Two weeks ago, I listened to the first lesson on Reformed Theology by Adam Kaloostian here. I'm about to listen to the next one. Last week I had women's fellowship at Trinity and just forgot, though I've been listening to Sinners and Saints archives every day. Here are the questions and answers from last time to the questions Adam provided.
1. Why are you listening to this series on “What is the Reformed Faith?”? What are your thoughts on “the Reformed faith”? Are you expecting to hear anything in particular?
I seriously would like to teach this to my teens. I would like pointers and I'll possibly need to make my own, but I think these are good questions to ask. The Reformed faith for me gives me identity and security. I first embraced it when I was 18. Before, I was insecure about friends and fitting in in high school, but finding my identity in monergism caused me to really appreciate God, find confidence that he'll never leave me but only grow me into holiness, and it made me feel way cooler than the people I knew who had no life apart from their friends or what was popular, looking for love in sex and music and not finding it. I found what I was looking for, and I didn't need to look for it. It found me. I really love that I have freedom from taking any credit for salvation, mine or anyone else's, and I know that God can override all my mistakes.
2. Are you a religious person? Do you fit among the typical “categories” of people mentioned?
Yes, I can say that I'm religious. All the majority will say, "Don't be religious, embrace Jesus." I would agree wholeheartedly, but I do follow some ritual routine, and I'm not ashamed of it. Jesus ordained order in his church and in his followers, and if that's religion, then too bad. I'm following what Jesus set up. Here are Adam's categories:
Not religious at all: not me.
All religions are the same: yes, but then there's Christianity and following Jesus. This is where it becomes something greater than religion.
Strongly convinced of the Bible/fanatic: yes, ma'am. I'm a Jesus freak! I carry my Bible at school and soon I'll wear my Spurgeon shirt and hand out sermon excerpts from him on Halloween since I have class and can't hand out candy at my door. And anyway, if Jesus's answers revealed in the Bible aren't the answer, then there is none.
Fervent follower of other religions: been sympathizing with the RCs. Need to get away from that because it's not the Gospel and not true Christianity. I trust God to save such folk, but there is no Christianity apart from looking to Jesus alone for salvation by faith alone through grace alone. There's also no higher authority than his word and all the glory goes to God.
Strong skeptic of Christianity: not Christianity, just Christians who publish books. I went to Cokesbury today. I only found one packet of catechism curricula and it was by the PCUSA. I couldn't buy it. I leafed through it, didn't see glaring errors, but they said nothing about the Virgin Birth, and seriously, I'm not giving them money. To their credit, I was there an hour before I found Wrong Bell's stuff. They even have the audacity to sell Love Wins. There was Phyllis Tickle, "Embracing Emergent christianity" to which I say no, that's not Christianity. And after heretic and heretic, I found two John MacArthurs and was satisfied, and even him I'm mad at for being so anti-paedobaptism.
Heart a lot and want to hear more: I can never hear enough. I want the true Reformed truth.
3. What are some typical obstacles to people thinking about religious questions?
Some of my obstacles are being afraid of hurting people. So many people have known no different than legalism or shallow easy-believism. I want to tell the truth, but I don't want to hurt people so much that I harm them and hinder the Gospel. Adam also suggested that people have met despicable religious people. True that. Scary reformed people who don't believe in evangelism and are legalistic. Past bad Christian experiences that didn't work. It's all anti-intellectual. Back to me, I'm also afraid of being or appearing judgmental. Ultimately, people are just lazy. They've grown up in a church or an ethnic focused church that teach bad theology. It took me till last February to finally leave the PCUSA, even Smyrna.
An aside from Adam, "God has a good reason for the bad things that he caused to come to pass. We have no right to question him. Without God, we have no basis for bad or good." Again, we cannot fully comprehend God.
4. What do we mean when we say that the Reformed faith is “true”?
Adam: It is the only true faith because it conforms to Biblical faith. Any claims that compete with the Bible are false.