How Calvinist Are the “New Calvinists,” Really?

In this way they are also much like their mentors.  Piper and Keller could be described as maintaining a fierce independence from denominations or outside control of their churches.

John Calvin Focused on Sin

The New Calvinists focus on sinfulness in a way that differs from a lot of popular evangelicalism in recent years. It is not filled with feel-good affirmations about money, family and national identity.

“What you’d be hearing in some megachurches is, ‘God wants you to be a good parent, and here are seven ways God can help you to be a good parent,’ ” said Collin Hansen, the author of “Young, Restless, Reformed: A Journalist’s Journey With the New Calvinists.” “Or, ‘God wants you to have a good marriage, so here are three ways to do that.’ ” By contrast, Mr. Hansen said, those who attend Calvinist churches want the preacher to “tell them about Jesus.”

That laser focus on finding sin, even in God-ordained institutions like the family and nationality (both, they say, are sources of idolatry), can at times give these young preachers a certain curmudgeon-like quality that can be off putting for many. But it’s hard to challenge their commitment to the inerrancy of the Bible and a constant search for ways to glorify God.

Dr. James says it’s easy to leave seminary believing you have all the answers. Life soon corrects that viewpoint.  His advice to New Calvinists: Remember that life cannot always be reduced to a theological proposition.

The New Calvinist movement is still growing and evolving. Many within the movement are picking and choosing the parts of Calvinism they like, not unlike adherents of other theological systems. What they choose and what they dispatch will go a long way in determining if New Calvinism is just another theological fad or something that truly reforms the church.

1
2
3
Previous articleRusty George: Pastors Need Community
Next articleThis Is Why More People Identify as ‘Nones’
Bob Ditmer
Bob Ditmer has worked in Christian media for more than 20 years including positions with Ravi Zacharias International Ministries and Focus on the Family.

Get the ChurchLeaders Daily Sent to Your Inbox