Is Young, Restless, and Reformed still a thing?

Status
Not open for further replies.

TooManySystematics

Puritan Board Freshman
When I became a Christian I was lucky enough to have been brought into the faith through a well read Presbyterian (He quickly put R.L. Dabney into my hands if that tells you anything!) so I was blessed to have been able to skip the awkward and somewhat cringey "YRR" stage a lot of people went through.

That being said, I can't say that it hasn't affected me or my church either. All of the young people know who John Piper, John MacArthur, and R.C Sproul are (I know he was a Presbyterian, but he was still an influencer in the movement). Many of them might even consider them to be authorities on what it means to be "Reformed". I expect that the movement (or the aftershocks of it) it will continue to affect us for some time. I suspect that mine is not the only church in NAPARC to be like this.

I think one major positive to have come out of the movement was that it made more confessional people and churches aware of each other. Podcasting and blogging was a big thing that spread the YRR, and I think that those tools are likewise helping the confessional community to find each other. I as a member of the URC currently attend a CanRC listen to a podcast from an OPC pastor and read a blog from a PCA minister. It might be an indirect positive, but its a positive nevertheless.

A massive negative however has been a general loosening of the term Reformed. Although some people are struggling to keep a tight leash on the term, I think that the battle has already been lost. When I hear a friend of mine referring to himself as a "Reformed Pentecostal", or when I see articles entitled: "Meet a Reformed Arminian" (https://www.thegospelcoalition.org/article/meet-a-reformed-arminian/), I think the term has become so wide, so metamorphic, so general, that it no longer serves to define anything. That's tragic, because no we can't identify each other through that term anymore.

Just my :2cents:
 

W.C. Dean

Puritan Board Sophomore
When I became a Christian I was lucky enough to have been brought into the faith through a well read Presbyterian (He quickly put R.L. Dabney into my hands if that tells you anything!) so I was blessed to have been able to skip the awkward and somewhat cringey "YRR" stage a lot of people went through.

That being said, I can't say that it hasn't affected me or my church either. All of the young people know who John Piper, John MacArthur, and R.C Sproul are (I know he was a Presbyterian, but he was still an influencer in the movement). Many of them might even consider them to be "Reformed". I expect that the movement (or the aftershocks of it) it will continue to affect us for some time. I suspect that mine is not the only church in NAPARC to be like this.

I think one major positive to have come out of the movement was that it made more confessional people and churches aware of each other. Podcasting and blogging was a big thing that spread the YRR, and I think that those tools are likewise helping the confessional community to find each other. I as a member of the URC currently attend a CanRC listen to a podcast from an OPC pastor and read a blog from a PCA minister.

A massive negative however has been a general loosening of the term Reformed. Although some people are struggling to keep a tight leash on the term, I think that the battle has already been lost. When I hear a friend of mine referring to himself as a "Reformed Pentecostal", or when I see articles entitled: "Meet a Reformed Arminian" (https://www.thegospelcoalition.org/article/meet-a-reformed-arminian/), I think the term has become so wide, so metamorphic, so general, that it no longer serves to define anything. That's tragic, because no we can't identify each other through that term anymore.

Just my :2cents:

I experienced something similar. When I first became a predestinarian there was a very short period of time where I wished to "enlighten" every Christian I came across and my pastor humbled me and nipped my rude attitude in the bud. I owe him for sparing me for months, or potentially years of struggling to get my mind past those five points. However, I have benefited some from John Piper when I was new to this all, and I still enjoy his biographical works. (I don't consider him a heretic either). R.C. Sproul was and continues to be a huge benefit for me and my mother. I differ from him on a few points, some quite important, but nothing that ever makes me want to stop listening to him. His lectures on other worldviews and philosophies have been immensely helpful to me.
 

py3ak

They're stalling and plotting against me
Staff member
It sounds like the young got old, and the restless either settled down or waltzed their way to something different.
 

JM

Puritan Board Doctor
When I became a Christian I was lucky enough to have been brought into the faith through a well read Presbyterian (He quickly put R.L. Dabney into my hands if that tells you anything!) so I was blessed to have been able to skip the awkward and somewhat cringey "YRR" stage a lot of people went through.

