Thursday, July 17, 2014

It's a good idea to be Reformed

Over at First Things, our friend Carl has written an excellent apologetic for the Reformed faith. Specifically, Trueman asserts that the Reformed faith is uniquely suited (over general evangelicalism and Roman Catholicism) for exiles, or what the apostle Peter called "strangers and aliens."
It’s not surprising that Reformed Christianity equips us well for exile, because it was itself forged in a time of exile, often by men who were literal exiles. Indeed, the most famous Reformed theologian of them all, John Calvin, was a Frenchman who found fame and influence as a pastor outside his homeland, in the city of Geneva. The Pilgrim fathers of New England knew the realities of exile, and the conditions that it imposed upon the people, only too well. Winthrop’s famous comment about being a city on a hill was not a statement of messianic destiny but a reminder to the colonists of the fact that their lives as exiles were to be lived out in the glare of hostile scrutiny. Exile demanded they have a clear and godly identity.

The Reformed Church has its own baggage, but given the nature of its origins and our own moment, it is the right baggage: light when it needs to be light and heavy with the Gospel when it needs to be heavy. A marginal, minority interest in America for well over a century, she does not face the loss of social influence and political aspirations that now confront Evangelicalism and Roman Catholicism. We do not expect to be at the center of worldly affairs. We do not imagine ourselves to be running indispensable institutions. Lack of a major role in the public square will cause no crisis in self-understanding.

This does not arise from indifference or a lack of substance, but instead from clarity and focus. Doctrinally, the Reformed Church affirms the great truths that were defined in the early Church, to which she adds the Protestant doctrine of salvation by faith alone. She cultivates a practical simplicity: Church life centers on the preaching of the Word, the administration of the sacraments, prayer, and corporate praise. We do not draw our strength primarily from an institution, but instead from a simple, practical pedagogy of worship: the Bible, expounded week by week in the proclamation of the Word and taught from generation to generation by way of catechisms and devotions around the family dinner table.
It is an outstanding article. Read the whole thing HERE.

1 comment:

Sean said...

Really fantastic piece, Todd.

Quick question for you that's a little off topic. A few months back we were at my son's t-ball opening day and everyone in attendance did the pledge of allegiance. It was the first I had an opportunity to do it in probably 20 years. And for the first time in my life I had an odd sensation come over me about it. I didn't feel right reciting it and actually stopped a few words in.

And I didn't stop because I hate my country. I don't. Not by any means. I understand how rare and precious the liberties and freedoms we all enjoy are. And think we're blessed to live here. But if I'm honest, my feelings about this nation are much more complicated than they once were.

Where do you come down on this? And if you come down on the other side, do you see that position changing if our country continues on its current trajectory?