Who is Reformed?

 

This is my reply to a post by Rev Noli Malibuyo at : http://www.twoagespilgrims.com/doctrine/?p=28

My problem with our Reformed brethren is that they want to restrict more what is already restrictive term. What is its goal? faithfulness? John Macarthur is leading many evangelicals and baptist into an understanding of salvation that glorifies the grace of God in Christ. What more do we like him to do? Make sure that others baptized their infant children? -when we in the Reformed paedobaptist camp does not know how to rear our children so that they will trust the Lord Jesus as their Savior and Lord when they grow up?

The LBCF Reformed baptists is as old as the WCF-at least same generation. Some of original Anabaptist were predestinarian in theology and yet we hounded them like pigs and drown them as one.

Do we now glory in the fact that Calvin relentlessly and without impunity hounded Servetus with incriminating evidence to the Catholic authorities just because Servetus mentioned in the side of a book of Calvin that “anyone who believes in baptizing infants has a demon” . I know we defended Calvin that he only did this things because he is a man of the times-and therefore we should not be proud of it-and instead be sorrowful and repentant about it. Do we now use this to demarginalize our Reformed Baptist brethren again?

Or so that all of us will have a restrictive view of RPW? Or that we will be all amilllenialist in a Dutch ghetto-where we are fearful of the betrayals and unfaithfulness of those around us?
Or we glory in the law for our sanctification instead in the grace of God? Or should we glory in our confessions when we use it to obscure the glory of Christ in the Word fo God? Or we hold to ahistorical covenant theology instead of the biblical covenants (plural)?

The fact that we are many last Jan 29-30, 2010 , with many differing eschatologies/ecclesiologies/sacramentologies and yet united in the gospel and grace of Jesus Christ should be cause for joy. We should be known for that-and be respectful of those who joins us away from a Semi-Pelagian Churchianity.

I am a confessional Reformed holding to the Three Forms of Unity since 1982. I know my Berkouwer,Kuyper,Bavinck,Turretin,Olevianus and others. I just felt sorry that instead of uniting within the banner of the Grace of God-we need other qualifications to be Reformed.

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17 responses to “Who is Reformed?

  1. This Pastor Noli’s comment:

    Ray, a few things about your comment.

    Parents not knowing how to nurture their children in the Lord doesn’t make paedobaptism bad or wrong. Believers who are not true to their baptism doesn’t make their baptism bad or wrong.

    Contrary to your assertion, the Anabaptists were not part of the Reformation. They did not believe in the Reformed doctrine of justification by faith alone. They were radicals who had unorthodox views. This is why both Catholics and Reformers persecuted them.

    Calvin did not relentlessly hound Servetus. This is the myth that college professors and Calvin-haters (there are many of these in “Reformed” and “Presbyterian” churches) propagated throughout the centuries. Servetus, like the Anabaptists, was a heretic who denied the doctrine of the Trinitarian God. He was condemned by the Catholics. After the Genevan authorities condemned him to be burned at the stake, Calvin pleaded with him to recant his heretical teachings, and then pleaded with the civil authorities to change the death sentence to a more humane one.

    When we teach the RPW, we’re not out to marginalize our Reformed Baptist brethren. Nor do want all to be amillennial (in fact, most of our Reformed Baptist friends are amillennial!). And the Dutch did not invent amillennialism, as you imply, because this view had beginnings in Augustine.

    In short, all the things you mentioned are unfounded charges against the Reformed. The things that the Reformed churches teach are not forced upon people as the medieval church did. We teach, we hold conferences and seminars, and we evangelize, not with sword, but with persuasion and preaching. Whether others will accept the Reformed faith is up to the Holy Spirit’s illumination of their minds, not our eloquence or threats of damnation.

