I read with Interest Scot McKnight's comments about the new reformed yesterday and thought it was a little unfair.
In the past I have appreciated McKnight's defence of scripture against Dan Brown's distorted interpret of church history. However his understanding of truth is influenced by post modernism and so that is where is problem with the reformed begins. In Coffee house theology McKnight says that he lost a bet and was forced to read Calvin's view of baptism. He believed that Calvin was just a bully with a pulpit. If he had read the rest of the institutes he would have found warmth there. He rightly says that Calvin was a man of his time but it was also clear he had no time for traditional reformed theology.
McKnight suggests that the new reformed have moved penal substitution from the periphery to the centre of theology. Penal subsistition has never been a perpherial part of theology. Yet McKnight does the exact opposite, In 'Atonement as Story' McKnight removes the atonement from the centre of Christianity to the periphery. He wrongly suggests there is no hint in any of the “I have come”statements to suggest atonement. He tells people (for the shock factor) that ‘Jesus didn’t come to earth to die for their sins.’ Yet Jesus said I have come to lay down my life on behalf of the sheep in John 10 implying subsitution. McKnight is wrong about the “I have come” statements, Jesus states that he has come to give his life as a ransom for many in Matt 20:28.
McKnight believes that the new reformed place to much emphasis on complimentarianism as if it was a major issue. As a complimentarian I have several female friends who are preparing for ministry and they know where I stand. I don't believe that because of their views they aren't Christians and this issue doesn't eat away at me, the issue I have with them is not complimentarianism itself but with their doctrine of scripture. One of them doesn't always agree with the apostle Paul because it is clear where he stands on the issue.
The new reformed unlike traditional reformed people are actually more open to other evangelicals. On the villiage green we stand with other evangelicals who love their bibles and are seeking to live for Christ. That doesn't mean we wont enjoy the debate over issues of disagreement. Theology has always been done that way. McKnight recognises that we get together, but so does every other group within evangelicalism and without.
All the major players within the new reformed Piper, Keller, Carson, Driscoll, Mahaney etc are Bible focused and are unlikely to quote the WCF or any other creed in their sermons. Keller and Driscoll could hardly be accused of placing tradition alongside scripture.
The new reformed have a high view of Scripture and truth which goes against the grain for McKnight and his emergent friends which is where McKnight's problem with the new reformed arises.