The Calvinist Resurgence

Continuity from the Old to the New Calvinism

Much more could be said regarding this resurgence.  One student asked what remains the same between the "Old Calvinism" and the "New Calvinism."  There is much more continuity between the New Calvinism and John Calvin than with some of his followers.  However, what essentially remains the same is the soteriological core -- God's sovereign grace in redeeming broken sinners, which has been popularly captured by the TULIP acronym: total depravity, unconditional election, limited atonement, irresistible grace, and perseverance of the saints (limited atonement appears to be more negotiable among the New Calvinists).  This understanding of God's sovereignty over salvation extends into a life lived under his sovereignty post-salvation.

The TULIP is flowering more vibrantly than it has for some time in the U.S.  The Reformed resurgence has led to a missional resurgence that is set on holding the formerly "liberal" and "conservative" agendas together with the gospel, promoting robust engagement of social, cultural, and spiritual spheres of life.  In this regard, the New Calvinism has more in common with the Calvinism of Abraham Kuyper, who argued that Calvinism is not merely a soteriological system, but an entire life- and worldview.  The New Calvinism is broader than some of its narrower conceptions.  All in all, I believe this resurgence is a very positive resurgence, a winsome Calvinism for the 21st century that advocates a whole gospel for the whole person and country.


Jonathan Dodson is the pastor of Austin City Life in Austin, Texas, and blogs at Creation Project. He holds an M.Div. and Th.M. and has published articles in various journals and webzines such as The Journal of Biblical Counseling and Boundless.  The above first appeared as "The Message of the Resurging Calvinism" at

For more articles like this, see the Evangelical Portal.  Patheos featured two earlier pieces from Dodson, including "Do Worldly Honors Matter?" and "Stop Going to Church, or, How to be Like Bono." 

3/11/2010 5:00:00 AM
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