Reformed theology is a way of thinking about God and God's relation to the world. It is centered on the sovereignty and majesty of God. Reformed theology evolved during the 16th century religious movement known as the Protestant Reformation. It emphasizes God's supremacy over everything and humanity's chief purpose as being to glorify and enjoy God forever. In its confessions, the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) expresses the faith of the Reformed tradition.
Central to this tradition is the affirmation of the majesty, holiness, and providence of God who creates, sustains, rules, and redeems the world in the freedom of sovereign righteousness and love.
Related to this central affirmation of God's sovereignty are other great themes of the Reformed tradition:
(1) The election of the people of God for service as well as for salvation; Covenant life marked by a disciplined concern for order in the church according to the Word of God;
(2) A faithful stewardship that shuns ostentation and seeks proper use of the gifts of God's creation;
(3) The recognition of the human tendency to idolatry and tyranny, which calls the people of God to work for the transformation of society by seeking justice and living in obedience to the Word of God.
(Book of Order, G-2.0500)
Reformed theology came out of the Reformation and in particular the theology of Calvin (1509-1564), although its roots go (1483–1546)back to Augustine (345-430), and was influenced greatly by the breakthrough work and theology of Martin Luther. It was formulated by the puritans, especially in the Westminster confession of faith (1646). This Confession is the enduring fruit of the solemn Assembly of some 100 leading Puritan divines, convened at Westminster Abbey in London from July 1, 1643 through to Feb.,1649.
Distinctives of Reformed Theology
Centered on God Based on God's Word alone
Committed to faith alone
Devoted to Jesus Christ
Structured by three covenants (redemption, works and grace)
from Grace Unknown the heart of reformed theology by R. C. Sproul
In its confessions, the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) identifies with the affirmations of the Protestant Reformation. The focus of these affirmations is the rediscovery of God’s grace in Jesus Christ as revealed in the Scriptures. The Protestant watchwords— grace alone,c faith alone,d Scripture alonee—embody principles of understanding which continue to guide and motivate the people of God in the life of faith.
Sola Scriptura: The Scripture Alone is the Standard
Soli Deo Gloria! For the Glory of God Alone
Solo Christo! By Christ's Work Alone are We Saved
Sola Gratia: Salvation by Grace Alone
Sola Fide: Justification by Faith Alone
The Five Solas of the Reformation A Brief Statement Gregg Strawbridge, Ph.D
Professor Byron Curtis, a professor at Geneva College says that Reformed Theology embraces foundational Protestant beliefs. According to Curtis, to be Reformed is:
To confess the consensus of the five first centuries of the church:
1. Classic theism: One omnipotent, benevolent God, distinct from creation.
2. Nicene and Chalcedonian Trinitarianism: one God in three eternally existent persons, equal in power and glory, Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
3. Jesus is Lord! Jesus Christ, the God-Man, fully human, fully divine, the one mediator between God & the human race, incarnate, crucified, resurrected, ascended, & coming again.
4. Humanity created in the image of God, yet tragically fallen & profoundly in need of restoration to God through Christ.
5. The Visible Church: the community of the redeemed, indwelt by the Holy Spirit; the mystical body of Christ on earth.
6. The one, holy, universal, and apostolic church.
7. The Sacraments: visible signs and seals of the grace of God, ministering Christ’s love to us in our deep need.
8. The Christian life: characterized by the prime theological virtues of faith, hope, and love.
WHAT WE ARE CALLED TO DO: THE GREAT ENDS OF THE CHURCH (PCUSA)
The Great Ends of the Church are:
(1) The great ends of the church are the proclamation of the gospel for the salvation of humankind;
(2) the shelter, nurture, and spiritual fellowship of the children of God;
(3) the maintenance of divine worship;
(4) the preservation of the truth;
(5) the promotion of social righteousness;
(6) and the exhibition of the Kingdom of Heaven to the world.
Book of Order G. 1.0200
A Contemporary View TULIP -- Five points of Calvinism -- With Some Clarifications from Dr. Karl Barth
by Rev. Glenn Wilson
Thje FIve Points of Calvinism, which were established by the Synod of Dordt after Calvin died, can be remembered by the English mnemonic TULIP are Total Depravity, Unconditional Election, Limited Atonement, Irresistible Grace, and the Perserverance of the Saints. At the heart of the Points is the belief in Predestiantion.This has been a hard idea to get a handle on because the Bible clearly talks about predestination in many Scriptures, such as:
The preceding scriptures clearly show that the Lord is very active in salvation. He did not simply provide the means of salvation, the cross, but He also ensured the application of the blood of Christ through predestination.
Please consider that it is God who:
However, the Scriptures also show that God gives the ability to beleive and choose and affirm ones receiving of Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, such as:
John 3:16 "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth (trusts, clings to, relies on) in him (our part) should not perish, but have everlasting life."
John 3:3,5-7 "Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.... Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again."
John 1:12,13 " But as many as received him ( our part ), to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God."
John 3:17,18 "For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. He that believeth on him ( our part ) is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God."
John 14:6 "Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me."
Acts 4:12 " Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved."
Acts 2:38 "Then Peter sairist for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost."
Rom 10:9, 10; 13 "That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead (our part), thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation...... For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved."
John 3:36 "He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life (our part): and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him."
James 4:8-10 "Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded. Be afflicted, and mourn, and weep: let your laughter be turned to mourning, and your joy to heaviness. Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and he shall lift you up."
Hence, seeing th tension between the two Biblical points of view, the great theologian Karl Barth was shown a way of looking at election through Christ that allows for personal affirmation of Christ -- which we do in the Presbyterian Church -- and the facts that God is sovereign and that He has the power to predestine, and to allow for a freedom of choice in any part of the process if He so desires, because He is sovereign.