Reformed Theology on the Web

A Site Dedicated to the Biblical Doctrines of the Reformation

Beliefs of Reformed on the Web or beliefs of Hershel Lee Harvell Jr.

I adhere to the First and Second London Baptist Confession of Faith of 1644 and 1677/89. This is a Reformed Confession and therefore I would be considered Reformed.

 

1. Concerning God's sovereignty:

I believe that God is absolutely sovereign over all things. I believe that he controls all events and every act that comes into this world, yet he does not cause every act, but allows secondary causes to act, but what they do, fulfills his will and purpose, so that whatsoever is done, works out the counsel of God.

Dan 4:35 And all the inhabitants of the earth are reputed as nothing: and he doeth according to his will in the army of heaven, and among the inhabitants of the earth: and none can stay his hand, or say unto him, What doest thou?

Eph 1:11 In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will:

 

2. Concerning God's decrees:

I believe that God has decreed whatsoever does come to pass, so that what does comes to pass is his will. This includes evil. God does not cause evil, but evil exist and it does not exist contrary to what God wills, but God is using it for a purpose. Everything therefore which God has decreed will come to pass.

Gen 50:19 And Joseph said unto them, Fear not: for am I in the place of God?

Gen 50:20 But as for you, ye thought evil against me; but God meant it unto good, to bring to pass, as it is this day, to save much people alive.

Isa 46:10 Declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times the things that are not yet done, saying, My counsel shall stand, and I will do all my pleasure:

Rom 8:28 And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.

 

3.Concerning God's Creation:

I believe that in the beginning it pleased the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit to create this world and all things therein. This they did in six days and rested on the Sabbath. Therefore this world is not old as evolutionist say, but is a very young world. I am a young earth creationist who believes that God stretched the heavens and thereby when He did this it put the vast distances between planets thus making the world seem as if it was old. Also all animal life was created from the beginning and this includes dinosaurs which were on the ark with Noah, but they died out and became extinct.

Gen 2:1 Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, and all the host of them.

Gen 2:2 And on the seventh day God ended his work which he had made; and he rested on the seventh day from all his work which he had made.

Isa 42:5 Thus saith God the LORD, he that created the heavens, and stretched them out; he that spread forth the earth, and that which cometh out of it; he that giveth breath unto the people

Job 40:15 Behold now behemoth, which I made with thee; he eateth grass as an ox.

Job 40:16 Lo now, his strength is in his loins, and his force is in the navel of his belly.

Job 40:17 He moveth his tail like a cedar: the sinews of his stones are wrapped together.

 

4. Concerning the Fall:

I believe in the beginning God created Adam and Eve and gave them the gift of righteousness. This means that they were not righteous in and of themselves, but was given the gift of righteousness. When they sinned against God, they became sinners and inherited a sin nature as punishment for their sin. This sin nature was passed on to Adam's descendants, therefore there are none who are righteous and there are none who do good.

Rom 3:10 As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one:

Rom 3:11 There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God.

Rom 3:12 They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one.

 

5. Concerning man's ability to come to God:

I believe that no man can or will come to God, unless there is a new birth. This new birth is a spiritual birth. Natural man is ignorant, blind, and dead. He does not seek after God and is on his way to Hell from the womb. Adam sinned and all men became sinners, thus making them alienated from and enemies of God.

Joh 6:44 No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day.

Rom 3:11 There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God.

Rom 5:12 Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned:

Eph 4:17 This I say therefore, and testify in the Lord, that ye henceforth walk not as other Gentiles walk, in the vanity of their mind,

Eph 4:18 Having the understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God through the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart:

Eph 2:1 And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins;

 

6. Concerning freewill:

I believe that man is free only to do what is consistent with his nature. Since man is a sinner he can only sin. This means that even the good works of a sinner are not considered as good works in the eyes of God. This is because he has no faith. Whatsoever is not of faith is sin. Also we all choose according to what we desire and since a sinner desires the natural, then he will never choose God.

Isa 64:6 But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags

Rom 14:23 And he that doubteth is damned if he eat, because he eateth not of faith: for whatsoever is not of faith is sin.

Rom 6:20 For when ye were the servants of sin, ye were free from righteousness.

Joh 1:12 But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name:

Joh 1:13 Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.

Rom 9:16 So then it is not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of God that sheweth mercy.

 

7. Concerning effectual calling:

I believe that only those that God chose from the foundation of the world, having predestinated them to eternal life, them and them alone will be saved. There are two calls of God-the outward call given by the gospel and the inward call effectuated by the Holy Spirit through regeneration as the gospel is given.

