The current issue of Christianity Today contains an article worth reading. The story mentions several pastors I admire, respect and read: R. C. Sproul, John Piper, Al Mohler, C. J. Mahaney, Mark Dever and Joshua Harris.
One point the article makes is that, contrary to a common accusation, today’s young adherents to Reformed theology see no conflict between the doctrine of God’s sovereignty in election and the call upon the Christian to evangelize the lost.
When I was on staff with a parachurch ministry known for its emphasis on evangelism, I began to be concerned about their apparent “psychologizing” of the gospel. I predicted that if they continued to incorporate psychology into their evangelism and discipleship, they would soon shoot themselves in the foot, because any benefit psychology may bring applies equally to the believer as to the non-believer. In other words, “If all I need to do is learn to set up some ‘boundaries’ in my life, then what do I need Jesus for?” “If I can learn how to deal with my ‘dysfunctions,’ then I don’t need to be forgiven of my sin or conformed to the likeness of Christ.” It occurred to me that if Christians needed the insights of psychology to solve problems in their lives, then either God’s word lacked something, or we lacked understanding of God’s word.
At the same time as I was growing disenchanted with my erstwhile ministry environs, I came across a book by R. C. Sproul explaining Reformed theology for laymen. I wasn’t entirely convinced of his theological system, but I did come away impressed that he taught that scripture actually meant something (rather than whatever we wanted it to mean), and his description of God’s sovereignty actually made God sound truly kingly (rather than as one who hangs out in heaven hoping we’ll come ask him for a favor).
Anyhow, I continued to read in this vein, and I guess according to the CT article, I’m not the only one. One other thing I have in common with the people mentioned in the story is that I’m not particularly fond of the label “Calvinist.” But on the other hand, I’ve found that about every question or problem I encountered in Evangelicalism today I’ve found can be remedied by a dose of the biblically faithful theology of the Reformation and of the Puritans.
P.S. The “Homeboy” T-Shirt seen on the CT cover is part of a collection created by Frank Turk, aka “Centuri0n,” one of the contributors at the Pyromaniacs blog. He refers to them as “cheap junk at ridiculous prices.” Name your Reformed hero, and you can buy your T-shirt here.