Five years ago I could not have told you anything about the Reformed Faith. Oh, I knew who John Calvin and Martin Luther were, but nothing about their beliefs. It was a simple conversation about what it meant for God to be sovereign that started a process that brought me out of a state where I thought I was saved, into a new understanding of the Doctrines of Grace and what it means when God saves you. Over the past few years I have read, studied and listened to as much as I could get my hands on to learn more about the sovereignty of God in not only salvation, but in all things. With that, I have come across a gentleman by the name of Brian Borgman multiple times and he is an outstanding expositor and teacher of the Word. I highly recommend his 13 part series on an Introduction to Reformed Faith. I’ve included the links below.
Perhaps the question has been posed to you at one time or another. The appropriate answer it seems depends almost as much on the questioner as the one replying. For those in the emerging “Young, Restless, and Reformed” category, they might not realize that not everyone else understands the self-describing moniker of “Reformed” in quite the same way.
I have two goals for these blog posts: 1) to sketch out something of the landscape of those who consider themselves “Reformed”; and 2) to provide some historical perspective to the development of the T.U.L.I.P. acronym in an effort to perhaps curb some misplaced enthusiasm.
Map of the Reformed Landscape
Here I’m merely surveying from my limited experience those who I’ve run into in the modern American Evangelical landscape. I also will focus on those groups most likely to interest readers of this blog, which is “self-consciously Evangelical, Reformational, and Baptistic.” My sympathies will become apparent as I don’t withhold my own biases along the way.
The survey really falls into more of a spectrum than separate categories, because there is quite a bit of overlap between various groups. Nevertheless I think some differentiation will still prove to be helpful, because these groups are often using the word “Reformed” in different senses (i.e. historically, soteriologically, biblical-theologically, etc.).
They believe they are the only ones who are consistently reformed. To them being reformed is applying their bi-covenantal theology in every area of life, including ethics, in a thoroughly consistent manner. Continue reading →