No Wind in the Reformed Sail?

This week the Barna Group released new data which seems to contradict the idea that there’s a resurgence of Calvinism within the church.  Most of data concerns the theological persuasions of pastors, not so much the aggregate church.  Even so, it’s interesting and definitely worth a look.  Quite frankly, I’m skeptical of the whole “New Calvinism” movement and I see it as just another passing fad.

To be sure, things are always murky when we’re talking about the broader Evangelical community.  Some might disagree with me when I say this, but I think Reformed churches shouldn’t be considered part of Evangelicalism.  Indeed, the Evangelical (upper-case “E”) churches are more akin to the Anabaptists than confessional Protestantism.  

Ligon Duncan posted a brief article on this new data, giving us a helpful reminder:

…we’re not hoping, praying, thinking, writing, working, bleeding, preaching, pastoring and dying for our fifteen minutes of fame. We are out to quietly, faithfully, plug away for the glory of God in the churches and in the world, making disciples who know, believe, love and share the Gospel, and who live by grace the way their Lord commanded them.

Amen.  My sentiments exactly.  Whether the data is valid doesn’t matter.  This is not a numbers game.  If God brings about reformation to His church, then so be it.  If not, then we’ll keep doing what we were doing before.  As we’ve seen in church history, possessing and proclaiming truth is always an uphill battle in this present evil age.  We should never expect to win any popularity contests. 

Considering the effects of post-modernism upon the church these days, perhaps these numbers ought to be seen as a pleasant surprise.  It could be much worse.  Whatever the case, I don’t think these numbers should effect our labors as people of the Reformed faith.  Tomorrow is a new day and our work continues.

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3 Responses to No Wind in the Reformed Sail?

  1. Lauren says:

    This surprised me:

    “The study found that 31% of pastors who lead churches within traditionally charismatic or Pentecostal denominations were described as Reformed, while 27% identified as Wesleyan/Arminian.”

  2. Lauren:

    That’s why I don’t put much stock into this study. There’s nothing remotely Reformed about the vast majority of charismatic/Pentecostal groups. I suspect that these pastors really don’t know the proper definitions of these terms. That’s nothing new.

  3. Chris says:

    I’m convinced that an ordianary means (Word, Sacrament, Prayer) ministry won’t be making headlines anytime soon. Although it’s heartening to see that the idea of Calvinism or the Reformed faith is becoming more acceptable in modern American parlance, the fact that it’s less Reformed than predestinarian charismaBaptist should cause Truly Reformed folks to pause before celebrating. It’s not even looking particularly great when you limit your scope to denominations that take the Reformed confessions for their standards, such as the PCA and the OPC. Darryl Hart’s book Recovering Mother Kirk offers piercing insight into the decidedly un-Reformed character of modern Reformed churches in America. I’d rather our churches took the model found in Hart’s book than that found in the churches referenced in Kevin Young’s “Young, Restless, Reformed” article.

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