Saturday, May 3, 2008

Young, Restless, Reformed - Collin Hansen

I just finished reading the book Young, Restless, Reformed - A Journalist's Journey with the New Calvinists by Collin Hansen. The book centers around Hansen's journey over American during the last 2 years interviewing and talking with leaders of the growing Reformed movement. The book is well written making it an easy read. My interest was peaked while reading due to the recognition of many of the names in the book.

While Hansen interviews many of the proponents of Reformed Theology, he also interviews some who oppose it giving it the journalistic flair. Another component of the book is that while Hansen interviews many of the big names in the movement, he also talks with students associated with these well know churches. He finds out their background and how they came to this theology. Each chapter deals with a specific location he has attended to do an interview, but he works other details in as well.

One chapter of interest to me with that of the revival of Calvinism in the Southern Baptist Convention. Hansen begins focusing on the recovery of Southern Seminary and its Calvinistic foundation as seen in the Abstract of Principles. He discusses the effect of this doctrine on the churches with significant attention to one larger church in particular. Again as in most chapters, he quotes from both pro and con.

There is one chapter on John Piper and his influence on this move to Reformed ideas. Another chapter deals with Jonathan Edwards and his influence felt even today. I enjoyed reading what Hansen thought as he held some of the original manuscripts of Edwards. The remaining chapters focused on what I would call "charismatic Calvinists." He interviews leaders in the Sovereign Grace churches as well as the Act 29 Network of churches (of which I confess I had never heard) and mentions several times the influence of Wayne Grudem's Systematic Theology.

In summary, it was good to read of a younger generation that is moving toward a more Biblical view of salvation. While Hansen had interviewed many lesser known individuals, most of these were associated with these big churches and ministries. Therefore, after reading the last chapter, I was a little disappointed, because I felt Hanson had left out many of those who have always promoted a Reformed view or those of smaller churches glorying God in their work and worship no matter how difficult. These had been overlooked. But, Hansen relived this disappointment in the Epilogue. I will close this blog by quoting from that section:

For nearly two years, I traveled across the country and talked with the leading pastors and theologians of the growing Reformed movement. I sat in John Piper's den, Al Mohler's office, C.J. Mahaney's church, and Jonathan Edwards's college. But the backbone of the Reformed resurgence comprises ordinary churches like those I saw in South Dakota --- churches used by God to do extraordinary things. Armed with God's Word and transformed by the Holy Spirit, these churches' leaders faithfully proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ week after week, through tragedy and triumph. . . . Hunger for God's Word. Passion for evangelism. Zeal for holiness. That's not a revival of Calvinism. That's a revival. And it's breaking out in places like Emery, South Dakota.

Book Information

Title: Young, Restless, Reformed - A Journalist's Journey with the New Calvinists
Author: Collin Hansen
Cover: Paperback
Pages: 160
Dust jacket: No
Indexes: Subject
Publisher: Crossway
Year: 2008
ISBN: 1581349408

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