I do my best to stay on top of what’s going on in the world of Christianity in general and in evangelicalism in particular. So much is happening that remaining current is not at all easy. Tons of materials pour into the hopper every day so that when I encounter something that sorta pulls things together I very much appreciate it. Such is the case with the following informative and nicely stated article by a Christian writer I follow and admire, Derek Rishmawy. The article appeared at Mere Orthodoxy and at Derek’s own Reformedish blog. Derek is the Director of College and Young Adult ministries at Trinity United Presbyterian Church in Orange County, CA, where, as he puts it, “He wrangles college kids for the gospel.” He got his B.A. in Philosophy at UC Irvine and his M.A. in Theological Studies (Biblical Studies) at Azusa Pacific University. His passions are the church, theology, cultural criticism, and some philosophy. He has been published at the Gospel Coalition and Out of Ur blog. He is a staff writer at Christ and Pop Culture. You can also follow him on Twitter as:
This article is written from the standpoint of Reformed theology which is generally considered synonymous with Calvinism and most often, in the U.S. and the UK, is specifically associated with the theology of the historic church confessions such as the Westminster Confession of Faith or the Three Forms of Unity. The following summary of Reformed theology, or what it means to be Reformed is taken from Theopedia.com:
What does it mean to be Reformed?
- It means to affirm the great “Solas” of the Reformation. (See the Five Solas)
- It means to affirm and promote a profoundly high view of the sovereignty of God.
- It means to affirm the doctrines of grace. . . to see God as the author of salvation from beginning to end. (See Calvinism)
- It means to be creedal. . . to affirm the great creeds of the historic, orthodox church. (See e.g. the Nicene Creed)
- It means to be confessional. . . to affirm one or more of the great confessions of the historic orthodox church. (see e.g. the Westminster Confession)
- It means to be covenantal. . . to affirm the great covenants of Scripture and see those covenants as the means by which God interacts with and accomplishes His purposes in His creation, with mankind. (see Covenant Theology)
- It means to take seriously the Great Commission of Matthew 28:19-20. . . to affirm the primacy of mission and understand that mission.
- It means to have a distinctly Christian worldview that permeates all of life.
With that background regarding Reformed theology in mind I was easily able to see how much of this article applies to evangelicalism in general. I hope you find it a useful guide to what is happing in the evangelical church these days. RMF
The Progressive Evangelical Package
It’s no secret that Reformed Christians have built their own wing of the internet where they spend their time chatting among themselves. They police certain key boundaries and dissent from some of these can (rightly or wrongly) bring about serious criticism. While there is more diversity among the Reformed than critics usually want to recognize, there can also be a heavy pressure to conform to the ‘standard’. Given the more consciously confessional (and I do use the term somewhat broadly) ethos among the Reformed, it’s rather unsurprising that this should be the case. Continue reading