What Reformed Flavor am I?

Discussion in 'Theological Forum' started by Matthew G. Bianco, Jun 10, 2017.

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  1. Matthew G. Bianco

    Matthew G. Bianco Puritan Board Freshman

    I know there are different kinds of reformed, though we all agree on the core reformed (confessional) standards. I wanted to know for a long time, what kind (or flavor) of reformed am I based on my beliefs? Or, what group of people who were considered reformed would my views best fit into (reformed baptist, early Presbyterians, this or that group of the Puritans, etc.) I know many of you are very well read and know a lot! Here are some of my views (I will try to hit a lot of the ones that could make me different within the reformed camp, but some points I'm sure all orthodox reformed agree). I can add more when I think of more to add - or ask me questions here if you want to know more of my beliefs specifically or clarify on something listed here before making an educated decision.

    I affirm all the core Christian beliefs:
    • Trinitarian
    • Deity and humanity of (hypostatic union), virgin birth, death, and physical resurrection/ascension of Jesus
    • Innerancy and infallibility of Scripture
    • Sinful nature of man
    • Substitutionary atonement
    • Etc.

    Defining (fine-tuning) beliefs:

    • Covenantalism
    • "5-point" Calvinism
    • Presuppositionalism
    • Supralapsarianism
    • Strict complementarianism (women shouldn't run for president or be police officers)
    • 5-point "solaist" (not a word, lol)
    • Leaning Presbyterian on ecclesiology
    • Leaning ammillenialist on eschatology
    • Leaning cessasionist (healing can happen through prayer)
    • Believes demonic possession and oppression is real
    • Believes the Church should address witchcraft more today. However, I am careful not to be superstitious and think everything wrong is demonic. Mental illness exists.
    • Leaning padeobaptist
    • Rejects transubstantiation and consubstantiation (Christ is present spiritually in communion).
    • Supports closed communion
    • Strongly opposed to any images or icons in the Church (strict iconoclasm)
    • Opposes priestly vests, collars, et-cetera
    • My only Mariology is that Mary was a virgin when she conceived Christ by the Holy Spirit, and was a very faithful woman (imperfectly so still). Anything more is idolatry.
    • Prefers no musical instruments in worship
    • Prefers the Psalms be sung over hymns (but absolutely doesn't mind hymns - I love traditional hymns :))
    • Opposes celebrating holidays
    • Prefers children be present with parents during worship
    • Believes ministers should never hold government positions
    • The Gospel is a free offer in that it should be shared to all indiscriminately
    • Regeneration always precedes faith
    Last edited: Jun 10, 2017
  2. Ask Mr. Religion

    Ask Mr. Religion Flatly Unflappable

    Your profile states you affirm the Westminster Standards. Why then the tentativeness with clear teachings of the Standards, e.g., ecclesiology, paedobaptism?
  3. greenbaggins

    greenbaggins Administrator Staff Member

    Looks pretty vanilla to me...
  4. Ray

    Ray Puritan Board Freshman

    I was taught that Collars and Genevan gowns are Reformed and Presbyterian. The romish church ripped off collars from the Reformed. Unless I was misinformed.
  5. TylerRay

    TylerRay Puritan Board Senior

    The collars that ministers use in many denominations were invented in Scotland by Presbyterians. And, yes, Geneva gowns are the traditional dress used for preaching in many Reformed churches.

    The Reformed have always rejected the use of clothing that has superstitious import. They have not, however, rejected clothing that distinguishes those with a teaching office from those who do not hold a teaching office.
    Last edited: Jun 10, 2017
  6. Jack K

    Jack K Puritan Board Professor

    I think you are a very typical Reformed flavor: opinionated about everything. ;)
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  7. Ed Walsh

    Ed Walsh Puritan Board Junior

    I might ad. As confused as the rest of us.
    I should say as some of us.
  8. Justified

    Justified Puritan Board Sophomore

    Anything? Seems a little over the top. It is a legitimate Reformed theologoumenon to believe that Mary was perpetually a virgin; in fact, most of the Reformers believed such. Henrich Bullinger, although he later changed his view, even believed in the bodily assumption of Mary. While the latter belief I find very difficult to support-- not much if anything in Scripture and the only "empirical" evidence is that what is purportedly here tomb has no body-- nonetheless, it doesn't seem necessarily idolatrous; on top of this, we have other examples in the Bible of saints being assumed into heaven (e.g., Elijah).

