Contemporary conservative Protestantism is being riven over the worldview conflicts inflaming our culture. A prime reason it has not been able to weather our current cultural conflagration is that it has long been deeply ensconced in a warm, otherworldly ecclesiastical theology (see “The Free-Floating Irrelevance of Ecclesiastical Colonization”). As long as the chief alien worldviews stayed mostly outside the church as they did during much of the 20th century, the church could maintain a strong unity on nothing but narrow, orthodox, ecclesiastically theological premises.
However, when in recent years, relentless alien worldviews began to adapt themselves to ecclesiastical theology, forming “churchly” versions of the wider cultural ideologies, the division came hard and fast.
The latest example is Together for the Gospel (T4G), a popular annual conference and organization launched over 15 years ago by men like Mark Dever, Ligon Duncan, Al Mohler, C.J. Mahaney, John Piper, and R. C. Sproul to revive Reformed and Puritan soteriology (salvation doctrine), often shorthanded to “the doctrines of grace,” which essentially describes the famed Calvinistic acrostic TULIP: total depravity, unconditional election, limited atonement, irresistible grace, and perseverance of the saints.
This soteriology has not been the majority report among most of 20th century evangelicalism, and T4G appealed to seminarians and young church leaders (and others) hungry for something more substantive than bland, broad evangelical soteriology, which (it was held) did not sufficiently stress salvation by grace and God’s sovereign work in our salvation. To vanilla evangelicals, this is heady stuff.