Reformed ghetto blasters

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I've just been reading Collin Hansen's Young, Restless, Reformed: A Journalist's Journey with the New Calvinists. It's a fascinating exploration of the growing influence of names with which we are familiar: John Piper, Mark Dever, Al Mohler. I don't get Christianity Today, but I gather that this book arises out of material which appeared in CT some time ago.

 

I was a bit disturbed, however, with the following paragraph (p34), in connection with the author's interview of John Piper:

 

'I think the criticism of Reformed theology is being silenced by the mission and justice and evangelism and worship and counselling - the whole range of pastoral life', Piper said, 'We're not the kind who are off in a Grand Rapids ghetto crossing our t's and dotting our i's and telling the world to get our act together. We're in the New Orleans slums with groups like Desire Street Ministries, raising up black elders through Reformed theology from nine-year old boys who had no chance'.

 

I'm not sure if Piper is aiming at some particular group here? I've never been to Grand Rapids, so I don't know about its Calvinistic ghettoes, but the comment seemed to me to be uncharacteristically harsh. I'm glad for the time Piper takes to cross his own t's and dot his own i's - his contribution to the debates on imputation for example have been greatly appreciated.

 

On the other hand, I'm sure that there are Grand Rapids Calvinists who are every bit as practical in the outworking of their theology. As someone who lives on an island, perhaps I'm over-sensitive to the ease with which we can caricature others and be caricatured ourselves, but let's not rush into judgement on God's people just because of where God in his Providence has called them to serve!

Posted August 18, 2008 @ 8:27 AM by Iain D Campbell
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