Monday, December 18, 2017

Why Cannot a Cessationist Calvinist Theologian Use His Pulpit for Crusades against Abortion, Sodomy and Feminism, But Can Use it for Crusades against Charismatics, Pentecostals and Neo-Pentecostals?

Why Cannot a Cessationist Calvinist Theologian Use His Pulpit for Crusades against Abortion, Sodomy and Feminism, But Can Use it for Crusades against Charismatics, Pentecostals and Neo-Pentecostals?

By Julio Severo
The church should be concerned about feminism, homosexuality, abortion and global warming scams, a Brazilian Calvinist leader seemed to suggest at the 2017 Ligonier National Conference held last March.
Augustus Nicodemus at Ligonier reading his speech paper at the exact moment when he said that Pentecostals have just “static, emotional and mystical experiences.”
Even though Rev. Augustus Nicodemus is famous among Brazilian Calvinists, his fame has not reached the pro-life and pro-family world. In massive rallies against abortion and the gay agenda, his presence is missing, while many charismatic, neo-Pentecostal and Pentecostal ministers take a public stand. Most noted Christian activist against abortion and the gay agenda in Brazil is Silas Malafaia, a well-known Assemblies of God minister. He is an adherent of neo-Pentecostalism.

Theological Liberalism in the Most Prominent Calvinist University in Brazil

In his speech at the Ligonier National Conference, Nicodemus said,
“When the church gives in to internal errors and external pressures, the effects are first felt in its theology. Then there are changes in the ethics and morality of the church. It leaves God’s Word aside and follows what society thinks about feminism, homosexuality and abortion. It becomes more, much more concerned with global warming than with God’s holiness. Soon the worship of God is affected. It goes on to reflect the centrality of men and in the veneration of culture — theology of glory. In the end all this expels from the pulpits biblical exposition.”
Was Nicodemus talking about Mackenzie Presbyterian University (MPU), where he was a chancellor? MPU has prominent professors who are:
* Prominent advocates of abortion. In a Senate hearing on August 6, 2015, MPU professor Márcia Tiburi said, “To vociferate against abortion is just a biopolitical way to control women’s lives. Abortion legalization is a fundamental part of a socially responsible democratic process.”
* Prominent advocates of homosexuality. MPU professor Marcelo Moreira Neumann, author of the Brazilian study “Homophobic Bullying and School Performance,” defends automatic gender neutrality in birth registries.
* Prominent advocates of Marxism. MPU professor Osvaldo Coggiola has several books defending Marxism, including the Cuban Revolution.
It is so no wonder that a radical gay activist in Brazil has praised Mackenzie Presbyterian University for its secular outlook, even though it was founded by Calvinists and it is officially owned by the Presbyterian Church of Brazil.
Nicodemus’s speech at the Ligonier National Conference was a total contradiction of his 10-year tenure (2003 to 2013) as chancellor at Mackenzie Presbyterian University. His departure from the MPU chancellery happened after I exposed that he had invited Jean Wyllys, a prominent homosexual activist, for a debate in MPU.
So what accounts for the Mackenzie Presbyterian University to have pro-sodomy, pro-abortion and Marxist professors?
Let us try the very arguments made by Nicodemus.
* Has the MPU owner, the Presbyterian Church of Brazil, given in to internal errors and external pressures?
* Has the MPU owner, the Presbyterian Church of Brazil, had changes in its ethics and morality?