That being said, I can't say that it hasn't affected me or my church either. All of the young people know who John Piper, John MacArthur, and R.C Sproul are (I know he was a Presbyterian, but he was still an influencer in the movement). Many of them might even consider them to be authorities on what it means to be "Reformed". I expect that the movement (or the aftershocks of it) it will continue to affect us for some time. I suspect that mine is not the only church in NAPARC to be like this.

I think one major positive to have come out of the movement was that it made more confessional people and churches aware of each other. Podcasting and blogging was a big thing that spread the YRR, and I think that those tools are likewise helping the confessional community to find each other. I as a member of the URC currently attend a CanRC listen to a podcast from an OPC pastor and read a blog from a PCA minister. It might be an indirect positive, but its a positive nevertheless.

A massive negative however has been a general loosening of the term Reformed. Although some people are struggling to keep a tight leash on the term, I think that the battle has already been lost. When I hear a friend of mine referring to himself as a "Reformed Pentecostal", or when I see articles entitled: "Meet a Reformed Arminian" (https://www.thegospelcoalition.org/article/meet-a-reformed-arminian/), I think the term has become so wide, so metamorphic, so general, that it no longer serves to define anything. That's tragic, because no we can't identify each other through that term anymore.

Just my :2cents:
I'm just down the road from you in Chatham Ontario.
 

Susan777

Puritan Board Sophomore
If they introduce people to predestination, I suppose that's good. The deal is that they introduce it to them divorced and abstracted from what God teaches about the covenants, sacraments, etc. And their politics is basically Peak-Level Karen. Politically, they exist to soothe the consciences of the elites.
“Peak-level Karen”. Love it!
 

ZackF

Puritan Board Graduate
“Peak-level Karen”. Love it!
It is fun and fortuitous on how a came to know what a "Karen" was a few weeks ago. Until then I'd been oblivious to the meme.

I am a call center supervisor. So when someone wants to speak a supervisor, CEO, manager, boss or "someone else", that's me. One of the representative said, "hey Zack, are you busy? I have a Karen on the line." I fully expected when the account information popped on my screen to see the name Karen. It wasn't and so I asked the customer her name and went on from there. A few weeks later in my YouTube feed a I saw a headline of a video poking fun at a female politician that was labeling "Karen" offensive and sexist. After watching that video and doing some googling I remembered my first encounter with "Karen" as a meme was actually someone wanting to speak with the manager. I'm grateful I didn't call her Karen.
 

JM

Puritan Board Doctor

Flame, former Calvinistic rapper, claims there is a loveless misuse of the Law in Reformed theology. Reformed Christians are looking inward for works/fruit instead of looking to Christ extra nos. Cooper seems to agree and they both cite this as one reason they both left YRR.

 

Andrew35

Puritan Board Freshman

Flame, former Calvinistic rapper, claims there is a loveless misuse of the Law in Reformed theology. Reformed Christians are looking inward for works/fruit instead of looking to Christ extra nos. Cooper seems to agree and they both cite this as one reason they both left YRR.

Is Lutheranism also not without its Pietists? Grass-is-greener syndrome.

Much of the YRR exodus (though of course not all) may be explained by a premature and imperfect assimilation of Reformed thought. Cooper himself basically says as much in his video.

If we had a YSL (Young, Scatological, and Lutheran) movement, I expect we'd see a parallel phenomenon.
 

JM

Puritan Board Doctor
Jay Dyer is an outspoken proponent of Orthodoxy. Former Reformed Christian moved to Catholicism and finally Orthodoxy. He changes the underlying presuppositions of West thought and blames the Enlightenment for ruining Catholicism and creating Protestantism. He cites the creation of the canon as one of the reasons he left Protestantism and that is one I've heard most often.

 

BayouHuguenot

Puritanboard Amanuensis
Jay Dyer is an outspoken proponent of Orthodoxy. Former Reformed Christian moved to Catholicism and finally Orthodoxy. He changes the underlying presuppositions of West thought and blames the Enlightenment for ruining Catholicism and creating Protestantism. He cites the creation of the canon as one of the reasons he left Protestantism and that is one I've heard most often.


I've known Jay since 2008. He is mentally and emotionally unstable. He has apostasized from and joined every form of Christianity. I've dealt with him a few times.
 