    This is the evangelicalism that many of us have today: unity for the sake of unity. Denominationalism is not all bad; it actually unites all of us who have the same views. You’re confusing unity with our clarification of what it is to be Reformed historically and doctrinally. We’re just pointing out that there are doctrines and practices which were taught by the Reformers, and if someone calls himself Reformed, then his doctrines and practices should follow those of the Reformers. Would you call someone a Hindu if he followed Muhammad and believed in his teachings?

    and this as well:

    ou might want to read this interview by Christianity Today with Westminster Seminary President W. Robert Godfrey:

    https://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2009/mayweb-only/120-11.0.html?start=2

    Here’s an excerpt:

    “For many, Servetus is the ultimate example of the intolerance and cruelty of Calvin. I have no desire to try to justify the persecution or execution of heretics, but in fairness to Calvin the Servetus episode must be seen in historical context. Servetus denied the doctrine of the Trinity, and that was a capital crime almost everywhere in Europe. When Servetus came to Geneva, he had already been sentenced to death in France. Calvin had warned Servetus by letter not to come to Geneva because of his views. After Servetus was arrested, Calvin and other ministers tried to convince him that his views of the Trinity were unbiblical. Servetus was put on trial before a civil court in Geneva. Calvin was the prosecutor in the trial, but was not one of the judges. Calvin agreed that Servetus should be executed, but unsuccessfully asked that he be beheaded instead of burned alive.

    “Almost all Europeans in Calvin’s day believed that heresy was as dangerous as the plague and that civil governments had the obligation to eradicate it. Calvin was a man of his time on this matter. He is not to be excused for this reason, but he must be seen as holding views that most others of his time held. The case of Servetus provides no evidence that Calvin was unusually cruel or intolerant. Rather he like most others believed the civil government had a responsibility to protect the public from false religion, even by using its coercive powers.”

  2. This is my answer:

    My quote is this “Some of original Anabaptist were predestinarian in theology and yet we hounded them like pigs and drown them as one.” I did not assert that they are part of the Magisterial Reformers. They are of the same generation-in fact those that were persecuted by Zwingli (a Protestant reformer) were first his supporters and friends-and for awhile shares his concerns regarding believers baptism. But because of fear and the understanding of what baptism entails in that society-turn against them-have them drown.

    Better check again -my brother-from primary sources if Servetus is really Anti-Trinitarian-all of our quotes regarding Servetus is from the testimony of Calvin and the magistrates of Geneva. They burned his books-except for two. There is an international effort last year to have it translated to English. I think Servetus believed in a form of Oneness Godhead. He believed Jesus is the Son of God. Also remember Calvin was not a subscriptionist to a strict Chalcedonian Trinitarianism also. He resisted its formulation regarding the subordination of the Holy Spirit. I think I read that one from Warfield. BTW Servetus believes in justification by faith alone-thus he resist the doctrine of infant baptism.

    BTW, Calvin -have one of his assistants file a complaint with Genevan authorities-to have Servetus arrested -during Sunday-when Calvin was preaching in Geneva. Servetus was there listening to him and in a sense condemning him-because Calvin provided private letters of Servetus to the Catholic authorities. And yet Calvin have him arrested and have him condemned in a old law-not existing then- that condemns anti-Trinitarians to death-instead of just banishing him-as their existing law says.

    I am not against Calvin and his writings-I have his institutes and commentaries-and use it as well-but he is not on par with the Apostles-nor are his writings. Those killed by the Reformed where the gentler Anabaptists. They are now cal the “stepchildren of the Reformation”. Those killed at Munster are the violent-millenarian ones. So don’t confuse the two.

    And yes -historically we forced people to become Reformed-our church view then is parochial. It is through a Puritan baptist -Roger Brown-that the idea of separation of church and state was realized at Rhode Island. All the Puritan settlements in the New world had state church. It is either banishment or imprisonment. We don’t do it now-but those views are still dormant amongst us-wait and see when we became the majority.

    Many will become Christians through the efforts of other non-Reformed Christians because they steer away from being stumbling blocks to Christ. And yes many will use non-biblical methods. But those who will be genuinely saved-is all due to the regeneration of the Holy Spirit alone.

    The Dutch were not the inventor of Amillenialism-Augustine was-as you said. But when dispensational premillenialism was getting headway amongst the Presbyterian and Reformed group in the early 1920 to 1950-It was the Dutch group (from the Christian Reformed Church) in Westminster Seminary who resisted it. I read that from Allis.

    I am not for unity for the sake of unity- i am against those who wants to Restrict more and more -beyond confessional grounds-the term reformed-and then restrict some more-beyond the understanding of the Gospel and Grace (Augustinian and 5 Points) of God.

    Do you think that lumping me with those spineless and creedless evangelicals is a good sign that you understood what i am driving at? I am saying that John Macarthur believes in the 5 points-reads Calvin and the Puritans a lot-because he believes that it is from the Bible-should be treated as part of the Reformed Christianity. And yes does not call himself Reformed-but did Spurgeon and Carey call themselves one? And yet we call them Reformed. They believed what we most hold dear-the doctrines of the Sovereign Grace of God in Christ.

