The New Calvinism: Astroturf or Grassroots Movement?

There was a lingering debate during the 2010 mid-term elections season whether or not the Tea Party Movement/One Nation/Coffee Party were all astroturf or grassroots.  I think it is a matter of whether or not you watched Fox News (Republican television), CNN (Republican t.v.) or MSNBC (Democrat television). In the end, it was quite ambiguous, but I saw it as a both/and thing, with the notion that there can ever be a “purely” grassroots political movement without money or power behind it as ridiculous in this day and age.

But I will say, in Christian circles, especially on the biblio-blogosphere, there is a rather large volume of Calvinist/Reformed voices where we keep hearing about Zwingli,  Luther, Calvin,  Bulcer, Barth, Spurgeon, blah blah blah, with only a very small number of persons who could care less about the Calvin/Arminian debate (since the life of God does not revolve around Europe even though the Neo-Calvs act like it does). In Baptist circles, the South Baptist convention and its leadership are rejecting traditional Baptist teaching such as Soul Competency in favor of the doctrines of grace.  Calvinists get their own Bible translations (ESV) and have a number of sites dedicated to bashing other translation (really).  It’s not unusual especially in the Southern part of the United States to hear “Calvinism is the true Christianity.” I have never heard an Arminian argue this. If you ask me, it reminds me of the arrogance Peter and first Jewish Christians had in excluding first among of the Gentile converts until the apostle Paul rebuked them (Acts 11). And by this, I do include the culturally exclusive nature of the New Calvinism.  Yet, current research has shown that the numbers have not really shifted one way or the other; the New Reformed movement just happens to have more money and influence. Its more of a short-term trendy thing in Christendom like the 1990s/early 2000s emergent Christian fad. Overall, it seems churches in the US are about even in term of being divided between Calvinist and Wesleyan.

Okay, I’ll get off my high horse now.

Oh, and if you needed a good laugh, read this response from Reformation 21. I couldn’t stop giggling reading the conclusion. They take themselves so seriously.

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0 thoughts on “The New Calvinism: Astroturf or Grassroots Movement?

  1. Optimistic Chad

    So much to disagree with about this post. Perhaps I will adress it tomorrow. But I agree with your main point.

      1. Optimistic Chad

        Ok, so you already fixed the part about confusing the “new reformed” with the neo-cals. kudos.

        Lumping in Barth especially with “Calvinist/Reformed voices” is not fair. You first lump Calvinist and reformed voices together, making them seem as one. This isn’t the case. Armenian voices are, strictly speaking, reformed as well. Barth actually made a lot of room for those of us who are reformed to NOT be Calvinist in the traditional terms. So… lame.

        my emergent feelings are also hurt by the charge that it is a short-term trendy thing. It may have been a short term thing, ad it may have been trendy in some circles, but that is like saying the civil rights movement under MLK was a short term, trendy thing. That doesn’t do justice to those it helped, nor to the long-term effects of the movement.

        How do you spell the noise you make while sticking out your tongue and forcing air out of your mouth? Cuz that is what I am doing.

        1. Rod of Alexandria Post author

          I didn’t mention Arminius as Reformed, that’s fair. AS for Barth, well, I love the Letter to the Romans/Early Barth, its on the blogosphere by some commenters Barth has become a new Calvin.

          Sorry for the emergent comments as well. My feelings were hurt by they did not become as racially inclusive as initially promised. It has always been my dream for an inter-racial, integrated church, and emergent theologies gave me hope. But at last, my hopes were dashed. And please do not compare Emergent and the Civil Rights movement in the same sentence. That’s really hogwash, sorry. The CRM changed the moral conscience of an entire nation-state. Emergent Christianity converted a few evangelicals into mainliners,Eastern Orthodox, or Roman Catholic.

          And the noise you make sticking out your tongue, I believe is called a raspberry.

          1. Optimistic Chad

            I forgive you. Also, please understand my comparison between the civil rights movement (under MLK) and the emergent church movement was not of value, but of type. They both were relatively short-lived, but their effects are still felt. I would agree that the former was vastly more important than the latter. Still, if you or I were compared with Jesus, clearly there is a correlation to be made, but not a value equality.

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