What I Mean by "Reformed"

Hello all, I wanted to briefly write up some basic information about what I mean when I say “Reformed Charismatic.” Some may say Charismatic Calvinist (like this: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Rvv8Mz9EiTE) and others may say Reformed (like this: https://churchleaders.com/pastors/pastor-articles/314103-can-reformed-charismatic-matt-chandler-thinks.html).

Before I begin, I must admit a few things. Firstly, I am not getting into what I mean by charismatic due to the majority of my readers already having an established understanding of what I mean. Secondly, this is just scratching the surface but definitely gets you headed in the right direction. Thirdly, the overall idea of a "Reformed" individual means they honor their Word to a deeper level than most - I dare say.

Reformed?

But what exactly does it mean? And what exactly do I mean? Well – firstly, I must admit the word ‘reformed’ can largely leave you assuming many things (as my lovely wife pointed out to me). You could assume I believe in Calvinism (I do with one challenging reservation), you could also believe I cling to complementarianism (I do in some regard, but, that is for another time), or that I hold fast to cessationism (not this, obviouly).


Here are quick links if you do not know the above terminology.

Sam Storms says in this YouTube, “the same man who wrote Romans 9 (God's sovereign election) also said, ‘I’m glad I speak in tongues more than you all.' So deal with it." That is more or less how I feel in regard to my Charismatic side.


As someone who has witnessed miracles, wonders and speaks in tongues – I know without a shadow of a doubt that spiritual gifts have not ceased. I affirm prophets (though absolutely hold them to a stricter judgement than most charismatics), I affirm apostles (not the original apostles, but essentially a role similar to what they accomplished- some call them "missionaries" but I feel they are a little more than even this), I affirm tongues, gifts, visions, healings etc. I do believe God performs miracles based upon His will alone (reformed belief) but that He often uses certain individuals to do so because of their God-given role (charismatic lean). I still believe angels and demons are active, but I also believe demonic intervention is only allowed by God when we have an open door and He is speaking/revealing to us we need to change. I also (as a reformed lean) believe that we often give “the devil” far too much credit. Often times our “trials and tribulations” are brought about by God for His glory. In fact, I think they always are or at least should be looked at as an opportunity to glorify God.

As someone who is "reformed", I want to also solicit Sam Storms opinion on what “reformed” means. On his website, he lists 10 things that “reformed” persons believe. I agree with all 10. They may sound repetitive, but I believe they are important to distinguish one from the other. They all deal with God’s sovereignty and if He is sovereign, what that actually means. My heart has upmost peace agreeing with these 10 points:

1. To be Reformed means that you consistently acknowledge, even though you do not fully understand, God’s providential design in even the most seemingly random and painful events.

2. To be Reformed means that you attribute your salvation to God and God alone: from its inception at the time of the new birth, through the progressive sanctifying influence of the Spirit during the course of one’s Christian life, to its consummation at the moment Christ returns and we are finally and fully glorified.

3. To be Reformed means that you have sufficient confidence in divine providence that you will always look for the divine setup in every human setback.

4. To be Reformed means that you affirm the necessity and passionately pursue the use of God’s ordained means as much as you celebrate and confidently rest in the certainty of his ordained ends.

  • “In any case, he believed in the power and importance of prayer as a means employed by God in the effectual fulfillment of his will. Simply put, we must never presume that God will grant us apart from prayer what he has ordained to grant us only by means of prayer. We may not have the theological wisdom to fully decipher how prayer functions in relation to God’s will, but we must never cast it aside on the arrogant and unbiblical assumption that it is ultimately irrelevant to God’s purpose for us and others.” – Sam Storms on Sovereignty & Prayer

5. To be Reformed means you humbly receive suffering as a gift of God’s grace no less so than you do the blessing of salvation.

6. To be Reformed means that although I will always act responsibly to protect my family and my property, when so-called natural disasters strike, such as tornadoes, earthquakes, volcanoes, hurricanes, and tsunamis, I will humbly acknowledge that there is no such thing as a random raindrop or a wayward wind or so much as a molecule in nature that is not subservient to the mysterious providential purposes of God.

7. To be Reformed means that you never live in fear of Satan or his demons or doubt the ultimate victory that God will achieve over his and our enemies.

8. To be Reformed means that you will always resist the temptation to become pragmatic or manipulative in your evangelistic outreach.

9. only the Reformed can consistently and sincerely pray for God to save souls.

