Monday, March 31, 2008

Young, restless, reformed - UK?

Challies reviews Collin Hansen's Young Restless & Reformed. It's something of a biography of this movement of the new Calvinists in America. Think Louie Giglio & Passion, think Piper, think Driscoll. I've not read it, though I'd love a copy. I wonder how it'd go down in the UK. Piper and Driscoll appear to be influencing a good number of the students I encounter though there are plenty of other voices in the crowd too - like the altogether less helpful Eldridge, Bell etc.

There is something compelling and attractive about Driscoll's confidence in the truth and Piper's passion for the glory of God that should rightly resonate with any Christian (whether or not you buy into all seven points of Piper-Calvinism).

In the UK, many in UCCF and Newfrontiers have long been journeying with Piper&co (There are lots of non-Calvinist's in the UCCF family, and I'd guess that Newfrontiers isn't entirely Calvinist either.) and there are plenty of churches in Anglican and Free traditions who would hold to strong reformed theology. Translating that into the 21st Century is the question - what does it look like to be Young, Restless & Reformed in the UK? Or just what does it mean to be Reformation-Christians, whatever your age, state of mind etc.

[edit: I think I want to concede that reformed is a term that needs careful definition, and in the UK it seems that whilst there is tension/disagreement on the Calvin/Arminius issue it doesn't seem to be that much of a cause for division where there is unity more clearly on high view of Scripture and unity about the centrality of the cross. That might mean we talk about more about being evangelical than reformed in the UK... I dunno.]
Ventures like next week's New Word Alive conference offer some possibilities of what it may look like to be together for the gospel in the UK, but these things have to be worked out in local communities not just at conference centres. It's a common commitment to the Cross and the Scriptures that birthed this new conference. Who'd have thought that would bring people together!! Seeing families like UCCF and Keswick with Newfrontiers and Soul Survivor partnering together is greatly encouraging for those of us who have a passion for God's glory, a love of the doctrines of the gospel, and feel the drive of the Spirit to go and re-evangelise this once-churched nation.

If this is going anywhere we need to engage with questions like these from Martin Downes about confessional statements. T4G-2006 in the states took the bold step of composing a confession for those who want to unite around the gospel. New events don't necessitate doing that, new word alive already works on the basis of the UCCF doctrinal basis of fellowship. Confessions and their persistent use help us to stay gospel-centred and avoid the drift that so easily catches us. Far from being opposed to relationships they strengthen them by prioritising the gospel above all else.