    BTW-do you believe that Wayne Grudem ,John Piper, Al Mohler, Don Carson, Tom Schriner and Mark Dever- Reformed?

  3. “the Anabaptists were not part of the Reformation. They did not believe in the Reformed doctrine of justification by faith alone.”

    I’ve often read Reformed brothers who make over-generalizations like that against the Anabaptists. However, I don’t know how anyone can state the Anabaptists (ALL) believed anything since they were independent, non-denom., and often non-creedal. Anabaptists were diverse, not homogenous.

    Those Anabaptists who criticized the Reformers’ doctrine of just. by faith alone may have been motivated by the rotten fruit they saw in many Reformed churches. Even many of the Reformed leaders themselves conceded that their churches were full of unregenerate hypocrites, but Anabaptist churches were more godly and holy.

    For documentation of this, see “The Reformers and Their Stepchildren” by Verduin with primary source quotes from both sides. This book will help balance Banner of Truth’s truncated, selective, revisionist view of church history.

    The Anabaptists and the Reformers were 2 movements that God worked through. All movements are a mixture of truth and error, strengths and weaknesses, which we should look at critically through the lens of Scripture.

    “Did Anabaptists Believe in Justification by Faith Alone?”
    http://kentbrandenburg.blogspot.com/2010/02/did-anabaptists-believe-in.html

  4. “Balthasar Hubmaier complained that in the camp of the Reformers men had learned only the first two of three pivotal doctrines of the Christ faith…(We are saved by faith.) The second was ‘of ourselves we cannot do any good’…Both of these are true enough, says this teacher at the Second Front. But then he goes on to say that ‘Under cover of these two half-truths all evil, unfaithfulness and unrighteousness have gained the upperhand completely…one sees nothing but drinking, gourmandizing, blaspheming, practicing usury, lying, cheating, abusing, forcing, stealing, robbing, playing, dancing, flirting, loafing, committing adultery, tyrannizing, slaying, etc., etc. The third lesson, which men in the Protestant camp had not mastered, said this Hubmaier, is that faith without works is dead” (Verduin, p. 105).

  5. This is Pastor Noli’s comments afterwards:

    As far as Calvin is concerned, I don’t want to argue back and forth. My sources are church historians who obviously hold Calvin in high esteem, while yours are those who don’t.

    As I said, the definition of who is Reformed and what is Reformed lies in the 16th century Protestant Reformation and their creeds and confessions. Credobaptism, for example, did not exist until the Anabaptists came, so if we affirm all that the 16th century Reformers hold, then the term Reformed Baptist is a misnomer. A summary of this definition is in Muller’s article.

    As Clark said, the reason why Reformed churches call other people like John Mac Reformed and other churches Reformed is because we want to be included in a larger body, not to be seen as isolationist, elitist, or exclusivist. I don’t think all of those people you mentioned all want to be known as Reformed. Would you call the RCA, a very liberal church, Reformed? Would you call the CRCNA, another very liberal church, together with the PCUSA, UCCP, Reformed? Some Pentecostals who hold the Five Points call themselves Reformed, but would you call them Reformed? As for the CRCP, you make the judgment.

    and this as well:

    The URCNA, for example, which broke away from the CRCNA, hold to the Three Forms of Unity as its confessions and the ancient ecumenical creeds. We say we are “truly” Reformed because we do not pay lip service to the Reformed creeds and confessions. We affirm and teach the doctrines in the TFU. We worship according to the RPW as the Reformed did in the 16th century.

    So if someone wanted to be a member of our churches, we tell them that our standards are the TFU, we teach them unconditional election, we practice infant baptism, etc. In other words, we tell them we’re Reformed, and that is what we are. If they don’t agree, but still want to attend our churches, then we encourage them to stay. But they will not be admitted to membership and will not be able to participate in the sacraments. If we don’t do this, then there will be problems in the church because it will eventually be a mishmash of all kinds of doctrines and practices.

    And other churches should do the same. Baptists should admit only those who affirm credobaptism. Pentecostals should admit only those who believe in extrabiblical revelation. And so forth.

