In 2008, Collin Hansen published a book titled: Young, Restless, Reformed: A Journalist’s Journey with the New Calvinists and in doing so, coined the phrase Young, Restless, Reformed. Today, that same group is no longer so young and restless. Although the movement is largely populated by a younger demographic, there are many older people who identify as New Calvinist in their persuasion and remain active online and in various para-church ministry settings.
Not only did authors, theologians, and media outlets such as Time Magazine pick up on this doctrinal resurgence in the last several years, but so did Les Lanphere, a film maker who has recently unveiled a project that charts the explosive boom of the New Calvinist movement in recent years. The film is well researched, graphically appealing, and accurately documents the modern day resurgence of historic biblical theology.
One of the points that the film drives home is the necessity of the local church—which happens to be a passion of mine and it just so happens that Les Lanphere interviewed me on that subject and included a portion of that interview as a loving critique of the New Calvinism movement within his film. I was grateful that he pointed out the areas that deserve praise as well as some of the deficiencies among the movement—such as an unhealthy fascination with celebrity icons and personalities that often have a greater voice in the ears of local church members than their local pastors.
I highly recommend this film and believe that it can be used to do more than chart a movement. It can point out the need for solid biblical preaching that places a big God before people on a weekly basis. What are some of the shortcomings of the film? Every book, article, sermon, and song will have some area of deficiency and perhaps this film does as well. While it charts the movement from various angles and documents the use of media outlets, technology, and conferences—there were some noticeable voices missing from the film such as Voddie Baucham, John MacArthur, Albert Mohler, and Mark Dever.
It was Mark Dever who asked a very important question in an article titled “Where’d All These Calvinists Come From?” where he documented the resurgence of Calvinism in our present day. Mark Dever along with several other voices have been a large catalyst among the Calvinistic resurgence in evangelicalism and especially within the Southern Baptist Convention—a Convention founded by Calvinists in the mid 1800s.
Aside from lacking a few additional key players in the movement—the film is an excellent documentary and one that you will want to add to your library of resources. Remember, this film does more than document a movement—it actually teaches truth at the same time.