Following the recent Time Magazine article concerning “New Calvinism,” there has been quite a backlash from the “truly reformed” against those of us who don’t embrace their entire system, yet have used the terms “reformed” or “calvinist” to describe ourselves.

The argument is that to be truly reformed, one must embrace all of reformed theology, not simply the soteriology commonly known as The Five Points of Calvinism, or the TULIP. This means one must embrace such beliefs as: a single covenant of grace, paedobaptism, cessationism, such a “high view” of the sacraments that only a “rightly ordained” minister of the Gospel may administer them, etc. To do otherwise, i.e. to embrace the TULIP apart from these other doctrines is a crime.

To break into the Armory (where the Synod met) and to steal the Five Points from the ecclesiastical context in which they were formed and in which they were meant to be applied and to use them alone to define the adjective “Reformed” is just vandalism and identity theft.

OK, if these folks want the term reformed all to themselves, I say let them have it!

They don’t appreciate our use of the term Calvinist or Calvinism either. They seem to despise the term New Calvinism, but feel comfortable with Neo-Calvinism, which is to say “New Calvinism.” hmm…

They want us to say that we have “predestinarian sympathies.” How about just saying that we are Biblical? After all, the TULIP is just a week attempt at encapsulating what the Bible says regarding salvation. The TULIP came about as a reaction to bad theology, and starts with Genesis 3, so it leaves out the first two chapters of the Bible!

As Driscoll’s church planting network, Acts 29, clearly states in their doctrinal statement.

…we are first Christians, second Evangelicals, third Missional, and fourth Reformed. [or should we say “predestinarian sympathetic”?]

These folks who are so agitated by all this seem to have place “Reformed” at the head of their list.

Much of their writing is not only in response to the Time article but also to Collin Hanson’s book, Young, Restless, and Reformed (see my review here), and Mark Driscoll’s post at Resurgence.

It seems to me that the tone and attitude of most of these responses are simply proving Mark’s fourth point.

I’m not defending Driscoll, he’s a big boy and can defend himself if he so chooses. I actually think he spoke before he had thought it through completely.

His definition of “New Calvinism” would suggest that everyone in the movement agrees with his theology on points such as continuationism. While I do agree with him on that point, I know not everyone who would link themselves to the movement of “New Calvinism” would agree with this point of theology.

In the same way, his definition of “Old Calvinism” lumps together and generalizes in a way that is probably unfair to a large number of godly men.

Maybe Driscoll does need some correction on his four points of comparison, but the “truly reformed” who are offended by his points would do well to humbly consider the truth that is present in his analysis.

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