The twittersphere has blown up because of a video of Ed Young Jr attacking Calvinists. If you havent seen the video you can view it here about a quarter down the page.
Pastor Young’s rant leaves me asking a lot of questions:
Why does he think Calvinist are cool? I thought Pastor young’s church would be a ‘cool’ church and by saying this I mean no disrespect. I don’t care whether churches or not are cool but I thought Pastor Young’s church would be like Hillsong which is the ‘cool’ church in Sydney. I also think most Calvinist leaders (John Piper, Mark Dever, Matt Chandler, Albert Mohler) are not cool. This once again is no disrespect to them, I love these men and have been helped by their ministries but I wouldn’t call them cool.
Why did he choose to rant on this issue? Has he lost a bunch of early college age kids to a Calvinistic church nearby?
Who does he talk to in the Calvinist community? In the very small dealings I have had with American Christianity it seems like there are cliques like the Gospel Coalition/ T4G Clique, the Willow Clique, The Emergent Clique etc. So it would seem odd that Pastor Young has had the kind of conversations with Calvinist leaders that he claims he has had.
But questions aside we need to realise that there is is some truth in what he was saying.
- We Reformed guys are sometimes angry young and dudes who are super critical of everything. This negative, angry spirit is sin and we do need to work at being more loving and humble all the while holding onto the truth and lovingly pointing error out.
- Sometimes Reformed churches are not evangelistic. The gospel should motivate us to tell people about Jesus especially when we believe God is sovereign over salvation.
- Some young Calvinists do emphasize election to the detriment of all other theology and therefore are Hyper-Calvinist and not truly Calvinist. On this point Red Iain Murray’s great book Spurgeon Vs Hyper-Calvinism. True reformed theology holds election and human responsibility in tension. Just like Jesus did. Some young Calvinists have just read one blog or chapter on election and then this becomes the piece of theology which dominates everything else.
But there were some huge issues with Pastor Young’s rant.
- It was a rant. This is not how people should be rebuked.
- He said he and reformed guys are preaching a different gospels. If that is true what Gospel is he preaching?
- He seemed to equate Calvinists with those in the social gospel movement. This is baseless. Calvinists attack the social gospel movement as a derivation from the gospel. He probably should read What is the Mission of the Church? by Kevin DeYoung and Greg Gilbert.
- It showed an insecurity which I found troubling. He mentioned a number of times young people going to reformed churches. I am assuming that people from his church are leaving and going to reformed churches. Young’s church would have to number in the tens of thousands and if this number is accurate why is he caring about a few people from his college ministries going down the road to the local Reformed church? Is it because he finds his identity in his church and when people leave it his identity comes into question?
There will be a lot more responses to Pastor Young’s rant. But please let’s keep it gracious and loving.