some significant errors and confusions. He should have stuck to evangelism.”

    You won’t find this said in many of the writings and lectures of the popular modern Reformed adherents who discuss Finney who have very little to nothing good to say. Yet Frame is willing to give credit where it is due and that is laudable.

  32. Michael says:


    Thank you for that…I’ll have to look up that Finney reference.

    I’m going to the article on the regulative principle right now…

  33. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    OK, I will keep up with my defense of Horton, not his Calvinism (because I think Calvinism is totally wrong) but in what he is trying to accomplish in his full history of writings. Perhaps too many are fairly new to Michael Horton and don’t go back to his book Power Religion (1992), Made in America and Beyond Culture Wars. All of his books are a battle and response to the continual failures of the American Evangelical Church (his only true book on Calvinism was Putting Amazing Back into Grace.) So, I can stand with him on his fight against a church system that is taking American Christians down the toilet. If John Frame thinks that it is more important to ‘make nice with people’ so be it.

    Just as a sample of what Horton is addressing, I go back to his 1994 Beyond Culture Wars, subtitled “Is America a Mission Field or Battlefield?”

    The fly leaf starts out with; “Has it ever bothered you that for all the sound and fury of the ‘Christian Right’, no progress ever seems to be made?
    Have you recently found yourself wondering how Christians are going to win over non Christians by picketing their businesses and threatening to clobber them with imposed morality?
    Do you ever ask yourself why the church in America seems to be getting weaker – despite an avalanche of self help books, political crusades, and ever-so-slick marketing blitzes? Could there be some connection?” … and it goes on.

    Horton’s books are not Calvinism issues at all, they are Christian issues to save the church from herself. He is still fighting the same things today and those issues are ‘church programs that emphasize ‘what would Jesus do’ while all along dismissing ‘what has Jesus done?’.

  34. Ian D. Elsasser says:


    I thought the regulative principle material might interest you since, if I remember correctly, you do not object to the use of gospel music and upbeat piano in worship.

  35. Michael says:

    “I thought the regulative principle material might interest you since, if I remember correctly, you do not object to the use of gospel music and upbeat piano in worship.”

    That was a delightful understatement… 🙂

  36. Ian D. Elsasser says:

    I am like you, then, Michael. I have incorporated various styles into my piano playing and enjoy spicing up some of the older upbeat hymns and it has had a favourable effect on our congregational singing, encouraging rousing and heartfelt singing.

  37. puzzletop says:


    Is it possible that one can make a hymn out of Jerry Lee Lewis music?

    Maybe I should ask Michael?

  38. Ian D. Elsasser says:


    Does “Great Balls Of Fire” fit with a message on hell? If so, then it may be possible. 🙂

  39. Michael says:

    Jerry Lee can play gospel better than anyone.

    I have spoken. 🙂

  40. Nomans says:

    Even Elvis?
    Elvis is my Lerry Lee :mrgreen:

  41. Augustine says:

    “Is it possible that one can make a hymn out of Jerry Lee Lewis music?”

    Is it the music or the lyrics that make a song a hymn or worship song?

  42. Michael says:


  43. Michael says:


    Close… 🙂

  44. Tim says:

    Michael –
    Do you have any references of JLL playing gospel? I’d love to hear it. I was just sitting here trying to think of how “Crazy Arms” or “Whole Lotta Shakin” could fit into a service. I’m having a hard time stretching it that far. 🙂

  45. Augustine says:



  46. JimB says:

    Michael Horton doesn’t believe that we who are in Calvary Chapel are even Christians… The hate that he has addressed towards Calvary Chapel is very ugly.

  47. Michael says:


    He has done quite a bit of gospel…I’ll put some together for you.

  48. Michael says:


    Do you have a source for that?

    That doesn’t sound like Horton…

  49. JimB says:


    I don’t have it now. But, he published those things over 10 years ago from his own web site.

  50. Xenia says:

    JimB, back when I was becoming discontent as a Calvary Chapel attendee I used to listen to Horton’s White Horse Inn. At that time he was running a series (or maybe it was just an extended rant) about Calvary Chapel. While I can’t remember him saying CC-ers are not Christians (it was 7 years ago) he surely had nothing good to say about them. He called CC gnostic.

  51. Xenia says:

    Michael, week after week Horton and his co-panelists would trash Calvary Chapel.

