Kevin DeYoung, on of the authors of a terrific book on the emergent/emerging movements has a blog and he writes today about a conference just held at his congregation with Collin Hansen. He makes a couple of points to which I want to respond. I tried to reply on the blog but it threw me into an endless loop so I post it here instead.Kevin, We met the WSC faculty conference, “Missional and Reformed.” I enjoy the blog very much and enjoyed the book on the Emerging/Emergent movements and have recommended it widely.
As a minister who has spent a fair bit of time calling people to Christ AND to the Reformed confession, however, I take exception to the implication that it’s an either/or choice. It isn’t. You’ve made this implication before I on the blog and think it would be worthwhile spending some time criticizing it. As I understand the Reformed faith, we confess what we do because we believe it to be biblical. Being Reformed is not a second blessing for the illuminati.
It is worthwhile to contest the YRR appropriation of the adjective “Reformed.” Most of the YRR folk are, in fact, Particular Baptists or, as it were, Particular Charismatics. Yes, it’s exciting to see people from outside the tradition (from where I came) coming to embrace the doctrines of grace but there is, as you know, much more to the Reformed faith than simply the Canons of Dort. The Canons were themselves nothing more than a commentary on the Belgic Confession.
We should not settle for a lowest-common-denominator definition of Reformed any more that we should settle for allowing Rome to define “catholic” (William Perkins made this point) or allowing contemporary evangelicals to define “evangelical.” It was baby-baptizing Protestants who defined the “evangelical” faith in the 16th century. Each of these is an important adjective. We are catholic. We are evangelical. We are Reformed. From an historical perspective, of these adjectives, the most precise is Reformed. It has been defined by the Reformed Churches in public, ecclesiastically sanctioned documents (the Heidelberg Catechism, the Belgic Confession, the Canons of Dort, and the Westminster Standards to name a few) and it encompasses a theology that is more than the five points, a Word and sacrament piety, and a churchly practice that includes the administration of baptism to covenant children.
It’s truly exciting to see folks from outside the tradition come to appreciate aspects of the Reformed faith but the 5 points are just the vestibule. Let’s not leave our guests in the hall way. Let’s invite them into the rest of the house.