What is Reformed Theology?
Reformed theology is not some ‘special’ or ‘exclusive’ teaching but it wants to stand in the broad tradition of the Christian church:
– Reformed theologians fully agree with the teaching of the Creeds of Ancient church and value the wisdom God gave to great theologians like Irenaeus, Tertullian and Augustine
– Reformed theologians appreciate the theological work of John Calvin who esp. in his ‘Institutes of the Christian Religion’ showed the glory of God and His free grace towards sinners
– Reformed theology recognizes the authority of the Reformed Confessions of the 16th and 17th century such as the Heidelberg Catechism, Belgic Confession, Canons of Dort and the Westminster Standards. Not because we believe that these confessions have the same authority as Scripture but because Reformed theologians are convinced that the Reformed confessions expressed the main doctrines of the Bible in such a way that they offer us a reliable framework for Christian church and theology today.
What is most characteristic for Reformed theologians?
Here are some main points:
– trust that we receive reliable revelation of God in the Holy Scripture; Scripture has definitive authority over all our doctrine and life
– Reverence for the sovereignty of God: our world and lives are created by the Almighty God and governed according to His plan
– Awareness of our total dependence on God’s free grace in Jesus Christ
– Thankfulness for our salvation as an undeserved gift of God, which we receive through faith only
– Sense of calling to confess and glorify God’s name in all areas of life; this calling can be fulfilled only through the regenerating power of the Holy Spirit.
What are the main goals of Reformed theology?
– To glorify God’s name in exploring and exposing the treasures of Scripture: we want to love God not only with our hearts and emotions, but also with ‘all our mind’ (Mat. 22, 37)
– To give the ‘reason for the hope’ we have to all men in apologetic exposition of the Gospel (1Pet. 3, 15)
– ‘To prepare God's people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built’ (Eph. 4, 12)
– To show from Scripture how God wants to be glorified in the lives of His children today (2Thess. 1, 11-12).
Some basic Introductions to Reformed Theology in Russian:
- J. Calvin, Institutes of the Christian Religion
- L. Berkhof, Manual of Christian Doctrine
- J.I. Packer, Knowing God
The most accessible doctrinal introduction is the Heidelberg Catechism