Is there an objective definition of the adjective "Reformed"? Judging by current popular usage, there appear to be as many definitions as definers. What must one believe to be "Reformed"? Is the doctrine of predestination all there is? Arguably, the answer to these questions should be sought in some objective, ecclesiastical, public, authoritative summary of the theology, piety, and practice of the Reformed faith. Fortunately for us, there are such documents. They are the confessions and catechisms of the Reformed (including Presbyterian) churches of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. A few of them-such as the Heidelberg Catechism, the Canons of Dort, and the Westminster Standards-are well known, but there were many other confessional documents written (and adopted) from the early sixteenth century to the end of the seventeenth century. Indeed, from 1523 to 1675 the Reformed churches produced a major confessional (or catechetical) document every six years.
R. Scott Clark is professor of Church History and Historical Theology at Westminster Seminary California (Escondido, California). He is author of Recovering the Reformed Confession (P&R, 2008).
Issue: "The Imitation of Christ" March/April 2009 Vol. 18 No. 2 Page number(s): 42-43
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