Sunday, September 15, 2013

No Longer Reformed, But I Still Love the Five Solas

A decade ago, after about a year in seminary, I became one of those newly-turned-Reformed guys that you just don't want to be around. As the saying goes, I should have been locked up in a cage for a year or so. I wanted everyone to embrace my new understanding of predestination and thought everyone should. I knew I was right and was certain of it (Steve Scott just wrote an interesting post about this entitled The Neo-Calvinist Certitude).

For a while there I even considered myself to be part of the Young, Restless, and Reformed Movement.

A few years back I realized that it was all a bunch of ridiculousness. More specifically, it's an example of what occurs within Christianity when a sub-group overemphasizes one aspect of faith and/or practice. In this case the overemphasis is on God's sovereignty. If we actually let the scriptures speak, we see that while God is sovereign over salvation, man has a real, actual responsibility to repent and believe. How do these two truths fit together? I'm not sure. God is the one who knows, and that is good enough for me.

Regarding the term "Reformed," I rejected it a few years ago. I'm done with all labels other than "Christian" or "Christ follower." "Brother" is my favorite.

One of the things that is commonly associated with the Reformed is the Five Solas of the Reformation. I still love these truths, along with the Doctrines of Grace. Therefore, while I reject the notion of being part of some sort of Reformed group within Christianity, I cherish many of the same beliefs about salvation.

The biggest issue that forces me to reject the term "Reformed" is the typical Reformed view of the church. Ironically, the Reformed view of church falls far short of Sola Scriptura. In fact, while the Reformation view of salvation broke far away from that of Rome, the Reformed view of the church itself didn't move all that much. For example, a typical Protestant worship service isn't all that different in form from a Roman Catholic Mass. The only key difference is that the Eucharist was replaced by the sermon.

On my blog I have a page entitled Five Solas. I'm keeping that because they describe much of what I believe. However, I'm no longer Reformed and never will be again. Like many of you, God has revealed to me something far greater that his church can be. I don't want to be constrained by man-created definitions. Rather, I just want to follow the Holy Spirit as he leads us to be the body of Christ as revealed in the pages of the New Testament.