Archive for the ‘Reformed’ Category

Hart on the Regulative Principle and the Transformation of Society

November 3, 2009

In a recent post at the Old Life Theological Society, Darryl Hart provides some observations on the relation of the Reformed churches to society (link).

Hart provides an unusually astute observation:

This is a key difference between paleo- and neo-Calvinists (not to mention other Presbyterian transformers of cutlure [sic]). In the case of old Calvinism, the aim was to reform the church, which in turn led to various forms of political resistance and activism in order to worship God truly. In the case of new Calvinism, distinct marks of Reformed worship and polity are sacrificed in order to work with other Christians for the sake of a righteous and just society.

Hart is mostly right. While we would insist that our worship and polity be Biblical (rather than “Reformed” for the sake of the label), those points (especially the opposition to idolatry) must drive the renewal of society by the Gospel.

The fruit of a just society flows from the tree of a society that walks and worships rightly before God. Reform the tree, and the fruit will be reformed. Sacrifice the tree for short-term political gains, and the fruit will follow the corruption of the tree. This is the historically reformed view of two kingdoms, as distinct from the Lutheran view that is mentioned in the quotation Hart thoughtfully provides.


Whose Line Is It Anyway?

July 27, 2009

I was amused to note one example of Rome’s improvisational informal magisterium at work to poach another Reformed slogan. It’s not one of the slogans that the first generation reformers used (Sola Scriptura, Sola Fide, Sola Gratia, Solus Christus, Sola Deo Gloria), but one that became popular in the 17th century:

“Ecclesia reformata quia semper reformanda est” (“The Church is Reformed, because Always Reforming”) – Jodocus von Lodenstein (Dutch Reformed Theologian 1620-1677)

“Numquam reformata quia numquam deformata” (“Never reformed because never deformed”) – Pope Innocent XI (pope from 1676 to 1689) (speaking of the Carthusian order)

“Always reforming, always in need of reform.” – Steve Ray (calling it “One of the Church’s mottos”)(source – H.T. to James Swan for pointing this out to me) (see also “The Catholic Church is in need of reform and always reforming.” “The Church is like a roller coaster zooming through the centuries. There are high points and low points. The Church is always reforming and always in need of reform.

Steve Ray’s main quotation is right, but only because he said “the Church” and not “Rome.” It’s a very popular motto of a number of the Reformed churches, especially the Presbyterian churches, which make up (together with all those churches that profess faith in Christ alone for salvation) the visible Church. It’s not a particularly popular slogan among the popes, especially not Innocent XI.

Of course, obviously, “reformation” is not necessarily a dirty word in Catholicism. Trent’s purpose was, among other things, reformation:

Doth it please you, –unto the praise and glory of the holy and undivided Trinity, Father, and Son, and Holy Ghost; for the increase and exaltation of the Christian faith and religion; for the extirpation of heresies; for the peace and union of the Church; for the reformation of the Clergy and Christian people; for the depression and extinction of the enemies of the Christian name,– to decree and declare that the sacred and general council of Trent do begin, and hath begun?
They answered: It pleaseth us.

– Trent, Decree Touching the Opening of the Council.

To the extent that Mr. Ray was recognizing that his church is in need of reform, Praise be to God that he has recognized this and if God brings another great Reformation, we will rejoice!

Until then we will note that Rome’s motto has been the false claim: Semper Eadem (Always the Same)

Whereas the Reformed churches have sought to have the motto: Ecclesia reformata semper reformanda secundum verbum Dei – for it is Verbum Dei (the word of God) that is truly semper eadem (always the same), and men and churches need to submit to the Word of God and reform themselves to it, whenever they discover they have strayed from it.


Why Did They Burn the Reformers?

February 19, 2009

The William Tyndale web site has provided a re-print of an article by J.C. Ryle, on the topic, “Why Were Our Reformers Burned?” (link) There are a number of OCR/transcription errors in the article, but the points it makes are important, and often forgotten.


