Posted on April 30, 2015
“For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.“
Now I would remind you, brothers, of the gospel I preached to you, which you received, in which you stand, and by which you are being saved…For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures… (1 Corinthians 15:1-4 ESV)
I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting him who called you in the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel—
Thirdly, notice that Sye accused Tim of being “an ill-informed discernment podcaster.” This couldn’t be further from the truth. Tim is hardly “ill-informed.” If you recall, we had a co-host on our podcast for nearly 40 weeks – who we were friends with before the podcast started – who is a theonomist. We listened carefully and we asked questions. We listened to podcasts like Apologia Radio and we listened to interviews with Gary DeMar, Marcus Pittman, Joel McDurmon and Bojidar Marinov. If Tim is “ill-informed,” then all of these people must be incapable of representing theonomy with any type of clarity. Rather than deal with the objections and engaging the issue, Sye resorted to an ad hominem attack, cutting the legs out from under the credibility of his own argument.
While I don’t condone the condemnation and actions of either side of this conflict, I do blame those who are misrepresenting theonomy and the Presbyterian and reformed faith. We are the ones who should be setting the example of the law of God in action through the taming of our tongues in quiet discernment and love for the saints. It is through the poor example and leadership of the heretic Bojidar Marinov and the lack of disciplinary action via the faithful leadership of our camp that we have becom a a byword and a stench to our reformed baptist brothers.
The issue at hand is the issue of guilt by association. Normally this claim would and should be dismissed based on the merits of each individual. However, when it concerns ecclesiastical jurisdiction we are held to a higher standard.
The source of all of this division and strife brought forth on Facebook and other social media lies squarely on the doorstep of Mr. Bojidar Marinov and those who allow him to continue unabated. He is a self proclaimed adherent and leader of the modern day theonomic and reconstruction movement.
Mr. Marinov is a an unrepentant blasphemer, a hater of the brethren and a heretic (see my open letter below). Mr. Marinov has done several articles, conferences and speaking engagements including a fall conference in 2011 sponsored by my local church.
Through his several venues and speaking engagements, he has made close associations with the likes of Mark Selbrede and the Chalcedon Foundation, Gary Demar, Joel McDurmon and the American Vision, and finally Pastor Jeff Durbin and Apologia Radio.
“A disciple is not above his teacher, but everyone when he is fully trained will be like his teacher.” – Luke 6:40
Bojidar has a large following and has great influence over a large group of professing evangelicals who are mostly uninitiated in reformed and confessional orthodoxy. On his Facebook page he has demonstrated and taught this very spirit of confrontation and division that we have seen demonstrated in various threads including this one.
The Order of Battle (as perceived by me)
1. Bojidar Marinov (aka Joel McDurmon’s pit bull) – Public strong arm, hired thug and head propagandist of the modern theonomic and reconstruction movement. Mostly tolerated, but kept on a long leash. Very impressive to the uninitiated, but ultimately he is a snake oil salesman and con-artist.
2. Joel McDurmon (aka the Paper Tiger) – Educated, well spoken published author and front man for The American Vision para church organization. He is an arrogant, self-righteous coward who is quick to pick a fight yet even quicker to backtrack from his words and run when the going gets rough even deleting entire threads and or opposing viewpoints when his arguments are exposed. He is the resident scholar of the modern theonomic and reformed movement and Federal Vision sympathizer.
3. Gary Demar (aka Head in the Sand) – Head of the American Vision para-church organization. Had a falling out with Mr. Marinov and professes to have distanced himself from Mr. Marinov, yet he continues to support him by keeping Mr. Marinov’s written work on the American Vision’s website and occasionally liking his comments on his Facebook page. When confronted with this matter he tends to claim no association and ignorance.
4. Martin Selbrede (aka – the Empty Suit) Front man for The Chalcedon Foundation another para-church organization that has abandoned its mission of a grass roots Gospel transforming reconstruction movement for the grass roots of political and social expediency of the Libertarian movement.
Why have I spoken about these well known professing “brothers” of the faith in this manner? Because they are dangerous men. Wolves in sheep’s clothing. Individually they are mostly just a nuisance, but collectively they represent a clear and present danger to the Gospel of Christ and the propagation of his kingdom here in the United States.