* Has the MPU owner, the Presbyterian Church of Brazil, left God’s Word aside and followed what society thinks about feminism, homosexuality and abortion?
What is the explanation for the Mackenzie Presbyterian University to have pro-sodomy, pro-abortion and Marxist professors? Perhaps because MPU chancellors waste much of their time in crusades against charismatics, Pentecostals and neo-Pentecostals, but they do not use their pulpit for crusades against abortion, sodomy and feminism.
Among Brazilian Presbyterians, there is a fight for the highly paid posts in MPU, which are greatly coveted. He who has power in MPU has assured power within the Presbyterian Church of Brazil. In addition of occupying the post of chancellor, which afforded him a very high salary, Nicodemus had great power in MPU and his denomination.
Nicodemus wasted his 10-year tenure at MPU attacking charismatics, Pentecostals and neo-Pentecostals, but he did not attack pro-sodomy, pro-abortion and Marxist activists, especially professors at MPU.
American evangelical audiences love conservative stances against abortion, homosexuality and Marxism, and Nicodemus gave them exactly this at Ligonier. But why did not he defend such stances at the Mackenzie Presbyterian University?
Ligonier National Conference was idealized by R.C. Sproul, a notorious Calvinist theologian who was much more forthright in his cessationist advocacy than is Nicodemus, whose cessationist advocacy is evasive and dissimulative. Cessationism is the highly controversial theory that prophecies, revelations and other supernatural manifestations from the Holy Spirit disappeared after the death of the original Apostles. Supposedly, according to this theory, people today having such gifts are possessed by demons or psychological problems.
Nicodemus is completely right in saying that when the church leaves God’s Word aside, it follows what society thinks about feminism, homosexuality, abortion and global warming scams. In a lesser or greater grade, this is a reality in many Calvinist pulpits in Brazil where Theology of Integral Mission (the Brazilian version of the Social Gospel) is prevalent.
The focus of these pulpits on social issues from a left-wing perspective is not matched by an equal focus by anti-socialist sermons from a conservative perspective. There is no Calvinist conservative activism in Brazil to counter the dominant socialist activism in Calvinist pulpits.
Actually, there is a massive lack in Brazilian Calvinist pulpits of conservative sermons against pro-abortion and anti-family issues. So is the explanation for their lack of conservative stances a lack of concern about God’s holiness?
In his tenure as chancellor at Mackenzie Presbyterian University, Nicodemus had the power and authority to fire pro-abortion, pro-sodomy and Marxist professors, but never did so.
In his speech at the Ligonier National Conference, Nicodemus recognized,
“Ideas born in universities that had a Christian origin, such as Darwinian evolutionism, naturalistic view of the world and cultural Marxism to mention a few.”
Harvard University is an example. Born essentially Calvinist, today is a powerhouse of witchcraft, Marxism, feminism, homosexuality and abortion. In some point, some Protestant chancellor of Harvard did not fire pro-abortion, pro-sodomy and Marxist professors, and the result is an apostate Harvard. Nicodemus could and should have applied his lessons on MPU.
Nicodemus added,
“The mistakes that the Protestants in general and the Reformed in particular have committed… have contributed to the decline of the church in the West.”
Indeed. Harvard, which formed several U.S. presidents and high authorities, has contributed to the decline of the West in general and the United States in particular.

