What Is the Reformed Faith?

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  • What Is the Reformed Faith?

    by Jack D. Kinneer

    We Presbyterians call our Christian convictions the Reformed faith. What do we mean by that name? And from where did the name come? We call our faith “Reformed” because of the Protestant Reformation. During the medieval era, the Christian church became more and more distorted. Truths taught in the Bible were obscured. Ideas and practices without biblical warrant came to prominence. This led to a movement by Christians to reform the faith and practice of the medieval church. It is from this effort at reform that our name comes: the Reformed faith.

    The Reformed faith is, first of all, a turning away from all forms of self-help salvation in order to find God's true salvation in Jesus Christ alone. As Reformed Christians, we believe that Jesus Christ is the only and all-sufficient Savior of God's people. Christians do not need to add their good works, their religious efforts, or anything else to the work of Jesus Christ. Rather, Christ by his death and resurrection has provided a full and complete salvation for the people of God.

    Therefore, we enter into God's salvation by faith in Jesus Christ. It is through believing the good news of his death and resurrection and trusting in him that our sins are forgiven and we are regarded as the beloved children of God. His sacrifice cancels all our sins. His resurrection brings eternal life to us. By faith we receive Christ and all that he has accomplished for us. In him our salvation is complete, even though we have yet to experience that salvation completely. Yet we have assurance that we are now saved, are being saved, and will be saved on the last day.

    As the Reformed faith is a rejection of all human efforts to achieve salvation, it is also a recognition that the Holy Spirit alone joins and unites us to Christ in heaven. It is by the Spirit of God (not our own efforts) that we are born anew. The Spirit of God renews our minds and remolds our wills, enabling us to believe in Jesus Christ and keeping us in that faith all our lives. It is the Holy Spirit who makes the preaching of the gospel and the sacraments of baptism and the Lord's Supper effective in our lives. The Spirit of God leads us away from sin and into obedience to God. He is the source of our desire to do what pleases the Lord. The Spirit of God works in us to will and to do according to his good pleasure. Our good works are not the means by which we are saved. They are the fruit of salvation freely received.

    The Spirit of God works in and through God's Word, the Bible. Indeed, it was the Spirit of God who inspired the writers of the Bible so that what they wrote was what God wanted to be written. As the very Word of God, the Bible is the sole authority from God for what to believe and how to live. The Reformed faith is a return to the Bible as the standard for the faith and practice of the church. By the Bible we test what is good in the practices of the church. By the Bible we judge what to believe and what not to believe.

    The Spirit of God who inspired the Bible was also at work in the Christian church in every past age, just as he is at work now. Therefore, as Reformed Christians, we do not reject the church of the past, even as we seek to reform it by the Word of God. Rather, we recognize that God is teaching us through others who lived before us. They made mistakes. We make mistakes. But we make an even bigger mistake if we throw away the wisdom of earlier ages, for then we set ourselves up to repeat their mistakes and errors. We impoverish ourselves when we neglect the treasure of spiritual insight and learning that the Holy Spirit gave to those who came before us.

    As we do not reject the church that lived before us, neither do we reject the Old Testament as no longer relevant to the Christian. Rather, the whole Bible, Old and New Testaments, is the Word of God. Its grand theme is Jesus Christ. All of it instructs us about how to live as Christians. Of course, the Old Testament was written to the people of God under the old covenant. So we must be careful to understand how it is fulfilled in Christ and how it applies to us in the new covenant. The Ten Commandments, for example, remain an essential summary of God's will for our lives. Likewise, the Psalms are at the heart of the Church's prayer life.

    Just as we believe that the Old Testament is God's Word for today, we believe that the old covenant was not abolished but fulfilled in Christ. What God promised to Abraham, Moses, and David, he is fulfilling for us in Christ. The church is the new Israel, the true sons of Abraham, who inherit all the promises of God. As God made his covenant with the Israelites and their children, so the new covenant is with believers and their children. As in the old covenant the children of the Israelites were to be circumcised, so in the new covenant the children of believers are to be baptized. It is the duty of every Christian parent to rear his or her children in the fear and instruction of the Lord. We must be diligent to pray for and with our children, for only the Holy Spirit can make baptism and Christian instruction effective in the life of a child.

    God has been saving his people from the day our first parents sinned. Under the old covenant, God saved his people in the expectation of Christ's death and resurrection. Now he saves us through union with Christ, who died and arose again. Therefore, there is one people of God and one way of salvation, namely, Christ. The Bible has one essential message, whether that message is prophesied and symbolized in the Old Testament or declared openly in the New Testament. Likewise, since all of the covenants of the Bible are fulfilled and completed in Christ and the new covenant, we can say there is ultimately one covenant, a covenant of grace.