Three Part Series on Reformed Theology

December 17, 2008

I recently came across this three-part series on Reformed Theology, specifically focusing on Sola Scriptura. I believe the speaker is R. C. Sproul. Unfortunately, the sound is not well synchronized with the video, or wasn’t when I watched it.

Part 1

While I didn’t catch any glaring errors in the presentation, I wouldn’t suggest listening to these presentations uncritically. Hat Tip to Michael Patton at Parchment and Pen for bringing this to my attention (link).


Reformed Website in Indonesian

November 5, 2008

I happened to come across a Reformed Website from Singapore, presented in the Indonesian language (link to site). For those whose first language is Indonesian, this resource may provide some further assistance.


UPDATE: Corrected “Malay” to “Indonesian” thanks to helpful comments (see the comment box).

Dr. Godfrey on Sola Scriptura

April 12, 2008

Dr. W. Robert Godfrey provides an excellent introduction to Sola Scriptura (here), one of several key doctrinal issues that separate Reformed Christians from Roman Catholics.

Reformed Rap

April 11, 2008

If you enjoy the “rap” genre, and theological songs, this is a well-done example of Reformed rap.

Caveat. There is simply no place for this in worship on many levels. It’s a Reformed song, but the musical style does not seem to be (a) suitably reverent (at least not given the connotations of the “rap” genre in the present society in which we live) or (b) adapted for orderly congregational participation (i.e. it would seem to be too difficult for a congregation to join their voices without causing confusion). Additionally, the content while (based on a cursory review) seems theologically sound (and even appeals to a Psalm), is not itself inspired and divinely appointed for worship.

Nevertheless, outside the context of worship, it is an excellent and interesting song, and its author and performer deserve the respect that any viewer that appreciates rap will no doubt give it.


(located via ThinkWink)

Not the Reformed View?

April 10, 2008

In a recent quarrelsome and ad hominem post, Rev. “Trey” Austin, III has the gumption to suggest (with the title of the post) that Dr. White’s view in a recent radio debate with Steve Gregg is “not the Reformed view.” Nothing could be further from the truth.

After receiving well-deserved chiding from Dr. White in the first comment in the combox of the post, Trey responds by admitting, “Dr. White, the point of my post is precisely with your attitde [sic] and actions as a person.” It’s nice to see that admission, but it is important to note the title of the post, which was not “Dr. White is a big meanie,” but “Not the Reformed View.”

Of course, the real reason that Trey is going ad hominem on Dr. White is because Trey’s view of the Atonement (at least, given his promotion of it, I presume it is his) evidenced here and generally in his support of the quasi-Amyraldian, David Ponter. It is disappointing to see such positions being advocated (implicitly or explicitly) by PCA pastors, because the position held by Ponter and company is contrary both to Scripture and the doctrinal standard of the PCA.

Perhaps God will use the mechanism of the Westminster Presbytery to rope in Trey’s errors in this matter.


Nun Pro Tunc

February 5, 2008

Apparently the number of nuns (and monks) in the Roman Catholic Church has been on a steady and strong decline since Vatican II, although the overall membership of the RCC has continued to steadily increase. During the reign of John Paul II, the ranks of the nuns declined by about 25%, and a new report indicates that from 2005 to 2006 the ranks thinned by 10%. (source)

The reason? Death.

Old nuns are dying or and many other nuns are simply abandoning their vows. There are new recruits, but the new recruits are not keeping pace with the exiting folks.

The current breakdown according to the article is:

1.1 Billion Catholics
of which
0.09% are in monastic orders (total: 945,210)
of which
753,400 are women (about 0.13% of all Catholic women)
191,810 are men (about 0.04% of all Catholic men)

The Reformation churches have consistently held that monastic vows are unlawful. While we are not rejoicing because of the death of nuns and monks, we are glad to see the ranks of the monastic orders dwindling. It would be a delight if, by God’s grace, the entire monastic system were abolished. This is an example of change for the better brought about by Vatican II, though perhaps not by intent.

Reformed Musings Recommends …

January 25, 2008

… the Confessional Presbyterian Journal (link). This journal sounds like a great antitode to a lot of the inept modernity that has been circulating in Presbyterian circles these days. I hope it takes off!


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