Posted by: Bill Hornbeck | December 22, 2014

We repeatedly teach Reformed Doctrine “so that they may hear and learn and fear the Lord your God”.

Today’s devotion comes from Deuteronomy 31:9-13.

“So Moses wrote this law and gave it to the priests, the sons of Levi who carried the ark of the covenant of the Lord, and to all the elders of Israel.  Then Moses commanded them, saying, “At the end of every seven years, at the time of the year of remission of debts, at the Feast of Booths, when all Israel comes to appear before the Lord your God at the place which He will choose, you shall read this law in front of all Israel in their hearing.  Assemble the people, the men and the women and children and the alien who is in your town, so that they may hear and learn and fear the Lord your God, and be careful to observe all the words of this law.  Their children, who have not known, will hear and learn to fear the Lord your God, as long as you live on the land which you are about to cross the Jordan to possess.”  Deuteronomy 31:9-13.

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We repeatedly teach “TULIP”, the Five Points of Calvinism, the Reformed Doctrine of Salvation, so that our family and friends will hear and learn and fear the LORD our God.

When I was drifting between churches, from one denomination to another denomination, here in St. Petersburg, Florida, a childhood friend from Western Michigan with whom I grew up in the Christian Reformed Church asked me if I remembered “TULIP”.

I then studied the differences between Calvinism and Arminianism.  That study made me aware that often what bothered me was not just bad preaching, but rather the problem was caused by bad doctrine (Arminianism) that broadly and deeply affected that church and its denomination which at some time of its history strayed away from Reformed Doctrine rediscovered in the Reformation.  In contrast to this bad doctrine which I encountered, I began to appreciate more the truth, logic, beauty, and simplicity of “TULIP” which was my Reformed heritage.

It is important that we repeatedly teach Reformed Doctrine to our children, because it is so easy to generally drift away from church in this day and age.  And, it is so easy to specifically drift away from Reformed Doctrine, because most Protestant denominations do not teach it.

Consider the following facts showing how easy it is to drift away from Reformed Doctrine using my example.  First, my great grand-father was William Heyns, a Professor at Calvin Theological Seminary in Grand Rapids, Michigan.  He wrote several books including “Manual of Reformed Doctrine” in 1926.  Second, my grandfather, Dr. Richard Pousma was a Christian Reformed Church medical missionary to the Navajo Indians in Rehoboth, New Mexico.  Third, I grew up in the Christian Reformed Church, having attended not only a Christian Reformed Church, but also having attended Christian Reformed Schools from kindergarten through high school to even a year and one-half at Calvin College.  And yet, despite all this Reformed background and teaching, when I moved to Florida, I thought all Protestant churches would be good enough and would teach Reformed Doctrine.  How wrong I was!    

In contrast to other doctrine taught in most Protestant Reformed Churches which emphasize man, man’s knowledge of the law, and man’s alleged free-will and ability to obey the law or to even choose Christ, Reformed Doctrine slams shut that door to alleged salvation by teaching “Total Depravity”, the “T” of “TULIP”, that man is dead in sin.

Reformed Doctrine teaches that man’s only chance to salvation is that only God can provide that one and only narrow door to salvation through “Unconditional Election”, the “U” of “TULIP”.

Reformed Doctrine further teaches that only for those whom God unconditionally elects to salvation, Christ died for those elect.  This is “Limited Atonement”, the “U” of “TULIP”.  “Limited Atonement” is limited in the sense that the atonement is limited to only the elect.  Christ did not die for everyone, but only for the elect.  If Christ died for everyone, thus redeeming everyone and purchasing salvation for everyone, then everyone would be saved.  However, for those elect, what was accomplished for those elect was unlimited.  For “… those only, who were from eternity chosen to salvation, and given to him by the Father;  … he should confer upon them faith, which together with all the other saving gifts of the Holy Spirit, he purchased for them by his death;  should purge them from all sin, both original and actual, whether committed before or after believing;  and having faithfully preserved them even to the end, should at last bring them free from every spot and blemish to the enjoyment of glory in his own presence forever.”   Article 8 SECOND HEAD OF DOCTRINE Of the Death of Christ, and the Redemption of Men Thereby of Canons of Dordt.

Reformed Doctrine further teaches “Irresistible Grace”, the “I” of “TULIP”, that God irresistibly draws His elect to faith in Christ.  This is what is meant in the prior paragraph that one of the saving gifts purchased by Christ’s death is that God “should confer upon them faith“.

Finally, Reformed Doctrine further teaches “Preservation of the Saints”, the “P” of “TULIP”, that God preserves His elect to salvation.  This is what is meant in the prior paragraph that one of the saving gifts purchased by Christ’s death is that God “having faithfully preserved them even to the end, should at last bring them free from every spot and blemish to the enjoyment of glory in his own presence forever.”

In conclusion, each one of these points of Reformed Doctrine teaches us to fear the Lord our God.  And, we repeatedly teach Reformed Doctrine to our family and friends, so that they may also learn the truth and not drift away.

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