    Behind this one covenant of grace, this one way of salvation through faith in Jesus Christ, is God's eternal plan. The Bible teaches that, as believers in Jesus, we can know that we are God's chosen people, the apple of his eye. Before the world began, God chose his people in Christ. He set his love upon us in the beginning. He loved us when we were still his enemies, and gave his only Son for us. He loved us by his Spirit, who brought us to faith in Christ. And he loves us now.

    This message of God's saving love is what we call the Reformed faith. To ourselves we say that the Reformed faith is merely the Christian faith without compromise. We do not deny that there are other Christians besides Reformed Christians. There are Fundamentalist Christians, Pentecostal Christians, Orthodox Christians, etc. But we do believe that the Reformed faith is the most consistently biblical and the most truly catholic (belonging to the whole church) expression of Christianity.

  • #2
    The church is the new Israel, the true sons of Abraham, who inherit all the promises of God. As God made his covenant with the Israelites and their children, so the new covenant is with believers and their children. As in the old covenant the children of the Israelites were to be circumcised, so in the new covenant the children of believers are to be baptized. It is the duty of every Christian parent to rear his or her children in the fear and instruction of the Lord. We must be diligent to pray for and with our children, for only the Holy Spirit can make baptism and Christian instruction effective in the life of a child.
    I disagree with this above quote belief, except that we do receive the promises of God. We are not made into Israelites, nor believing Israelites into Gentiles, but receive the same promises of God. I do believe in the rest, however. Please show me in the Bible where the above quoted statements are true. Israel is Israel. Gentiles are grafted in, but are still Gentile believers. Yes, we should pray with our children, but infant baptism is not necessary or taught as substitutionary for being circumcised. It is not in the Bible. One part that was not covered is the differences in eschatology.
    Last edited by Stratcat; 03-02-2015, 08:38 AM.
    Comment>

    • #3
      Hello Strat,

      I'll begin by actually quoting a member, Birdey shared:

      There are a number of New Testament passages that suggest the continuity of the covenantal sign of circumcision that believers need to continue to practice after the coming of Christ. In Colossians 2:11-12, Paul mentions a different circumcision, not made without hands, instituted by Christ (Robertson's interpretation of "circumcision of Christ" in verse 11). Paul's point is that the result of believers being buried and risen with Christ in baptism (verse 12) is their circumcision. The conclusion is that baptism is the new covenant sign replacing the physical circumcision of the Old Testament. Another implication of baptism being the new covenant sign is that it needs to be applied to the children of believers. One may argue that if physical circumcision applies to Abraham's children then baptism should be applied to believers' children as well. But this is specifically alluded to in Acts 2:39 in the context of Peter's sermon at Pentecost. Peter repeats the three-fold formula by which God addresses Abraham in regards to the recipients of the covenantal sign of circumcision: you, your descendents and all who dwell in your tents. In Acts 2, Peter uses the formula, "the promise is for you, your descendents and all who are far-off" in conjunction with the command to believe and be baptized. Some other passages that support the case of children baptism are the household baptisms. Paul baptized the Phillipian jailer and all who were in his household in Acts 16. In 1 Corinthians 1:6, Paul remarks that he baptized the household of Stephanas.
      You acknowledged the Old Covenants sign of circumcision, Strat. Do Jewish descendants only have the privilege of being included in a Covenant but are Gentile children lost amongst Covenants of believing parents? What is the New Covenant's Sign, Seal and Mark? Neither camp will argue, I think, that water saves, no more than circumcision does.But there are those that do believe in Baptismal Regeneration. Not to stray, but perhaps it would be a beneficial to distinguish between Covenant Baptism and Baptismal Regeneration?

      I think you're going to have to look at the differences between a Covenant sign, seal and mark and how you're viewing Baptism's definition as a Baptist. You also need address 1 Corinthians 7:14 if you reject household or infant baptism. Even if you hold to your definition of Baptism rather than the Covenant one, you need address simple things like are any mentally disabled to receive the sign seal and mark of baptism? How can you distinguish between those that are professing faithfully and those not? I think it is relevant because it has been said that a certain age of peoples are unable or exempt from baptism. If you suggest the same argument as those denying the doctrine of the Trinity because it is not explicitly stated for grounds of baptism, then you have to search whether the truths are conveyed from Scripture. Covenant Theology and the practice of Baptism is different than a "believers only" baptism. They are not the same thing, and as a result we would be committing the fallacy of equivalence or talking past one another in our discussion. Children of the New Covenant receive certain blessings and are sanctified, they are set apart distinguishing them from the World. If you say children are unable to learn or profess (infants) I ask you are they able to respond to a simple song? Do they respond to love, teaching and guidance even if it isn't consciously decided? Exactly which people are exempt from the Great Commission? When exactly are children held accountable? Also, I ask is paedo baptism rejected by Scripture, or are you simply rejecting the continuity of Covenants expressed in an implicit teaching?

