Summary: What is Reformed Theology and why is it important?
Title: Reformed Theology Basics
Text: 2 Timothy 3:16-17
Q1. Why Study Reformed Theology
(1) It has an historical significance
One of the things we are often remiss in doing in the church is studying our history.
We tend to see things in the lens of our personal experience, rather than seeing how the things that we do and believe often have foundations that go back hundreds of years in history.
Illustration: "Peanuts" Charles Shultz, writer of the Peanuts cartoons, once made a telling observation in his strip. The character Lucy made the announcement that she was going to write a paper on church history. She began, "My preacher was born in 1942..."
Reformed Theology is an examination of the biblical teachings that were brought to the forefront during the Protestant Reformation.
Men like Martin Luther, John Huss, and John Wycliffe, all who were committed to the truth of the bible, stood against the false teachings of Rome, and sparked the movement that would permanently change the face of Christianity around the world.
Thus, we study these teachings because they give us a glimpse of our Protestant history and heritage.
(1) It has an historical significance
(2) It has a personal significance
This is a subject that is personally very close to my heart as a pastor.
First, because I believe it presents the most biblically and logically sound understanding of God.
It seeks to look at the entirety of Scripture, and not pick and choose certain portions, to arrive at a proper understanding of who God truly is.
Second, because it is the worldview that I hold to and teach from.
I believe that Reformed Theology is just another way of saying Biblical Theology, and I have been teaching from this perspective ever since I entered the pulpit as the pastor of this church.
Third, because I find that people tend to reject Reformed Theology primarily because of ignorance and/or allegiance to tradition.
I want to tell you, if you have never studied Reformed Theology before, it will certainly present you with ideas that will challenge your preconceived ideas about God and man.
Q2. What is Reformed Theology?
As I stated already, the designation Reformed Theology indicates that this is the faith that was fought for during the Protestant Reformation.
These are the doctrines that the church of Rome had suppressed, and rejected, yet were clearly biblical.
Something that we need to realize from the outset is that when we talk about Reformed Theology, we are talking about a theology, and NOT a religion.
But what's is difference?
Theology = the study of God (theocentric)
Religion = the expression of human behavior (anthropocentric)
Theology is strictly about who and what God is.
Religion is focused on how people behave - prayers, singing, sacrifice, worship - all expressions of human behavior.
NOTE: Many people are religious, yet they are void of a sound theology.
Muslims are some of the most religious people in the world, yet their expressions are based on a faulty understanding of God. Mormons are some of the most zealous in regards to their desire to proselytize new members to their movement, but their theology is askew.
All humans are inescapably religious - even atheists are often very religious about their atheism, joining clubs and groups to promote their disbelief.
Humans are designated as "homo religiosis" which means a religious being.
Yet, apart from a sound theology, our religious expressions are an abomination to God.
Some people say, "it doesn't matter what someone believes, as long as they are sincere."
But the bible does not teach this.
The bible teaches that what we believe has far and reaching implications.
Consider the situation following the Exodus. Moses had gone to receive the Law of God on Mt. Sinai.
While gone, the people begin to express their desire for an idol to worship. This was an expression of religion devoid of proper theology.
And what happened as the result?
READ: Exodus 32:1-10
For anyone to say that what we believe doesn't matter to God, they have to ignore the clear biblical testimony of passages like these.
God was willing to destroy the people because their religious expression was based on a false theology.
To say God doesn't care about what we believe, as long as we are sincere, means we have to ignore stories like those of Nadab and Abihu, who God killed before the temple, because they chose to worship in a way that God did not prescribe (Leviticus10).
Genuine and true worship of God requires right understanding of who He is and what He requires.
Proper theology is the foundation of this.
Without a proper biblical theology, we are worshipping a false understanding of God...essentially, we are bowing down to a golden calf.
Q3. What are the Foundations of Reformed Theology?