Item description for Young, Restless, Reformed: A Journalist's Journey with the New Calvinists by Collin Hansen...
Overview From places like John Piper?s den, Al Mohler?s office, and Jonathan Edwards?s college, Christianity Today journalist Collin Hansen investigates what makes today?s young Calvinists tick.
Church-growth strategies and charismatic worship have fueled the bulk of evangelical growth in America for decades. While baby boomers have flocked to churches that did not look or sound like church, it seems these churches do not so broadly capture the passions of today?s twenty-something evangelicals. In fact, a desire for transcendence and tradition among young evangelicals has contributed to a Reformed resurgence.
For nearly two years, Christianity Today journalist Collin Hansen visited the chief schools, churches, and conferences of this growing movement. He sought to describe its members and ask its leading pastors and theologians about the causes and implications of the Calvinist resurgence. The result, Young, Restless, Reformed, shows common threads in their diverse testimonies and suggests what tomorrow?s church might look like when these young evangelicals become pastors or professors.
From places like John Piper's den, Al Mohler's office, and Jonathan Edwards's college, Christianity Today journalist Collin Hansen investigates what makes today's young Calvinists tick.
Church-growth strategies and charismatic worship have fueled the bulk of evangelical growth in America for decades. While baby boomers have flocked to churches that did not look or sound like church, it seems these churches do not so broadly capture the passions of today's twenty-something evangelicals. In fact, a desire for transcendence and tradition among young evangelicals has contributed to a Reformed resurgence.
For nearly two years, Christianity Today journalist Collin Hansen visited the chief schools, churches, and conferences of this growing movement. He sought to describe its members and ask its leading pastors and theologians about the causes and implications of the Calvinist resurgence. The result, Young, Restless, Reformed, shows common threads in their diverse testimonies and suggests what tomorrow's church might look like when these young evangelicals become pastors or professors.
Citations And Professional Reviews Young, Restless, Reformed: A Journalist's Journey with the New Calvinists by Collin Hansen has been reviewed by professional book reviewers and journalists at the following establishments -
Christianity Today - 12/01/2008 page 63
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Collin Hansen (MDiv, Trinity Evangelical Divinity School) serves as the editorial director for the Gospel Coalition. He previously worked as an associate editor for Christianity Today magazine and coedits the Cultural Renewal series with Tim Keller. He and his wife belong to Redeemer Community Church in Birmingham, Alabama, and he serves on the advisory board of Beeson Divinity School. You can follow him on Twitter at @collinhansen.
Reviews - What do customers think about Young Restless Reformed?
Theological Substance Really Does Matter Oct 6, 2008
Though I do not consider myself Reformed, I thought the big idea of this book is important for anyone concerned with the future of the evangelical church. We hear a lot about young evangelicals flocking to emergent communities, which are often admittedly "creedless." If that bothers you (and it bothers me!) this will be a breath of fresh air.
The big idea is that young people are also flocking to sound and serious doctrine. Churches and movements that are openly and squarely grounded in the basic and universal truths of Scripture and received doctrine are becoming safe havens for young adults and new leaders who are craving substance. There is much in the book that will appeal to and interest people who are watching the trends of young leaders within the church.
There are a couple of chapters for those on the "inside," in which Hansen talks about some of the wrangling going on within denominations and between movers and shakers that I had no context for. But beyond those, the arc of the book is useful for anyone.
The last line of the book sums up the importance of Hansen's study: "Hunger for God's Word. Passion for evangelism. Zeal for holiness. That's not a revival of Calvinism. That's a revival." So be it.
Insightful survey of 20-something Calvinists Jul 31, 2008
Colin Hansen, an editor for Christianity Today, makes this observation (with a little hyperbole): your average Evangelical American high school student is in a youth group that emphasizes games, down plays preaching, and as a result the student does not even know the basics of the Gospel--much less the difference between justification and sanctification. But, your average American-Evangelical 22-year-old is probably a foaming-at-the-mouth Calvinist, a John Piper "fiend," and would love to stay up all night arguing about the difference between justification and sanctification. What in the world happens to these kids between ages 18 and 22?
