The polity of the FPC includes allowing a cleric such as Paisley to hold an apparently indefinite term of office as Moderator. However, following a dispute over Paisley’s political activities, he agreed to step down as Moderator in January 2008. He was succeeded by Ron Johnstone. The North American branch of the denomination has elected its own moderator since 2005.The departing elders felt the Presbyterian Church in Ireland denomination was inconsistent in allowing dances and parties to be held in the church halls while at the same time refusing a Gospel mission under the leadership of Ian Paisley. The Free Presbyterian Manifesto, which was published during the time leading up to the founding of the new church, also mentioned other reasons for the secession, such as the failure of the 1927 heresy trial in the Presbyterian Church in Ireland (PCI) to unseat Professor Davey for his controversial views, membership in the World Council of Churches (which the PCI later left), and poll irregularities in the election of elders. In that year, under the leadership of Paisley, four new congregations joined to form the Presbytery of the Free Presbyterian Church of Ulster.
Is R.C. Sproul a Presbyterian?
He was ordained as an elder in the United Presbyterian Church in the USA in 1965, but left that denomination around 1975 and joined the Presbyterian Church in America.
Free Presbyterian Churches are usually of simple design, following Protestant ideals dating back to the Reformation. This contrasts with traditional Roman Catholic and Anglican Churches, which tend to be ornamented. The church states that this shows humility and allows the member to focus on worship.
The appointment of Paisley as First Minister of Northern Ireland in May 2007 led to a great deal of controversy within the Free Presbyterian Church. Many members of the church claimed that such an appointment put Paisley, as Moderator, at odds with many of the core beliefs of his church. The church had declared some years previously that it would be unbiblical to have terrorists or ex-terrorists in the government of Northern Ireland. The church is also strongly opposed to homosexuality, yet the First Minister’s office is responsible for protecting LGBT rights in Northern Ireland. One of Paisley’s strongest critics was his erstwhile ally and former prison cellmate Ivan Foster. A stormy meeting of the Presbytery of the church in September 2007 resolved the crisis by agreeing that Paisley would step down as Moderator in January 2008. The Presbytery met in Dungannon on 18 January 2008 to elect a new Moderator and selected Ron Johnstone, who had been Deputy Moderator. Paisley was therefore replaced as Moderator after more than 50 years in the post.The Free Presbyterian Church of Ulster (Irish: Eaglais Phreispitéireach Saor Uladh) is a Calvinist denomination founded by Ian Paisley in 1951. Doctrinally, the church describes itself as fundamentalist, evangelical, and separatist, and is part of the reformed fundamentalist movement. Most of its members live in Northern Ireland, where the church is headquartered, and in County Donegal. The church has additional congregations in the Republic of Ireland, Great Britain and Australia, and a sister denomination in North America, the Free Presbyterian Church of North America, which has congregations in Canada and the United States. It also has a sister denomination in Nepal which was formed from the Nepal mission to the Unreached in November 2013.
Is Reformed theology the same as Calvinist?
Calvinism, also sometimes called the Reformed tradition, Reformed Protestantism, Reformed Christianity, or simply Reformed, is a major branch of Protestantism that follows the Christian theological tradition and forms of Christian practice set down by John Calvin and other Reformation-era theologians.
Glynn Moore and Sharon Dick, The History of Crossgar Free Presbyterian Church of Ulster, A New Beginning ..(Crossgar, Co. Down: Crossgar Free Presbyterian Church of Ulster, 2001) ISBN 1-84030-116-3
From four churches in 1951, the denomination grew and peaked at 75 by 1997. Today it has about 60 congregations in Northern Ireland and a total of about 100 throughout the world, including England, Scotland, the Republic of Ireland (chiefly in County Donegal and County Monaghan), Canada, the United States, Nepal and Australia. According to the 2011 Northern Ireland census, 10,068 people identified as Free Presbyterian in Northern Ireland. As of 2004, missionaries were serving in India, Jamaica, Kenya, the Republic of Ireland, Spain, the Philippines and Germany. Since then new mission fields opened in Liberia, Nepal and Uganda.
The church currently operates two Bible colleges for the training of ministers and missionaries. These are the Whitefield College of the Bible, formerly based in Banbridge, County Down, but now relocated to Belfast, and the Geneva Reformed Seminary in Greenville, South Carolina, USA.
The church in North America has been independent of the Ulster Presbytery since 2005, and has its own Moderator. Frank McClelland was the first Moderator, and was succeeded in 2006 by David Mook (a minister in Phoenix, Arizona). The two Presbyteries are in full communion with each other. A Free Presbyterian International Congress was held 19–23 June 2006 in Martyrs Memorial Free Presbyterian Church in Belfast, attended by Free Presbyterians from all over the world. The Nepal Free Presbyterian Church elects its own Moderator, currently the Paul Thapa. This Presbytery is also in full communion with the other two.In Kenya, the church’s 4 missionaries work with the Bible Christian Faith Church. In Liberia the forming Free Presbyterian Church in Liberia has 4 congregations.
For many outside the church, political and religious opposition to the Catholic Church, considered by the Free Presbyterians to be a Protestant Reformation principle represents the single most distinctive characteristic of this denomination, not least because this was a distinctive characteristic of Ian Paisley’s own theological outlook.
The Free Presbyterian Church of Ulster began on 17 March 1951 (St Patrick’s Day) as the result of a conflict between some members of the local Lissara Presbyterian congregation in Crossgar, County Down, Northern Ireland, and the Down Presbytery of the Presbyterian Church in Ireland. At a meeting on 8 January 1951, the Down Presbytery banned the elders of the local congregation from using the church hall for a Gospel mission. When two elders refused to accept the Presbytery decision, they were immediately suspended. As a result of this disagreement with the Presbytery, five of the seven session members, all the Sunday School teachers, and 60 members of the congregation withdrew from the Down Presbytery and the Presbyterian Church in Ireland.Sydney Lince served as Moderator of the new church for a few months, but perceiving that Paisley was keen to take on the role, he stood down and asked Paisley to replace him. One of the inaugural elders of the new church, George Gibson, was expelled for his views on the doctrines of holiness as he was an Arminian, and subsequently rejoined Lissara Presbyterian Church in 1958. He had been the first secretary of the new church, had served as the architect of the first church building in the new denomination, and his office had been used as the registered office of the denomination. The motto of the Free Presbyterian Church is the same as the Presbyterian Church in Ireland: Ardens sed virens (“burning but flourishing”). It is incorporated in a scroll form on the logo, shown here. Following a number of high-profile comments made by Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) Member of Parliament (MP) Iris Robinson, the Advertising Standards Authority upheld a finding that an advertisement placed by the Kirk Session of the Sandown Free Presbyterian Church breached advertising codes. The church had taken out the 540-word advertisement in the News Letter on 1 August 2008 (one day before the annual Belfast Gay Pride event) calling homosexuality “an abomination”; it “defined homosexuals as perverts and called on religious followers to maintain a very public stance against the gay community”. The decision was later overturned and the church cleared of all wrongdoing.John Armstrong was Deputy Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church, and became Moderator in 2020, with Colin Mercer from Omagh as Deputy Moderator; Armstrong succeeded Gordon Dane, minister of the founding church in Crossgar.
Are free Presbyterians calvinists?
The Free Presbyterian Church of Ulster (Irish: Eaglais Phreispitéireach Saor Uladh) is a Calvinist denomination founded by Ian Paisley in 1951.