    Anyway, you're just pretty vanilla Reformed, as already indicated, and methinks pretty zealous.
  9. timfost

    timfost Puritan Board Senior

    That's weird... Do they believe she adopted the other children?
  10. Ed Walsh

    Ed Walsh Puritan Board Junior

    Here's Turretin's take. I quoted the whole section thinking it may be interesting to some.

    Was Mary always a virgin before as well as after parturition?

    XXI. As to the second question, about the virginity of Mary, the question does not concern the time of or the time antecedent to the birth. For all Christians agree that she was a virgin before and in the birth. But we treat of the time following the birth—whether she always remained a virgin afterwards. This is not expressly declared in Scripture, but yet is piously believed with human faith from the consent of the ancient church. Thus it is probable that the womb in which our Savior received the auspices of life (whence he entered into this world, as from a temple) was so consecrated and sanctified by so great a guest that she always remained untouched by man; nor did Joseph ever cohabit with her.

    XXII. Hence Helvidius and the Antidicomarianites (so called because they were opponents [antidikoi] of Mary) are deservedly rebuked by the fathers for denying that Mary was always a virgin (aei parthenon). They held that she cohabited with Joseph after delivery; yea, also bore children from him. As Augustine remarks, they rely upon the shallowest arguments, i.e., because Christ is called the “firstborn” of Mary (cf. De Haeresibus 56, 84 [PL 42.40, 46]). For as Jerome well remarks, she was so called because no one was begotten before him, not because there was another after him. Hence among lawyers: “He is the first whom no one precedes; he is last, whom no one follows.” The Hebrews were accustomed to call the firstborn also only begotten; Israel is called “the firstborn of God” (Ex. 4:22), although the only people chosen of God. Thus “the firstborn” is said to be “holy unto God” (Ex. 13:2), who first opened the womb, whether others followed or not. Otherwise the firstborn would not have to be redeemed until after another offspring had been procreated (the law shows this to be false because it commands it to be redeemed a month after birth, Num. 18:16).

    XXIII. (2) Not more solidly have they been able to elicit this from the fact that in the New Testament certain ones are called “the brothers of Christ.” It is common in Scripture not only for one’s own and full brothers by nature to be designated by this name, but also blood relatives and cousins (as Abraham and Lot, Jacob and Laban). Thus James and Joses, Simon and Judas are called brothers of Christ (Mt. 13:55) by a relation of blood. For Mary (who is called their mother by Matthew and Mark) is called by John the sister of the Lord’s mother. However what is said in Jn. 7:5 that “neither did his brethren believe in him” must be understood of more remote blood relations.

    XXIV. (3) Nor is it derived better from this—that Joseph is said “not to have known Mary till she had brought forth her firstborn son” (Mt. 1:25). The particles “till” and “even unto” are often referred only to the past, not to the future (i.e., they so connote the preceding time, concerning which there might be a doubt or which it was of the highest importance to know, as not to have a reference to the future—cf. Gen. 28:15; Pss. 122:2; 110:1; Mt. 28:20, etc.). Thus is shown what was done by Joseph before the nativity of Christ (to wit, that he abstained from her); but it does not imply that he lived with her in any other way postpartum. When therefore she is said to have been found with child “before they came together” (prin ē synelthein autous), preceding copulation is denied, but not a subsequent affirmed.

    XXV. Although copulation had not taken place in that marriage, it did not cease to be true and ratified (although unconsummated) for not intercourse, but consent makes marriage. Therefore it was perfect as to form (to wit, undivided conjunction of life and unviolated faith), but not as to end (to wit, the procreation of children, although it was not deficient as to the raising of the offspring).

    XXVI. However, although her virginity may piously be believed to have been perpetual, still a vow of virginity is falsely ascribed to her by the papists. For she could neither promise at the same time virginity to God and marriage to Joseph nor vow childlessness (ateknian) as a thing pleasing to God (which she knew was both cursed in the law [Deut. 7:14] and at variance with the custom of her nation and mentioned with an opprobious epithet by her cousin Elizabeth [Lk. 1:25]). Again, she could have vowed it neither before, nor after her espousal. Not before, for if she had taken such a vow, why then did she marry (since otherwise she could the more safely keep her virginity)? And with what conscience could she abuse the name of marriage to deceive Joseph and by suffering herself to be joined to a husband have despised the sacred covenant of wedlock without trifling with God? Not afterwards, because the vow would have been worthless without the consent of her husband (which can be proved by no argument).