Young, Restless, Reformed is Hansen's attempt to answer that question. He journeys around the country trying to figure out where all of these Calvinists are coming from, and why. He has conversations with Mark Driscoll, John Piper, Steve Lawson, C. J. Mahaney, Ligon Duncan, Rick Holland and many others. He asks them all this question: "Where does this new generation of Calvinists come from?" and their are surprising. He talks with dozens of students who fit this new generation of Reformed Christian, and this book tells their stories.
Despite the anecdotal nature of the book (no hard statistics here), some conclusions do emerge. High school grads who are actually Christians and who do manage to escape their cheesy youth group realize very quickly that they do not have adequate answers to explain the basics of their faith, much less to stand up to their secular professors. When they reach the point of realizing they don't have the answers, they generally find someone who does, and this person (or book, or CD) is usually unashamedly Reformed.
If this observation is true, and it seems to be, then this corollary is also true: the more silly youth groups are, the more people will be driven to reformed circles upon graduation. Hansen does not make this point explicitly, but it is there. Hansen shows his insight into how the God of Calvinism captures the hearts of these college students when he writes, "Calvinism has not spread primarily be selling young evangelicals a system but by inviting them to join a new way of life driven by theological convictions. Theology gives them this passion for transformation" (124).
The exact channel that brings about this transformation varies from person to person. For some it is a Passion CD, others a Piper book. Some find a Puritan Paperback, and others stumble upon an RUF campus Bible study. But all of these sources have this in common: they introduce the students to a God that is more glorious than anyone had ever told them about. Suddenly depravity makes sense, and the rest of Calvinism falls into place.
But not all transformations are rosy. Hansen tells the story about Lawson's resignation for Dauphin Way, and he looks at other young pastors that have been forced out of ministry for theological reasons as well. The most intriguing chapter is his trip to Southern Seminary--"Ground Zero," Hansen calls it--where the reader sees the problems of infusing a new generation of Calvinists into a Christian culture that is not ready for them.
I loved this book because it was like reading my own spiritual biography. I remember the moment I found God's Passion for his Glory, and even today I remember my thoughts as I began to realize that God was more glorious than I am, and that he chose me--not the other way around. I stayed in my previous church, hoping to disciple others and show them the doctrines of Grace as well, until I eventually went to seminary.
Until Hansen's book, I had assumed that my story was, while perhaps not unique, at least not the norm. But this book is a catalog of people who had the same experiences. In fact, the very first college student we meet is a self-described "Piper fiend" and part of a Seventh Day Adventist Church!
Young, Restless, Reformed is not a utilitarian book. It is not a polemical book, it does not argue for Calvinism. It does not seek to be objective, despite Hansen's awkward insistence on reminding us every few chapters that he is a journalist. But what it does, it does well. It presents a series of snap-shots of the Reformed landscape in the United States, and these pictures are zoomed in on the 20-something crowd that is likely to be wearing the "Jonathan Edwards is my homeboy" shirt featured on the cover. If you have ever asked yourself, "where are all these Calvinists coming from?" then this book is for you.
A final note: this book is the initial source for the Christianity Today article where Mark Driscoll voiced his displeasure over a Pulpit article MacArthur wrote. That exchange seems much less controversial in the context of the book than it did in the much shorter CT article.
Informative Jul 17, 2008
Young, Restless, Reformed: A Journalist's Journey with the New Calvinists Good to know there are more out there who hold to a belief that exalts God above man.
A well researched and accessible account May 29, 2008
This well-researched and entertaining account of Reformed theology's increasing popularity among young Christians began as a Christianity Today cover story a couple years ago. With a degree in journalism, Hansen is now editor-at-large for Christianity Today and is pursuing an M.Div. at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School in Deerfield, IL.
Hansen documents the impact of several vibrant ministries that, while having significant theological differences with one another, answer with one voice on the question, "Who does what in salvation?" These ministries all contend that humans contribute no more to their second birth than they do to their first. Just as the cry of a newborn infant is evidence of new life (rather than the cause of that life), so faith in Christ is a response to the new (spiritual) life (re-)created by God the Holy Spirit (e.g., Eph. 2:1-10). Regeneration precedes faith. We love God because He first loved us. We choose Christ because God first chose us. While Hansen spends some time unpacking the "five points of Calvinism," his book is by no means polemical. Rather, through interviewing a host of rising leaders (and a fair share of regulars), he lets them explain the emotional appeal and biblical/intellectual consistency of the doctrines of grace.
