As mainline and evangelical churches continue to drift into the unknown waters of modernity, many Christians have begun to show an interest in Reformed theology. Some are even visiting Reformed churches.
Unfortunately, some Reformed authors and pastors seem to be trying to “tone down” their Reformed doctrines and distinctives in order to make these seekers feel more comfortable.
Consider attending our second service in February-March as Pastor McShaffrey proposes a more honest and enthusiastic approach based upon this assertion: It’s Good to be Refromed!
Here is the class schedule and lesson outlines:
02/14/16 – Scripture: We Let the Bible Speak
The General Concept
– Definition: Reformation means “re-forming”
– Assumption: Things become “de-formed”
– Scripture: The standard for true reformation
The Scriptural Pattern
– Someone Seeks God 2 Chron. 34:1-3a
– Things Need Fixing 2 Chron. 34:3a-13
– Scripture is Rediscovered 2 Chron. 34:14-28
– The Saints Take a Stand 2 Chron. 34:29-33
The Historic Parallel
– Who sought God in medieval Europe?
– What idolatry and abuses needed fixing?
– How was scripture rediscovered?
– What did “taking a stand” look like?
02/21/16 – Theology: We Let God Be God
All Christians admit that God is God, but only the reformed seem to embrace the divine attributes which make us feel small. Examples:
– Transcendence (Isaiah 40:12-23, 66:1; John 4:24)
– Predestination (Isaiah 14:24, 46:9-10; Ps. 139:16)
– Almightiness (Genesis 1:1; Psalm 33:9, 147:4-6)
– Sovereignty (Dan. 4:34-35; Gen. 50:20; Amos 3:6)
– Providence (Prov. 16:33, Job 12:23a; Rom. 8:28)
– Amazing Grace (Eph. 1:1-12, 2:8; 1 Cor. 1:26-31)
The reformed are able to embrace such doctrines because of this commitment: Soli Deo Gloria (Isaiah 42:8, 48:11).
02/28/16 – Worship: We Keep it Well Regulated
All Christians agree THAT we should worship God, but very few agree on HOW we should worship God. There are the two historic approaches:
Regulative Principle: Only that which is expressly commanded is permitted in worship.
Normative Principle: Anything not expressly forbidden is permissible in worship.
The reformed are committed to the first approach of regulating worship for at least two reasons:
1. God’s Honor: If God is the object of our worship, he must be allowed to regulate our expressions of worship (Deut. 12:32, John 4:23-24, Matt. 15:9).
2. Christian Liberty: If God alone is Lord of the conscience, the church should not impose man-made traditions upon people (Matt. 15:9, 23:4; Col. 2:20-23).
03/13/16 – Ecclesiology: We Let the Church Be the Church
Understanding the Basics
– NT word study: ek (out) + kalew (to call) = an assembly
– OT background: There was an “ekklesia” (c.f., Acts 7:38)
The Nature of the Church
Negatively: It is not of this world (John 18:36), easily observed (Luke 17:20-21), or advanced through physical means (Ephesians 6:12)
Positively: It is certainly established (Matt. 16:18), spiritually administered (Matt. 16:19), endued with authority (Matt. 28:18), and ever-advancing (Acts 28:31)
Some deny the church’s essential spirituality, making it easily observable and practically advanced. Examples?
Others deny the church’s essential authority/imminence, making it a wholly futuristic prospect. Examples?
The reformed avoid both extremes by confidently fulfilling the Great Commission through the appointed means of grace.
03/20/16 – Sacramentology: We Take a Balanced Approach
While the nature and efficacy of the sacraments have been intensely debated over the centuries, the reformed have endeavored to affirm essentials and avoid extremes.
– Covenant Association (1 Cor. 1:12-13, 10:2, 12:13)
– Admission into the Church (Matt. 28:19, Acts 2:41)
– Covenant Memorial (Deut. 16:3, Luke 22:19-20)
– Union / Fellowship (1 Cor. 10:15-16, 11:17-34)
– Rome: ex opera operato, regeneration
– Anabaptist: testimony, immersion
– Rome: transubstantiation
– Zwingli: didactic signification
In affirming essentials and avoiding extremes, the reformed are able to enjoy the unity sacraments are intended to illustrate.
03/27/16 – Eschatology: We Comfort One Another
While some are ignorant of and many obsessed with eschatological matters, the reformed have historically emphasized the COMFORT scripture affords:
Before His Coming
– Gentiles Evangelized (Matt. 24:14)
– Jews Converted (Rom. 11:25-29)
– Opposition & Apostasy (2 Thess. 2:1-12)
At His Coming (1 Thess. 4:13-18)
1. Christ Appears with Glory
2. Dead Christians Raised
3. Living Christians Raptured
4. We All Arrive on Earth
After His Coming
– General Resurrection (John 5:28-29)
– Saints Glorified (Romans 8:19-23)
– Sinners Punished (Rev. 20:12-15)
– Angels Judged (Matt. 8:29, Jude 6)
– Creation Renovated (2 Peter 3:10-13)