Friday, April 23, 2010

What does it mean to be Reformed?

I was thinking about this in the context of possibly needing to explain Reformed theology to someone. However, upon reflection I’m thinking that the question is inappropriate – at least in most situations. Why is it important to be able to distinguish Reformed from Lutheran from Baptist from whatever? The only reason that I can think of doing that, with just a very few exceptions, is to be able to hold to the party line. What is that but a foul kind of traditionalism? The goal is to be a faithful disciple, following Jesus wherever He leads. Getting to know how to do that better needs to be a priority. Now, obviously I will do that in a way that is built on a Reformed understanding of the Bible. It is impossible for anyone not to build on some sort of basic structure. But as I mature and face new questions what I need to ask is not, ‘How would a Reformed Christian deal with this issue?’, but to ask, ‘How does the Bible deal with this issue?’ And then I should go to some of the wise saints of the ages to see how they understood their Bibles on the question. And these wise saints include not only people like Calvin, but also people like Luther and people like Wesley. I should consider their thoughts and the Bible passages they point to and then I pray that the Spirit would guide me. And if, on some topic, I agree with a  Lutheran, is that bad?

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