“The reason why even the Guardian’s George Monbiot has expressed total shock and dismay at the picture revealed by the [climate change] documents is that their authors are not just any old bunch of academics. Their importance cannot be overestimated, What we are looking at here is the small group of scientists who have for years been more influential in driving the worldwide alarm over global warming than any others, not least through the role they play at the heart of the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).”
Nathan Pitchford, blogging over at www.reformationtheology.com, makes some very good observations as to why this phenomenon has occurred. To sum up what Pitchford says, Reformed Theology has surged among us mainly due to five things (though there very well could be other factors as well):
1) Dissatisfaction with the theology and religious environment of our parents.
I believe this factor is one of the largest. Much of this discontentment has to do with a tiredness of the way things have been done in our parents generation. It’s old, worn out, and about 3 inches of spiritual depth. At the root of that is a discontentment with their particular brand of a Christian worldview, their presuppositions, theology, and philosophy of ministry, all of which seems to be more temporally focused rather than eternally focused on the Kingdom. We’re tired of the idolatry, materialism and consumerism that have invaded the church. It needs to stop. The Protestant Church needs a temple cleansing, so to speak. The Church is not the market place nor should it act like it. And that’s what we are reacting against is this blatant idolatry that has moved from worshiping Christ as the supreme King to idolizing self and using Christ to that end. Now of course, it is not a blanket statement to say all within my parents generation are involved in this, because, as noted below, John Piper has been one of the largest influences on this surge. There are many others as well who have made a difference and opposed this idolatry, calling for us to reclaim the faith once for all delivered.
2) Desire for a rootedness and connectedness with the historic faith.
In the latter part of the 20th century, most within the Protestant church were simply looking to the past 100-200 years (or only their present day pastors and teachers) for information concerning the exposition of Scripture. And yet there is a deep, rich, long history of men of the faith who have contributed greatly to the Church’s literature. Our parents generation, in general, seemed to ignore these voices. No more. We want to reclaim those voices. As Pitchford says, we indeed want to be reconnected with those who have gone before us and brought so much rich theology and thinking to the church. Looking to those in church history for their input concerning the Scriptures can really help us see our own blind spots within our culture. As Greg Love, a great friend of mine has said before, you can always go and stare at a wonderful work of art for hours and glean a lot of great perspective. In fact you must be doing that. But to hear an expert on that piece of art go into detail about things you had no idea were there, you can find some things you may never have seen by just observing it yourself. So it is with Church History.
3) The resurgence of Puritan literature.
There are some works out now that you simply could not have gotten a hold of just 20 years ago. This helps greatly for the cause. The publisher Banner of Truth Trust is one of the forerunners and largest distributors of Puritan works, though there are others that have contributed greatly as well.
4) John Piper.
This man is one of the single biggest influences on the shaping of my own personal theology. The first sermon I ever heard from him was this: http://www.desiringgod.org/download.php … 961027.mp3. It shocked me how much of eternal perspective he had. I soaked it up and continue to do so to this day. To me, John Piper is a modern day Jonathan Edwards/John Owen. He takes their theology and makes it accessible. He has been an incredibly vital influence to the surge.
5) The internet (and www.monergism.com in particular).
I can’t tell you how big of help websites like www.monergism.com and www.spurgeon.org, as well as other sites, have been to influencing my own personal theology. God has richly blessed us with these resources. Take advantage of them.