Saturday, October 4, 2014
Peter was in the library to use their internet and came upon the book, "Encyclopedia of American Religious History." As a general book viewing the Reformed tradition from the outside, it is interesting to see how it summarizes the Reformed tradition (i.e. Calvinism, Presbyterianism, Dutch Reformed, German Reformed, etc...). It gives five distinctives that characterize Reformed teaching.
The first is God's sovereignty, especially as it plays out in salvation.
The second is the doctrine of human depravity.
The fifth is the importance of doctrinal formulations and orthodoxy.
But the third and fourth distinctives are especially interesting, due to the tendencies in some contemporary Reformed circles to move away from them, especially the fourth:
"Third, Christians in their personal behavior must be obedient to the laws of God that are revealed in the Bible. The church, too, should conform itself to the mandates of Scripture and eradicate all ceremonies that lack a clear biblical precedent.
"Fourth, the Reformed tradition has consistently emphasized that religion is not merely a private affair, but demands an engagement with society. Church and culture function together in creative tension. Despite its fallen state, the world belongs to God, and Christians must help to transform it into the image of God's kingdom." (volume 2, p. 598-599)