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:
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.
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Just what is Calvinism?
Does this teaching make man a deterministic robot and God the author of sin? What about free will? If the church accepts Calvinism, won’t evangelism be stifled, perhaps even extinguished? How can we balance God’s sovereignty and man’s responsibility? What are the differences between historic Calvinism and hyper-Calvinism? Why did men like Augustine, Luther, Calvin, Spurgeon, Whitefield, Edwards and a host of renowned Protestant evangelists embrace the teaching of predestination and election and deny free will theology?
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Foundations in Biblical Eschatology
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All Christians believe that their great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, will one day return. Although we cannot know the exact time of His return, what exactly did Jesus mean when he spoke of the signs of His coming (Mat. 24)? How are we to interpret the prophecies in Isaiah regarding the time when “the earth will be full of the knowledge of the LORD as the waters cover the sea” (Isa. 11:19)? Should we expect a time of great tribulation and apostasy or revival and reformation before the Lord returns? Is the devil bound now, and are the saints reigning with Christ? Did you know that there are four hermeneutical approaches to the book of Daniel and Revelation?
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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?
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“Give me liberty or give me death!”
Patrick Henry’s famous declaration not only helped launch the War for Independence, it also perfectly summarized the mindset that gave birth to, and sustained, the unprecedented experiment in Christian liberty that was America.
The freedom our Founders envisioned was not freedom from suffering, want, or hard work. Nor was it freedom to indulge every appetite or whim without restraint—that would merely be servitude to a different master. No, the Founders’ passion was to live free before God, unfettered by the chains of autocracy, shackles that slowly but inexorably bind men when the governments they fashion fail to recognize and uphold freedom’s singular, foundational truth: that all men are created in the image of God, and are thereby co-equally endowed with the right to “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.”
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Watch these pro-life videos on-line.
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