Reflections on Young, Restless, and Reformed Article
I guess that I would qualify as someone who is “young, restless, and reformed,” so I was particularly interested in the cover story in the current edition of Christianity Today written by Collin Hansen. As a student in the “Reformed hotbed” of Southern Seminary and one who has a shelf of straw men and caricatures of those who have misrepresented the Reformed community, I was concerned that Hansen would just follow suit. However, I must say that I am pleasantly surprised and greatly encouraged.
First, let’s observe what Hansen did not say. He did not pull a “Yarnell” and call current evangelical Calvinists “hyper-Calvinists,” nor did he throw out the unhelpful label came with such unfamiliar and undefined terms of “neo-Calvinist” which usually is used in a pejorative sense. With that said, the article is refreshingly free from the usual rhetoric and bias which so often comprises magazine and newspaper articles which cover Calvinism (the exception, of course, is Yarnell and Lemke in the article).
Second, consider who he interviewed. Starting with Piper (who unquestionably has made the greatest impact on the young Calvinists), he met with Joshua Harris, Al Mohler, and Mark Dever. He reported from first-hand encounters and represented their comments in a praiseworthy manner. Furthermore, Hansen was consistent and thorough in his research as he also interviewed some of the young guys from across the country. When we so often hear reporters use quotes and say, “Some people” or “A lot of people” or any other vague generalizations, you know they did not do their homework and their credibility sinks tremendously. Contrary to this, Hansen was direct, personal, and objective - something which I was appreciative of.
Third, Hansen gave a balanced perspective as he included comments from Roger Olson, Malcolm Yarnell, and Steve Lemke who are far from being sympathetic to the Reformed movement in the evangelical world. For the purpose of this article, I am not going to delve into their statements, even as I believe that they (especially Yarnell and Lemke) have sufficiently addressed in the past.
Fourth, Hansen gave proper attention to the historical perspective of the Reformed faith. Not only are people reading Luther and Calvin today, they are increasingly interested in the Puritans, Particular Baptists, and for those in the
"I remember some of the first encounters I had with Calvinists. . . . I'm sorry to say that they represented the doctrines of grace with a total lack of grace. They were spiteful, cliquish, and arrogant. I didn't even stick around to understand what they were teaching. I took one look at them and knew I didn't want any part of it."God forbid that such a testimony is experienced among the "young, restless, and reformed." If Calvinism produces anything, it is as Harris calls a "humble orthodoxy" - one which causes a person to be staggered by grace, fervently loving to the brethren, and relentlessly merciful to the lost.