Monday, 16 February 2009

Do you really want to be Reformed?

Okay so we're thinking a lot about being Reformed. But do we want to be really Reformed, or do we just want a safe robust theology that stands up to fluffy nonsense, but doesn't make any real difference to our way of living?

I'm currently reading Sex, Marriage, and Family in John Calvin's Geneva: Volume 1 Courtship, Engagement and Marriage.

I can't begin to describe Calvin's radically different view of society. How far do current "Reformed" Christians wish to go in their return to the old ways? For example, engagement to be married: Calvin and his colleagues allowed for only two get out clauses, and the time between engagement and marriage was to be around 8 weeks. Any longer, you got wrapped over the knuckles and were compelled to marry.

In lists of pastoral vices found in Ecclesiastical Ordinances (1541) rebellion against ecclesiastical order is included in the "intolerable" section, along with drunkenness. Thankfully, buffoonery comes in under the "can be endured" section.

What's my point? One thing to love the doctrines of grace, another thing entirely to apply the civil laws and principles for living of the Reformed churches. Two kingdoms? We struggle with the idea of one!?

And before anyone jokes about why I'm reading such a volume... let's just say I'd be viewed with a high degree of suspicion in Calvin's Geneva for being 32, eligible, and single. The church would have to arrange a marriage for me before disciplining me for buffoonery.

3 comments:

Danny said...

I'm sure that making jokes at your expense in relation to (1) your choice of reading matter or (2) your eligibility must come under "intolerable"... so I will refrain.

Buffoonery aside... your points are interesting (given our recent conversation). But what is it that makes a real difference to our way of living? Not robust theology (important though that is) or even Calvin's radically different view of society or how it works in terms of civil laws and principles?

Change in our way of living comes from knowing Christ and understanding what he has done for us ... this comes (mostly) through consistent prayerful exposure to the Word of God as we read/study it...proclaim it and share it... or am I missing something?

If people have no knowledge or understanding of Christ and the Gospel message... then there is no motivation to change their way of living and Christians (Reformed or otherwise) are viewed merely as peddlers of outdated social moral standards ... the spoil sports of the Dawkins-inspired Bus advertising campaign!

Nick Mackison said...

Hey Shed, it's not only Calvin's Geneva that would view you with suspicion. I'm not too sure of you myself...

David Shedden said...

Nick, I'll take you seriously when you make it onto a future edition of this list...

http://www.thechurchreport.com/mag_article.php?mid=875&mname=January

Until then I believe you are merely a hairless fellow who got lucky with stuff like wife, kids, popular blog, etc.