A good word from Eric Hankins about the “Augustinian-Calvinist synthesis” underlying the New Calvinism:
[In the context of “A Statement of the Traditional Baptist Understanding of God’s Plan of Salvation,”] there is no doubt that we are calling into question the Calvinist-Arminian grid that sets the parameters and defines all the terms of the debate. It matters little to us that such discussions are centuries old. These abstrusely medieval, exhaustingly philosophical, and theologically troubling categories have never been comfortable for most Southern Baptists, and we have never felt bound by them. We don’t refer to them when we preach and teach, and we have been moving away from them confessionally for well over a century. Baptists weren’t afraid to walk away from Augustine and Calvin on issues of infant baptism and ecclesiology, and we have not been afraid to walk away from their soteriology, which demands that most people will not be granted the capacity to respond to the Gospel. We are calling the Augustinian-Calvinist synthesis into question not because we are spiritually immature, biblically illiterate, doctrinally cowardly, or erroneously humanistic. We are calling it into question because it is a post-biblical lens that too often distorts crucial biblical texts.
Dr. Hankins speaks well for a wide range of evangelicals, most Southern Baptists among them. It is not surprising that a group which equates Calvinism with the Gospel would look on other perspectives as heresy, even blasphemy. When that group considers their perspective to be the only intellectually serious theology, one should not be surprised they consider others their intellectual inferiors.
I am grateful that my friends who claim a Reformed orientation submit their systematic theology to the voice of Scripture and are humble enough in spirit to acknowledge there are passages of Scripture that Calvinism does not explain very well.
If the New Calvinists seriously hope to engage in an authentic dialogue that seeks a way to dwell together in unity, they should instruct the know-it-all rationalists to stay home and send men and women of humility to speak (and listen) on their behalf.