Tuesday, 3 July 2007

What is a reformed worldview?

In short, it is a Christian view of the world informed by what's known as 'reformed theology.'

Reformed Theology

During the reformation, various thinkers, and most notably John Calvin (right), mined the purest gold from the previous fifteen hundred years of Christian thought and forged and honed it into a theological system that in my view most closely reflects that of the Bible. This system has three particular emphases:

(1) The sovereignty of God in revelation, ensuring that all scripture is trustworthy; in creation, so affirming our responsibility to submit every sphere of life to him; in providence, meaning that he orders all things according to his faultess will; in election, asserting that we are chosen to salvation irrespective of anything forseen in us; in regeneration, holding that the Spirit therefore works faith in the elect so that they will definitely and continually respond to Christ; in justification meaning that we can contribute nothing to our being declared righteous by God as it is a gift of his free mercy. Thus the classic reformed declaration that salvation is by "grace alone through faith alone to the glory of God alone."

(2) The covenants of God by which he enters into profound agreements with specific people and their offspring. Two are usually to the fore: First, the so called covenant of works that required faithfulness by Adam and Eve if they and their descendents were to forever enjoy fellowship with God in paradise. Next, the covenant of grace, established by Christ meeting the requirements of the covenant of works and atoning for our breach of it, that by uniting ourselves to him in faith we might be forgiven and counted as having fulfilled it 'in him' and so be saved without the requirement of works 'from us.' And so salvation is "in Christ alone" and by "grace alone through faith alone to the glory of God alone."

(3) The glory of God in which our supreme end is to ensure that God receives the honour that is truly his due. Reformed theology is horrified at our sinful desire to give our thoughts or feelings a greater authority than God's word, to credit ourselves with somehow being free from his ultimate control or able to contribute somehow to our salvation. In all things it seeks to humbly see humanity in its true depraved light and exalt God's justice, love and rule over all.

The genius of Reformed Theology

The genius of the reformed system is its scriptural balance. It is realistic about the evils of human nature whilst being world affirming, urging us to enjoy the goods of creation and glorify God in whatever we think and do. Most importantly, it rightly humbles us before God whilst at the same time instilling the greatest joy and devotion to him for his kindnesses.

The ethos of this blog

This blog is therefore intentionally varied. It intends to promote Christ over all by having his word renew our minds not just in the theological realm, but potentially in every sphere of thought and life. It seeks to critique yes, but also to affirm truth, beauty and whatever good that can be received with thanks in our culture and world. in short, it intends to promote and commend a truly Christian 'worldview.'

The consequences of Reformed Theology

Much is lost from not holding to this high, weighty and holistic view of God. Amongst the benefits a reformed understanding should give are:
  1. A greater prayerfulness in the certainity that God really does rule over all things.
  2. A greater thankfulness in the knowledge that even our saving faith was an undeserved gift of God.
  3. A greater assurance in the conviction that those who truly believe will persevere to the end.
  4. A greater hope and comfort in trials through the awareness that God works all things according to some purpose and so we are not subject to blind chance.
  5. A higher view of the family because of the covenant understanding of the family as a spiritual unit with parents representing their children before God until they reach an age of discretion.
  6. A richness to life because sport, music, art, whatever it might be glorifies God when done well and in his gifting.
  7. more to come...
To add more consequences, add your 'comments' below.

For more on reformed theology, read Grace Unknown by RC Sproul, or this short introduction by Lorainne Boettner.