Thursday, October 21, 2010

Reformed Preachers Ponder the New Calvinism

Three Reformed preachers recently sat down together to talk about the New Calvinism that has been sweeping the younger generation of Christians.

It's a movement that has young believers going back to the roots – namely, to Scripture and the sovereignty of God.

"You've got a generation of Christians who've grown up in an overwhelmingly secular culture and they're not part of a churched culture," said Dr. Albert Mohler, president of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, in an informal discussion hosted by The Gospel Coalition.

"They're realizing that something has to explain how they came to faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. They have an absolute determination, you might say, to make clear that their first principle is the sovereignty of God, not the sovereignty of the self."

The Rev. Kevin DeYoung, senior pastor of University Reformed Church in East Lansing, Mich., believes part of the appeal of the New Calvinism is that it's "got some muscle to it" and is "robust doctrinally."

There's a renewed sense that "God's sovereignty is biblical and massively important, that God loves us before we loved Him, that He's the one who does the deciding work in our salvation," the young pastor said.

To read more, click here.


Reformation said...


I, for one, among many others, do not view these Predestinarian Anabaptists as "Reformed."

They have no confessions, no liturgical worship, no Psalm-singing, and are American Baptists--non-covenantal, revivalist, and experientialistic.

Holding to predestination does not make one Reformed. There is a distinctive doctrine, worship and piety to classical Reformed Theology.

Mohler, Mahaney and Driscoll do not qualify. They have never been in it, around it, or raised with it. It shows too.

The Christian Post writer does not get it either.

Robin G. Jordan said...


From what I understand from talking with graduates, Southern Baptist Seminary, Mohler's seminary, teaches more than predestination. Mohler himself introduced Reformed theology at the seminary and fired the liberal professors, causing protests. The Reformed Baptists also adopted their own confession back in the seventeenth century, based upon the Westminster Confession. The Arminian Baptists are very hostile to the Reformed Baptists, blaming them for the Southern Baptist Conventions' recent decline in baptisms. They do not believe that they give enough emphasis to evangelism. If you a graduate of Southern, you may have difficulty in finding a staff position in a number of Southern Baptist churches. When I lived in the New Orleans area in the 1980s, New Olreans Baptist seminary offered courses on Reformed theology, Reformed history, and Reformed worship. It had a large selection of Reformed and Puritan books in the seminary bookstore.

Reformation said...


Understand all that, including Al's interactions at Southern and difficulties with Southern grads getting SBC positions.

Yet, they are predestinarian or "Particular Baptists." They are not classically Reformed in doctrine, worship or piety.

Al knows nothing about Confessionalism, let alone liturgical worship. He is a descendent of anabaptistic revivalists.

As to Mahaney and Driscoll, they haven't the slightest clues about it. Same for Piper and MacArthur.

None of them are Reformed. MacArthur, Piper and Mohler discovered predestination in the 1990's, got press with Ligonier Ministries and act as if they are Reformed. They are not.


Reformation said...


This inquiry is important.

Yet, one will not find Psalm-singing or the singing of canonical texts, e.g. Magnificate, Jubilate Deo, etc.

One will not find massive reading of the OT and NT, as our old 1662 BCP prescribes, nor the singing of vast sections of the Psalter.

These Anabaptists resent structure and written prayers.

One will not find the searching self-examination of the BCP. Nor the joys of justification by faith alone, realized again and again in the absolution. One will never hear the Lord's Prayer, the Apostles' Creed, the Nicene Creed, or those old, good, and godly prayers of the BCP. Why? They are American revivalists. They are enthusiasts. They resent order, direction and conformity.

Mohler and Piper may have stumbled onto the sovereignty of God (in the 90's), but they are new joins and novices.

They are, by no means, Reformed Churchmen.

PaleoAnglican said...

It seems that this is really a question of semantics. To wit, how does one define "Reformed" theology and practice?

Phil, you obviously adopt a stricter view of what beliefs/practices should count as being authentically Reformed. That's not necessarily inaccurate. (Wasn't there a recent post on your website arguing this point with respect to Ligonier Ministries?)

At the same time, I would recommend that we simplify the definition of what is reformed -- or merely consider the usage of the term by the Christian Post, CT, and other publications. Perhaps it would be better to use other terms (e.g. Covenantal, Confessional, Traditional, etc.) to flesh out what we mean rather than harshly describing these Godly men.

Robin G. Jordan said...


I see what you are saying. At the same time there are also Congregationalist and Presbyterian groups who, while fairly conservative in regards to Reformed doctrine, reject liturgical forms of services. How do we classify them? They have a long history going back to sixteenth century.

Michael Gormley said...

God alone initiates salvation. He always turns toward man first and seeks him, as when God walked in the Garden (Genesis 3:8). Man does not seek God or turn to him without God first calling man to Himself (John. 6:37, 44; 1 John. 4:10,19).

Second, God’s initiative does not exclude man’s free response, but demands it (Catechism of the Catholic Church [Catechism], nos. 154, 155, 2002; Philippians 2:12, 13). In other words, God wills that man be free to choose His grace or reject it.

Third, salvation is extended to each and every human person, not limited to just some, and one can fall away from grace (Hebrews 2:1-4; 6:4; 2 Peter 1:10; 3:9; 1 John 5:16, 17).

Furthermore, it is imperative that once one is touched by grace, he perseveres in charity lest he forfeit the free gift of salvation (Lumen Gentium [LG], no. 14). Within the confines of these principles, Catholics have sought to understand the mystery of predestination.

Though opinions and formulations have varied among Catholic theologians, with these principles left intact, there is room for legitimate speculation.

The only proper framework to understand predestination must be rooted in the notion of a communion of persons in love. Why? The nature of God as Trinity is this very kind of communion and God created man to share in that “blessed life” (cf. Catechism, no. 1).

Michael Gormley said...

John Calvin was never accepted by the Catholic Church in any sense, except as another sinner needing redemption.

His leading people into heresy and away from the Body of Christ has been one of the major heartaches for all good Catholic saints who have worked so hard through the centuries to repair the damage he has done to innumerable souls in cutting them off from Divine Grace through severance from the Church.

One saint in particular, St. Francis de Sales spent his life as a missionary, and subsequently as bishop of Geneva trying to reconvert (with great success) those who had been led astray.

The Jesuits were founded, as a religious order, specifically to help combat the heresy of Protestantism.