In 2009, that all-wise, omniscient source of knowledge, Time magazine, named New Calvinism as one of the top ten ideas changing the world today. There’s no question that Calvinists and Reformed theologians are doing a lot of heavy lifting lately. It’s people like John Piper, Voddie Baucham, Joshua Harris, Albert Mohler and Brett & Alex Harris who are bringing the faith of our fathers back into the hearts and minds of modern man.
So what is it about Calvinism that is drawing so many Christian to it like a magnet? Last March, I had the privilege of working with Chad Warren of Worldview Academy during TeenPact Iowa 2010. Chad believes that the answer to that question is reaction. Just as the Emergent church claims to be a reaction to postmodernism, New Calvinism is a response to the Emergent church.
Since before I was born, the Body of Jesus Christ, at least in the West, has been dominated by “feel good theology.” Emotion-centric praise teams lead worship. Pastors are judged by how many laughs they can accumulate from the audience. Youth ministries focus more on pizza and dodgeball than on biblical teachings. To most Christians today, God is a benevolent, loving grandpa and Jesus is no longer the King of kings, but the Buddy of buddies.
Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m all for an intimate relationship with our Heavenly Daddy. However, there’s so much more to God than a flippant deity who speaks softly and carries a twig. This is where Young Calvinism comes in.
You can say what you want about predestination and unconditional election, but whether they’re right or wrong, Calvinists are doctrinally-centric, Bible-focused believers. It’s not about getting a fuzzy feeling. It’s about glorifying God.
This is where Reformed theology offers something that is far too uncommon in modern Christian circles. The whole point to Calvinism is that God is God is God and He can do whatever He wants. We don’t have to like it. We don’t have to understand it. We just have to submit to it.
So, regardless of what you believe about Calvinism, there’s something that can be learned from it. When John Calvin first came on the scene, his teachings went upstream of the social status quo which was rooted in corrupted theology and dead religion. Now, our culture has stooped back to wishy-washy doctrines. It’s time for a new generation of reformers to bring our culture back to the Word of God.