The Old Life Interlocutor Who Has Listened to the Most TKNY . . .

The ten-most frequently mentioned authors in TKNY’s sermons are:

1. C. S. Lewis

2. Jonathan Edwards

3. Martin Luther

4. John Newton

5. Martin Lloyd-Jones

6. Augustine

7. Charles Spurgeon

8. J. R. R. Tolkien

9. John Stott

10. J. I. Packer

The contestants who guessed the most names are:

Martin Downs 8
Pete 5
Scott Sealy 5

A whole lot of guessers coming in with 3 (Nate deserves special mention for batting 1.000 with his three guesses.)

So can anyone guess why TKNY doesn’t mention Reformed Protestant sources? Not even Harvie Conn? And when you think that Redeemer NYC is basically New Life Presbyterianism on steroids, what about Jack Miller?

No peace, no justice.

(Image thanks to Cw El Unificatoro.)


132 thoughts on “The Old Life Interlocutor Who Has Listened to the Most TKNY . . .

  1. And the iriony — TK rarely quotes the Reformed but the Reformed constantly quote TK. PCA church members who have visiting RUF guy preachers should NEVER play a drinking game based on Keller references in the RUF guys’ sermons. There would be some Corinthian-level excess if they did.


  2. How do we jump to the following conclusion when we are listing his top 10 references? And, citing Edwards, Augustine, Packer, and Luther doesn’t cut him some slack?


  3. Curt, I’m shocked you didn’t point out how bourgeois this list is. And if you think Edwards wins point around here you been smoking to many of those Occupy special cigarettes.


  4. Easy, Curt. I didn’t call you Curt Che or CCCP. I didn’t say your proletarian jeans made your but look big. And it is a fact that, for all the insinuations of TK’s liberalism, this is a pretty bourgeois list. You should have noticed that. And Edwards is a whipping boy here. If you don’t know that you’re not paying attention. Picky, schmicky.


  5. CW,
    Can you give a list of proletariate Reformed writers who served as a basis for reformed thought? I ask because when you look at the list, some are foundation people.

    And please tell me why, and I will put it in another way, this division between kosher Reformed and nonKosher reformed?


  6. Curt, Reformed means affiliated with a Reformed church — not one man on the list is unless you coiunt Anglicans, to the surprise of no one who pays attention to TKNY. I take that back — we all thought there would be a few more real Reformed names on the list, I think.


  7. Here’s the scorecard for the list, as far as I know:

    1. Anglican/Anglo-Catholic
    2. Revivalist congregationalist
    3. uhhh, Lutheran
    4. Anglican
    5. Congregationalist mish-mash
    6. Roman
    7. Baptist
    8. Roman
    9. Anglican
    10. Anglican

    I do not say there are no Calvinists on this list. I say there are no Reformed.

    (Curt, think Trotskyite vs. Leninist, or something.)


  8. CW,
    What makes Edwards or Packer not Reformed?

    Since Calvin and other Reformed people followed Augustine, why is there no credit for using Augustine?

    And remember Luther? He was one of the foundational people in the Reformation. I know he is not Presbyterian reformed, but, like Augustine, doesn’t his material serve as basic reference material for Reformed theologians?


  9. CW,
    By reformed church I take it that you mean a real reformed denomination. You made an assertion that is basically impossible to prove.

    So what is the difference between Packer and Edwards vs the Reformed view of the Biblical means of grace? I ask because I am not familiar with them but I know they are highly regarded.


  10. Curt, Edwards and Packer are great to read, but they don’t enhance one’s Reformed thoughts or applications.

    Actually, Edwards is one of the worst authors I have ever plowed through because I thought it was good for me (based on roughly 1,000 5-star recommendations, and I now surmise that 990 didn’t bother reading him at any time)


  11. Curt, have you ever heard of churches of like faith and practice? Have you ever heard of Reformed ecumenicity? Have you ever wondered why Lutherans don’t exchange pulpits with Presbyterians, or why the OPC has a small list of churches with which it exchanged fraternal delegates?

    If you knew the Reformed world as well as you seem to know the Left, we might get somewhere.

