Wednesday, November 3, 2010

I'm Reformed So I Need to Write Something Really Deep Right Now

One thing that bothers me is how political liberals in this country think they're smarter than conservatives. While it may be true in some cases, it still smacks of arrogance.

Sadly, the same can be said of many folks holding up the "Reformed Theology" banner. For whatever reason, many who call themselves Reformed seem to think they are smarter than those who don't embrace those teachings. Even if it's not the case, it still comes across that way (and, remember, I'm writing this and I'm Reformed - at least as far as salvation is concerned).

From experience I can attest that there are a lot of non-Reformed and Arminian people out there. Most of my family can be described that way. Most of them are brighter than I am.

Why is it that Reformed folks always seem to be carrying around about ten books? At least three of those have to be written by guys who are really hard to read - like John Owen. My guess is that most John Owen-book-owners haven't actually read the books (count me in there).

If owning lots of thick theology books gets you to heaven, then the Reformed folks will be the first to get in. If Christ cares more about how we care for the poor, sick, and needy, well..maybe I shouldn't go down that path right now.

So I'm Reformed and I write a blog. I feel this weird pressure to write something really deep about God right now. I could just write what I'm thinking, "I'm amazed that God loves me and doesn't send me to Hell right now." That's the truth. It may not sound very deep, but that's what I'm thinking and feeling.

If I wanted to sound Reformed and really smart at the same time, I suppose I would write something like this, "I am continually astounded that our infinitely holy, triune God stoops down to cast His affections toward me, one who has rebelled and transgressed against God's holy law an infinite and terrible number of times and ways. That He refuses to cast me headlong into the terrors of Hell, reserved for Satan and the fallen angels, each moment stuns me beyond measure. All my deepest affections and loving admirations I place at His feet upon His high and lofty throne. Amen."

That sound silly. God doesn't care how smart we are. I'm sure He's disgusted if we are prideful over how smart we think we are.

Let's stop acting like Reformed smart-pants, and begin loving others sacrificially. That will please God.

I'm sticking with this, "I'm amazed that God loves me and doesn't send me to Hell right now."


Aussie John said...


How many times I longed to publicly express your words, I cannot count!

Sadly, your words are so true in our neck of the woods.

There is a story which goes something like this:

Several Arminian folk were talking to Peter at the Pearly Gates. As they looked ahead they realized that there was a lake to cross before entering heaven. There were several people in varying degrees of immersion strung out across the lake. Some were becoming completely submerged.

Peter explained that only those who kept their head and shoulders dry would enter heaven.

There were a few who were only waist deep,and getting closer to dry land.

The question was asked of Peter querying this fact.

Peter replied, "Those are of Reformed persuasion and think they can enter Heaven standing on the shoulders of Owen, Edwards, and Spurgeon.

Eric said...


Ouch. That one stings. How true it is.

I've been to a few Reformed-type theological conferences, and the bookstores turn into a sort of palace of idolatry. It seems that the more Edwards you read, the better Christian you are. Gag. I'm all for reading good books, but the pride has got to go.

Arthur Sido said...

I own Owen's "The Death of Death in the Death of Christ" and have never made it past Packer's intro (which is excellent by the way). I also have Francis Turretin's three volume Institutes of Elenctic Theology and can't understand a word of what he is saying but boy do they look good on my bookshelf! I have to admit that in the last couple of years I have learned a whole lot more from "non-Reformed" authors than the Reformed ones. That doesn't mean I find Reformed authors unprofitable to read but I do find that just reading the same authors who endorse each others books actually hampers our maturity in Christ.

Eric said...


I agree about the reading people who we agree with and who all agree with each other. The Reformed camp really can close ranks very quickly. I'm thrilled about God's sovereignty, but this doesn't mean we can't learn from others - especially people who write in a language we can understand. I have Owen's "Death of Death" book, too. It's bright yellow and really eye-catching. Too bad I have no idea what he's saying (other than guessing from the title). I'll have to go back and read Packer's intro. - thanks for the tip.

Aussie John said...


I agree with Arthur regarding Packer's intro. in "the Death of Death....".

The book is worth buying just for the introduction!

Eric said...


I'm going to read it tonight. Thanks.

Brian said...

Eric, I'm not reformed but I do appreciate the post - we all need to swallow the humble pill now and again. I appreciate too that emphasis on helping the poor, needy and oppressed - getting all high and lofty about theology won't really help those who need it most will it? Well, I hope you are doing well. Blessings.

ps, there is this new book out recently called "the drama of ephesians" and i think you'd really enjoy it. :-) (it is not think and heavy either).

Eric said...


Thanks. Humility really is a core characteristic of followers of Christ. Sadly, we tend to get arrogant about out own doctrine. Doctrine certainly is important, but our doctrine needs to be more than just what we believe about the Trinity. Those beliefs need to work themselves out in how we care for others. God bless.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the post. Got me laughing in agreement.ex

Eric said...


We Reformed folks need to watch out. Pride is such a nasty thing.

I'm glad you laughed. That makes writing the post worth it.