Restless Writer Collin Hansen Reflects on His Book

Collin Hansen, author of the popular book Young, Restless, Reformed, took some time to reflect on what he would have done different had he the opportunity to write it over again.  His first mention was the influence of the Reformed blogosphere.  Hansen writes, “The passionate commitment Calvinists show toward theology and the church positions them well for taking advantage of new media that will spread the Word.”  According to any method of measurement, it is hard to ignore the networking and leveraging of influence Calvinists have been able to do through the blogosphere and more recently social media.

Other changes he would have made included highlighting the global reach of Calvinism (especially Great Britain), the rise of Reformed Theology among African Americans, Calvinism in the fundamentalist movement, and the work of Tim Keller and the Reformed University Fellowship (RUF).  Hansen concludes his reflections in a measured and grateful tone.  He writes:

I couldn’t agree more with D.A. Carson’s endorsement of my book when he cautioned, “This is not the time for Reformed triumphalism.” This movement has flourished without it, and I would hate to see pride bring it down. I suspect Calvinism will prosper if its leaders will simply continue to go about the business of training pastor-teachers who will lead their churches in evangelism, teach faithfully each week, and care for the weak. Their example will spread within churches and inspire selfless care for one another alongside courageous, costly love for our neighbors.

It would thrill me as an author to see my book help readers learn from the diverse collection of ministries profiled. Such mutually beneficial learning will be a crucial step for the movement to continue growing. The Sovereign Grace network inspires me as I see them plant churches that grow by conversion and reach people not previously disposed to academic reasoning. The Gospel Coalition admirably seeks to learn from previous evangelical mistakes and include racial minorities in its leadership. John Piper continues to dispel notions that Calvinists do not care about foreign missions at a time when too many churches have lost this priority.

I would hate to see Calvinists fall into the same destructive patterns that weakened them in previous generations. Calvinists are renowned for eating their own, and it will take restraint and patience to refrain from becoming consumed by debates over baptism, ecclesiology, or the Holy Spirit. Nor do I believe there is much to be gained by relentless polemics against evangelicalism. Sadly, we all know by now that the problems are deep–perhaps intractable. But Keller and others show us there is much to be gained by demonstrating faithful alternatives to contemporary church practices. Indeed, there is a time for polemics, a time for practice, and a need for both. Now may be just the time to shift the balance toward practice.

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