In his Veracity video interview, Clarke Morledge described his theological leaning as, “Reformed with a small ‘r’.” What in the world does that mean? Is it about the mode of baptism, or is there more to it than that? Clarke?
Our church is currently working through Wayne Grudem’s foundational Systematic Theology. Grudem describes his theological perspective as ‘Reformed.’ The glossary in his indispensable text defines Reformed as, “Another term for the theological tradition known as Calvinism.” Who am I to disagree with one of Evangelical Christianity’s foremost 21st Century theologians, but I’m not sure that Reformed = Calvinism.
These and many other potentially thorny topics are the subjects of a new blog and YouTube channel. Theocast is, “Four broken men and their humble attempts to explain infinite grace with finite minds. Simply just adding to the ongoing (2,000-year) conversation about biblical and theological matters from a reformed perspective.”
These four pastors are sharp. If you watch their About Us video, they describe their goal to give everyone access to discussions you don’t hear in ‘normal’ conversation. They have gone to great pains to do so, and they do it very well.
If you’re a little worn out listening to shallow conversations, give these guys a try. You may not agree with their perspectives and opinions, but you will probably learn something interesting.
January 22nd, 2018 at 3:54 pm
Thanks John, I just listened to the Jan 17 Unfiltered #111 Re. Overspirirtualization and was impressed with these guys theology and depth of reasoning. The point that resonated with me was their thoughts on how overspiritualzation undervalues the work of Christ. I recommend listening to it if you haven’t already.
January 23rd, 2018 at 6:01 am
Thanks, Jerry, for commenting. I have listened to Unfiltered #111, and found it refreshingly on point, as you did. I’m working through their back catalog as time permits, and have been impressed with their production and ethics. I don’t agree with some of their positions, but I do appreciate how they handle the Great Commission and share their theology.
January 22nd, 2018 at 7:00 pm
John: For the record…. 🙂
Yes, I am a little “r” as opposed to a big “R” reformed. But not for the reason that “the boys” at THEOCAST cite.
The guys at THEOCAST, if I understand them correctly, embrace the “1689 Baptist Confession of Faith,” which was the first major confessional statement that consistently affirmed much of the English Puritan Calvinism, that found its way into the 1648 Westminster Confession of Faith, with the primary EXCEPTION that they affirm the use of Believer’s/Adult Baptism alone (credobaptism) as the correct mode of baptism (little “r” Reformed theology), as opposed to infant baptism (paedobaptism) that was advocated by the stream of Reformation thinking that came out of John Calvin’s Geneva, from the 16th century (big “R” Reformed theology). In contemporary terms, THEOCAST emerges out of what Colin Hansen, in 2006, called the “Young, Restless and Reformed” movement.
Yep, that’s a mouthful, but that sums it up rather well.
My little “r” reformed theology is probably more along the lines of a J.I. Packer, John R. W. Stott, etc. that adheres to the general contour of English Puritan theology, but that tries to be more generous in some of the stickier points of “Reformed” theology that has led to tragic division among followers of Reformed thinking over years. For example, I do not believe that the mode of baptism should be a reason for breaking fellowship among believers.
In short, the main reason why THEOCAST takes the angle that they do is that they see a trend in Evangelicalism whereby theology takes a back seat, for fear of bringing up some point that *might* lead to division. As a result, there is an impulse in much of Evangelicalism today to “dumb down” the content of what is being preached from pulpits today, in order to appeal to some form of lowest common denominator. I would think that the folks at THEOCAST would label this impulse as “pietism.”
Sadly, I do believe that THEOCAST is correct in the diagnosis. However, I am not necessarily convinced that they have the complete cure. Their answer is to embrace “confessionalism”; which is, to call the church back to certain Reformation commitments. The problem, however, is which confession should one embrace?
This is a very difficult question to answer. There are a lot of factors at play here. Just listening to a couple of episodes of the podcast bears this out. I do appreciate that THEOCAST is trying to expound an answer in the form of a conversational dialogue.
We need more in-depth, irenic, discussions like this in the church.
January 23rd, 2018 at 6:12 am
I thought you might want to clarify the little/big ‘r’ issue. 😉 Well stated! We certainly do need more vehicles and opportunities to engage in thought-provoking dialogue about the Christian faith. Your incredibly prolific work here on Veracity has been a tremendous encouragement to so many people in that regard. Thank you!