From Faith Pulpit, Spring 2019. Used with permission.
The term Reformed theology means different things to different people. For some, this term simply refers to the “doctrines of grace” which are also known as the five points of Calvinism. The five points of Calvinism are:
- Total depravity: Sin has affected all areas of our personality so that no one seeks after God.
- Unconditional election: God’s choice of some to be saved was not based on foreseen merit or faith.
- Limited atonement: God’s purpose in sending His Son was to actually save and preserve the elect.
- Irresistible grace: Sooner or later, all who have been chosen will come to faith in Christ.
- Perseverance of the saints: Those who are truly elect and thus saved will persevere.
For others, in addition to Calvinism, Reformed theology includes Covenant theology. This view is taught in the Westminster Confession of Faith, adopted in AD 1646, which was produced by and authoritative for Presbyterians.
Certain Calvinistic Baptists in London wanted the dominant Presbyterians to know they were not a sect, but rather very similar to them, so they produced a modified Baptist edition of the Westminster Confession, known as the Second London Confession of Faith (LBCF) which was adopted in AD 1689. Here is a website that compares these two Confessions, noting differences and similarities: www.proginosko.com.