What makes a Calvinist a Calvinist?

Kevin DeYoung wrote this for Christian Research Journal, which you can subscribe to or find at your local Christian bookstore. It’s about the rise of the New Calvinism:

The influence of Calvinism is growing because its God is transcendent and its theology is true. In a day when “be better” moralism passes for preaching, self-help banality passes for counseling, and “Jesus is my boyfriend” music passes for worship in some churches, more and more people are finding comfort in a God who is anything but comfortable. The paradox of Calvinism is that we feel better by feeling worse about ourselves, we do more for God by seeing how He’s done everything for us, and we give love away more freely when we discover that we have been saved by free grace.

I’d like to think that we are Calvinists because of what we see in the Bible. We see a God who is holy, independent, and unlike us. We glory in God’s goodness, that He should save miserable offenders, bent toward evil in all our faculties, objects of His just wrath. We rejoice in God’s electing love, which He purposed for us before the ages began. We are grateful for God’s power by which He caused us, without our cooperation, to be born again and enabled us to believe His promises. We take comfort in God’s all-encompassing providence, whereby nothing happens according to chance, but all things—prosperity or poverty, health or sickness, giving or taking away—are sent to us by our loving heavenly Father.

As Calvinists and Christians, we praise God for His mercy, shown to us chiefly on the cross where His Son died, not just to make a way for us to come to Him, but effectually for us such that our sins, our guilt, and our punishment all died in the death of Christ. We find assurance in God’s preserving grace, believing with all our might that nothing—not even ourselves—can separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. We delight in the glory of God and in God’s delight for His own glory, which brings us, on our best days, unspeakable joy, and on all other days, still gives purpose and order to an otherwise confusing and seemingly random world.

What draws people to Reformed theology is the belief that God is the center of the universe and we are not, that we are worse sinners than we imagine and God is a greater Savior than we ever thought possible, that the Lord is our righteousness and the Lord alone is our boast.

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