    The OPC reserves the category of ecclesiastical fellowship for fifteen different churches, which include:

    The Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church (ARPC)
    The Canadian Reformed Churches (CanRef)
    The Christian Reformed Churches in the Netherlands (CRCN)
    The Evangelical Presbyterian Church of England and Wales (EPCEW)
    The Evangelical Presbyterian Church of Ireland (EPCI)
    The Free Church of Scotland (FCS)
    The Presbyterian Church in America (PCA)
    The Presbyterian Church in Korea (Kosin) (PCKK)
    The Reformed Church in Japan (RCJ)
    The Reformed Church of Quebec (ERQ)
    The Reformed Church in the United States (RCUS)
    The Reformed Churches of New Zealand (RCNZ)
    The Reformed Presbyterian Church of Ireland (RPCI)
    The Reformed Presbyterian Church of North America (RPCNA)
    The United Reformed Churches in North America (URCNA)


  12. I’ve heard one Keller sermon on idolatry that referenced Spurgeon and Boy George. Keller loves his Lloyd-Jones anecdotes. Luther is referenced on idolatry (Small Catechism) in another sermon I’ve heard, Augustine in a recent lecture. Lewis, Tolkein, and Edwards are surely a given. Newton was my wild card.


  13. I’m getting mixed messages here. There seems to be people who are both Reformed and not Reformed at the same time. Keller, according to DG’s list, is a minister in a Reformed denomination. However, with the respect given to him here, it seems that he isn’t reformed even though he relies on, if not reformed people, some of the same people reformed people rely on.

    In addition, here is a partial list of subjects on which one must be reformed:

    1. church order
    2. worship,
    3. covenants
    4. biblical means of grace

    I don’t see Keller deviating from covenants or Biblical means of grace. So if he isn’t “reformed” in church order or worship, is he still not reformed? And as far as I understand, both Packer and Edwards are counted as subscribing to Covenant theology. In addition, didn’t Spurgeon subscribe to the same theological organization that makes up Covenant Theology?

    Here, it seems that the gripe against Keller’s list of most often cited sources, not only cited sources, is that none of the names appear in the list of Who’s Who in Reformed Theology because not enough stipulations have been met by these people. And if we so easily minimize people because they haven’t met enough of the “right” Reformed Stipulations, aren’t we undermining Grace?

    Now for D.G., if we all had a similar level of Reformed theology and the same perspective on issues, we would be a blog ghetto.


  14. Curt,

    That’s cool you went to seminary. I bet I could learn a lot from you, keep up the posting!

    Dr. Gerald Bray says of Westminster, If they’re not crazy when they go in, they’re crazy when the come out.

    Me? Westminster is Bestminster, but you know that.

    Work on that golf swing, amigo.


  15. Andrew,
    Golf is a ghost of Christmas past. Plus, at this time, it would be rather difficult to find the white golf ball on the white ground cover.

    Everybody can learn from everybody. And Bray had a point.


  16. One reason for a frequently mentioned list of names like this might be that few of his congregants would recognize authors and theologians from truly confessional Reformed sources. If TKNY started dropping some of those names he’d likely earn a reputation as an elitist snob and lose his popularity among the general e-e-evangelical population.

    Ironically, with the exception of #3 and maybe #6, hardly any of the names on this list would be recognized by those in confessional Lutheran congregations.


  17. Curt, in some circles, everybody talks about being reformed but they don’t define it or worse, know what it means.

    But here in this square combox at least, to be reformed, means to be reformed in doctrine, worship and government. IOW sola scriptura (the doctrines of grace/covenant theology), the regulative principle of worship, jus divinum/divine right church govt.

    Yeah, we learn from everybody, but if we mostly learn from the non reformed, we gots problems. IOW distinguish.

    OL? A bog ghetto?
    So what? The Occupy bunch wouldn’t bother to tell the usual prattlers, bootlicks and toadies to move their butts over and make room. Occupy would just do it.


  18. And Bob, I keep thinking RMK should be the book required by anyone who wants to be taken seriously here (I’m working on it, folks).

    Maybe send that to Martin AND Curt, since , you know, he’s all about distribution, and stuff.


  19. Erik,
    Not really. Was hoping Martin Luther King Jr and Bonhoeffer would. Marx has some good things to say and some things to strongly oppose.


  20. Kent – Actually, Edwards is one of the worst authors I have ever plowed through because I thought it was good for me (based on roughly 1,000 5-star recommendations, and I now surmise that 990 didn’t bother reading him at any time)

    Erik – LOL

    That’s a blog post.


