Ever since I began attending Bethlehem Baptist Church three years ago, I have had a nagging question. "How does Bethlehem's "Reformed Baptist" theology compare to a traditional covenantal Reformed theology?" It has seemed since the beginning that all of this just doesn't add up. I'm not sure I would call it "cafeteria style theology" but it has seemed like the parts don't necessarily equal the whole. I haven't ever really gotten a good answer to this question. Maybe I haven't been able to articulate it very well. Maybe it's a question with which people aren't very comfortable.
My thoughts have been like this. When I was at Calvin College in Grand Rapids, Michigan, a Christian Reformed college, I didn't always agree with their stance on some theological issues, but the arguments always went back to a traditional Reformed theology. That theology was consistent across the board from Baptism to the Lord's Supper to their overall hermeneutic. At Bethlehem, I agree with almost everything, but I can't always trace our stances to a traditional Baptist theology. It's hard for me to understand where the Baptist ends and the Reformed thought begins. It doesn't always feel consistent.
Michael Horton from the White Horse Inn and Westminster Seminary California, just wrote a great blog post articulating this exact question and argument. Horton encourages people who have become interested in the doctrines of grace and God's sovereignty to call the movement "Evangelical Calvinism." This makes sense to me. It's not that I'm Reformed. I don't agree (yet) with infant baptism or some or the other outgrowths of covenantal theology. I think I'm a Baptist who is excited about God's sovereignty and is thrilled with the doctrines of grace. If you go to Bethlehem or if you consider yourself part of the "New Calvinism" movement, I'd love to hear what you think about these comments and Horton's article.
UPDATE: Here is another very interesting article about the New Calvinism. My reaction to the article is this. I continue to hesitate with many of the things articulated in the article that are Reformed. Therefore, I hesitate to call myself Reformed. The implications of all that the other things mean, i.e. the cultural mandate and the sacraments, I'm not real comfortable with yet.