JM

Puritan Board Doctor
I've known Jay since 2008. He is mentally and emotionally unstable. He has apostasized from and joined every form of Christianity. I've dealt with him a few times.
I got that from listening to his podcast episodes. Thank you for the links!
 

BayouHuguenot

Puritanboard Amanuensis
I got that from listening to his podcast episodes. Thank you for the links!

I will say this about him. If someone reduces the Reformed faith to 5 Points, which usually just means "how to respond to my Methodist cousin," then Jay's cheat sheet arguments will catch him with his pants down. Now Jay hasn't read any of the scholarly literature on Rome, Protestantism, or even EO. He stole most of his arguments from Perry Robinson and Joseph Farrell. He spent a decade perfecting them. And he is a good speaker, which seems to give him an edge in debate.

But if you force him to meet in a neutral forum that is heavily moderated by a neutral party, he loses all of his advantages.
 

Jack K

Puritan Board Professor
The YRR movement has its shortcomings, for sure, but if we're thinking beyond the use of the label and are going to critique the movement itself, we ought to acknowledge some positives. Where the movement has made inroads, it has brought some healthy improvements to no small number of churches. We can see it in the mindset of young people today who have grown up in YRR-influenced churches. Here's some of what we see in those young people:

1. Calvinism is the new default. It is no longer hard to find a Baptist or non-denominational church that is Calvinist. Today, every major city in America (and many small cities) has such churches. And even in churches that remain Arminian or noncommittal, Calvinism has often made inroads or is becoming less vilified.

2. As Calvinism (the true gospel) has taken root, we should not be surprised that a focus on the gospel has grown. "Gospel-centered" is not just a catchphrase with this new generation. Those who have grown up under YRR influence expect to see Christ and the gospel when they study the Scriptures—in fact, they demand it. They insist on that context.

3. Speaking of context, they care about context and depth in their Bible study. Their approach to the Bible is much healthier than that of shallow evangelicalism, where Scripture is treated more as a collection of proof-texts or motivational-poster fodder.

4. These YRR-influenced young people are also interested in the church's history, and especially in the Puritan era. They are eager to move beyond the ignorance of history that has marked wider evangelicalism for decades. They are consuming historical and Puritan (or Puritan-influenced) books, podcasts, blogs, sermons, etc. in quantities that would have been unthinkable twenty years ago. True, their acceptance of this material is spotty. They embrace some of it while remaining ignorant, cold, or undecided about other parts. But the overall impact is to give these truths a new hearing and renewed awareness. First they say, "Maybe our worship shouldn't be a free-for-all." Next they say, "I think our church should be elder-led." After a decade or so of that, they start to say, "Maybe we ought to officially ascribe to the London 1689." So while the Reformed purists chide them (or push them away!) for not being totally Reformed immediately, some are actually learning a lot from history and moving in good directions fairly quickly. As long as they keep reading the Puritans, that will keep happening.

5. The church has new importance to them. They see the need to push back against the individualism that has increasingly marked American evangelicalism. Connected to this, they are interested in holistic discipleship and real evangelism rather than the cheap "decision for Christ" and mass-appeal mindsets that dominated past generations. Although they may still struggle with this, they understand the need to be churchmen rather than marketers.

The movement is still just a subset of American evangelicalism, but in many ways it is a healthy influence. We should be encouraging what is good about it.

(By the way, these YRR-influenced churches are where I tend to end up giving seminars and such. I am too serious and gospel-pounding for the shallow or attractional-model evangelicals, and my Reformed credentials are not pure enough for the Thoroughly Reformed. But I share a lot of common ground with the New Calvinists, despite the fact they seem like such youngsters to me. I happily admit to having a soft spot for them.)
 

W.C. Dean

Puritan Board Sophomore
The YRR movement has its shortcomings, for sure, but if we're thinking beyond the use of the label and are going to critique the movement itself, we ought to acknowledge some positives. Where the movement has made inroads, it has brought some healthy improvements to no small number of churches. We can see it in the mindset of young people today who have grown up in YRR-influenced churches. Here's some of what we see in those young people:

1. Calvinism is the new default. It is no longer hard to find a Baptist or non-denominational church that is Calvinist. Today, every major city in America (and many small cities) has such churches. And even in churches that remain Arminian or noncommittal, Calvinism has often made inroads or is becoming less vilified.

