Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Henry Center and "Young, Restless, Reformed" Around the Web

Trinity International University's Carl F. H. Henry Center for Theological Understanding now has a blog. Last month the Center's director, Douglas Sweeney spoke with Collin Hansen, author of Young, Restless, Reformed: A Journalist's Journey with the New Calvinists about the surge of interest in and passion about Reformed theology among people in their 20's and 30's. Among the encouraging topics discussed is the recovery of the model of the pastor as theologian and biblically/theologically-driven ministry. A Q & A session follows their interaction. I had the good fortune of attending the event and, thanks to the folks at the Henry Center, you can listen to or view it.

Another noteworthy interview of Collin worth listening to is that conducted by Tim Brister:

Interview with Collin Hansen, Part One
Interview with Collin Hansen, Part Two
Interview with Collin Hansen, Part Three

Christianity Today also recently published an irenic and informative exchange between Collin and Tony Jones, author of The New Christians: Dispatches from the Emergent Frontier, in which they discuss their books and respective movements: Part One, Part Two, Part Three, Part Four, Part Five

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Matt Guerino said...

Just found you from The Point. From your description alone I can't wait to watch this interview. As a young(er) Reformed-leaning pastor/theologian I can only hope that there is indeed a resurgence of interest amongst younger generations in solid Reformed theology!

Rod said...

Thanks for the video link Keith. What a great resource.

I would be remiss if I did not offer one small clarification on Hansen’s comments at 21:15. Unfortunately, Hansen makes an error either in understanding or more likely his speech when he states that Michael Horton believes that to be “reformed” one must subscribe to the Westminster Confession of Faith. This is of course false. Horton himself and his denomination (the United Reformed Church) subscribe not to the Westminster Confessional standards, but to the Three Forms of Unity. Yet, Horton most assuredly considers himself “reformed.” What Horton, and likely Hansen meant was that there is a difference between being a “Calvinist” and “Reformed.” It can be generally said, all reformed are Calvinists. However, not all Calvinists are reformed. The difference for most rest in their understanding of covenantal theology, ecclesiology and subscription to the reformed historic creeds.

The Three Forms of Unity (the Belgic Confession, the Heidelberg Confession, and the Canons of Dort) are the historic creeds of the Reformed churches developed during the sixteenth century Protestant Reformation. Later the Westminster Confession, a decidedly “Presbyterian” work along with its covenantal expression bring reformed confessional standards to its zenith. The unique contribution of the Westminster Confession would be its “covenantal” emphasis. What binds the two together is not only Calvinism, but also their “presbyterian” form of ecclesiology. This is taken very seriously in reformed circles. To understand the reformed you must properly understand their view of church leadership. The reformation itself was not only a repudiation of Rome’s soteriology, but also an ecclesiastical one. It is not possible to strip reformed teaching from its form of government nor the creeds that inform it.

However, many people today loosely use the term reformed to mean Calvinism. Which is a term used far more by its detractors than by the reformed themselves! The reformed would rather refer to Calvinism as the “Doctrines of Grace”--which many know as the “five points of Calvinism.” These doctrines are actually products of the Synod of Dort expressing their disagreement with Arminian teaching.

Some Baptists name themselves “reformed baptists.” What they actually mean is that they are Calvinists. Historically Reformed Baptists are simply trying to distinguish themselves from free-will Arminian Baptists. They are not subscribing to a presbyterian ecclesiology, a covenantal understanding of redemptive history and eschatology nor the historic creeds. Piper, Dever, Mahaney and Dricoll would be good examples of this. Reformed baptists can for instance hold both to a congregational form of ecclesiology and also dispensationalism. That places them squarely at odds with all historic “reformed” branches.

Without question, there is a growing “young reformed” camp. However, most that I meet are captivated by the Doctrines of Grace against the man-centered arminianism they have become so accustomed to in evangelicalism. These men often respect, but hold little allegiance to any reformed denomination or creed. Consequently, their ecclesiology and eschatology can vary wildly outside anything reminiscent to historic reformed creeds. It is in this sense that they are not properly understood as “reformed” but rather “Calvinists.”


lozersk8er said...

I would have to disagree with you labeling all "Calvinistic Baptist" as holding to dispensationalism, in matter of fact I don't many "Calvinistic Baptist" as you call them that hold to dispensationalism. But yes we do hold to congregational form of ecclesiology.