Who are the New Calvinists, and what are the beliefs of New Calvinism?


Clarify Share Report Asked April 23 2014 Mini Anonymous (via GotQuestions)

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Closeup Jennifer Rothnie Supporter Housewife, Artist, Perpetually Curious
New Calvinists are a movement of Calvinists that seek to engage with the culture or redeem it, and to make the gospel, seem more relevant to the postmodern world. In essence, it is sort of 'reverse-evangelism' - bring the world into the church, rather than send the church into the world. Within the church, it's focus is on teaching Calvinism and making worship more fun, with sermons and music that are more anecdotal or emotional than grounded in scripture.


New Calvinists hold to the theories of Calvinism, namely: Total Depravity, Unconditional Election, Limited Atonement, Irresistible Grace, and Perseverance of the Saints. One of their goals is the advancing of Calvinism or the 'reformed tradition.'

As such, the movement comes with all the theological baggage Calvinism entails. By starting with the premise that Calvinism is a true representation of how salvation works, rather than a theory regarding it, the simplicity of the gospel is put aside from the start.

For analysis of Calvinism and its main points, see related topics:

What is Calvinism and is it biblical? Http://ebible.com/answers/17319?ori=167400

Is total depravity biblical? Http://ebible.com/answers/27015?ori=167400

Is unconditional election biblical? Http://ebible.com/answers/17856?ori=167400

Is the atonement of Christ unlimited? Http://ebible.com/answers/3186?ori=167400

What are the doctrines of grace? Http://ebible.com/answers/18368?ori=167400

What is 'perseverance of the saints' and is it biblical? Http://ebible.com/answers/7716?ori=167400

New Calvinists also believe that it is best to contextualize the gospel for different audiences. Most Christians would agree that it can be beneficial to angle one's presentation of the gospel to the audience one is evangelizing. Even Jesus did this, responding with questions, scripture, law, examples, parables, healing, etc. Depending on His audience. 

However, the New Calvinists take this a step further, some even treating scripture as near-useless as written, and believing the message must be re-crafted or manipulated to be sensitive to audience, cultural trends, different cultures, etc. Furthermore, New Calvinists generally hold that one must start with the world's definitions of justice and rationality, rather than God's, to argue why Christianity will lead to their best happy ending.

The guiding principle is not accuracy to the word or solid theology, but 'relevance'; breaking down barriers and hostility to the gospel while making the church more attractive to outsiders. 

This takes many forms. It might look like apologizing for atrocities done by groups claiming affiliation with Christianity in the past - rather than pointing out that scripture shows there will be false teachers and false religion even in Christ's name. 

It might take the form of watering down, minimizing, or changing scripture to remove perceived stumbling blocks, avoid persecution, or make it something people want to hear (II Tim 4:3, Gal 5:11, etc.)

At worst, it can even take the form of preaching another gospel, such as when Tim Keller, a leader in the movement, said he didn't know what happens to those who die without Christ (compare to Jn 3:36), and that there may be another way (besides Christ) for unbelievers, or when New Calvinists promote Calvinism as equivalent to the gospel.


As mentioned before, New Calvinism is a type of reverse evangelism. Rather than prioritizing going out into the world to preach, the focus is generally on getting the world to step inside a church building or come to a church function. As unbelievers can't be part of the body of Christ, and can actually infect the body of Christ, this is unwise.

Other practices that can lead to problems are the watering down of theology in worship, in trade for passionate emotion, or teaching Calvinism through new songs and re-written hymns. [Is Contemporary Christian Music honoring to God? Http://ebible.com/answers/7699?ori=167400]

October 19 2016 3 responses Vote Up Share Report

Shea S. Michael Houdmann Supporter Got Questions Ministries
New Calvinism is not a new branch of theology or a denomination. Rather, it is a "revival" of sorts-a revival of traditional, "old" Calvinism. The movement is sweeping through American evangelical ...

April 23 2014 0 responses Vote Up Share Report

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