Ray Ortlund on “Truly Reformed”

Tim Brister —  June 5, 2010 — 2 Comments

If you are not reading (or have not subscribed to) Ray Ortlund’s blog, you are missing some of the best devotional commentary on the Internet.  Most recently, he has taken up the issue of being “truly Reformed.” Generally, this title is attributed to fundamentalists in the Reformed camp who have a hard time with Christians who are not five-point Calvinists.  Here’s an excerpt of Ortlund’s post:

What unifies the church is the gospel.  What defines the gospel is the Bible.  What interprets the Bible correctly is a hermeneutic centered on Jesus Christ crucified, the all-sufficient Savior of sinners, who gives himself away on terms of radical grace to all alike.  What proves that that gospel hermeneutic has captured our hearts is that we are not looking down on other believers but lifting them up, not seeing ourselves as better but grateful for their contribution to the cause, not standing aloof but embracing them freely, not wishing they would become like us but serving them in love (Galatians 5:13).

My Reformed friend, can you move among other Christian groups and really enjoy them?  Do you admire them?  Even if you disagree with them in some ways, do you learn from them?  What is the emotional tilt of your heart – toward them or away from them?  If your Reformed theology has morphed functionally into Galatian sociology, the remedy is not to abandon your Reformed theology.   The remedy is to take your Reformed theology to a deeper level.  Let it reduce you to Jesus only.   Let it humble you.  Let this gracious doctrine make you a fun person to be around.  The proof that we are Reformed will be all the wonderful Christians we discover around us who are not Reformed.   Amazing people.   Heroic people.  Blood-bought people.   People with whom we are eternally one – in Christ alone.

These are excellent words, and for those of us who are Reformed and Southern Baptist, they are timely words as well.

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  • Jerry

    I had the pleasure of meeting Ray last year at the Clarus conference at Desert Springs Church in Albuquerque. He is just as warm and transparently open in person as he is in his written work.

  • http://shepherdtheflock.com Nathan White

    Good post Timmy. But two things are important here:

    1) We all have slightly different interpretations of just how much Reformed ‘fundamentalism’ is too much. Let’s not act like we have a corner on who is and who isn’t, but show grace whenever possible.

    2)We have much to learn from the Reformed fundys as well (just like we do the Arminians).

    So let’s make sure that we don’t treat Reformed Fundys the same way the Reformed Fundys treat Arminians. And that includes talking down to them. I think we’re all guilty of this one, often out of frustration.

    Grace and peace brother