  52. Michael says:

    I’ll do some digging…that disturbs me.

  53. BrianD says:

    Linkathon on Thursday or, if popular demand demands it, late Wednesday 🙂

  54. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Sorry folks, but it was Chuck Smith who first ripped into Horton and the rest of CURE from the pulpit, by name back in 1996. One of Chuck Smith’s few irrational public moments – I have it on tape.

    Those were the times when CURE didn’t need to say anything directly about CC because the Calvinist uprising within CC in the mid 90s was doing it on their own. Since Chuck could not control the Calvinists in his midst, he blamed CURE which was the largest So Cal Calvinist presence. He just went a little nuts and Horton would play the Smith clip every once in a while on his show.

    Smith finally got control, exiled the Calvinists and lived happily ever after. You have to remember, CURE was 3 guys total and CC was a massive organization – Goliath decided to take on David. 🙂

  55. Please Note says:

    This is a great read Michael.

    I echo your 1:51 & 2:41, and that was what I always had a hard time with JJS’s posts about. I’ve listened to some of his sermons since, & neither his tome nor rhetoric has changed.

    To read this stuff Frame is great.

    Oh yeah, a caution to those who want to print it, it’s 28 pages.

    I found out ‘after’ I hit ‘Print’ 🙂

  56. Please Note says:

    Should have been ‘To read this stuff Frame wrote’ – sheesh, that’s two for the night…time for bed….G’night!

  57. brian says:

    To my shame and with many tears (internally I do not allow outward tears) I write this. I wanted to quick, hang it up, and walk (apostatize) from the Christian faith, I was so sick of it, I wanted to take a long bath and wash all the filth away, mostly if not totally my own filth. Then I read Hentri Nouwen again, his simple little books about Adam and daybreak and I remembered the long lost dream I had about the faith. It revived me, I understand Houwen is seen by many as an apostate and is now roasting in hell, I think not myself. It reminded me of the many stories I saw, but rejected as emotionalistic tripe as true evangelicals never have emotion, they are always rational, apologetically minded and above all effective, efficient and successful. My soul, which I often doubted I actually had one, awoke from the sleep my sin and personal pride, and anger had put to sleep. It even almost lead me to actually weep out loud but I squashed that tripe quickly, I dont move that fast.

    As pathetic as this sounds all I ever wanted was community and to serve Christ. I never understood why that was tripe but my many years in the evangelical corp. trust me its tripe. But to the dear Lord Jesus, it is not. I am ashamed I squandered my memories of service because they were not effective. I will be offline for a bit, thanks all I do wish you the very best.

  58. Dave Rolph says:


    You’ve got the order wrong. Horton was badgering CC for a long time before Chuck ever said anything. Do you seriously think that Chuck would even know who Michael Horton was before Horton starting attacking? Michael Horton is like Doug Gilliland, who attacked Chuck mercilessly for years before Chuck then mentioned him, which absolutely thrilled both of these nuts.

  59. Michael says:

    If Frame gets wide circulation, and he will….the sectarian bashing of the brethren will at least be challenged by a prominent voice in the camp.

    Horton will have to answer this…

  60. Augustine says:

    I’m somewhat appalled at the lack of charity (in general) for differing views within the body. Seems like many have fallen quite a bit from Spurgeon, who spoke very highly of John Wesley. You can make a clean line of friendship from Chuck Smith to Greg Laurie to John MacArthur to R.C. Sproul, which pretty much runs the table from one side of orthodoxy from a Quasi-Arminian (Pastor Chuck’s view of atonement is decidedly non-Arminian) pre-Tribulationist to a Reformed partial-preterist. I suppose this is what separates the adults from the children, so to speak. I would add most of the people on here to this group. We have some intense debates, but at the end of the day we don’t consider those who disagree on secondary issues to be heretics.

  61. brian says:

    delurking “Doug Gilliland” now that brings back memories of usenet, in my experience usenet was a very mild experience of real life church. Very mild, granted they did not use the same cuss words. That really does bring back memories.

  62. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    During this period I think that Calvary Chapel was hyper sensitive towards CURE because of the Calvinism problem within the CC ranks – they didn’t know how to handle a break in the monolith so they reacted to the only ‘voice’ of Calvinism in the southland.