  21. I finally found all the time in the world to read Curt’s recommendations.

    And then I dropped my glasses and they broke.

    But I could real braille.

    Then my hands fell off.

    It’s just not fair… not fair at all…


  22. Martin,

    Boy George?

    Is Keller Uncle Rico living back in ’82? If he went back in time, would he take state?

    These two whole threads have been absolutely priceless.


  23. Andrew – Curt, That’s cool you went to seminary. I bet I could learn a lot from you, keep up the posting!

    Erik – Andrew in the parking lot before work this morning:


  24. Erik, don’t we want the un-sowersd to keep up their schtick (think Penelope Cruz Merrweathr).

    Are you saying I met the OL guidelines by smokig and getting high before I hit “post a comment” right there to the right and down?


  25. Curt,

    Bonhoeffer and not Bono?

    The latter would have made Stellman’s list for sure, along with Sting quotes from “The Dream of the Blue Turtles”.

    The PCA seems to be the problem here…


  26. Erik,
    Bonhoeffer over Bono. But there is stuff to both correct and appreciate in both.

    The PCA is the problem? What, are the letters in the wrong order?


  27. Curt — sorry to jump in like this, but perhaps a further distinction should be made. As was mentioned before, to be Reformed means to belong to a church that is organized around a historical Reformed confession of faith (hence DGH’s post of denominations). Thus, Reformed is not a sub-set of evangelicalism; rather, it is an alternative to (even contrary to!) evangelicalism.

    Therefore, the degree to which one emphasizes evangelical distinctives (such as they are), one de-emphasizes reformed distinctives.

    Hence the question, why does a Reformed minister refer more to sources that are widely accepted (even authoritative) in evangelical circles and refer less so to Reformed sources?

    Perhaps there are benefits to citing some of these sources (such as popular reference to Tolkien). But there are also costs to citing some of these sources, such as the dilution of Reformed distinctives in favor of evangelical ones (eg, by quoting Jonathan Edwards on just about anything).

    We in the Reformed world need to practice what we preach — we need to be distinctively Reformed even at the cost of being accepted by evangelicals.

    So the question is: does TKNY further Reformed Confessionalism or further “reformed” Evangelicalism?


  28. I love it when we try to define “Reformed” without talking in circles:

    “to be Reformed means to belong to a church that is organized around a historical Reformed confession of faith”

    There are lots more Westminster Confession denominations than those represented on the OP list …


  29. Someone on the Puritanboard put it together a few years ago, not sure if it is up to date.

    There are some quibbling points on it, some that are boatloads of entertainment…

    The PCA main dudes listed show where they are at…


  30. cg — sure, anyone can say they adhere to a confession or have one on the books (eg, PCUSA), but that doesn’t mean anything if they do not adhere to said confession. We can’t police who claims to follow a follow a confession, but we can refuse to acknowledge them as Reformed. Hence the role for organizations like NAPARC and for denominational relations.

    Perhaps to clarify matters I should have added:that the church must be organized “in good faith around a historical Reformed confession of faith.” But that just makes the implicit explicit, it doesn’t really change the definition that much.


  31. Chorts, the Venn Diagram is pretty sweet. It also illustrates why I feelz so lonely in the PCA – I am way down in the confessional circle outside of cultural conservatism and Southern trad’s all by my lonesome, asking Curt to throw me some of those funny Occupy cigs from whatever circle he might resent being put in.


  32. Andrew,
    I wasn’t saying that the letters were in the wrong order. Because of the disparaging remarks I’ve read on this blogsite about the PCA, I was asking if the letters were in the wrong order.


  33. MH,
    Not sure exactly what you mean by saying that Reformed is an alternative to evangelicalism. Are you saying that Reformed preaches the Gospel and evangelicalism does not?


  34. Curt, The point is that evangelical churches are not confessional. They don’t have a Reformed confession of faith. Reformed churches have confessional documents and those documents are historically Reformed (eg, Westminster Standards / Three Forms of Unity).