      As to not being made into Israelites, I agree if you mean ethnically.

      An immediate response is John 8:39. I believe these certain Jews were claiming Spiritual and Ethical relations. Jesus clearly points out to them they do not have Spiritual Fatherhood in which they boast.

      I'd like to try something different so bear with me please, brother. I believe you're acknowleding and onto some of the distinctions between Reformed and others. I'm including two articles by some very well known theologians, plenty of Scriptural references, however, I do not believe that will resolve our issue but rather cause a ping pong effect. I actually believe presuppositional apologetics will help us in understanding why we believe what we do in these matters. There are two sources I would like to share with you. The first addresses The Relationship Between The Church and Israel. The Second part of your post rejects not only household but also infant baptism. There you may find the opposing arguments in the Covenant Theology Section. However, to save you time searching for the opposing arguments, here's one of the most well respected defenders of Infant and Household Baptism, William Shishko - A Better Case for Infant Baptism.The paper he writes is the aftermath from a debate between himself and a most Respected Reformed Baptist debaters James White. I don't know whether James White calls himself Reformed or a Particular Baptist, but most Reformed prefer to call those Baptist leaning towards Reformed "particular," because of the influence Baptist have in rejecting Covenant, Household, and also Infant Baptism. There's, in the supplied articles Scriptural support for both, you'll have to decide for yourself, however, as I shared with you some half year ago I came to a personal decision in my studies. Once I hit the Dispensationalism highway I noticed it wasn't a merge but instead was a road which required one turn off the main highway. I was left with a choice rejecting Covenant Theology and having to redefine the Church and Israel in a drive down Dispensationalism. The Covenant Theology position appears more consistent to me regarding Tota Scriptura.

      Most Reformed folk will say that the Church has always existed from history past. There are superlative blessings of the NT Church, but this doesn't mean it is something essentially different to the Church of the OT.

      Also bear in mind that you don't have to be a dispensationalist to believe in a real future gathering together of ethnic Israel and a great revival and blessing among them. Historical premillennialism allows for that, and people like Spurgeon, and Robert Murray McCheyne held to that in some degree.

      Onto some of the articles and to touch on certain points mentioned in them:

      Reformed Baptists say that Presbyterians emphasize only the continuities in God's covenantal dealings (what we call "the covenant of grace"), but do not see the discontinuities between the old and the new covenants. For Baptists, the essential discontinuity is that, in the new covenant, the church is not a "mixed multitude" of the regenerate and the unregenerate, but rather a body of those who are "truly saved," as evidenced by repentance and faith in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. The issue with our Baptist friends is, actually, more over the nature of the church than it is over the subjects of baptism.
      Notice the emphasis on the nature of the church as demonstrated by your understanding of the relationship between the Church and Israel, Strat. Your view is highly consistent with those Baptist embracing Calvinist Soteriology, and even have an opposing view stopping you from a full blown transition - a Baptist influence regarding key theological doctrines. Here's a relevant historical outlook of Baptist, before addressing a point you had shared, it may actually help: Particular Baptist: "a member of a Baptist denomination holding the doctrine of the election and redemption of some but not all people. There were two groups in early Baptist life: the Particular Baptists and the General Baptists. The Particular Baptists adhered to the doctrine of a particular atonement—that Christ died only for an elect—and were strongly Calvinist (following the Reformation teachings of John Calvin) in orientation; the General Baptists held to the doctrine of a general atonement—that Christ...

      Initially Baptists were characterized theologically by strong to moderate Calvinism. The dominant continuing tradition in both England and the United States was Particular Baptist. By 1800 this older tradition was beginning to be replaced by evangelical doctrines fashioned by the leaders of the evangelical revival in England and the Great Awakening in the United States. By 1900 the older Calvinism had almost completely disappeared, and Evangelicalism was dominant. The conciliatory tendency of Evangelicalism and its almost complete preoccupation with “heart religion” and the experience of conversion largely denuded it of any solid theological structure, thereby opening the door to a new theological current that subsequently became known as Modernism. Modernism, which was an attempt to adjust the Christian faith to the new intellectual climate, made large inroads among the Baptists of England and the United States during the early years of the 20th century, and Baptists provided many outstanding leaders of the movement, including Shailer Mathews and Harry Emerson Fosdick. Many people regarded these views as a threat to the uniqueness of the Christian revelation, and the counterreaction that was precipitated became known as Fundamentalism (a movement emphasizing biblical literalism).

