The League of Reformed Bloggers is going to start up some discussion points and I thought I would start a little discussion here.
I am and have always been since my conversion very reformed at heart. When I first was converted at the age of 23, I was introduced to Whitefield and Jonathan Edwards. I still remember reading "God Glorified in Man's Dependence" just a few months after I came to Christ. I still remember 1 Cor. 1:30 becoming a very important verse to me. I then read Lloyd-Jones' Revival. Lloyd-Jones uses the text of Isaac re-digging the wells of Abraham as a call to the church to return to Expository preaching that is God-Centered and enlightens the mind of Christians with respect to the doctrines of Sovereign Grace.
So I was blessed that early on in my walk and in the process of discipleship my God was very big and majestic. Being reformed for me was always an issue of worship. Reformed theology and reformed sermons displayed God as so big and beautiful that these contemplations nurtured my worship of God. Reformed theology, I believe produces a heart of worship.
I was also blessed to be mentored by a man who let me minister a great deal in the church. I basically took over his ministry to the homeless when he was promoted to Children's Ministry director. What this did is it made my theology very practical and pastoral. I have always asked this question about a given theology or belief or even practice, I ask, "Does it disciple well?" For example, if we teach people a great deal about spiritual warfare, how does this effect their soul and their well-being. In this example, I found that the emphasis on Spiritual Warfare discipled very poorly. People will say, "I am under attack". When in reality they are reaping the consequences of poor character or poor decisions. In this case, the theology (having a big devil) undermines the disciples problem solving journey and even undermines the development of wisdom in their life. I use this example because good Reformed theology is a great anecdote for hyper-spiritual warfare obsessions that many people can develop.
So my challenge is "How does being Reformed positively and negatively effect sanctification?"
This is what we as Reformed pastors and reformed Christians need to consider deeply.
Another question is: "How does our theology effect our good works, especially evangelism?" In the emerging church movement, they talk about entering the Kingdom story of the bible. In other words, if our understanding of the bible is correct then our life should look in many if not all aspects like the story of the bible. Both our relationship with God and the forming of God in us should be assisted by our theology.
Both of these questions: How does being reformed effect discipleship? And How does it effect our evangelism? are questions regarding FRUIT. The most important thing to validate our theology is not if the ideas are self-consistent and systematically logical and reasonable, but whether or not they produce fruit. The answer is inevitably going to be a both/and in that the truth should produce fruit that truly remains. In such issues of theology and practice it is vital that we are precise. Small errors have large negative consequences as movements develop.
So I ask how does your theology relate to your practice. This is the bottom line.