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Looking for info about Presbyterians and Reformed beliefs

Discussion in 'Confessional, Covenantal, Creedal - Presbyterian' started by Aspzan, Jun 22, 2020.

  1. Aspzan

    Aspzan Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Hello! This will be quite long but I think background information is necessary. I used to use this forum a while back and I believe came to saving faith listening to Independent Baptist preachers. If you don't want to read the whole thing just use the thread title and the text in bold to answer.

    Recently I have been looking at Reformed beliefs and Presbyterianism. Over time I saw Presbyterians and Reformed Baptists such as Spurgeon being shown respect by "General" Baptists. I concluded they must have the same gospel and similar beliefs about The Bible etc.

    I've been listening to Scott Pauley's podcast (who is an Independent Baptist). He shows respect to other denominations without compromising on essential truths and in his blog he mentioned a book called "The Valley of Vision". It's a book of Puritan prayers. I've been reading it and I see a God-centred attitude. This caught my attention. Scott Pauley himself has a very God-centred preaching style also.

    This was new-ish to me because I was used to hearing almost hostility towards other Christians. "Calvinism" was no exception. I started to see additonal books published by the same publisher as The Valley of Vision and it immediately struck me how much depth there is to some of these Puritans works. I haven't read much but the amount of volumes by single authors is surprising.

    Anyway I happened to see a YouTuber who suggested a book in a video called, "On Being Presbyterian" which I have been reading. I'm struggling though because although some parts are making sense the book does not use the King James Version which is the only English version I use. So I am having to look up verses in my Bible. Because of this I haven't finished it yet.

    Some other books I've been considering on the Puritans etc are The Mystery of Providence, A Body of Divinity and The Pilgrim's Progress. All suggested in a video by a man called Sinclair Ferguson.

    Now for the more important part. How do I look into Reformed theology? As someone who does not currently have Reformed beliefs but is reading pro-Reformed books how can I look into this wisely. I don't mean this negatively but I don't want to "brainwash" myself.

    From the start of researching, I had already decided I would not change on the gospel and the KJV. (I know there are Free Presbyterian churches who believe we're saved by grace through faith and who use the KJV.) What advice can you offer for my situation? Without being overly baised please! I'm not saying I'll become Presbyterian but it's definitely interesting to me and obviously if I eventually thought it was Biblical I would join a Presbyterian church. For now it's too early to tell.

    Thanks for reading and if you can offer advice please do.
     
    Last edited: Jun 22, 2020
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  2. Radagast

    Radagast comes and goes Supporter

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    What you do is what you have been doing: look up the Scripture references behind what people say.

    And be aware that some of your preconceptions might have been wrong. For example, Calvinists believe in salvation by grace through faith.
     
  3. Aspzan

    Aspzan Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Thanks for answering! Just to confirm, you are saying this IS what Calvinists believe? I will keep referring to The Bible throughout my research. Solid advice.
     
  4. Radagast

    Radagast comes and goes Supporter

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    The Calvinist position can by summarised in the first part of Ephesians, especially Ephesians 2:8: For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God.
     
  5. hedrick

    hedrick Senior Veteran Supporter

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    If you find Puritans helpful, you might like R C Sproul. In several of his books he has tried to present a Puritan-influenced theology for today. Several of his books look like they might be good introductions, though the only one of them that I've read is the Holiness of God.

    As with most Christian traditions, there is a range of people within the conservative Reformed movement. (I'm going to assume that's what you're interested in. I'm from a liberal Reformed church, which is quite a different thing.) Some are way too strident for me. Sproul isn't. His book "What is Reformed Theology" (which I haven't read -- I'm depending upon the table of contents and introduction) looks like a reasonable introduction.

    If you're interested in knowing what the liberal end looks like, I can point you to that as well.
     
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  6. Radagast

    Radagast comes and goes Supporter

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    I haven't read it either, but I've heard good things about R.C. Sproul.

    Just flipping through the book, there are lots of Scripture references too.
     
  7. Aspzan

    Aspzan Well-Known Member Supporter

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    I'm glad you reminded me of that verse. I have heard it said that the gift mentioned is faith or that the gift mentioned is salvation itself. I honestly currently stand on it being salvation itself but I know the Reformed belief is it's the faith? If I am right? That's something that I'd have to really look into if I'm honest.
     
  8. Aspzan

    Aspzan Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Thanks. R C Sproul rings a bell and the title of the book you mentioned "What is Reformed Theology" sounds very helpful. I'd definitely say I'm more interested in the conservative side but I appreciate the offer.
     
  9. Radagast

    Radagast comes and goes Supporter

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    I personally read it as "faith is the gift." Some Reformed people read it as faith and salvation both being the gift. It comes to the same thing in the end (and contrasts with the non-Reformed idea that faith is something we do all on our own).
     
  10. Aspzan

    Aspzan Well-Known Member Supporter

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    I didn't consider it being both. I know it's a big deal whether or not we "choose" to believe ourselves. That's probably one of the main differences been Reformed and non-Reformed?
     
  11. St_Worm2

    St_Worm2 Simul Justus et Peccator Supporter

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    Hello @Aspzan, here is the link to the audio/video series of the book that @hedrick mentioned above.

    I believe it, along with everything else at Dr. Spoul's outreach ministry, Ligonier, is free to stream right now. Or, if you are an Amazon Prime member, there are quite a number of free HD Prime offerings from Ligonier that you can watch there instead. Just go to Prime Video and search the word "Sproul".

    God bless you!

    --David
    p.s. - I would also HIGHLY recommend his little book (and/or the video series) called, Chosen By God. (the video series can be found here .. or on Amazon, I believe)
     
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  12. Aspzan

    Aspzan Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Cool, thanks! I'll watch that and yes I do have Amazon Prime. I may read the book first though or around the same time. I tend to take more in reading something.
     
  13. Radagast

    Radagast comes and goes Supporter

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    That would be the biggest one, yes.
     
  14. Victor in Christ

    Victor in Christ Jehovah Tsidkenu

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    Matthew Henry, Octavius Winslow, Paster John Gill, Spurgeon are all great men of the reformed faith you can begin with.

    Grace Abounding to the chief of sinners and The Pilgrim's progress are great books written by John Bunyan. Even when he was imprisoned Satan couldn't silence him.
     
    Last edited: Jul 15, 2020
  15. rnmomof7

    rnmomof7 Legend

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    Look for "Chosen by God" it is an incredible read
     
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