I prepare nearly all of my sermons in the library of the local seminary. It’s a conservative, Reformed Seminary. As I prepare, I sometimes overhear conversations and people watch. Then, when I leave, I try to stay abreast of trends in church and theology. Between the two I feel like it can be said safely: Calvinism is back in. It’s booming as a theological system right now in it’s updated form: the New Calvinism.
I’m blessed to know a number of the New Calvinism’s rising young stars in ministry. Their churches are thriving, their vision is huge, and they are surprisingly conservative doctrinally. If you saw them on the street you’d never know it. They don’t look like heresy detectors or doctrinal conservatives. They sometimes look like they own the local coffee house or tattoo parlor.
I posted on this a couple of years ago on this when Time Magazine rated the New Calvinism number three on it’s list of Ten Ideas Shaping the World Right Now.
For those unfamiliar with the New Calvinism, think Mark Driscoll, John Piper, Mark Dever, Tim Keller and Al Mohler.
Here’s my question: Why? Why is Calvinism back in style?
My thought is that New Calvinism offers a really big God in a time when God was brought just a bit too low by some in popular evangelicalism. The New Calvinism offers a correction to radical free-will, sentimentality, and what might be called holy humanism at a time when the world seems out of control and headed in the wrong direction. I also think the New Calvinism offers doctrinal clarity at a time when evangelicalism isn’t.
The down-side is … well… it’s Calvinism–complete with total depravity and pre-destination. Despite it’s problems, I think many of us would do well to listen to overarching truth it is successfully passing on: a really big God and the importance of doctrine in the life of God’s people. Ironically, these used to be doctrinal strengths of traditional evangelicalism. Today, traditional evangelicals need to be pushed on these things.
Thoughts? Why do you think the New Calvinism is exploding? Do you agree that traditional evangelicalism sometimes drifts toward, “radical free-will, sentimentality, and what might be called holy humanism ?”