An accidental blog

"If God is sovereign, then his lordship must extend over all of life, and it cannot be restricted to the walls of the church or within the Christian orbit." Abraham Kuyper Common Grace 1.1.

Friday, 15 April 2011

Contours of the Neo-Calvinist Tradition

An updated version is now here.

Contours of the Neo-Calvinist Tradition
Mike Goheen and Craig Bartholomew
22 February 2011

1. Neocalvinism begins with Christ and this focus opens up into a full Trinitarian faith.
2. Christ is rendered to us truly in Scripture, which is fully trustworthy as God’s Word.
3. Christ stands at the centre of the biblical story and the good news he proclaimed is about the kingdom as the goal of history—God restoring his rule over the whole of human life and creation.
4. Since Christ has revealed and accomplished the end of history the Scriptures have a storied shape, and as such tell the true story of the whole world.
5. A central theme in the biblical story is God’s election of a people to embody the kingdom, to be a preview of the goal of history, and thus to bear witness to Christ’s rule over all of life – this constitutes mission.
6. The comprehensive gospel of the kingdom has been narrowed and consigned to a very minor place within the dominant Western humanist worldview, and this calls for a conscious articulation of a biblical worldview in relation to the cultural worldview to enable the church to recover the all-embracing scope of the good news.
7. The good news reveals the restoration of the creation from sin, and thus a neocalvinist worldview insists on a comprehensive and integrated understanding of creation, fall and restoration.
8. The fundamental backdrop of God’s drama of restoration is creation and thus neocalvinism articulates a rich doctrine of creation including its good and dynamic creation order and humanity’s place within it.
9. History is part of God’s order for creation and thus neocalvinism affirms the historical development or differentiation of creation.
10. The implication of the fall is that the power of sin and evil now radically twists every part of creation, and while the structures of creation remain good the distorting power of sin means they have been radically misdirected.
11. The Bible tells the story of restoration centred in the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ which is the recovery of God’s originally good purposes for the whole of his creation and all of human life.
12. Since God’s restorative power is at work in the creation by the Spirit, and the forces of evil remains at work in the creation, neocalvinism recognizes an ultimate religious conflict in the whole of human life.
13. God is at work leading his creation to its destiny of a new heavens and a new earth, and only then will the kingdom finally come. Until then the church is called to participate in God’s redemptive mission—the missio Dei—as witnesses to his victory, but since we await the final victory there is no room for triumphalism in neocalvinism.

My thanks to Mike Goheen for permission to post this.


Baus said...

per #6. "a conscious articulation of a biblical worldview in relation to the cultural worldview to enable the church to recover the all-embracing scope of the good news."

The ideas here of "biblical worldview" and "cultural worldview" are somewhat ambiguous.

In any case, we should be clear that the church does not need to speak beyond the Scripture (as a seeming 'cultural worldview' does) in order to proclaim the GoodNews. The task of articulating cultural worldview (in its relation to the central biblical message) is a task outside of ecclesial mission.

I don't get the impression that Goheen agrees.

Antony said...

Thanks Steve

This is enormously helpful. I’d be grateful if you could let us know whether this is a summary of a larger piece of work, or whether this is it. I suppose ‘contours’ would suggest the latter... In any case, has it been more ‘formally’ published elsewhere?

stevebishop said...

Hi Antony,

It originally appeared as is in an appendix to a paper given by Craig Bartholomew at the Canadian Paideia Gathers conference in Feb 2011.
I'm not aware if a fuller version is planned


Antony said...

Thanks Steve – that’s helpful to know.