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Have you always been a Reformed Christian?

Discussion in 'Semper Reformanda' started by Aspzan, Jun 28, 2020.

  1. Aspzan

    Aspzan Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Have you since coming to saving faith always been a part of a Reformed or Calvinist church?

    Lastly are there any here who used to be Reformed or Calvinist who are no longer Calvinist in belief?

    Thanks
     
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  2. Aspzan

    Aspzan Well-Known Member Supporter

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    I just realised my post may cause some to break the rules of this section. Is this in the wrong place?
     
  3. Mountainmanbob

    Mountainmanbob Goat Whisperer Supporter

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    Raised in the Church but, it was not until later life that my wife and I attended a Reformed Church. This is the teaching that we had always believed in and were filled with joy to find it.

    Credit goes to God
    and not to man.

    I did this and I did that
    no -- you (we) did nothing.

    What did King David do?
    What did Paul do?
    Nothing.

    This makes perfect sense.
    Grace Alone
    Faith Alone
    Christ Alone

    M
     
  4. hedrick

    hedrick Senior Veteran Supporter

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    I’ve been Calvinist at times. I don’t hold to TULIP now, though I still consider myself Reformed. There’s a lot more to Reformed theology than TULIP.
     
  5. Aspzan

    Aspzan Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Is there no good thing about man according to Reformed beliefs? Can you provide scripture to back this up?

    I'm thinking about things like The Bible describing the enemies of God even as being "men of valour" in Judges. For example.
     
  6. Aspzan

    Aspzan Well-Known Member Supporter

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    What do you mean by there being more to Reformed theology than TULIP? I have a very basic understanding of TULIP. I thought that believing TULIP is Reformed theology. In a nutshell anyway?
     
  7. Aspzan

    Aspzan Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Sorry to "argue" right off the bat. I don't even think I'm supposed to question Reformed theology here. Ignore my last message if you want.
     
  8. hedrick

    hedrick Senior Veteran Supporter

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    Calvin's Institutes and the various Reformed confessions treat all aspects of theology, major things like the Trinity and Incarnation, etc. Major emphases in Calvin include continuity between OT and NT, a specific take on communion, a specific view of the atonement, and our union with Christ as the center of Christian experience. Arguably there is a specific take on the Incarnation, though I'm not sure how much of that is real and how much Lutheran propaganda. The first edition of Calvin's major work didn't even have a section on predestination. It is not anywhere near true that Reformed theology is just TULIP.

    Furthermore, the Reformed tradition continued to develop. There are now two branches. One seems to treat the 17th Cent confessions as quasi-inerrant. The other follows new developments in the understanding of Scripture. Of course the first branch doesn't consider the second as Reformed, but we're both part of the continuing Reformed movement.
     
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  9. Aspzan

    Aspzan Well-Known Member Supporter

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    I looked at buying Calvin's Institues actually. I thought it was a bit advanced for me at the moment. Taking your word for it... It's definitely interesting that it doesn't have a section on predestination.
     
  10. hedrick

    hedrick Senior Veteran Supporter

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    The first edition. The final version certainly does have predestination. I recommend the Institutes, which is probably the foundation for Reformed thought. It’s one of the most important theological works for Protestants. But modern Reformed theology has been influenced by lots of later thought. There’s quite a rich tradition. The Puritans are a rich tradition of their own, and there’s a whole covenant theology movement. Particularly if you include the mainline parts of the tradition such as Barth and more recent writers in Europe, the UK, and the US, each of which has its own emphasis.
     
    Last edited: Jun 28, 2020
  11. Aspzan

    Aspzan Well-Known Member Supporter

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    I'll probably read Institutes depending on how my other reading goes. I have few books to read before I buy any more. The Puritans definitely interest me. I have a book of their prayers and although I don't just repeat them I wish I'd thought of them every time I read one!

    I just had a look at Barth on wikipedia. I didn't get much from the Wikipedia page tbh. Something I'm realising as I write this is there are a LOT of Reformed books. I don't know yet whether that's good or bad.
     
  12. hedrick

    hedrick Senior Veteran Supporter

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    Yes. I would argue that the Reformed tradition is the widest Protestant traditions. I think it's unfortunate that we give people the impression that the confession of Dordt (which formulated TULIP) is about it.

    It's very hard to summarize Barth, for several reasons. One is that he wrote a lot. His major work fills a couple of book shelves, and I find it hard to understand. (There are condensed versions that will give you a sense of it.)

    There are online sites that have a lot of Puritan works. Unfortunately not for more recent stuff. That means that the mainline / liberal side is pretty much absent from the net. Monergism.com has lots of historical works. However a lot of historical works are hard to read. You might prefer R C Sproul as an introduction to Puritan thought. If you want to concentrate on TULIP, I like Jonathan Edwards' book "Freedom of the Will." He's a really good writer. (Yes, it's the same Edwards as the famous "Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God." That sermon is atypical for him. He is one of the most brilliant theologians in American history, though I don't agree with him.)

