Saturday, January 4, 2014
The Rise of Calvinism among evangelicals?
I recently came across this article talking about the influence of Calvinism among evangelicals:
I have mixed feelings about what this article is reporting. While Calvin/Calvinism of course are instrumental in our reformed soteriology, there is a lot more to "Calvinism" than soteriology, as important as it is. And my sense is that is this as far as it will go amongst the evangelicals.
Just as importantly, there are raging debates within reformed circles as you are well aware regarding Calvin's views regarding natural law and Christendom. Suffice to say for a FB squack box: he was inconsistent in certain key ways regarding these two issues and this has created immense confusion in our intra-reformed debates today.
For instance, in the Institutes, he clearly discusses how the Mosaic law should not be used while in his sermons on Deut, he speaks like a hard core theonomist, and of course, Michael Servetus is an inconvenient historical fact for natural law folks. (Calvin approving his execution for Servetus' heretical denial of the Trinity).
The danger that I see from valuing a theologian, even a monumental one like Calvin (and even having a theology named after him), too much is that we tend to think of his entire theology as being consistent because that is what we are being taught/preached to implicitly.
Time will tell how Calvin's influence will play out in these evangelical circles, and what will develop regarding the issues of (in)consistency and conflicting theologies within one man, and whether or not the calvinist influence will extend beyond soteriology.