Reformed Theology

ElderDad's picture

There may have previously been a thread on this subject, but I don't find it high enough in the list to see it. Therefore, I will start a thread and let it take its course. The purpose of this topic is to provide a place other than the Study of the Gospel of John, where it has become a side issue with considerable activity. Unfortunately, it is off-track there, so here it is in the open forum. The purpose is to give a place to post items dealing with traditional Reformed Theology. Because CCEL comes out of the Reformed community, there are many books dealing with Reformed Theology and Preaching in the CCEL library. However, in keeping with the ecumenical effort of the founders and supporters of this site, there are also books in the CCEL library that disagree with Reformed Theology. Sooooo, let me remind all participants in this forum, "Keep it loving, or keep it at home."

Randy Seiver's picture

Luther and Reformed Theology

You have raised a number of interesting issues. There is little question Calvin and others wrote with greater precision than did Luther on many issues. Even Calvin's views have become more finely honed and in some cases altered in the development of Reformed Theology.

Re: the issue of Double Predestination, the Westminster Larger Catechism states,

"Q. 13. What hath God especially decreed concerning angels and men?

A. God, by an eternal and immutable decree, out of his mere love, for the praise of his glorious grace, to be manifested in due time, hath elected some angels to glory; and in Christ hath chosen some men to eternal life, and the means thereof: and also, according to his sovereign power, and the unsearchable counsel of his own will (whereby he extendeth or withholdeth favor as he pleaseth), hath passed by and foreordained the rest to dishonor and wrath, to be for their sin inflicted, to the praise of the glory of his justice."

It is interesting to me that regarding the non-elect, the Westminster Divines stated first that God has "passed by" the rest. . . . Then they stated that he "foreordained" them to this end. My understanding of this issue is that Divine election is unnecessary in the matter of the eternal damnation of the unregenerate. All God must do is leave them to themselves and their own depraved desires. Still, since nothing occurs apart from God's eternal decree ["He has foreordained whatsoever comes to pass."], even this cannot be excluded from his plan. For this reason, I would not talk about "Double Predestination" but all inclusive predestination. "Not a sparrow falls to the ground without your Father."

Re: the issue of resistible vs. irresistible grace, I am still looking for all those verses that give the impression that God's grace is resistible. The best the Remonstrants could come up with was Acts 7:51 " . . .you always resist the Holy Spirit. . . ." The operative word here is "ALWAYS." This teaches us not about the resistibility of grace but about the persistent depravity and rebellion of sinners. If God's grace were not invincible, no sinner would lay down his weapons of treasonous warfare against God.

Does that mean God has not called those who are currently unsaved? That is exactly what it means. If he had called them, they would have come to faith since it is his call that unites us to Christ (see 1 Cor 1:9).

I think we need to define what we are discussing here more carefully. Is Luther's theology "Reformed Theology?" Yes, in the sense that he was a Reformer. Therefore, his theology would have to be reformed theology. Did he believe and teach doctrines consistent with what has come to be known as "Reformed Theology?" Not in every instance, I think.