Baptism and the Lord’s Supper are recognised as sacraments of the Free Presbyterian Church of Ulster. Members are allowed to determine the proper mode (immersion, pouring, sprinkling) and subjects (adult believers or believers’ children) that they prefer, but the church does not adhere to baptismal regeneration. The Lord’s Supper is observed monthly, unless a local congregation prefers a more frequent observance. The ordinance of woman’s headcovering is observed. Alongside the Free Presbyterian Articles of Faith, the Westminster Standards are considered doctrinal standards subordinate to the Bible.The church adheres to Calvinist doctrines. It also self-describes as fundamentalist which it sees as an appropriate term to describe its stance of being anti-liberal. Fundamentalism has evolved over the years to where the original five essential doctrines that one had to hold to be considered fundamentalist—namely: the inerrancy of the Bible, the literal nature of the Biblical accounts, the Virgin Birth of Christ, the bodily resurrection and physical return of Christ, the substitutionary atonement of Christ on the cross—were mixed with “biblical separatism”, a doctrine that advocates avoiding any public or private worship with people of other denominations that it considers apostates or heretics. At the start of Paisley’s ministry this separatism was focused heavily on the Presbyterian Church in Ireland, a denomination from which it drew many of its initial members. For the FPC, the main target of its doctrinal ire, however, has always been and still continues to be the Roman Catholic Church. From 2011 until 2015, its main website greeted visitors with a statement on the FPC’s disapproval of the Catholic Mass, disputing “the false notion… that there is little difference” between the Mass and Protestant communion.College lecturers of the Presbyterian Church in Ireland have suggested that the above story, though often quoted, is incomplete. While the Gospel Mission was a reason for the breakaway church forming, the Presbytery objection was not to the Mission or to the Gospel, but to the invited preacher, Ian Paisley. The Lissara Mission went ahead with a different preacher and Lissara Presbyterian Church continued to exist (albeit with fewer members), and a number of dissenting members later returned. However Free Presbyterians from Crossgar dispute that there ever was such a mission.
On March 27, 2019, Sproul announced, “I am a member in good standing at Pine Hills Church here in Fort Wayne. It is a part of the Federation of Evangelical Churches.” The FEC is an Anabaptist denomination of Amish Mennonite origin.
In August 2015, Sproul wrote in his personal blog that he had briefly visited the Ashley Madison website in 2014. As a result, Ligonier Ministries suspended him until July 2016. Sproul had addressed the recently announced Ashley Madison data breach in a July 22, 2015, blog entry that highlighted “the biblical truth that our sins will find us out”, but without the acknowledgment made in August.
In 1989 Sproul began working for Ligonier Ministries in Orlando, Florida. In 1996 he moved to Meadowview, Virginia where he founded Highlands Study Center (later renamed Highlands Ministries). Sproul served as executive editor of Every Thought Captive, a monthly magazine published by Highlands Ministries. Sproul planted Saint Peter Presbyterian Church in Bristol, Virginia in 1996 serving as senior pastor until 2001, then as Associate Pastor of Education until 2010. From 2009 to 2010, he worked as a teacher for Veritas Press, which specializes in Christian educational texts.
Sproul has written twelve books, including When You Rise Up: A Covenantal Approach to Homeschooling, Bound for Glory, Biblical Economics, Almighty Over All, Eternity in Our Hearts, and Tearing Down Strongholds. He has edited four books, including After Darkness Light: Distinctives of Reformed Theology, and contributed to several others. He was a regular columnist for World magazine, Homeschooling Today magazine and the Covenant Syndicate. For eleven years he was the editor of Tabletalk magazine, a publication of Ligonier Ministries.
Early 2019 Sproul briefly worked as website manager for Bucs Dugout, SB Nation’s community for Pittsburgh Pirates fans. His contract was terminated the morning after Deadspin’s piece criticizing the hire. Later that year he became ordained through Logos Ministries and formed Dunamis Fellowship (details under Church allegiances).In 2010, Sproul was appointed a Teaching Fellow and Associate Professor of theology, philosophy, and apologetics at Ligonier Academy in both the Bible college and D.Min. programs. In 2014 he was named Rector at Reformation Bible College as well as the Chair of the Department of Theology and Philosophy.
On December 9, 2016, days after his arrest, the board of directors of Ligonier Ministries and Reformation Bible College received and affirmed Sproul’s resignation request. Ligonier Ministries posted a statement on their website on December 12, 2016, saying that Sproul resigned “for personal reasons”.
What books does R.C. Sproul recommend?
The Five R.C. Sproul Books That Had the Biggest Impact on MeChosen by God. Chosen by God is Dr. … What is Reformed Theology? I remember the first time I read What is Reformed Theology? … Faith Alone. … Scripture Alone. … What We Believe.
Sproul was first ordained in the Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church (ARP). After a failed attempt to transfer to the Presbyterian Church in America, he was ordained in the Reformed Presbyterian Church General Assembly (RPCGA) in 2000.In Almighty Over All Sproul takes the position that God created man to have an object worthy of his wrath: “God is as delighted with his wrath as he is with all of his attributes… What I’ll do is create something worthy of my wrath, something on which I can exhibit the glory of my wrath” (p. 52). Sproul goes on to state that God is the author/creator of sin: “I am not accusing God of sinning; I am suggesting that He created sin” (p. 54).
Sproul has been married twice. Sproul’s first wife, Denise Elizabeth Sproul (née Rocklein), died in 2011, age 46, of cancer. They have seven surviving children, a disabled daughter died in 2012.
In January 2006, Sproul and the Session of Saint Peter Presbyterian Church (SPPC), its governing body, were deposed from office by the RPCGA under charges including “abuse of authority in an inexcusable manner” against several families, alleged illegal use of the ARP’s tax identification number, planting a church without authority, and practicing infant communion. The SPPC Session issued a letter of apology and asked to be released from general membership in the RPCGA, and the denomination granted their request. SPPC requested pastoral oversight from the CREC, which accepted the congregation as a full member in October 2007. The Confederation of Reformed Evangelical Churches (CREC) examined the case and accepted Sproul as an ordained minister in good standing in 2006. In 2010 Sproul transferred his ordination to the denomination Covenant Presbyterian Church (CPC).
July 2, 2019, Sproul became ordained through Logos Ministries of Florida and formed the business entity Dunamis Fellowship. February 14, 2021, Sproul planted his newest church, Sovereign Grace Fellowship in Fort Wayne, Indiana. Sproul announced April 3, 2021, he would launch the Shepherd’s College, August 30, 2021, as a pastors college for training and mentoring men nationally and internationally.
On November 29, 2016, ten days after his ecclesiastical wedding ceremony, Sproul was arrested in Fort Wayne, Indiana, for drunken driving with two of his minor children in the car. He posted a $5,000 bond and was free under a “monitored conditional release.” On June 2, 2017, Sproul filed a plea agreement in which he pled guilty to one felony count, 9-30-5-3(a)(2)/F6: Operating Veh. While Intox or Controlled Substance: Passenger Under 18. He was sentenced to a prison term of 1 year 183 days. Under the terms of the plea agreement his prison sentence was suspended and he was remanded to 1 year supervised probation.
Robert Craig Sproul, better known as R.C. Sproul Jr., (born July 1, 1965) is an American Calvinist writer, theologian, and pastor, and the son of R. C. Sproul.
On October 14, 2016, Sproul married Lisa Carol Ringel (née Porter) in a civil ceremony. On November 19, 2016, his father R.C. Sproul Sr. officiated the church wedding ceremony. Lisa, a thrice divorced nutritionist, legally adopted the four youngest Sproul children on July 12, 2018. Combined they have twelve surviving children, eleven grandchildren and currently reside in Indiana.Sproul holds degrees from Grove City College (Bachelor of Arts in Philosophy and Literature, 1986) and Reformed Theological Seminary (Master of Arts in Theological Studies, 1991) and received his D.Min. in theology from Whitefield Theological Seminary (2001).
