Presbyterianism, whose bodies are also called Reformed Churches, share a common origin in the 16th-century Swiss Reformation and the teachings of John Calvin, and today is one of the largest Christian denominations in Protestantism.

What should I know about the reformed faith/presbyterian church?

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  • What should I know about the reformed faith/presbyterian church?

    Which points of Calvinism/reformed faith do you think are important for every new believer to know... what are the beliefs of the presbyterian church that makes it distinct from the other churches. In other words do you think there are some points in reformed theology new believers should note and study more than other "side" differences... also I started reading the bible started with Mark through Luke, John, acts, and then when I started in Romans I then got bored... I don't know how to make it a habit of reading the bible, my prayers are so short and repeating, I feel that I'm repeating the same prayer everyday... Thanks a lot, pray for me.

    Note: Just to be clear I know the beliefs of the presbyterian church, what I mean by the question is any misconceptions or beliefs that are not very clear that I may have missed while reading the declaration of faith... plus points of the reformed faith that are essential for every presbyterian to know.

  • #2
    Originally posted by Beshoy Adel View Post
    Which points of Calvinism/reformed faith do you think are important for every new believer to know... what are the beliefs of the presbyterian church that makes it distinct from the other churches. In other words do you think there are some points in reformed theology new believers should note and study more than other "side" differences... also I started reading the bible started with Mark through Luke, John, acts, and then when I started in Romans I then got bored... I don't know how to make it a habit of reading the bible, my prayers are so short and repeating, I feel that I'm repeating the same prayer everyday... Thanks a lot, pray for me.

    Note: Just to be clear I know the beliefs of the presbyterian church, what I mean by the question is any misconceptions or beliefs that are not very clear that I may have missed while reading the declaration of faith... plus points of the reformed faith that are essential for every presbyterian to know.
    Here are 32 chapters on the subject to answer your question: Westminster Confession of Faith

    God bless,
    William
    Comment>

    • #3
      It might be helpful to post some of your questions here on specific doctrines you may be confused about. William and I are members of a more conservative Reformed denomination and are willing to answer as best we can.
      Comment>

      • #4
        Originally posted by Beshoy Adel View Post
        I started reading the bible started with Mark through Luke, John, acts, and then when I started in Romans I then got bored... I don't know how to make it a habit of reading the bible, my prayers are so short and repeating, I feel that I'm repeating the same prayer everyday... Thanks a lot, pray for me.
        Hi Beshoy, it's important to read through the Bible, but you don't need to rush. Try reading a chapter a day on the slow side, and make notes of the things that interest you, or things that you don't understand (which you can then ask you pastor about, or you could come here and ask us as well). There are 260 chapters in the NT, and some are much shorter than others, so (considering what you've already read) you would surely finish it before Christmas if you read a chapter a day from here on out :)

        Also, the Bible is God's normal way of communicating with us. So take time to talk to Him in prayer as you read along. It can just be something simple. If you're amazed about something, thank Him. If you don't understand, ask Him. And try to see yourself and your life in each chapter as you read along, how you can know Him better, how you can be more pleasing to Him, and how you can help others come to know what you do now.

        Also, if you're not a big reader, the Bible is available in audio (and I believe video as well), so you can listen to it. I like doing both actually, and you can jot down notes/questions as you go along, whether reading or listening.

        As for listening, there are single voice, multi-voice, and dramatized multi-voice (which includes an orchestral background and sounds that bring the Bible stories to life a bit more, like the sounds of crowds, or of farm animals or of ox cart wheels rolling, etc.).

        I would also highly recommend reading or listening to the NIV or the NLT as they have a nice balance between translation and paraphrase (which is helpful the first few times you go through the Bible), and especially if you're trying to read through the KJV right now. You can always return to it later.

        I believe both of those translations are available on CD too, single voice or dramatized .. and you can listen to the NIV (and others) online for FREE if you want to here.

        I'm Reformed, and you as a new Christian are, of course, welcome to learn about anything you want to. But my advice would be to spend most of your time in the Bible getting to know God, His church, His people (of which you are now one, PTL :)), and begin to more fully understand what He has really done for you, and how much He really loves you. And when you do study doctrines like TULIP and the Solas, try to keep your focus on Him and your relationship with Him for now, not on the idiosyncrasies of the doctrines themselves (that will come later and should not be your focus right now). You want to be carried away by your awe and love of the Almighty, our Abba, Father, and spend most of your time getting to know Him and how to please Him (rather than spending your time wondering why a particular doctrine teaches what it does .. again, that will come later).

        Also, if you don't understand something (Bible or doctrine), don't get frustrated, you will. Just continue to trust that He ALWAYS has your best in mind and that you will have plenty of time to learn about and come to understand the things that seem difficult to grasp at first blush. In fact, you have quite a bit of time to figure it all out .. see John 5:24.

        Gotta go. Praying for you!

