New Calvinism Changing the World?

According to TIME magazine, the New Calvinism is one of the things changing the world (Number 3 of the Top Ten!).

(I read about it over at Irish Calvinist.)

My favorite quote from the article is Al Mohler’s: “The moment someone begins to define God’s [being or actions] biblically, that person is drawn to conclusions that are traditionally classified as Calvinist.” Instead of saying I am a Calvinist, since people often look at me strangely when I say that, maybe I should say, “Thinking biblically has caused me to arrive at conclusions-formally-known-as-Calvinism.”

I was excited (a few years ago) to discover there was a shorthand way to say “God is sovereign; people are sinners; I can depend upon God and don’t have to depend on myself!” But many, many people see Calvinism as Determinism or Fatalism. When you use the “C” word, they seem to check out of the conversation! I do enjoy saying I believe in the “doctrines of Sovereign Grace,” but people don’t really know what I mean when I say that either.

On the other hand, I have been absolutely FLOORED by the amount of friends and family who have had very similar experiences to my husband and myself in regard to changing, or refining, of our theology. Many people we haven’t seen in years seem to have the same story we’ve had. I’m still surprised when I come across someone else who has been moved in the same direction of heart. And this change in theology has come to those I know with almost ZERO push from the pulpit (in my city, churches that are Calvinist are few and far between, and the preaching is often more the “Jesus-wants-to-be-your-buddy” type).

I think maybe TIME magazine is onto something. I suppose we’ll have to wait and see!

5 thoughts on “New Calvinism Changing the World?

  1. .

    “God is sovereign; people are sinners; I can depend upon God and don’t have to depend on myself!”

    This is scriptural.

    Luther reminded the church that we know by scripture alone that salvation is by faith alone, grace alone.

    What Rome says amounts to “faith + works = salvation.”

    What Billy Graham and James Arminius say amount to decision theology.

    You might argue that works salvation or decision theology are at odds with what you said, but to characterize your statement as “Calvinist”?

    “God is sovereign”
    Where does Luther contradict this?

    “People are sinners”
    Where does Luther contradict this?

    “I can depend upon God”
    Where does Luther contradict this?

    “I don’t have to depend on myself!”
    Where does Luther contradict this?

    It sounds to me as though you must be Lutheran. Missouri Synod, even.


  2. .

    Luther wrote: “The human doctrine of free will and of our spiritual powers is futile. The matter (salvation) does not depend on our will but on God’s will and election.”

    The teachings that atonement is limited to the elect and that grace is irresistible are of human origin. You will not find those teachings in Scripture, nor in Luther.

    The teachings that grace is universal and that the power resides in human beings to resist and reject the Gospel are teachings that rest on Scripture.


  3. Maybe I should just say I have “Reformational Theology”? I like the things all the Reformers had in common: Our righteousness before God is not based on works but is credited to us as if it belonged to us. The secondary stuff from each reformer I have problems with here and there (along with some personality issues too, but I chalk that up to “total depravity” and that people are just plain sinners even when they are church leaders!)

    The 5 Solas, baby! On the authority of scripture alone, we know that we are saved by grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone, and all the glory and credit for our salvation go to God alone.
    I just listened to Phil Johnson speaking on What is an Evangelical and he said these the first 2 solas really held the whole protestant movement together (during Reformation).

    I do like the term “Sovereign Grace” more than “Calvinism”. This term gets the focus off of Calvin and onto biblical terms; I like that! And the term ‘Sovereign Grace’ helps reform some of today’s bad theology as well.

    Also, you probably know, as far as “5 point Calvinism,” weren’t those NOT necessarily THE 5 most important tenants of Calvinism but simply the 5 things the Arminians didn’t like? I’m no Calvin or church history expert, though I do hope to learn more!

  4. It’s funny – you mentioned the term “Evangelical”. That’s what they called the first Lutherans back in the day. (Check out Gene R. Veith’s book on the subject – it’s great!)

    One difference I think would also be that Lutheran’s aren’t double-predestinationalists. If you go to Heaven God gets the credit and glory – If you don’t, well, you get it all.

    And on the “Jesus is my buddy”, sermon-series, Dr. Phil stuff? Anyone else tired of not hearing the Good News preached every Sunday? The Gospel is what keeps us Christians going, too, and when it is assumed it is ignored.

    And you’re right on depravity. So we’re better off taking what the Bible says about us as delivered by the Holy Ghost rather than how we’re feeling that day.

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