    To the Reformed, the confessions are faithful expressions of the Christian faith — hence the need and desire to adhere to what the confessions teach. Thus, for the Reformed, those who reject the confessions reject, to a greater or a lesser extent, the truth of Scripture. That is why we have fraternal relations w/ other Reformed denominations and although we love Baptists, we don’t have the same kind of relations with them (eg, no pulpit sharing).

    Contrary to this Reformed Confessionalism, Evangelicalism tends to hold to a “mere Christianity.” Look at the statement of faith held by the National Association of Evangelicals. There are 7 points. Compare that to the Westminster Confession of Faith, and the Shorter and Larger Catechisms and you will see the difference between evangelicalism and Reformed confessionalism.

    Evangelicalism opposes Reformed confessionalism because it finds confessionalism extreme and divisive; yet for the Reformed, when evangelicalism opposes the confessions, evangelicalism opposes the right understanding of Scripture.

    Evangelicalism and Reformed confessionalism are mutually exclusive — they cannot exist in the same space.

    If you want to learn more about the differences between being Reformed and being evangelical, I would recommend reading just about any book by DGH.


  35. Mad Hun: Add in that quite often a Baptist or Evangelical church proudly posts a Confession to their webpage, but then never preaches from it or uses it for membership knowledge.


  36. MH,
    A couple of problems emerge here. First, by saying that evangelical churches do not share the Reformed confessions of faith, are you saying that they do not share the essentials of faith and thus lie outside of what would be regarded as the visible Chuch.

    Second, are you saying that the Reformed Confessions of faith are without error? And if not, how is it that disagreement with those confessions at those points is disagreement with the Scriptures. Regardless of the terminology we use, we need to be very care about height of the pedestal on which we put those confessions.

    Third, that while the national association of evangelicals can name our faith in 7 points, Christian fundamentalism did that in 5. Now here’s the question: What essentials do we share with what the National Association of Evangelicals stated?


  37. @Mr. Mad H. Your new moniker should be “The Erudite Hungarian” for your apt observation here:

    “Evangelicalism opposes Reformed confessionalism because it finds confessionalism extreme and divisive; yet for the Reformed, when evangelicalism opposes the confessions, evangelicalism opposes the right understanding of Scripture.”

    That sums it up quite nicely.


  38. Curt — where do you get this idea of “essentials”? I agree that the deity of Christ is essential, but I also think that infant baptism is essential — not for salvation, but for a biblical doctrine of baptism.

    This idea of only holding to “essentials” (whose essentials? yours? mine?) just serves to be reductionistic.

    In response to your points:

    1. Reformed doctrine defines a true church as a church that: 1) rightly proclaims the gospel, 2) rightly administers the sacraments, and 3) rightly practices church discipline. Further, Reformed theology acknowledges that there is no such thing as a perfect church — each local instance of the visible church is more or less pure.

    Whether or not you want to call an evangelical church a true church is beside my point — an evangelical church is not a Reformed church (b/c of the whole confession thing…). A Reformed church is not an evangelical church.

    2. Reformed confessions are subordinate standards, the Bible is the foundation. The Confessions describe what we believe, they are not the source of our belief. They are public statements of a denomination’s beliefs and theology. Members of Reformed churches can disagree w/ points in the confessions because the documents are secondary standards. A person who outright rejects the standards probably shouldn’t go to a Reformed church because that person’s belief is in contradiction to the professed belief of the church.

    Reformed theology says that the confessions are faithful interpretations of Scripture not because we worship the confessions, but rather because we have searched the Scripture and find that the confessions teach what Scripture teaches.

    No one intentionally believes error — so why should Reformed folk be shy about publicly stating what we believe and hold those who subscribe to those beliefs to their word?

    3. Of course we have some things in common w/ evangelicals (just like we have some things in common with Lutherans, Roman Catholics, etc). It can be hard to tell what all we have in common because they have an aversion to publicly telling people what they believe.

    I grew up in the evangelical world (and even got an M Div in an evangelical seminary) and I know from personal experience that evangelical churches have a brief confession of faith and an unwritten list of rules and beliefs as long as your arm. Sure, this can be true of a Reformed church as well, but no one has ever accused a Reformed denomination of having confessions that are too brief.

    Your laser focus on essentials misses the importance of rightly preaching the whole counsel of God. There are many theological disagreements between evangelicals and Reformed — but it is the evangelicals that want the Reformed to conform.