    The problem today with evangelicals is that of pluralism and inclusivism. This is why evangelical churches are in so much trouble, as far as doctrine and worship is concerned. They may think they’re doing well because of their numbers and budgets, but in actuality, they’re practicing “moralistic, therapeutic deists.”

  6. This is my closing comment-I hope it get posted-I have some internet problems with orginal blog website:

    For someone who arranged activity (Michael Horton’s Theology conference) with non-Reformed Christians as intended audience-this is revealing. You considered more than half of those who attended it as not reformed? Even if the are confessional Reformed baptist (LBCF)? Or are they exempted from your conclusions?
    As for Calvin and Servetus- all you need to do is google it-and you will see that the one you posted as proof is repeated many times by Reformed writers to defend Calvin. There are few Reformed Christians who undertake a primary historical studies of what happened with Calvin and Servetus.
    Others following this-I am not against Calvin’s teaching or his books-I am against slavish following of a non-apostolic writer. He is not perfect in his life-though he suffered much persecution himself-but he has some weakness himself-and it is his issue with Servetus. He really hit him hard. Servetus is against tritheism -being congenial with the Moors (he is Spaniard) and therefore was more speaking within that environment. But Calvin responded with an anti-Trinatarian tract. And when Servetus mentioned his objections with infant baptism and writing about those who believe it -that they have a demon-this cracked Calvin’s patience and help in hounding and exposing Servetus-who was working as a physician and under another name.
    What is bizarre is that why he decided to visit Calvin at Geneva-when he knows he is angry against him. Does he believe that because Calvin is a minister of God-he will not lift a finger against him when he was preaching? Arresting Servetus during his sermon? Does he not know that this will ruin his name forever and put into harm way many Reformed christians inside Catholic lands? They are just waiting for a precedent-when we will violate our own principle of Sola Scriptura.
    This is Servetus view of the Trinity as stated in wikipedia -quoting from http://godglorified.com/errors_of_the_trinity.htm- ” Servetus affirmed that the divine Logos, the manifestation of God and not a separate divine Person, was incarnated in a human being, Jesus, when God’s spirit came into the womb of the Virgin Mary. Only from the moment of conception, was the Son actually generated. Therefore the Son was not eternal, but only the Logos from which He was formed. For this reason, Servetus always rejected calling Christ the “eternal Son of God” but rather called him “the Son of the eternal God.” [5] I”
    Let us be fair in our dealings with non-Reformed Christians and non-Christians. Hiding the dust below a rug does not help the cause of truth. Berean nobleness is what we must pursue so that Christians will walk under the banner of the Sovereign and Gracious Grace of God in Jesus Christ.
    See the whole narration at http://vlib.iue.it/carrie/texts/carrie_books/gilbert/14.html
    “Servetus was able to find a publisher for his book at Vienne; it was printed in great secrecy, with no indication of the identity of the author or printer, except for the initials M.S.V. (Michael Servetus Villanovanus). The thirty letters Servetus had written to Calvin were incorporated in the volume, which appeared early in 1553. Some copies were sent to Geneva. In February, a French refugee of Geneva, Guillaume Trie, wrote a letter to a Catholic cousin at Lyon who had tried to win him back to the old faith and had reproached Geneva for lack of ecclesiastical discipline and order. In writing to his Catholic cousin, the Protestant turned his reproach against him by pointing out that in Lyon a dangerous heretic, Servetus, was allowed to live and print blasphemous books. He enclosed some leaves from Servetus’s book.
    This led to the questioning of Servetus by the Inquisition, but this questioning revealed nothing. In order to get evidence, a letter was sent to Trie in Geneva, who in reply sent several sheets in Servetus’s handwriting, which had been in Calvin’s possession and which, he said, he had obtained from Calvin only with difficulty. Calvin is thus seen to have supplied material to the Inquisition for the purpose of trapping Servetus. Later he denied having any part in this. Early in April Servetus was arrested, examined, and imprisoned. A couple of days later he escaped. He was tried in absentia and burned in effigy.
    In August, he appeared in Geneva on his way to Italy. Here he was recognized, and the news of his presence was conveyed to Calvin, who had him arrested. On the basis of charges preferred by Calvin, Servetus was put on trial. The trial was carried on by the civil authorities, but the accusations were all based on Servetus’s writings and theology. Much of the proceedings consisted of direct encounters between Servetus and Calvin himself, during which Calvin was not always fair or just. The same can be said of the civil authorities, who refused Servetus’s request for counsel and kept him imprisoned under filthy and uncomfortable conditions.
    On October 26, he was condemned to death for decrying the doctrine of the Trinity and infant baptism in other words, as a heretic. This means that he was to be burned at the stake. Calvin tried to get the sentence changed to death by the sword, but failed. On his way to the stake, Servetus was privileged to enjoy the company of Farel, who was in Geneva at the time. Servetus was bound to the stake and the fire was lighted. According to some accounts, the wood did not burn quickly, and he suffered horrible agonies. Before he died, he cried out, “O Jesus, Son of the Eternal God, have pity on me!” Thus in his last moments of suffering he witnessed to his convictions, refusing to recognize the orthodox doctrine of the Trinity by applying the adjective “Eternal” to Jesus.
    This combination of civil and ecclesiastical authorities, of Catholics and Protestants, in hounding to death one radical thinker is generally agreed to be one of the unloveliest episodes in the history of the Reformation. It did not go uncondemned even in its own day. In fact, it aroused so much opposition that Calvin felt compelled to issue a defense in both Latin and French versions in 1554; here he argued for the right to put to death those who dishonored God by teaching false doctrine.”
    Retricting the term reformed seems elitistic to me than discriminating. The Gospel of Grace is major doctrine-but infant baptism and eschatology? It is not a good goal for brethren to dwell in unity-especially when it comes to the gospel and our Lord Jesus Christ?
    You have not answered my question about “Wayne Grudem ,John Piper, Al Mohler, Don Carson, Tom Schriner and Mark Dever”- who is me to judge churches and denominations?
    As for evangelicals- generalizations will not help us in helping them-it takes one person at a time-one church at a time-in order for us to stem the tide of Semi-pelagian churchianity. But it will be done by servants-not masters.
    Thanks for letting me to post-brother in Christ and fellow worker in the His vineyard.

