[T]he extent to which later Calvinists were faithful to Calvin has been a matter of considerable argument. Calvin wrote his theology in the context of the excitement of the striking insights of the early Reformation, and a later Reformed scholasticism developed that was methodologically at some remove from Calvin and sometimes less flexible in its formulations. Nonetheless, Reformed theology was a living tradition and not just the theology of Calvin, so that development, both as the unpacking of the implications of the early Reformed theologians, including Calvin, and as the need to adapt the Reformed outlook to new conditions and challenges, was inevitable. Thus Calvinism came to stand for a position that emphasized the doctrinal points enshrined confessionally in the most international of the Reformed statements of faith, the Canons and Decrees of the Synod of Dort of 1618. And while the decrees of Dort as a definer of Calvinism can be exaggerated, insofar as there were many strands of Reformed theology, this doctrinal statement articulated what came to be known as the "five points" of Calvinism: unconditional election (predestination), total depravity, limited atonement, irresistible grace, and perseverance of the saints, that is the indefectibility of the elect---what some later Calvinists called "once saved, always saved." But these points were a kind of carapace surrounding and protecting the softer body of Reformed religiosity and teaching, which consisted of an overwhelming sense of divine sovereignty and of the pure gratuitousness of the saving grace of God, both of which were soteriological in focus. [Dewey D. Wallace, Jr., Shapers of English Calvinism 1660-1714: Variety, Persistence, and Transformation, (New York: Oxford University Press, 2011), 12-13]
The 'Young Calvin' painted by Theologian, Oliver Crisp
As Dewey notes, for one thing, there are more strands that make up the Reformed Faith, and/or Calvinism, than many people think (which is where you can insert 'Evangelical Calvinism' or 'Scottish Theology'). But, it is also a reality (esp. in America), that "five point" Calvinism is the most dominate and recognizable and apparently self evident of the Calvinist expressions around today. Something that Dewey highlights, that I think is very significant, is taken up in his last clauses, when he writes; 'which consisted of an overwhelming sense of divine sovereignty and of the pure gratuitousness of the saving grace of God, both of which were soteriological in focus.' This is where the contours of Evangelical Calvinism (the kind we advocate in our book and here at the blog) touch in common with all the varied strands of the Calvinist tradition. Yet, as Evangelical Calvinists, we see God's sovereignty and saving grace shaped by who he is as Triune Love. We have a unique way of articulating and emphasizing this; such that God is seen in a very intimate personal way, wherein the decrees and any such talk are all reduced and collapsed into the person of Jesus Christ. This subtle, but profound difference in shaping the way we understand God's sovereignty and grace makes our approach primarily christological in focus V. the soteriological (that Dewey notes) focus of the "five point" variety of Calvinism.
Anyway, just trying to draw continued attention to how Evangelical Calvinism works a bit differently than its "five point" cousin. We take many of our cues from Calvin, just as much, if not more so than our "five point" brethren---of course this is a contentious assertion ;-).