10. To be Reformed means that you are a compatibilist.


Here are six examples of how compatibilist would think (once again from Sam Storms):

  • (1) Exhaustive divine foreknowledge is compatible with genuine freedom of choice.

  • (2) Foreordination is compatible with moral accountability.

  • (3) Irresistible grace does not reduce the human to a robot or marionette. Irresistible grace and the integrity of human response to the gospel are perfectly compatible.

  • (4) Total depravity or the bondage of the human will is perfectly compatible with God’s appeal to all mankind to repent and believe the gospel.

  • (5) It is perfectly compatible for us to sincerely preach a universal gospel, pray for the lost, and for God to elect men and women to salvation unconditionally.

  • (6) The certainty of God’s foreordained ends does not empty his prescribed means of their validity and necessity.


And simply (through Scripture)

  • (1) that whereas “no one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and anyone to whom the Son chooses to reveal him,” Jesus is able to say, with all sincerity, that “all who labor and are heavy laden” may “come” to him and find “rest” for their “souls” (Matthew 11:27-29).

  • (2) that whereas God “has mercy on whomever he wills” and “hardens whomever he wills” (Romans 9:18), Paul is able to say, with all sincerity, “my heart’s desire and prayer to God for them is that they may be saved” (Romans 10:1).

  • (3) that Peter is able to say, with all sincerity, that “this Jesus, delivered up according to the definite plan and foreknowledge of God, you crucified and killed by the hands of lawless men” (Acts 2:23).

Romans 9:13-21

13 As it is written, “Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated.”

14 What shall we say then? Is there injustice on God's part? By no means! 15 For he says to Moses, “I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion.16 So then it depends not on human will or exertion,[b] but on God, who has mercy. 17 For the Scripture says to Pharaoh, “For this very purpose I have raised you up, that I might show my power in you, and that my name might be proclaimed in all the earth.” 18 So then he has mercy on whomever he wills, and he hardens whomever he wills.

19 You will say to me then, “Why does he still find fault? For who can resist his will?” 20 But who are you, O man, to answer back to God? Will what is molded say to its molder, “Why have you made me like this?” 21 Has the potter no right over the clay, to make out of the same lump one vessel for honorable use and another for dishonorable use?


If you are new to theology, this is one of the first things you will find. How does God’s sovereignty deal with man’s free will? The reality is that the two seem to be at odds, but two things are abundantly clear in Scripture. Firstly, God is in control and sovereign over all. Secondly, we are carnal, fallen and depraved and we are in responsible for our sin. Honestly, once I was able to overcome the “feelings” with Calvinism, I fully accepted it. Scripturally, it is obviously (mostly) true. It just doesn’t “feel” right. But that is why we, humans, carnal by nature, cannot trust our feelings. We cling to what we discover in Scripture.


Just a few famous “Reformed” Christian leaders:

- J.I. Packer

- James White

- Jeff Durbin

- John MacArthur

- John Piper

- R.C. Sproul

- Voddie Baucham

- Paul Washer

- Matt Chandler

- Charles Spurgeon

- John Calvin

- John Newton (wrote “Amazing Grace”)

- Jonathan Edwards

- Martin Luther

- So many more...


Consider John Newton's "Amazing Grace." It teaches total depravity and by grace alone are we saved. To beliefs of reformers. In fact, there is so much reformed theology laced into hymns because church history was mostly reformed. Jonathan Edwards is another man I am beginning to study and I am astounded it took me 27 years to even research his life. I encourage you to know church history and the likes of Edwards, Spurgeon, Luther (reformation), and hymn-writers (Hello, "It is well" backstory).


Also, I agree with the 5 Solas. If you do not know what those are, I recommend knowing. You can find them here. We also did not get into T.U.L.I.P. other than the link I provided. But I agree with T.U.I.P. (a 4-pointer) but I also understand the argument for L.


So to put in plainly, I agree with the likes of C.H. Spurgeon on man's natural depraved state and God's divine election but I also do not believe that the empowerment on the Holy Spirit has ceased. I could go in depth on each particular issue (like tongues) and I need to - and I will. Soon. This is not to say you cant believe in Arminianism or a Molinism, but my study and convictions based on Scripture have caused my lean. But for now, do your own research and think on it with me.


-RP


A good source for understanding the debate: https://www.desiringgod.org/interviews/the-heart-of-the-calvinist-arminian-divide


Here is a satire definition of Calvinism vs. Arminianism that I found quite fun: https://babylonbee.com/news/bee-explains-calvinism-vs-arminianism/

Let me know what you think

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