I think I am on to something here. This idea has probably been written about by numerous authors and theologians in years past, but truthfully, I’ve not heard anyone say this exactly. Here is my hunch.
I believe the full embrace of postmodernity (or POMO) by the larger American Evangelical church over the past 40 years is a significant contributor to the re-emergence of reformed theology, especially among younger Christians. There it is friends, my ity-bity contribution to the theological and cultural conversation of our time. Let me further explain.
Postmodernity, in its American iteration, has several core convictions. One, there is no absolute truth from religion, science, empircal evidence, period. Two, there are no perfectly moral right or wrongs which every person must live by. Third, no person can push their view of morality on any other person. That would be intolerant which is the unpardonable sin for postmoderns. And fourth, all religious expressions are equally valid even the choice to have NO religious expression at all.
If you consider carefully the 4 basic POMO convictions, you can easily see where this worldview left an enormous void. The void of definitive truth. My thought is this void has been filled predominately by the re-emergence of reformed theology, especially among younger Christian who swoon over the Young, Restless, and Reformed (YYR’s) movement. YYR’s are demanding a hard look at Evangelical Christianity and are pushing for a radical pendulum shift.
Unlike any previous Evangelical movement over the past 40 years (including the Billy Graham Crusades, the Jesus Hippies, the Mega-Church phenomenon, the Moral Majority, the Prosperity Gospel, or the Emergent Church), YYR’s are more biblical, more theological, more hostile toward vagueness, more passionate about the exclusivity of Christ, and are entirely intolerant of any biblical Christianity that is wishy-washy. They want black and white period; reject all hints of greyness.
It is my contention that POMO created this vacuum. POMO shifted our culture toward an extremely hyper-passive, morally confused haze that reformed theology (especially Neo-Calvinism) is diabolically opposed to. YYR’s celebrates declarative theology and has a no-holds barred view on truth. The movement has little room for debate and forces each individual to take a side: either you’re in or you’re out. There is no room for POMO tolerance, indecisiveness and perennial ambiguity. Get on the train or be left behind.
So here is my hypothesis: Without postmodernity, there would not have been the renewed interest in reformed theology. With postmodernity now in full bloom, reformed theology will be around for quite some time.