    If you look at the body of work (especially during the CURE years 1991-97) Calvary Chapel does not garner that much attention. Rarely in the magazine do the articles make mention of CC, and I doubt they are mentioned at all in any of the books.

    Obviously there was a theological difference and since both organizations were Orange County based there was a vocal exchange. But if anyone ever wants to check it out and see that CC was really a small issue on the WHI let me know because I recorded almost every WHI radio show between 1991 when they came on the air and 1997. I listened to all 220 shows this past year during my morning walks so it is still fresh in my fading mind.

    But to my original point – once Chuck Smith took care of the Calvinists in his own camp, Michael Horton was no longer an issue to Chuck Smith – it was really a CC internal issue not a Mike Horton issue.

  63. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    I wanted to address this in a separate post because I felt that the post above was too important to be mixed with this.

    You said, “Michael Horton is like Doug Gilliland, who attacked Chuck mercilessly for years before Chuck then mentioned him, which absolutely thrilled both of these nuts.”

    For you to mention Mike Horton and Doug Gilliland in the same sentence is just unwarranted. Doug used to attack Chuck Smith personally. I would challenge you to come up with a time that Mike Horton ‘attacked’ Chuck (it doesn’t even have to be a documented quote, it can be something that you ‘seem to remember’ and I will accept it.) – because he never did – it was always the teachings that he went after. I remember an article in Modern Reformation that directly addressed the issue of dichatemy vs trichatemy (sp? too early) that took on the CC position directly but was scholary and not a hit piece.

    You can be upset with Horton, but I think it is unfair to compare him to Doug – who btw, I saw on the the other day.

  64. Dave Rolph says:


    I didn’t mean to imply that Horton is as bad as Doug. No one ever was. I was comparing the two guys and saying that they both played the victim card, pretending to be offended when Chuck mentioned them by name when in actually it was the greatest affirmation in their lives up to that point. They were both as excited as the guy from Bakersfield who finally gets on Jerry Springer.

    I heard lots of attacks that bordered on personal, unless you don’t consider questioning someone’s salvation personal. The last thing I want to do is listen to all those shows again to prove something obvious.

  65. Bob Sweat says:


    I lived in Bakersfield, as you know, for three long years! Be careful. 🙂

  66. Dave Rolph says:


    You had the sense to get out. 😉

  67. Jessica Menn says:

    Come now, Dave and Bob. Can the land of Buck Owen’s really be all bad?

  68. Jessica Menn says:

    Or Buck Owens as the case may be.

  69. Dave Rolph says:

    Bakersfield is a good place to stop for gas when you are on your way to other places.

  70. Papias says:

    Bakersfield has In-n-Out Burger on Panama Ln, which is a MUST stop between OC and Yosemite!

    Other than that, not much…

  71. Lutheran says:

    ‘Michael Horton doesn’t believe that we who are in Calvary Chapel are even Christians…’


    Be careful — if you can’t document this assertion, then shut your yapper. Don’t spread hearsay about a brother in Christ.

  72. Papias says:

    I wonder if there is a propesity for some Calvinits to become “hyper-Calvinists”? I mean, when you change your paradigm from an Arminian perspective and embrace some form of Calvinism (depending on who’s form of Calvinism it is), perhaps it is easier to run to the other extreme? Maybe if you had a extreme form of Arminianism, it may be easier to embrace hyper-Calvinism?

    I can more easily identify with Calvinists in theology, with Pentecostals on gifts, and CC on tithing! Call me a mutt! 🙂

  73. Bob Sweat says:

    Bakersfield has two In-N-Outs! It also has a ice cream shop called Dewars that has the best ice cream I have ever tasted! I never thought Bakersfield was much more than a gas stop either, but there are some nice areas about 3 miles west of 99. I have a house for sale, anyone interested? 🙂 BTW, Jessica…..not just Buck Owens but Merle Haggard too! 😉

  74. Psalm62 says:

    Papias (& others), don’t call yourself a mutt – ever think that the others are the “57 varieties” of Christianity?

    Maybe, it’s me, but when it’s truly Truth, it doesn’t debate well. It stands like a rock. It’s all about Christ. But I’m not lining up with any of those guys mentioned here. 😆

  75. Xenia says:

    Lutheran, while I can’t remember if Horton said “Calvary Chapelites are not Christians.” I do vividly remember program after program of ripping everything about CC to shreds. At that time in my life I was wanting to have my ears tickled by that type of anti-CC rhetoric. Now, not so much.