Chapter one is entitled, "Born Again Again". It introduces us to the theme of the book; namely, that there seems to be a confluence of factors drawing significant numbers of young Christians to embracing at the least the basics of Reformed theology. For example, Joshua Harris is quoted as saying: "I do wonder if some of the appeal [of Calvinism] and the trend isn't a reaction to the watered down vision of God that's been portrayed in the evangelical seeker-oriented churches." The chapter includes Hansen's coverage of the 2007 Passion Conference, and particularly John Piper's presence at that 18,000+ student event. Hansen also describes his own journey toward Reformed theology.
Chapter 2 focuses more fully on the impact of John Piper and Bethlehem Baptist Church. I appreciated this chapter because Piper was instrumental in my own embrace of Calvinism in my early twenties. Also, I spent three years at Bethlehem, and it was during that time that Hansen visited, so I know a lot of the people he was talking to.
Chapter 3 shifts east to Yale University and an investigation of Jonathan Edwards, a man whose popularity is also increasing, as exemplified by the establishment of the Jonathan Edwards Center. Their ambition is to make all of Edwards' writing available in digital form (about 100,000 pages).
Chapter 4 shifts south to the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary (SBTS), where the conservative resurgence has been quite friendly to Calvinism. Hansen gives a good historical sketch of the SBC with respect to Calvinism and includes a few student and faculty interviews (For a more extensive treatment, see By His Grace and For His Glory by Tom Nettles). Nearly one of every three SBTS graduates from 1998-2004 professes Calvinism. Hansen also discusses the Founders Movement and graciously interviews leading pastors who are quite uncomfortable with Calvinism's popularity. I was intrigued to learn that some have feared that disagreement on Calvinism has the potential to split the SBC.
Chapter 5 and 6 focus on Sovereign Grace Ministries and their ministry to (primarily younger) singles, New Attitude. With 70 or so churches in the United States and almost 10 around the world, the movement led by C.J. Mahaney has been tremendously significant. Chapter 7 then shifts to the west coast and Mark Driscoll, Mars Hill Church, and the Acts 29 church-planting network. What was so interesting is that until a few years ago, Driscoll and Mahaney didn't even know each other.
The book also includes some interesting tid-bits on the Reformed blogosphere --- Hansen even gives away the visitor statistics on Tim Challies' blog. You'll have to read the book to find out. All in all, a great read. One that won't tax you too much mentally, and yet will inform you of recent developments all over the country. If (like me) you've been impacted by this movement, prepare to be encouraged.
Well done May 7, 2008
Check out Collin Hansen's new book Young, Restless, Reformed: A Journalist's Journey with the New Calvinists. I've read through most of this short book in the last day or so. Hansen lets us accompany him on his tour of the Reformed hotspots in the young evangelical culture, reporting on his face-to-face interviews with both the grandfathers in the movement like John Piper and younger bloggers and campus ministry pastors. His journey spans East coast (Covenant Life Church in Gaithersburg, Maryland) to the West (Mars Hill Church in Seattle) with some significant stops in the Midwest (Bethlehem Baptist Church in Minneapolis) and South (Southern Seminary and Together for the Gospel in Louisville, Kentucky and the Passion Conference in Atlanta, Georgia).
Hansen interviews both proponents of the New Calvinism and critics (such as Roger Olson and Jerry Vines). While his sympathies seem to lie with the young Reformed crowd, he doesn't hesitate to discuss some of the problems with the movement. His writing is lucid and often humorous. I think the most exciting thing about this book is reading the many conversion stories. So many of the new Calvinists are former druggies, atheists, or atheological Evangelicals who wouldn't have known theology if it bit them on the nose. Then they encountered Reformed theology in some form or another and got angry. Then they read their Bibles and met a God bigger than they ever could have imagined. Now they are engaging in serious study, passionate worship, and daring evangelism.
Wherever you might fall on the theological spectrum, this is a book worth reading for those who care about the Church and its future.