Our Small Group’s Journey in Becoming Reformed
Our theology group struggles with where we have been, and who we are at present. The great majority of us traveled for years under the banners: “evangelical” and “baptist” and we believed the Arminian theology our pastors taught us.
God’s Spirit has assembled us in a church that faithfully preaches the Reformed faith, derived from the Reformers and the confessional fathers. It is a place of peace and joy for us because of what it is and what it is not.
As a rag tag group of survivors, on the island of misfit toys (our own self-description), most of us have been forced out of local churches in the past. As we spiritually matured, through reading our Bibles and good books that helped us to better understand the Christian faith, we no longer could endure the man-centered preaching that dominates the American church. In questioning the errors, or in preaching the truth, we were asked to leave.
Most of us have lost our relationships with family members and friends, who could not tolerate the doctrines of grace. These are the teachings of the Bible most Christians are not exposed to in their local congregations. Pastors avoid election/reprobation, total depravity, the sovereignty of God, the particular atonement, the exclusivity of grace, faith being a gift not an exercise, and the preservation of the elect, redeemed, regenerated believer.
Our theology group and our little church owe a debt of gratitude to the faithful little publishing houses that focus on the works of pastor/theologians, who have held a high view of God and a low view of man, since the Reformation. These publications were a crucial element to the dismissal of erroneous, popular theology (Arminianism).
The path of theological enlightenment, for most of us, was an elongated journey of years. It was a grueling work out, of destroying false teaching and idolatry. Coupled with this was the resistance of others, who scoffed at us and maligned the teachings we were growing to love more and more.
The resistance to spiritual maturing, in a saint, is like a child pulling on your leg in a game of “king of the mountain.” He may not be ascending, but he will do everything in his power to make sure you do not gain elevation, either.
As we reflect, our group of fourteen souls recognize that it has only been by the grace of God that we find ourselves where we do. Without grace, we would still be back walking in the darkness of the Arminian heresy. No longer “letting God” nor “making free will choices,” we acknowledge the difficulty of our lot.
As recipients of irresistible and illuminating grace, our hearts are filled with immense gratitude for deliverance from self-focus, promulgated by Christian counseling and “just do it,” self-help Christianity. Still, we find ourselves in a progressively smaller remnant of those who claim the name of Christ. Our hearts break for those who we have left down the mountain…not by choice.
There is a knowledge of the Trinity, that every Reformed believer wishes for others to know. It is imperative for Reformed believers to patiently wait for the Spirit of Christ to mature our brethren to the view of sovereign grace. We note, especially, that this is God’s work, so we do not boast in our progress…at all. He has carried us every progressive step, in knowing the truth. Apart from Christ, we would know nothing!
A greater knowledge of Christ is all grace, which is an exclusive work of God. Many who remain in man-centered theology will be exposed, as goats in sheep’s clothing, on the day of judgment, hearing the ominous words of Jesus, “Depart from me, I never knew you (Mt 7:23).” Others, like the members of our little theology group, will grow in grace and in the knowledge of God in Christ, and will delight in seeing the truth of sovereign grace, revealed in the doctrines of grace, which is the glorious Gospel of Jesus Christ.
Spokane Valley, Washington
December 30, 2021