I was confronted with the teachings of reformed theology at a pivotal time in my life. I had quit going to church, quit fellowshipping with other Christians, quit reading my Bible, and I had quit praying to God. For the most part, I had walked away.
I was converted during the early years of high school, and the Lord seemed near to me during those days. I had begun taking leadership roles soon after, even though I had largely remained an immature believer. As I exited high school, however, I had begun to be disillusioned.
I remember thinking to myself, “there has got to be more than this.” The Christianity that was being taught around me seemed truncated; I figured something was missing— that is until I discovered reformed theology (or should I say, reformed theology discovered me).
What is reformed theology? What was it about reformed theology that compelled me? That is a big question, too big of a question to answer in this little article, surely. In essence, reformed theology was, for me, the teaching that God was sovereign over all the workings of the universe, even down to the salvation of sinners’ souls.
Or how the Westminster Confession of Faith1 puts it: “God, from all eternity, did, by the most wise and holy counsel of his own will, freely, and unchangeably ordain2 whatsoever comes to pass” (3.1). That truth hit me like a ton of bricks as I read through the Gospel of John.
Before this, God, in my mind, was benevolent, yes, but was largely incapable to attain his ends. He was much smaller, much less threatening. When I came to grip with the reality that the same God who spoke and unilaterally brought light into existence was the one who spoke and sovereignly brought light into my soul, I was mystified (2 Cor 4:6). This God was much more interesting, much more mysterious, much more captivating.
I am writing this article, to be honest, for the purpose of commending reformed theology to you because it has so blessed my soul. I’ll give you three reasons to embrace (or investigate) reformed theology for yourself.
First, it is what the Bible teaches. Acts 13:48 says, “And when the Gentiles heard this, they began rejoicing and glorifying the word of the Lord, and as many as were appointed to eternal life believed” (see also John 6: 37, 39, 44, 45, 63, 64, 65, and Romans 8:30, 9:16, 17, 18, 22, 23, and Ephesians 1:4, 5, 11.).
Second, it is human humbling. I Corinthians 4:7 says, “For who sees anything different in you? What do you have that you did not receive? If then you received it, why do you boast as if you did not receive it?”
Third, it is it is God glorifying. Ephesians 1:5-6 says, “In love, he predestined us for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, to the praise of his glorious grace.”3
I love reformed theology for many reasons but primarily because it has strengthened my faith, and it gives all the glory and honor to God. I wholeheartedly hope you will consider these things for yourself.
A good place to start would be in the Gospel of John and the epistle to the Romans. A good place to finish would be the Westminster Confession of Faith. Soli Deo Gloria.
1. This was a document drawn up in 1646 during the English Civil war by Parliament for the Church of England, outlining the beliefs of the Puritans and Presbyterians.
2. Ordain can mean to sovereignly allow or sovereignly cause (i.e. God allowed me to reject him, prior to causing me to receive him).
3. All quotes from the Bible come from the English Standard Version, 2001.
– Ian Hammond, Contributing Writer