Op soek na ’n Reformatoriese identiteit
’n Ondersoek van gereformeerde belydenisse, credo’s en akronieme
Looking for a reformational identity. An investigation of reformed confessions, credo’s and acronyms
The stimulus to rethink the Reformed identity in this essay was the world-wide commemorations during 2017 of the birth of the sixteenth century Reformation 500 years ago with Martin Luther in Wittenberg on 31/10/1517.
The introduction provides an overview of the different ways in which a Reformed identity was and can be portrayed. These include, apart from the ancient ecumenical creeds (the Apostle’s, Nicene and Athanasian Creed), the doctrinal standards of the 16th and 17th century (the Belgic Confession, Heidelberg Catechism and the Canons of Dordt), also shorter summaries like well-known five solae, TULIP and FAITH as well as an approach distinguishing between the Catholic, Lutheran, Anabaptist and Reformed worldviews.
The second section provides an analysis and evaluation of the popular summary of a Reformed identity and worldview in the five solae. Since they are one-sided reactions against the Roman Catholic view, they cannot fully and positively express a biblically based reformational view and identity for today.
The third part therefore indicates how these five watch-words could be broadened systematically by adding the work of the Holy Spirit, God’s full revelation (not only the Scriptures) as well as his directional commandment of love. Historically “sin, redemption and gratitude” should be preceded by the biblical idea of creation. A genuine reformational identity is finally characterised by continuous reformation.
In the last section some guidelines are suggested for a contemporary reformational credo and life accordingly. However, since prerequisites for real reformation are deep personal conversion and the revival of many Christians, the essay, in conclusion, emphasises that new statements of faith should not be regarded as a panacea to become – instead of merely reformed – real reformational-minded and involved Christians.
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