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Thanks much for pointing out this fascinating study.

This study should serve as a reminder to SBC Calvinists that conservative evangelicals don't have a corner on the Reformed label with 17% in the Reformed camp self-identifying as "theologically liberal."

And that figure wouldn't include a couple of my Reformed colleagues who are Princeton grads, Bartians, active in PC-USA who would reject the theologically liberal label.



You're very welcome, brother. Barna's study seems to me as a much needed corrective to a self-absorbed movement which suggests more influence and providential blessings than, after all, is sustained by the numbers (assuming, of course, the numbers are fairly representative).


With that, I am...

Jim Upchurch

85% of all statistics are inaccurate ;)



Actually, who dares dispute you? Not me. I not much for stats either.

Grace, brother.
With that, I am...


I'll stick with anecdotes: I don't hear of as many churches being destroyed by rabid calvinists as I did ten years ago.

A. Price

However, take a 'look' at the MBC. At our convention's 'Pastor's Conference', this past Oct.,'headlined' were, Dr.Danny Akin, and Ed Stetzer; and, the Pastor's who put it together, were in the Calvinistic/Reformed mold. IMHO, that's the direction they want to take the convention in; it's just a matter of time til they can 'boo' all the 'ole timers' off the stage, if we don't go along!

Jim Upchurch

Sorry Peter,

I heard that somewhere and couldn't resist. I didn't
mean that seriously, just think it's funny... A stat pointing out the inaccuracies of stats.

Tim Rogers

Brother Jim,

Do you have a study to back those stats up? :)


Kevin Davis

I don't think anybody -- including Mohler, Hansen, Stetzer, etc. -- will find this surprising. The increase in Calvinism is among a specific, but important, group: young male seminarians/pastors in evangelical churches. A survey of churches across the country will include a very large proportion of mainline churches (where, e.g., both the PCUSA and the UCC are "Reformed") and churches with pastors who received their theological formation during the last century, from the 1940's to the 1990's. Thus, the survey results are hardly surprising. However, if you did a survey of seminarians at evangelical seminaries (TEDS, Gordon-Conwell, Southern, etc.), you will find a far greater number of self-identified "Calvinists" than in the 1990's or before. That's the trend that Time Magazine was picking-up on. Moreover, a survey of young evangelicals pursuing doctorates will yield an even higher percentage of Calvinists, which means that the influence will be long-term.


Kevin: "However, if you did a survey of seminarians at evangelical seminaries (TEDS, Gordon-Conwell, Southern, etc.), you will find a far greater number of self-identified "Calvinists" than in the 1990's or before."
"Moreover, a survey of young evangelicals pursuing doctorates will yield an even higher percentage of Calvinists, which means that the influence will be long-term."

where is this survey? or are you hypothesising?

Don Johnson

As far as Gordon-Conwell goes, I would say yes, most of those graduating seem to be Calvinists. I live about 50 miles from the school and know several who have attended. Even though many had different beliefs going in, it seems most are coming out as Calvinists.

I know of a pastor who keeps sending his young men who are called to the ministry to Gordon, because he went there over 50 years ago. When they come back to the church most of them have become Calvinists, much to the pastor's dismay.

Jared Moore


I've pointed to the survey, at least among Southern Baptists, on my blog here: http://jaredmoore.exaltchrist.com/2010/10/31/9-more-reasons-why-the-sbc-is-in-trouble-if-calvinism-is-a-threat/

Or, you can look at the study itself here: http://www.lifeway.com/lwc/files/lwcF_LifeWay_Research_Calvinism_and_SBC_Recent_Seminary_Graduates_Ppt.ppt

I'm not sure about other seminaries though.

Kevin Davis


Yes, I'm hypothesizing from what I've seen. I wish there were a survey of evangelical seminarians and doctoral students. I don't know what the exact percentage of Calvinists would be. My claims are rather modest: I think there has been a marked increase of Calvinists in the last decade than prior decades, but I don't know percentages. Moreover, such a survey would be difficult to ascertain since "Calvinism" is considered a fairly broad category in most academic settings, and it would include the likes of Karl Barth and Thomas Torrance (both denied limited atonement), not just Hodge and Warfield.


At Georgia Baptist Conv


A four point (or less) calvinist is not much of a calvinist at all, according to Sproul. This is why I would never call Barth a calvinist. and probably a good portion of these kids at seminary aren't either.

btw, reformed folks haven't registered "Predestination" as a trademark, other theologians are free to use it with fear of being labeled calvinist.

I appreciate Barna's work, I think it's indicative of the real power of the moderate christian, regardless of the YRR drum-beating.

A.M. Mallett

I liken the "new Calvinist resurgence" to pulling stocked trout out of your own backyard pond i.e. the navel gazing analogy of Wagner. I was curious on another related topic however. If general and particular Baptist doctrines are not compatible with one another, and I believe that is the case, do you feel the SBC is past time to make a decision to determine what they are and what their seminaries should teach?

Ron Hale

Revivals, Reformations, Resurgences ... over the last thirty years, I've heard men of God on conference, church, and convention stages promise the next Great Awakening due to one of these three "R's" of Baptist and Evangelical life. While these promised movements have let me down; Jesus has never let me down! And, I praise His Holy Name!

Peter, I believe we have "some" Christian leaders with the knack and knowledge of how to tap into the rebellious spirit of youth and have spread the idea that we [the old guys and older generations] have been hiding the treasure of truth [the Gospel] from younger generations. I believe these leaders are presenting themselves as agents of Re-discovery! "Come discover the truth that others have been trying to keep from you [hide]"... seems to be their message.

A young college preacher boy or seminarian can feel pretty powerful with a dissenting doctrine, a blog, and a feeling that he's redicovered lost theological treasure that was hijacked or hidden by churchmen who ... still have something to conceal and hide. Conspiracy breeds contempt!

What I'm not sure of are the consequences a Christian leader will face for turning one generation against the other, son against father, younger preacher boy against his old country preacher.

Kevin Davis


Sproul is hardly the decisive voice on whether limited atonement is essential to Reformed faith and praxis. Richard Muller, and a host of recent historians of post-Reformation dogmatics, have written in detail about how universal atonement ("hypothetical universalism" in England, or "Amyrauldianism" on the Continent) was considered within the pale of Reformed orthodoxy during the 17th century.

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