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In case you may have missed it (and honestly, I don’t know how much press this got because I was out of town last week) but recently Time Magazine released its 2009 edition of “10 Ideas Changing the World Right Now,” and among these, listed at number 3 overall, was the New Calvinism. Pointing to the influential ministries of guys such as John Piper, Mark Driscoll, and Al Mohler, Time said that (in true pop culture fashion) “Calvinism is back”!
Truthfully, this really is surprising to me. If they had been doing a list on the top 10 ideas changing the church right now, sure, I would have definitely listed the New Calvinism. But the world? Wow! That really is something.
The question then becomes two things. First, can we infer from the rising influence of the New Calvinism (which really is the old Calvinism just with new guys, right?) that there is a global revival in the church? Second, can we infer from the rising influence of the New Calvinism if the global church is moving towards orthodox, conservative Christianity?
In the first question, I think that I would have to say ‘No.’ I do not think from the fact that Calvinism is enjoying a resurgence that we can infer that Christianity as a whole is experiencing revival in the world. It is true that many places such as Africa and the Global South are simply booming with new believers these days, but I don’t know that across the board we are seeing any more people coming to Christ (percentage-wise) than we have over the years past, it is just that the distribution of where believers are has shifted drastically.
On the second question, I do believe that we are seeing a move towards historic, orthodox, conservative Christianity, at least in the realm of theology. Though there are still plenty of loud voices out there pushing the emergent agenda, it seems that the “Great Emergence” that they have been predicting has been nothing more than sociological wishful thinking thus far. Particularly when you look to the abundant harvests being gathered in the Global South and Africa, these people are among the most conservative believers in the church today, leading the charge in various arenas such as the recent battle against the liberalization of the Church of England. They may not all be Calvinists per se, but as Dr. Mohler was so wonderfully quoted in the article, “The moment someone begins to define God’s [being or actions] biblically, that person is drawn to conclusions that are traditionally classified as Calvinist.”
This is certainly something to be excited about. It is a great day when a movement towards biblical authority and orthodox beliefs gets so large that a secular magazine recognizes how important it is. Thanks be to God that we are living in a time where great men are being raised up with great ideas and are leading a great impact on the church and the culture. Unlike the Jews after the exile, God is not silent in our day, if only we are prayerful enough to listen.
See the full article here.