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Encyclopedia > Reformed theology
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Reformed theology is a branch of Protestant Christian theology based primarily on the theology of Jesus. The theology was more formally defined by Augustine, Calvin, and Zwingli. The term is often used synonymously with Calvinism. Reformed theology forms the doctrinal basis for the Reformed branch of churches. Small icon for merging articles File links The following pages link to this file: Friction Jacobin Private branch exchange Pro-feminist Rotary piston engine Tagalog language Saint Veronica Spoiler effect Parser Password length equation Sudovian language Wikipedia:Why arent these pages copy-edited Static scoping Maximum power theorem General... Calvinism has been known at times for its simple, unadorned churches and lifestyles, as depicted in this painting by Emmanuel de Witte where the 17th century congregation stands to hear a sermon. ... Protestantism is a general grouping of denominations within Christianity. ... This article is about the religious people known as Christians. ... Theology is literally rational discourse concerning God (Greek θεος, theos, God, + λογος, logos, rational discourse). By extension, it also refers to the study of other religious topics. ... The neutrality and accuracy of this article are disputed. ... Augustine is the name of two important Saints: Augustine of Hippo (354-430) -- philosopher and theologian, author of The City of God, Confessions Augustine of Canterbury (d. ... John Calvin John Calvin (July 10, 1509–May 27, 1564) founded Calvinism, a form of Protestant Christianity, during the Protestant Reformation. ... Huldrych (or Ulrich) Zwingli (January 1, 1484 – October 10, 1531) was the leader of the Swiss Reformation and founder of the Swiss Reformed Churches. ... Calvinism has been known at times for its simple, unadorned churches and lifestyles, as depicted in this painting by Emmanuel de Witte where the 17th century congregation stands to hear a sermon. ... The Reformed churches are a group of Protestant denominations historically related by a similar Zwinglian or Calvinist system of doctrine but organizationally independent. ...


Five Points of Calvinism

Reformed theology is often equated with the "Five Points of Calvinism", but acually encompasses a much larger view of theology than that. The great doctrine of justification by faith alone first expressed by Martin Luther is at the crux of the 15th century reformation and thus of reformed theology today. Reformed theology took hold in many different denominations, yet seems to be found in its most pure form today in the Reformed Presbyterian Churches or perhaps independent Evangelical Churches. Martin Luther (originally Martin Luder or Martinus Luther) (November 10, 1483 – February 18, 1546) was a German theologian and an Augustinian monk whose teachings inspired the Protestant Reformation and deeply influenced the doctrines of Lutheran, Protestant and other Christian traditions (a broad movement composed of many congregations and church bodies). ... Note that this kind of denomination is not that of a coin or banknote. ... Evangelical has several distinct meanings: In its original sense, it means belonging or related to the Gospel (Greek: euangelion - good news) of the New Testament. ...

Beginning with the "five points" someone can start building a solid understanding of the reformed faith. The acronym TULIP is often used to help explain the bibilcal doctrines found in the five points. They are;

  • Total Depravity
  • Unconditional Election
  • Limited Atonement
  • Irresistable Grace
  • Perservance of the Saints

Atonement is reconciliation with God, of people who have sinned . ... Grace may stand for: favors received from God, see divine grace a short prayer said before a meal to bless and give thanks for it, in folk practices of Christianity and other religions. ...

Total Depravity

The idea of total depravity teaches that man, fallen man, is as extensively, though not as intensively sinful as can be. In other words, through the fall of mankind through the federal headship of Adam, everyone has a predisposistion towards evil. This predisposistion permeates every area of our being.

Unconditional Election

Unconditional Election then says that our salvation through Jesus Christ is not based on anything in or of ourselves. God does not elect people based on any "conditions" or status. His choosing those who come to saving faith is wholly of His own good pleasure.

Limited Atonement

The doctrine of Limited Atonement is the most controversial part of this scheme. It proposes that the work of Jesus Christ on behalf of mankind is "limited" in its intended scope. The atonement is both efficient yet sufficient in its purpose. It is efficient in the sense that only those unconditionally elected by God the Father have the work of Christ applied to them. It is sufficient in that we add nothing of our own to the finished work of Christ on the cross.

Irresistible Grace

Irresistible Grace follows naturally from the previous doctrines, teaching that those whom God calls will come to saving faith in Jesus Christ. In other words, the call to faith is effectual. Since the atonement is limited to those whom God has elected, those who are elect are given hearts of flesh and their heart of stone is removed. Sinners whom God has chosen to save do not resist God's call because God changes their heart placing within them the will and desire to believe.

Perseverance of the Saints

Finally, perseverance of the saints explains that those who were once totally depraved, unconditionally elected, had the work of Christ's atonement applied to them, and effectually called will in the end fully and finally perservere in their faith. But again this relies not on the individual, but rather on the help of the Holy Spirit working in and through that person. So it can be said that believers persevere, not because they are faithful, but rather because God is faithful in perserving them.