  7. Greg-Pastor Noli- thank you for the interaction. May God bless you and guide you in your ministry and in proclamation of the many-colored wisdom of God in Jesus.

  8. This is Vic Bernales comment (I like these one-in fact I commend it for being charitable):

    Ray, if I can remember it right, the term “Reformed” was first used by a Lutheran minister in the 1500s to refer to Christians like John Calvin, Heinrich Bullinger, Martin Bucer, and the likes, and those who hold to their teaching and understanding of the Scripture, in distinction from the Lutherans of their time. I might be wrong. I need to check that article where I’ve read that piece of information.

    Now, if we are to inquire to whom does the term “Reformed” properly belong, it seems to me that, properly speaking or in the strictest sense of the word, it belongs to those who firmly hold to the the teachings of the Scripture as summarized and explained by the Reformed confessions like the Three Forms of Unity, Westminster Standards, the Gallican (or French Confession, etc. These confessions clearly declare that the Bible alone is the final authority in matters of faith and conduct, so we can safely say that these confessions assume the Scripture’s authority. In other words, as the article above also mentions and Richard Muller’s article in the Calvin Theological Journal, being Reformed is not just holding to the Five Points of Calvinism, but goes beyond those points.

    Being a confessional Reformed as you said, you know the whole system of doctrines as summarized in the Belgic Confession, Westminster Confession, the French Confession, etc.. And if one strictly hold to these systems together to be distinctly Reformed, particularly the confessions’ summary of the doctrine of the church and its offices and sacraments, one can easily exclude people like John Piper, John MacArthur, and Al Mohler, as Reformed.

    However, we do know that these dear brothers believe many of the same doctrines that we hold dear which are explained in our Reformed confessions. In fact, I’ve seen John Piper liberally quote the Heidelberg Catechism and the Canons of Dort in explaining the doctrines of grace or the five points of Calvinism.

    So I would not be ashamed to call these dear brothers of ours as Reformed in terms of their understanding of the doctrines of God, salvation by grace alone, by faith alone, in Christ alone, and others. And that’s where we can and must stand strong side by side with them. In fact I value their books on these things.
    But I think, they themselves would not be willing to be identified as Reformed when it comes to their doctrine of the church, the sacraments, or even the covenant, for example, the way the Westminster Confession or the Belgic Confession state these doctrines. And that’s where we differ from them.