Man will always reject the outward call because he is a sinner. A sinner hates God, is alienated from God, blind, ignorant and dead. It takes a supernatural work of God in the heart and soul of a sinner in order to bring the sinner to life. This newness of life is given to those of whom the Father chooses, without any good thing in the individual chosen.

Without there being a new birth natural men cannot see the kingdom, nor enter the kingdom. But all those who are regenerated or born again can see the kingdom and enter the kingdom. We did not choose our first birth nor do we choose our second. It is given to whomsoever God wills.

Joh 3:3 Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.

Joh 3:5 Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.

Joh 3:6 That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.

Joh 6:37 All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out.

Eph 1:4 According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love:

2Ti 1:9 Who hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began,

1Co 1:18 For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God.

1Co 2:14 But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.

Mat 22:14 For many are called, but few are chosen.

 

8. Concerning justification:

I believe that those of whom the Lord God effectually calls, he justifies. He does not justify as the Catholics teach, by infusing righteousness into an individual, but upon there reaching out for Christ by faith, God declares them righteous through imputation. In other words God justifies by imputing Christ righteousness to the believing sinner, so that the believing sinner could be called at the same time "saint and sinner." In and of himself he is a sinner, but by the imputation of Christ righteousness he is declared not guilty before God. However even the faith that the regenerated sinner possesses is not his own, but God also gives the elected sinner the ability to believe by giving him faith. Faith is a gift of God and a fruit of the Spirit. Natural men do not have faith. So first comes regeneration or the new birth and then comes faith by the gift of the Spirit.

2Co 5:21 For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.

Rom 4:5 But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness.

Rom 4:23 Now it was not written for his sake alone, that it was imputed to him;

Rom 4:24 But for us also, to whom it shall be imputed, if we believe on him that raised up Jesus our Lord from the dead;

Eph 2:8 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:

Gal 5:22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith,

2Th 3:2 And that we may be delivered from unreasonable and wicked men: for all men have not faith.

 

I want to stress the fact that I am Reformed. In other words I believe in what is called:

"TULIP"

The word "TULIP" is an acrostic that stands for particular doctrines.

Total Inability---the 'T'- stands for total inability. In other words man is totally unable to come to God on his own. The natural man does not seek after God, nor does he concern himself with spiritual things. He may seek the benefits of God by coming to church, paying his tithes, etc, but he does not seek God. This is because he is dead Rom. 3:10-12; Ephesians 2:1.

Therefore

Unconditional Election---the 'U'- stands for unconditional election. God from the beginning of the world chose out who he would save. Eph 1:4 declares that he chose us from the foundation of the world. God chose Jacob but not Esua. Jacob I love but Esua I hate is what the scripture declares. Since all are sinners and all deserve God's wrath, then he does not have to give grace nor eternal life to anyone. Grace is and means unmerited favor. We do not deserve God's favor, but he gives us grace. Grace is what distinguishes between the regenerate and the sinner.

Therefore

Limited Atonement---the  'L'- stands for limited atonement. This means that Christ came and paid for all the sins of his people. This does not mean that Christ sacrifice is limited in power. It could save all the world if God had chosen for it to, but instead Christ died on the cross for his peoples sins and theirs alone. Jesus said, "I lay down my life for my sheep, my sheep know me and hear my voice." John 10:11, 15. Jesus said, "And he took the cup, and gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, Drink ye all of it; For this is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins." Mt 26:27-28. He died for his church Acts 20:28; Ephesians 5:25 and was once offered to bear the sins of many Hebrews 9:28. God did not allow his Son to die for anyone based on foreseen faith in them or based on any goodness he foresaw in them. All were sinners. God took the same lump [sinful] humanity since Adam's fall and made vessels for honor and vessels for dishonor. Rom 9:21. Therefore to say that Christ died for men sins who never come to him is repugnant to the gospel.

Therefore

Irresistible Grace---the  ' I ' stands for irresistible grace or effectual calling. Those of whom God chose from the foundation of the world will be saved. Joh 6:37 All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out. Eph 3:7 Whereof I was made a minister, according to the gift of the grace of God given unto me by the effectual working of his power. 2Th 2:13 But we are bound to give thanks alway to God for you, brethren beloved of the Lord, because God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth: Rom 8:29 For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren. Rom 8:30 Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified.

Therefore

Perseverance of the saints---the  'P' stands for the perseverance of the saints. In other words the saints will be saved. This is not because they persevere in their own strength but is because God perseveres in his work in them. Joh 6:37 All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out. Joh 6:38 For I came down from heaven, not to do mine own will, but the will of him that sent me. Joh 6:39 And this is the Father's will which hath sent me, that of all which he hath given me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up again at the last day. Joh 10:28 And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand. Joh 10:29 My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father's hand. Php 1:6 Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ: 1Pe 1:5 Who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.