2. As Calvinism (the true gospel) has taken root, we should not be surprised that a focus on the gospel has grown. "Gospel-centered" is not just a catchphrase with this new generation. Those who have grown up under YRR influence expect to see Christ and the gospel when they study the Scriptures—in fact, they demand it. They insist on that context.

3. Speaking of context, they care about context and depth in their Bible study. Their approach to the Bible is much healthier than that of shallow evangelicalism, where Scripture is treated more as a collection of proof-texts or motivational-poster fodder.

4. These YRR-influenced young people are also interested in the church's history, and especially in the Puritan era. They are eager to move beyond the ignorance of history that has marked wider evangelicalism for decades. They are consuming historical and Puritan (or Puritan-influenced) books, podcasts, blogs, sermons, etc. in quantities that would have been unthinkable twenty years ago. True, their acceptance of this material is spotty. They embrace some of it while remaining ignorant, cold, or undecided about other parts. But the overall impact is to give these truths a new hearing and renewed awareness. First they say, "Maybe our worship shouldn't be a free-for-all." Next they say, "I think our church should be elder-led." After a decade or so of that, they start to say, "Maybe we ought to officially ascribe to the London 1689." So while the Reformed purists chide them (or push them away!) for not being totally Reformed immediately, some are actually learning a lot from history and moving in good directions fairly quickly. As long as they keep reading the Puritans, that will keep happening.

5. The church has new importance to them. They see the need to push back against the individualism that has increasingly marked American evangelicalism. Connected to this, they are interested in holistic discipleship and real evangelism rather than the cheap "decision for Christ" and mass-appeal mindsets that dominated past generations. Although they may still struggle with this, they understand the need to be churchmen rather than marketers.

The movement is still just a subset of American evangelicalism, but in many ways it is a healthy influence. We should be encouraging what is good about it.

(By the way, these YRR-influenced churches are where I tend to end up giving seminars and such. I am too serious and gospel-pounding for the shallow or attractional-model evangelicals, and my Reformed credentials are not pure enough for the Thoroughly Reformed. But I share a lot of common ground with the New Calvinists, despite the fact they seem like such youngsters to me. I happily admit to having a soft spot for them.)

As I mentioned previously, the FCS(C) minister Harry Wood has an excellent lecture on the positives of the movement, which I commend to everyone reading this. I agree with your 5 points (5 points, was that on purpose?).
 

retroGRAD3

Puritan Board Freshman
I've known Jay since 2008. He is mentally and emotionally unstable. He has apostasized from and joined every form of Christianity. I've dealt with him a few times.

Your summary and info on Jay is well founded. Although, you don't even really have to look hard to see that Jay is a complete jerk to almost everyone he interacts with. He literally calls people "retards" as an argument in most interactions with people he disagrees with. Unfortunately, as protestants, we also have some characters...cough...pulput and pen...cough.
 

Jonathan95

Puritan Board Freshman
The YRR movement has its shortcomings, for sure, but if we're thinking beyond the use of the label and are going to critique the movement itself, we ought to acknowledge some positives. Where the movement has made inroads, it has brought some healthy improvements to no small number of churches. We can see it in the mindset of young people today who have grown up in YRR-influenced churches. Here's some of what we see in those young people:

1. Calvinism is the new default. It is no longer hard to find a Baptist or non-denominational church that is Calvinist. Today, every major city in America (and many small cities) has such churches. And even in churches that remain Arminian or noncommittal, Calvinism has often made inroads or is becoming less vilified.

2. As Calvinism (the true gospel) has taken root, we should not be surprised that a focus on the gospel has grown. "Gospel-centered" is not just a catchphrase with this new generation. Those who have grown up under YRR influence expect to see Christ and the gospel when they study the Scriptures—in fact, they demand it. They insist on that context.

3. Speaking of context, they care about context and depth in their Bible study. Their approach to the Bible is much healthier than that of shallow evangelicalism, where Scripture is treated more as a collection of proof-texts or motivational-poster fodder.