    I think proper distinction must be made without sounding like “we are better than them” or “we are holier than them” or “they are a threat to us” or even sounding like “they are better than us.” I think we ought to recognize and thank the Lord for His work of grace in their lives and ministries and in ours as well, recognizing at the same time that we have many differences.

  9. And I thought that was finished

    Here is a post by Albert Medina:

    I honestly find it quite inconsistent for a brother in Christ to claim that he holds the Three Forms of Unity since 1982 and then object to the way confessional Reformed churches identify themselves. The Belgic Confession (Article 29) is emphatically clear that the marks by which a true church is known include not just the pure preaching of the gospel but also the pure administration of the sacraments (which necessitates infant baptism), and the practice of church discipline. And since the Belgic Confession is one of the standards held by confessional Reformed churches, it is pretty clear that antipaedobaptists (a correct term since they un-baptize people who were only baptized as infants and thus ordinarily bar paedobaptists from the Lord’s Table) like MacArthur and Piper are not Reformed. With all due respect, Mr. Rodriguez, you are just rehashing the very same objections Drs. Riddlebarger, Clark and Muller have already answered in the articles linked in this blog post.

    Also, a person who holds to “New Covenant Theology” (which your blog promotes) is by definition not confessionally Reformed. Even Reformed Baptists (who hold to the 1689 London Baptist Confession) would not consider an NCT advocate as being one of them. It is futile to dichotomize the teaching on the Sabbath of the Three Forms of Unity on the one hand and the Westminster Standards on the other as if the two groups of Reformed confessions essentially differ on this matter. Rev. Danny Hyde (co-pastor of Dr. Scott Clark) notes:

    After the international delegates returned home, the Synod The Synod of Dort (1618–19) dealt with many practical issues facing the Dutch Reformed churches. In its 164th session on May 17, 1619, the Synod issued the following doctrinal deliverance concerning the fourth Commandment:

    1. There is in the fourth commandment of the divine law a ceremonial and a moral element.

    2. The ceremonial element is the rest of the seventh day after creation, and the strict observance of that day imposed especially on the Jewish people.

    3. The moral element consists in the fact that a certain definite day is set aside for worship and so much rest as is needful for worship and hallowed meditation.

    4. The Sabbath of the Jews having been abolished, the day of the Lord must be solemnly hallowed by Christians.

    5. Since the times of the apostles this day has always been observed by the old catholic church.

    6. This day must be so consecrated to worship that on that day we rest from all servile works, except those which charity and present necessity require; and also from all such recreations as interfere with worship.

    [Cited in Howard B. Spaan, Christian Reformed Church Government (Grand Rapids: Kregel Publications, 1968), 208.]

    In substance, therefore, the teaching of the Three Forms of Unity and the Westminster Standards on the Sabbath is one and the same (note especially #6). An NCT advocate who is also confessionally Reformed at the same time is a contradiction.

    Disclaimer: I have personally benefited from the ministries of MacArthur and Piper. In fact, it was their sermons and articles (plus those of Dr. James White of aomin.org) that gradually brought me to a Calvinistic understanding of salvation. The first sermon I ever read about the Five Points of Calvinism was penned by no less than Spurgeon himself. I also have many Reformed Baptist friends whom I will continually hold in high esteem. I have attended their churches and conferences, and will always cherish the fellowship I have with them in Christ. I have nothing personal at all with anyone and everyone who disagrees with a major teaching of the Reformed confessions (e.g., the Sabbath or infant baptism).

  10. This is my answer:

    For Albert Medina:
    1.Calvin and the Three Forms of Unity does not hold to strict sabbatarianism as the Westminster does. The HC does not identify the 7th day as the Christian Sabbath. It is the Lord’s Day for the Dutch.
    Q. What is God’s will for you
    in the fourth commandment?
    A. First,
    that the gospel ministry and education for it be maintained,^1
    and that, especially on the festive day of rest,
    I regularly attend the assembly of God’s people^2
    to learn what God’s Word teaches,^3
    to participate in the sacraments,^4
    to pray to God publicly,^5
    and to bring Christian offerings for the poor.^6
    Second,
    that every day of my life
    I rest from my evil ways,
    let the Lord work in me through his Spirit,
    and so begin already in this life
    the eternal Sabbath.^7
    Compare this with WCF:
    VII. As it is of the law of nature, that, in general, a due proportion of time be set apart for the worship of God; so, in his Word, by a positive, moral, and perpetual commandment, binding all men in all ages, he hath particularly appointed one day in seven for a Sabbath, to be kept holy unto him: which, from the beginning of the world to the resurrection of Christ, was the last day of the week; and, from the resurrection of Christ, was changed into the first day of the week, which in Scripture is called the Lord’s Day, and is to be continued to the end of the world as the Christian Sabbath.
    VIII. This Sabbath is to be kept holy unto the Lord when men, after a due preparing of their hearts, and ordering of their common affairs beforehand, do not only observe an holy rest all the day from their own works, words, and thoughts about their worldly employments and recreations; but also are taken up the whole time in the public and private exercises of his worship, and in the duties of necessity and mercy.