    Even my Lutheran sister who introduced me to WHI in hopes that I would convert to Lutheranism thought it was over the top.

  76. Michael says:


    There is a well know phenomena called the “cage stage” where people embracing Calvinism for the first time are very dogmatic and even confrontational about what they’ve learned.

    Combine that with our natural bent toward scholasticism and elitism and you have a real pain the backside.

    Been there, done that, visit occasionally. 🙂

  77. Lutheran says:


    I understand.

    But it’s over the top to say what JimB said. We should all act like grown ups here.

    I also heard that Chuck and Mike met awhile back and smoked the peace pipe.

    Why the need to stir up all this crap again?

  78. Xenia says:

    Lutheran, Horton has just written a book called Christless Christianity. The title in itself is over the top. Based on what I’ve heard him say in the past and considering that, according to Dr. Frame, he did mention Pastor Chuck in a negative way in the book, it would not be much of a leap to conclude that Horton includes CC in the “Christless” category, even if, according to Dr. Frame, he backtracks a little on the term “Christless.” So considering all this I think it is perfectly appropriate to mention Horton’s attitudes towards CC in the past.

  79. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    I am sorry that you do not pay attention. I made the comment yesterday that Christless Christianity is not Michael Horton’s latest book, but is the first in a series. Since then, he has published “The Gospel-Driven Life; sequel to Christless Christianity.

    Christless Christianity was a statement of the problem in American Christianity and The Gospel-Driven Life is the solution. I also made the comment that John Frame may have been a bit premature in his review.

  80. Dave Rolph says:

    I think that when someone moves toward hyper-Calvinism (I don’t like the term but don’t have a better one) it is out of a desire to connect all the dots in creating a systematic theology. This can lead to very unBiblical and offensive conclusions at times. We aren’t called to solve all the equations of life. Some things are beyond our ability to solve for X.

    It is sad to see young men go from where they just love Jesus, His Word and His people, to where they now take on a coldness that can confidently assert that when a baby is raped and murdered, God planned it all. That is called losing your soul. (I don’t mean to imply that only young men can fall into this extreme. Old men can too. Women, on the other hand, seem to have more sense than that.)

  81. Michael says:

    I spent a week with the elite in Geneva… and I believe John Frame has nailed it.

  82. JimB says:


    >>Be careful — if you can’t document this assertion, then shut your yapper. Don’t spread hearsay about a brother in Christ.

    Noted, but thanks anyway. I read what I read Lute!

  83. Sister Christian says:

    “It is sad to see young men go from where they just love Jesus, His Word and His people, to where they now take on a coldness that can confidently assert that when a baby is raped and murdered, God planned it all. That is called losing your soul. (I don’t mean to imply that only young men can fall into this extreme. Old men can too. Women, on the other hand, seem to have more sense than that.)”

    How are you feeling this week Dave? Has your health recuperated?

    I dont know if thats called “losing ones soul”, but i would agree with your comment that it is sad to see one who loves Jesus, His word and His people to being cold hard and calloused.
    But certainly it is love waxing cold when intellect and spiritual arrogance reigns over and rains out compassion and sensibilities.

    Thanks for giving women credit for seemingly having better sense than that.
    Well, for the most part, it seems they do… but then again there are those rare few… 😀

  84. Sister Christian says:


    Praying your recovery is progressing well!

  85. Sister Christian says:

    “In my view, many Christians (especially those in the conservative Reformed tradition that Horton and I both inhabit) use this sort of language far too loosely, even flippantly. It is time we learned that when we criticize someone for preaching “another gospel” we are doing nothing less than cursing him, damning him to Hell.”

    In reading the article, I didnt get very far before this sentence arrested my attention.

    While many Christians do indeed use this sort of language far too loosely,
    not only this but many words without serious concern for what they are actually saying, or rather
    actually conveying to others…

    While its true criticizing someone for preaching “another gospel” should never be taken lightly
    or spoken flippantly in any regard…
    Im mystified at Dr Frames statement that one who does so “damns him to hell”

    That to me seems like language used inappropriately and irresponsibly.

    How does any one persons words have the power to place anyone else in “eternal damnation”?
    its just not possible
    or have I missed something in Gods word,
    where men have the power to damn others by their accusations?

    maybe ive read it entirely wrong…

  86. Michael says:

    Frame is saying that the implication of the statement is that the person is damned according to the Scriptures.

