Thursday, April 10, 2008

Calvinism or Bust!

I wrote not too long ago and asked, what is all the fuss about Calvinism? In that article, I was commenting on the contemporary resurgence of Calvinism in America as a way of introducing reformed theology to those who are perhaps new to it or just curious. Recent articles in the blogosphere continue to examine the "revival" of Calvinism. In Why Reformed? Nathan Pitchford presents five reasons he thinks reformed theology has caught on, especially with a younger generation.

I also mentioned recently Scott Lamb, who in his review of Young, Restless, Reformed: A Journalist's Journey with the New Calvinists (the book by Collin Hansen that expands on his original article in Christianity Today), questions whether the resurgence of interest can really be viewed as a widespread movement, and warns that believing one's own press clippings is not a good direction for the reformed movement to follow. Nathan White at Shepherd the Flock also comments on these happenings in his article Reformed revival not as good as it seems, noting that "even though numbers [of Reformed] are tiny compared to other more mainstream movements," nevertheless, "Reformed influence is bringing a sort of 'sanctified’ influence upon many conservative, American Christians/ministers."

A few months back, Tom Ascol had posted an interesting article examining some Southern Baptists' reaction to the rise of Calvinism-- Southern Baptist Evangelists lament the recovery of Calvinism-- and he critiqued their stated concerns and observations about Calvinism's rising influence as being mostly inaccurate.

Of course, if a movement becomes popular enough that there's money or fame to be gained through it, the dangers of greed and lust for power arise and threaten to corrupt motives. Is it really likely though, that this movement would appeal to the masses in the way the health and prosperity message has? Probably not. But a doctrinally sound message, that is bold by its uncompromising adherence to Scripture, will appeal to those hungry for "meat" in their theology, substance in their preaching and a more serious discipleship. May reformed leaders and teachers remain true to preaching the truth of God's powerful gospel, come what may, popular or not.

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