New Calvinism, also known as the Young, Restless, and Reformed Movement,[1] is a movement within conservative Evangelicalism that reinterprets 16th century Calvinism under contemporary US values and ideologies. [2]


The movement started in the 1980s, with the founding of the Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood in 1987 in the United States, which stresses the complementarianism between men and women (in contrast to egalitarianism, and as opposed to feminism).[3] The teaching of covenant theology (as opposed to Wesleyanism, or Arminian theology), a rejection of dispensationalism, and a church governance by male elders are also hallmarks of the movement.

The movement gained wider publicity with a conference held in Louisville, Kentucky, in 2006, Together for the Gospel by American pastors John Piper, Mark Driscoll, John MacArthur,[4] Matt Chandler, Al Mohler, Mark Dever and CJ Mahaney.[5][6][7][8][9] In March 2009, Time magazine ranked it as one of the "10 Ideas Changing the World Right Now", while questioning if "more Christians searching for security will submit their wills to the austerely demanding God of their country's infancy".[10]

"Old" and New Calvinism

Rooted in the historical tradition of Calvinist theology, New Calvinists are united by their common doctrine. In a Christianity Today article, Collin Hansen describes the speakers of a Christian conference:

Each of the seven speakers holds to the five points of Calvinism. Yet none of them spoke of Calvinism unless I asked about it. They did express worry about perceived evangelical accommodation to postmodernism and criticized churches for applying business models to ministry. They mostly joked about their many differences on such historically difficult issues as baptism, church government, eschatology, and the gifts of the Holy Spirit. They drew unity as Calvinist evangelicals from their concerns: with seeker churches, Church Growth marketing, and manipulative revival techniques.[11]

— Hansen, 2006

As implied by the “New” designation, some differences have been observed between the New and Old schools. John Piper, for example, has identified what he considers to be 7 main differences between the two:[12]

  1. New Calvinism is complementarian and not egalitarian.
  2. New Calvinism uses contemporary forms of music.
  3. New Calvinism is popular among Baptists.
  4. New Calvinism is popular also among Charismatics.
  5. The books of Jonathan Edwards feature prominently, in addition to those of John Calvin.
  6. New Calvinism is engaged to using the internet and social media to communicate.
  7. New Calvinism includes multiculturalism.


R. Scott Clark, professor of church history and historical theology from Westminster Seminary California, argues that New Calvinists like Driscoll should not be called Calvinists merely because they believe in the five points of Calvinism, but rather he suggests that adherence to the Three Forms of Unity and other Reformed confessions of faith is what qualifies one a Calvinist. Specifically, he suggests that many of the New Calvinists' positions on infant baptism, covenant theology, and continuation of the gifts of the Spirit are out of step with the Reformed tradition.[13]

J. Todd Billings, professor of Reformed Theology at Western Theological Seminary, argues that the New Calvinists "tend to obscure the fact that the Reformed tradition has a deeply catholic heritage, a Christ-centered sacramental practice and a wide-lens, kingdom vision for the Christian's vocation in the world."[14]

Between 2012 and 2013 numerous Southern Baptist Ministers responded to New Calvinism by affirming a "Statement of the Traditional Southern Baptist Understanding".[15] The document was originally endorsed by six former SBC presidents: Morris Chapman, Jimmy Draper, Paige Patterson, Bailey Smith,[16] Bobby Welch, and Jerry Vines, two seminary presidents Chuck Kelley of New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary,[17] and five state executive directors (Jim Futral of Mississippi,[18] David Hankins of Louisiana,[19] Mike Procter of Alaska,[20] John Sullivan of Florida, and Bob White of Georgia).[21][22] The statement includes a Preamble and 10 articles of affirmation and denial as it relates to Christian Soteriology.[15]

Traditional Reformed theologians criticize the selective and altered use of texts by Reformed classical authors, like Spurgeon in the publications of the New Calvinists without alerting their readers.[23][page needed]


  1. ^ Hansen 2006.
  2. ^ Elbert, Jon. Jesus Didn't Tap: A discourse analysis of the Christian MMA landscape. Master Thesis, Rijksuniversiteit Groningen, 2015, p.61.
  3. ^ Brad Vermurlen, Reformed Resurgence: The New Calvinist Movement and the Battle Over American Evangelicalism, Oxford University Press, USA, 2020, pp. 52, 129
  4. ^ Beeke, Joel R., ed. Calvin for Today. Reformation Heritage Books, 2010.
  5. ^ Hansen 2008, p. 107.
  6. ^ Piper, John (12 March 2014). "The New Calvinism and the New Community". Desiring God. Retrieved 23 September 2014.
  7. ^ Driscoll, Mark A. (2013). A Call to Resurgence. Carol Stream: Tyndale House. pp. 99, 201–202. ISBN 9781414383620.
  8. ^ Masters 2009
  9. ^ Olson, Roger E. (14 March 2014). "What Attracts People into the Young, Restless, Reformed Movement?". Roger E. Olson. Retrieved 17 May 2023.
  10. ^ Biema, David Van (12 March 2009). "10 Ideas Changing the World Right Now – TIME". Time.
  11. ^ Hansen 2006
  12. ^ John Piper, What's New About 'New Calvinism'?,, USA, April 14, 2014
  13. ^ Clark 2009.
  14. ^ Billings 2009.
  15. ^ a b "Statement of the Traditional Southern Baptist Understanding of God's Plan of Salvation". Archived from the original on 3 December 2013.
  16. ^ "Southern Baptist Evangelists". Southern Baptist Evangelists. Retrieved 17 August 2023.
  17. ^ "NOBTS – About the President".
  18. ^ "Jim Futral unanimous choice as Mississippi convention exec". Baptist Press. 10 March 2006.
  19. ^ David Hankins [dead link]
  20. ^ "Statement on Calvinism draws approval, criticism". Baptist Press. 31 May 2012.
  21. ^ "The FAQs: Southern Baptists, Calvinism, and God's Plan of Salvation". 16 June 2017.
  22. ^ "Signers". Archived from the original on 31 March 2015.
  23. ^ Nettles, Tom. Living By Revealed Truth: The Life and Pastoral Theology of Charles Haddon Spurgeon. Christian Focus, 2013


Further reading