    Evangelicals want Reformed denominations to conform to their list of essentials, to avoid controversy over “minor” issues like: baptism, the Lord’s Supper, worship, hermaneutics, eschatology, the doctrine of the Church, soteriology, the doctrine of the Holy Spirit, the Law… I could go on.

    I don’t want the Reformed to conform to evangelicalism, I want the Reformed to be always reforming according to the Word of God. I don’t want to ignore what God’s Word teaches just so people I disagree with feel better. Why should Reformed churches compromise their beliefs?


  39. Mad Hun: “Evangelicalism and Reformed confessionalism are mutually exclusive — they cannot exist in the same space. ”

    This needs to be the “theme” for the next PCA GA.


  40. MH,
    1. Rightly proclaiming the Gospel is an important essential to have in common. For we have one faith, n’est pas?

    2. Saying having the correct doctrine for baptism, including infant baptism, is essential for understanding what the Bible says about is true. But such is true for every subject we study in the Bible.

    3. And there is this mixed message regarding the confessions. We distinguish them from the Bible formally but when we can so easily distance ourselves from fellow believers over the confessions, then the confessions have been put on too high of a pedestal. We should also note that knowing the confessions can easily be far ahead of living the scriptures. So we should be putting more emphasis on the latter than on how much we acknowledge the confessions.

    See, we don’t have to lose what makes us distinct when we relate to evangelicals. But we do, and sometimes, the distance we put between them and us indicates that the confessions have become a source of pride rather than instruction.

    I want to harp on this because of the distance you’ve placed between Reformed Christians and evangelicals. If we recognized what the Scriptures say about our sin, we wouldn’t be glib in referring to evangelicals. Rather, we would be like Paul as he talked about Jews and Gentiles in Romans 3:9


  41. Curt, there is also the problem of distance not just between Reformed Christians and evangelicals, but between contemporary Reformed Christians and the early modern Christians with whom they want to establish a common bond or heritage – despite the fact that the modern “Reformed” have changed in important ways and sometimes even reversed assumptions which were common to the c16th and c17th confessions they invoke – and substantially adapt. But we’ve had that conversion here before! So I’ll just note the happy irony that DHG’s many Irish fans tend to be believer baptists …

    Out of interest, does anyone who posts here hold to Calvin’s view of the effect of baptism?


  42. cg, don’t let Penelope know about the Irish Baptists who like me because I wrote about Machen. She might teach her kids that Ireland is in So Cal.


  43. Curt,

    In your desire for ecumenism you didn’t take a Native (U.S.) American up on his offer to smoke a peace pipe this morning, did you?

    Next time be sure you know what you’re smoking.

    Curt’s become Sowers-like in his ability to get most everything wrong from the get-go.


  44. Curt sounds like the eeeevangelicals in the CRC who wanted to see the Form of Subscription neutered a few years back.


  45. Curt,

    No one hates evangelicals, but there are big differences in terms of worship, the sacraments, and theology. Many of us have come out of evangelicalism and have no desire to go back. If you think they’ve got it figured out, by all means, head on over.

    They tend to be even more materialistic than us, though, so good luck winning converts to Marxism.


  46. And more than a few of us spent decades in the Evangelical church, converting over to Reformed after a lot of gnashing of teeth and study and overcome disaffection towards faith.


  47. Any comments out there if the following is a valid generalization? My impression is that many (most?) of the active interlocutors (DGH? Andrew? Mad Hun? Erik? Zrim? Others?) at OLTS had their formative Christian experiences (eg, conversion to Christ, and their initial foundational instruction in the faith), in evangelical churches. [I understand that, for a variety of reasons, they’ve chosen to ‘graduate’ themselves beyond the evangelical world and subsequently embraced Reformed theology.]

    Would that be a fair statement, or are there some cradle-Reformed around here, too?


  48. Petros, so what happened to you? You’re an evangelical. When are you going to find the truth?

    BTW, Machen was a cradle Presbyterian. He inspired Machen’s warrior children. Everyone may join.



  49. Erik,
    Don’t smoke. But I did take Paul up on his suggestions stated in Romans 2:1ff and 3:9. And the parable of the two men praying is always central

    Let me ask, if difference cause us to feel superior to those for whom Christ died, perhaps we are the ones who need to change. Remember that doctrine isn’t there to stroke your intellect. This isn’t an issue of returning back to evangelicalism. This is an issue of how we fellowship with evangelicals.


