The term “reformed theology” can mean different things to different people. Among the millennial generation this term has been used as another word to denote what is known as the Doctrines of Grace or Calvinism. While the Doctrines of Grace have always played a role in reformed theology it would not be historically accurate to assert that reformed theology is simply Calvinism. In this section we will identify key components of reformed theology.
The Five Solas
This word has received a lot of attention in theological circles starting in the 16th century to the present. We believe that if Reformed Theology is anything, it must be the Five Solas of the Reformation.
• Sola Gratia-Grace Alone
• Sola Fide-Faith Alone
• Solus Christus-Christ Alone
• Soli Deo Gloria-Glory to God Alone
• Sola Scriptura –Scripture Alone
This is to say that Salvation is through grace alone, by faith alone, in Christ alone, to the glory of God alone, and on the authority of scripture alone.
Ephesians 2:8-9; Romans 11:6; Galatians 2:16; Romans 5:1-5; Acts 4:12; Romans 10:9; 1 Corinthians 10:31; Habakkuk 2:14; 1 Timothy 3:16-17; and Matthew 24:35
The Doctrines of Grace
The Reformation contains more specific theological developments occur than simply these five points of important distinction between them and the Roman Catholic Church. Another key aspect of Reformed Theology must be the Doctrines of Grace or what is more commonly known as “Calvinism.”
• Total Inability
• Unconditional Election
• Particular Redemption
• Effectual Calling
• Perseverance of the Saints
This is to say that mankind are by our nature, unable to be justified before God through our own works or efforts. Therefore, God’s election (choosing) is unconditional for we could not meet these conditions. Particular Redemption emphasizes the true that God will justify those who he has elected and he has known this from before the foundations of the Earth were laid. As a result, when the gospel proclamation goes out, those how have been determined to come to salvation will do so by the regenerating work of the Holy Spirit. Perseverance of the Saints illustrates the belief that those who are truly believers will remain believers up to their death or the return of Christ.
Ephesians 2:1-3; Romans 3:10-20; Romans 9:6-13; John 15:16; Acts 13:48; John 10:11-29; Romans 8:29-30; John 6:37; Jude 1:24; and Romans 11:29
Another aspect of Reformed Theology has come to be called the Redemptive-Historical approach to hermeneutics. While the term “redemptive-historical” is relatively recent it correctly correlates to the hermeneutic principal which the reformers of the 16th and 17th century employed in their preaching, teaching, creeds, and confessions. This hermeneutic reasons that the New Testament, being divinely inspired by the same God who wrote the Old Testament, has the authority and function to inform and complete our understand of peoples and themes present in the Old Testament. As the famed bishop of Hippo once said “The New Testament lies hidden in the Old, and the Old Testament is unveiled in the New.” Saint Augustine.
1 Corinthians 10:11; Hebrews 1:1; Colossians 1:25-27; Luke 24:27; Ephesians 3:1-6;
Galatians 3:7-9; 1 Peter 1:10-12; and Hebrews 10:1-10