Christian History and Thought Since 1700: Old and New Calvinism in Conversation
Confessional Calvinism: Embracive of Evangelicalism?
Today’s session has evolved into something of a conversation in a fish bowl, as various kinds of Calvinists talk about what they think about various other kinds of Calvinists and about the larger evangelical world, and do so much to the amusement of non-Calvinist evangelical onlookers. Though our panel will invite a non-Calvinist voice into the discussion, the papers come from three sorts of Calvinists. The first, a confessional Calvinist skeptical of the new Calvinism and of evangelicalism. The second, from me, a confessional Calvinist appreciative of the new Calvinism and who views confessional Calvinism as a happy and important part of American evangelicalism. And third, a “big tent” Calvinist … and I am just dying to find out what that is.
I want to do four things today: 1. Make an assertion about evangelicalism. 2. Offer a suggestion on where the “new Calvinism” has come from. 3. Explain why as an old Calvinist that I am encouraged and instructed by the new Calvinist movement. And 4. suggest that the posture of Old Calvinism to the New ought to be hopeful, appreciative, constructive, fraternal, critical and humble.
1. A somewhat controversial assertion about the origins of evangelicalism
Evangelicalism, considered theologically and ecclesiastically, has it roots in 17th century English non-conformity.
2. What is New Calvinism and where did it come from?
New Calvinism is a rejection of the pragmatism and doctrinal minimalism of church growth movement era evangelicalism and an embrace of parts of Reformed theology, especially via the Great Awakening and Puritan expressions of that tradition.
What is Reformed Theology, you ask? Reformed Theology is a school of historic, orthodox, confessional, Christianity in which the sovereignty of God, the authority of Scripture, God’s grace in salvation, the necessity and significance of the church, and covenant theology are maintained and emphasized.
Mark Dever’s 12 suggestions on where NewCalvinism came from:
1. Charles Spurgeon
2. D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones
3. The Banner of Truth Trust
4. D. James Kennedy and Evangelism Explosion
5. The inerrancy controversy
6. Presbyterian Church in America (PCA)
7. J. I. Packer
8. John MacArthur and R. C. Sproul
9. John Piper
10. Reformed rap
11. Influential parachurch ministries
12. The rise of secularism and decline of Christian nomina
3. Why am I encouraged and instructed by the new Calvinist movement?
4. Why should the posture of Old Calvinism to the New ought to be hopeful, appreciative, constructive, fraternal, critical and humble?