None of this should in any way demean the responsibility of the sinner to repent and come to faith in Jesus Christ. One of most difficult aspects of reformed theology has to deal with the concept of God's sovereignty and its relationship to human responsibility. Most adherents to the reformed faith hold that both are true, that the Bible teaches both so we are obligated to believe both. The Bible (From Greek (τα) βιβλια, (ta) biblia, (the) books, plural of βιβλιον, biblion, book, originally a diminutive of βιβλος, biblos, which in turn is derived from βυβλος—byblos, meaning papyrus, from the ancient Phoenician city of Byblos which exported this writing material), is a word applied to sacred scriptures. ...

In the end it is the purpose of Reformed Theology to exalt God through His Son Jesus Christ in every area of life. But this begins with the understanding and appreciation that God is both the Author and Finisher of our faith.

The 5 Solas

The Five Solas were the rallying cries of the Reformation. The following summaries are from The Cambridge Declaration (http://www.christianity.com/partner/Article_Display_Page/0,,PTID307086|CHID560462|CIID1411364,00.html) of the Alliance of Confessing Evangelicals (http://www.alliancenet.org/). The Protestant Reformation was a movement which began in the 16th century as a series of attempts to reform the Roman Catholic Church, but ended in division and the establishment of new institutions, most importantly Lutheranism, Reformed churches, and Anabaptists. ...

Sola Scriptura

We reaffirm the inerrant Scripture to be the sole source of written divine revelation, which alone can bind the conscience. The Bible alone teaches all that is necessary for our salvation from sin and is the standard by which all Christian behavior must be measured.

We deny that any creed, council or individual may bind a Christian's conscience, that the Holy Spirit speaks independently of or contrary to what is set forth in the Bible, or that personal spiritual experience can ever be a vehicle of revelation.

Scripture Alone!

Solus Christus

We reaffirm that our salvation is accomplished by the mediatorial work of the historical Christ alone. His sinless life and substitutionary atonement alone are sufficient for our justification and reconciliation to the Father.

We deny that the gospel is preached if Christ's substitutionary work is not declared and faith in Christ and his work is not solicited.

Christ Alone!

Sola Gratia

We reaffirm that in salvation we are rescued from God's wrath by his grace alone. It is the supernatural work of the Holy Spirit that brings us to Christ by releasing us from our bondage to sin and raising us from spiritual death to spiritual life.

We deny that salvation is in any sense a human work. Human methods, techniques or strategies by themselves cannot accomplish this transformation. Faith is not produced by our unregenerated human nature.

Grace Alone!

Sola Fide

We reaffirm that justification is by grace alone through faith alone because of Christ alone. In justification Christ's righteousness is imputed to us as the only possible satisfaction of God's perfect justice.

We deny that justification rests on any merit to be found in us, or upon the grounds of an infusion of Christ's righteousness in us, or that an institution claiming to be a church that denies or condemns sola fide can be recognized as a legitimate church.

Faith Alone!

Sola Deo Gloria

We reaffirm that because salvation is of God and has been accomplished by God, it is for God's glory and that we must glorify him always. We must live our entire lives before the face of God, under the authority of God and for his glory alone.

We deny that we can properly glorify God if our worship is confused with entertainment, if we neglect either Law or Gospel in our preaching, or if self-improvement, self-esteem or self-fulfillment are allowed to become alternatives to the gospel.

For God's Glory Alone!

External links

  • Monergism.com (http://www.monergism.com)
  • Tulipedia (http://www.tulipedia.org)
  • Theopedia (http://www.theopedia.com)
  • Grace Online Library (http://www.graceonlinelibrary.org/)
  • SolaGratia.org (http://www.solagratia.org/)

  Results from FactBites:
Calvinism - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (3346 words)
Calvinist theology is often identified in the popular mind as the so-called "five points of Calvinism," which are a summation of the judgments (or canons) rendered by the Synod of Dort and which were published as a point-by-point response to the five points of the Arminian Remonstrance (see History of Calvinist-Arminian debate).
Barth was an important Swiss Reformed theologian who began writing early in the 20th century, whose chief accomplishment was to counter-act the influence of the Enlightenment in the churches, especially as this had led to the toleration of Nazism in the Germanic countries of Western Europe.
The Barmen declaration is an expression of the Barthian reform of Calvinism.
What Is Reformed Theology? (2212 words)
Those churches in the "Reformed tradition" are regarded as being in the line of churches that grew from the Reform in certain Swiss free cities and cantons, in non-Lutheran Germany, and in Hungary, Bohemia, and southern France in the early and mid sixteenth century.
Reformed theology is, then, first and foremost a Christian Theology, not meant to cast away the ancient learning of the church, but to draw it close and renew appreciation and allegiance to it.
Reformed theologies take the ministry potential of the laity very seriously, and many Reformed groups (not all) have the peculiar tradition of ordaining certain lay members to participate in the ministry of the church as elders and deacons, but not making them members of the clergy.
  More results at FactBites »



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