Tag: Reformed theology

  • A WORD FOR THOSE WHO CANNOT BELIEVE: FAITH AS ENCOUNTER

    In the Bible “faith” rarely means “belief”—at least, not in the sense that “belief” has come to have in popular Christianity: what I will call “belief about.” We are not saved by belief. This is not what the Bible teaches. But if my experience is at all representative, this is what many in church think […]

  • A Meditation for the New Year: Melancholy and Hope

    For an aging boomer like myself, the years now come around far too swiftly. We are on the cusp of the year of our Lord 2023. If you were born, as I was, sometime before the midpoint of the previous century, 2023 seems hardly imaginable. And worse, as the years go by, they seem increasingly […]

  • A CHRISTMAS MEDITATION

    Christmas is never the New Testament’s first thought. The stories of the birth of Jesus are found in only two of the gospels, Matthew and Luke. Our Christmas celebrations and songs are narrower still, mostly from Luke. Matthew’s account we slip in and around the Luke story as best we can, putting camels in our […]

  • SPEAKING TO THE PRESENT AGE: TIM KELLER AND MARILYNNE ROBINSON

    I’ve been writing about Calvin and Calvinism lately, and I mean to write more. I have lately been spending time reading and rereading Calvin’s chapters on divine providence with which he concludes the first book of the Institutes of the Christian Religion. I’ll get back to that and to Calvin’s approach to scripture in subsequent posts, but […]

  • RETRIEVING CALVIN. THE FIRST IN A SHORT SERIES: WHAT WE KNOW BEFORE WE KNOW

    We have failed Calvin. I mean the man, Jehan Cauvin, as he was known at the time, not the place. We have read Calvin through the eyes of those who came after, those who created the system known as Calvinism. Calvin was not himself a Calvinist. The late I. John Hesselink notes that: Calvinists come […]

  • CONFESSIONALISM: WHAT IT MEANS TO BE A CONFESSIONAL CHURCH. THESES ON DENOMINATIONALISM 8

    Soooo, we—we Christian Reformed (CRC) types, that is—seem to be having a discussion about confessionalism: what it means to be a confessional church. As is often the case with conversations like this in churches of whatever kind, we are backing into it. The CRC Synod 2022 declared its interpretation of Question and Answer 108 (Q&A […]

  • HOLD THOSE GRAVAMINA: WHY FILING A GRAVAMEN MIGHT NOT BE THE RIGHT MOVE FOR THOSE WHO DISAGREE WITH SYNOD 2022

    If Synod 2022 of the Christian Reformed Church (CRC) has done anything at all, it has popularized an obscure Latin-based word, “gravamen.” The word is used in the law to mean the weighty part of a complaint, from gravis, “heavy.” But that’s not how it is used in the CRC church order. In the CRC universe, […]

  • WHAT THE SYNOD DID NOT TALK ABOUT: THESES ON DENOMINATIONAL LIFE 7

    Start with a question: Where in the deliberations of synod–Synod 2022 of the Christian Reformed Church (CRC)–was attention given to the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC)? I realize that synods, whether CRC or any other denomination, are focused on their own stuff and rarely bring up anything happening in other denominations, but this was a synod […]

  • WHAT TRUE ORTHODOXY LOOKS LIKE: THESES ON DENOMINATIONAL LIFE 6

    One of my correspondents recently put an interesting question to me: “Are there any truths that you would include in a summary of Christian (or perhaps, Biblical) Orthodoxy? If so, what would they be and how would you arrive at them?” There may well have been a barb in the question, something like, “Clay, do […]

  • WHITENESS: THESES ON DENOMINATIONAL LIFE 5

    Kuyper and the Square Inch In these posts, I’ve been reflecting on denominational life. My focus has been on my own denomination, the Christian Reformed Church (CRC), especially the CRC after Synod 2022, but I intend these reflections to be applicable more broadly to denominationalism in general. Which said may make you wonder where I […]