Some of Sproul’s best-known books are The Holiness of God, Essential Truths of the Christian Faith, and What Is Reformed Theology? He is also well known for Chosen by God, a book about predestination and the sovereignty of God. His book Not a Chance: The Myth of Chance in Modern Science and Cosmology was highly praised by those who reject the materialism advocated by some in the scientific community.
In 2003, a Festschrift was published in his honor. After Darkness, Light: Essays in Honor of R. C. Sproul (ISBN 0875527043) included contributions from Robert Godfrey, Sinclair Ferguson, O. Palmer Robertson, Michael Horton, Douglas Wilson, John F. MacArthur, and Jay E. Adams.Ligonier Ministries hosts several theological conferences each year, including the main conference in Orlando, FL, at which Sproul was one of the primary speakers. Sproul served as co-pastor at Saint Andrew’s Chapel, a congregation in Sanford, Florida. He was ordained as an elder in the United Presbyterian Church in the USA in 1965, but left that denomination around 1975 and joined the Presbyterian Church in America. He was also a Council member of the Alliance of Confessing Evangelicals. Robert Charles Sproul (/sproʊl/ SPROHL; February 13, 1939 – December 14, 2017) was an American Reformed theologian and ordained pastor in the Presbyterian Church in America. He was the founder and chairman of Ligonier Ministries (named for the Ligonier Valley just outside Pittsburgh, where the ministry started as a study center for college and seminary students) and could be heard daily on the Renewing Your Mind radio broadcast in the United States and internationally. Under Sproul’s direction, Ligonier Ministries produced the Ligonier Statement on Biblical Inerrancy, which would eventually grow into the 1978 Chicago Statement on Biblical Inerrancy. Along with Norman Geisler, Sproul was one of the chief architects of the statement. Sproul has been described as “the greatest and most influential proponent of the recovery of Reformed theology in the last century.” Sproul was an advocate of Calvinism in his many print, audio, and video publications, and advocated the Thomistic (classical) approaches to Christian apologetics, less common among Reformed apologists, most of whom prefer presuppositionalism. A dominant theme in his Renewing Your Mind lessons is the holiness and sovereignty of God. Sproul taught that headcovering should be practiced in churches as the ordinance is “rooted and grounded in creation”.
What Bible does John MacArthur recommend?
From decades of preaching and teaching, the NASB became the translation of choice for John MacArthur and many others who were trained by him. The LSB project was undertaken to preserve the legacy of the NASB for all coming generations, as the gold standard of literal, formal-equivalent translations.
Sproul was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, as the second child of Robert Cecil Sproul, an accountant and a veteran of World War II and his wife, Mayre Ann Sproul (née Yardis). Sproul was an avid supporter of the Pittsburgh Steelers and Pittsburgh Pirates as a youth, and at the age of 15, he had to drop out from high school athletics in order to support his family. He obtained degrees from Westminster College, Pennsylvania (BA, 1961), Pittsburgh Theological Seminary (MDiv, 1964), the Free University of Amsterdam (Drs., 1969), and Whitefield Theological Seminary (PhD, 2001). He taught at numerous colleges and seminaries, including Reformed Theological Seminary in Orlando and in Jackson, Mississippi, and Knox Theological Seminary in Ft. Lauderdale.
A longtime heavy cigarette smoker, Sproul had long suffered from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and was hospitalized on December 2, 2017, because of difficulty breathing, the result of an apparent infection, an “exacerbation of his emphysema due to the flu” (“not pneumonia”). After a twelve-day period of intermittent fever, and sedation and ventilator-assisted breathing, with effort given to restore his respiratory function, Sproul died on December 14, 2017 (at age 78). On April 18, 2015, Sproul suffered a stroke and was admitted to a hospital. Five days later, on April 23, Sproul went home from the hospital, suffering no ill effects. He was, however, diagnosed with a diabetic condition “that [would] be addressed through diet and regular medical attention.” One of Sproul’s mentors was John Gerstner, a professor of his at Pittsburgh-Xenia Theological Seminary. The two of them, along with another of Gerstner’s students, Arthur Lindsley, co-authored the book Classical Apologetics in 1984. Sproul’s ministry, Ligonier Ministries, made recordings of Gerstner teaching various courses on theology and the Bible.During my time at Reformed Theological Seminary in the mid-nineties, a group of Roman Catholics and evangelical theologians got together and published a document titled “Evangelicals and Catholics Together.” Many evangelicals shrugged their shoulders. Dr. Sproul did not. He recognized that this document undermined the doctrine of justification in subtle and not so subtle ways. Dr. Sproul had friends who signed this document and he urged them to reconsider and recant. His book Faith Alone was an attempt to respond to this document and warn evangelicals of the ways in which it undermined the gospel. What I learned from Dr. Sproul through this book and the events surrounding its publication is that there are times when we have to take a stand even if it means losing long-time friends. Dr. Sproul was willing to lose friends for the sake of the gospel. So must we.Chosen by God is Dr. Sproul’s classic introduction to the doctrines of predestination and election. For many of those introduced to Reformed theology by Dr. Sproul, these doctrines are enormous stumbling blocks. They certainly were for me. This book was an eye-opener because it forced me to come to grips with the fact that these doctrines are not man-made doctrines. They are found repeatedly in the Bible itself. I was forced to realize that if I rejected these doctrines I was rejecting the teaching of Scripture.
Dr. Sproul’s book What We Believe is a commentary on the Apostles’ Creed. This book was instrumental in sparking my interest in the theology of the early church. Because the Apostles’ Creed is included or explained in so many Reformed catechisms and confessions, it also helped me begin to see some of the continuity between the early church and the Reformation. This book is also characteristic of Dr. Sproul in that he did not get sidetracked by some of the louder debates over secondary and tertiary issues. He was focused on the essentials—the doctrine of God and the gospel. By the way, this book was Dr. Sproul’s first book, originally published in 1973 as The Symbol.
I remember the first time I read What is Reformed Theology? I was moving along at a good pace until I ran into a section titled “Reformed Theology Is Catholic.” I stopped and did a double-take. Was this a typo? How can you say Reformed theology is Catholic? Isn’t Catholicism diametrically opposed to everything Reformed theology stands for? Those were the kinds of questions that were racing through my mind. However, Dr. Sproul wasn’t claiming that Reformed theology is Roman Catholic. The point he was making is that the Reformers were not trying to create a new church from scratch. The Reformers were attempting to reform the existing church. There was much in the ancient and medieval church that they appropriated. There was, therefore, continuity between the church of the first centuries and the Reformation church. This book helped me begin to grasp that the church did not begin in the sixteenth century. There was a time not too many years ago when it was not as easy as it is today to find good books by Reformed authors. For much of the twentieth century, many of the older Reformed works remained untranslated and/or out of print, and the few newer books that were published were by (then) small and obscure publishing companies and not easy to get. One of the first popular Reformed authors was R.C. Sproul, and his writings and ministry did as much to spread Reformed theology in the United States as anyone else. Dr. Sproul’s books have had an incredible impact on tens of thousands, if not hundreds of thousands, of Christians. Many of his books have had a lasting impact on me. When I reflect on which books had the most lasting impact on me personally, five in particular stand out. One of Dr. Sproul’s greatest legacies is his involvement with the International Council on Biblical Inerrancy that produced the Chicago Statement on Biblical Inerrancy. When the doctrine of inerrancy was under attack, he helped organize the Council that would do much to reestablish the foundations of this important biblical teaching. Not only did they publish the Chicago Statement, the various theologians involved published multiple academic works defending inerrancy from nearly every conceivable objection. Dr. Sproul himself was asked to write the official commentary on the Chicago Statement. His commentary is a very helpful explanation of what the Council intended with each affirmation and denial. The book Scripture Alone contains several of Dr. Sproul’s more academic works on the doctrine of Scripture as well as his entire commentary on the Chicago Statement.The daily radio show on which R.C. Sproul spoke was titled, “Renewing the Mind.” It reminds one of the small booklet that John Stott wrote years ago titled, “Your Mind Matters.” Romans 12:1-2 speaks of being transformed “by the renewing of your minds.” The key to growth, sanctification, honoring God, knowing God’s will, and delighting in God is the mind.
