Four Ways ‘New Calvinism’ is So Powerful
- 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.
The issue I have is that this is just bitesize revisionist history. The message that comes out is that Calvanism 1.0 was a bit rubbish and now we have shiny new Calvanism 2.0 which is far better than the old one. Now I don’t deny that there weren’t problems with some of the reformers or their ideas, but at least be a little be more grateful for the theological shoulders that you’re now climbing all over.
The other issue I have is to assume that all calvinists who want to engage with culture are Pentecostal. Now I appreciate that there are many movements that are reformed and pentecostal and believe they’re doing a great work. But there are just as many culturally engaged calvinists who aren’t Pentecostal. I think times have changed and rabid cessationism is a thing of the past, but there are many practical cessationists who may believe that God can work through miracles today but feel that those miracles are somewhat less common and they’re still movers and shakers in the calvinistic world. Tim Keller and Mark Dever spring to mind. To say that historic Calvinism was ‘ fearful of the presence and power of the Holy Spirit‘ is simply ignorant of most of their works as well.
And this leads me to a few more concluding comments. I find it quite hard to accept that traditional calvinists were supposed to have fled the cities when Calvin spend most of his life reforming Geneva and also find it hard to see how calvinists seperated from culture when their main aim was to see its reform.
All in all, I love the resurgence but comments like this are simply not very well thought out.
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