In the upcoming edition of Christianity Today (CT) the current popularity of Reformed Theology will be highlighted in an article entitled Young, Restless, Reformed.
I am definitely looking forward to reading this article (minus the corny picture of Edwards as a homeboy and a soap opera reference with caviler intimations)
Consistent with their history of highlighting what is popular in the evangelical movement CT will highlight this growing theological trend in the church.
Once could have seen this coming when they interviewed Mark Driscoll, pastor of Mars Hill Church in Seattle, when he said, “The two hot theologies today are Reformed and emerging.”
Reformed Theology is growing and this is a good thing. It is great to see the popularity surrounding the writings of the reformers and the puritans.
This is particularly encouraging if you look at what has happened historically with the increase in this solid, biblical or reformed theology. In a word: revival.
We of course are familiar with the great number of folks born again when Martin Luther and the reformers were used by God to herald the glory of Christ through the recovery of the doctrine of justification. But who can forget the great harvest of souls that were won through the reformed preaching and writing of Baxter, Bunyan and Owen?
Consider also in our own country when in 1729 the Westminster Confession was accepted in the colonies, and then early in the 1730’s God uses the preaching of Jonathan Edwards to unsettle callous hearts with the gospel. In 1740 George Whitfield arrives in the colonies to stoke the flames kindled by Edwards. Then also early in the 1800’s the Second Great Awakening begins with a great outpouring of the Spirit of God upon those who are preaching, specifically preaching the doctrines of grace. We also see Princeton Seminary open in 1812 to accommodate and accelerate this revival of preaching.
Historically we see that when biblical theology is taken seriously people get saved. This is because biblical theology is a preaching theology, and it has at its center the crucified and risen Savior and all of the glorious realities that spring from the great well of doctrine.
All of this is exciting. I am thrilled as a young reformed preacher to know that biblical theology is growing in the evangelical church. But my excitement is not linked to popularity as if my team was ranked in the top 25 to open the college football season (which it is!), but rather because I know that true biblical revival will only happen through the recovery and proclamation of the Bible. If multitudes of people are going to get saved like they did when Baxter, Whitfield, Edwards, or Nettleton preached it is going to come through the contemporary echo of their sermons.
Charles Spurgeon said it well, “Clean the grand old pictures of the divine masters; hang them up in new frames; fix them on the walls of your people’s memories…”
I recently asked a professor at a major seminary in the U.S. what he thought of the resurgence in reformed theology particularly in light of the great interest in what Mark Dever, CJ Maheney, Al Mohler and Ligon Duncan did in April at Together for the Gospel. His answer was quick and telling. He said, “It is either a great revival brewing or the last ditch effort to save a sinking ship (evangelicalism)”
Join me in praying that his first answer will happen and that a sustained revival will be birthed from an army of expositors working hard in the study to deliver the goods in the pulpit that souls would be saved and Jesus would be exalted.
(HT: Justin Taylor)