Collin Hansen, Young, Restless, Reformed: A journalist’s journey with the New Calvinists (158 pages, Wheaton, USA: Crossway), 2008.
In recent years there has been an enormous increase in youth and young adults being interested and wrestling with Reformed Theology. Hansen, a journalist with CT, travels the USA interviewing the leaders that are sparking this movement. It is somewhat of a biographical, church history type book but makes for very intriguing reading. It is amazing to see how Reformed Theology and Calvinism has made its way into churches and university groups around the country and quite possibly the world.
Hansen begins by nailing what he believes was the spark that lit this proverbial match, Louie Giglio and the Passion Conferences. The emphasis on God’s glory and the vision of a powerful, all-transcendent God through the teaching of John Piper began what is now quite clearly a movement. Hansen gets the opportunity to interview John Piper in his home (what an experience that must have been!) and talks with a number from the Passion conferences and from Piper’s church, Bethlehem Baptist in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
SBTS is next on his radar, where Al Mohler, some 15 years ago began a Calvinistic resurgence by taking over the presidency of the college. The influence he, the college and the large evangelical staff within the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) has sporned many new church plants and new pastors with a passion for the doctrines of grace.
Hansen continues to shoot around the country talking with all the leaders and detractors of the movement. He looks at original sermon manuscripts and notes of Jonathan Edwards at Yale University and speaks with a number of enamoured Edwards fans. He interviews both C.J. Mahaney and Joshua Harris about their role in producing charismatic Calvinists through their church, Covenant Life, and which has also produced a number of church plants under the Sovereign Grace banner. Of course, no book regarding the increase in Calvinism can be done without speaking of the booming congregation at Mars Hill Church, Seattle, where Mark Driscoll is based.
Along the way Hansen also talks to a number of others, including those who do not agree with the theology or methods of what has been happening. The SBC is a good example of this where many pastors are reticent to give Calvinism a foot in the door. However, due ot the influence of Mohler and the SBTS it cannot be helped. Other university professors and preachers around the country who disagree with this theology are humble but concerned with this rising tide.
I thought it was a great book. Coming from a reformed theology, Calvinistic type thought and having been heavily influenced by the likes of Piper, Mohler, Mahaney, Driscoll, Dever and the like i was very encouraged to see God working in wonderful ways through this movement. But, it wasn’t seeing these big guys and hearing from them that was the most encouraging. It was hearing of the small churches and youth groups who are steadily and faithfully proclaiming the Word. It certainly makes you want to get involved and learn and practice this theology and then teach it to others. May i be pushed by God to do so and be enraptured at his grace and glory.
Overall i’d give it an 8/10. I liked it a lot. I’m sure some people would be concerned about this rise, but i think it’s great.