When John MacArthur spoke in chapel at Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary last year, he made a comment that struck me. Without wanting to misquote him or his intent, I remember that he said some thing to this effect: “We are in the midst of a religious awakening and we may not even know it!” He went on to describe the wonder of thousands of people downloading his sermons, including people in the rice patties of Thailand.
In 2012 Tim Challies wrote an article entitled, “Where Did the New Calvinists Come From?” In that article he cited Mark Dever who wrote on the same subject. The question being discussed was the issue of cause and effect. Both Dever and Challies looked at individuals, publishing houses, and organizations.
In 2014 Challies came back to the theme of his 2102 article, this time providing a chart with an expanded visual of the possible threads of the individuals, events, and organizations involved in giving rise to the “New Calvinism.” In 2014 the ten organizations is expanded into a very helpful 7-page chart.
Jason Allen, in his blog, considered the longevity of “New Calvinism” as a movement. Allen concluded that because of its focus on Scripture and its implications, the New Calvinism “leads one to classify it as a reformation in intent, temperament, and scope.”
As we ponder God’s working in history, it is hard to ignore the wind of God’s Holy Spirit drawing young people to desire God and to listen to His voice.
So I would recommend the modification of this chart to include the conservative resurgence within the Southern Baptist Convention. This resurgence was explained in a paper by Paige Patterson, “The Anatomy of a Reformation,” given at the Evangelical Theological Society.
However, this conservative resurgence did not limit itself to the confines of the SBC. Because of this resurgence, the SBC seminaries were transformed. And it was not long that via the halls of academia, U.S. Evangelicalism as a whole benefited. Those with conservative points of view were given a voice and a pen. Their writings were published and read. They were active first on YouTube, and then on social media. And for the minds of youth and students, those with a Reformed approach to doctrine seemed to win in the battle of ideas.
I personally felt the fault lines, being that I teach evangelism. Easy-believism was being shunned by many of my students, and they brought their ideas to my classes. My doctrinal positions were not very different than theirs. However, the salient issues were wrought out in the practice of evangelism.
Jason Allen, president of Midwestern is correct, New Calvinism is more than a fad. Because its feet are firmly planted in Scriptures its future is underwritten by the power of the Holy Spirit.
The popularity of the T4G conference last month in Louisville, Kentucky, attended by 7,900 participants, under the topic “Unashamed of the Gospel,” portrays the power of this grassroots Evangelical Awakening currently taking place. May the Lord continue His good work!