  87. Dave Rolph says:

    Sister Christian,

    I am getting better, slowly but surely. Keep praying.

    I haven’t done a scientific study of men, women and Calvinism but in my limited experience women can get caught up in the extreme variety for a short time but they seem to self-correct when they realize that the conclusions just don’t jell with what we know about Jesus. I have yet to meet a woman who could look a grieving parent in the eye and tell them their child is in hell. I’ve met many men who have no problem with that. (I did just think of one woman who could but she isn’t a Calvinist and is banned here.)

  88. Sarah says:

    Dave…praying for you, that you will be refreshed and healed and strengthened in every way.

  89. Dave Rolph says:

    Thanks Sarah. I appreciate it.

  90. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    OK, I listened to 3 old WHI programs. I selected randomly from 1996, 1995, and 1994. Not one mention of Chuck Smith or CC. However some comments about what ‘evangelicals’ believe. I think that the Calvinism thing was so sensitive at CC during these years and that it was known that the CC Calvinists listened to and read the CURE materials, that everyone one was saying “oh, they must be talking about us.”

    Now I do know that CC / CS were brought up several times over the years, but hey, so were Benny Hinn, Bill Bright, Robert Schuller, Bill Hybels and the RCC. They covered a wide range of topics over the past 20 yrs.

    Well, it was fun listening to them – not fun like the time in the early 70s when John McKay (USC) described his feelings after beating Notre Dame when he said on national TV “it was the most fun I have ever had with my clothes on!” 🙂

  91. Xenia says:

    MLD, I listened for at least three weeks in a row when CC was mentioned by name. I don’t care if you believe me or not.

    And that is the last I have to say about this topic.

  92. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    I never denied that CC was mentioned by name. What I am saying is that in their 20 yr body of work, CC has not come under discussion more than anyone else. When I moved to the OC in 1996 and came back to a CC church (which was CCCM) I was blown away by the paranoia expressed about CURE – it was like they were locust. We are talking about 3 guys who had a once a week radio show that was probably listened to by less people than the Sunday morning service at CCCM. But they were the big news.

    But I stand by my comment, that CC & CS were so hyper sensitive to the CC Calvinist thing that they made their own trouble. As I said, if Horton were the problem, why did the problem go away when Chuck took care of his Calvinist invasion? Once they were gone, Horton was still there – but no one cared.

  93. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    All of the WHI programs are topic / series driven. Each year they do a new series. Perhaps when you were listening, the topic was one that they felt CC was the biggest offender. No one seems to notice if the topic is justification and they go off on the pope, or if it is word faith and they go off on Benny Hinn or if it is seeker sensitive and they go off on Robert Schuller – so why is CC immune?

    When Chuck went off on CURE, they didn’t get mad – they just played the tape for a few weeks and laughed about it.

  94. Augustine says:

    “I have yet to meet a woman who could look a grieving parent in the eye and tell them their child is in hell. I’ve met many men who have no problem with that.”

    As have I. While I am definitely Reformed on salvation, or perhaps since I am, I have an extremely difficult time relegating anyone to Hell unless Scripture specifically says so. None of us knows what the Lord does in the twilight moment between life and death and to assume that we do is dangerous.

  95. Patrick says:

    Here’s a reply from the White Horse Inn site. I think it is fair and also points out some flaws in Frame’s argument.

  96. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Thanks for posting that – part of the response is what I was trying to get across yesterday;

    “We respond that Fame’s ten points bear no resemblance to the book he is reviewing or the body of work that Horton has delivered via his academic work, popular level books, conference papers, sermons, etc.”

    – no one seems to have a handle on the 20 yr body of work produced by Michael Horton. Everyone wants to zero in on their pet peeve “oh Horton spoke badly about Chuck Smith, or evangelicals or Benny Hinn – mercy me what to do?” No one wants to look at the bigger picture of what he is fighting against in today’s American Church. As I said yesterday, John Frame is more interested in ‘making nice’ than he is in correcting problems.

    Also, the response to number 6 in Frame’s top 10 gripes is classic. I was going to write something similar, but since most here do not understand at all making the ‘proper distinction between law and gospel’ I decided to let it go – but it is a great reply.