  50. Erik,
    I embrace the biblical statement

    Knowledge puffs up

    And the puffing up is not the good puffing up we see in some foods like some breakfast cereals and popcorn.


  51. Curt,

    It’s no more a feeling of superiority than the guy who is married to Christie Brinkley feels toward the guy who is married to Rosie O’Donnell.

    Sympathy, maybe, but no superiority.


  52. Petros, I don’t know how one could possibly join unless they were born into it or did a lot of study to pile on top of years of evangelicalism.

    It would be hard to walk in and start from scratch, I guess it can be done….


  53. Erik,
    Is any feeling of superiority good? Isn’t there at least a subtle hint of works righteousness in any feeling of superiority? And if your analogy fit, wouldn’t we say more favorable things about evangelicals here?


  54. Erik, do you feel sympathy for or superiority over the c16th Reformed Christians whose confessions you have adapted and appropriated in an extravagant gesture of historical revisionism? Can you sustain your definition of “Reformed” in historical terms? I suspect your definition is sociological, dressed up as theological – making an historical claim while simultaneously denying the extent to which the modern Reformed confessions re-write and occasionally overturn some of the doctrines confessed in the past.


  55. Curt,

    There is not an evangelical who I would not consider fit to carry my golf clubs, shine my shoes, or park my car.

    Don’t tell me I’m not egalitarian.


  56. Guys,

    Listen to Erik.

    He speaks my language, and has seen a lot of movies (photographic memory too).

    Though his choice of profession leaves me a little suspect, but what the hay. He’s awwwllright in my book.


  57. Petros, does having cut one’s spiritual teeth in broad eeeevangelicalism lend less or more credibility to one’s confessionally Reformed criticism of it?


  58. My view of Confessions is that they are as valuable as they are biblical and, when they disagree, tie goes to the older one. This leaves evangelicals losing ties since (1) they’re not Confessional, and (2) they’re newbies.

    Yeah, I know, they’re only channeling the 1st century church…


  59. Erik, Shh – no names please. My wife might be listening.

    You say “Three Forms of Unity” and I say … well done. Except you surely don’t defend Belgic 4 – Paul is the author of Hebrews? Or Belgic 26 – faith causes regeneration (unless you claim Calvin’s definition of the latter, which is not the standard modern Reformed usage, and hence beg the question)? Or Belgic 36 and all that Constantinian language (you can have lots of fun tracing the differences between Reformed denominations using this confession – actually competing varieties of this confession – at

    But if you said, “Westminster Confession,” then the fun really begins …


  60. Erik: “My view of Confessions is that they are as valuable as they are biblical and, when they disagree, tie goes to the older one”

    Hurray! Guy du Bres welcomes you back to the theocratic and often sacramental world of the c16th truly Reformed! He was getting worried that you had turned Anabaptist!


  61. Full disclosure: DGH came to my church. It was excruciating. So I’m not claiming superiority or feeling sympathy, just admiration, most of the time, for most of you.


  62. CG,

    I knew what I was doing not saying Westminster. Ha, ha!

    On Belgic 36 I’ll take the most recent update I can get — preferably one that doesn’t bind me to demanding the Magistrate kills heretics. Also one that doesn’t bind me to get in the Magistrate’s face to tell him there’s a new sheriff in town.


  63. Shhhh, Erik, don’t give up that secret that many of us are 3FU and while we much admire the WCF, the WCF has a tendency to attract…. let’s just say…. a more combative bunch….


  64. Hey! There is a good reason I need to post incognito!

    But for context: my unsuspecting Plymouth Brethren childhood was destroyed by AW Pink, Martyn Lloyd-Jones, the local Free Church pastor and the epistle to the Romans; after college I had a spell in a Reformed seminary in the UK, which was fun but confusing, especially in comparing the huge variety of opinion on when children of believers enter the covenant, and that within a relatively tiny denomination; 1689 convictions gradually developed alongside a radicalised ecclesiology based around the 3 marks; this was followed by several failed attempts at various things, some of them very difficult to handle, and some of which I regret very much; and am currently very happy with the blessings of God in a community church led by good elders who encourage good things and thinking (though my enjoyment of our midweek studies, written by Tim Keller, won’t be shared by every reader of this blog!), with an amazing wife and great children, and at least 30 inches of books by DGH, everyone of them worth reading over and over again.