Socialism in the Presbyterian Church of Brazil

Even though there is a massive lack in Brazilian Calvinist pulpits of conservative sermons against feminism, homosexuality, abortion and global warming scams, there is no lack of socialist ideas. For decades, Brazilian Calvinist pulpits have preached a false gospel called “Theology of Integral Mission” (TIM), which is the Protestant version of the Liberation Theology and the Brazilian version of the Social Gospel. In fact, TIM was brought to Brazil in the early 1950s by a U.S. Presbyterian missionary adherent of the Social Gospel and Marxist ideas. The American missionary, Richard Shaull, became a theology professor at the most important theological seminary of the Presbyterian Church of Brazil. He formed a generation of famous Brazilian Presbyterian ministers in socialism.
In his book “Christian Faith and Marxism,” Shaull said, “My encounter with Marxism did not make me a Marxist, but a better Christian.”
In the 1982 book “Inquisição sem Fogueiras” (available in English as “Inquisition Without Burnings”), progressive author João Dias de Araújo, who called Shaull “a theologian who foreran Liberation Theology” (page 10), said,
“One of the leaders who exerted powerful influence [on the Brazilian Presbyterian youth] was Richard Shaull. A former Presbyterian missionary in Colombia, Shaull was sent by the New York Board to Brazil, in 1952. He was chosen to teach at the Presbyterian Seminary in Campinas, Brazil, where he exerted huge influence on seminarians, because of his great theological culture and his competence as a master. He introduced in the seminary the ideas of the ‘neo-orthodox’ theological school of Barth, Brunner, Reinhold Niebuhr and others.” (Page 37)
According to Araújo, Shaull “awoke young people for the ‘social revolution” that should be done in Brazil.” (Page 37)
“Inquisition Without Burnings” presents a significant list of Brazilian Presbyterian ministers involved in socialism. The usage Araújo does of “Inquisition” refers to alleged “sufferings” communist ministers and theology professors went through within the Presbyterian Church of Brazil to spread socialist ideas. He calls “persecution” of communist Protestants “Protestant Inquisition.”
Yet, actually while Protestant victims of the original Inquisition suffered and died for the sake of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, the “victims” of the “Protestant Inquisition” alleged by Araújo suffered for the sake of Karl Marx’s “gospel.” He invented a “Protestant Inquisition” only to fit his socialist worldview.
Eventually, the Presbyterian Church of Brazil produced two important liberal leaders who were influenced by Shaull: Rubem Alves, of Liberation Theology; and Caio Fábio, of TIM. Both became apostate.
João Dias de Araújo was a minister in the Presbyterian Church of Brazil, a director of seminaries and author of the book “O Jovem Cristão e o Jovem Comunista” (The Christian Youth and the Communist Youth), published in 1964.
Yet, what actually changed years later? Under Nicodemus’s tenure, Mackenzie Presbyterian University had Ricardo Bitun as coordinator of theological courses. Bitun is a prominent advocate of the Theology of Integral Mission.
If Brazilian Calvinist leaders have for decades used their pulpits to advocate TIM’s theological liberalism, why are supposedly conservative Calvinist crusades focused on the Pentecostal and charismatic movements, not TIM, feminism, homosexuality, abortion and global warming scams?
Nicodemus is an example of crusader against charismatics. He has a number of articles and books against them, even though their teachings and spirituality are not present in his denomination and are no threat to Brazilian Presbyterians. Yet, he has no crusade, in articles and books, against Theology of Integral Mission, a socialist problem directly affecting many churches and pulpits in his denomination.
While Brazilian charismatic churches are crusading against homosexuality, abortion and other evils in the Brazilian society, Nicodemus has been crusading against those churches.
There is a saying: People in glasshouses shouldn’t throw stones. How can Nicodemus throw stones on charismatic glasshouses when his own Presbyterian backyard is full of problems? In other words, if he can crusade against charismatic churches, why cannot he crusade against Theology of Integral Mission in his own Presbyterian backyard?
Is charismatic, Pentecostal and neo-Pentecostal conservatism more dangerous than TIM, feminism, homosexuality, abortion and global warming scams?
If Calvinist or Reformed eyes cannot see the reality, through Bible or supernatural vision, which many of them reject in their cessationist unbelief, God will use a “stone” (a non-Christian mind) to see and cry out. This is what is happening.
Rodrigo Constantino, a Brazilian secular conservative and non-Protestant writer, published an article titled “Democracy and the Prosperity Gospel,” written by Claudir Franciatto, who said,
“While the large part of the Brazilian society that is not evangelical restricts itself to call ministers, bishops and apostles of neo-Pentecostal (charismatic) churches ‘thieves’… [those ministers, bishops and apostles] are bringing to Brazil — secretly and imperceptibly — certain ‘Anglo-Saxon spirit’ of courage, pioneerism and positive individual attitude, which shaped a nation like the United States. This spirit was and is very necessary.”
Franciatto added,
“Neo-Pentecostal ministers do not stimulate members to pray and remain sitting on their pews, but to act — within and outside the church.”
This action outside the church is largely conservative and capitalist.
This is why Marxist leaders in Brazil say that the chief enemy of socialism in Brazil is neo-Pentecostal churches and their Prosperity Gospel. Even “The Nation,” the oldest U.S. progressive magazine, said that the main conservative power in Brazil charismatic evangelicals.
Besides, while Presbyterians in Brazil are not known for their defense of Israel, neo-Pentecostal Christians are the most vibrant and vocal advocates of the State of Israel, including by leading tours of Brazilian evangelicals to Israel. Brazilian Pentecostals, especially neo-Pentecostals, are the most important supporters of Israel.
Yet, evangelicals cannot accept the “Anglo-Saxon spirit” of courage, pioneerism and positive individual attitude, because theologians influenced by a cessationist Calvinism think and preach that the Prosperity Gospel is “heresy” — bigger than all Brazilian Calvinist heresies, including the Theology of Integral Mission.