      As a result of the controversy that followed, many Baptists developed a distaste for theology and became content to find their unity as Baptists in promoting denominational enterprises. By 1950, outside the South, both Modernists and Fundamentalists were becoming disenchanted with their positions in the controversy, and it was from among adherents of both camps that a more creative theological encounter began to take place. While the majority of Baptists remained nontheological in their interests and concerns, there were many signs that Baptist leadership was increasingly recognizing the necessity for renewed theological inquiry.

      Lastly, here's some of the highlights from a Reformed Perspective addressing the Church and Israel:

      The true Israel of the Old Testament became the nucleus of the true church on the day of Pentecost. Here the analogy of the olive tree that Paul uses in Romans 11 is instructive. The tree represents the covenant people of God—Israel. Paul compares unbelieving Israel to branches that have been broken off from the olive tree (v. 17a). Believing Gentiles are compared to branches from a wild olive tree that have been grafted in to the cultivated olive tree (vv. 17b–19). The important point to notice is that God does not cut the old tree down and plant a new one (replacement theology). Neither does God plant a second new tree alongside the old tree and then graft branches from the old tree into the new tree (traditional dispensationalism). Instead, the same tree exists across the divide between Old and New Testaments. That which remains after the dead branches are removed is the true Israel. Gentile believers are now grafted into this already existing old tree (true Israel/the true church). There is only one good olive tree, and the same olive tree exists across the covenantal divide.
      For me personally, Strat, Covenant Theology is in harmony concerning the Elect without distinction, that is from every tribe, tongue and nation. The Dispy flavor seemingly would have me believe Gentiles are some second rate citizen, and the Gentiles were never the plan but rather the outcome of some Jews "choosing" to reject Jesus Christ. Israel is as it always has been the faithful remnant. Are you suggesting true Israelites are unbelieving Jews, or proselyte Jews, and they have more status than believing Gentiles? I believe that the salvation of the elect was God’s intention from the very beginning of creation. All people who exercise the same faith as Abraham are part of the covenant people of God (Galatians 3:25-29). Another point, the Church (Spiritual Israel) is not confined within geographical lines created by the UN or established by them, just as the Church Structure itself is not confining believers, but Spiritual Israel, rather true Israel/Church (comprised of the Elect) encompasses the entire earth which is its inheritance. There is no distinction between them, that is, both believing Jew and Gentile. Jesus in John Chapter 2, in my view began a Reformation when Gentiles were considered second hand citizens. The Gentiles were treated as someone of unimportance in Temple Worship, selling and such were going on in the court of the Gentiles where they were being fleeced.

      Even to a Reformed Eschatology which states Satan is bound, the millennium is a "realized" duration with respect to the Sovereign rulership of Jesus Christ, it is in harmony with concern to the Elect, being once again, called out from every tribe tongue and nation. But lets not go into Eschatology at this time but stay on topic and address Covenant Theology. My point is to distinguish and demonstrate the Harmony of the Reformed faith with regard to Total Scriptura.

      Again and lastly, Brother, you're highly consistent coming from a Baptist background. Even to your rejection of doctrine but placing emphasis on personal revelation. I neither mean that as a negative or positive, and I recommend addressing it as I addressed my former Gnostic and Non-dnenominational history. I believe we should examine our personal history because it may reveal some prejudices in how we interpret the Scriptures we both examine. And also acknowledging that either for or against, having someone reinforce either beliefs and prejudices from the Pulpit may actually work against us when we address "why" we believe. Sometimes we look for someone to reinforce our presuppositions rather than understanding why we believe, and sometimes we are looking for someone to oppose another belief we are struggling against. For me, that sometimes works against us, not in that we should reject sound council, but often times we accept some conviction without developing the conviction for ourselves.

      This message of God's saving love is what we call the Reformed faith. To ourselves we say that the Reformed faith is merely the Christian faith without compromise. We do not deny that there are other Christians besides Reformed Christians. There are Fundamentalist Christians, Pentecostal Christians, Orthodox Christians, etc. But we do believe that the Reformed faith is the most consistently biblical and the most truly catholic (belonging to the whole church) expression of Christianity.
      To this I say, Amen.

