Future of Evangelicalism
The Evangelical Reformed Movement: A Comeback
By Justin Taylor, Kevin DeYoung,and Collin Hansen
About five years ago, something strange happened in the Christian world: Reformed theology made a comeback. Once perceived as the bright but slightly eccentric and often ignored kid in the corner of the classroom, Calvinism became the new cool kid on the block. To be fair, a significant number of American evangelicals have always believed the doctrines of grace -- that God graciously regenerates sinners who would not otherwise choose to follow him. But for much of the 19th and 20th centuries, those evangelicals tended to congregate in relatively small Presbyterian denominations.
In the 1990s, in a relatively quiet and unassuming way, various churches and ministries began to expand in influence throughout the United States -- all influenced in one way or another by the Reformed vision of a great and glorious God. In addition to the Reformed seminaries, there was Sovereign Grace Ministries (Gaithersburg, Maryland), 9Marks (Washington, D.C.), Desiring God (Minneapolis), Ligonier Ministries (Orlando), Grace to You (Sun Valley, California), and Acts29 (Seattle). Added to this was the Southern Baptist Convention's flagship seminary, where president Albert Mohler led a conservative resurgence to recover the founders' Reformational principles. Each ministry -- valuable in its own right -- operated independently from one another. But through intentional relational networking -- as seen, for example, in Together for the Gospel (first conference, 2006) -- there was newfound camaraderie as it seemed that a fresh work of God was underway.
This fellowship among Presbyterians, Baptists, and a host of like-minded independent churches caught the watching public's attention. Christianity Today, Time, The New York Times, Christian Science Monitor, and the Religion Newswriters Association all took notice. Any accurate analysis of evangelical trends today will take note of the energy behind this growing movement.