Out with the new, in with the old.

Carl Trueman is his usual self about the latest in Driscoll-gate.  The article is not available, but I was able to capture one of the (many) money quotes. The article is now back up on First Things:

Mark Driscoll is one person, a uniquely talented individual. Yet he is also a function of structural problems within the new Reformed movement itself. Despite its distinct and in many ways sophisticated theology, the “young, restless, and reformed” movement has always been in some respects simply the latest manifestation of the weakest aspects of American Evangelicalism. It was, and is, a movement built on the power of a self-selected band of dynamic personalities, wonderful communicators, and talented preachers who have been marketed in a very attractive manner. Those things can all be great goods but when there is no real accountability involved, when financial arrangements are opaque in the extreme, and when personalities start to supplant the message, serious problems are never far away. 

The overall picture is one of disaster. Within the church, I suspect most pastors look on with horror at the amount of money involved in some of these projects and will turn away in disgust. Outside the church, people know sharp practice when they see it, no matter what the strict legality of such might be. The reputation of the church suffers, and sadly it does not suffer in this case unjustly.

As a former New Calvinist, I benefited greatly from men like Driscoll who gave me an entry level to Reformed theology, broadly understood.  I imagine there are many like me who were swayed from the siren calls of liberalism to a more firm doctrinal understanding of the Christian faith.  I am thankful for this.

But as the Reformed tradition began to encompass not just my theology but my worldview as well, I found that I was leaving behind (New) Calvinism through the Driscoll lens.  Now a confessional Presbyterian, I find myself at odds with some of the very teachings I would have defended not just a few years before.  Some of the church governance structures in congregations today just makes me shake my head, or worse.  The reformation of the church according to the Word of God was just for the sixteenth and seventeenth century.  As Reformed Protestants, this same principal matters just as much today.

Rather than defending “New” Calvinism, a movement which I fear will burn over far more than expected, I’ve run to the OLD Calvinism.  Where congregations may not flare up to thousands, but will faithfully preach the Word and administer the sacraments to the tens or dozens present.  Movements come and go, but the Church endures by the grace of God.

So like I said in the title, out with the new and in with the old.  Semper reformanda.

03/14/14 update: Added strike-through, link to First Things.


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