Interview #35 – Jeremy Walker – New Calvinism Considered: A Personal & Pastoral Assessment

PodcastPromo35 Jeremy Walker New Calvinism

On episode 35 of our podcast, we interview Pastor Jeremy Walker on his new book “The New Calvinism Considered: A Personal and Pastoral Assessment”.

We ask questions such as:

  • What is New Calvinism?
  • What’s “the cult of celebrity in the modern West” have to do with this issue?
  • What do you appreciate about this?
  • What are you concerns?
  • “All things to all men”?
  • How might you counsel a “Cage Stage Calvinist”?
  • + more…

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Enter Book Giveaway:

new-calvinism-front1 Jeremy Walker

We are giving away 3 copies of the paperback. Enter here!

Links Mentioned:

Post-Interview Music:

Glory be to God the Father

28 Replies to “Interview #35 – Jeremy Walker – New Calvinism Considered: A Personal & Pastoral Assessment”

    1. Thanks Tom, I’d prefer to find another host but I do it cause no one else is :D
      Ya, I had the pleasure of meeting him face to face… he is a very humble, irenic, and very thoughtful pastor. We have some more episodes coming up with him. I really enjoy the biographies he does.

      1. Jason,

        I enjoyed listening to the interview.

        If I may be so bold to do so, let me sling some constructive criticism (in brotherly love and much admiration and respect for your wonderful work with CB and your boldness in taking on interviews).

        The questions were kind of “soft ball”. I like to see an interviewee squirm at least once or twice in an interview. And even with those soft questions, i felt at one or two points, Jeremy sort of redirected them.. I wished he had defined Old and New Calvinism. Even more so, though, I wish he had had to demonstrate how he distinguishes himself from being a “New Calvinist”.

        To use Jeremy’s four C’s….We Reformed Baptists certainly have “Calvinism” and “Characters”…. maybe we’ve been too divided to Conglomerate or Consolidate. But. fundamentally,. is a wary stance towards Consolidation/Conglomeration enough to make us not “New Calvinists”? I don’t know about that.

        Or is it the incidental things that Jeremy mentions throughout the book that makes one a “New Calvinist”. Like liking rap or believing in Kuyper’s statement about the Lordship of Christ applying to everything? If so, then many many confessional Baptists and Presbyterians are “New Calvinists”.

        I’m still waiting for a good definition of “New Calvinism”. I think I’m not a “New Calvinist”, but I haven’t seen a definition which is clear enough to let me decide for sure! :-)

        Anyways… I hope you will understand that I am not trying to be a cranky old Calvinist Canadian. Your efforts are appreciated. God bless you, brother!

        (P.S. Thanks for linking my poem!)

        1. Mark, I’m no radio host and just do this cause noone else really is. I don’t aim to have soft or hard questions, but just to discuss the book…

          Given that New Calvinism is a spectrum I found the four characteristics satisfactory so I didn’t think I needed to press anything… given your understanding though I can see how you would perceive I was being soft and should pressed him for more of a definition… I just didn’t see the need (but I hope that I would have had I seen things like you).

          I think you can check out the interview I did with Sam Renihan & even some of the follow-up with Waldron and conclude I am more than ok with asking hard questions and pressing the interviewee (though I hope I never sound like a jerk when I do, so maybe that doesn’t make it sound hardball enough) ;)

          I suppose I don’t recall critical comments about rap…

          And regarding “his apparent unease with the idea that Christ’s Lordship applies to everything”, I didn’t get that impression, from what I read in the book and what he talked about on the interview was in relation to how people make that a “corporate” slogan… i.e. making it the church’s duty (different than individual duty)… and if I recall he did mention that both “Old” and “New” Calvinist had embraced those views (don’t think he mentioned for better or for worse, just think he mentioned it).

          Perhaps I just took his words (book & interview) in a different way… I freely admit my ignorance on a lot of topics which is one reason I attempt to read and interview these pastors.

