What Part of "Neocalvinist" don't you Understand?

on Tuesday, May 1, 2012
In the last few months I've had an increase in traffic to my blog. This is mostly due, I believe, to the fact that I've been blogging generally once a day, at least, and sometimes more. It also helps when a heavy-traffic website links to you. Because of this increase in traffic, some of my readers may not know that I consider myself to be a Neocalvinist. This post is going to provide some information as to what, exactly, that means.

Gideon Strauss has defined here what it takes to be a neocalvinist: A neocalvinist is someone who ... confesses Jesus the Christ as God and Lord over all of life.... recognises the enduring design of the world and seeks to shape their life in attentive response to that design.... grieves the agony of evil, pain and failure in the world.... brings hope and healing in their spheres of responsibility, conscious that hope only finds its fulfillment in the return of the Christ.... cherishes the dignity of the human person as created in the image of God.... accepts human responsibility for the cultivation of the world and therefore for the shaping of culture..... relishes the rich natural and cultural diversity of the world, and seeks to conserve and elaborate that diversity.... works against the social effects of both individualism and collectivism, by taking part in the building of a diverse range of social relationships and helping to make room for social diversity in society.

Elsewhere, Gideon says about neocalvinism, "Neocalvinism seeks to bring about cultural renewal in diverse cultures, starting out from a few basic convictions. These include convictions shared with most Christians: That the world belongs to God, and that God structured this world in wonderfully complex ways, ways that are in the deepest sense good; that the world is broken and hurt by human evil, and that our evil reaches into every nook and cranny of the world, and yet, that there is hope and healing in the world because of the redemption worked by the Christ; that people really matter. Perhaps more than most Christian religious traditions neocalvinism emphasizes the need for Christian engagement in every sphere of human culture. While its emphasis on normative patterns given in creation is not extraordinary, its emphasis on the complexity and diversity deriving from those patterns is.One consequence of these convictions is a neocalvinist politics that is "structurally pluralistic," in contrast to both political individualisms (such as libertarianism) and political collectivisms (such as fascism). But David Koyzis can discuss that more knowledgeably than I can." Derek Melleby recently started a series on neocalvinism. The first two posts are here and here.

You could also read Abraham Kuyper's Lectures on Calvinism.

Finally, Joe Carter at the Evangelical Outpost asks whether one must be a Calvinist (theologically) in order to be a neocalvinist.