Saturday, October 24, 2009

Truly Reformed

I came to know of the doctrines of grace around 2005, and became convinced in heart and mind that the T.U.L.I.P., collectively, is what Scripture explicitly teaches. I devoured books and articles penned by what I thought then were "Reformed" and "Calvinist" authors. I learned a lot from them and I'm thankful for their witness. So I considered myself Reformed and a Calvinist, and in my mind being a 5-pointer was all it took for me to be able to claim the labels.

However, just this year, a brother by the name of Joel De Leon, who is studying to be a Presbyterian pastor in the U.S., came into contact with me through Facebook. We struck up a rapport and he, in utter generosity, sent me books and the "Amazing Grace" DVD. One of the books was "This World is Not My Home" by Michael Williams, a study on Dispensationalism. I haven't read the book in its entirety but, through the few chapters that I have indeed read, I began realizing many things about my theological worldview in that they had quite a few holes. This started the ball rolling. Things came to a head last month or so when I began listening to and reading some of Michael Horton's stuff. I began to see the richness, robustness, and cogency of the Reformed faith and what it means to be "Truly Reformed". I also got into articles by other "Truly Reformed" scholars and the case was made that being soteriologically-Reformed does not make one "Truly Reformed".

Fully persuaded that I was of the beauty and faithfulness to Scripture of the Reformed faith, I then desired to be "Truly Reformed". I purchased Michael Horton's "Introducing Covenant Theology" from a local Christian bookstore, ordered R.S. Clark's "Recovering the Reformed Confession" and the Beveridge May 2009 edition of Calvin's "Institutes" from Amazon, and still continued to download online articles. Through the agency of Joel, I came into contact with Ptr. Nollie Malabuyo, a local pastor who shepherds a "Truly Reformed" church, and I sent him a polite Facebook message asking if I could perhaps join them (Ptr. Nollie is Westminster Theological Seminary-trained). I was overjoyed when he gave me the warmest approval.

In all this, I see God's leading hand. The Reformed faith's objectivity, grounding in history, and scholarship are the impetuses to my loving God with all my mind; its Christo-centric humility, devotion, and gratitude the foundation of my godly affection.

Thank you, my Lord, for Your grace has been, is now, and will forever be AMAZING!


  1. It is always encouraging to read of the journey the Lord takes His people on, especially as He expands their understanding of Reformed theology beyond the "five points." Praise God for His mercy and grace, and for your willingness to submit to the Scripures teaching.

  2. Bro, if your system is called "Truly Reformed", and you use it in contrast with Dispensationalism, does that mean that a Dispensationalist like me is Falsely Reformed?

  3. @kuyamanny: I don't think "Falsely Reformed" would be the correct phrase.

    You must acknowledge that the term "Reformed" has an historic definition. Dispensationalism, aside from not being in existence at the time of the Reformation, does not align with the teachings of the Reformed confessions. Therefore, a person cannot be Dispensational and Reformed. However, one can label themselves a Dispensationalist who believes God is sovereign in salvation. Though, God's sovereignty in salvation does not equal "Reformed."

  4. This comment has been removed by the author.

  5. Hi Sir!
    Will this distinction affect the status of the Dispensationalists in the League of Bloggers (LCB)?

  6. @kuyamanny: Firstly, the LCB is no longer operational, and secondly, the only requirement for the LCB was adherence to the "five points." That was because it was the League of Bloggers and not the League of Reformed Bloggers.

  7. Thanks again for the response Sir.

    It seems clear to me now that in your view, a person can be a Calvinist without being Reformed. No further questions brethren. May God bless us all.

  8. Hi, Manny,

    Thanks for checking up on my blog.

    I believe it would still be a misnomer to call someone a "Calvinist" if he or she is not "Truly Reformed", since Calvin's system engenders many things that someone who merely subscribes to T.U.L.I.P. may not find appealing, eg., paedobaptism, etc.

    But one can be soteriologically-Calvinist or soteriologically-Reformed, I believe.

  9. The Lord has taken me far from where I started. From dead to alive, from hate to love, from foolishness to wisdom, from man-centered to Christ-centered... theologically, from man-initiated salvation and dispensationalism and alot of bits and pieces mixed in from experiences along the way... I am finding rest in the doctrines of grace and what some refer to as Calvinism. So far TULIP is still a flower to me ;), but I do look at these points and find heart and mind in agreement.
    Still... I know there are many things I've not considered yet. I've been wanting to take some closer looks at reformed theology... convenant theology, but it seems overwhelming.
    Brother, your comments have called me out to ask more about your walk of faith and how or why you find yourself where you currently are.
    Since that is probably a 6 hour conversation, I will simply keep looking and listening here for clues.
    Thanks for blogging.

  10. Hi, Tim,

    Perhaps the phrase, Semper Reformanda, best encapsulates the spirit behind the evolution.

    It's a move toward integrity in both mind and heart, and I believe it to be of the Lord's doing.

    Soli Deo Gloria.

    Peace be with you, brother.

  11. Underdog, one can hold to reformed theology without having to hold to paedobaptism. See the LBCF 1689 (thoroughly reformed, and biblically credobaptist :) ).

    Calvin, btw, did NOT define what it was to be reformed. I'd say that if you are able to honestly confess one of the historic Reformed Confessions (for example, WCF, or the LBCF, etc.) then you can claim the title of reformed. This automatically will rule out dispensationalists (unless they really don't know WHY they're dispensational and are drifting already into covenant theology).

  12. You are dispensationally illiterate if you haven't read EDWARD IRVING IS UNNERVING on search engines such as Google! He should be given the title of "father of dispensationalism" instead of John Nelson Darby! Andrew

  13. Sir Brass,

    The reason why we say that "Reformed Baptist" is a misnomer is because all the first Protestant Reformers were paedobaptists. Unless you want to be identified with the radical Anabaptists. And I would argue that Luther, Calvin, Knox, Zwingli, etc., defined what it was to be Reformed.

  14. I guess my only comment on this part of your journey (apart from giving praise to God that he has brought you to see his glory has greater implications than merely one view of salvation) is to remind us all that we are all on a journey. The dispensationally Reformed (those who make too great a distinction between the forms of the covenant) and the so-called Truly Reformed are all still growing in their understanding of the glory of God.

    Why should we expect that every one of us will have agree on all points of doctrine before we can use the term Reformed. The very least it means is adherence to the five points of Dort and (as Paul says) if anyone disagrees the holy Spirit will teach him.


Related Posts with Thumbnails