Many evangelicals have drifted here. Read the faith statements of many Christian colleges, seminaries, or churches, and notice what you often do not see: a commitment to Biblical inerrancy. However, it is a crucial part of Warner’s faith statement, and held strongly by each member of our Ministry Department. Wesleyans often highlight tradition, reason, and experience, sometimes as a way of marginalizing scripture. Wesley himself said he was a “man of one Book.” Wesleyans can learn to listen to Sproul, and Wesley himself, on the inspiration of Scripture.
Warner University, and its Ministry Department, stands in the tradition of Wesleyan Christianity. Though that term can mean a wide variety of things to different people, two particular things stand out. Wesleyans believe in free grace available to all. There are not just a few predestined to eternal life. John Wesley himself emphasized this in his famous sermon on “Free Grace.” Christ died for all, and whoever believes can gain eternal life. A second thing Wesleyan Christianity stands for is holiness, namely that believers must purify themselves and grow in love. They are to “keep themselves in the love of God,” to quote Jude verse 21. In a lot of ways, such as the way predestination is understood, the way the death of Christ is understood, and the way perseverance is understood, Wesleyans are on a different page than Calvinists. In addition, most Wesleyans today affirm women in church leadership, while most reformed Calvinists do not.
Are all Presbyterians Calvinists?
The Puritans were Calvinist. Presbyterians descend from Scottish Calvinists. Many early Baptists were Calvinist. But
in the 19th century, Protestantism moved toward the non-Calvinist belief that humans must consent to their own salvation — an optimistic, quintessentially American belief.
In an era of very casual worship and faith practices, we have a lot to learn here. The old idea of the fear of God is actually found in both Old and New Testaments, as is the idea that people tremble before God. Especially noteworthy is the many places in the gospels where people are actually terrified in the presence of Jesus (such as Mark 4:35-41). We have often said that “God accepts you just the way you are.” No! It is terrifying to be in the presence of a holy God, and God purges our sins and transforms us, so that we too may pursue and experience holiness. Sproul’s signature teaching is crucial for Wesleyans to grasp today.
On December 14, 2017, just about an hour from the Warner University campus, one of the great preachers died. His name was R.C. Sproul, and he was a terrific theologian and Christian leader, with great influence upon thousands. After a conversion as a college freshman, and seminary in Pittsburgh, he studied in Amsterdam before returning to serve in a Presbyterian church. For years, he was the main voice at Ligonier Ministries, first located in Pennsylvania, and then later in Florida. In his late 50’s, he was called to pastor St. Andrews Chapel, just outside of Orlando, in Sanford, Florida. He continued to preach and write and teach broadly until his death last month.Sproul was an ardent defender not only of the inspiration of the Bible, but its inerrancy. He was an early member of the International Council on Biblical Inerrancy and defended it until his dying day. Inerrancy means that the Bible is true in all that it says, not just regarding faith, but also regarding history. It allows no errors in the God-breathed, God-inspired, God-given Bible. How can God inspire error? I once heard a sermon where R.C. Sproul was preaching on Matthew 5:17-20, where Jesus says that not one stroke or letter shall pass away. He spoke of many doubting verbal inspiration (the idea that the very words of the Bible are inspired). Then, he went on to say that for Jesus, it wasn’t just the words, but the very letters themselves that are inspired!
R.C. Sproul was a determined Calvinist, who saw himself as an heir of the great reformer John Calvin, and others in the reformed tradition such as B.B. Warfield and John Gerstner. He affirmed predestination, unconditional election of some and not others to eternal life as the source of salvation, and the idea of a limited atonement, that is, that Christ died only for the elect, rather than all people.
A signature teaching series of Sproul was a tape set which was later turned into a book on the holiness of God. I remember hearing those tapes in the very early 1980’s. Sproul turned especially to Isaiah 6, where the most righteous man in the land is terrified in the presence of the holy God. Holiness is not one attribute among many of God; it is the supreme attribute. The Bible never calls God love, love, love; or mercy, mercy, mercy; or grace, grace, grace. Yet, the Bible says God is “holy, holy, holy,” using the Hebrew literary form of repetition for emphasis. God’s holiness is his otherness, that God is apart and separate and above, and that sinful creatures do not deserve another breath in the presence of the great and holy God.It can be easily forgotten that Wesleyans and Calvinists share a great heritage, with small differences. One writer even called John Wesley, “an inconsistent Calvinist.” Whether or not that is true, all in the Wesleyan tradition have much to learn from the life and legacy of R.C. Sproul. We thank God for his life.
This is difficult in a society that is entertainment driven. Church services are often build around reaching the emotions, or the senses rather than the mind. R.C. Sproul, and the New Testament points us in a different direction: go deep in your thinking so you can go deep in your spiritual life. Christians must seek to grow mentally, and they must require their pastors and ministers to help them grow in their thinking. An emotional buzz may be pleasant, sort of like a sugar rush, but in the end, it provides empty calories and no growth. In his sermons and teaching series’, R.C. Sproul made demands upon the minds of the listeners. Those who found a way to grow mentally by listening to those presentations grew in Christ.
Dr. R.C. Sproul devoted his life to helping people grow in their knowledge of God and His holiness. Combining keen theological insight with a warm conversational style, Dr. Sproul’s timeless biblical teaching continues to make the deep truths of the Christian faith accessible to today’s readers. For the first time, eleven of Dr. Sproul’s most influential books have been compiled in a beautifully crafted six-volume collection. Featuring significant titles on the character of God, the gospel of Jesus Christ, and the nature of the Christian life, The R.C. Sproul Signature Classics make an attractive addition to a personal library or an ideal gift for students of Reformed theology. Return to this resource again and again to receive trusted Bible teaching from a beloved instructor, or pass down the rich heritage of the historic Christian faith to the next generation.Looking for something specific? Have questions about a resource? We’re eager to help. Please contact us using the chat bubble, email, or calling 800-435-4343.
Some contemporary theologians in the Reformed tradition, such as those associated with the Presbyterian Church (USA)’s Confession of 1967, have emphasized the social character of human sinfulness. These theologians have sought to bring attention to issues of environmental, economic, and political justice as areas of human life that have been affected by sin. The Congregational churches are a part of the Reformed tradition founded under the influence of New England Puritanism. The Savoy Declaration is the confession of faith held by the Congregationalist churches. An example of a Christian denomination belonging to the Congregationalist tradition is the Conservative Congregational Christian Conference. Amyraldism (or sometimes Amyraldianism, also known as the School of Saumur, hypothetical universalism, post redemptionism, moderate Calvinism, or four-point Calvinism) is the belief that God, prior to his decree of election, decreed Christ’s atonement for all alike if they believe, but seeing that none would believe on their own, he then elected those whom he will bring to faith in Christ, thereby preserving the Calvinist doctrine of unconditional election. The efficacy of the atonement remains limited to those who believe. Calvin’s concepts of God and man led to ideas which were gradually put into practice after his death, in particular in the fields of politics and society. After their fight for independence from Spain (1579), the Netherlands, under Calvinist leadership, granted asylum to religious minorities, including French Huguenots, English Independents (Congregationalists), and Jews from Spain and Portugal. The ancestors of the philosopher Baruch Spinoza were Portuguese Jews. Aware of the trial against Galileo, René Descartes lived in the Netherlands, out of reach of the Inquisition, from 1628 to 1649. Pierre Bayle, a Reformed Frenchman, also felt safer in the Netherlands than in his home country. He was the first prominent philosopher who demanded tolerance for atheists. Hugo Grotius (1583–1645) was able to publish a rather liberal interpretation of the Bible and his ideas about natural law in the Netherlands. Moreover, the Calvinist Dutch authorities allowed the printing of books that could not be published elsewhere, such as Galileo’s Discorsi (1638). They could attach us no greater insult than this word, Calvinism. It is not hard to guess where such a deadly hatred comes from that they hold against me.
