Sunday, April 19, 2009

Machen's Apologizing Children

Carl Trueman of Westminster Seminary reflects on Time Magazine naming "the new Calvinism" as one of the ten things shaping our culture today:
Some months ago, I wrote a short piece for the e-zine, Reformation 21 , about the tendency of Reformed Christians over the last twenty or so years to be rather embarrassed about their heritage and to be continually fretting about whether they are relevant or not.

Frankly, Machen’s worrier children seem to have spent more time apologizing for, or even trying to hide, their theological and ecclesiastical history than appropriating it and applying it. “I’m Reformed but…..’ is almost a liturgical response in some quarters to questions about personal beliefs. Hard to imagine a credible Catholic or Eastern Orthodox person giving a similar response. In my experience, they understand the warts-and-all of their respective traditions, but they face them honestly and tend not to be embarrassed to be upfront about who and what they are.

Well, if Time magazine is to be believed, the worrier children can stop wringing their hands, shave off their soul patches, put aside their candles and censer bowls, and start reading Calvin, Owen, Edwards, Warfield and Machen once again because, ironically, this kind of seemingly Paleolithic activity puts them on the cutting edge of Christianity in North America.

Indeed, Time has listed neo-Calvinism as number three in its list of ten things that are shaping the world today. Perhaps those who speak of regeneration are actually more in tune with the Christian Zeitgeist than those who talk endlessly about their ‘journeys.’

To those of us who believed all along that – well, traditional Reformed doctrine basically got it right on all the key points, the fact that Christianity is finding new vitality by revisiting the old paths is no surprise. Alternatives have come and gone, but the old biblical gems of divine sovereignty, human depravity, atonement, regeneration, etc. keep coming back, making sense of both the Bible’s testimony and human experience of the world. It is also 'preachable' in a way that the alternatives – even, or perhaps, especially, those alternatives which make such a noise about preaching, kerygma and dynamism – are not.
Read the entire post HERE.

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