I wonder, then, what Calvin would have made of the various attempts since his time to build "transformed societies". Looking at the examples of South Africa, Northern Ireland, Scotland and the Netherlands, one is left with the impression that these initiatives have had fairly short half-lives. And, while I am not in the Reformed family, it's not exactly clear to me as to why.
OK, comment/criticism/clarification welcome.
I am also not sure how far into (i.e. theological depth) the Reformed family I am. ;) What little [good] theology I have came from being humbled before the Scriptures as a liar (and hypocrite), false religionist, and anomous do-gooder trained-up (wrong) in neo-evangelicalism...for transforming society, but that also left me with [too much to] say here in reply: if the end is to build a society here on earth, compromise is necessary: part-and-parcel with "biblical" theology is that salvation is of God, and Him only; He authors, He either hardens or softens hearts; He makes the seeds planted by preachers (of whatever) grow or whither...anything attempting to transform on a grand scale and which won't be stopped, da*n it! will have to compromise in some serious ways if it is to do all it can to ensure that it remains effective, and either way will be subject to *little* temptations to adjust method and message (see McLuhan on this--it's something the world but not evangelicals get, when the Scriptures themselves authorize but one method of reaching sheep within the world for God).
Put another way, it must be God who causes the growth or, despite a the appearance of health on the surface, what lurks beneath is cancer. From what I can grasp (because I know the trajectory causing the PCA to depart from where it should be) from discussions and watching, in the past, of that denom., or closer-to-home (heart) the likes of "reformed baptist" assemblies like Sovereign Grace Ministries (er...more difficult to digest due to its origins and lack of ever having truly and publicly repented of false apostles and the very structures it has maintained since and now the revelation that the same dynamics and abuses of the shepherding cults--which my old long-time church also arose out of, and also with a false apostle), what usually happens is the dilution of offense and twisting of words, e.g. probably around the time the Baylies were working with the CBMW I was, despite being in theological and spiritual turmoil, beginning to duke it out with "complementarianism" seeing its trajectory, that it had already become established because it avoided "patriarchy" and allowed the feminist-ettes in the church to dance-around submission or the hard-to-stomach about it, not to mention men to be effeminate about it all; "patriarchy" was even caricatured as much among these type of folks as it is in academia--something reacted to rather than understood or studied carefully. (No offense to the Baylies btw.)
And that's all despite being raised TO change the world, being told that is what the gospel is and for on the macro--for "changing lives" on the micro. The dynamics you see with failures to actually convert a soul though you transform include, among other things, such dancing-around: instead of telling anyone the thing which would offend them, which btw is likely also what is needed to convict them of their idolatry and sin, many other things that sound wonderful are told, then build a relationship, and once you've got the emotional leverage and interpersonal credit, ONLY THEN! should you go on to teach those offensive things, gently, prodding and pleading, reassuring and "adjusting" words as fit to keep the hearer/new friend/convert/potential convert...e.g. you'll find in a certain popular author's IVP book how it's best to let the topic of Sovereignty alone, until someone is converted and then grows into a stomach that can handle it...I loved [listening to] that book, but couldn't believe my ears when Jesus himself not only frankly declared it to the crowd (and continues to in the gospels--what do you do when you first arrive at that reading, rush past it and urge no one to pay much attention?) but was even doing so to offend men away from believing to whom it had not been given... I realized this once to break the false gospel-ization of a girl who had been told very little of Lone-Author of salvation and looked very much to her "my decision", though explained it along with the other keys of the gospel: those who supposedly tag-teamed to convert her glossed-over in the eyes and looked bored, she was crying and saying "God did all this just for me?" and marveling that she had no part in it: that's good theology (I think), and the stuff it's meant for--producing proper understanding of our position and role with regards Him in all things.
I am guessing the Reformed world has been all-too-happy to accept, without discipline, people with no good theology or doctrine at all since, for a long time, they grew by birthing and, though in secret, assured themselves that baptisms meant regeneration for their infants (watch as the semi-devout women untutored in the file-cabinet orthodoxy of the affluent Presbyterian social clubs begin to go berzerk when some minister who baptized their children as infants is exposed to have been in some heinous sin or two: it's quite a temptation to fall into that self-assurance just as much as churches everywhere are tempted to keep it comfortable and civil and expose and shame and convict no one, "after all, we need the new blood and growth and it'll be good for them to be able to come sit comfortable and hear the word..."). I am quite certain they largely came from my old quarters in the neo-evangelical mix, and that they go after becoming intellectually dissatisfied, and that these Churches are also easily duped for finding how wonderful these newcomers are in being very active, zealous, excited to do things, push people into the open and run programs...but their theology and actual substance barely tested and they haven't left their old homes over becoming horrified at the realization that the teaching and practice is false, indeed no--all manner of disorder and insobriety and false teaching filled those times and they still attribute it all to God's name and call it all a stepping stone that somehow He authored what they needed at that precise time, and you dare not say anything against my former [false] pastor!--so they...
So you end-up with masses and masses of converts who never sorrowed unto unto the repentance not to be repented of...and masses and masses of converts into "more intellectually satisfying" (and that's how it's put, "we had learned all we had at that [old] church" <-actual a="" affiliations="" and="" are="" as="" atop="" been="" boot-strapped="" br="" brian="" but="" change="" changed="" changes="" changing="" churches="" counterfeit="" day="" declared="" deep="" despite="" doctrine="" either="" everything="" expect="" false="" for="" get="" god="" goes="" have="" his="" how="" impressive-sounding="" in="" into="" it--to="" it.="" it="" leaven="" leaveth="" little="" long="" lump="" maclaren="" more="" never="" not="" of="" one="" only="" opposed="" or="" over="" participants="" people="" perils="" quote="" read="" religion="" remain="" renewed="" rolled-over="" should="" sin="" so="" some="" someone="" sorrowed="" soul="" sound="" suit="" systematically-rigorous="" teachers="" teaching="" the="" then="" theologically="" these="" they="" things.="" to="" transformed="" unchurch="" us="" washed="" we="" which="" who="" whole="" will="" with="" within="" you="">-actual>
* I had been invited to see this [spectacle] by a friend.
** I was writing to this friend in frantic terror on the back of the pamphlet given-out there how the things being taught were false, and all sounded like the sort of claptrap from the mouth of the false teacher Brian MacLaren, just before this teacher shouted that sentence.