Tag Archives: Reformed Theology

The Attraction of Reformed Theology

Sitting around a table I was enjoying some post-dinner conversation with three theologically eclectic and charming people when I was startled by an unexpected question: “Kyle, what is the attraction of Reformed theology?” It was a sincere question and I was grateful for the sudden opportunity to give an answer. As all eyes turned to me I hesitated for a moment and then said the first four words I could think of: the glory of God.

Simply defined, Reformed theology is that stream of thought summarized in the great confessions of the Reformed and Presbyterian churches such as the Westminster Confession of Faith together with the Larger and Shorter Catechisms. These confessions are not minimalist bullet-point statements, but neither are they so exhaustive as to exclude a place for charitable disagreement. However, when taken as they are, they present a coherent and consistent system of belief in doctrine, worship, and piety that I am convinced is faithful to the Bible.

I wasn’t always convinced of that. I grew up far from some of the commitments of Reformed theology, and when I was first introduced to it (nearly twenty years ago) I adamantly resisted it. In time, I grew to appreciate many of […]

Why Are Some Reformed People Such Jerks?

Almost ten years ago I read a piece by R. Scott Clark called: “Why (Some) Reformed People Are Such Jerks.” The article was intended to address, as you can probably guess, a common criticism. It has always stuck with me. Admittedly—and somewhat to my own embarrassment—it took a little while for the harsh reality to sink in that I was, indirectly speaking, the subject of that post. Yes, I have been and can be a real jerk. However, I trust that in the years since reading it some of the rougher edges have been smoothed by the work of the Holy Spirit. But I know all too well that the little jerk called “My Sinful Self” is always crouching at the door.

Even though I’m stealing the title (kind of) I don’t want to simply restate what’s already been said–insightful as it is! This is a topic that is worth repeating and a point that is worth remaking because it’s a complaint that’s recurring. The truth is some Reformed folks can be complete jerks. Rather than being the “aroma of Christ” (2 Corinthians 2:15) we can be the stench of arrogance. Rather than “compelling people to come in” (Luke 14:23) we […]

Totaled Image Bearers

With this entry, I’ll begin a series of meditations upon the meaning and application of essential   Calvinistic beliefs.    I hope these thoughts will encourage all who read and be a particular encouragement to those grappling with Calvinism or wrestling with the claims of Christianity in general.  (Note:  Sorry for the formatting issues -I’m still learning!)

Calvinists subscribe to what are popularly called the Doctrines of Grace. These are summarized in five headings and planted in the acronym TULIP. This entry will deal with the T: Total Depravity.

Coming to Grips with Calvinism, part 1: A Protestant’s (ongoing) Reformation

I’m deeply thankful to have been invited to write for this site.  I thought I’d begin by introducing myself in light of the site’s name and nature.

Writing for a blog entitled “Gentle Reformation” is a bit of an historical irony for me.  During my first decade or so of life in Christ, the terms “gentle” and “reformed” did not really apply.

When I first learned of Calvinism in college, I immediately and vehemently opposed it.  I thought it taught a puppet master God, a fatalistic view of history and an unnecessarily dark view of humanity.  I hated what Calvin taught.  True, I had never read Calvin, but that did not deter my zeal!

I read just enough of the Reformer to feel justified in my preformed conclusions.  Brimming with what I deemed righteous indignation, I felt I had found my purpose, the great contribution I’d make to Christ’s church.  I announced to one of my college roommates that my life’s mission was to debunk Reformed Theology.