I knwo that a few of my readers have had an interest in Scot McKnight’s recent take on the neo-reformed. A positive view of the reformed tradition, and a critique of some ‘calvinists’, is found in a recent interview with Peter Enns.
“Question 2: How would you respond to those who don’t think you’re a very good Calvinist?
It would all depend on the person’s intention. If the question came from a defensive or argumentative posture, I’ve seen enough to know that this will bear little fruit. Arguments about who is the better Calvinist tend to generate laser-like heat but precious little light.
If, however, the question is asked with a genuine interest in engaging me on how I see these things—with the understanding that both parties should be open to growth—then I am very interested in the conversation.
Just what it means to be Reformed has been a debated issue and the struggle continues to see who will win the right to define it. There are those who think of the Reformed faith—better, a particular articulation of the Reformed faith (19th century Princeton, for example)—as the only true expression not only of the Reformed faith but also of Christianity. Indeed, as some I know have put it, the Reformed faith (narrowly defined) is understood as “Christianity come into its own,” and that the Reformed “hold the truth in trust” for other traditions.
This is tragic, and if this is what it means to be Reformed, then I am not Reformed. If, however, one understands the Reformed faith as a particularly insightful and deep tradition that hits upon numerous biblical and theological issues with clarity and gospel-fidelity—even to the extent that other traditions will be richer for the interaction—BUT that is also, by virtue of its location in particular historical/cultural circumstances, as prone to sin and error as anything else under the sun, and is therefore in need of regular critical evaluation, then, yes, I am Reformed. The Reformed faith is for me, in other words, a means to Christian truth rather than the sum total of Christian truth.
The problem is that these two models of what it means to be Reformed are, for all practical purposes, incompatible, because parties on both sides hold tenaciously to their model. Still, I hope it is not too self-serving to point out that the latter model can incorporate a humble expression of the former and even benefit from it, but the former in principle does not seem poised to reciprocate. It cannot.”