I'm anxious to read more of your thoughts on this conservative segment of the reformed church. I have swam in these waters too.Monax, I've written much here on my blog about this circle of people. And, I'll be writing much more in the future, hopefully. I'm not sure if you caught my update to the post on which you commented, but I think there is somewhat of a misnomer in the mix. I should probably refer to "New Calvinism" rather than "Neo-Calvinism." Neo-Calvinism is a form of Dutch Calvinism influenced by Abraham Kuyper, where New Calvinism is the animal I'm talking about here. In recent years it has become popular to use the term "Neo-Calvinism" to speak of the "New Calvinism" movement. I provided links to Wikipedia articles on each view in the previous sentence.
What is interesting about the list of people I gave in my recent post is that only after I updated for the misnomer did I compare it with the list in the Wikipedia article on New Calvinism. Pretty similar. One thing I would say about these people, is that they take certain Reformed distinctives, such as Reformed soteriology, the five solas, the five points of Calvinism, the tenets of the Protestant Reformation, and glean from Reformed writers from the past, including the Puritans. But, what they don't do, necessarily, is take covenant theology, infant baptism, Reformed polity and many other points traditionally associated with Reformed theology into their beliefs. They also add an emphasis on being "missional", that is, they make a priority of domestic church planting. They want to reproduce their ideology. Also, some of these groups can be plain Baptists or generic evangelicals that adopt the core beliefs of Calvinism.
One key difference, I believe, between these "new" Calvinists and a more traditional outlook, is the heavy emphasis they place on church authority. Most of them hold to an "elder rule" view of church government. And unlike congregationalism or Presbyterianism, where the elders are in a checks and balance system being held accountable to the congregation or to a presbytery, the elder rule system has very little accountability built in. Thus all the authoritarianism and church abuse stuff we've all been reading about. I have abandoned an "elder rule" system in favor of a "Christ rule/elder servant" system, which I think is more, uhm, if I may use the term, "biblical."
I’d be curious to know why Keller’s considered a “neo-calvinist,”
If you want my opinion, it's rather simple. He holds to some similar teachings - although to Presbyterian polity - but he's a success. He has a Reformed church in a big city that has a lot of people going there. It has grown, rather than remaining stagnant.
Also, why I’m here. Do you consider yourself a layman? I think this layman / clergy distinction is one of those things that skews the proper understanding and working out of the Body of Christ.
Glad you're up front. The answer is no, I don't consider myself a layman. That's why I use the term in quotes at the top of my blog margin. Traditionally I'm considered a layman because I'm not an ordained clergyman. But, my blog subtitle comes into play here as well: "Because Theology Is Everybody's Task." I don't care for such a clergy/layman distinction, either. I believe there are some special responsibilities given to elders that aren't given to all others (such as being held responsible for the care of each individual's soul, teaching is a must for an elder, etc.) It is often held that it is the pastor's job to do theology and we just sit and listen to learn. But I'm under the conviction that 45 minutes a week from a sermon is not nearly enough to learn everything you need to know.
I could probably write much more on all this, but I hope it answers some of your basic questions.