A 2011 report of the Pew Forum on Religious and Public Life estimated that members of Presbyterian or Reformed churches make up 7% of the estimated 801 million Protestants globally, or approximately 56 million people. Though the broadly defined Reformed faith is much larger, as it constitutes Congregationalist (0.5%), most of the United and uniting churches (unions of different denominations) (7.2%) and most likely some of the other Protestant denominations (38.2%). All three are distinct categories from Presbyterian or Reformed (7%) in this report.In order to identify the visible church, Reformed theologians have spoken of certain marks of the Church. For some, the only mark is the pure preaching of the gospel of Christ. Others, including John Calvin, also include the right administration of the sacraments. Others, such as those following the Scots Confession, include a third mark of rightly administered church discipline, or exercise of censure against unrepentant sinners. These marks allowed the Reformed to identify the church based on its conformity to the Bible rather than the Magisterium or church tradition. The covenant of works is made with Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. The terms of the covenant are that God provides a blessed life in the garden on condition that Adam and Eve obey God’s law perfectly. Because Adam and Eve broke the covenant by eating the forbidden fruit, they became subject to death and were banished from the garden. This sin was passed down to all mankind because all people are said to be in Adam as a covenantal or “federal” head. Federal theologians usually infer that Adam and Eve would have gained immortality had they obeyed perfectly. Others view Calvinist influence as not always being solely positive. The Boers and Afrikaner Calvinists combined ideas from Calvinism and Kuyperian theology to justify apartheid in South Africa. As late as 1974 the majority of the Dutch Reformed Church in South Africa was convinced that their theological stances (including the story of the Tower of Babel) could justify apartheid. In 1990 the Dutch Reformed Church document Church and Society maintained that although they were changing their stance on apartheid, they believed that within apartheid and under God’s sovereign guidance, “…everything was not without significance, but was of service to the Kingdom of God.” These views were not universal and were condemned by many Calvinists outside South Africa. Pressure from both outside and inside the Dutch Reformed Calvinist church helped reverse apartheid in South Africa.
Justification is the part of salvation where God pardons the sin of those who believe in Christ. It is historically held by Protestants to be the most important article of Christian faith, though more recently it is sometimes given less importance out of ecumenical concerns. People are not on their own able to fully repent of their sin or prepare themselves to repent because of their sinfulness. Therefore, justification is held to arise solely from God’s free and gracious act.
Throughout the world, the Reformed churches operate hospitals, homes for handicapped or elderly people, and educational institutions on all levels. For example, American Congregationalists founded Harvard (1636), Yale (1701), and about a dozen other colleges. A particular stream of influence of Calvinism concerns art. Visual art cemented society in the first modern nation state, the Netherlands, and also Neo-Calvinism put much weight on this aspect of life. Hans Rookmaaker is the most prolific example. In literature one can think of Marilynne Robinson. In her non-fiction she powerfully demonstrates the modernity of Calvin’s thinking, calling him a humanist scholar (pg 174, The Death of Adam).
According to Reformed theologians, God’s self-revelation is always through his son Jesus Christ, because Christ is the only mediator between God and people. Revelation of God through Christ comes through two basic channels. The first is creation and providence, which is God’s creating and continuing to work in the world. This action of God gives everyone knowledge about God, but this knowledge is only sufficient to make people culpable for their sin; it does not include knowledge of the gospel. The second channel through which God reveals himself is redemption, which is the gospel of salvation from condemnation which is punishment for sin.
In colloquial English, the term “total depravity” can be easily misunderstood to mean that people are absent of any goodness or unable to do any good. However the Reformed teaching is actually that while people continue to bear God’s image and may do things that appear outwardly good, their sinful intentions affect all of their nature and actions so that they are not pleasing to God. From a Calvinist viewpoint, a person who has sinned was predestined to sin, and no matter what a person does, they will go to Heaven or Hell based on that determination. There is no repenting from sin since the most evil thing is the sinner’s own actions, thoughts, and words.Calvinism was influential in France, Lithuania, and Poland before being mostly erased during the Counter Reformation. One of the most important Polish reformed theologists was John a Lasco, who was also involved into organising churches in East Frisia and Stranger’s Church in London. Later, faction called the Polish Brethren broke away from Calvinism on January 22, 1556, when Piotr of Goniądz, a Polish student, spoke out against the doctrine of the Trinity during the general synod of the Reformed churches of Poland held in the village of Secemin. Calvinism gained some popularity in Scandinavia, especially Sweden, but was rejected in favor of Lutheranism after the Synod of Uppsala in 1593.Reformed theologians use the concept of covenant to describe the way God enters into fellowship with people in history. The concept of covenant is so prominent in Reformed theology that Reformed theology as a whole is sometimes called “covenant theology”. However, sixteenth- and seventeenth-century theologians developed a particular theological system called “covenant theology” or “federal theology” which many conservative Reformed churches continue to affirm today. This framework orders God’s life with people primarily in two covenants: the covenant of works and the covenant of grace.
Why did R.C. Sproul resign?
In January 2006, Sproul and the Session of Saint Peter Presbyterian Church (SPPC), its governing body, were deposed from office by the RPCGA under charges including “abuse of authority in an inexcusable manner” against several families, alleged illegal use of the ARP’s tax identification number, planting a church …
Since the 19th century, however, some of the Reformed churches have modified their understanding of the regulative principle and make use of musical instruments, believing that Calvin and his early followers went beyond the biblical requirements and that such things are circumstances of worship requiring biblically rooted wisdom, rather than an explicit command. Despite the protestations of those who hold to a strict view of the regulative principle, today hymns and musical instruments are in common use, as are contemporary worship music styles with elements such as worship bands.Karl Barth reinterpreted the Reformed doctrine of predestination to apply only to Christ. Individual people are only said to be elected through their being in Christ. Reformed theologians who followed Barth, including Jürgen Moltmann, David Migliore, and Shirley Guthrie, have argued that the traditional Reformed concept of predestination is speculative and have proposed alternative models. These theologians claim that a properly trinitarian doctrine emphasizes God’s freedom to love all people, rather than choosing some for salvation and others for damnation. God’s justice towards and condemnation of sinful people is spoken of by these theologians as out of his love for them and a desire to reconcile them to himself.
Reformed Christians see the Christian Church as the community with which God has made the covenant of grace, a promise of eternal life and relationship with God. This covenant extends to those under the “old covenant” whom God chose, beginning with Abraham and Sarah. The church is conceived of as both invisible and visible. The invisible church is the body of all believers, known only to God. The visible church is the institutional body which contains both members of the invisible church as well as those who appear to have faith in Christ, but are not truly part of God’s elect.
