‘What is Wrong With the Young, Restless and Reformed Movement’ is the title of a recent essay written by Dr. Paul Owen, professor of Greek and Religious Studies at Montreat College in North Carolina. Owen, though a Calvinist, separates himself from these “newbie” Calvinists, also known as the Young, Restless and Reformed, and even goes as far as posing the question, Why does he “sometimes feel more of a kinship with non-Calvinists of various flavors, than with the children of Geneva.”
Though lengthy and sometimes overt with arrogance on his part, I think it is an important response to those who identify themselves as belonging to this movement. Who is the Young, Restless and Reformed? Here’s how Owen describes them:
I have discovered that the person who really spends a lot of time talking about the “doctrines of grace,” tends to fit a typical profile. They tend to be male (rarely do you find women sitting around arguing about the details of TULIP), intellectually arrogant, argumentative, insecure (and therefore intolerant), and prone to constructing straw-man arguments.
He also says that for many of these “newbies” they describe their discovery of Calvinism in terms likened to a second conversion experience. Though his description is a bit exaggerated, overall it hits the mark in my opinion.
While reading this essay, I appreciated how Owen gives concessions to his “non-Calvinism brothers,” which, I believe, is for the purpose of showing those YRR folks that non-Calvinists get a lot of things right too. I also appreciate that Owen says, although he is a Calvinist, the doctrine of TULIP is not Scripture itself nor is it the gospel. “The Spirit of God is not going to be present and operative in the promotion of TULIP as the essence of the Christian religion,” he writes.
Probably for the YRR within my denomination (SBC), I thought this paragraph was both prophetic and provocative:
One final note. I am not a Baptist, but I suspect much of the discussion about Calvinism in the SBC is looking more at the symptoms than the disease. The disease is not Calvinism. There have been strict Baptist Calvinists on the scene since at least the seventeenth century. The disease is the TULIP cult of today’s spiritually sick Church. It is the TULIP cult mindset that seems to be tearing apart the SBC. For whatever else you can say about the Baptist tradition, it is most certainly a version of Christianity which finds the gospel of the Cross and the offer of free forgiveness through the shed blood of Jesus as its operating center. When you have men in the SBC who are more zealous evangelists for conversions to Calvinism than conversions to Christ, more earnest in their apologetics for TULIP than for the existence of God and the resurrection of Jesus from the dead, more excited about the doctrines of grace than the gospel itself—coexistence is going to be difficult.
In conclusion, I don’t agree with everything Owen writes in this essay, and like I previously mentioned he tends to do that which he criticizes – speak arrogantly. But with a little discernment, I think the reader (you and me) can take away some helpful critiques and warnings concerning the YRR.
You can read the article here: http://bit.ly/1dHlfzu and feel free to comment letting me know what you thought about the essay!