Tag Archives: Reformed Theology


The "T" matters because all have sinned and there are none that seek the face of the Lord.

If there are none that seek the face of the Lord, how do we find Him? The answer is a hard one - for me it was the most difficult of "TULIP".

If we, in our sin, do not have the ability to seek after God, then it must be God that seeks after us.

That is the "U" - unconditional election. Predestination.

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love he predestined us for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved (Eph 1:3-6 ESV)

Logic tells us that if we are steeping in the "T", we cannot seek God.  We are chosen in Christ.


Our election is not based on the good that we have done - it is unconditional upon our behavior.

It is the very idea of our salvation NOT being rooted in ourselves that points to the glory of God.  Our salvation is not of ourselves, it is by grace; faith is the vehicle that God has chosen.

It is not of works.  We are chosen.

"Total Depravity" matters.

It matters because if there is some little bit of good in us, then we can somehow try to earn our salvation.

Mormons say, "For we labor diligently to write, to persuade our children, and also our brethren, to believe in Christ, and to be reconciled to God; for we know that it is by grace that we saved, after all we can do." (II Nephi 25:22) - emphasis mine

Total depravity matters, because if we can earn our salvation, there is no need for a savior.

We are not just a little "sick", so that we can get better and so attain salvation.

No - we are DEAD in our sin. We can no more walk toward our own salvation than Lazarus was able to walk out of his tomb before Christ called him.

It is not until we understand the depth of our sin that we can fully understand our need for our Saviour.

It is not until we see how bad we are, that we see how good God is.

How Deep The Father’s Love For Us

Words and Music by Stuart Townend
©1995 Kingsway's Thankyou Music

How deep the Father's love for us
How vast beyond all measure
That He would give His only Son
To make a wretch His treasure

How great the pain of searing loss
The Father turns His face away
As wounds which mar the Chosen One
Bring many sons to glory

Behold the Man upon a cross
My guilt upon His shoulders
Ashamed, I hear my mocking voice
Call out among the scoffers

It was my sin that held Him there
Until it was accomplished
His dying breath has brought me life
I know that it is finished

I will not boast in anything
No gifts, no powr's, no wisdom
But I will boast in Jesus Christ
His death and resurrection

Why should I gain from His reward?
I cannot give an answer
But this I know with all my heart
His wounds have paid my ransom

We all have one - a heart that is steeped in rebellion. Reformed theology calls is "the total depravity of man".

We see in in children; for many of them "mine" and "no" are among the first words they use.

We see it in teenagers when they learn that they have wings and start to use them - many times in rebellion instead of freedom.

We see it in adults when we observe the "nine you're fine, ten you're mine" rule of speed limits.

I see it in myself. I sleep with a CPAP and I hate it. Most mornings I wake up with the mask laying next to my pillow and a vague recollection of ripping it off my face in the middle of the night. Why? Because I DON'T LIKE IT!

We see it rebellion against parents, against government, against laws, against doctors, against physical limitations.

And it all stems from a rebellion against God.

John Piper writes: When we speak of man's depravity we mean man's natural condition apart from any grace exerted by God to restrain or transform man.

Total depravity does not mean that all people are as bad as they could be - it means that every part of every person is steeped in original sin. Our minds, our will, our emotions, our body - everything. It is all affected by sin.

Scripture tells us of the nature of man.

The heart is deceitful

Jer 17:9 The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it?

People are slaves to sin

Romans 6:20 For when you were slaves of sin, you were free in regard to righteousness.

There is nobody who is righteous.

Romans 3: 10-12 "None is righteous, no, not one; no one understands; no one seeks for God. All have turned aside; together they have become worthless; no one does good, not even one."

We do not accept spiritual things

1 Cor. 2:14 The natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned.

We are dead in sin

Eph. 2:4-5 But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, 5even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ

and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind. (v.3)

Why are we all thus?

herefore, just as sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned— (Romans 5:12)

Okay - here's my thing. I have about 60 Spanish flashcards that I carry around with me. To those I've added important information that I want to learn (student bus numbers, school phone numbers, other phone numbers that I want to know more of besides "speed dial 2".

To those I had started to add the Westminster Shorter Catechism, but after only a couple of questions decided to go with the Larger. I'm also using the ESV
Q. 1. What is the chief and highest end of man?

A. Man's chief and highest end is to glorify God (1), and fully to enjoy Him forever(2).

(1)...to glorify God

  • Roman 11:36 For of Him and through Him, and to Him, are all things; to whom be glory for ever. Amen.
  • 1 Corinthians 10:31 So whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.

(2)---and fully to enjoy Him forever.

  • Psalm 73:24-28 (this is not going to go on a business card - I don't usually memorize with verse numbers within the text, but I'm leaving them in here so I can use more than one card...)
  • 24 You guide me with your counsel,
    and afterward you will receive me to glory.
    25 Whom have I in heaven but you?
    And there is nothing on earth that I desire besides you.
    26My flesh and my heart may fail,
    but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.27
    you put an end to everyone who is unfaithful to you.
    28But for me it is good to be near God;
    I have made the Lord GOD my refuge,
    that I may tell of all your works.
  • John 17:21-23that they may all be one, just as you, Father, are in me, and I in you, that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me. The glory that you have given me I have given to them, that they may be one even as we are one, I in them and you in me, that they may become perfectly one, so that the world may know that you sent me and loved them even as you loved me.

1 Comment

Here are some conclusions/questions...