Together they make up the new “modern” theonomic and reconstruction movement which has abandoned its confessional and Van Tilian foundations. Along with that, they have embraced those who practice the heresy of the Federal Vision movement.
Many will object that some of the names on this list have never been outspoken supporters of these errors. This is where ignorance abounds. The scriptures give clear instruction on how we are to treat unrepentant heretics like Bojidar Marinov, and how we are to confront his public sins. Each one of these men have refused to publicly confront Mr. Bojidar Marinov and his public sins and heresies. Many of these men have turned a blind eye to him and to the proponents of the Federal Vision heresy, even to preaching within Federal Vision churches within the CREC denomination and the upsetting of many households.
It gives me no joy in confronting these men in this manner, however their actions of late, their arrogance, and lack of repentance must be met with an equal amount of zeal in rebuke, a jealousy for the jealousy of God akin to Phinehas (Numbers 25). This is what consumes me when I see the destruction left in the wake of Bojidar Marinov and his associates.
I have confronted all of these men both publicly and privately through one form or another. Some through ecclesiastical channels and others via faithful intermediaries. Collectively all have been confronted by faithful brethren via Facebook at one time or another. Yet time and time again each man has followed in the footsteps of their teacher Bojidar Marinov in arrogant denial, justification of actions and unrepentence. They are all guilty by association, even willing association with the heretic Bojidar Marinov. This is why they are called out on Facebook when it seems that they have done nothing at the moment.
“Whoever is not with me is against me, and whoever does not gather with me scatters.” – Matthew 12:30
An Open Letter to Bojidar Marinov:
The Problem with the Christian Reconstruction Movement:
A Critique of the Federal Vision Heresy:
Following the civil laws IS a part of the Gospel…
Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them.
Posted on April 27, 2015
There were some present at that very time who told him about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mingled with their sacrifices. And he answered them, “Do you think that these Galileans were worse sinners than all the other Galileans, because they suffered in this way? No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish. Or those eighteen on whom the tower in Siloam fell and killed them: do you think that they were worse offenders than all the others who lived in Jerusalem? No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish.”
(Luke 13:1-5 ESV)
In August of 2009, a tornado struck the steeple of Central Lutheran Church in Minneapolis, Minnesota. At that very moment, the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America was meeting at Central Lutheran Church and voting to affirm Consideration: Proposed Social Statement on Human Sexuality. Essentially, at the moment the ELCA voted to endorse homosexual clergy, a tornado (very, very rare for Minneapolis) dropped from the sky and tore the steeple off the church. John Piper was ridiculed and angrily scolded by many evangelical leaders for subsequent statements and, in particular, this post. Piper said…
The tornado in Minneapolis was a gentle but firm warning to the ELCA and all of us: Turn from the approval of sin. Turn from the promotion of behaviors that lead to destruction.
In this post, Piper recalls a few facts, including that God (1) hates sin (2) offers forgiveness (3) controls “natural” events and powers (4) and recalls the above passage from Luke, in which Jesus responds to both a man-made and natural disaster.
Some had just broke the news – and it was fresh news – that Pilate massacred Galileans in the temple. Blood still lay in the temple soil. And it wasn’t just the blood of sacrifice, but of Jesus’ countrymen. Then Jesus brought up (of his own accord – he was not asked) a man-made disaster. The tower at Siloam fell and killed 18. With it, Jesus makes the same point – unless you repent, ye will likewise perish.
How insensitive. Now is not the time, Jesus. People are still mourning, Jesus. The blood is still caked in the soil, not even coagulated yet, still mixed and freely flowing with the blood of sacrifice. What are you thinking, Jesus?
Jesus was thinking, I can only presume (as I do not know the mind of God the Son) that people were raw. Their mourning was real. Their wounds were fresh. The bodies were not even buried yet, and here is Jesus using it as an example for the need of repentance and the vanity of life.
In 2013, a tornado hit Oklahoma. John Piper sent out two tweets, and after it causing controversy, took them down:
- @JohnPiper: “Your sons and daughters were eating and a great wind struck the house, and it fell upon them, and they are dead.” Job 1:19
- @JohnPiper: “Then Job arose and tore his robe and shaved his head and fell on the ground and worshiped.” Job 1:20
This time around, Piper believed he went too far, and was not sensitive to how his tweets should be taken. He said…
At times like this when tragedy strikes, it can be difficult to reconcile how God is sovereign over all calamity, and yet prioritize responses of compassion and weeping with victims of tragedy.