    2. If a person who who believes in the Three Forms of Unity questions others who wants to restrict the use of the word ‘Reformed’ to those who are only confessionally reformed (even Refbapt who holds to LBCF are excluded by you) -will you now doubt my confessional subscription too? My first and original question is “What is its goal? faithfulness? ” Faithfulness to our Lord? or is it to our clique or faction?
    I maintain that we should allow others to use that term “reformed” as those whose understanding of the Gospel is like ours. We should unite under a “Gospel of Grace banner” and not be ripped apart or divided by other concerns.
    3. NCT came from Sovereign Baptist environment. But it is a new movement. Its core teachings is still being defined. I see similarity between it and the views of Owen, A. Murray, Boston and Vos view of the covenant and idea of progressive revelation. It also addresses the question of how the laws in the OT is applicable in the NT. It is a concern of mine since I was previously a Reconstructionist. I no longer subscribes to a CR beliefs. I am still defining myself in terms of the continuity and discontinuity of the Scriptures. No system is purely continuous nor purely discontinuous. Let me work on that . If you don’t have problems with that-then great for you. But I still hold to the Three Forms of Unity(TFU) . I still think that it defines my beliefs.
    Yet I will still gladly use the term Reformed to those who holds to the doctrines of grace. This is not required by TFU and they are not within our local churches where more strict compliance to the creeds is required.
    Is Muller still in CRC? I know that Pastor Noli is not. Are you too brother-a former CRCP? Many of my friends have problems with CRCP. But it is confessionally Reformed-and though related to CRCNA-CRCP is not the same. I don’t understand this earlier post by Pastor Noli:
    1. “What about the Christian Reformed Church, or some “Presbyterian” churches? Are they Reformed? How do I know if a church is truly Reformed?”
    2. “Would you call the RCA, a very liberal church, Reformed? Would you call the CRCNA, another very liberal church, together with the PCUSA, UCCP, Reformed? Some Pentecostals who hold the Five Points call themselves Reformed, but would you call them Reformed? As for the CRCP, you make the judgment.”
    What happens now? They are confessionally Reformed?-and yet by your group’s definition-they are not? Who now decides who is Reformed?

  11. Whew. Maybe I just let them used the term Reformed for themselves?

    And let others use Sovereign Grace Christians? What do you think?

    I felt I am being triple-teamed there.

  12. Mr. Rodriguez,

    Your assertion regarding the teaching of the Three Forms of Unity on the Sabbath is just that: a mere assertion. You did not even respond at all to the quote I provided which details the doctrinal deliverance of the Synod of Dort itself.

    Though it must be admitted that the Westminister Standards are clearer and more explicit on this matter, the allegation that the Three Forms of Unity differ in SUBSTANCE in its teaching on the Sabbath is refuted by historical facts. Notice how #6 of the Synod of Dort’s doctrinal deliverance regarding the 4th commandment closely resembles Westminster Confession 21:8 (which speaks of the Sabbath):

    “6. This day must be so consecrated to worship that on that day we rest from all servile works, except those which charity and present necessity require; and also from all such recreations as interfere with worship.”

    “VIII. This Sabbath is to be kept holy unto the Lord when men, after a due preparing of their hearts, and ordering of their common affairs beforehand, do not only observe an holy rest all the day from their own works, words, and thoughts about their worldly employments and recreations; but also are taken up the whole time in the public and private exercises of his worship, and in the duties of necessity and mercy. ”

    This is the consensus of the historic Reformed churches on the doctrine. To claim the Three Forms of Unity for oneself, and then reject the historic and confessional Reformed teaching on the Sabbath (as NCT advocates do) is a display of doctrinal inconsistency and/or historical misinformation.

