After reading the article ‘The Merger of Calvinism with Worldliness’ by Peter Masters (his comments on Collin Hansen’s book Young, Restless, Reformed) in the latest issue of Sword & Trowel I’ve come to realise that I’m a Worldly Calvinist.
What makes me a Worldly Calvinist? I’m a Calvinist who likes contemporary worship music.
Although Masters points out four issues which he says contradicts a genuine Calvinistic outlook the focus is on how the Calvinistic resurgence reported by Hansen’s book is a mix of Calvinism with contemporary charismatic-ethos worship (“worldly-worship variety”).
So for example:
Passion conference: “young people revelled in contemporary music, and listened to speakers such as John Piper proclaiming Calvinistic sentiments”.
Resolved: “usual mix of Calvinism and extreme charismatic-style worship” “worldly, showbusiness atmosphere created by the organisers”
Described large conferences: “at which the syncretism of worldly, sensation-stirring, high-decibel, rhythmic music, is mixed with Calvinistic doctrine”.
Mars Hill Seattle: “the most ear-splitting music of any”.
He then goes on to talk about how New Calvinism is encouraging people to become friends with the world but again the issue is in the area of style of music.
The examples he gives:
“When a secular rapper named Curtis Allen was converted, his new-born Christian instinct led him to give up his past life and his singing style. But Pastor Joshua Harris evidently persuaded him not to, so that he could sing for the Lord.”
On the book Worldliness (edited by CJ Mahaney) he says that it: “hopelessly under-equips young believers for separation from the world, especially in the area of music, where, apparently, the Lord loves every genre.”
I agree with Masters concern that we aren’t of the world but I’m not convinced that liking or preferring a contemporary style of music makes you worldly. Even though I’m not convinced by Masters argument, I did find it a helpful reminder that there is a danger of becoming united to the world.
Am I a Worldly Calvinist? It depends whether you agree or disagree with article.
Read ‘The Merger of Calvinism with Worldliness’ online HERE.
Subscribe to Sword & Trowel HERE (which I highly recommend; even though I don’t always agree fully with what Peter Masters says, I appreciate that his writing always gets me thinking).
The Contemporary Calvinist comments on the article HERE.