Neo-Pentecostal Growth versus Calvinist Non-Growth

While most Brazilian Calvinist churches, which are not growing, are plagued by the left-wing theological liberalism, most church growth in Brazil is charismatic and neo-Pentecostal.
Nicodemus conceded that most church growth today is happening in Latin America and Africa, and that extraordinary Christian growth has nothing to do with Calvinist churches. He said that most this growth is neo-Pentecostal, or charismatic. He said,
“Today, Africa and Latin America together represent 40 percent of the total number of Christians in the world. So there has been a graphical movement of the center of Christianity from the North to the South. This is what we call Global South, where Christianity is growing very, very fast… There are other alarming signs of the growth in the Global South of strange forms of Christianity. As neo-Pentecostalism. For one, this movement is marked by syncretism with popular religions and by strong emphasis on the health and wealth theology. Or prosperity gospel. Neo-Pentecostal churches use a type of church model that allows for the rise of totalitarian leaders, many of whom call themselves apostles. They claim to receive direct revelation from God.”
He also added, “Preach the Bible and one day they will wake up and say ‘I’m a Calvinist.’” In Brazil, Latin America and Africa is happening just the contrary. In these regions, there is enthusiastic and massive preaching of the Gospel and the audiences are not waking up cessationist as Nicodemus is. In fact, they are doing what Nicodemus is not doing and they are doing what Jesus did: Preaching the Gospel, healing the sick, expelling demons, supporting Israel and advancing conservatism.
If to wake as a Calvinist is to embrace unbelief against God’s supernatural, actually Africa and Latin America do not know Calvinism.
Nicodemus talked as if he were not himself a totalitarian leader in the Brazilian Calvinism and as if direct revelation — whether by prophecies and other supernatural manifestations from the Holy Spirit — were impossible or were UFO experiences: completely negative and strange to the Bible, not supported by the Bible and never felt by Jesus and His apostles.
He tried to make prophecies, revelations and other supernatural manifestations from the Holy Spirit look like as exclusive experiences of charismatic, Pentecostal and neo-Pentecostal individuals, not of Christians in the Bible. More mistaken than this, impossible. Christians today have supernatural experiences and gifts for the same reason Christians in the New Testament church had supernatural experiences and gifts.

Calvinist Misrepresentation of Neo-Pentecostalism

In fact, by connecting syncretism to direct revelation, he hopes his readers to conclude that neo-Pentecostal churches in Brazil have demonic experiences. But Nicodemus’s efforts fail badly. The most syncretic neo-Pentecostal denomination in Brazil, Universal Church of the Kingdom of God (UCKG), advocates abortion and completely rejects prophecies and revelations for today. UCKG, which Nicodemus actually used at Ligonier as representative of the whole neo-Pentecostal movement, does not fit Nicodemus’s stereotype of syncretism and revelations walking hand in hand in neo-Pentecostal churches. UCKG completely rejects direct communication, prophecies, revelations and dreams.
In contrast, large Brazilian neo-Pentecostal churches, as Bola de Neve Church, have no syncretism and are pro-life and pro-Israel, and adhere to prophecies, revelations and other supernatural gifts of the Holy Spirit. My articles against UCKG’s pro-abortion and cessationist stances are shared by many neo-Pentecostal churches and published in the largest Pentecostal website in Brazil.
I have the following international articles on the UCKG’s founder:
Even so, by using the isolated example of UCKG as representative of all the neo-Pentecostal movement, Nicodemus misrepresented the whole neo-Pentecostal movement in Brazil. UCKG’s pro-abortion, cessationist and syncretic stances set this church from other large neo-Pentecostal churches. Excluding UCKG, those churches are strongly and vocally pro-life and pro-family, taking a public stand, from their pulpits and from their television shows, against the abortion and sodomy agenda.
Perhaps the biggest similarity of UCKG with other neo-Pentecostal churches is its strong support of Israel. At Ligonier, Nicodemus mentioned negatively such support by saying that UCKG “inaugurated in São Paulo a gigantic replica of the temple of Solomon.” When former UCKG bishop Marcelo Crivella became the mayor of Rio de Janeiro, his first act was to celebrate his victory in Israel. Yet, in the cessationist heresy, UCKG is much more similar to the Presbyterian Church of Brazil.
Even though UCKG’s founder, Bishop Macedo, fits Nicodemus’s accusation of “totalitarian leader,” Macedo has never claimed that he receives “direct revelation from God.” On the contrary, he has preached and written that prophecies, revelations and other manifestations of the Holy Spirit were available only 2,000 years ago and that these manifestations today are demonic. Regarding to prophecies and revelations, he follows the cessationist heresy.
Nicodemus’s worry about a supposedly general, but unproved, syncretism among neo-Pentecostal churches is shared by Rev. André Sidnei Musskopf, of the Evangelical Church of Lutheran Confession in Brazil (ECLCB). Musskopf, a homosexual who is a theology professor and Gay Theology advocate, said in his book “Theological Faggoting” that the Catholic Church and the historic Protestant churches have traditions against homosexuality. But you can understand in his book that both churches did not know how to deal with spiritualism and witchcraft, which have much room for homosexuality. Even though both Liberation Theology and the Theology of Integral Mission are hostile to neo-Pentecostalism, Musskopf, which is a TIM adherent, said,
“But who did this articulation in a perfect way was neo-Pentecostalism, because, in addition of being more accepted among the poor, it ‘represents a theological movement in contact with worldviews never touched before: the worldview of the European Reformed Protestantism and the worldview of the new world with the Catholic Brazil anchored in African and native traditions.’”
In fact, there are examples of historic churches that do not know how to deal with spiritualism and demon-expelling. Rev. Marcos Amaral, of the Presbyterian Church of Brazil (the same denomination of Nicodemus), has become famous for joining Afro-Brazilian religious leaders to fight “discrimination” against witchcraft. In 2013, Amaral received from his Presbyterian denomination US$ 50,000 for his anti-discrimination movement. Why help voodoo priests fight “discrimination” against their witchcraft activities?
Nicodemus has never preached that the alliance his colleague Amaral has with witchcraft adherents is syncretism. Is he too busy in his anti-charismatic crusades that he has no time to denounce his denominational friends joining voodoo priests?

