Time magazine writes that “New Calvinism” is the third biggest idea that is changing the world right now. That’s pretty significant. On the Resurgence blog, you can read Driscoll’s insights on how New Calvinism differs from Old Calvinism.
Before I go, I want to say a quick word on the label “Calvinism.” I don’t like labels, because people have preconceived notions and opinions when they hear a particular label. Ask any “Calvinist” about who they follow, and they will say, “I follow Jesus, not Calvin. Calvin simply brought to light biblical theology that was clouded over during a dark period in the history of the church.” This is my conviction as well.
Because people like labels, we use the term “Calvinist.” Charles Spurgeon, the great Baptist preacher in London (who called himself a Calvinist), said that he has no particular allegiances toward Calvin, just simply what he taught. Spurgeon also said, “Calvinism is the gospel,” that is, salvation is completely a one-handed effort on God’s part (what we call “monergism”) and we take no credit in it. This is opposed to “synergism,” which is at the heart of Arminian theology. This means that salvation is a two-handed effort, merging God’s work with ours.
Albert Mohler, president of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, said in the Time article: “The moment someone begins to define God’s [being or actions] biblically, that person is drawn to conclusions that are traditionally classified as Calvinist.” Mohler’s statement is bold, but I agree. He uses the word “classified.” This means that biblical conclusions aren’t cemented as Calvinism. You don’t have to call yourself a Calvinist if you believe that only those who are elect get saved and that God sovereingnly reins over all things. You don’t have call yourself a Calvinist if you read Calvin, Luther, Owen, Edwards, or Spurgeon.
Forgive the label. We don’t follow Calvin. In fact, ignore the label, because in heaven, no one will be Calvinist or Arminian. But don’t ignore the theological teaching because of preconceived notions. Trust God to understand his being and actions biblically, and I promise that by God’s grace Jesus will quickly become the supreme treasure of your life.