        Blessings to you in Christ! (Numbers 6:24-26; Jude 24-25)

        --David


        "Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, as
        a worker who does not need to be ashamed,
        rightly dividing the word of truth"

        2 Timothy 2:15



        Last edited by David Lee; 07-14-2016, 11:24 PM.
        Simul Justus et Peccator ~Martin Luther

        "We are justified by faith alone, but the faith that justifies is never alone" ~John Calvin

        "The Christian does not think God will love us because we are good, but that God will make us good because He loves us." ~C. S. Lewis

        "The secret is Christ in me, not me in a different set of circumstances" ~Elisabeth Elliot

        "The law is for the self-righteous to humble their pride; the Gospel is for the lost to remove their despair. ~C. H. Spurgeon
        Comment>

        • #5
          Originally posted by Beshoy Adel View Post
          I started reading the bible started with Mark through Luke, John, acts, and then when I started in Romans I then got bored... I don't know how to make it a habit of reading the bible, my prayers are so short and repeating, I feel that I'm repeating the same prayer everyday... Thanks a lot, pray for me.
          Hi again Beshoy, here's something else that helped me when I was young in Christ like you are now, Christian radio broadcasts (which have now become Christian Internet broadcasts, for the most part anyway ;)). Teachers and theologians like the ones I'm going to mention below can really help open up the Bible for you historically, doctrinally and theologically, in ways that you probably cannot imagine at this point in your walk.

          My first recommendation for you is a short foundational series by Dr. John MacArthur that takes a look into four of the most important spiritual disciplines (How to Study the Bible, How to Pray, Fellowship, and Witnessing) and how to apply them to your life and walk. The series is called Spiritual Boot Camp and you can either buy it or listen to it for FREE online HERE. If you want to listen for free, just scroll down a bit once you get there and click on the "Listen" buttons.

          Dr. MacArthur's broadcast ministry is called Grace to You, and it can be found here. And along with the the Grace to You broadcasts, there is a GIANT library of resources from broadcasts to books to Study Bibles and Commentaries to CD's to DVD's on almost any Christian subject and/or Book of the Bible, and much of it for free :)

          The second resource I will give you is Dr. RC Sproul's, Renewing Your Mind which has daily broadcasts, plus his main ministry website, Ligonier, which has everything else. Like Dr. MacArthur's website, the resources you can find at Ligonier seem almost endless. I can also tell you that of all the teachers I've had throughout my life, Dr. Sproul is my favorite (though Dr. MacArthur is a close second :)).

          Yours and His,
          David
          p.s. - both Dr.'s Sproul and MacArthur are Reformed, just FYI. Sproul is Presbyterian, and MacArthur is Reformed Baptist.




          "Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the
          the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what
          the will of God is, that which is good and
          acceptable and perfect"

          Romans 12:2








          Last edited by David Lee; 07-14-2016, 11:28 PM.
          Simul Justus et Peccator ~Martin Luther

          "We are justified by faith alone, but the faith that justifies is never alone" ~John Calvin

          "The Christian does not think God will love us because we are good, but that God will make us good because He loves us." ~C. S. Lewis

          "The secret is Christ in me, not me in a different set of circumstances" ~Elisabeth Elliot

          "The law is for the self-righteous to humble their pride; the Gospel is for the lost to remove their despair. ~C. H. Spurgeon
          Comment>

          • #6
            Originally posted by St_Worm2 View Post
            Hi Beshoy, it's important to read through the Bible, but you don't need to rush. Try reading a chapter a day on the slow side, and make notes of the things that interest you, or things that you don't understand (which you can then ask you pastor about, or you could come here and ask us as well).
            Might as well add my 2 cents in the interest of 'balance'.
            My recommendation is to find time to 'speed read' an entire book in one sitting, and then to re-present, in your own words, the principal points as they have been implanted into what scripture describes as "the fleshy tablets of your heart".
            That IMO is the best way to listen to 'the still small voice of God'; avoiding the denominational prejudices that otherwise abound.
            Comment>

            • #7
              Originally posted by St_Worm2 View Post
              p.s. - both Dr.'s Sproul and MacArthur are Reformed, just FYI. Sproul is Presbyterian, and MacArthur is Reformed Baptist.
              Oh, you're going to open a can of worms on this David, :). I think C.H. Spurgeon coined the term "Particular" Baptist. There's much more to Reformed Theology than just Calvinism, for example, Reformed usually encompasses not only Calvinism, but also the Five Solae, Covenant theology, Cessationism, and Amillennialism. MacArthur is a great resource for Cavlinist theology, but I wouldn't recommend him to those asking for "Reformed" theologians.

              God bless,
              William
              Comment>

              • #8
                Yikes, I didn't mean to open a can of worms :eek: I know RC is PCA, and MacArthur is a Calvinist as well, but since he is part of a non-denominational church that holds to Believer's Baptism, is Pre-Trib/Premillennial (and I believe is Dispensational), he seemed closer to what I've always thought of as, Reformed Baptist (though I realize he is not one).

                I guess I should become better acquainted with the terminology I'm using!!

