Consider this a public service announcement to news outlets and blogs who should know about something before they opine on it; Founders Ministries and the majority of Social Justice opponents are not “Neo-Calvinists.” Stop saying that.
Religion News Service (RNS), a progressive news outlet, referred to Founders Ministries as “Neo-Calvinists” in a hit-piece yesterday. That article was written by Adelle Banks. However, RNS’ editor, Bob Smietana also opened up his hit-piece on July 23 the same way, with the reference to Founders Ministries as “Neo-Calvinists.” The wording of the two opening paragraphs is near to identical. It seems that RNS is reading the Wartburg Watch, which is responsible for the first reference (that I can find) to Founders Ministries president, Tom Ascol, as a “Neo-Calvinist.” Wartburg Watch, the survivor blog operated by two delightful ladies, has repeatedly used that term and it seems to have caught on.
However, words have definitions and definitions have meanings. And this being the case, Founders Ministries, Tom Ascol, and virtually all Social Justice opponents in the Reformed camp are not Neo-Calvinists.
I wanted to provide this post as a “point-of-order” in the discussion. Most Social Justice proponents in Reformed Evangelicalism are Neo-Calvinists. Virtually all Social Justice opponents are not.
I explained what New Calvinism is in the video below.
New Calvinists differ from the old-school, confessional Calvinism of Founders Ministries in the following ways:
New Calvinism, or Neo-Calvinism, is typically non-confessional. Old Calvinism is typically confessional. Tom Ascol and Reformed Baptists hold to the 1689 Second London Baptist Confession. It’s typically the New Calvinists – from Moore to Mohler to Dever to Greear to Chandler et al – who don’t adhere to a traditional Reformed Confession.
New Calvinism is typically Charismatic and Continuationist. Again, this would include Neo-Cals like Matt Chandler, David Platt, and JD Greear but not Old Calvinists (so-to-speak) like Tom Ascol and most Social Justice opponents.
New Calvinism is typically enthralled with worldliness, trends, and culture whereas Old Calvinists are traditional and are often seen as fundamentalist or behind-the-times. The latter would describe Tom Ascol, Founders Ministries, and most legitimate Reformed Baptists you’ve ever met.
New Calvinism is wrought with Liberation Theology, whereas Old Calvinism eschews it.
These distinctions were lined out in the video above.
I assume this talking-point from Religion News Service, which is a wing of the ‘woke’ Evangelical left, serves the purpose of trying to place Social Justice proponents in The Gospel Coalition, ERLC, and 9Marks in the “traditional Reformed category” and add “Neo” to the description of Founders Ministries and the Social Justice opponents to make them appear radical.
The opposite is true. The type of Calvinism promoted by TGC and acolytes is definitely the new kind of Calvinism.