Can Anything Good Come From Geneva?

reformersToday, Kevin DeYoung asked the question, “What Do You Think of When You Think of the New Calvinism?” His response would be like mine. I am grateful for the men, Reformed in their soteriology, who have enlarged my vision of God for the last decade. Without them, I would still be an open theist (or worse), struggling with the anxieties that come from a misshapen view of God. Instead, because of the ministries of John Piper, Albert Mohler, and Mark Dever—to name only a few—I stand ready to rejoice in the Lord and risk on his behalf. And I stand, not because of my own strength, but because of the strong hand of the Lord who upholds me.

Now there are many, some of my closest brothers in Christ, who do not agree with me on the value of Reformed theology. For many there is suspicion, uncertainty, and diffidence towards ‘Calvinism’ and the men and women who assume the name ‘Calvinist.’ To echo the words of Nathanael, they might ask, “Can anything good come from Geneva?” 

It’s a good question. And it is one that is often answered better with a life-lived than a doctrinal debate. In other words, the best testimony for the doctrines of grace are those who people who display a humble heart and a contagious zeal for God, his glory, and the salvation of sinners.

On this note, John Piper has written a poem called ‘The Calvinist.’ Some of the men whose preaching has most deeply impacted me provide the soundtrack (e.g., Alistair Begg, D. A. Carson, Matt Chandler, etc.). The poem captures the oft-neglected fact that Calvinism is not a cold, detached belief system. It is the power of God in Christ to inform and animate every area of life. It puts God as the center of the universe and spins everything else around him. Even more, its truthfulness—for those who would venture to call themselves Calvinists—does not stem from a sixteenth century Genevan pastor-theologian. They emerge from the eternal word and the triune work of God in the souls of men.

Give Piper’s poem a listen. If you are persuaded by Reformed theology, this video will stir your heart. If you are not persuaded, then listen and consider how this vision of God has been used by God in the last thirty years to infect a generation with risk-taking zeal for the glory of God.

For more on the recent phenomenon known as the Young, Restless, and Reformed movement, see Collin Hansen’s book by the same title. Mark Dever’s answer to the question, “Where Did All These Calvinists Come From?” is also helpful. Last, for those in Southern Baptist circles, Albert Mohler’s discussion with Eric Hankins is equally illuminating on the subject Calvinism in the SBC.

Soli Deo Gloria, dss

One thought on “Can Anything Good Come From Geneva?

  1. “Infect a generation” (last paragraph). Well said. Let’s consider where the rubber of your theology actually meets the road. In the real world,I have been counseling a 16 year old who has been fed a steady diet of reformed theology. He wants no part of an arbitrary God. He does not see the so called “love of God” in the reformer’s view of God’s sovereignty. If God has truly decided his fate, then all of life is fatalism. God is responsible for the death of his close friend. God directed those two planes into the twin towers (a la John Piper). After all, everything has already been decided. Thanks for making the soul-winner’s work so difficult. Calvinism continues to poison the well. Nice work boys. It may seem “liberating” to those who desperately want to explain the chaos and refuse to believe that mankind is responsible for this sordid mess, but it decidedly is not liberating to that 16 year old boy who’s view of God has so sadly been twisted. Stop calling yourselves soul-winners. Proselytizing isn’t the same thing.

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