Tuesday, 29 April 2014

My journey to the Reformed Faith ("The kingdom of heaven is like leaven ...")

The Lord Jesus Christ taught a parable. “The kingdom of heaven is like leaven that a woman took and hid in three measures of flour, till it was all leavened” (Matthew 13:33).

Once the five points of Calvinism were set in place in my heart and mind, along with an exposure to the panorama of biblical doctrines, then the truths of God began to work through every area of my thinking. This is where the fun starts, though it is painful as well. Your view of marriage, the church, worship, preaching, the connection between the church and state, the authority and sufficiency of Scripture, the doctrines of justification and so much more begin to impact every area of your thinking.

Many opinions that I thought were right would become challenged and then my response was to carefully search the Scriptures and also church history to determine whether these things were so. 1 John 4:1 "Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God" and 1 Thessalonians 5:21 "But test everything; hold fast what is good" had been guiding principles for some years. One of the main things that I began to discover was this; Holding to the five points of Calvinism is not enough to claim to be reformed. The Scripture needs to reform our view of everything, we need to submit to the Lord in order to be conformed to the doctrine of God (Romans 12:1-2) and then this has to become a living reality through one's whole life. We are not to become fossilised in our reformed understanding, neither are we to be shifting our opinions constantly once we have arrived at settled biblical conclusions.

Here is my last comment on this blog. Three things are required for those who are on a reformed pilgrimage and who are currently discovering reformed doctrines.

1). Teachability. In Matthew 28:18-20 Jesus said "make disciples ... teach". To be a disciple requires personal teachability. Are you teachable?
2). Humility is needed. It is humbling having to recognise that you have held ideas that are wrong or defective. Humility is required by all Christians through our lives. 1 Peter 5:5 "God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble".
3). Patience. Once you discover many exciting truths, it can mean that you want to know everything all at once. However, spiritual growth takes time and people need to realise that putting these things into practice is not simply about reading books. Reading reformed books can be an easy form of Christianity or even a retreat for some from the "rough and tumble" of church life and the great commission.

Isaiah 61:3 "That they shall be called oaks of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that he may be glorified". Oaks only grow by one ring per year, but each year they grow, therefore be patient to put into practice what you may be learning.

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