Why Reformed?

Here’s an interesting piece from Nathan Pitchford. I would certainly agree that the greatest influences on me have been 3 and 4.

“Lately, there seems to be growing interest in the resurgence of Calvinism and Reformed Theology among the younger generation of Evangelicals. Persons from within Evangelicalism/Fundamentalism, as well as outsiders, are taking note, and wondering what could be fueling the phenomenon. I was recently approached by someone asking for possible reasons or motivations underlying this resurgence among younger evangelicals, and after a little deliberation I came up with five motivations that I see at work, as listed below. I am sure there are others, but these seem highly instrumental to me. What do the rest of you think?”

1. Dissatisfaction with the theology and religious
environment of our parents. The milieu in which we
grew up was characterized on the one hand by a
high-stress, high-guilt, man-powered striving after
sanctification, evangelism, etc., that left a great
deal of burned-out and disillusioned Christians all
around us. On the other hand, the services and worship
were often characterized by a frivolity and
superficiality that left us unsatisfied and longing
for more substance. The combination was virtually
unsustainable for the long term. We were constantly
striving to obey a long list of rules and standards,
by our own efforts, feeling the crushing weight of
guilt for our many failures, for all the unevangelized
people around us whom we passed on the streets without
sharing the gospel, and whose blood was therefore on
our hands, and so on. And then, on Sunday, to be
recharged and equipped for another week of
will-motivated strivings, we sang a handful of trite and trivial choruses. It
just didn’t cut it. When Reformed doctrine came into
the picture, it was the most liberating and
captivating thing that could be imagined. All of a
sudden, my salvation, sanctification, acceptance with
God, and so on, wasn’t dependent on me. God was
responsible for my salvation, from beginning to end. I
didn’t produce faith from my own dead and hardened
nature in the first place, even that was a gift of
God; and what God had begun, God would finish. And
then, in proportion as my view of myself diminished,
my view of my Savior increased, to such an extent that
gazing on his manifold perfections truly was an
unending source of delight and nourishment for the
Christian race. My rest became my strength, my despair
in myself became my confidence in Another, my
confidence apart from my works became the motivation
by which my works abounded as a labor of love and not
a torture of guilt.

2. Desire for a rootedness and connectedness with the
historic faith. We also became quite dismayed over the
fragmentation of the Evangelical Church, the
consumer-minded, individualistic shopping for the
denomination, worship style, and points of doctrine
which are “right for you,” which is so characteristic of
the American protestant culture. The Reformed
tradition has a rich legacy of unbroken doctrinal
tradition from the days of the Reformers, who
themselves labored to show their connectedness and
continuity with the Church fathers and apostles.

3. The resurgence of Puritan literature. There is no
greater motivation to become Reformed than reading the
light-and-heat writings of Edwards and others, who
evinced a doctrinal depth, exegetical precision, and
ardor of heart like no one else. Banner of Truth
Trust, J. I. Packer’s intros and popularizing, etc.,
are having a tremendous impact.

4. John Piper. He is probably the major reason that
there is such a high percentage of Reformed Baptists
in the modern resurgence. But many paedo-baptists also
love him and have learned much from his passionate and
articulate recasting of Reformed Theology for the
Church of today.

5. The internet (and Monergism in particular).
Monergism was the website which introduced me and many
of my friends to the Reformed worldview, and it
continues to have an impact on our thinking, studying,
etc. Just the growing availability of reliable
resources on the internet has been phenomenally
helpful, and sites like Monergism, where all the best
contemporary and classic resources of historic
Christianity are available at the click of a button,
has greatly facilitated the desire to be “always
reforming” (semper reformanda).

Peter serves as a pastor-teacher, at home and abroad, resourcing gospel-centred communities.

One thought on “Why Reformed?

  1. What a list. All five are true of me (I’m slowing engaging more and more with Puritan literature).

    Piper’s had the biggest influence. The second was the man-centered doctrine and feel-good messages of American Evangelicalism.

    Praise God for Reformed theology and worldview.

    Thanks for the post.

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