          1. Hey Jason,

            Yeah–this is not meant to be a broader critique. I would regard you (and others who have participated) as great interviewers. You are really good at asking questions, and I think you have a very winsome way of doing it.

            So maybe my comments should be taken as a desire that you gave Jeremy some more searching/difficult question, not a broader critique on your interviewing.

            Here are Jeremy’s comments on rap:

            “One of the classic examples would be something like musical forms. We are encouraged to embrace all musical forms (though, for some reason, it is rap and hip-hop which seem to be the hills on which everyone has chosen to die) and the uniforms and behaviours that go with them. We can apparently take the structures that communicate those particular things and embrace them as Christians. We can do this because the forms and the uniforms and the structures and the behaviours are all neutral, or so generationally conditioned as to be without enduring substance or biblical principle,20 and we just need to make them carry a Christian message.”

            Though Jeremy is avoiding explicitly calling rap out in very clear words, this is part of his critique on NC’s view of culture. And he is implying that part of the problem with NC is that it can take a music genre, such as rap, and embrace it as capable of being used for good.

            In regard to Kuyperianism: Looking at Jeremy’s culture section, like the first few paragraphs, I don’t see any mention of the church’s duty or the corporate nature or any such distinctions (and even in the first paragraph he ties it to the “individual believer”, so he seems to be talking more about an individual engagement with culture)… He includes neokuyperianism and “‘There is not a square inch in the whole domain of human existence over which Christ, who is sovereign over all, does not shout, “Mine!”’” within an “unbalanced view of culture”

            Anyways, I hope you have a great day and thank you for your faithful labours!

          2. I don’t see that as calling out rap, sounds more like a mere observation (which I think is true in “New Calvinist” circles), but I can see how you could deduce that.

            Ya, I guess I just didn’t see Kuyperianism stuff… this is why, before an interview takes place, I typically ask others for input and even put it out their on the RB Facebook Forum,,, this one I didn’t :( I’ll have to remember that next time cause we all have blind spots don’t we :)

        2. Oh ya, as for a definition of New Calvinism given those 4 characteristics and “Mere” Calvinism, which as I said I interpreted as those who just hold to the 5 points (or some even just 4-pointers) and haven’t gone much deeper in Reformed Theology (broadly speaking). That is distinguished from “Old” since Calvinism was never seen as a mere “5-point” thing, there was much more that went along with it. But again, I am not expert on this, just explaining how I took this and justifying why I found it helpful and didn’t press point that I was satisfied with.

          1. Yeah, I think that definition *could* work if you stick with guys like Driscoll or McDonald or Chan,, but then we would need to shorten our list of who is considered “New Calvinist” (including ones that Jeremy has included).

            For instance: Under that definition, there’s no way, for a few off-the-top-of-my-head examples, DeYoung, Dever, or Duncan would be “New Calvinists”.

          2. That was one issue I think people got confused over… I thought he was careful in the book to distinguish between “New Calvinist” and those who have been influenced by “New Calvinist” even if they weren’t “New Calvinist” themselves.

            Unfortunately I think the publisher’s snippet and some endorsements and reviews they had could cause confusion of thinking the book was calling all those above “New Calvinist” when it didn’t, and I read it explicitly didn’t.

          3. You make a good point.

            To be fair though….Jeremy did say DeYoung, Duncan, and Dever were “at the core” of the movement (p. 24) and on p.25 he calls Duncan and Dever as “part of the new Calvinist sphere”. And he calls 9Marks part of the “more sober stream” of New Calvinism, but then there still seems to be “a measure of confusion” there as well.

            So however Jeremy is defining it, he’s including guys whose Calvinism/Reformed theology not only heartily includes the 5 points, but sinks much deeper than the 5 points.

            Anyways, I’m ranting enough, lol, thanks for hearing me out :-)

          4. “To be fair though….Jeremy did say DeYoung, Duncan, and Dever were “at the core” of the movement (p. 24)”

            When you said that I thought perhaps I misread initially, but upon a re-read I stand by my conclusion that he is NOT saying they are New Calvinist, I think this is seen in finishing the sentence, “At the core you will HEAR names such as…” (emphasis mine)

            He is just mentioning those you will see quoted, linked to, in discussions in roundtables with 4-pointers, or very Reformed guys (if you will) as the paragraph before and after explain.