      God bless,
      William
      Comment>

      • #4
        I keep it simple. The thief on the cross was saved without water baptism. Although there are many immediate believer's baptisms, if a person is only baptized as a child or infant but never came to the saving grace through faith in Jesus Christ, that person is not saved, in spite of baptism. Baptism is not some sort of armor to protect someone from not believing. If you believe it is, you don't believe in election. In all Gospel passages, nowhere does it say that one must be baptized to be saved, but to be baptized once saved. We are saved by grace through God's gift of faith, not of works such as free will or baptism or circumcision. The Reformed doctrine on this issue, if it is being represented to me accurately, is conflicted with itself.

        [FONT=Times New Roman][SIZE=12px][SIZE=14px]Introduction and Verses of Salvation: When hearing the Gospel, it must be understood, not put in some sort of nutshell. There are many ways Jesus explains the Gospel, and the Bible is God’s gift to us to understand who He is, to believe on Him by His word, thus be saved from sin, death, and eternal damnation in the lake of fire. The Gospel is the good news from Jesus Christ that though we be sinners, He came to die in our place for our sins, rose from the grave on the third day as He said He would, and promised that for all who believe on Him, shall do so in like manner, as incorruptible beings.[/SIZE][/SIZE][/FONT]
        [FONT=Times New Roman][SIZE=12px][SIZE=14px]There will be no more suffering, sorrow, pain, or any other thing from the curse which God laid upon us all in this time for our current sin nature. He shall return to the earth a second time, when only God knows. We “shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever” (reference Psalm 23) if we believe in Jesus as our Savior, according to Biblical definition of believing in Jesus. This is extremely important—that we believe in the Jesus of the Bible, and not add to, change, or take away from what the Scriptures say to suit what we want to believe.[/SIZE][/SIZE][/FONT]

        [FONT=Times New Roman][SIZE=12px][SIZE=14px]In John 3, the Pharisee Nicodemus asked Jesus privately, “There was a man of the Pharisees, named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews: 2 The same came to Jesus by night, and said unto him, ‘Rabbi, we know that thou art a teacher come from God: for no man can do these miracles that thou doest, except God be with him.’ 3 Jesus answered and said unto him, [COLOR=#FF2D22]‘[/COLOR][COLOR=#DD1F00]Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born [/COLOR][COLOR=#DD1F00]again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.’[/COLOR] 4 Nicodemus saith unto him, ‘How can a man be born when he is old? can he enter the second time into his mother’s womb, and be born?’ 5 Jesus answered, [COLOR=#FF2D22]‘[/COLOR][COLOR=#DD1F00]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. [/COLOR][COLOR=#DD1F00]6[/COLOR][COLOR=#DD1F00] That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. [/COLOR][COLOR=#DD1F00]7[/COLOR][COLOR=#DD1F00] Marvel not that I said unto thee, [/COLOR][COLOR=#DD1F00]Ye must be born [/COLOR][COLOR=#DD1F00]again.[/COLOR][COLOR=#FF2D22][/COLOR][/SIZE][/SIZE][/FONT]
        [COLOR=#FF2D22][FONT=Times New Roman][SIZE=12px][SIZE=14px][COLOR=#000000]John 3:14-21 - [/COLOR]“14 And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up: 15 That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life. 16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. 17 For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. 18 He that believeth on him 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. 19 And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. 20 For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved. 21 But he that doeth truth cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God.

        [COLOR=#000000]John 3:21 tells us that there are those whose deeds are made known that they are from God, not of man, as John 3:19-20 explain that man hates the light; so, who are they who come to the light but God’s very elect! This must be the conclusion we must come to if we are to believe the Bible.[/COLOR][/SIZE][/SIZE][/FONT][/COLOR]

        [COLOR=#FF2D22][FONT=Times New Roman][SIZE=12px][SIZE=14px][COLOR=#000000]John 14:6 - [/COLOR]“I am the way, the truth and the life. No man cometh unto the Father but by me.”[/SIZE][/SIZE][/FONT][/COLOR]

        [FONT=Times New Roman][SIZE=12px][SIZE=14px]Romans 10:9-10 - “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, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.”[/SIZE][/SIZE][/FONT]

        [FONT=Times New Roman][SIZE=12px][SIZE=14px]1 Peter 1:21 - “Who by him do believe in God, that raised him up from the dead, and gave him glory; that your faith and hope might be in God.”[/SIZE][/SIZE][/FONT]