4. These YRR-influenced young people are also interested in the church's history, and especially in the Puritan era. They are eager to move beyond the ignorance of history that has marked wider evangelicalism for decades. They are consuming historical and Puritan (or Puritan-influenced) books, podcasts, blogs, sermons, etc. in quantities that would have been unthinkable twenty years ago. True, their acceptance of this material is spotty. They embrace some of it while remaining ignorant, cold, or undecided about other parts. But the overall impact is to give these truths a new hearing and renewed awareness. First they say, "Maybe our worship shouldn't be a free-for-all." Next they say, "I think our church should be elder-led." After a decade or so of that, they start to say, "Maybe we ought to officially ascribe to the London 1689." So while the Reformed purists chide them (or push them away!) for not being totally Reformed immediately, some are actually learning a lot from history and moving in good directions fairly quickly. As long as they keep reading the Puritans, that will keep happening.

5. The church has new importance to them. They see the need to push back against the individualism that has increasingly marked American evangelicalism. Connected to this, they are interested in holistic discipleship and real evangelism rather than the cheap "decision for Christ" and mass-appeal mindsets that dominated past generations. Although they may still struggle with this, they understand the need to be churchmen rather than marketers.

The movement is still just a subset of American evangelicalism, but in many ways it is a healthy influence. We should be encouraging what is good about it.

(By the way, these YRR-influenced churches are where I tend to end up giving seminars and such. I am too serious and gospel-pounding for the shallow or attractional-model evangelicals, and my Reformed credentials are not pure enough for the Thoroughly Reformed. But I share a lot of common ground with the New Calvinists, despite the fact they seem like such youngsters to me. I happily admit to having a soft spot for them.)

I've only been a member of two churches. Both fall into the YRR category. Many of the positives that you have described have also been a blessing to me in my following after the Lord these past 6 years. :)
 

BlackCalvinist

Puritan Board Senior
Something like that. There is a pattern among the YRR types to "jump to another tradition" simply because they don't have a good foundation in Reformed theology. When you reduce all of theology to 5 Points and a Passion conference, what can you expect?

I watched a few friends jump from 'new thing' to the 'next new thing' over the years. This pretty much nails it down. I remember reading someone saying years ago that reducing reformed theology to just the five points is the equivalent of playing in the sand on the beach while ignoring the ocean in front of you. I've preferred the image of playing on the front porch, maybe the yard and maybe the right inside the front door while ignoring the rest of the house.
 

Seeking_Thy_Kingdom

Puritan Board Freshman
I watched a few friends jump from 'new thing' to the 'next new thing' over the years. This pretty much nails it down. I remember reading someone saying years ago that reducing reformed theology to just the five points is the equivalent of playing in the sand on the beach while ignoring the ocean in front of you. I've preferred the image of playing on the front porch, maybe the yard and maybe the right inside the front door while ignoring the rest of the house.
This is also described in the beginning of “Letters to a Young Calvinist”. It says that reducing Calvinism or Reformed theology to just the 5 points is like walking into a beautiful mansion with many rooms, but never making it past the foyer. Ultimately, if you don’t go past the 5 points you will never reach the humility and God-centeredness it is meant to produce.
 

joep

Puritan Board Freshman
Stephen McAlpine had a great reflection on one of the downsides of the YRR movement: its being wedded to big personalities and how much it involved a certain subcultural element. I think that would be one part of it.

As many above have pointed out we can only be grateful to the Lord for the rediscovery of (portions of?) Reformed theology by many people. If there was a weakness I found personally, it was the lack of a confessional element. I think ML-J was very wise when he warned against work being done by movements not being under the church or a fellowship of churches, and these issues come up again and again when we deal with movements, which are always temporary.
 

Andrew35

Puritan Board Freshman
Stephen McAlpine had a great reflection on one of the downsides of the YRR movement: its being wedded to big personalities and how much it involved a certain subcultural element....
Ironically, the same things took down the old, Fundamentalist movement, albeit in a drastically less cool form (Jack Hyles, KJB, and comb-overs anyone?).

Probably something to be said about repetitive patterns here.
 

BayouHuguenot

Puritanboard Amanuensis
What is the difference between YRR and TR?

For starters, ecclesiology. Usually the YRR guys are reduced to 5 Points. I'm not TR because of certain issues, but I am very churchly piety Calvinist (think Darryl Hart). I also have a higher view of the Confession.
 

