The New Calvinism
Okay, I know this is just one article in one magazine . . . but still . . . !!!
Postmodernism didn't get mentioned...
The emergent movement didn't get a penny of press...
Rob Bell... Don Miller... is there another biggie to throw in there?... doesn't matter, they didn't make it...
Rick Warren and Bill Hybels were left out...
Okay, maybe it is because the author David Van Biema sounds suspiciously Dutch Reformed (I know nothing about the guy)...
But anyway - The New Calvinism. That is supposedly where the real passion and energy is in the Evangelical Movement. Van Biema says, the evangelical movement is doctrinally adrift. (I'd say it more strongly.) In some cases, postmodern evangelicals are not adrift, they are in speedboats racing away from the core. And apparently there is a large group of young people who need a God with some more substance than the fuzzy Jesus of our postmodern times.
Enter the neo-Calvinists. They are heating up the blogosphere (For example Driscoll's Resurgence.)
I have deep roots in the Reformation and strong affinities for much (but not all) that is in Calvinism.
I also have a lot of disappointment in the Calvinists I have met. Too many seem to have the spirit of Zwingli and not that of Christ. Too much arrogance for my taste (I know that probably is a bit arrogant on my part as well). Too much tendency for drawing strong lines to define who is in and who is out. (The same thing, ironically, that some PoMos do as well..., i.e. Tony Jones lets us know who gets it and who doesn't.) Too much theological hair splitting.... Too much majoring on the minors... Don't believe me, well then just follow the dismissals from Westminster Theological Seminary faculty and the theological issues over which they are dismissed (i.e. terminated from employment).
But on the other hand, some of the finest philosophers and theologians I have ever read are Reformataional. Boy do they know how to think and write well. I don't come away wondering if they know God.
- They aren't on a mission to redefine Jesus to the lowest common, politically correct, least offensive, most tolerant denominator.
- They aren't desperate to explain why Jesus did not really die on the cross (cosmic child abuse some of them call it) and that this is an idea we need to say goodbye to.
- They aren't on the speaking tour to tell followers of Jesus that we really can know nothing about Him and that it is time to stop speaking about what we can know of God but to tell people "I really don't claim to know much about God at all..."
- They aren't writing books to confess that they no longer believe in the uniqueness of Jesus, but are now universalists verging on unitarianism and that this is the logical progression of spirituality.
- They aren't writing books to explain that Islamic and Christian spirituality are really quite similar and that we should celebrate the richness that we have in common!
Except for bullet number one, the other bullets are largely the substance of specific books I have read by postmodern authors this past year!
Maybe the neo-Calvinism has something to offer the current conversation. I just wish they could make their contributions with a little more grace and humility.
Leadership ConneXtions International
p.s. In the spirit of Calvin and Hobbes . . . maybe this is the real New Calvinism that is emerging. If you don't know philosophy you will miss the humor of this cartoon. The blogsite that had this was down, so this is a small picture blown up.