Friday, February 13, 2009

On the concept of New [Evangelical] Calvinism (Briefly)

I have been using the term Neo-Calvinism rather recently, and it has been a rather nebulous word so far. So, in brief, here is a working definition of the term, of which I will post a more detailed article on it later.

Neo-Calvinism aka The Calvinist Resurgence aka "Young, Restless, Reformed" (sociology):

A sociological movement consisting of younger Christians rediscovering the Doctrines of Grace aka Calvinism

Neo-Calvinism (theological movement):

Neo-Evangelicalism in Calvinist dress

So, in that respect, I would call myself a New Calvinist IF defined sociologically. But the more I read into this larger movement, I am very concerned about the direction it is going. Is a mere belief in the 5 points of Calvinism and the Sovereignty of God enough? In previously personal correspondence, I have queried about the issue of Gospel-centered-ness and Gospel-onlyness, and that not without cause. My friend Huaizhi's friend Eugene responded by saying that Gospel-centeredness would necessarily result in non-Gospel-onlyness. But is this necessarily so in practical implementation?

I guess my core concern could be briefly expressed as follows: New Evangelicalism as a movement is bankrupt, and the problems in Evangelicalism ie the emergence of Open Theism and myriad heresies, plus doctrinal compromise of every shade and color, has virtually destroyed whatever property of biblical evangelicalism New Evangelicalism once possess. In Neo-Calvinism and basically the conservative camp as a whole, the belief seems to be that the problems within Evangelicalism is incidental to the movement as a whole, and can be removed while preserving the core philosophy behind New Evangelicalism. My contention however is that the core philosophy behind New Evangelicalism is doctrinally bankrupt as well! In other words, the reason why modern day New Evangelicalism is in such a state is not because they have gone off course, but because a bad tree can never bear good fruit! The seed of the destruction of New Evangelicalism is found organically within itself; it is not a foreign object which attaches itself to the movement and kills it from the outside.

Therefore, for the Young, Restless and Reformed, how far are you willing to follow Scripture? Are you content to merely embrace the 5 points and come together for the Gospel? Or are you willing to follow Christ and the Scriptures whatever it takes and wherever it goes? Are you willing to re-examine the foundational philosophy of New Evangelicalism and reform accordingly to the Word of God, or are you content with pious platitudes of orthodoxy? Which path will you ultimately thread on? But remember this:

Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it (George Santayana)

Update: The term it seems has been utilized by the Kuyperians. A pity, since it would be an apt term for Neo-Evangelical Calvinists. Can't think of a better term for it now, unfortunately.

*Update*: For now, the term "New Evangelical Calvinism" would be used.

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