        [FONT=Times New Roman][SIZE=12px][SIZE=14px]Application of the Gospel:[/SIZE][/SIZE][/FONT]

        [FONT=Times New Roman][SIZE=12px][SIZE=14px]Luke 23:39-43 -39 And one of the malefactors which were hanged railed on him, saying, ‘If thou be Christ, save thyself and us.’ 40 But the other answering rebuked him, saying, ‘Dost not thou fear God, seeing thou art in the same condemnation? 41 And we indeed justly; for we receive the due reward of our deeds: but this man hath done nothing amiss.’ 42 And he said unto Jesus, ‘Lord, remember me when thou comest into thy kingdom.’ 43 And Jesus said unto him, [COLOR=#FF2D22]‘Verily I say unto thee, To day shalt thou be with me in paradise.’[/COLOR](Coupled with Romans 10:9-10.)[/SIZE][/SIZE][/FONT]

        [FONT=Times New Roman][SIZE=12px][SIZE=14px]The gift of receiving the Gospel and the consequences for rejecting it and of remaining in sin:[/SIZE][/SIZE][/FONT]

        [FONT=Times New Roman][SIZE=12px][SIZE=14px]Romans 6:23 - “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.”[/SIZE][/SIZE][/FONT]

        [FONT=Times New Roman][SIZE=12px][SIZE=14px]What we are supposed to do with the Gospel: We preach the Gospel to every creature and teach every other doctrine in Scripture to others, as required from the urgings of the Holy Spirit.[/SIZE][/SIZE][/FONT]

        [COLOR=#FF2D22][FONT=Times New Roman][SIZE=12px][SIZE=14px][COLOR=#000000]Mark 16:15 - “And he said unto them, [/COLOR]Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.[COLOR=#000000][/COLOR][/SIZE][/SIZE][/FONT][/COLOR]

        [FONT=Times New Roman][SIZE=12px][SIZE=14px]2 Timothy 4:1-2 - “1 I charge thee therefore before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the quick and the dead at his appearing and his kingdom; 2 Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine.[/SIZE][/SIZE][/FONT]

        [FONT=Times New Roman][SIZE=12px][SIZE=14px]Conclusion: As we can see the Gospel cannot be presented “in a nutshell” as many claim of John 3:16. We must understand what the Bible means by believing in Jesus Christ and what it means to know Him as our personal Lord and Savior, or else we know no more than Satan and may be self-deceived, saying on judgment day, “Lord, Lord…” and Him saying [COLOR=#FF2D22]“Go away you workers of iniquity. I never knew you.” [/COLOR]Therefore, know what it means to believe and know the Jesus Christ of the Bible according to Biblical definition. When you do this, you shall be saved. Baptism [/SIZE][/SIZE][SIZE=14px]bringing us to salvation is not mentioned. I know certain children whom the parents tried to get baptized, as they claimed to believe in Jesus, but they could not go through with the ceremony. This, in and of itself does not mean they are not saved, but being that disobedient to God may indicate they are not, but not because they need baptism to be saved; rather, baptism is a way of proving they are. Babies who are forced into baptism may or may not be saved as God's purpose according to election might stand.[/SIZE][/FONT]
        Last edited by Stratcat; 03-09-2015, 08:31 AM.
        Comment>

        • #5
          I question whether Pentecostals in general are Christians. I found that they believe that one must speak in tongues or they don't have the Holy Spirit. That is a false Gospel. The Bible says that if we do not have the Holy Spirit, we are none of His. In other words, if one can't speak in tongues, they aren't saved, according to Pentecostals. They also do just what the Bible says not to do when exercising the gift of tongues. They are free will believers, which is diametrically opposed to Biblical doctrine. To say one is a Christian, look very sincere and passionate about it, be very knowledgeable about it, yet not believe important doctrines of the Gospel and the Bible, are self-deceived and don't know Jesus because they do not believe what He says, although they claim they do. How can they claim to believe in the Bible yet not believe such simple, heavily stressed doctrines such as predestination and election? Plus they foul up other doctrines as well. I've had bitter run-ins with some. I've been to a church service where they spoke in tongues with no interpreter. It was spooky. For all I know, they were praying to demons. It is not up to man to determine who is right, but up to God through His word. I place more importance on that than scholars, no matter how good they are. I have found in general that they are not always right or wrong, but why go there first? Go to the Bible first, then check out the scholars, then see if what they say is correct in the Bible on issues and doctrine. I myself have written a commentary that I hope will be read, but I expect the reader to know their Bible first. It is not up to me to tell God who should be found acceptable. It is up to believers to test the spirits, be discerners of the truth, to trust the Lord and know that we are empowered by the Holy Spirit to learn all things, that we need not that any man should teach us.
          Comment>

          • #6
            Originally posted by Stratcat View Post
            We are saved by grace through God's gift of faith, not of works such as free will or baptism or circumcision. The Reformed doctrine on this issue, if it is being represented to me accurately, is conflicted with itself.
            It is clearly not being represented to you correctly. I believe, Strat, you are not seeing baptism as a sign seal and mark of the NT Covenant. But are rather arguing against what any C. Theologian will also argue against.