Calvinist Rejection of Demon-Expelling

In his speech at Ligonier, Nicodemus said,
“Along with this, there is a strong quest for the presence of God through static, emotional and mystical experiences. All this comes together with a world view in which all evil proceeds from demons and that the only effective form of church ministry is through expelling demons.”
The supernatural experiences of Acts 2, as experienced by the Apostles, would be described in similar terms: static, emotional and mystical experiences. Actually, Nicodemus criticizes in others what he has not in himself. Instead of occupying his sermons with God’s holiness, he is very concerned about people who experience the presence of the Holy Spirit, but he is not concerned about Amaral, who does not expel demons from voodoo priests, and even joins them in social efforts to sanitize their witchcraft activities.
Jesus has the power and authority to deliver Amaral and voodoo priests from deceiving spirits. Has Nicodemus a hard time to let Jesus use him for such deliverances?
Why is he so critical of church ministries expelling demons? Did not Jesus spend much time of His ministry expelling demons? What is the problem if a church ministry today follows what Jesus did? In fact, why does not Nicodemus invest his time in a better way, instead of criticizing productive ministries, by preaching the Gospel, healing the sick and expelling demons?
While Presbyterian minister Marcos Amaral comes near voodoo priests to offer them alliance against “discrimination,” neo-Pentecostal ministers offer them what Jesus offers: deliverance from demonic spirits. Why does Nicodemus criticize neo-Pentecostal ministers offering deliverance, but makes no criticism of Amaral and his Presbyterian alliance with voodoo priests?
Who is actually following Jesus’s ministry: Presbyterian Amaral or neo-Pentecostal ministers?
Demon-expelling, speaking in tongues, prophecies, revelations and other supernatural gifts of the Holy Spirit are not just “static, emotional and mystical experiences,” as defined by cessationist theologians who do not believe and do not accept them in their lives. They have never been experienced only among Pentecostals. Since the Apostles of Jesus and throughout the Christian history, whenever the Holy Spirit had an open door in an individual or congregation, he equipped them through His supernatural gifts.
Even among Calvinists there are renewed theologians who accept speaking in tongues, prophecies, revelations and other supernatural gifts of the Holy Spirit for today. Two examples are Wayne Grudem, author of “Systematic Theology: An Introduction to Biblical Doctrine” (Zondervan), and J. Rodman Williams, author of “Renewal Theology: Systematic Theology from a Charismatic Perspective” (Zondervan).
Among Lutherans, who were the Reformation pioneers, the Holy Spirit has been working where a door is open. In his book “Welcome, Holy Spirit: A Study of Charismatic Renewal in the Church,” (Augsburg Fortress, 1987), page 251, Lutheran theologian Larry Christenson said,
“The Holy Spirit is no different today than he was in the days of the early church. He still has this unimaginable store of spiritual gifts for building up the body of Christ and bringing its witness to the world. The ‘priesthood of believers’ (1 Peter 2:9-10) becomes functional as people begin to discover and use their spiritual gifts.”

