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Tullian Tchividjian Christian Blog and Commentary

Is Being A Calvinist The Same As Being Reformed?

  • Tullian Tchividjian
    Tullian Tchividjian's Blog
  • 2010 Oct 22
  • Comments

One of the ongoing discussions with regard to the resurgence of interest in Calvinism revolves around the distinction (if any) between Calvinism in particular and Reformed theology in general. Should a Calvinistic view on salvation be synonymous with Reformed Theology? Or, is Reformed theology bigger than just Calvinism? Can Calvinism alone be considered Reformed?

Michael Horton shares his thoughts in an article entitled "The Hallway and the Rooms":

If being Reformed can be reduced to believing in the sovereignty of God and election, then Thomas Aquinas is as Reformed as R. C. Sproul.  However, the Reformed confession is a lot more than that.  Even the way it talks about these doctrines is framed within a wider context of covenant theology. It's intriguing to me that people can call themselves Reformed today when they don't embrace this covenant theology.

Next month, Jamie Smith's new book Letters to a Young Calvinist: An Invitation to the Reformed Tradition will be released. I think Jamie's book helps the discussion along very well. Jamie is a professor of philosophy at Calvin College. I had the privilege of reading an advanced copy of this book and writing an endorsement.

Here's what I wrote:

James K. A. Smith winsomely steps into one of the most fascinating conversations in contemporary evangelicalism-the surprising resurgence of Calvinism among younger Christians. Letters to a Young Calvinist is thoughtful, nuanced, provocative, relational, and informed. No one will agree with everything here, but what I appreciated most was Smith's careful insistence that there's much more to being theologically Reformed than believing in the famous (and fabulous!) five points of Calvinism. He shows that the Reformed tradition is covenantal and cosmic in scope, big and bright in scale, doctrinal and devotional in spirit. A thoroughly engaging read!

Buy it. Read it. Join the discussion-it's an important one.