Repenting of my Criticism of classical Calvinist Theology

I need to repent again: Over the years I feel as if I have been too antagonistic towards classical Calvinist theology in general. My sense of repentance isn’t coming from a lack of passion and zeal for what we have been doing with evangelical Calvinist theology, instead my sense of repentance is coming from a certain projection I fear that I have projected in some cases–because of my zeal–towards classical Calvinist theology.

I materially reject much of the classical Calvinist conclusion in regard to theology, but formally I accept much of it. That said, what we are doing with evangelical Calvinism is attempting to do ressourcement, retrieval, constructive theology; and we are attempting to do so as Protestant Reformed thinkers. The fact that we still appeal to people like Calvin, Knox, and many other post-Reformed orthodox theologians illustrates our desire to engage with that tradition of Christian thought and development. The fact that we still use the conceptual hangars offered by classical Calvinist theology like elect/reprobate etc. only illustrates our desire to constructively engage with the classical Calvinist tradition, and not to ultimately dump it, or dump on it.

So my sense of repentance comes in because I do believe that I have dumped on it–the classical Calvinist tradition–more than I mean to, or at least ought to have. It is true, we as evangelical Calvinists, are not uncritical of the classical Calvinist tradition (we are!), but only within the mode of semper Reformanda ‘always reforming,’ and within and from this spirit of the Reformed faith. soli Deo gloria

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4 Responses to Repenting of my Criticism of classical Calvinist Theology

  1. Kevin Davis says:

    As you would have guessed, I appreciate this a lot, Bobby. You have probably already seen it, but I think you would enjoy looking at Oliver Crisp’s Deviant Calvinism. I haven’t read it yet, but it appears to be arguing for a “moderate Calvinism” (hypothetical universalism, for example) in line with the Reformed confessions. As a Presbyterian who agrees in substance with the Reformed confessions (as my church requires) and also as a Barthian of a sort, I am obviously looking forward to reading it.


  2. Bobby Grow says:

    Hey Kevin,

    Amen! Actually, Oliver sent me a copy of his book pre-published (many months ago) in manuscript form; and I have appreciated what he is doing in the book, it is good!

    I’ll look forward to hearing your thoughts on it when you read it! I will be sharing some of my thoughts on it very soon!

    I hope you are doing well, brother!


  3. Kevin Davis says:

    Ah, very good. It probably will not even be this year — hopefully early next year that I can get to it. I’m looking at a stack of books that are in the process of being read or waiting to be read, and this stack never seems to get smaller!


  4. Bobby Grow says:

    Yeah, I understand, Kevin! I have the hardest time staying focused on one book, because I have a million I want to read!


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