What is Reformed Theology?

by Mike Ratliff

My good friend Stuart said recently on Facebook when asked if he was Reformed, “Calvinist, not Reformed.” I put a big like on his response. However, there is a great deal of things that those of us who are Baptists, but also Calvinists, have in common with our Reformed brethren. Stuart has asked me to write a commentary on Paul’s Epistle to the Colossians. I agreed to do that if he would handle the “book” part. However, I will be 70 years old in a couple of weeks and as Dr. James White said the other day on Twitter, “Age must have something to do with my stamina on writing. I am getting so tired when I have to write a lot, but it has to be done…” I started developing the chapter layout and text of my commentary last week and found out, like Dr. James White, that I’m not as young as I was back in 2004-2009 when I could put out long complex posts on a nightly basis and never seemed to tire. However, I am also approaching this project carefully and doing a lot of documentation and cross-referencing while I write everything based on solid exegesis. Now, with that being said, writing at that level also precludes me from working as much as I would like on posts here. That does not mean I won’t, it just means I will have to find a way to balance things. Please pray for me on this. After church today I worked on the manuscript for most of the day and I am just too tired to do any more research for a new post. So, I would like to post a link to a series of articles by R.C. Sproul about Reformed Theology. I read these way back around 2005-2006 and this moved me into an understanding of what Calvinism is and what it was not.

From this I purchased and read Sproul’s books The Holiness of God and Chosen by God which I still have in my library. I highly recommend them. Here is the link to the Lecture Series by R.C. Sproul 

Soli Deo Gloria!

5 thoughts on “What is Reformed Theology?

  1. I understand how that goes. I started writing a book about church history in the dark ages a while back and simply can’t get my mind around all the books I’ve read so far.


  2. Right before I started working on the manuscript I agreed to read Dr. Alan Kurschner’s Doctoral Thesis. He sent it to me and I finished reading it last night so I have been working on the manuscript, working (I still have a job), working on my blog, and reading Alan’s Thesis and I am ready to simplify my time now. Reading that was awesome, but now it’s time to work on the manuscript.

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  3. Having gone to a southern baptist church for 40 years I simply accepted what I was taught about soteriology. It was the usual invite Jesus into your heart variety. When I started reading scripture I saw it did not comport with what I was being taught. I was especially confronted with the monergistic teaching of Jesus in the Gospel of John, about no one coming to Christ unless the father draws him and especially his high priestly prayer saying he does not pray for the world, but only for the ones the Father had given him. I don’t know if that puts me in either camp of the reformed/calvinist, as I am a literalist and seem to think that the dispensationalist approach to the over all reading of Scripture seems the best way to understand the Bible. I only want a honest search for the Gospel in the Bible, without emotionalism. In Sunday school we can’t seem to talk about election or who is the elector without people feeling threatened about their beliefs. The labels of camps are too broad for me to feel at home in any of them.

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  4. Yeah, I know exactly what you mean. One of our elders told some people in our Small Group that I was a 5 Point Calvinist, but then when I teach they always listen even though they ‘don’t get’ that what I am teaching them is what you shared from John 6 plus our Lord’s High Priestly Prayer. They hear the truth and they recognize that what I am teaching is Biblical, but they cling to their SBC way of understanding the Gospel. I am nearly 70 years old and I have learned to simply speak the truth, but not try to force things on people if not asked. However, I do not hesitate to speak the truth from the Word because it rules, not their feelings. Arguing about it is a waste of time. Debating is one thing, but arguing I try to avoid.

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  5. Came across this post in reader and it made me think of the many people I know that others would call “Reformed” and all the differences among those people. Labels might categorize ideas sometimes, but they’re never inclusive enough for the people others try to fit in them.

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