Optional page text here. The Beast's Lair: Reformed Theology

Friday, August 25, 2006

Reformed Theology

The cover of the September 2006 Christianity Today displays what many consider to be a soon coming reformation due to the resurgence of reformed theology among the rising generation of American Christians. Plus, who wouldn't want a t-shirt that says Jonathan Edwards is my homeboy?

This is of particular interest to me because I am currently studying theology at a seminary that is considered by some to be a "reformed hotbed." The skepticism is in part due to the feeling that Southern Baptist leaders in the seminary, and across the SBC as a whole, are more focused on the conversion of men and women to Calvinism than they are winning them for Christ.

I suppose the question to keep oneself in check is simply this: What am I doing this for? I dare say that I will never preach the TULIP of Calvinism from the pulpit. I will, however, preach a salvation by grace through faith in Jesus Christ. I want to be informed, and I want to know what I believe and why I believe it, even in my understanding of atonement and election. But, I don't want those things to be my first love, and I'm not interested in a reformation that does. I would never downplay the importance of a strong understanding of doctrine, but when we are more concerned with whether a brother or sister is a Calvinist or Aminianist than we are if they have placed their faith in Christ, then we have missed the mark. Let's debate the doctrine of election, we absolutely should, it is important. But let's not debate the Great Commission, let's just get to work doing it. "Go and make disciples of all nations."

Funny that Jesus didn't say go and make Calvinists. The fact is, the theology of both Aminianism and Calvinism agree that humans are sinful and need to place their faith in Jesus Christ.

So what about this reformation? I would agree that the true Gospel of Christ has been lost to an alarming number of Christian churches today, and that the priorities of the church are more culturally driven that Gospel driven. So a biblically driven reformation of the Gospel being proclaimed in the church and more people coming to a true understanding of Christ and His salvific work is needed.

We will still have our opportunity to debate and convince others of our particular brand of theology, but we serve the lost and needy world better when that becomes lower on our list of importance.


Blogger Barry said...

I haven't seen anything of this in the churches in our area, and I can't tell Calvinism from Calvin and Hobbes. I wonder if this is a localized phenomenom rather than such a sweeping, national movement.

Why in the world would people preach allegiance to Calvin rather than Jesus? That doesn't make any sense - I've never seen that...

August 25, 2006 8:58 AM  
Blogger The Beast said...


Thanks for your comment.

Regardless if you can "tell Calvin from Hobbes", you are mature enough in your faith that you hold to certain convictions concerning election and salvation and have been influenced by reformed theology. Everyone who has any interest in the things of Christ has an opinion on this, even if they don't know the fancy words.

The SBC has been driving this point home for several years now, dating back the beginnings of the conservative resurgance in the convention beginning the the late 70's. It is spreading quickly, and you, of course, don't make the cover of Christiany Today by remaining just a localized phenomenon.

Lastly, don't misread my point. There is not an SBC leader or reformed theologian who would tell you that they are more interested in Calvinism than Christ. But those on the other side feel that our devotion to those 5 points of the TULIP can sometimes get in the way of us clearly seeing the whole picture.

August 25, 2006 9:33 AM  
Blogger Barry said...

I'm sorry...TULIP? I don't know that term.

There might be a SBC/UMC disconnect at work here as well. I haven't been affiliated with a Southern Baptist Church since college and have been a member of a United Methodist Church since then. There may be a different terminology set at use here to describe what you're talking about. Again, I don't know anything about Calvin, the philosophies he developed or the tenets his followers are pushing so I'm a little in the dark as to what your point is...

August 25, 2006 10:09 AM  

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