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Thread: America's Christian Faith is Experiencing a Comeback of Calvinism and Its God-first Immersion in Scripture

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    America's Christian Faith is Experiencing a Comeback of Calvinism and Its God-first Immersion in Scripture

    CSMonitor.com
    March 27, 2010



    Christian faith: Calvinism is back
    In America's Christian faith, a surprising comeback of rock-ribbed Calvinism is challenging the Jesus-is-your-buddy gospel of modern evangelism.


    [excerpts...]

    When people today hear the name John Calvin, they think mainly of predestination – the controversial idea that God has foreordained everything that will happen, including who will and won't be saved, no matter what they do in life.

    What people often forget is that the 16th-century French theologian transformed Western thought both by what he taught and how he taught it. His 700-page "Institutes of the Christian Religion" became the reference manual for Protestant faith. And his detailed and explanatory style of preaching – he spent five years expounding on the book of Acts, verse by verse – became an example for generations of clergy.
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    By most logic, the stern system of Calvinism shouldn't be popular today. Much of modern Christianity preaches a comforting Home Depot theology: You can do it. We can help. Epitomized by popular titles like Joel Osteen's "Your Best Life Now: 7 Steps to Living at Your Full Potential," this message of self-fulfillment through Christian commitment attracts followers in huge numbers, turning big churches into megachurches.
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    Christopher Brown, a lawyer, concurs. "I came for the theology but stayed for the community," he says. "As Americans, we're so individualistic. But the New Testament rebukes this 'rugged individualism.' We're not saved to be lone rangers."
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    The problem with Christianity is that it was transformed in its early stages into a religion for the masses, and the very large majority of Christians aren't scholars of any sorts. Its followers are fed by the spoon the fundamentals of their religion in unsettling institutions such as schools and church, without even really understanding it or even peaking much of their interest in further scholarly knowledge or intrigue.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ædiruc View Post
    The problem with Christianity is that it was transformed in its early stages into a religion for the masses, and the very large majority of Christians aren't scholars of any sorts. Its followers are fed by the spoon the fundamentals of their religion in unsettling institutions such as schools and church, without even really understanding it or even peaking much of their interest in further scholarly knowledge or intrigue.
    That's also the same reason why Christianity has become so commercialized over the past few hundred years.

    http://www.tastyfaith.com/christmascommerc.html

    http://www.crosscurrents.org/schmidt.htm

    http://www.newworldencyclopedia.org/entry/Calvinism

    http://www.newworldencyclopedia.org/entry/John_Calvin

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    I've been reading a lot about the resurgence of Calvinistic Reform theology for the past several years now. I assumed that Reformed identity was summarized by TULIP, but Calvinism is a lot more nuanced than I previously thought.

    Ultimately, Calvinism's contrast with chummier, Jesus-is-my-friend forms of evangelicalism may highlight a more fundamental change in the world of faith. Bestselling religion writer Phyllis Tickle sees the interest in Calvinism as the first phase of a backlash against the dominant religious trend of today: the rise of "Emergence Christianity."

    Emergence Christianity, which she identifies as a once-every-500-years religious shift, is less a doctrine or a movement than a postmodern attitude toward religion itself. Loosely organized, it values experimentation over traditional rules and Christian practice.

    "When things go through this upheaval," Ms. Tickle says, "there's always those who absolutely need the assurance of rules and a foundation."
    Emergence Christianity seems very similar to religionless Christianity or progressive Christianity, except more Marxist and even more dedicated to social justice issues. So yes, I can clearly see why some would be drawn to more dogmatic theology.
    'Well, what are you?" said the Pigeon. "I can see you're trying to invent something!" "I-I'm a little girl," said Alice, rather doubtfully. She found herself at last in a beautiful garden, among the bright flower-beds and the cool fountains.



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