I requested this board as an educational forum to learn about Reformed Theology. Many churches call themselves "Presbyterian" or "Reformed." But there are two kinds of churches that claim these titles. Calvin Cummings writes:One group believes the Bible in its entirety to be the Word of God and adheres to the historic creeds of the Presbyterian and Reformed faith, such as the Westminster Confession of Faith, the Belgic Confession and the Canons of Dordt. The other no longer confesses that the Bible in its entirety is God's Word and doesn't accept the historic creeds of the Reformed faith as ist confessional basis.Presbyterian means being governed by elders. The Bible has something to say about how a church is to be organized and governed.Knox continues:Reformed in DoctrineThe chief difference between Presbyterian and other churches, however, is not in government but in doctrine....What does this [Westminster Confession of Faith] confession teach that is not found in the other creeds of Christendom? It is the teaching of the sovereignty of God. God is held to be absolutely supreme in wisdom, power, holiness, truth and grace. In all his works of creation, providence and redemption, God orders all things for his own glory. God is in control of a sparrow falling to the ground, of the decisions of a king, and of bringing us all our trials (Matthew 10:29; Proverbs 21:1; 1Thes. 3:3). The throne of his kindgom rules over all(Psalm 103:19). "For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be the glory forever!" (Romans 11:36)This means that salvation, too, is all of God; God controls both the accomplishment of salvation in history and the application of salvation to individual lives today.Although this, like any other board, is a place where anyone can come and participate, I do not want this to be a battle between us and them. I would prefer, but certainly cannot control, that the dialogue on this board would be directed toward learning about the Reformed faith. Although we will inevitably be visited by obnoxious trolls and others wishing to stir up some trouble, I am hopeful that by ignoring these people, they will go away. Trolls stay only if they fed, which means any kind of response.I also would prefer not to create a board that incessantly debates the differences between Calvinism and Arminianism. There are plenty of Arminian folk on other boards in Fooldom and they dominate the conversation which is fine by me - I just don't wish to debate them - let them believe what they will. But I do want to learn and discuss what we (those in Reformed faith) believe and why we believe it.My own experience with Reformed Theology is that I believe it is the most systematic, comprehensive, and integrated approach to the study of theology. It also, in my view, more closely follows the intended meaning of the Bible in all of its confessions and beliefs. It has also been personally most liberating to me in that I have come to rid myself of guilt and have a new sense of calm and peace in my life. Once a perfectionist who believed I could become holy, I now realize the depth and pervasiveness of my own sin and the impossibility of ever being able to do anything about it in my own power - I turned to Christ and received him as the only one able to rescue me from my sinful condition. Little did I know at the time I experienced this that I was being quickened by the Holy Spirit and was made completely broken in order to even be able to respond. I also did not know that my experience was in conformity with just a little of the deep doctrinal(Biblical) truths of the Reformed faith.Rick
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