    But still, the Institutes are a good place to start. Possibly a one-volume abridged version. He spends lots of time rejecting people who were important at the time but no one has ever heard of today. So you can get all of his real content in an abridgement.
     
  13. Mountainmanbob

    Mountainmanbob Goat Whisperer Supporter

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    May be a good starting point.
    M
     
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  14. Aspzan

    Aspzan Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Thanks I'll look at Monergism. I'll pobably read some of the Puritan works online but for some reason I find it difficult to read more than a single page on a computer screen. I actually have a small book of Edward's sermons. I was ordering from Amazon and added it to the order. "Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God" was the primary reason I bought it.
     
  15. Aspzan

    Aspzan Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Thanks
     
  16. nonaeroterraqueous

    nonaeroterraqueous Nonexistent Member

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    I have never been part of a Reformed or Calvinist church. My reason is rather ironic: I don't feel that I was destined to be part of one, yet. God led me to other churches.

    I first officially accepted Christ at four years old, but I had been raised in the non-Calvinist thinking of Assemblies of God, and for that I spent my early years fearing for the destiny of my future and uncertain self. It wasn't until my senior year in high school that I learned about the Calvinist doctrines from an atheist teacher. I and another student did a quick study of the Bible, compared notes and concluded that we must be Calvinistic. I have been of a Reformed mindset ever since.

    It's true that Reformed theology incorporates more than TULIP, but it is the predestination that gets the most attention, because it is most controversial among those Christians who are not Reformed. The rest of it mostly agrees more or less with median protestant doctrine. Reformed theology does drift on its own tangent when it comes to the order of service, but the subject is uncontroversial enough as to be overlooked by non-adherents.

    As Hedrick noted, there's a stark schism between the liberal and conservative sides. It strikes deeply at the heart of Christian morality, and those on the conservative side do balk at those who would call themselves Reformed, yet embrace the rainbow of various perversions. Both God and Satan are aware of the same facts, but each feels very differently about those facts, and I think you will find that the same is true for this group.
     
  17. Radagast

    Radagast comes and goes Supporter

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    I've always been Reformed. Traditional Reformed theology is summarised in 3 documents:
    The third one describes TULIP (in fact, the five points of TULIP are a summary of that document).

    Bear in mind that "Calvinist" started as a pejorative term. I wouldn't consider Calvin to be the best of the Reformed theologians, and the five points of TULIP were articulated after he died. The name "Monergism" is in many ways a better label than "Calvinist" for TULIP-believers.

    On the other hand, many TULIP-believing Baptists aren't actually "Reformed," because Reformed doctrine includes infant baptism. So the "Monergism" label allows Baptists to pick out the stuff they agree with.
     
    Last edited: Jun 29, 2020
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  18. Radagast

    Radagast comes and goes Supporter

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    Yes, but TULIP is a core part of it.

    The SoP for Semper Reformanda lists these as key doctrines:
    • We hold to the 5 solas: Sola Scriptura, Sola Fide, Sola Gratia, Solo Christo and Soli Deo Gloria.
    • We hold to the 5 points of Calvinism: Total depravity, Unconditional election, Limited atonement ; Irresistible grace and Perseverance of the Saints.
    • We recognize the sovereign grace of God, and that it is God who changes the hearts of the rebellious to willing obedience.
     
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  19. St_Worm2

    St_Worm2 Simul Justus et Peccator Supporter

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    Hello @Aspzan, I spent my first 10 years in Christ as an Arminian. As time went by/as I grew in my knowledge and understanding of God and the Christian faith, I began to have questions about certain soteriological issues, questions that I found Arminianism simply had no answers for, so I began to look elsewhere, and in doing so, ran across a book by R C Sproul called, Chosen By God (or the free video series by the same name, Chosen By God, is also available now). This little book answered all of the nagging questions that had been bothering me for a couple of years, and it caused me to take a brand new, deeper look into a systematic theology (Calvinism) that I had previously written off as heretical.

    As far as my denomination is concerned, I'm now part of the Evangelical Free Church of America. Like the SBC (which followed in our footsteps in this, actually), we take an agnostic position concerning Arminianism and Calvinism at the denominational level, believing that the Bible can be used to support both positions (and that it is up to our individual members and how they believe God is leading them to decide which systematic theology seems better to follow). What this has led to, at least in my church, is productive discussions, rather than endless, heated debates with our brothers and sisters in church who hold the opposing view.

    Our elder board and pastorate are also split in this way, with (interestingly) half of each right now being Arminian, and the other half being Calvinist.

    Just to be clear, I came to saving faith/became a Christian on 11/2/86, not ten years later when I finally became a Calvinist ;) Dr. Sproul has the very same story, in fact, though I believe he was even more anti-Calvinist in his early years as a Christian than I was.

    God bless you!

    --David
     
  20. Mountainmanbob

    Mountainmanbob Goat Whisperer Supporter

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    Yes, our Church does infant baptism and that's probably the only thing that I don't understand but, I don't let it hold me back from attending.

    Maybe that's why I call myself 90% Calvinist?
    All other teachings there seem to be very solid.

    M
     
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