After spending fourteen years in Calvinism, Brenda Nickel realized that people needed a quick and organized way to understand the slick deception of Calvinism. She has compiled a clear and brief treatment of Calvinism’s major tenets to make it easy for anyone to grasp.
Basic Reformed Theology Explained And Exposed
This manuscript began as an effort to help local friends and their teenagers distinguish the differences between Reformed theology with its gospel of Calvinism, from the biblical theology and it’s gospel of faith from the heart. We set aside an afternoon to discuss these two systems. I assumed they all had at least some knowledge of Calvinism. However as the class progressed, it became clear that much more discussion and many more class sessions were needed to cover the detailed and nuanced system of Reformed theology. Eight sessions later, we finished only to find that we had scratched the surface of this confusing theology. This notebook is a compilation of materials covered in our class to help those interested understand the differences between biblical theology and Protestant theology.
The time between classes provided time to research topics more thoroughly, create charts and prepare more lengthy class handouts. This notebook is not meant to be an exhaustive scholarly work. My intention is to help the simple and uniformed get a quick, working knowledge of Reformed Theology and its attending doctrines.
It is useful to realize that different theologies are taught within the visible church today; the two predominant ones functioning under the titles ‘Dispensational Theology’ and ‘Protestant Reformed Theology.’ Each has distinct origins and philosophies for interpreting the Bible which causes their theologies to be quite different. They each have different characteristics, books, authors, scholars, seminaries, churches, evangelistic techniques, doctrinal statements, views of the Christian life, views of the Bible, views of God, views of the cross, understandings of salvation, of the covenants, and different definitions for the same terms. The lines between these two theologies are blurred for many Christians when the Word of God is not clearly taught, discussed and compared against false theologies. This document is an attempt to clarify these two approaches in understanding God’s intended message for man which is conveyed through His Word. To get God’s message wrong is to get His identity, gospel, theology, sanctification and eschatology wrong.
As these two theologies are compared, it will become evident, by the test of scripture, which is a philosophy of man and which is the truth of God. Hopefully by the end of this notebook, the reader will easily identify Reformed theology when encountered. It is advised that those who finish this notebook read reformed documents to see how this theology is being promoted under the guise of truth.
Reformed theology has lodged itself comfortably within the walls of the visible church. Most believers in the church today assume Protestant theology is basically the same theology found in the Bible or in most Christian churches. Christians innocently point to the ‘Five Solas’ of the Reformation, the various creeds and confessions and find they ostensibly agree with their own personal beliefs.
Most assume that the Reformers had their doctrine straight when they reformed the Roman Catholic Church. Few realize how much Catholicism was retained in the Reformation and how a different gospel was systematized in this movement. It is useful to keep in mind the Reformers were attempting to reform the Roman Catholic Church rather than separate from it. Objections to Papal abuses led the reformers back to the fathers of the Catholic Church rather than to the Bible alone. Hence, Protestant theology retains much Catholicism that is ‘baptized’ by an Augustinian understanding of scripture. Also keep in mind that the Reformers and adherents subsequent to the 16th century Reformation put Christians who didn’t submit to their theology to death. This fact alone should give us pause and consider whether Reformed theology is of God.
In the pages of this document, the reader will find that Reforme theology, in its purest form, is an entirely different belief system from that of the Bible, yet operates under the guise and words of true Christianity. It is important to note that most people brought into the scheme of Protestant theology don’t fully understand all the nuances of this system. Unsuspecting Christians who read or listen Reformed teaching will unwittingly have their thinking and actions molded by these precepts even while denying the label ‘Calvinist.’ Most assume teaching from either of these two “camps” is basically the same and consider any differences to be minor or not important enough to take issue with. What is not readily apparent is how Protestant theology significantly distorts the character of God, subtly redefines the gospel and ruins the Christian walk by faith by replacing it with works. What a person believes dramatically affects their thoughts, choices, and behavior….in short, how a person lives. Therefore it’s important to be biblically correct about our theology, the character of God, and the gospel of Christ so we can walk by faith and offer true salvation to all.
My desire is to help free those already under the influence of Calvinism and inoculate others from being taken captive to it. My hope in writing this notebook is to expose Reformation theology for what it is. May we all stand before Christ without shame and hear those blessed words, “Well done, good and faithful servant.”