  97. Michael says:

    I think it’s also fair to report that I have learned that there is much bad blood between Frame and Horton.

  98. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    If there wasn’t before – there is now. 🙂

  99. Michael says:

    Frame was a prof with Horton at WSC and they parted ways with no little acrimony…

    I still maintain that Frames little essay was well worth thinking through for my camp.

  100. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    You are probably right that it is worthwhile. Perhaps Frame should not have done it as a ‘book review’ because I am sure that people could pick apart his individual words in his (Frame’s) many books. Instead, he should have just written an essay title “This has been sticking in my craw, and now I want to get it off my chest.”

  101. Michael says:


    I think you’re right…this isn’t being read as anything but an attack on Mike.

    Frame has his own problems… which are beyond the interests of this board, but which are significant.

    I expect Bro. Horton to bring those up any minute now… 🙂

  102. Tim says:

    I’m not qualified to speak to Frame’s review, as I haven’t read Horton’s book myself…and I doubt I will do so. (No bone to pick here; I’ve just got a stack of books I already can’t catch up with.)

    But even in my cursory read-through of his review, I noticed that Frame repeatedly quotes Horton’s book. Virtually every paragraph has a quote of some sort.

    Whether or not Frame captured Horton’s context & intent correctly is something that they’ll undoubtedly debate. But to for WHI to write, “We respond that Fame’s ten points bear no resemblance to the book he is reviewing or the body of work that Horton has delivered via his academic work, popular level books, conference papers, sermons, etc.”…that’s simply flat-out false.

  103. Sister Christian says:


    Thanks for the reply…
    If I could ask… In your personal encounters,
    What percentage of “calvinists” do you find to be of the “extreme variety” to the point of detriment…
    and do you find any/many Calvinists to have a practical while commendable walk with God,
    one who is a good example of faith and of sound theological footing
    yet filled with the love of Christ and love for Gods word and people.
    sorry to make that ( if it is) such a loaded question
    but Im genuinely curious!

    will definitely keep you in prayer for your full recovery!


    is your recovery going well?

    “Frame is saying that the implication of the statement is that the person is damned according to the Scriptures.”

    sorry, I didnt recognize he wrote it as such.
    He should have probably written it the way you did, as its far better!

    Im with Tim on this one, and have far too many books to read on backlog,
    with that Im off to finish up
    “A portrait of Calvin”

    I thought it interesting to read he typically only ate one meal a day,
    until he got much older..
    a friend told me
    “yeah, in that regard he was just the opposite of Spurgeon!”

  104. Michael says:

    Go ahead and answer that first one, Dave. 🙂

  105. Michael says:


    I’m getting better, walking a bit more and looking less like I need a walker. 🙂

  106. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    I find Sister’s first question to Dave to be quite humorous and naive. Since most Baptists in America are arminian and obnoxious, I wonder what percentage of them are detrimental. I have a feeling that Calvinism isn’t at the root.

  107. Michael says:


    It’s really not either…I have seen what Dave is talking about way too much amongst my brethren…

    Horton is a closet Lutheran. 🙂

  108. Sister Christian says:


    You have to realize that most CC people I have met characterize Calvinists in a detrimental extremist light.

    From a very faint initial glance, France seems to have an entirely different opinion of Calvin and Calvinists, seemingly much more favorable and respected.

    in no regard was i inferring to Calvinism as the root of detrimental behaviour
    just asking for Daves personal experience in his encounters…
    as to obnoxious arminians… well, never mind 😀

  109. Michael says:

    The French are right… 🙂

  110. Sister Christian says:


    glad to hear you are doing better,
    continued prayers for your full and complete recovery as well!

    praying the richest blessings in Christ
    to be yours and abound…
    to you and each one who participates here
    night all!

  111. Eric says:

    Tim at 12:38–you haven’t read Horton’s book, you’ve only read Frame’s critique in a cursory manner, but you are qualified to say that the WHI response is “flat out false”? Wow.

  112. Tim says:

    Eric –
    Methinks you missed the point. For WHI to state that Frame’s review bears no resemblance to the book, when it’s got quotes from the book all over the place, *is* flat out false. Let them say Frame misquoted Horton, or pulled items out of context if they want. But the impression their statement gives is that Frame wasn’t referencing Horton’s work in the book, but was just complaining in general. Obviously Frame *was* referencing the work.

