Posts from the “Theological sociology” Category

Toward a Catholic Calvinism

Posted on March 22, 2012

I put myself on guard whenever I observe speakers and writers neatly classifying individuals into distinct, mutually exclusive, and seemingly airtight categories. One factor that makes individuals what they are is their own distinctiveness, a fact that renders most attempts at classification somewhat arbitrary. Nonetheless, the Bible itself classifies individuals again and again (saved and unsaved, carnal and spiritual, Jews and Gentiles, weak and strong, foolish and wise, and so forth), and any attempt to chart characteristics and trends that involves individuals demands classification of some sort. The categories of blond-haired people, self-taught people, two-income people, and gregarious people are relevant categories. The fact that these categories have fuzzy edges, and the fact that they can be used for foolish or malicious purposes, do…

Man Without a Movement

Posted on March 21, 2012

Dedicated to John M. Frame, who for four decades has successfully resisted the lure of movements What is a movement?   As I am defining it here, a movement is an informal association of individuals united by adherence to a particular ideology (a highly structured, generally comprehensive view of reality) dominated by one or more influential personalities.   The Protestant Reformation, the French Revolution, Marxism, National Socialism, and Neo-Conservatism are all movements.   Almost all movements, even those radically secular, manifest religious characteristics.   Each has its own apostles who communicate revelation, its sacred texts that preserve that revelation, its community that creates and fosters a sense of belonging, its ethical system that stipulates acceptable behavior, and its threat of ex-communication that enforces an orthodoxy. While movements are…

Questions for The Calvinist International

Posted on March 19, 2012

I was pleased to see that my old friend Peter Escalante (as gracious as he is bright) had joined Steven Wedgeworth (whom I’ve not yet have the privilege of meeting) in launching not simply a new web site, The Calvinist International, but also a new (or, rather, as will presently be seen, reviving a very old) theological school of thought. When my son Richard and I met Peter for a delightful lunch in Berkeley last week, Peter was putting his finishing touches on this web site, and it is has been well worth waiting for. It represents a serious foray into recent developments in American Reformed Christianity, and, despite its laudable commitment to irenics, is clearly in a reactionary mode against specific theological developments.…