“What’s Wrong With the ‘New Reformed’ Movement?”–A Response

Rob Davis has a pretty clear-cut answer to the question “What’s Wrong with the ‘New Reformed’ Movement?” Bottom line? The movement is hurting people, and doing more harm than good.

At this point, as someone who left this movement and eventually found healing from it’s abuses in devotion to the Sacred Heart, I think Rob is absolutely right.

I do think that in fairness to our “separated brethren,” it has to be pointed out that there is a marked difference between the “old Reformed” and the “new Reformed.” The former is marked by very little of the horrendous abuse and cult-like behavior of the latter. To relate a personal experience: I have a dear friend who is currently working on a Ph.D. dissertation that argues that there are many commonalities between the ecclesiologies of John Calvin and Henri de Lubac. He’s a Reformed Anglican, and I love our conversations, and none of what he’s experienced in “old Reformed” churches comes anywhere near what I saw in Sovereign Grace Ministries. He is wont to remind me of the academic dialogue between Hans Urs von Balthasar (one of my all-time faves) and Karl Barth (one of his). He’s just the first person that comes to mind: I know my fair share of people who are in “old school” Reformed churches that aren’t wreaking havoc on American Christianity like the SGM’s and Acts 29’s of the world that unfortunately share the name “Reformed” with them…

And I say all that to say, that as a Catholic who constantly prays for his friends to come safely aboard the Barque of Peter, that we have to be “wise as serpents and as innocent as doves” when it comes to our assessments of what’s going on in the Protestant world. Let us bear prophetic witness against evil where we see it, but let us also give thanksgiving for the grace of God when we see it. And let us constantly pray for the unity of Christians that our Lord prayed for in John 17, and entrust all those whom we love to the care and intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

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Filed under Getting Round in Front, The Long Road to Rome

11 responses to ““What’s Wrong With the ‘New Reformed’ Movement?”–A Response

  1. Carl Finnell

    Having experienced the abuses of the new reformed theology in a SGM church it was nice to find healing in an “old reformed Anglican church”. It has been a blessing. while I don’t believe I will ever move over to the catholic church. I am no longer hostile to the Roman catholic faith in fact have come to love and enjoy some aspects of the church. While I can’t reconcile some of the differences between Protestants and Catholics it grieves my heart that Christianity is so unbelievably divided. This I attribute to the reformation.

  2. Would you say the harm the Neo-Reformed movement is doing is mainly in their theology or their practices? Or both? And how do they relate to each other?

    • Oh, I think it’s most definitely both. As I’ve written previously, they’re very much a Protestant version of Jansenism (much more so than the Magisterial Reformers were), both in belief and in practice.

      I would love to hear more “old school” Reformed believers speak out against these guys… I don’t know, maybe they do and it’s just hard to hear over the foaming-at-the-mouth rants of the Driscolls of the world…

  3. Ryan, as a Protestant I was never involved in Reformed theology, and I don’t personally know anyone affiliated with SGM. Can you suggest a good way for someone like me to pray for the people caught up in this deformed theology?


    • Carl Finnell

      Renee, for my perspective pray for those involved to have wisdom and discernment. for those who have left: healing for broken relationships and more importantly to be able to be in a place to trust God and to be able to get involved in another fellowship. Those were the two hardest things to deal with when I left an SGM fellowship.

      • Thank you, Carl. I can see how hard it must be to trust God again and to believe that He is truly working in the Church. I will pray….

      • Carl Finnell

        We sometimes forget that prayer is our weapon. Our warfare is spiritual not carnal!!!

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