A Comeback for Calvinism?

by Rachel Held Evans Read Distraction Free

A couple of things caught my eye this week concerning what has been called a “Reformed resurgence” among young people.  The first is Collin Hansen’s book  Young, Restless, and Reformed (Crossway 2008), in which the Christianity Today reporter details what he calls “a Calvinist resurgence” among twenty-something evangelicals. The cover boasts an illustration of young guy wearing a T-shirt that says “Jonathan Edwards is my homeboy.” (You can actually buy that T-shirt, by the way!)

The second item generating some buzz in the blogosphere is the New York Times article entitled “Who Would Jesus Smack Down?” about Pastor Mark Driscoll. 

In it, the author writes, “Calvinism has somehow become cool, and just as startling, this generally bookish creed has fused with a macho ethos.”

As I mentioned in my last post, those who know me know that I’m not a fan of Calvinism. Those who know me well know that this is quite an understatement. Honestly, the idea of a militaristic  “Calvinist resurgence” among young people literally makes me lose sleep at night. And the notion that Mark Driscoll represents the future of the faith is worrisome.

Here’s what Mark Driscoll says about Jesus:

  •  “Some emergent types want to recast Jesus as a limp-wrist hippie in a dress with a lot of product in His hair, who drank decaf and made pity Zen statements about life while shopping for the perfect pair of shoes....I cannot worship the hippie, diaper, halo Christ because I cannot worship a guy I can beat up.”

I liked how, in “Jesus for President,” Shane Claiborne slyly placed this quote of Driscoll’s next to the Apostle Paul’s words “I preach Christ crucified.”

Newsflash to Driscoll:  Jesus did get beat up.

And here are a few savory quotes from our “homeboy” Jonathan Edwards:

  •  “The misery of the damned in hell is one of those great things that the saints in their blessed and joyful state in heaven shall behold and take great notice of throughout eternity.”
  •  “Some may be ready to think that it’s incredible that God should bring miseries upon a creature that are so extreme and amazing and also eternal and desperate. But the dreadfulness and extremity of it is no argument against it, for those that are damned are entirely lost and utterly thrown away by God. As to any sort of regard that he has to their welfare their existence is for nothing else but to suffer.”
  • “The God that holds you over the pit of hell, much as one holds a spider; or some loathsome insect, over the fire, abhors you, and is dreadfully provoked: his wrath towards you burns like fire; he looks upon you as worthy of nothing else, but to be cast into the fire; he is of purer eyes than to bear to have you in his sight; you are ten thousand times more abominable in his eyes than the most hateful venomous serpent is in yours. You have offended him infinitely more than ever a stubborn rebel did his prince; and yet, it is nothing but his hand that holds you from falling into the fire every moment.”

Are twenty-somethings really going for this stuff? Why might that be?

* See my responses below in the comment section.*

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