Dear Ben & Guest Blogger Ben

I confess, I am disheartened.

After reading that non-Reformed Christians focus more on self than anything, I felt it appropriate to share the foundation of my own faith–the words that I come back to time and again when trying to define Christianity. You might remember this…it’s a couple of years old:

I believe in God, the Father Almighty,
the Maker of heaven and earth,
and in Jesus Christ, His only Son, our Lord:

Who was conceived by the Holy Ghost,
born of the virgin Mary,
suffered under Pontius Pilate,
was crucified, dead, and buried;

He descended into hell.

The third day He arose again from the dead;

He ascended into heaven,
and sitteth on the right hand of God the Father Almighty;
from thence he shall come to judge the quick and the dead.

I believe in the Holy Ghost;
the holy catholic church;
the communion of saints;
the forgiveness of sins;
the resurrection of the body;
and the life everlasting.

Amen.

Divine Foreknowledge will never unite the Body.

Free Will will never unite the Body.

There is One faith. One hope. One baptism. One Lord.

Calvin wasn’t it. Arminius wasn’t it. Molina wasn’t it. Wesley wasn’t it. Spurgeon wasn’t it.

John Piper…isn’t it.

Can we stop demeaning one another long enough to unite under the one thing that can truly unite us?

I love you, Ben Lem…and I love you, Guest Blogger Ben. You can be in my Jesus Family, even if you disagree with me.

Pax Domini, brothers.

Semmie.

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8 thoughts on “Dear Ben & Guest Blogger Ben

  1. Sarah — these are good words. If we lift Jesus up, He will draw ALL men unto Him, and we will be united by His Holy Spirit. Love you, lady! Nancy

  2. Reformed basically means that when these churches split from the Roman Catholic Church, they were not happy with the way it was being run. (Luther’s 95 Theses) Their true desire was that the RCR reform itself and they can come back and be one big happy family. As for the Presbyterian church where I attend, it is greatly encouraged that you study the Bible. Their goal at least used to be to turn everyone into a layperson/theologian. Check out the history, and you’ll find tha Calvin was not so wrapped up in “Predestination” as he has been made out to be. Believing in predestination is not a litmus for being a Presbyterian. And all the Creeds, Confessions, and Catechisms are all Biblically based.

    I can go into even further depth if you want me to. How Reformed Theology and particularly the Presbyterians have had a lot to do with the founding of this country and were responsible for the start of many well-known colleges and universities. You might want to take a look a Presbyterian history book- it’s a very interesting read. Billy Graham was a Presbyterian turned Baptist (A joke: What’s the difference between a Presbyterian and a Baptist. The Baptist is still wet behind the ears.) Scofield was a Presbyterian as well other very notable theologians. Four of the signers of the Declaration of Independence were Presbyterians. The British Parliament called the Revolutionary War “…that Presbyterian rebellion”. It is interesting stuff!

    • Truthfully, I’ve read quite a bit about the history of the Reformation. I don’t find it offensive or problematic. What is off-putting to me are the reformed Christians who speak and act in a manner that is demeaning towards non-reformed Christians.

      For instance, you say that your church encourages everyone to study scripture. Yes? What you didn’t say is that “reformed Christians study the Bible, where non-reformed tend not to worry about that.” If you had said that, I would have been hurt by it.

      There needs to be a recognition, I think, that many of the problems facing Western Christianity are not a result of what church they attend or what their soteriology is, but of the culture that has infiltrated the Body of Christ. I certainly am not opposed to reformed theology. But I have had more than my share of so-called reformed Believers call me selfish or arrogant for thinking that I can affect my own salvation (which I don’t believe, anyway). I am just weary of the discussion, to be honest.

      I love ya, Steve Ward. Thanks for your insight.

      • There was a recent survey done by the Presbyterian Church among its parishioners. The results were quite appalling. You can read it here.

        http://www.pcusa.org/research/monday/biblemm.htm

        There is a great deal of falling away all across the board. Many churches have become social clubs, and I know that through experience at the last church I went to- also a Presbyterian church (Evangelical Presby) I was basically pushed out of the praise band there when this one guy who managed a Chick Fillet came into the band wanting- and getting to play keyboard. We already had a pianist and me, of course. Since I played an electronic keyboard with a variety of sounds, everything worked well together…until this Chick Fillet guy came in. After two Sundays, he was using the same voices that I had been using. He was terrible! And because he was using the same voices that I was using each song, I couldn’t tell if it were me goofing up. At that last practice (early before church) the praise band leader came to me and asked me to play “blats” of trumpets and other such intermittant sounds. I quietly packed up my stuff, said I wasn’t feeling well, and walked out! No one bothered to follow up on how I was doing, to see if I was okay, zip, nada! This was one of three things that caused me to have a mental breakdown soon after! it’s also why I haven’t seriously played my keyboards or my guitar for years. I only got back to playing bass at the church I’m at now for maybe five or six years.

        By the way, the Chick Fillet guy was also paying for/sponsoring air time on the local Christian radio station, broadcasting the previous Sunday’s sermon. I never realized that this sort of “good ol’ boys” system was going on in any church for that matter.

        So I wasn’t trying to start a fight, or hurt your feelings, or anything of the sort. All of this “digging up the past” is unsettling for me even as I write this. But I am trying to get “back in the saddle again”, if I can quote an old cowboy song.

        I love you, too. And I wouldn’t for the world ever try to upset you. I’m sorry.

      • Oh, hey, Steve…you did NOT upset me. I thought your remarks about reformation and the history of the church (particularly Presbyterianism) were informed and non-offensive.

        As your new post evidences, there are problems in every church, every denomination. That is precisely why I get frustrated when one particular group (whether it’s reformed, IHOPers, catholics…whatever) is condescending toward another–because we are none a perfect example.

        Of course, we all know this. And I know that many of the voices that have frustrated me in the past would agree with me, that they had no intention of being condescending or dismissive. And to my own discredit, I tend to be sensitive to the topic of reformed soteriology.

        I am sorry for your experience. I know how hard that must have been for you–not just the situation itself, but then having no one follow up with you. I am so, so sorry.

        My only hope is that you don’t allow people to keep you from the passions and gifts God has given you.

        Pax, brother.

    • Hiya INU, may I just say “Find a New Topic” or “Guest Blog so you get this Apostasy stuff out of your system”? (luv ya back) :D

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