There will be many reactions to Ed Young, Jr.'s recent rant against Reformed theology in the coming days but, if you listen carefully to what he actually said, it is pretty clear that he is not primarily addressing Anglicans who subscribe fully to the Thirty-Nine Articles of Religion nor is he referring to Presbyterians who fully subscribe to the Westminster Confession of Faith.
Young is adamant that "Reformed theology can lead to deformed ecclesiology[sic]." Young's complaints against this "Reformed Movement," as he calls it, include the following: (1) they put "God in a box," (2) these are churches full of hip guys in skinny jeans and V-necks, (3) Calvinists don't reach the lost, (4) Calvinists are sheep stealers (that is, they are cool, hip churches with young people who were raised in the church want to go "deeper"), (5) Calvinists are mean-spirited, arrogant, etc., (6) they are not interested in evangelism nor reaching non-Christians, (7) they are more interested in the social gospel, (8) Calvinists don't "reach anybody," and so on.
Young does not embrace the "Reformed Movement" in total but does admit that he shares the following commitments: "the sovereignty of God, election, the inerrancy of Scripture, the priesthood of believers, baptism by immersion," and so on. Young believes that our job is to nominate [the lost through evangelism] and "God keeps on electing them." Skinny jeans, v-necks, Baptism by immersion, cool hip young people, social gospel, etc. is a clear sign that Young is NOT talking about confessional Presbyterianism nor Anglicanism. For example, walk into any confessional Anglican or Presbyterian congregation in America (ARP, OPC, PCA, EPC) and you are NOT going to predominantly find a bunch of hip people who believe in "baptism by immersion."
To whom was Young referring? I'm not exactly sure because he doesn't name them but it's clear he's never been to a PCA church like Tenth Presbyterian in Philadelphia nor Redeemer Presbyterian in New York. Are there a few Presbyterian and Anglican churches with hipsters that seem more interested in social issues. Yes! Those are outliers. Confessional Anglicanism and Presbyterianism both pre-date the founding of the United States of America and should not be included in his description this "Reformed Movement." It is true that churches have the potential to become liberal but that's simply a pattern throughout church history.
In the end, Young does ask a fantastic question: whenever you walk into a church ask, "who are they reaching." This is a great question. Default homogeneity, and the preference for people who are already "like us," is always a tension and temptation in church life. We want comfort and ease.
Young does raise good challenges for confessional Anglicans and Presbyterians but the same goes for any denomination that subscribes to a confession (Catholics, Lutherans, conservative Methodists, etc. are all charged with putting God in a box). Young's good challenges include: (1) being aware that pride and arrogance can settle in quickly because of the commitments to one's tradition, (2) confusing evangelism with converting people from one theological tradition to another tradition instead of evangelizing the unchurched, (3) creating local congregations that rally around safety and comfort (social and cultural homogeneity), (4) divorcing Christian faith from mystery--i.e., there is so much about God we do not know.
Young also revealed that much of his rant was in response to attacks he's received from many in this "Reformed Movement" which explains a lot. I can see why he'd be angry.
In the end, if you're a confessional Anglican or Presbyterian do not be bothered by Young. The shoe that he presents does not fit with your confessional traditions all at all. He's not addressing Anglicanism's nor Presbyterianism's commitment to Reformed theology and connectionalism since 1563 and 1707, respectively.