Tuesday, February 17, 2009


Scot McKnight [who I resonate with in terms of his approach] in a recent post addresses the rise of what he calls the NeoReformed. He writes:
I have never had any problems with the variety of theologies at work in the big tent of evangelicalism. Calvinists are not only among us, they have important elements to bring to the table. I've sat on the essence of this post for months, but I think it is time for us to make it public. I do so with a certain degree of sadness, but feel compelled to call us to a unity that is presently threatened.

The evangelical tent is big enough to welcome to the table Calvinists and Arminians, anabaptists and charismatics, and I love it when Catholics and the Orthodox join us. This is not a personal battle for me with Calvinists; it's a particular kind of divisive Calvinist that I have in view.
You should read the whole article to catch the distinction the McKnight makes re the "village green" and the church. McKnight then says:
Instead, they [the NeoReformed] want to build a gate at the gate-less village green and require Reformed confessions and credentials to enter onto the village green. Put differently, they think the only legitimate and the only faithful evangelicals are Reformed. Really Reformed. In other words, they are "confessing" evangelicals. The only true evangelical is a Reformed evangelical.
McKnight, then concludes with a quote with a letter from a Reformed friend of his.
The problem, as I see it is these, whom you are calling neoreformed, are to me simply the old fundamentalists in nicer clothes with better vocabularies. They are just as mean-spirited, just as graceless, and just as exclusive.
My 2 cents:
Labelling is always dangerous. Because like it or not, we tend to paint with a broad brush, that tars some with the label when they don't deserve it. On the other hand, I agree with McKnight that there is part of the current Reformed movement, is indeed NeoReformed, that is, it is different than historical Reformed theology.

My sense is, NeoReformed is a narrowing of the gate - to a narrower dimension than is biblical. And whenever that happens, we do away with grace.

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