The topic of “New Calvinism” or the “New Calvinists” is gaining steam in the Evangelical culture. I am an ardent supporter of Calvinism and have taken to believe Calvin’s teachings as my own (yes, including “limited atonement” and so-called “double-predestination”) so Calvinism’s growth good news. Good doctrine (as I see Calvinism is) is crucial for the Christian life, unlike guys like Rob Bell who see it as a child’s toy to “jump” on and be launched into orbit, not knowing from whence you left nor to where you shall return. The growth of Calvinism is surely a positive thing.
But (i know, it was all building up to that word…)
Calvinism isn’t new. I don’t care about “New” Calvinism. Infact, Calvinism is older than Arminianism (i.e., we’re all a bunch of free-willing agents, whom God has no (or little) sovereignty over, and God is subject to our choices and decisions and it would be wrong of him to impose himself upon us in any form). It’s not like Calvinism died out for a hundred years. There’s been plenty of Calvinist men & women since the “Calvinist” movement of the 18th & 19th centuries. It’s just that bad and pathetic teaching has won the day for the most part in the greater evangelical church. The reason why it’s “New” is because all the Calvinists, who generally were slow to embrace cultural change (since Evangelicalism went through radical changes prior to WWI & WWII) are finally catching on. They’re using computers, putting up websites, blogging (like myself) and becoming savvy about how to reach the new culture for Christ. It’s not that it’s “New” Calvinism. It’s that its “Old” Calvinism catching up with the times.
“If it’s new, it must be cool. Just like the new Apple product…” I hope people don’t become Calvinists because its the latest fad in Evangelicalism. I hope through wrestling with weighty (to borrow John Piper’s word) doctrines, like predestination or God’s sovereignty and man’s free-will (or lack there of), they come to own the tenants of Calvinism because they see that it is actually what the bible teaches, not simply because it’s what some hip preacher or buddy is espousing it. There would be nothing worse than to see a generation of Christians toss aside good doctrine because it “didn’t work” or “got old”.
So “New” Calvinism can keep it’s silly moniker, but I’m much more of the pursuasion that what our culture needs isn’t to get one more “new” thing. What our culture needs is solid, old, durable, “weighty”, enduring, Truth (yes, with a capital T). Our culture needs old men to come and sit next to them and tell them old stories and old things about what has stood the test of time. Our culture needs old books to come and confront them since so much of the garb in Evangelical Christianity is weightless, shapeless, mushy and sappy.
So I say, bring on the “Old” Calvinism, and give it to me strong. Make my weak knees strong, and as the Old Testament says, “gird up your loins”.
So, “gird up yer’ loins, son, and go and drink some of that hearty draught they call Calvinism. It’ll put hair on yer’ chest and steel in your belly. You don’t want to be walkin’ around like one of those silly, flimsy boys that are runnin’ ’round with their hands all limp. It’ll make you a warrior.”