Friday 7 March 2014

My Journey to the Reformed Faith (a commitment to holy Scripture)

Over the years, when I talk to people who have come to an understanding of reformed doctrines, they often share similar traits in their pilgrimage to my own. I want to outline certain key junctures in my own pilgrimage to the reformed faith and make certain book recommendations along the way.

Since conversion, I have been committed to the Bible. The church I was converted in was not reformed but it was committed to preaching and to preaching out of the Scriptures. I assumed that such an approach was common in every church, but sadly over the years I have grown disappointed with a lack of attention to these two things. These two things are an attention to firstly preaching and secondly preaching that is "out of the Scriptures". As a young Christian nothing else really satisfied me other than further explanations of God out of the Bible. This step is perhaps fundamental to any person interested in or moving in a reformed direction or indeed in simply growing in the Lord.

Reformed Christianity is not some special branch of the church, but its desire, if it is true to itself, is to restore a biblical and apostolic pattern for the church's doctrine, worship and church government. I often think of the parable of the yeast that our Lord taught in connection to my own journey. Jesus said: "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 leaven of biblical doctrine gets worked into a part of your life, it begins to work and change one's whole life.

Three questions have guided and continue to guide my own reformed pilgrimage. These are "what does the Scripture say" (Romans 4:3) and “What is written in the Law? How do you read it?” (Luke 10:26). These last two questions are from the parable of the Good Samaritan and they guide our interpretation of matters in life and the church, to ensure that our primary source for answers is guided by the message of the Bible. Furthermore, they ensure that our understanding of the doctrines of the Scriptures are correct. One scripture that has guided me constantly for over 20 years is 2 Timothy 3:16-17 "All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, 17 that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work".

So, the first step in my own reformed pilgrimage has been a "dogged" determination to be driven constantly back to Scripture. Many times my understanding of it was wrong, but at least the source of my knowledge was placed in the right place. How about you? Do you hunger and thirst for righteousness? Do you submit to the teaching of holy Scripture, even though your opinions may have to change? And lastly, are you teachable? I intend to continue this blog series on many different steps in my own journey and I hope that it will help you.

For further reading I recommend Psalm 119 and 2 Timothy.

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