Reading the NYT’s recent article on Mark Driscoll and Scot McKnight’s blurb on NT Wright’s new book I thought I’d compile two lists of where I think the ‘neo-reformed’ are at and why in many ways we present something of a weird paradox to the rest of the Christian landscape as they try to figure us out:
Neo-Reformed (Things people don’t like):
1. We believe in the supremacy of God and his glory in all things.
2. We believe in the 5 solas.
3. We still believe in the inerrancy, authority and sufficiency of Scripture.
4. We are Calvinists – duh!
5. We still believe that people who die without Christ go to eternal conscious punishment.
6. We believe that the gospel is a word – i.e. you can’t ‘preach’ the gospel with actions – you can only proclaim it and live consistently with it.
7. We’re still complementarians.
8. We think that it is possible to develop a truthful systematic theology.
9. We will not budge on the importance of penal substitutionary atonement.
10. Yes, we think it is still possible to be a heretic and yes, there are quite a few those around in the church today.
Neo-Reformed (Things people like):
1. We have a largely open-handed approach to culture.
2. We’re always keen to re-think current practices.
3. Mission is a top priority for us.
4. In light of #3, we have a passion for church planting.
5. We’re more accepting of outsiders than previous conservative groups.
6. We’re into social justice and mercy ministry in a big way.
7. We’re greener than previous conservative groups.
8. #1, #6 and #7 are based on the fact that alongside our doctrine of Total Depravity and the brokenness of our world we’ve attempted to recapture the beauty of humanity and the creation through our understanding of the Image of God and Common Grace respectively.
9. Our Gospel includes the restoration of all things (See Tim Keller’s ‘The Gospel in All its Forms‘)
10. And horror of horrors – a lot of us still think NT Wright is a pretty good author and theologian even if we don’t always see eye to eye.