    XXVII. Nor do the words of Mary establish such a vow (“How shall this be, seeing I know not a man?,” Lk. 1:34) as if she would indicate her moral inability from a vow, not her natural ability (“I know not,” i.e., I am not accustomed to know, nor can I); indeed, not nature, nor the law prohibiting, but the vow (as Maldonatus holds, Commentaria in quatuor evangelistas [1863], 2:44 on Lk. 1:34). These words are falsely wrested to a vow of which there is not the slightest trace. They are only those of one wondering on account of the novelty and greatness of the thing and inquiring about the mode. For it could not but be wonderful to a virgin that immediate conception and birth should be foretold, no mention being made of the consummation of marriage or of her spouse Joseph, just as if they were already married (while she herself was conscious of her virginity and knew as yet no husband).

    XXVIII. If it is further inquired why Christ wished to be born not only from a virgin, but of a virgin espoused, various reasons are adduced by the fathers with respect to Christ himself, to his mother and to us. With respect to Christ, that no one might think him illegitimate and born in adultery, that his genealogy might be known in the usual manner from the man Joseph (who was supposed to be his father) and of which parents he was born; finally, that he might have Joseph as his protector and guardian in infancy. With respect to his mother, that her reputation and safety might be consulted, lest she should be considered an adulteress and according to the law be stoned to death, and that she might have a man to care for, defend and protect her. With respect to us, that our belief concerning the birth of Christ from a virgin might be the more confirmed, when Joseph also himself testified it of his own wife.

    Turretin, F. (1992–1997). Institutes of Elenctic Theology. (J. T. Dennison Jr., Ed., G. M. Giger, Trans.) (Vol. 2, pp. 345–347). Phillipsburg, NJ: P&R Publishing.

    Added: I do not wholeheartedly agree with Turretin. The idea of Mary and Joseph remaining celibate seems just too weird to me. But who knows for sure.
    Last edited: Jun 14, 2017
  11. Silas22

    Silas22 Puritan Board Freshman

    You are a heretic.
  12. MW

    MW Puritanboard Amanuensis

    Scripture never says that Mary had other children so there is no reason to believe anything concerning "other children." Our Lord gave His mother into the care of the disciple whom He loved.
  13. josiahrussell

    josiahrussell Puritan Board Freshman

    I would tend to say 'vanilla' because your points all seems to be widely accepted, but I'm going to say they are 'bubblegum' because bubblegum flavour is colourful, and exciting just like the reformed faith
  14. jwithnell

    jwithnell Moderator Staff Member

    I dunno. Would you use liqueur in a dessert for a church supper? :)
  15. timfost

    timfost Puritan Board Senior

    Thanks for enlightening me.

    I've heard crazier things. ;)
  16. Ray

    Ray Puritan Board Freshman

    Who is a heretic my baptist friend? Are you joking? Or are you being serious?
  17. Silas22

    Silas22 Puritan Board Freshman

    Definitely joking! I just find the question amusing.
  18. Von

    Von Puritan Board Freshman

    The whole argument sounds a lot like someone trying to make a square peg fit. Now, for what purpose? Roman Leanings? Are there any solid reformed guys today (or for that matter for the past 300 years) that thought Mary was a perpetual virgin? This sounds a lot like Theistic Evolution: Clear evidence from scripture moulded by pressure from outside.
    Last edited: Jun 15, 2017
  19. timfost

    timfost Puritan Board Senior

    Agreed. Consider Turretin's argument below:

    "Thus it is probable that the womb in which our Savior received the auspices of life (whence he entered into this world, as from a temple) was so consecrated and sanctified by so great a guest that she always remained untouched by man; nor did Joseph ever cohabit with her."

    First, Mary was a sinner. Not the most consecrated "auspices" to begin with. Second, spouses abstaining does not make them more holy, unless we adopt a monastic view of sex. If consecrated to Christ and not Joseph, how could he have authority over his wife's body (1 Cor. 7:4)? Third, as believers, our bodies are consecrated as temples of the Holy Spirit (1 Cor. 6:19). Lawful sex does not make our bodies unfit for the Spirit, nor does abstinence negate our being consecrated to God. Fourth, Paul says: "Do not deprive one another except with consent for a time, that you may give yourselves to fasting and prayer; and come together again so that Satan does not tempt you because of your lack of self-control." If Mary remained a virgin, that would be consent for quite some time. Or perhaps Joseph had some real self control?