            And being part of the “new Calvinist sphere”… yes are they not? Are these men not themselves interacting on Gospel Coalition, T4G, etc… that is not to say they themselves are “New Calvinist” just that they are ok with dealing/talking/promoting/etc in that “sphere” (different than calling them New Calvinist.

            I would say that in one sense we are even interacting with New Calvinist (as I say that based off email feedback from people who were “mere” 5-pointers and are seeing there is more to Calvinism than 5 points, or more to being Baptist then Baptism. Of course I could just ask him :D *goes to email him* :D

            And I always appreciate your ranting,… err… feedback :P btw, haven’t you notice I now pronounce “Christology” correctly :)

          5. Ok, one last comment, haha:

            I will grant that p24 and p25 do not, necessarily, imply that they are New Calvinists.

            But that still doesn’t seem to clear it up much.

            If I remember correctly, Jeremy doesn’t explicitly mentioned Confessional subscription as a marker in the issue (he doesn’t mentioned Confessionalism much, actually). That is moreso something that came up in this conversation.

            According to Jeremy, 9marks is identified “within the stream” (which to me, suggests he sees Dever and his church as New Calvinist).

            And besides, don’t Dever/Duncan/DeYoung seem to be part of the basic four-C’s that Walker mentions Calvinism/Characters/Consolidation/Conglomeration. So why, then, according to the books criteria, would they not be considered New Calvinists.

            Again, I’m left with a lot of ambiguity when I read the book–doesn’t seem to clarify much.

            Ok. Thanks for this discussion. And thanks for listening to my feedback.. including the pronounciation one :)

          6. Sorry to pop in. First, Thanks for posting this, it really is helpful. I really appreciate the spirit of Pastor Jeremy in your interview, he was very thoughtful, chose carefully his words, and he certainly made some valid points, especially with regards to cultic behavior towards individuals, or leader. that was particularly sobering and challenging for me.

            That said, I gladly define myself as a “new calvinist”, and I can readily agree with his four C, but when it comes to the definition of what is the “Old” Calvinism, well, I don’t have a clue. you said, it’s more than holding to the 5-points. Ok, what more? Just as those who identified themselves as new calvinists don’t all agree with each other on every point, wouldn’t it be fair enough to say that “Old” Calvinist folks don’t agree with each other as well in every doctrinal points? If so, on what do they agree? Because, as far as I am concerned, some “Old Calvinists” say that you’re not a calvinist if you hold to credo-baptism (in this case you and the Pastor won’t qualify), or do you have to hold to some confessions? Said another way, what is it that Old Calvinism hold unto that New Calvinism don’t (the WHOLE spectrum), because for me it boils down to that

            Regarding Dever/ De Young/ Duncan etc. who you seem to carefully disassociate with New Calvinist. I’m sorry but, for me, by the very definition we gave:
            1- They have/are the four C’s
            2- They interact with New Calvinists (some people within the spectrum)
            3- They have great influence on people in that spectrum

            I’m afraid, we have every right to call them part of the New Calvinism movement, interestingly you said that “they hold onto something else than the ‘mere’ 5-points other new calvinists do” (or something to that effect :D), the two possible conclusions I can think of is:

            a- Some New Calvinists actually hold onto something “deeper” (what?) than the Calvinistic view of Soteriology, which means that may be not all New Calvinists are merely 5-pointers
            b- The so-called spectrum is even wider than what was defined. There is an overlap (apart from the view on Soteriology) between the two “Calvinism”

            In all honesty, it’s always healthy to have some critics from brothers in Christ, and after all the main point of this whole thing is to glorify God who has loved us, bestowed grace on us, and our duty is to proclaim it to the world how great of a God He is.

            Thanks

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