What Calvinist Revival?

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Strange things are happening. “Calvinism” made the New York Times just three days ago in Mark Oppenheimer’s piece, “Evangelicals Find Themselves in the Midst of a Calvinist Revival.” This is a good thing, except that he was writing mainly about a “Calvinist revival” in the Southern Baptist churches.

driscoll_thrown_under_busOppenheimer also says some strange things about Calvinism. He says Calvinism is mostly about election and man’s sinfulness, and TULIP “gets no cheerier” from the U (Unconditional Election). Apparently, there is no joy and thankfulness in being assured of election in Christ and God’s promise of preserving them unto eternity.

Then he mentions three “Calvinists,” two of them being Mark Driscoll and John Piper, both barely Calvinists. The third name, Tim Keller, should qualify, but I’m not excited about him either. Apparently, for Oppenheimer and many other “Calvinists,” TULIP=Calvinism, a gross misunderstanding.

Later, he says that there is one large denomination, the Presbyterian Church in America, which is “unapologetically Calvinist.” I’m not so sure about this, since the PCA is slowly slipping away from it’s Reformed moorings, like women deacons, toleration of the Federal Vision, and absolutely non-Reformed worship practices.

five_points_of_calvinism_enoughOppenheimer goes on to quote—of all people—Serene Jones, president of Union Theological Seminary, surely not one qualified to give an opinion about Calvinism. So the next quotes from Dr. Jones is that Calvin believed that “civic engagement is the main form of obedience to God”; “Calvin did not read Scripture literally”; and often, Calvin “is misquoting it, and he makes up Scripture passages that don’t exist.” Never heard or read of that Calvin before.

Lastly, he quotes a Notre Dame graduate student who says that this “Calvinist revival” might just be a fad, like the emergents and the missionals. I have a hunch that it will be, at least among those who are merely TULIPers, and not true Calvinist or Reformed churches.

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