Sunday, November 25, 2012
What I've Come to Understand and Believe
I surrendered my life to Christ in 1981 in the context of attending an Episcopal Church. Fortunately it was pastored by a deeply committed evangelical and spirit-filled priest Christopher Leighton and his equally committed evangelical assistant Larry Hill. see here and here. My wife and I came to Christ and became equally committed to evangelical Christianity with a charismatic strain. It served us well.
During my subsequent ministry as Executive Director of the Brotherhood of St. Andrew, as Director of Administration and Finance at the South American Missionary Society (SAMS) and as a student at Trinity School for Ministry my evangelicalism grew in depth and understanding. Raised as a 1950s mainline Methodist and later involved in the “decision theology” of American style evangelism, I leaned toward Arminianism as opposed to reformed theology (Calvinism).
After graduation from TSM, ordination and some time as a parish pastor, I was exposed to the radical grace and the difference between law and grace as promulgated by then Trinity Dean Paul Zahl. Paul had me read On Being a Theologian of the Cross by Gerhard Forde. Reading it was eye-opening and like fresh water for a thirsty soul. It renewed my belief in salvation through grace alone by faith alone, and the atoning work of Christ on the cross,
Further, I began to realize I was really a reformed Anglican, convinced by the teachings of the continental reformers Luther and Calvin and Anglican reformers such Cramer, Latimer, and Ridley, and Anglican evangelicals such as Ussher, Lightfoot, Moule, Ryle, Stott and Packer. Although I have great respect for John Wesley as an evangelist, I cannot buy the cooperative aspect of Wesleyanism. For me it’s all God --- he doesn’t need our help.
Lately I have been listening and reading the works of present day reformed preachers and teachers R C Sproul, John MacArthur, John Piper and Tim Keller. They have cemented my beliefs in reformed theology.
For the next while I will be reposting a series of six short articles by R C Sproul posted on his blog Tabletalk about the essence of reformed theology through the lens of TULIP. It succinctly explains what I have come to understand and believe.