At long last, now that the Sean Michael Lucas conference is a week’s worth of history, here’s the outline he allowed me to publish from his presentation.
Why bother being Reformed as a way of being Christian?
- It is not possible to live a “generic” Christian life
- Historically not possible
- Logically not possible
- The Christian life must be embodied through a particular identity
- Even “Bible churches” communicate a particular identity (beliefs, practices, stories)
- Genuine conversations with others must be rooted in a real sense of knowing who we are.
During this portion of the outline, Dr. Lucas gave the example of the Cane Ridge Revival, explaining how Barton Stone desired to reduce his denominational identity to “Christian.” Out of this revival emerged the Christian denomination (Disciples of Christ), Cumberland Presbyterianism, and others I forgot before I could jot them down. Now back to the outline . . .
- The question becomes, then,
- Which beliefs and practices are most biblical?
- And which communion most closely holds to those beliefs and engages in those practices?
- In the end, the reason it is important to be Reformed (and specifically, Presbyterian) is
- Because Presbyterian beliefs and practices are the closest to the biblical material, and,
- Because they provide the most workable identity for engaging life in this postmodern world.
- God is King (the sovereignty of God)
- The Priority of Grace (in salvation, sanctification, consummation)
- God’s story, promises, and reign (covenant and kingdom)
- The nature of the Church (visible/invisible)
- The nature of the sacraments (baptism and Supper)
- Centering on worship [corporate, family, and private], stewardship, and service
- Centering on its biblical, covenantal, and gospel-driven nature
- Centering on a proper balance of church authority and liberty of conscience
- These beliefs and practices make sense to us, in part, because of the stories (positive and negative) that we tell:
- Calvin, Knox and the Westminster divines
- Scots and Scots-Irish Presbyterianism
- Early American Presbyterianism
- 19th Century Presbyterianism
- 20th Century Presbyterianism
- North (PCUSA, OPC, BP, EP, RPCES)
- South (PCUS, PCA)
- It is out of this particularly Presbyterian way of speaking the Gospel that we must speak.
- In order to confess “one holy catholic church,” we must desire relationship and even partnership with other Christians.
- Our relationships with other Christians must be guided by the Gospel and must serve the Gospel.
- The most productive partnerships come from recognizing the importance of others in imaging forth the Kingdom of God (Romans 1:11-12).
Check back periodically . . . I’ll post Dr. Lucas’ Reformation Sunday Sermon link when the church posts it.
As much as some would like to just label themselves a “Christian” it is utterly meaningless in our country…even the KKK consider themselves Christians! That is also a reason I choose to keep our church with a Baptist label on it, because Bible church and community church doesn’t say much.
I’m with you. If we’re honest about where we stand, it makes interdenominational unity that much more noble to outsiders, I think. It certainly seems to require a more concerted effort (and thus, greater nobility–otherwise, it’s easy to hide behind our labels and throw stones at each other, which is more ignoble) to maintain such unity of the Spirit in the bonds of peace than it does to maintain indiscriminate affirmation of each other at the expense of the Truth of God.