  113. Eric says:


    I got your point. And yes, Frame prooftexts Horton’s book and Scripture with abandon. But certainly you’ve dealt with enough people to know how easy it is to prooftext and completely miss the point? I’m just amazed at how qualified you are to render an opinion on something you admitted you know nothing about. Perhaps before you give judgment, you should see if the ten points in Frame’s conclusion actually do represent the book or Horton’s body of work. I think you would come to a different conclusion. But I know you don’t have time to do that.

  114. Tim says:

    Eric –
    Fine. It’s an intramural fight, for all I’m concerned.

    I’ve obviously offended you; please accept my apologies.

  115. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    I think that the point is that the individual “quotes” have nothing to do with the overall purpose of the book AND they are saying Frame’s ‘interpretation’ of those words are no way representative of Horton’s mass of work done over the past 20 yrs. I wonder in retrospect, if Frame could even give give a synopsis of the book’s theme?

    Also, he doesn’t even compare quotes from the same chapters of the book. If you look at #6 in his review, he starts with a quote from p. 109 and then compares it to a quote from p. 67. Perhaps the p. 67 quotes were in a different chapter (40 some pages previous, it probably was) and was in a different context.

    All the responder is saying is that Frame missed the point. And this is what I said yesterday since this book is the first and the sequel just came out at the beginning of the month – Frame could have waited to find out “the rest of the story”

  116. Eric says:


    I’m not personally offended, no. I appreciate your willingness to apologize. I just want folks (in any camp, in any discussion) to reach informed conclusions before they begin making pronouncements. Disagreement is great, but it has to have a basis of fact.

  117. Augustine says:

    “one who is a good example of faith and of sound theological footing
    yet filled with the love of Christ and love for Gods word and people.”

    Sounds like you just described Lloyd Ogilvie.

  118. Michael says:

    I hate to bring this up…well, not really.

    I have a ton of responses from people who have left Reformed or Calvinistic churches saying a hearty amen to Frame.

    Take Horton out of the equation… I think there are serious concerns that need to be addressed.

  119. Augustine says:

    “I think there are serious concerns that need to be addressed.”

    A few that I have from observing many, though certainly not all, Reformed churches in Southern California:

    1. Lack of love within the church and from the pulpit. When the leadership especially seems to care more about getting off the grounds than they do about the needs of the people then something is amiss.

    2. Shallow teaching. I mean pretty much the opposite of the depth of Edwards or Owen. A cursory reading of a few selected verses and a point or two about them. Thirty minutes tops, and half of that is filler.

    3. Little or no Gospel preaching.

    4. Guest speakers who give erroneous, if not heretical, teachings (I left a certain Presbyterian Church over this).

    5. In some, a mingling with the Emergent Movement. In an attempt to be relevant to the world they are becoming irrelevant to the Kingdom.

  120. Dave says:

    In the interest of accuracy, it was DR Frame whom left WSC after unsucesfully protesting about all sorts of things. I think he jumped the gun and missed the main point of the book.
    I thought protesting was wrong ?, but meh…

    Also, saying we should sit back and allow whatever happens and blame it on Gods soverignity ? Thats just a cheap shot and you know it. Come on, now ! :>

    Augustine has some good points, as do many. We need to be balanced between
    our understanding of God through scripture(doctrine), and how we love him and others
    (living in the spirit),

    Love AND Theology come together and become our “Doctrine”, they dont need to be mutually exclusive. I could preach on that alone forever !! Why is this so hard to get ? Anyways, thats WHY exegesis is so important, get our opinions out of it and stick to the words of God. ! In that arena I totally agree with him.

    explaining the details of supralasparianism is NOT more important then getting the gospel out to everyone including believers. I think Horton knows this, but being THE theo guy @ WSC hes gonna be a little more millitant, simple as that. Take what he says and get the merit out of it. Better in my humble opinion to err on the safe side a little too far then to embrace olstein like Frame does.

    I looked into the 10 points (keep in mind whom hes writing to also)

    1-4 seem fine in light of present day gospel
    5 needs a footnote about even the sparrows having food.
    6-7 I just dont see at all, unless im not seeing it the right angle ?
    8-9 so-so
    10 Right on, that should have been the whole book.

    In christ

  121. Babylon's Dread says:

    Wowser, how did I miss this discussion! Dynamite!

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