April 28, 2010
Before reviewing the rest of chapter 1, I want to voice my appreciation for VanDrunen’s tone in this section. Unless I am missing hidden barbs of underlying sarcasm (which may well be the case, since I have become rather fuller of the milk of human kindness since moving over here than I was in my American Reformed days), his general tone throughout is patient, measured, carefully qualified, and quite respectful of his opponents. I am particularly gratified by the way he summarizes figures such as N.T. Wright, John Milbank, and Stanley Hauerwas, all of whom tend to be polarizing figures, oft misrepresented, especially in American Reformed circles. He represents them fairly and seems to have genuine respect for the insights and contributions they bring to the theological discussion, even where he disagrees with them. He clearly thinks that neo-Calvinism is deeply flawed, yet he never acts like they are stupid, wicked, irrational, or incoherent. In all of these respects, I found this book much easier reading than I’d expected, having been prepared by my experience with Darryl Hart for a lot of snarkiness.