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Young, Restless and Reformed

I usually don’t read Christianity Today magazine, because, as the prophet Clint Eastwood once said, “A man’s gotta know his limitations.” But I was interested in reviewing this article when it was first mentioned on the web.

Young, Restless and Reformed“ is now online at:

http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2006/009/42.32.html

What Christianity Today notes as a growing phenomenon, actually began in the 1950s in England and Scotland when Banner of Truth began republishing the long out-of-print Puritan classics. The article mentions Jonathan Edwards as having a modern resurgence in popularity among young Christians who want to go deeper in doctrine – along with the writings of Puritan and Neo-Puritan churchmen who literally led revolutions in England, Scotland and America from the 1500s to 1776. Nothing short of a mighty Neo-Puritan Awakening can awake our nation from its slumber today and save us from enemies within and without.

Calvinism, of course, was the prevailing theology of Puritan America and the Great Awakening. It fueled the political philosophy of the American Revolution and was prevalent during the so-called Second Great Awakening of the 1800s. But around 1850, Reformed theology started to die off. Some blame classic Arminianism for its demise. However, Classic and Wesleyan Arminianism actually worked in tandem with Reformed theology for hundreds of years bolstering Christian culture. The real culprit in my view was dispensational theology which began to replace the full-orbed covenantal view of scripture in the 1800s.

See my article on covenantalism vs. dispensationalism: “Two Views of Government.”

Now there is a resurgence of Reformed and covenantal theology which has been going on since the mid-20th century. I have been a part of this, although I have never called myself a “Calvinist.” I have always enjoyed reading the sermons and works of the great preachers of history, most of whom happen to be Augustinian or Reformed.

I’ve been a member of St. Andrew’s Chapel in Sanford, Florida, for the past few years. The noted Reformed scholar, R.C. Sproul, serves as the pastor of preaching and teaching. Many of my Charismatic and Pentecostal friends are surprised to know how happy I am with this church. The emphasis on Reformed theology is a drawing point, but it is the emphasis on just plain “sane theology” and God-centered worship that sets the church apart from almost every central Florida church I had visited in the few years prior. In fact, it is well worth the 55 minute drive each Sunday. I know of other members who actually drive longer distances and almost never miss a service. That speaks of a famine for sound doctrine in an area that is saturated with churches.

The positive side of this is that there is a real hunger among a minority of young Christian leaders who I believe God is grooming for a coming Great Awakening among young people. Like the prior Great Awakenings, this movement will be Reformed in doctrine. I’ve thought this was coming for the past 15 years. At one time, we planned to publish a magazine called Puritan Storm Rising. Now it is remarkable to see a major evangelical magazine comment on the burgeoning Neo-Puritan Awakening.

Comments

Your comments are welcome!

Hi Jay,

Great post. I'll read the article although I rarely read CT. I was a fervent Charismatic until I read "A Divine and Supernatural Light" online. My quest for preaching in the Edwards tradition brought me to Bethlehem Baptist Church and the preaching of John Piper.

I can't agree with you more that a return to teaching in the tradition of the puritans is absolutely necessary for revival to be a reality in our country. I don't think God honors half measures.

Posted by Dave on 03/28/2015 10:21 AM #

A friend of mine, Jeff Ziegler, likes to say that America was founded on Knoxian-Cromwellian social theory. That's 100 percent correct. In the public high school where I teach English classes, William Bradford, Anne Bradstreet, Mary Rowlandson and Jonathan Edwards are required reading. My department head couldn't understand why "Sinners in the Hands of An Angry God" was even in the curriculum. It is kind of a shocker for the students -- even the Christian kids who have been fed the standard semi-pelagian seeker-friendly fare. When we get to that unit, I put on a CD of Edwards and stand back and watch their reactions. I explained to my colleague that the Great Awakening was, according to even many secular historians, the most important event of the 18th century both in America and England. This supernatural move of God, steeped in 200 prior years of Reformed theology, shaped the political philosophy of western democracy. The irony is that today we know of Samuel Adams, Patick Henry and other architects of the Revolution. But most people don't know that they (and many other of the signers of the Declaration) were Calvinists and heirs to the Great Awakening preachers, and fewer have even heard the names of John Knox and Oliver Cromwell let alone the debt owed to them by our founders.

