What are the status and prospects of Calvinism in the United States 400 years after the definitive edition of the Institutes of the Christian Religion? They are not good. In fact, they are very bad.
In this brief survey we will mention several factors which cast a gloom over the present and future, and, then, other aspects which give rise to hope. The times today are not so bad as the era before the Reformation. If the darkest hour is just before the dawn, perhaps we are near the sunrise.
The Ecumenical Trend
First, the ecumenical movement, in its present trend, is inimical to Calvinism. We say, “in its present trend,” for we do not think that the ecumenical movement, as such, or in its basic theory, is inimical to Calvinism. As a means by which all Christian churches, Calvinist and non-Calvinist, may give expression to their common unity in Christ and realize the maximum of cooperation without compromise, the ecumenical movement was born from the loins of Calvinism. The Evangelical Alliance of 1846 was probably the forerunner of the ecumenical movement and was essentially a Reformed activity.
Calvinism believes in the catholic church and rejoices in its fellowship. It holds to its own principles without compromise, but does not unchurch other Christians dubious about the value of Calvinism.
The ecumenical movement at present moves toward homogenous doctrinal thinking. Doctrinally speaking, it is based on an affirmation of the deity and saviourhood of Jesus Christ. To that much, Calvinist, along with non-Calvinist, Christians gladly subscribe. On that basis most Calvinist churches of the world have become a vital part of the ecumenical movement. The present ecumenical trend, however, is not satisfied with such a general agreement. ...1
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