                Simul Justus et Peccator ~Martin Luther

                "We are justified by faith alone, but the faith that justifies is never alone" ~John Calvin

                "The Christian does not think God will love us because we are good, but that God will make us good because He loves us." ~C. S. Lewis

                "The secret is Christ in me, not me in a different set of circumstances" ~Elisabeth Elliot

                "The law is for the self-righteous to humble their pride; the Gospel is for the lost to remove their despair. ~C. H. Spurgeon
                Comment>

                • #9
                  Originally posted by St_Worm2 View Post
                  Yikes, I didn't mean to open a can of worms :eek: I know RC is PCA, and MacArthur is a Calvinist as well, but since he is part of a non-denominational church that holds to Believer's Baptism, is Pre-Trib/Premillennial (and I believe is Dispensational), he seemed closer to what I've always thought of as, Reformed Baptist (though I realize he is not one).

                  I guess I should become better acquainted with the terminology I'm using!!
                  Don't get me wrong, MacArthur is a strong 5 point Calvinist, and he was one of the Pastors I listened to initially. Something didn't settle well with me the more I studied, though, I was a Credo-baptist. It wasn't until I understood Covenant theology that I rejected Dispensationalism... I believe MacArthur considers himself a "leaky" dispensationalist. I love MacArthur, but again, I wouldn't consider him Reformed with regard to the strict meaning of the term.
                  Comment>

                  • #10
                    Hi Brother, you are correct. I didn't realize that "Reformed Baptists" were not Dispensationalists (though I believe the growing ranks of Calvinists and Calvinist churches within the SBC are).

                    Thanks!!

                    --David
                    Simul Justus et Peccator ~Martin Luther

                    "We are justified by faith alone, but the faith that justifies is never alone" ~John Calvin

                    "The Christian does not think God will love us because we are good, but that God will make us good because He loves us." ~C. S. Lewis

                    "The secret is Christ in me, not me in a different set of circumstances" ~Elisabeth Elliot

                    "The law is for the self-righteous to humble their pride; the Gospel is for the lost to remove their despair. ~C. H. Spurgeon
                    Comment>

                    • #11
                      Originally posted by St_Worm2 View Post
                      Hi Brother, you are correct. I didn't realize that "Reformed Baptists" were not Dispensationalists (though I believe the growing ranks of Calvinists and Calvinist churches within the SBC are).

                      Thanks!!

                      --David
                      Right, Reformed in the true sense will encompass many different doctrines. Baptist in the Reformed context, I believe, only refers to their preferred church government. They generally differ from Presbyterians in church government and confessional standards. Even amongst us Presbyterians, as you know, there is a difference between Reformed and just being a Presbyterian which refers only to church government. No different, really, Reformed Presbyterians being separated from Presbyterians by doctrine and confession, and a Reformed Baptist being separated from Baptist in doctrine and confession.

                      God bless,
                      William
                      Comment>

                      • #12
                        Thanks William :) If it won't take too much of your time, how do the OPC and the PCA differ?
                        Simul Justus et Peccator ~Martin Luther

                        "We are justified by faith alone, but the faith that justifies is never alone" ~John Calvin

                        "The Christian does not think God will love us because we are good, but that God will make us good because He loves us." ~C. S. Lewis

                        "The secret is Christ in me, not me in a different set of circumstances" ~Elisabeth Elliot

                        "The law is for the self-righteous to humble their pride; the Gospel is for the lost to remove their despair. ~C. H. Spurgeon
                        Comment>

                        • #13
                          Originally posted by St_Worm2 View Post
                          Thanks William :) If it won't take too much of your time, how do the OPC and the PCA differ?
                          I am not really qualified to answer that by first hand experience (never been in an actual PCA church), but only by my observation of members here from the PCA or relations in other discussion groups can say the PCA seems to follow a "normative" leaning principle concerning worship. Not to mention, I have heard that there are even Arminian and Dispensationalist holding office in the PCA. If this is so, they are more liberal than the OPC. The OPC does consider the PCA its sister church though, but given the recent events in the news, "women holding office" I wonder if that may change? Back on worship for a moment, the OPC follows the regulative principle which results in only hymn or only psalm singing churches. I consider the PCA a more "middle" lined Presbyterian church "leaning" conservative, and the OPC ultra conservative.

                          God bless,
                          William
                          Comment>

                          • #14
                            Interesting. Thanks!! I thought they were similar. Then there's my former denomination, the PCUSA. Aren't they part of the Unitarian churches now :rolleyes:
                            Simul Justus et Peccator ~Martin Luther

                            "We are justified by faith alone, but the faith that justifies is never alone" ~John Calvin

                            "The Christian does not think God will love us because we are good, but that God will make us good because He loves us." ~C. S. Lewis

                            "The secret is Christ in me, not me in a different set of circumstances" ~Elisabeth Elliot

                            "The law is for the self-righteous to humble their pride; the Gospel is for the lost to remove their despair. ~C. H. Spurgeon
                            Comment>

                            • #15
                              IMO a 'Denomination' is formed once two or more 'churches' unite under an agreed common 'Statement of Faith' (Articles of Membership or whatever term is used).
                              And particularly so if full membership is dependent on acquiescence to said set of beliefs.
                              IMO to be truly non-denominational a church needs to be fully 'stand alone', and the best are also truly 'catholic' (lower case 'c') in that their only criteria for membership is that one is a member of the 'Body of Christ' by efficacious faith in Christ's substitutionary sacrifice for the atonement of sin.
                              Comment>
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