Posted by Jay Rogers on 03/28/2015 10:21 AM #

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The Silent Scream (DVD) Eight Languages

“When the lives of the unborn are snuffed out, they often feel pain, pain that is long and agonizing.” – President Ronald Reagan to National Religious Broadcasters Convention, January 1981

Ronald Reagan became convinced of this as a result of watching The Silent Scream – a movie he considered so powerful and convicting that he screened it at the White House.

The modern technology of real-time ultrasound now reveals the actual responses of a 12-week old fetus to being aborted. As the unborn child attempts to escape the abortionist’s suction curette, her motions can be seen to become desperately agitated and her heart rate doubles. Her mouth opens – as if to scream – but no sound can come out. Her scream doesn’t have to remain silent, however … not if you will become her voice. This newly re-mastered version features eight language tracks and two bonus videos.

“…a high technology “Uncle Tom’s Cabin” arousing public opinion just as Harriet Beecher Stowe’s 1852 antislavery novel ignited the abolitionist movement.” – Sen. Gordon Humphrey, Time Magazine

Languages: English, Spanish, French, South Korean, Chinese, Russian, Portuguese, Japanese

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Martin Luther: Digitally Remastered 1953 Classic (DVD)

“Here I stand … I can do no other!”

With these immortal words, an unknown German monk sparked a spiritual revolution that changed the world.

The dramatic classic film of Martin Luther’s life was released in theaters worldwide in the 1950s and was nominated for two Oscars. A magnificent depiction of Luther and the forces at work in the surrounding society that resulted in his historic reform efforts, this film traces Luther’s life from a guilt-burdened monk to his eventual break with the Roman Catholic Church.

Running time: 105 minutes

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Watch a clip from Martin Luther.

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Go Stand Speak (DVD)

With “preaching to the lost” being such a basic foundation of Christianity, why do many in the church seem to be apathetic on this issue of preaching in highways and byways of towns and cities?

Is it biblical to stand in the public places of the world and proclaim the gospel, regardless if people want to hear it or not?

Does the Bible really call church pastors, leaders and evangelists to proclaim the gospel in the public square as part of obedience to the Great Commission, or is public preaching something that is outdated and not applicable for our day and age?

These any many other questions are answered in this documentary.

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The Beast of Revelation IdentifiedThe Beast of Revelation: Identified (DVD)

Who is the dreaded beast of Revelation?

Now at last, a plausible candidate for this personification of evil incarnate has been identified (or re-identified). Ken Gentry’s insightful analysis of scripture and history is likely to revolutionize your understanding of the book of Revelation — and even more importantly — amplify and energize your entire Christian worldview!

Historical footage and other graphics are used to illustrate the lecture Dr. Gentry presented at the 1999 Ligonier Conference in Orlando, Florida. It is followed by a one-hour question and answer session addressing the key concerns and objections typically raised in response to his position. This presentation also features an introduction that touches on not only the confusion and controversy surrounding this issue — but just why it may well be one of the most significant issues facing the Church today.

Ideal for group meetings, personal Bible study — for anyone who wants to understand the historical context of John’s famous letter “… to the seven churches which are in Asia.” (Revelation 1:4)

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Dr. Francis Schaeffer - A Christian Manifesto (DVD)

That Swiss Hermit Strikes Again!

Dr. Schaeffer, who was one of the most influential Christian thinkers in the twentieth century, shows that secular humanism has displaced the Judeo-Christian consensus that once defined our nation’s moral boundaries. Law, education, and medicine have all been reshaped for the worse as a consequence. America’s dominant worldview changed, Schaeffer charges, when Christians weren’t looking.

Schaeffer lists two reasons for evangelical indifference: a false concept of spirituality and fear. He calls on believers to stand against the tyranny and moral chaos that come when humanism reigns-and warns that believers may, at some point, be forced to make the hard choice between obeying God or Caesar. A Christian Manifesto is a thought-provoking and bracing Christian analysis of American culture and the obligation Christians have to engage the culture with the claims of Christ.

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