Calvinists broke from the Roman Catholic Church in the 16th century. Calvinists differ from Lutherans, another major branch of the Reformation, on the spiritual real presence of Christ in the Lord’s Supper, theories of worship, the purpose and meaning of baptism, and the use of God’s law for believers, among other points. The label Calvinism can be misleading, because the religious tradition it denotes has always been diverse, with a wide range of influences rather than a single founder; however, almost all of them drew heavily from the writings of Augustine of Hippo twelve hundred years prior to the Reformation. Sanctification is the part of salvation in which God makes the believer holy, by enabling them to exercise greater love for God and for other people. The good works accomplished by believers as they are sanctified are considered to be the necessary outworking of the believer’s salvation, though they do not cause the believer to be saved. Sanctification, like justification, is by faith, because doing good works is simply living as the child of God one has become. The Presbyterian churches are part of the Reformed tradition and were influenced by John Knox’s teachings in the Church of Scotland. Presbyterianism upholds the Westminster Confession of Faith.Calvin expressed himself on usury in a 1545 letter to a friend, Claude de Sachin, in which he criticized the use of certain passages of scripture invoked by people opposed to the charging of interest. He reinterpreted some of these passages, and suggested that others of them had been rendered irrelevant by changed conditions. He also dismissed the argument (based upon the writings of Aristotle) that it is wrong to charge interest for money because money itself is barren. He said that the walls and the roof of a house are barren, too, but it is permissible to charge someone for allowing him to use them. In the same way, money can be made fruitful.
The Westminster Confession of Faith limits the sacraments to baptism and the Lord’s Supper. Sacraments are denoted “signs and seals of the covenant of grace.” Westminster speaks of “a sacramental relation, or a sacramental union, between the sign and the thing signified; whence it comes to pass that the names and effects of the one are attributed to the other.” Baptism is for infant children of believers as well as believers, as it is for all the Reformed except Baptists and some Congregationalists. Baptism admits the baptized into the visible church, and in it all the benefits of Christ are offered to the baptized. On the Lord’s supper, Westminster takes a position between Lutheran sacramental union and Zwinglian memorialism: “the Lord’s supper really and indeed, yet not carnally and corporally, but spiritually, receive and feed upon Christ crucified, and all benefits of his death: the body and blood of Christ being then not corporally or carnally in, with, or under the bread and wine; yet, as really, but spiritually, present to the faith of believers in that ordinance as the elements themselves are to their outward senses.”Cranmer’s personal journey of faith left its mark on the Church of England in the form of a Liturgy that remains to this day more closely allied to Lutheran practice, but that liturgy is couple to a doctrinal stance that is broadly, but decidedly Reformed. … The 42 Articles of 1552 and the 39 Articles of 1563, both commit the Church of England to the fundamentals of the Reformed Faith. Both sets of Articles affirm the centrality of Scripture, and take a monergist position on Justification. Both sets of Articles affirm that the Church of England accepts the doctrine of predestination and election as a ‘comfort to the faithful’ but warn against over much speculation concerning that doctrine. Indeed a casual reading of the Wurttemburg Confession of 1551, the Second Helvetic Confession, the Scots Confession of 1560, and the XXXIX Articles of Religion reveal them to be cut from the same bolt of cloth. Expert researchers and authors have referred to the United States as a “Protestant nation” or “founded on Protestant principles,” specifically emphasizing its Calvinist heritage. Reformed theologians have also traditionally followed the medieval tradition going back to before the early church councils of Nicaea and Chalcedon on the doctrine of the Trinity. God is affirmed to be one God in three persons: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. The Son (Christ) is held to be eternally begotten by the Father and the Holy Spirit eternally proceeding from the Father and Son. However, contemporary theologians have been critical of aspects of Western views here as well. Drawing on the Eastern tradition, these Reformed theologians have proposed a “social trinitarianism” where the persons of the Trinity only exist in their life together as persons-in-relationship. Contemporary Reformed confessions such as the Barmen Confession and Brief Statement of Faith of the Presbyterian Church (USA) have avoided language about the attributes of God and have emphasized his work of reconciliation and empowerment of people. Feminist theologian Letty Russell used the image of partnership for the persons of the Trinity. According to Russell, thinking this way encourages Christians to interact in terms of fellowship rather than reciprocity. Conservative Reformed theologian Michael Horton, however, has argued that social trinitarianism is untenable because it abandons the essential unity of God in favor of a community of separate beings.
The first wave of reformist theologians include Huldrych Zwingli (1484–1531), Martin Bucer (1491–1551), Wolfgang Capito (1478–1541), John Oecolampadius (1482–1531), and Guillaume Farel (1489–1565). While from diverse academic backgrounds, their work already contained key themes within Reformed theology, especially the priority of scripture as a source of authority. Scripture was also viewed as a unified whole, which led to a covenantal theology of the sacraments of baptism and the Lord’s Supper as visible signs of the covenant of grace. Another shared perspective was their denial of the Real presence of Christ in the Eucharist. Each understood salvation to be by grace alone and affirmed a doctrine of unconditional election, the teaching that some people are chosen by God to be saved. Martin Luther and his successor, Philipp Melanchthon were significant influences on these theologians, and to a larger extent, those who followed. The doctrine of justification by faith alone, also known as sola fide, was a direct inheritance from Luther.
Which holy books should I read?
Of course, the Bible is going to be number one on our list. Its religious history dates back thousands of years and is one of the most popular religious books in the world for a reason. If you’re looking for a religious book that will teach you about Christianity and its origins, there’s no better choice than this one.
The regulative principle of worship is a teaching shared by some Calvinists and Anabaptists on how the Bible orders public worship. The substance of the doctrine regarding worship is that God institutes in the Scriptures everything he requires for worship in the Church and that everything else is prohibited. As the regulative principle is reflected in Calvin’s own thought, it is driven by his evident antipathy toward the Roman Catholic Church and its worship practices, and it associates musical instruments with icons, which he considered violations of the Ten Commandments’ prohibition of graven images.Due to Calvin’s missionary work in France, his program of reform eventually reached the French-speaking provinces of the Netherlands. Calvinism was adopted in the Electorate of the Palatinate under Frederick III, which led to the formulation of the Heidelberg Catechism in 1563. This and the Belgic Confession were adopted as confessional standards in the first synod of the Dutch Reformed Church in 1571.
The central assertion of TULIP is that God saves every person upon whom he has mercy, and that his efforts are not frustrated by the unrighteousness or inability of humans.
Since the Arminian controversy, the Reformed tradition as a branch of Protestantism is distinguished from Lutheranism and divided into two groups, Arminians and Calvinists. However, it is now rare to call Arminians a part of the Reformed tradition, with the majority of Arminians today being members of the Methodist churches, General Baptist churches or Pentecostal churches. While the Reformed theological tradition addresses all of the traditional topics of Christian theology, the word Calvinism is sometimes used to refer to particular Calvinist views on soteriology and predestination, which are summarized in part by the Five Points of Calvinism. Calvinism as a whole stresses the sovereignty or rule of God in all things including salvation. While Calvin did not live to see the foundation of his work grow into an international movement, his death allowed his ideas to spread far beyond their city of origin and their borders and to establish their own distinct character. Reformed theologians believe that God communicates knowledge of himself to people through the Word of God. People are not able to know anything about God except through this self-revelation. (With the exception of general revelation of God; “His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse” (Romans 1:20).) Speculation about anything which God has not revealed through his Word is not warranted. The knowledge people have of God is different from that which they have of anything else because God is infinite, and finite people are incapable of comprehending an infinite being. While the knowledge revealed by God to people is never incorrect, it is also never comprehensive.There are two schools of thought regarding the logical order of God’s decree to ordain the fall of man: supralapsarianism (from the Latin: supra, “above”, here meaning “before” + lapsus, “fall”) and infralapsarianism (from the Latin: infra, “beneath”, here meaning “after” + lapsus, “fall”). The former view, sometimes called “high Calvinism”, argues that the Fall occurred partly to facilitate God’s purpose to choose some individuals for salvation and some for damnation. Infralapsarianism, sometimes called “low Calvinism”, is the position that, while the Fall was indeed planned, it was not planned with reference to who would be saved.