It’s no secret that I – someone who named my daughter after Piper – have lost some affinity for the man, which I won’t go into here. But I believe that these two examples demonstrate the difficulty of preaching the Gospel “in season or out of season” (2 Timothy 4:2) and how we are to preach in good and bad seasons. Whatever your opinion, it’s not easy.
I’ll always remember the first time I had to preach the funeral of a lost man. I struggled with how I could both comfort the living and left behind, weep with them, be sensitive to their pain, while using the funeral as an opportunity to preach the only Gospel that most of them would likely ever hear. I remember vividly taking a deep breath and choosing Ecclesiastes 11:3 as the sermon text, “Where a tree falls, there it lies…” And yes, I remember some calling me calloused and even unchristian for “capitalizing on tragedy for my religious goals.” And yes, I remember the Gospel’s sweet victory when the man’s surviving lover repented of her sins and I baptized her several short months after. For some, I had crossed the line. To the man’s closest friend on earth, it opened her eyes.
I have two friends that have been accused by Christians and non-Christians alike in recent days for capitalizing on tragedy and being insensitive in the wake of tragic loss. One friend is Alan Maricle, who preached the Gospel outside the memorial service for the 20th anniversary of the bombing of the Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City. Another friend is Tony Miano, who tweeted to CNN that he hoped none of the pagan temples in Nepal would be rebuilt after the earthquake. Both have been publicly rebuked by other friends of mine. They’ve also been rebuked by a whole lot of people who neither I nor most the readers of this website would consider Christians. And ironically, Maricle and Miano couldn’t be further apart in terms of ecclesiology and personality and don’t have a terribly lot in common except they both love Jesus and have me as a mutual friend. Oh, and they are both evangelists who want people to repent of their sins and believe the Gospel.
I am thankful that friends way smarter than myself have weighed in and have offered their diverse viewpoints on the appropriateness of what Alan and Tony have done. I almost admire the older, wiser brothers giving suggestions and thoughts for how we can both be sensitive and “weep with those who weep” while at the same time preach an inconvenient Gospel in season and out.
Here’s what I don’t particularly like.
1) I don’t like people assuming the motives of Alan or Tony. Particularly when I know the men, others who have no idea who the brothers are, are attributing this to some kind of personal agenda other than the Gospel. These are Gospel men, who have virtually nothing in common with each other, except they believe the Gospel and want people to hear it.
2) I don’t like Christians coalescing with pagans to attack fellow Christians. Let me be very clear. I am not saying if you’ve criticized their methodology, manners, timing or etiquette that you are guilty of coalescing with the raging heathen of Psalm 2:1. But some have. Some have clearly added on – and I think, gleefully – to the rotten fruit and dead cat parts being thrown in these brothers’ direction. If that’s not you, speak your piece. If that is you, stop it. Let’s not turn this into a “prove my sensitivity test” that so many evangelicals revel in. Leave that up to the mainstream Protestants and survivor blogs. They’ve got that covered.
3) I don’t think that Piper, Maricle or Miano should be compared to Westboro. If you’ve made that accusation, I very respectfully disagree. Westboro’s greatest sin isn’t protesting and neither is it insensitivity during times of mourning. Their greatest sin, as Jesse Johnson pointed out in his open letter to Westboro just last week, is that they don’t want anyone to repent and they want them to burn. That can’t be said for any of the aforementioned men.
Preaching in tragedy is not as easy as you might think. Most simply don’t. At all. Ever – least of all when it’s inconvenient. But biblically, that’s not an option. In season and out. While, at the same time, weeping with those who weep. Sometimes people go too far. And other times, our culture is oversensitive and the church is too worried about looking foolish to a world that already thinks we’re foolish. Maybe it’s one. Maybe it’s the other.
Maybe I’m so happy to see truth proclaimed somewhere, sometime, by somebody that I don’t think enough about the best way to do it or what not to say because I’m just so tickled pink it’s being said at all. Got me. I don’t have time to psychoanalyze myself, let alone the critics of these men.
Go easy on the brethren, and love one another.
[Contributed by JD Hall]