A Review of “Calvinist” by Les Lanphere

Ladies and Gentlemen welcome to the Reformed Movie Cast. I’m your host Tony, and this isn’t a podcast…

If you don’t get that joke, head over to ReformedPubcast.com, subscribe to the feed, and enjoy the history of a Reformed movement as it unfolds one RSS entry at a time.

Les Lanphere, co-host of the meteoric podcast the Reformed Pubcast, co-founder of the Reformed Pub Facebook group (which now boasts nearly 20,000 members, with over 400,000 engagements per month) has recently finished production on his first film. Calvinist is a documentary which covers the rise of the so-called New Calvinism.

I really can’t say enough good things about this movie. In terms of production quality, it rivals anything you’re going to find on Netflix. Lanphere spent a year traveling the country interviewing the likes of RC Sproul, Ligon Duncan, James White, Michael Horton, and many more.

Rooting the rise of this movement in a dissatisfaction among millennial and gen-x evangelicals, who predominantly came to faith under the church growth and seeker movement, he chronicles the development of Reformed theology through popular (Ligonier Ministries) and academic (Philadelphia Conference on Reformed Theology) ministries. Teaching us (that is, Young, Restless, and Reformed Calvinists) our own family history through engaging interviews, graphics, and theological explanations… this film will leave you inspired to jump back into the deep end of the theological pool.

Along the way, Lanphere also explains the central tenets of the Reformation, the acronym TULIP, and gives a crash course on the historical developments which brought about the rediscovery of the apostolic Gospel in the Reformation.

It isn’t all fun and games though. Les also covers the difficult and painful reality of the rise and fall of Mark Driscoll. Presenting Driscoll as the historical force that he was, but not excusing him in any way, the film ultimately allows the viewer to decide for themselves what to think about the cautionary tale of Mars Hill Church. Additionally, Les approaches the sensitive issue of race relations and the Reformed tradition. Interviewing prominent voices in the Reformed Hip Hop movement, as well as other experts in the areas of anthropology, Les allows the black community to speak with its own voice in a way that is not frequently done well.

No matter if you are a Calvinist who wants to get in touch with their roots or a curious Christian from another tradition who wants to understand the tradition of God’s glory better, this movie is for you.

The film releases on October 2nd and will be available on Blu-ray, DVD, and via digital download. Head over to Calvinistmovie.com to pre-order your copy now.