Considered to be the oldest and most orthodox bearers of the Reformed faith, the continental Reformed Churches uphold the Helvetic Confessions and Heidelberg Catechism, which were adopted in Zurich and Heidelberg, respectively. In the United States, immigrants belonging to the continental Reformed Churches joined the Dutch Reformed Church there, as well as the Anglican Church.
Although much of Calvin’s work was in Geneva, his publications spread his ideas of a correctly Reformed church to many parts of Europe. In Switzerland, some cantons are still Reformed, and some are Catholic. Calvinism became the dominant doctrine within the Church of Scotland, the Dutch Republic, some communities in Flanders, and parts of Germany, especially those adjacent to the Netherlands in the Palatinate, Kassel, and Lippe, spread by Olevianus and Zacharias Ursinus among others. Protected by the local nobility, Calvinism became a significant religion in Eastern Hungary and Hungarian-speaking areas of Transylvania. Today there are about 3.5 million Hungarian Reformed people worldwide.In another factor in the rise of democracy in the Anglo-American world, Calvin favored a mixture of democracy and aristocracy as the best form of government (mixed government). He appreciated the advantages of democracy. His political thought aimed to safeguard the rights and freedoms of ordinary men and women. In order to minimize the misuse of political power he suggested dividing it among several institutions in a system of checks and balances (separation of powers). Finally, Calvin taught that if worldly rulers rise up against God they should be put down. In this way, he and his followers stood in the vanguard of resistance to political absolutism and furthered the cause of democracy. The Congregationalists who founded Plymouth Colony (1620) and Massachusetts Bay Colony (1628) were convinced that the democratic form of government was the will of God. Enjoying self-rule, they practiced separation of powers. Rhode Island, Connecticut, and Pennsylvania, founded by Roger Williams, Thomas Hooker, and William Penn, respectively, combined democratic government with a limited freedom of religion that did not extend to Catholics (Congregationalism being the established, tax-supported religion in Connecticut). These colonies became safe havens for persecuted religious minorities, including Jews.
He qualified his view, however, by saying that money should be lent to people in dire need without hope of interest, while a modest interest rate of 5% should be permitted in relation to other borrowers.
In The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism, Max Weber wrote that capitalism in Northern Europe evolved when the Protestant (particularly Calvinist) ethic influenced large numbers of people to engage in work in the secular world, developing their own enterprises and engaging in trade and the accumulation of wealth for investment. In other words, the Protestant work ethic was an important force behind the unplanned and uncoordinated emergence of modern capitalism.
Is Sproul a Calvinist?
R.C. Sproul was a determined Calvinist, who saw himself as an heir of the great reformer John Calvin, and others in the reformed tradition such as B.B. Warfield and John Gerstner.
Reformed theologians teach that sin so affects human nature that they are unable even to exercise faith in Christ by their own will. While people are said to retain will, in that they willfully sin, they are unable not to sin because of the corruption of their nature due to original sin. Reformed Christians believe that God predestined some people to be saved and others were predestined to eternal damnation. This choice by God to save some is held to be unconditional and not based on any characteristic or action on the part of the person chosen. This view is opposed to the Arminian view that God’s choice of whom to save is conditional or based on his foreknowledge of who would respond positively to God.Beginning in the 1880s, Neo-Calvinism, a form of Dutch Calvinism, is the movement initiated by the theologian and former Dutch prime minister Abraham Kuyper. James Bratt has identified a number of different types of Dutch Calvinism: The Seceders—split into the Reformed Church “West” and the Confessionalists; and the Neo-Calvinists—the Positives and the Antithetical Calvinists. The Seceders were largely infralapsarian and the Neo-Calvinists usually supralapsarian.
The World Communion of Reformed Churches, which includes some United Churches, has 80 million believers. WCRC is the third largest Christian communion in the world, after the Roman Catholic Church and the Eastern Orthodox Churches.Calvinism is named after John Calvin and was first used by a Lutheran theologian in 1552. Even though a common practice of the Roman Catholic Church was to name what it viewed as heresy after its founder, the term originated in Lutheran circles. Calvin denounced the designation himself:Many 17th century European settlers in the Thirteen Colonies in British America were Calvinists, who emigrated because of arguments over church structure, including the Pilgrim Fathers. Others were forced into exile, including as the French Huguenots. Dutch and French Calvinist settlers were also among the first European colonizers of South Africa, beginning in the 17th century, who became known as Boers or Afrikaners.The Reformed tradition is largely represented by the Continental Reformed, Presbyterian, Reformed Anglican, Congregationalist, and Reformed Baptist denominational families.The Westminster Confession of Faith says that the gospel is to be freely offered to sinners, and the Larger Catechism makes clear that the gospel is offered to the non-elect.
In the 19th century, churches based on or influenced by Calvin’s theology became deeply involved in social reforms, e.g. the abolition of slavery (William Wilberforce, Harriet Beecher Stowe, Abraham Lincoln, and others), women suffrage, and prison reforms. Members of these churches formed co-operatives to help the impoverished masses. The founders of the Red Cross Movement, including Henry Dunant, were Reformed Christians. Their movement also initiated the Geneva Conventions.
Calvin thought original sin was “a hereditary corruption and depravity of our nature, extending to all the parts of the soul.” Calvin asserted people were so warped by original sin that “everything which our mind conceives, meditates, plans, and resolves, is always evil.” The depraved condition of every human being is not the result of sins people commit during their lives. Instead, before we are born, while we are in our mother’s womb, “we are in God’s sight defiled and polluted.” Calvin thought people were justly condemned to hell because their corrupted state is “naturally hateful to God.”Christian Reconstructionism is a fundamentalist Calvinist theonomic movement that has remained rather obscure. Founded by R. J. Rushdoony, the movement has had an important influence on the Christian Right in the United States. The movement peaked in the 1990s. However, it lives on in small denominations such as the Reformed Presbyterian Church in the United States and as a minority position in other denominations. Christian Reconstructionists are usually postmillennialists and followers of the presuppositional apologetics of Cornelius Van Til. They tend to support a decentralized political order resulting in laissez-faire capitalism.
No single piece of our mental world is to be sealed off from the rest and there is not a square inch in the whole domain of human existence over which Christ, who is sovereign over all, does not cry: ‘Mine!’
Through the influence of Karl Barth, many contemporary Reformed theologians have discarded the covenant of works, along with other concepts of federal theology. Barth saw the covenant of works as disconnected from Christ and the gospel, and rejected the idea that God works with people in this way. Instead, Barth argued that God always interacts with people under the covenant of grace, and that the covenant of grace is free of all conditions whatsoever. Barth’s theology and that which follows him has been called “mono covenantal” as opposed to the “bi-covenantal” scheme of classical federal theology. Conservative contemporary Reformed theologians, such as John Murray, have also rejected the idea of covenants based on law rather than grace. Michael Horton, however, has defended the covenant of works as combining principles of law and love.
