Tag Archives: John Wesley

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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