The author concludes that babies of covenant families are given faith by God. He is "happily agnostic" when it comes to the salvation of babies that die in unbeliving families.

If we are saved by faith, it would follow that babies have some sort of faith. If they do not have faith, then how are they saved?

If babies have faith, but can fall away, what does that do for perseverence?

I'm fairly new to Reformed theology and I know that baptism does not save. However, Lusk seems to say that baptism is more than a symbol, it is more like the (my words) door through which salvation comes.

How does one relate baptism to salvation?

If baptism is a symbol, and not a vehicle, why baptize infants before they understand the symbolism?

Here is a tough one. I spent years outside the church. Looking back, I can pinpoint a moment when my relationship with God became very real. Given it is possible that is the moment I "got saved" - are the babies that I lost before that moment saved or lost?


I followed a link from somewhere (I can't remember where or I'd give credit) to this book. I'm relatively new to Reformed theology and barely have a grip on paedobaptism. I recognize that it's Biblical, but hesitate on the Scriptural backing. So, as kind of a general "more information" kind of thing - I got this book.


The author is definitely "truly reformed" - and that's ok. Sometimes I find myself not wanting to sound "TR", yet believing a lot of the same things, but really not wanting the attitudes that I see in some of the "TR" folks. Anyway - that's a whole different topic. The result of the "TR" is that the book is written to Reformed or "Covenant" families.

In my jouney into my own reformation I treated a student from Calvin Seminary to a snack out and one of the hard questions that I asked was "what about babies that die, before or after they're born?" This book (for me, anyway) answered the question for believing parents (unbelieving parents are still up in the air - but they don't believe, so they're not asking the question anyway.)

Here's a link to the book

I'm going to try to go through it with notes and blog about it - Christmas break is coming up


1 Comment

Sola Scriptura
Solus Christus

If we believe that Scripture is our only infallible and ultimate authority for faith and things of faith, it follows that all other theology must flow from Scripture. When when theology comes from extra-Biblical writing and/or historical writings and/or tradition and cannot be backed up by Scripture, the theology must be discarded.

Solus Christus - Christ alone. By Christ's finished work on the cross, alone, are we saved.

There is no other mediator (or mediatrix) (1 Timothy 2:5 For there is one God and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus...

There is no other Redeemer (or redemptress) (Hebrews 9:15 For this reason Christ is the mediator of a new covenant, that those who are called may receive the promised eternal inheritance—now that he has died as a ransom to set them free from the sins committed under the first covenant. )

John Calvin said in the Institutes of the Christian Religion, "Christ stepped in, took the punishment upon himself and bore the judgment due to sinners. With his own blood he expiated the sins which made them enemies of God and thereby satisfied him...we look to Christ alone for divine favour and fatherly love!"

The Heidelberg Catechism, Question 30 asks, "Do such then believe in Jesus the only Saviour who seek their salvation and happiness in saints, in themselves, or anywhere else? They do not; for though they boast of him in words yet in deeds they deny Jesus the only deliverer and Saviour: for one of these two things must be true that either Jesus is not a complete Saviour or that they who by a true faith receive this Saviour must find all things in him necessary to their salvation."


I'm posting this tonight, before getting my "stuff" around for tomorrow - and tomorrow will be a long day, I'm driving Manda halfway to Chicago to spend the week with my husband's sisters (they're still a big part of our life). They'll be heading up to the Wisconsin Dells so I'll be missing my girl.

I'm going to start with what I believe to be true, starting with the "Five Solas".

I am pretty new to Reformed Theology, but once I got my mind wrapped around the idea that what I grew up with had more problems than what I wanted to deal with, I embraced this. I also chose one of the more liberal Reformed demoninations (on purpose).

Anyway...my belief about Sola Scriptura is that the Holy Scriptures are our final authority. It is not that we don't recognize any other authority - we recognize our spiritual mentors, pastors, etc. But all of the other authorities are measured against Scripture.

Paul praised the Bereans for examining what he said against Scripture; we do the same. We don't have our Scripture interpreted for us through man - the man is judged against Scripture. If they don't agree - Scripture wins.

If a person tells me that something is permissible, but the Bible says that it is not - the Bible wins (example: homosexuality).

If a person tells me that something is not permissible, it is up to him to show me in the Bible where the law comes from (example: having a drink with dinner).

If a person is teaching a doctrine that is not in the Bible, that doctrine is rejected (Tongues as the sign of the New Covenant).

I'm not such a big fan of Martin Luther, but this is what he said, "Unless I am overcome with testimonies from Scripture or with evident reasons -- for I believe neither the Pope nor the Councils, since they have often erred and contradicted one another -- I am overcome by the Scripture texts which I have adduced, and my conscience is bound by God's Word."

I also have problems with parts of the Reformed confessions (as does my church) and the confessions are not my authority, the Bible is. However, when they put things in a better way than I can come up with, I'll quote them. The Belgic Confession says, "We believe that [the] holy Scriptures fully contain the will of God, and that whatsoever man ought to believe unto salvation is sufficiently taught therein...Neither may we consider any writings of men, however holy these men may have been, of equal value with those divine Scriptures nor ought we to consider custom or the great multitude, or antiquity, or succession of times and persons, or councils, decrees or statutes, as of equal value with the truth of God... Therefore, we reject with all our hearts whatsoever does not agree with this infallible rule"

In short, every authority, every standard and every message must be examined against the Scriptures. There is no man, no tradition that has more authority than the Word of God.