            Babies who are forced into baptism may or may not be saved as God's purpose according to election might stand.
            The same applies to the Baptist/Credo practice of only baptizing professing believers because there is proof of them later turning apostate. As to whether Babies are forced into baptism I believe no believing Reformed Presbyterians (most are baptized as infants) will have an issue of having received the C. sign seal and mark without deciding for themselves. Your statement, brother, sounds very much like an Arminian having an issue with Reformed/Calvinist doctrine concerning predestination and election, but I know that is not at least your case. I'd also like to add, I have never witnessed an infant fighting against Covenant Baptism, but only have witnessed Credo Baptist resisting baptism on the grounds of sincerity or the extent of knowledge in one's profession. Covenant Theology centers itself around God and His Grace extended to His Covenant people. Likewise, I have never heard a young child say, why God have you extended your Grace to me when I had not chose you first (in a rebellious mannerism).

            Lastly, you have not addressed 1 Corinthians 7:14, clearly certain blessings (not stating Baptism saves) are extended to the children of Covenant parent/believer, but instead I ask you, brother, have you presented a doctrine that becomes a stumbling block to Matthew 19:14? The Baptist/Credo doctrine has further amended an exclusion towards people in Matthew 28:19, that is, unless you're going to argue against babies being defined as people before they are self aware or capable of discerning right from wrong? Are you stating there's no way clergyman can be certain of whose elect? Should they not baptize anyone? If it is only the profession that matters there shouldn't be apostates, but there are.

            If the baptism of infants was not acceptable during New Testament times, then when does Scripture mention the alternative baptism of the children of Christian parents once they have matured out of infancy? The Bible never gives one example of the baptism of a Christian child as an adult. It is important that Scripture also does not speak of an "age of accountability or reason" (which many pinpoint at 13 years) when a child's capacity to believe the Gospel is developed enough so that he can receive baptism. Neither does the Bible state that every child is in a "suspended state of salvation" until they have reached this age, which one would have to believe if he held to the "age of accountability" theory.

            In short, if people follow the Great Commission as commanded should the objection be brought forth because __________.

            God bless,
            William
            Comment>

            • #7
              I just want to let you know Strat, I was seriously disappointed today when I woke up and saw no reply. Hope all is well with you and yours, just sharing with you how much I look forward to hearing from you.

              I also have a couple of questions and some things to share with you. Does the church you attend (Baptist) consider themselves catholic? Rejecting or embracing the Apostles' Creed should be a dead giveaway. It reads as follows:

              I believe in God, the Father almighty,
              creator of heaven and earth.

              I believe in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord,
              who was conceived by the Holy Spirit
              and born of the virgin Mary.
              He suffered under Pontius Pilate,
              was crucified, died, and was buried;
              he descended to hell.
              The third day he rose again from the dead.
              He ascended to heaven
              and is seated at the right hand of God the Father almighty.
              From there he will come to judge the living and the dead.

              I believe in the Holy Spirit,
              the holy catholic* church,
              the communion of saints,
              the forgiveness of sins,
              the resurrection of the body,
              and the life everlasting. Amen.

              *that is, the true Christian church of all times and all places
              I ask this because it seems, by observation, most Baptist could care less about Semper Reformanda. It would make sense to me as to "why," if they reject the Apostles Creed and consider themselves not catholic. My point being, having embraced certain theological doctrines such as the TULIP, and not yet others I wonder whether certain Baptist influence has prevented you from fully transitioning to Reformed Theology? Is Covenant Theology, Household Baptism, Paedo-Baptism and such even a topic among the church come sermon day? I know that Scripture is the ultimate authority, so says one of the foundational pillars of the Reformation in Sola Scriptura. It just seems to me that at this point you have been approached with certain Scriptures that should make you at least consider an inconsistency in your doctrine. You have addressed certain Scriptures which were foundational to your doctrine, and that is great. But there are others that seem to throw a wrench in your doctrine. To me they are suggesting that the interpretation and consistency thereof (doctrine) needs to be challenged, because it is not with respect to Tota Scriptura.