    I will now change my initials.

    (Buy those books, though.)


  65. Zrim, I suppose that familiarity with something that one criticizes can add credibility, although you can also run the risk of unfairly extrapolating your personal (presumably ‘bad’) experience.

    I think what’s more notable is that the more fervent people who take the time to read theology and comment on blog sites are more apt to be first-generation believers. Cradles, of many different traditions, strike me as, generally speaking, far less serious about their faith. Very few cradle-Cats among the Callers, too.

    But, if Kent’s statement is true (and, it probably is), that “I don’t know how one could possibly join (Reformed) unless they were born into it or did a lot of study to pile on top of years of evangelicalism.”…then the future would not seem to be too bright for Reformed, as it would seem to be a tacit concession that whatever outreach you folks do towards unbelievers isn’t too successful.

    But, glad the evanjellychurch can serve as feeder grounds for a few to join the Reformed, evidenced by the backgrounds of the interlocutors here. One might think that this might merit an occasional ‘thanks’ to evangelicalism, rather than only the disdain it garners here. But alas, I’m not expecting that.


  66. Reformed grows by collecting disaffected Evangelicals and Reformeds pumping out babies.

    There was a tremendous trend (fad??) in Calvinism sparked by quasi-Reformed pastors, getting to the masses by way of the internet and podcasting over the past 15 years. Getting a toehold through them, then realizing they are just the tip of the iceberg of learning leads one to other resources.

    But I may be wrong in assumptions about people walking in off the street with no background and joining….


  67. Petros, your question (why are we here (no, the answer is not “42”)) about the presence of interlocutors has myriad of answers. But for some reason, the Bub comes to mind, keep staring into whiteness, you’ll see it too:

    Posted February 9, 2015 at 11:36 am | Permalink
    Comments are open, spam flies, flatulence ensues and cacophony reigns.
    Welcome to the virtual comboxing ring resizeable at will at the bottom of the page where one can peer into the white pixelated fog of the infinite ether and wrestle with the lightness of being a moron.

    In this corner Chitter Chatter and the Chichuahua.
    In the other KKKenny and CVD.
    Refereed by Jase and his bud.

    Comments are open, minds are closed and the opinions run from a to z.
    If you can’t spell, that’s not our problem.



  68. I joke a lot, but have generally had good experiences in all the manifestations of Protestant churches I’ve been a part of over the last 35 years. Good, Christian folks in all of them. In general, I would say the farther away one gets from the churches of the Reformation, the more you need to be on guard, though. Lots of people with varied agendas, most of them innocuous. Biggest fear is that you’ll waste a lot of valuable time accomplishing next to nothing.

    That’s why so many eventually end up just equating church with doing good deeds (basically the social gospel). At least there is SOMETHING concrete to show for the time and effort.


  69. Plenty of gratitude to those who preached the Bible to me in evangelical churches during my formative years, and several whom I respect and love are still there. I just wouldn’t join them or be satisfied with the level of teaching and preaching they provide.

    And they won’t necessarily be satisfied in staying in their lane, they insist on being something they clearly aren’t, which causes a lot of friction with those of us who can see the diff like night and day.

    I would estimate that half my Baptist church growing up were closet Calvinists, but it wasn’t preached, could have used it… oh well…


  70. For the record, I was an avid reader before college. Mostly sci fi. I could mention names, but CS Lewis also (mere Xtianity).

    I married someone born in the OPC (not many of those). Chosen by God was in my brain by the summer of 2002, a gift from my cheerleader girlfriend.

    I propopsed to that woman (my wife) about 5 days after reading that book.

    Draw your own conclusions.


  71. cg, “extravagant” revision? Heck, we still have a chapter on oaths and vows. Who worries about that? And yet there chapter 22 still is.

    Yes, I get it. We revised on the magistrate> But what else? Can you define “extravagant”?


  72. Well, for this Northern Irish Brethren boy it was a combination of a collection of Eric Alexander’s sermons and a copy of Packer’s Knowing God. The “New Testament assembly” could never be quite the same again… in fact, I’m now studying at Westminster, California….


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