    Anyway, the whole argument seems absurd to me and has strong flavors of Roman superstition.

    But anyway...

    Yeah, Matthew B., vanilla. ;)
  20. MW

    MW Puritanboard Amanuensis

    As New Testament believers freed from the yoke of the ceremonial law it is somewhat easy to forget the painstaking ritual and purification the Old Testament saints were subject to as a part of their earthly and physical separation.

    A consideration of the announcement in Luke chapter one will show that the process by which our Lord assumed human nature was consecrated to ensure His spotless purity and absolute separation from human guilt and pollution.
    Last edited: Jun 15, 2017
  21. Justified

    Justified Puritan Board Sophomore

    Calvin, Zwingli, Bullinger, Luther, I could continue if you'd like; perhaps, these aren't "solidly reformed" enough. If anything the rejection of her perpetual virginity is more like the modern acceptance of theistic evolution. Such a position is basically the dominate view in Christian history, doubted by few. It is only when we reach the modern period that people begin to doubt it. I also tend to think that modern Protestants have a very low view of celibacy that has something to do with its rejection.

    It's not a hill I'm going to die on, but it's not silly nor "Romanizing" to believe in such a thing.
  22. Justified

    Justified Puritan Board Sophomore

    Paul does speak of believing spouses abstaining for a time to devote themselves to prayer. Second, chastity is a virtue even for married couples. It doesn't mean, of course, that it's necessarily best to never have sex with your wife, but sex like eating and drinking is to be handled temperately. Being married isn't license to let the reins go. Third, Mary's marriage, conception, etc. aren't exactly "normal". I don't think we should see the same exact rules applying to this marriage; it is certainly exceptional.
  23. Ed Walsh

    Ed Walsh Puritan Board Junior

    Hi Evan,

    "Second" meaning something beyond what you said about "abstaining for a time," you said, "chastity is a virtue even for married couples." How so? I never saw that in Scripture???

  24. arapahoepark

    arapahoepark Puritan Board Graduate

    I cannot remember what it was about but DA Carson went over 1 Corinthians and said if you're married then you'd understand why times needs to be taken off in order to pray.
    I do agree, I am not sure what he is saying about 'chastity' though...
  25. Ed Walsh

    Ed Walsh Puritan Board Junior

    Sorry I wasn't clear. I am well aware that the first part is legit. It's the chastity beyond what Paul teaches that I have doubts about.

    1 Corinthians 7:5 (KJV)
    Defraud ye not one the other, except it be with consent for a time, that ye may give yourselves to fasting and prayer; and come together again, that Satan tempt you not for your incontinency.

    What about it Evan. Are you still out there? :)
    Last edited: Jun 16, 2017
  26. BayouHuguenot

    BayouHuguenot Puritanboard Amanuensis

    Good point but that isn't the same thing that most EOs and RCCs have in mind when they speak of the "Blessed Mary Ever Virgin" (BMEV). The ritual purity rules of the Old Creation aren't the same as what the pagans did (and Tertullian comes very close to admitting he borrows from pagans in places). And we also need to be careful that we aren't importing gnostic chain-of-being ideas into it: e.g., the sexual life is icky and lower than that of the monastic life.
  27. MW

    MW Puritanboard Amanuensis

    The point is what Turretin had in mind, whose comments were the focus of the discussion. Moreover, EOs and RCs hold to perpetual virginity as dogma. Turretin rejected it as dogma but recognised it may be a pious belief.
  28. Justified

    Justified Puritan Board Sophomore

    By chastity, I don't necessarily mean perpetual chastity, nor am I recommending it for married couples-- the marriage of Mary and Joseph was abnormal, to say the least. In fact, as Paul says, "defrauding one another", especially for long periods of time, is actually a sin. Nonetheless, sex is like any good thing. Just as we can debauch ourselves with food, drink, and other things, so also can we do the same for sex. We ought to be temperate in all things. Marriage isn't license or permission to just have sex as often as you want. Hence, chastity is a virtue even for married couples.
  29. Ed Walsh

    Ed Walsh Puritan Board Junior

    Now I understand what you are saying. In the context, it seemed that you were advocating marriage without sex, but as I reread your post, I can now see that I was wrong. I agree with everything you said in the post above.


  30. Jake

    Jake Puritan Board Junior

    Alternative thread title: Which of my theological views are most controversial?

    At least that's the answer you got. ;)
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