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Beshoy Adel

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

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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.

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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: http://www.reformed.org/documents/wcf_with_proofs/

 

God bless,

William

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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.

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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

 

 

 

 

Edited by David Lee
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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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Edited by David Lee

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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.

 

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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

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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!!

 

 

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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.

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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

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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

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Thanks William :) If it won't take too much of your time, how do the OPC and the PCA differ?

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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

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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:

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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.

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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.

 

Hello Way of the Spirit,

 

If you don't mind a suggestion just parenthesis (universal) after catholic or just refer to it as the universal church. Catholic begins with a Capital C when beginning a sentence, though I am fully aware of using a lower case c when not referring to Catholicism.

 

God bless,

William

 

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Hello Way of the Spirit,

 

If you don't mind a suggestion just parenthesis (universal) after catholic or just refer to it as the universal church. Catholic beings with a Capital C when beginning a sentence, though I am fully aware of using a lower case c when not referring to Catholicism.

 

God bless,

William

 

 

OK, will do.

I have come from a forum (fast dying, like most forums) where the distinction was immediately understood just from the context in which the term 'catholic' was used.

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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.

 

Ah, but then why are so many non-denominational churches basically another version of baptist?

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Ah, but then why are so many non-denominational churches basically another version of baptist?

 

I take it that you're referring to church government?

 

In doctrine some have even regressed back to Catholicism in soteriology. With lack of emphasis of correct doctrine for fear of division, no one is held accountable for doctrine in a non denominational church body. If they were to dare emphasize one particular doctrine then they'd align with so and so theological perspective. One really has to evaluate each individual by a case by case basis in trying to understand what any given non denominational attendee believes.

 

God bless,

William

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I take it that you're referring to church government?

 

In doctrine some have even regressed back to Catholicism in soteriology. With lack of emphasis of correct doctrine for fear of division, no one is held accountable for doctrine in a non denominational church body. If they were to dare emphasize one particular doctrine then they'd align with so and so theological perspective. One really has to evaluate each individual by a case by case basis in trying to understand what any given non denominational attendee believes.

 

God bless,

William

 

I'm puzzled by the forum's constant elevation of Calvin to virtual 'apostolic inspiration'.

Also, surely 'soteriology' means the study of the theology of salvation ..... what can be wrong with that?

Personally I am very cautious of any theology based on the teaching of a post apostolic man and, believing as I do in many things contrary to 'Calvinism', I live in fear (as a member of CF) of being burned at the stake for heresy, as per Michael Servetus.

"Regression to Catholic soteriology" and the strife for 'absolute' theological truth reminds me of Paul's constant battle to prevent the 'Spirit led Faith of Christianity' from regressing back to the 'Text Book led Religion of Judaism' (see Galatians and "Who hath bewitched you?").

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I live in fear (as a member of CF) of being burned at the stake for heresy, as per Michael Servitus.

 

You are right to "live in fear" cause the Calvinists here at CF are gathering a big pile of kindling and logs together right now (with the word "heretic" burned into the side of each one) just for you ;)

 

My advice, RUN (while you still can :eek:)

 

Have a nice day :)

 

--David

 

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I'm puzzled by the forum's constant elevation of Calvin to virtual 'apostolic inspiration'.

Also, surely 'soteriology' means the study of the theology of salvation ..... what can be wrong with that?

Personally I am very cautious of any theology based on the teaching of a post apostolic man and, believing as I do in many things contrary to 'Calvinism', I live in fear (as a member of CF) of being burned at the stake for heresy, as per Michael Servetus.

"Regression to Catholic soteriology" and the strife for 'absolute' theological truth reminds me of Paul's constant battle to prevent the 'Spirit led Faith of Christianity' from regressing back to the 'Text Book led Religion of Judaism' (see Galatians and "Who hath bewitched you?").

 

It appears to me that you have been poking and prodding Reformed members here. Personally, I have ignored these up until now, the question is what are you going to do when confronted? That is, if you ever engage in theological discussion, because up until now I notice that you seem to be "the come from behind" kid in theological debate mostly making pot shots.

 

If you are anything like Servetus you won't acquire sympathy from me: https://www.christforums.org/forum/c...n-and-servetus

 

God bless,

William

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It appears to me that you have been poking and prodding Reformed members here. Personally, I have ignored these up until now, the question is what are you going to do when confronted? That is, if you ever engage in theological discussion, because up until now I notice that you seem to be "the come from behind" kid in theological debate mostly making pot shots.

 

If you are anything like Servetus you won't acquire sympathy from me: https://www.christforums.org/forum/c...n-and-servetus

 

God bless,

William

 

I am well aware that I am not a 'mainstream' Evangelical Fundamentalist and, to avoid misunderstanding, I have changed my profile choice of denomination to 'Other'.

'Tongue in cheek' I would say that in reality I am the originator and sole member of my particular creedless, non-denominational, denomination, which offers fellowship to every person who might conceivably be a member of the 'Body of Christ' by virtue of efficacious faith in Christ's substitutionary sacrificial death in atonement for sin. As such I would prefer to err on the side of offering fellowship to someone who's faith (like mine) is somewhat less than 'mainstream', rather than erring on the side of rejecting some such person who God might have accepted as being part of that 'Body'.

I am here to present my 'less than mainstream' inclinations with deference to my conviction that none can 'see' other "through a glass darkly" until we each meet Christ face to face and finally know even as we are known.

Inevitably doing so might seem like poking and prodding several mainstream denominational specialities ..... but no more so that what I see being presented by other members who also are not 'Reformed' in the same way as yourself.

I trust that the forum is sufficiently open minded to continue to permit all these other beliefs.

May God lead us all out of prejudice and into the light of 'personally relevant truth'.

Edited by Way of the Spirit

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You are right to "live in fear" cause the Calvinists here at CF are gathering a big pile of kindling and logs together right now (with the word "heretic" burned into the side of each one) just for you ;)

 

My advice, RUN (while you still can :eek:)

 

Have a nice day :)

 

--David

 

David, I read that you are here to "help in growing in Christlikeness and, hopefully, to help others do the same".

If I choose not to "run" maybe you could 'hold my hand' ..... all the way to the stake?

Best wishes....Mike.

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Just continue to read and study the Bible. One gets to be better acquainted with the Words of God by constant study and reading and continous prayer. When you read and study the Bible, God is said to be talking to you and when you begin to pray,you are talking with God.

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