"New" Calvinism Isn’t New

To revisit a March post on the New Calvinist movement briefly, I just wanted to reiterate that New Calvinism is neither new nor faddish. As Kevin DeYoung says in this excellent post, it’s also not about Calvin. Since the Reformation, “Calvinism” hasn’t just been another “ism” its proponents can hang their hat on while bantering with other “isms” like Roman Catholicism, revivalism, or postmodernism, but is a “movement” based on the timeless truths of Scripture, focused on the holiness and sovereign power of God, the effective and sufficient work of Christ, and the ever-continuing movement of the Holy Spirit.

In this, the year of Calvin’s 500th birthday, there is a lot of focus on his work, and rightly so: He is one of the most influential people of the last 500 years, Christian or not. His preaching, writing, and unwavering commitment to the truth of the gospel of Christ by God’s grace should be an example to us all. But the real glory goes to God alone, as DeYoung writes:

“I thank God for Calvin. But if the New Calvinism is to continue as a work of God, which I think it has been, it must continue to be about God. Young Christians have been drawn to Calvinism…because they were drawn to a vision of a massive, glorious, fall-down-before-Him-as-though-dead kind of God who loves us because He wants to…

“What draws people to Reformed theology is the belief that God is the center of the universe and we are not, that we are worse sinners than we imagine and God is a greater Savior than we ever thought possible, that the Lord is our righteousness and the Lord alone is our boast.

“The attraction of the New Calvinism is not Calvin, but the God Calvin saw—not some new fad, but something old with new life blowing through it from the Spirit of God.”

As long as Christ’s church is founded upon the work of Christ and the Word of God, it will continue throughout the ages, thus never really being completely “old” and never really being completely “new,” but always being “true.” As the hymnwriter William Gadsby writes about the church through the ages (and Sandra McCracken reinterprets):

He loves through every changing scene,
Nor aught from Him can Zion wean;
Not all the wanderings of her heart
Can make His love for her depart.

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