              God bless,
              William
              Comment>

              • #8
                Read the above posts and noted that ''more than enough'' Scripture was posted .. there's no need for me to post more. I am interested in this thread .. (being former Roman Catholic) and just want to relate my experiences in my ''walk with God.'' I was born and raised Roman Catholic, attending both Catholic Grammar and High School. I was no ''cafeteria Catholic'' .. I was, by anyone's definition a ''Good Catholic.'' The rosary, adoration of Mary, indulgences, receiving the sacraments and the
                obligatory ''Sacrifice of the Mass'' (and holy days of obligation) being attended. Roman Catholicism is the ''height of Arminianism'' .. being expected to ''do'' in order to gain salvation. Needless to say .. since the RCC believes that it is the ONE, TRUE, HOLY and APOSTOLIC CHURCH .. they spent no time at all in the explanation of other faiths (other than to say they were incorrect). If you were not Roman Catholic .. you just couldn't be saved! So, needless to say, I had no clue as to what the word ''Reformed'' meant .. other than it being said to me, that a heretic named Luther posted demands on a church door. That was the extent of my knowledge about the Reformation.

                In 2008, after attending the RCC for 50+ years, the Holy Spirit removed me from their rolls. He took me out of that church lock, stock and barrel .. and I NEVER looked back! It started out innocently enough (2005) with me questioning the parish priest about something in the Bible. He was not able to answer this question but he went further and told me, "I shouldn't be reading the Bible without a priest being at my elbow (to interpret). I found this rather strange .. tucked it away in the recesses of my mind .. but I was so ''bothered'' by his words that I recalled them on more than one occasion. As best as I can figure, 2006 was when the ''news of priest abuse hit the fan.'' What bothered me was the church's 'rather cavalier' response to what had gone on for a very long time. It wasn't that I didn't think that priests were men who sinned ..could repent and ask God's forgiveness; what I couldn't get over was the fact that the RCC KNEW about it .. and in spite of what had happened, started moving these priests from diocese to diocese (and across state lines). They were allowed to commit this crime over and over again with the full knowledge of those in control .. and who could have stopped it.

                Still, I attended mass, prayed the rosary .. and performed all that was expected of me. 2006 found me diagnosed with a brain tumor. It was operated on successfully .. but .. the Holy Spirit really ''brought to bear'' on me just how tenuous my life could be .. and that I needed to move on. It took at least another 1 1/2 yrs for me to ''up and leave.'' Since at that time my husband was extremely ill .. I was not able to ''find'' a church to attend. He couldn't be left alone and I was his only caretaker. I ''came across'' WTRU on radio (I thank God for doing that also) .. and got to listen to preaching as I had not ever heard it before. Listened to RC Sproul, John MacArthur, Alistair Begg. Listening to those men kept my soul nourished and kept me ''close to God.'' I was a LITERAL SPONGE! I soaked it up .. and sought after more learning via my comp. After my husband died .. I started on my search to attend a church to call ''home.'' The church I did not reject is as biblical a church as can be found in my area. If anyone asks me, ''What are you?'' .. my reply is, ''I am a Reformed person who happens to attend a Baptist church.'' The Baptist church I started attending threw out a challenge .. to read the Bible 'cover to cover' within a year. I accepted the challenge and it was the FIRST TIME in my ENTIRE LIFE that I read the Bible! Happy to say .. I did it the next year .. and the next .. and am reading it for the 5th time (this year). I became ''reformed''(specifically Calvinist) BECAUSE of reading the Bible.
                I could not deny what is written on those pages.

                I still sit in my church .. listening to sermons .. with an ear that is attuned to discernment. I wasted over half my lifetime sitting in the pew of the Roman Catholic Church; I'm not about to waste any more time. I take nothing for granted and I do not assume that because the pastor gave a sermon (agreeing with the Bible) last week, that he will do so next week!

                In my walk .. I went from not ''knowing'' if I was heaven bound (was I good enough .. did I 'do' enough to earn it)?
                to the absolute GUARANTEE of Jesus Christ my Saviour .. who promised me Salvation! Born Again and changed my heart from stone to one of flesh! I learned .. we CANNOT do .. Jesus was the PERFECT SACRIFICE ; and to bring this home ..

                one just needs to open their Bible and start reading .. ''In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. The earth was formless and void''...
                Last edited by Eagle; 03-12-2015, 05:13 PM.
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