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Introduction to myself

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  • Introduction to myself

    My name is Miguel Alvarado and I am 33 years old. I was raised in a Southern Baptist church. I went to church because my family went. Later on in life I went on my own path which produced both grief and heartache. I always knew the stories of the Bible because I had memorized them as a kid. But the problem in my life was that they were just stories. I was assaulted by a modern skeptical culture and began to question my own beliefs. It was eventually in prison, humbled and broken, that I started looking for answers. I started to read the Bible and the message began to have an effect. This was back in May 2010. I know now that it was the grace of God that brought me to faith and repentance. I became aware of the problem of sin in my life and my need for a Savior. No longer did I look at the cross as an atonement generally, but specifically I knew that my sins were the reason that Jesus went to the cross. This was a crucial development in my understanding as our sense of indebtedness and our gratitude are directly proportional. The Bible touches upon man's deepest need; it reveals the solution to this need in the person of Jesus Christ. In the prison library there was a big book called the Encyclopedia of Religious Creeds. I would comb through that book asking myself, "Am I a Lutheran? Am I a Baptist? What is a Protestant anyway?" It was a combination of reading history books, the Bible, and meeting the prison chaplain (who is a minister in the OPC) that I came to identify myself as Reformed in Theology and Presbyterian in Government. Both the high view of Scripture and the Augustinian view of God's grace have been influential in my understanding the plan of redemption. It emphasizes the supernatural work of God over the human without doing violence to the will of the creature. I joined the forum both to share and discuss, defend and challenge, my understanding of the faith as revealed in the Scriptures. And, if along the way my story gives someone hope and God glory, then amen.

  • #2
    Originally posted by malvaradosr View Post
    I came to identify myself as Reformed in Theology and Presbyterian in Government. Both the high view of Scripture and the Augustinian view of God's grace have been influential in my understanding the plan of redemption.
    Hello Miguel,

    Thank you for sharing your testimony. I'm so happy to have another brother in Christ in this forum.

    Soli Deo Gloria,
    William
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    • #3
      Hi malvaradosr,

      Welcome to the forum. I hope you find it useful and enjoyable.

      God bless

      Bede
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      • #4
        Hi Miguel

        For us ignorant fools, would you like to expand upon what you see as Reformed in Theology and Presbyterian in Government? I am sure these terms mean something definitive to you, but they don't to me, and I am interested in what you think these labels actually signify. This is not a trick question; I am genuinely interested to know the trajectory you follow.

        Best wishes, 2RM.
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        • #5
          We happily share many cardinal doctrines with the rest of historic Christianity. The Apostle's Creed and the Nicene Creed are excellent expositions of what we as Christians hold to be true. The following represents what I as a layman in the Church understand as being Reformed and Presbyterian. One of the main issues has to do with the extent of man's condition. Reformed Theology holds that the effect of Original Sin is such that man of his own volition cannot come to faith and repentance apart from the grace of God. Traditionally designated as Total Depravity or Radical Corruption. Historically expounded as doctrine by Augustine of Hippo in the fourth century, we accept this not so much because he was a great Church Father, but rather because his conclusions were reached in his reading of the Epistles of Paul. We recognize that man as a rational creature does indeed make a choice, but miles deeper below the surface we say that this choice is only possible because of God's work on the heart. It is the work of the Holy Spirit.This is an emphasis on the supernatural over merely a moral suasion. Necessarily involved in taking this position, we affirm that God could save everyone if he so wanted, the fact that not everyone comes to faith points to the doctrine of election. This doctrine rather than making God into a monster displays his justice in the punishment of sin and mercy in its forgiveness. The fact that the two main objections to this part of Reformed Theology (that it makes God to be unjust and that it destroys human responsibility) were also lodged against the Apostle Paul in Romans 9 is evidence that this was his doctrine. I would also include the doctrine of justification by faith alone but because it is shared among Protestants it would not be unique to the Reformed faith.

          Presbyterian in government points to the idea of the interconnectedness of the visible Church. That each local assembly is part of the bigger picture in the Body of Christ. And so this is expressed in our denomination (Orthodox Presbyterian Church) as the session, the presbytery, and the general assembly. We may have a different congregation in another city but we see them as belonging to the same church, united by a common purpose and confession of faith. While a single congregation may be able to support a few missionaries that carry out the work of evangelism, together as a denomination we can support an army of them. Each body enjoys a certain amount of freedom but at the same time is provided with oversight from the larger bodies. This can also be seen in our non hesitation to use the word catholic as expressed in the creeds. We believe in one, holy, catholic, and apostolic church which is not confined to geography or denomination. This is usually termed as the invisible Church. Elders are appointed to rule the churches and a plurality of them in each congregation is deemed as both biblical and important. Parity of elders in the exercise of authority is also emphasized. There are great Scripture passages to support these beliefs but I hope that for now I have given you some clarity on what I believe.
          Comment>

          • #6
            I'm a little tardy in welcoming you to the Forum, Miguel. I am not on the Forum very often, but I am looking forward to seeing more of your posts. You are obviously very learned and well educated in doctrine, and praise God that He allows you the privilege of sharing from your heart.
            Comment>

            • #7
              Welcome brother, it's wonderful to have you. From the start its obvious that you will be an invaluable source of wisdom to us. God Bless
              Comment>
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