Historic Anglicanism is a part of the wider Reformed tradition, as “the founding documents of the Anglican church—the Book of Homilies, the Book of Common Prayer, and the Thirty-Nine Articles of Religion—expresses a theology in keeping with the Reformed theology of the Swiss and South German Reformation.” The Most Rev. Peter Robinson, presiding bishop of the United Episcopal Church of North America, writes:
Calvinism, also sometimes called the Reformed tradition, Reformed Protestantism, Reformed Christianity, or simply Reformed, is a major branch of Protestantism that follows the Christian theological tradition and forms of Christian practice set down by John Calvin and other Reformation-era theologians. It emphasizes the sovereignty of God and the authority of the Bible. During the First English Civil War, English and Scots Presbyterians produced the Westminster Confession, which became the confessional standard for Presbyterians in the English-speaking world. Having established itself in Europe, the movement continued to spread to areas including North America, South Africa and Korea. Named after its formulator Moses Amyraut, this doctrine is still viewed as a variety of Calvinism in that it maintains the particularity of sovereign grace in the application of the atonement. However, detractors like B. B. Warfield have termed it “an inconsistent and therefore unstable form of Calvinism.”The namesake and founder of the movement, French reformer John Calvin, embraced Protestant beliefs in the late 1520s or early 1530s, as the earliest notions of later Reformed tradition were already espoused by Huldrych Zwingli. The movement was first called “Calvinism” in the early 1550s by Lutherans who opposed it. Many in the tradition find it either a nondescript or inappropriate term and prefer the term Reformed. Christians believe Jesus’ death and resurrection makes it possible for believers to receive forgiveness for sin and reconciliation with God through the atonement. Reformed Protestants generally subscribe to a particular view of the atonement called penal substitutionary atonement, which explains Christ’s death as a sacrificial payment for sin. Christ is believed to have died in place of the believer, who is accounted righteous as a result of this sacrificial payment. On this basis, many early Calvinists also eschewed musical instruments and advocated a cappella exclusive psalmody in worship, though Calvin himself allowed other scriptural songs as well as psalms, and this practice typified Presbyterian worship and the worship of other Reformed churches for some time. The original Lord’s Day service designed by John Calvin was a highly liturgical service with the Creed, Alms, Confession and Absolution, the Lord’s supper, Doxologies, prayers, Psalms being sung, the Lords prayer being sung, and Benedictions.Hyper-Calvinism first referred to a view that appeared among the early English Particular Baptists in the 18th century. Their system denied that the call of the gospel to “repent and believe” is directed to every single person and that it is the duty of every person to trust in Christ for salvation. The term also occasionally appears in both theological and secular controversial contexts, where it usually connotes a negative opinion about some variety of theological determinism, predestination, or a version of Evangelical Christianity or Calvinism that is deemed by the critic to be unenlightened, harsh, or extreme.
The Reformed tradition is largely represented by the Continental Reformed, Presbyterian, Reformed Anglican, Congregationalist, and Reformed Baptist denominations. Several forms of ecclesiastical polity are exercised by a group of Reforme
d churches, including presbyterian, congregationalist, and some episcopal. The biggest Reformed association is the World Communion of Reformed Churches, with more than 100 million members in 211 member denominations around the world. More conservative Reformed federations include the World Reformed Fellowship and the International Conference of Reformed Churches.
The 1689 London Baptist Confession of Faith does not use the term sacrament, but describes baptism and the Lord’s supper as ordinances, as do most Baptists, Calvinist or otherwise. Baptism is only for those who “actually profess repentance towards God”, and not for the children of believers. Baptists also insist on immersion or dipping, in contradistinction to other Reformed Christians. The Baptist Confession describes the Lord’s supper as “the body and blood of Christ being then not corporally or carnally, but spiritually present to the faith of believers in that ordinance”, similarly to the Westminster Confession. There is significant latitude in Baptist congregations regarding the Lord’s supper, and many hold the Zwinglian view.
The most important Reformed theologians include Calvin, Zwingli, Martin Bucer, William Farel, Heinrich Bullinger, Thomas Cranmer, Nicholas Ridley, Peter Martyr Vermigli, Theodore Beza, John Knox, and John à Lasco. In the 20th century, Abraham Kuyper, Herman Bavinck, B. B. Warfield, J. Gresham Machen, Louis Berkhof, Karl Barth, Martyn Lloyd-Jones, Cornelius Van Til, R. C. Sproul, and J. I. Packer were influential. Contemporary Reformed theologians include Albert Mohler, Tim Keller, John Piper, Joel Beeke, and Michael Horton.
Although earlier Christian authors taught the elements of physical death, moral weakness, and a sin propensity within original sin, Augustine was the first Christian to add the concept of inherited guilt (reatus) from Adam whereby every infant is born eternally damned and humans lack any residual ability to respond to God. Reformed theologians emphasize that this sinfulness affects all of a person’s nature, including their will. This view, that sin so dominates people that they are unable to avoid sin, has been called total depravity. As a consequence, every one of their descendants inherited a stain of corruption and depravity. This condition, innate to all humans, is known in Christian theology as original sin.
Reformed theologians affirm the historic Christian belief that Christ is eternally one person with a divine and a human nature. Reformed Christians have especially emphasized that Christ truly became human so that people could be saved. Christ’s human nature has been a point of contention between Reformed and Lutheran Christology. In accord with the belief that finite humans cannot comprehend infinite divinity, Reformed theologians hold that Christ’s human body cannot be in multiple locations at the same time. Because Lutherans believe that Christ is bodily present in the Eucharist, they hold that Christ is bodily present in many locations simultaneously. For Reformed Christians, such a belief denies that Christ actually became human. Some contemporary Reformed theologians have moved away from the traditional language of one person in two natures, viewing it as unintelligible to contemporary people. Instead, theologians tend to emphasize Jesus’ context and particularity as a first-century Jew.New Calvinism is a growing perspective within conservative Evangelicalism that embraces the fundamentals of 16th century Calvinism while also trying to be relevant in the present day world. In March 2009, Time magazine described the New Calvinism as one of the “10 ideas changing the world”. Some of the major figures who have been associated with the New Calvinism are John Piper, Mark Driscoll, Al Mohler, Mark Dever, C. J. Mahaney, and Tim Keller. New Calvinists have been criticized for blending Calvinist soteriology with popular Evangelical positions on the sacraments and continuationism and for rejecting tenets seen as crucial to the Reformed faith such as confessionalism and covenant theology.
Is Baptist the same as Calvinist?
The Particular Baptists adhered to the doctrine of a particular atonement—that Christ died only for an elect—and were strongly Calvinist (following the Reformation teachings of John Calvin) in orientation; the General Baptists held to the doctrine of a general atonement—that Christ died for all people and not only for …
These two views vied with each other at the Synod of Dort, an international body representing Calvinist Christian churches from around Europe, and the judgments that came out of that council sided with infralapsarianism (Canons of Dort, First Point of Doctrine, Article 7). The Westminster Confession of Faith also teaches (in Hodge’s words “clearly impl[ies]”) the infralapsarian view, but is sensitive to those holding to supralapsarianism. The Lapsarian controversy has a few vocal proponents on each side today, but overall it does not receive much attention among modern Calvinists.Sierra Leone was largely colonized by Calvinist settlers from Nova Scotia, many of whom were Black Loyalists who fought for the British Empire during the American War of Independence. John Marrant had organized a congregation there under the auspices of the Huntingdon Connection. Some of the largest Calvinist communions were started by 19th- and 20th-century missionaries. Especially large are those in Indonesia, Korea and Nigeria. In South Korea there are 20,000 Presbyterian congregations with about 9–10 million church members, scattered in more than 100 Presbyterian denominations. In South Korea, Presbyterianism is the largest Christian denomination.
Reformed theologians affirm that the Bible is true, but differences emerge among them over the meaning and extent of its truthfulness. Conservative followers of the Princeton theologians take the view that the Bible is true and inerrant, or incapable of error or falsehood, in every place. This view is similar to that of Catholic orthodoxy as well as modern Evangelicalism. Another view, influenced by the teaching of Karl Barth and neo-orthodoxy, is found in the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)’s Confession of 1967. Those who take this view believe the Bible to be the primary source of our knowledge of God, but also that some parts of the Bible may be false, not witnesses to Christ, and not normative for today’s church. In this view, Christ is the revelation of God, and the scriptures witness to this revelation rather than being the revelation itself.
Reformed theologians, along with other Protestants, believe salvation from punishment for sin is to be given to all those who have faith in Christ. Faith is not purely intellectual, but involves trust in God’s promise to save. Protestants do not hold there to be any other requirement for salvation, but that faith alone is sufficient.