These doctrines are what the Puritans called the "Doctrines of Grace." These doctrines were at one time confessed by all Presbyterians and Baptists. These doctrines were held by great men of faith through the Presbyterian and Baptist denominations, several of which are: John Gill, John Owen, Charles Spurgeon, Samuel Rutherford, R. L. Dabney, etc...

 

Again I stress that I am Reformed in my views concerning the word of God. Though Reformed Theology teaches and stresses the five points given in the "TULIP", yet Reformed Theology consist of more than just these five points.

Reformed Theology is first and foremost theo-centric. The prefix 'theo' means 'god' and the word 'centric' means 'centered'. Therefore my theology is God-centered. This is the distinguishing mark of Reformed Theology. In other words it applies the doctrine of God relentlessly to all other doctrines, thereby making it a controlling factor in all theology. In other words God is sovereign and therefore if God is sovereign, then man is not autonomous. If man is not autonomous and God is sovereign, then God controls all things in this world, including who gets saved.

Reformed Theology also stresses the five solas of the Reformation. These I also stress. They are:

sola fide---------faith alone

sola gratia-------grace alone

sola scriptura---scripture alone

soli Christus----- Christ alone

soli deo gloria--- To God alone be the glory

 

I am a Reformed Baptist. I have given a short definition of what it means to be Reformed and so now I want to give a definition of what I mean by Baptist.

My views of Baptism are these:

Baptism is a sign of the New Covenant initiated by Christ. It is a sign and not a seal. The New Testament makes it plain that the seal is the Holy Spirit Ephesians 1:13. In the Old Testament the sign of the Covenant was circumcision. Israel was in covenant relationship with God and represented the kingdom of God. Just as now the Church is in covenant relationship with God and represents the kingdom of God. To receive the sign in the Old Testament all one had to do was be born in Israel or into the kingdom. All one has to do in the New Testament to receive the sign is be born into the Church or into the kingdom. There is some consistency in giving the sign and some diversity also. In the old covenant one was birthed naturally into the kingdom and received the sign. In the new covenant one is born spiritually and receives the sign. Yet in the old covenant only males received the sign, but now in the new both males and females receive the sign.

Our padeobaptist brethren will argue that in the old covenant faith was still required along with obedience and if one did not exhibit faith or obedience, then that one was to be cut off from the kingdom body of Israel. Baptist recognize this and also recognize that it is the same in the new covenant. There are many who can make a false profession of faith and who at times may look regenerate, yet if they do not walk obediently, according to scripture and church ordinances, then they are to be cut off.

Also padeobaptist brethren will try to stress that baptism has taken the place of circumcision and therefore it symbolizes basically the same thing that circumcision did. My problem with this, however, is that if baptism symbolizes and does the same thing as circumcision, then why did New Testament Jews, who were circumcised, have to be baptized? It seems strange to command a new sign, if the old one symbolized basically the same thing as the new.

I want to say that I believe in believer's only baptism. Yet I believe that some of those who hold to infant baptism are saved, just as some of those who believe in believer's only baptism are saved. Though baptism is an important doctrine concerning our salvation, yet it is not an essential doctrine. In other words, ones views of salvation do not define whether they have received regeneration. Just as ones views of eschatology do not define whether one is regenerate or not.

Therefore in conclusion to my small list of beliefs I confess to be both Reformed and Baptist. I hold to a covenantal, amillennial, Reformed, Baptististic view of theology. My beliefs could be expanded on as every detail of theology is examined, yet my foundation of my theology rests in what I have defined or listed here.

 

Please browse through the First and Second London Baptist Confession of Faith. It has a lot more to do with than just these few doctrines. You will find doctrines on God's sovereignty, decrees, providence, on scriptures in errancy, on effectual calling, baptism, the Lord's supper, etc..... (the link to these two confessions can be found to the left on the tool bar).

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Martin Luther

If any man doth ascribe aught of salvation, even the very least, to the free-will of man, he knoweth nothing of grace, and he hath not learnt Jesus Christ aright. Martin Luther


Charles Spurgeon

If your religion does not make you holy, it will damn you. It is simply painted pageantry to go to hell in. Charles H. Spurgeon

 


Atonement Debate

Debate between Joseph Pipa Jr. and Dave Hunt on the Atonement of Christ

The Atonement of Christ Debate Pt 1 

The Atonement of Christ Debate Pt 2   

John Calvin

I everywhere teach that no one can be justly condemned and perish except on account of actual sin; and to say that the countless mortals taken from life while yet infants are precipitated from their mother's arms into eternal death is a blasphemy to be universally detested. John Calvin


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