Calvinist Hope: Pentecostals Becoming Calvinist

Nicodemus said in his speech at Ligonier,
“In the last few years, however, there has been a surprising turn of events with the rise of conservative and Reformed theology among Protestants in Brazil. Some factors may be mentioned as cause of such development. First the classical Pentecostal churches after 100 years in Brazil evangelizing the masses have run its course and have left many Pentecostals hungry and thirsty for a more biblical and solid theology. They have found it at hand in the Reformed and Puritan literature that in the last twenty-five years has been increasingly published by several publishing houses in Brazil. As a result, many Pentecostals have turned to Reformed schools of theology seeking training in the more comprehensive knowledge of Calvinism. New independent churches, Reformed in soteriology, the doctrine of salvation, although still Pentecostal in liturgy, have been founded. Even the largest and most traditional Pentecostal publishing house in Brazil has made available books by Reformed authors older than you. They have even published MacArthur. Many books. However, one thing is clear. That the Reformed faith has received the fresh and powerful impulse through these Pentecostals influenced by Reformed theology. And as the traditional, historical, Reformed denominations in Brazil appeared to go slow, and slowing Reformed in being Reformed, some people are saying that the future of the Reformation in Brazil is coming from the Pentecostal turned Reformed.”
Nicodemus was referring only to Assemblies of God, the largest Pentecostal denomination in Brazil, with 14,000,000 members, according to the “New International Dictionary of Pentecostal and Charismatic Movements” (Zondervan). In comparison, the Presbyterian denomination of Nicodemus has only 649,510 members, according to the official statistics of his church in 2016.
For him, Assemblies of God has run its course and has left many Pentecostals hungry and thirsty for the cessationist Calvinist theology. For him, Assemblies of God reached a point of spiritual depletion and now needs cessationist Calvinism.
Nicodemus recognizes that the survival of his Presbyterian denomination and even Calvinism in Brazil is dependent on the Calvinization of the Assemblies of God. This is true in the Mackenzie Presbyterian University, where most of students of theology are young men from the Assemblies of God. Even with a high number of Pentecostal students, the Mackenzie Presbyterian University, which allows pro-abortion, pro-sodomy and Marxist professors, gives no room to accept charismatic gifts for today. Its official doctrine is cessationism.
The Calvinization of Assemblies of God has brought an unpleasant side effect: Theology of Integral Mission, which is present among Brazilian Presbyterians, including in Nicodemus’s denomination since the 1950s, is slowly being embraced by Assemblies of God ministers and members. This is, through Calvinization, theological liberalism is penetrating Pentecostals, especially their theological institutions, in Brazil.
Even though Nicodemus uses his bully pulpit to attack neo-Pentecostal churches, even by name, Assemblies of God are spared because, different from neo-Pentecostal churches, many Assemblies of God ministers and members have been, as recognized by Nicodemus, seeking Presbyterian theological institutions.
Nicodemus believes that Assemblies of God can help his Presbyterian denomination to grow by bringing its Pentecostal members with their dwindling supernatural experiences. They are easy preys for a cessationist theology that today makes sense in their lives that hardly experience God’s supernatural.
When Assemblies of God was founded in Brazil over 100 years ago, there was an explosion of prophecies, healings, demon-expelling, etc. Today, Assemblies of God is a pale image of its spiritual past. While many neo-Pentecostal churches have prophecies, healings and demon-expelling, Assemblies of God has in many cases lost this supernatural touch. The largest Pentecostal publishing house in Brazil is owned by Assemblies of God and it has published books by cessationist Calvinists, including John MacArthur, a Calvinist theologian who exposes the Pentecostal movement as “demonic.” So the largest Assemblies of God publishing house in Brazil is endorsing MacArthur’s anti-Pentecostal views by publishing several of his books.
Nicodemus sees big hope for Assemblies of God: Its decreasing supernatural experience is making it more similar to him and his Presbyterian denomination, whose services are devoid of prophecies, healings, demon-expelling, etc. He sees no hope for neo-Pentecostal churches.
Yet, perhaps in the future, if neo-Pentecostal churches lose their supernatural vitality, he may see some hope.
Nicodemus cannot use his bully pulpit for crusades against TIM, feminism, homosexuality, abortion and global warming scams, because he is too busy exposing charismatics. He is so busy that he cannot launch any conservative crusade to counter the prevalent socialist activism in many Presbyterian pulpits.
Even though he condemns experiences with supernatural gifts just as “static, emotional and mystical experiences,” his attacks are reserved only to neo-Pentecostal churches. Assemblies of God are spared because they are experiencing a decrease of such experiences. And this is good, in his view.
Excluding UCKG, which is pro-abortion and cessationist, neo-Pentecostal churches are vocally conservative and pro-Israel, in their pulpits and social activities, not fearing to take a public stand against homosexuality and abortion. They have been crusading against these evils in the Brazilian society.
Nicodemus and his Presbyterian denomination should also be, from their pulpits, so vocally conservative and pro-Israel as neo-Pentecostal churches are.
Nicodemus should show in Brazil what he showed in his speech at Ligonier to American conservative audiences: conservative stances against TIM, feminism, homosexuality, abortion and global warming scams.
He can also denounce Bishop Edir Macedo and his pro-abortion stance. But he should not forget that Macedo is, regarding prophecies and revelations, as cessationist as he is himself.