Pilgrim

Puritanboard Commissioner
What is the difference between YRR and TR?
TR is basically shorthand for strict or full subscription to confessional standards. Most people in the PCA would consider this board to be TR on steroids.
 

NaphtaliPress

Administrator
Staff member
TR is basically shorthand for strict or full subscription to confessional standards. Most people in the PCA would consider this board to be TR on steroids.
I wonder what those folks would think to know that some don't think PB is confessional enough. :think:
 

Pilgrim

Puritanboard Commissioner
They've basically taken over the Southern Baptist Convention, the largest "Protestant" organization in North America. So there's that.

I largely agree with what Jack K. posted. I'll add that dispensationalism is just about dead in the SBC, and what used to be called the "YRR" is a big reason why. Now, it may not be dead at the Southern Baptist church down the block that has a steeple and a white-haired pastor who always wears a suit, but it is dead almost anywhere you find a preacher who wears an untucked shirt and jeans. (These are the people who, if they grew up in Baptist or similar churches, had "Left Behind" crammed down their throats. Many of them have vomited it up.) If you want cessationist dispensationalism, and lean toward some kind of Calvinistic soteriology (whether moderate or strict) chances are you'll have to go to an independent Bible church, because most of the churches in the SBC that are still Dispensational tend to be led by strident anti-Calvinists. Or maybe independent fundamentalism if you can stomach that.

The continued rise of continuationism if not full blown charismaticism in these kinds of churches is another example of their influence. I'll say that the rise of continuationism among Calvinistic people definitely is. Among Calvinistic men who are now in their 60s, I think it was probably just about unheard of.

To some degree, the rise of multisite megachurches (and mega wannabees) also owes something to the YRR, although you tend to see that across the board these days. But the acceptance of it within "Calvinistic" circles is a YRR trait. I'm not sure who else besides Piper got into that before the rise of the "New Calvinism." Besides Mark Dever and John MacArthur, I'm not sure that there are many Calvinistic people in those circles who oppose it at this point.

Bottom line, their influence is all over the place if you know what to look for.
 
Last edited:

Pilgrim

Puritanboard Commissioner
I wonder what those folks would think to know that some don't think PB is confessional enough. :think:
They might be inclined to think that such people should be locked in a cage, especially if they are in their denomination.

A few years ago, I was shocked to see the open vitriol heaped upon a brother who is merely "Old School" by "progressive" (or whatever) PCA pastors. (I'm not sure that "liberal" is the right word. It's not our father's or grandfather's liberalism, to be sure. It is more subtle than that.) This was in response to him continuing to point out problems with this or that at GA. At one point, even a brother who is much more irenic told him he should just get out of the PCA instead of complaining about it for the rest of his life. (He has finally gotten out.) I'm not sure I've quite seen that kind of behavior among Baptists, or at least it didn't hit me the same way. It was clearly coordinated, because they all piled on at about the same time, and then they deleted their posts (this was on FB) not long afterwards. And I've seen that kind of thing happen more than once.
 
Last edited:

NaphtaliPress

Administrator
Staff member
No doubt; I know who you are talking about. And I suspect it is of these progressive warrior children who are the ones I have received more than one account, who drop F bombs and other bad language outside of GA and presbytery meetings. It would not surprise me a bit that troll manners on social media equate to this. I'm not saying conservatives can't be profane but not of those who truly (not hypocritically) take a strong confessionally reformed view of doctrine and manners.
They might be inclined to think that such people should be locked in a cage, especially if they are in their denomination.

A few years ago, I was shocked to see the open vitriol heaped upon a brother who is merely "Old School" by "progressive" (or whatever) PCA pastors. (I'm not sure that "liberal" is the right word. It's not our father's or grandfather's liberalism, to be sure. It is more subtle than that.) This was in response to him continuing to point out problems with this or that at GA. At one point, even a brother who is much more irenic told him he should just get out of the PCA instead of complaining about it for the rest of his life. (He has finally gotten out.) I'm not sure I've quite seen that kind of behavior among Baptists, or at least it didn't hit me the same way. It was clearly coordinated, because they all piled on at about the same time, and then they deleted their posts (this was on FB) not long afterwards. And I've seen that kind of thing happen more than once.
 
Status
Not open for further replies.
Top