Time Magazine listed New Calvinism as one of the 10 Ideas Changing the World Right Now. In the article, David Van Biema said, “Calvinism is back.”
Before Time’s article, Collin Hansen in 2006 wrote an article in Christianity Today and alerted us to New Calvinism. The article Young, Restless, Reformed later expanded into a book. In the article, Hansen wrote, “Calvinism is making a comeback—and shaking up the church.”
Whatever New Calvinists believe, according to Time, they are impacting the world and according to Christianity Today, evangelicalism.
Mark Driscoll responded to Time’s article with his Four Ways ‘New Calvinism” is so Powerful. Driscoll drew four contrasts between New and Old Calvinism:
- Old Calvinism was fundamental or liberal and separated from or syncretized with culture. New Calvinism is missional and seeks to create and redeem culture.
- Old Calvinism fled from the cities. New Calvinism is flooding into cities.
- Old Calvinism was cessationistic and fearful of the presence and power of the Holy Spirit. New Calvinism is continuationist and joyful in the presence and power of the Holy Spirit.
- Old Calvinism was fearful and suspicious of other Christians and burned bridges. New Calvinism loves all Christians and builds bridges between them.
There was some pushback to Driscoll’s four contrasts. James Grant responded with his post: Driscoll’s Confusion on “Old Calvinism.” Grant, a Calvinist, rebuts each of Driscoll’s summaries of Old Calvinism. In response, Driscoll walked back some of his generalizations in his Long Live the Dead Guys Week post. James Grant, however, doesn’t think Driscoll erased the confusion: The problem is that Driscoll still didn’t really clarify anything or admit that he created some of the false dichotomy.
From a discussion between two traditional Reformed confessionalists, Kevin DeYoung and Ligion Duncan, and a Southern Baptist theologian, Albert Mohler, we learn that New Calvinism is an eclectic doctrinal mix. New Calvinism is TULIP, Charismatic, Theistic evolution, etc.
The Gospel Coaltion (TGC) is a national network for the New Calvinists movement. New Calvinists like, John Piper, Tim Keller, Matt Chandler, Mark Driscoll, Al Mohler, and John MacArthur are regular contributors. Again, the word eclectic, comes to mind. MacArthur is a pre-tribulational dispensationalist and the rest are not. MacArthur and Mohler are cessationists and the rest are not. Driscoll goes so far as to call cessationalism worldly and akin to Deism.
What ties them all together is TULIP. As far as the Fundamentals of the faith are concerned, they are on the same doctrinal page.
John MacArthur, who is thankful for much in New Calvinism, said that New Calvinism is a “very encouraging trend: large numbers of young people (college age and younger) are discovering the doctrines of grace, embracing a more biblical and Christ-centered worldview, and beginning to delve more deeply into serious theology than most 20th-century evangelicals were prone to do. In short, Calvinism, not postmodernism, seems to be capturing the hearts of Christian young people.”
MacArthur, however, has expressed in a series of blog posts serious concern about the weaknesses of what he calls the Young, Restless, and Reformed New Calvinism. These posts drew criticism from some in New Calvinism. In Part 2, we will listen to MacArthur’s concerns.