If Nicodemus and the Presbyterian Church in Brazil cannot get involved in a conservative activism against the socialist activism in their own Presbyterian pulpits, why spend time attacking neo-Pentecostal churches that are making conservative strides in Brazil?
Nicodemus said at Ligonier,
“What I’m saying is that we are living in a time where the traditional church structure has been called into question. For many this is a post-denominational time. Sorry to say but many historical denominations have not been able to reform themselves and to adapt to the new times fast enough.”
For him, Calvinist churches are not growing because they are not reforming themselves, which means that they need more Calvinism, enough to preach against “static, emotional and mystical experiences.” This would be a new wave of fanaticism, because Calvinist theologians and bloggers in Brazil spend most of their time attacking neo-Pentecostals.
By countering more the neo-Pentecostal growth and its pro-Israel and conservative advance, Nicodemus’s cessationist Calvinism will eventually become a powerful ally of secular left-wing forces, which hate and attack systematically neo-Pentecostalism’s conservative growth.
Cessationist Calvinist conclusion, based on Nicodemus’s speech at the 2017 Ligonier National Conference:
* Cessationist Calvinism is more important than neo-Pentecostal churches that are advancing conservatism.
* Christianity is growing very, very fast in the South, and this growth has everything to do with charismatic and neo-Pentecostal churches, but cessationist Calvinism is more important than this growth.
* Cessationist Calvinism is more important than pro-Israel stances.
* Nicodemus in particular and Ligonier in general maintain that Pentecostal, charismatic and neo-Pentecostal churches have “static, emotional and mystical experiences,” which are less important than cessationist Calvinist theological experiences.
* Reformed, or Calvinist, churches in Brazil are not increasing and their only hope of survival is Pentecostals (especially Assemblies of God leaders and members) becoming Calvinist.
If Nicodemus had lived in Jesus’s time, he would have had a very hard time to identify with Jesus’s ministry, but he would have had a very easy time to relate to Pharisees’ theological concerns. When Pharisees saw Jesus expelling demons, they charged him of demonic possession. It is hard to see a Nicodemus behaving differently. And if all Brazilian Protestants, who are mostly Pentecostal and neo-Pentecostal, were like Nicodemus, Brazil would lose its conservative minority that is most supportive of Israel.
My conclusion: If neo-Pentecostal churches were so busy in attacking cessationist Calvinist churches as cessationist Calvinist churches are busy in attacking neo-Pentecostal churches, neo-Pentecostal churches would have no time to preach the Gospel, heal the sick, expel demons, support Israel and advance conservatism.
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