    As to what Calvin really believed on the Sabbath, I recommend for your perusal “Did Calvin Bowl on the Sabbath?” (http://www.fpcr.org/blue_banner_articles/calvin_bowls.htm) by Chris Coldwell. Calvin has been and is still being misrepresented these days, and that article once for all answers the unfounded accusations about the Reformer’s view on the Sabbath.

    You ask,

    “Who now decides who is Reformed?”

    This is the whole point of Pastor Malabuyo’s blog post. The post plus the articles linked were written for the very purpose of answering this question.

    Thank you, and may you have a blessed Lord’s Day! 🙂

  13. I am getting pummeled by 4 persons at the other site:

    For Warren Cruz:

    This is my first post regarding Calvin:

    “The LBCF Reformed baptists is as old as the WCF-at least same generation. Some of original Anabaptist were predestinarian in theology and yet we hounded them like pigs and drown them as one.

    Do we now glory in the fact that Calvin relentlessly and without impunity hounded Servetus with incriminating evidence to the Catholic authorities just because Servetus mentioned in the side of a book of Calvin that “anyone who believes in baptizing infants has a demon” . I know we defended Calvin that he only did this things because he is a man of the times-and therefore we should not be proud of it-and instead be sorrowful and repentant about it. Do we now use this to demarginalize our Reformed Baptist brethren again?”

    It is restricting the term “Reformed” even for baptist who accepts the 5 points. As for Calvin-here is my post:

    “I am not against Calvin and his writings-I have his institutes and commentaries-and use it as well-but he is not on par with the Apostles-nor are his writings. Those killed by the Reformed where the gentler Anabaptists. They are now cal the “stepchildren of the Reformation”. Those killed at Munster are the violent-millenarian ones. So don’t confuse the two.”

    So I am not for discrediting everything about Calvin- I am when he tried to pursue Servetus. Do you think-in our day and age-Calvin was right to incarcerate Servetus and have the death penalty passed for him? If our state becomes a Reformed state- Should Reformed Baptists be excluded from that term? I am not for “polluting the waters”.

    For Albert Medina:

    As I said and is written in TFU :

    ” The HC does not identify the 7th day as the Christian Sabbath. It is the Lord’s Day for the Dutch.”

    Don’t use extra-confessional statements to prove your point. Like you-I also worship and engage in activities mentioned in the HC. But I am not a sabbatarian. I honor my Lord who resurrected in the first day of the week.

  14. Can you imagine Christ and the apostles even caring about a question like Clark’s, “Who is Reformed?” I can’t.

    I find all hyphenated-Christian labels divisive, like 1 Cor. 1-3. Why do Christians love to identify themselves with hyphens, saying, “I’m a…

    1. Fundamentalist-Christian?
    2. Pentecostal-Christian?
    3. Lutheran-Christian?
    3. Anabaptist-Christian?
    4. Reformed-Christian?
    5. Etc.

    Our identity is Christ-centered, not doctrinal distinctive-centered.

    To the best of my knowledge every(?) synonym for “Christians” in the NT includes ALL Christians: saints, brothers, chosen, sheep, the righteous, etc. The NT church never based their identity on doctrinal distinctives. Using names like “Reformed” divides us into the Reformed vs. non-Reformed. Labels can be helpful when you’re among friends, but not among strangers

    IOW, Calvinism is NOT who we are. It’s only what we believe.

    Our identity is gospel-centered.

  15. It is getting harder how to choose your theological friends Will you side with those who are rigid? or those who are lenient?

    And yes- I will side with anyone who brings glory to God in Jesus in Christ especially through his gospel of grace

  16. Brothers in the faith-I think this discussion had gone to its logical end.
    I understand that you want to restrict term ‘Reformed’ to those who are ‘confessionally’ Reformed.

    You know I don’t agree on that. But you have made your own mind regarding this. So I just need to respect your point of view on this.

    May the Lord bless you.

  17. This is Pasto’r Nollie last post-and ends the series there:

    BROTHER Ray, thank you for a good discussion of this matter. We’re thankful for brethren like you who care deeply about these things. In the evangelical world, not many do because they don’t care.

    May the Lord richly bless you and your work in the Lord’s vineyard.

    Sincerely in Christ,
    Nollie

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