I read this morning an interesting New York Times magazine article on the rise of a "New Calvanism" as embodied by one preacher and church in particular: Mark Driscoll and Mars Hill.

Thought folks here might be interested. And I wonder what Convergent folks think about it.

Here's the long article.

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Comment by Richard B. Miller on 1st mo. 20, 2009 at 9:48am
I know that some consider theological differences to be arguing over how many angels can dance on the head of a pin but that really depends on the difference. Here the difference is profound. I think it is worth emphasizing especially given the fact that many modern people react negatively to Christianity because they associate it vaguely with Calvinism. In their mind that's "real" Christianity. I think it's important to emphasize that Quakerism is a distinctively different kind of Christianity. And like early Friends I'd also argue that we get the New Testament right and that Calvinism gets it wrong.
Comment by Forrest Curo on 4th mo. 23, 2009 at 12:48pm
Rumi: "Wicked people in Hell are happier than they ever were in this life, because they can see God."
Comment by Forrest Curo on 4th mo. 23, 2009 at 1:15pm
Ah sorry, I hadn't known I could comment on this discussion, without being part of the group. Anyway, while Islam & Calvinism look very much alike from the old Divine Judgement & Predestination standpoint, you do get a range in how individual people see them.

The idea of Hell was something that sounded wrong to me when I first found encountered it--in Mark Twain's accounts of the standard US churches of his day. But after I'd been found (& prodded) by God, and still had to undergo some of the hellist side of God's 'psychedelic' intervention (definitely Grace at work, but Grace With Teeth!) I did, eventually, have to ask, tentatively, "You don't really do that to people, do you?"

I expect that people who find God through Calvinism (and I am sure that there are such) simply say to themselves, "Well, if God needs to make people think that..."

My problem, again, is with the tremendous amount of suffering we know exists in this life. You can't say that God doesn't participate in it! While the defining characteristic of suffering is that we intensely don't like it(!), something else in my own experience has been that overall I've found those occasions helpful to me, that even when I had no idea what purpose there might be, I've been sure there was one!

Job was quite clear that he wasn't suffering because he'd been so Bad that God wanted to Get him for it! God, in the story, made it clear that the neighbors' attemps to blame Job were way off base. Some of us find the key to the whole thing in something Job said at the end: "Before, I had heard of You. But now I see you!"

We don't know, what it takes to see God, to know God as a reality. We'd gladly give this power to each other, if we only knew some way (like for example, putting oneself in people's faces & loudly demanding they 'accept Jesus as their Personal Savior', oy vey!) We don't! But God does know ways. Unfortunately they take some time, & occasionally hurt meanwhile.

God sends what people need to 'the unJust' as well as to 'the just;' but their needs may differ.

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