22 April 2010

Splintering in Neo-Calvinism

I've been taken aback recently by several comments I've read on blogs, and maybe more so by a particular blog and the direction it has taken.   The comments that have bothered me have had to do with those in reformed churches calling many folks in the, "young, restless, and reformed" (YRR) movement illegitimate with respect to being reformed.  There are two important considerations that are not being taken into account by these people- (1) their definition of 'reformed' isn't shared or known by those new to the doctrines of grace, and (2) they don't understand how much damage their attitudes can do in those who are new to the doctrines of grace.

First, look at the flap over John Piper's invitation to Rick Warren to speak at Bethlehem's national conference.  No, Rick Warren isn't reformed, nor even a proponent of the doctrines of grace, but the way Piper has been treated by some in the blog world has been truly mind-boggling.  They are attacking him as if he'd denied the faith itself.

Second, look at the popular Internet Monk blog.  The founder of the blog, Michael Spencer, recently died of cancer.  The person (or people) who took over the blog have turned it into a cheerleading platform for evolution.  It is supposed to be a reformed blog, but it is rivaled only by Hitchens and Dawkins in its fervor for evolutionary origins of humanity.

Michael Horton posted on the White Horse Inn page, just today, a blog which helps to clear up some of this confusion.  At least, it will if enough people read it.  Now, Horton has made some comments in the past that (in my mind) put him in the group calling YRR folks illegitimate.  His work, particularly Christless Christianity and Gospel-Driven Life have been very influential on me, so I was certainly bothered by his apparent attitude.  The new blog today has cleared up some of my concerns by clarifying some of what he has said.  Getting the 'big picture' is always a good idea, and Horton has helped with that by his latest post.

I hope the YRR movement can come together better on some of these issues before too many 'seekers' of the doctrines of grace are driven away by the in-fighting.  There are huge differences between reformed ecclesiology and Calvinistic soteriology/christology.  Some in the reformed churches seem ready to cast out all those who believe in the doctrines of grace and support the solas of the reformation unless they also adopt covenant theology in its entirety.  I don't think that's a wise choice.  Horton has advocated calling the movement of non-reformed adherents to the doctrines of grace, "Calvinistic evangelicalism".  I don't know if that's the best choice, since 'Calvinism' has been given an unfortunate baggage of derision by the Arminian movement, but if it keeps the splintering to a minimum, I'll take it.

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