Wednesday, 14 October 2015

Defining Reformed

Near the end of his book Reforming Theology, David Peel lists for us what he identifies as the five principle features of the United Reformed Church’s reformed theological heritage. 

“First, our emphasis upon the Bible.  …  We seek God’s mind, Christ call and the Spirit’s leading through the Bible, and thereby we allow our present belief and practice to be reformed anew.”  As the hymn has it – ‘the Lord has yet more light and truth to break forth from his Word.’

Second, we recognise the importance of tradition, but “we fully recognise that tradition is not static.  The need for reformation in the church is ongoing.”

Third, our “openness to ideas and insight” from outside ourselves.  This is part of our ecumenical commitment.  “We do not believe that the ‘right’ way necessarily is the URC way; nor do we un-church those in other churches which do things differently.”  Part of this is our engagement with secular society and other faiths.  Recognising the value of diversity, we are ready to listen to others.
Fourth, “URC theology should be thoroughly practical.  It seeks to reform individual lives.”

And, fifth, we look to God, recognising that God has a bigger picture.  As the German theologian Jurgen Moltmann puts it, “God is God, unbounded and all-encompassing.”  We are servants of the Word of God and “we can be totally sure that the interpretation of God’s Word remains a task for each new age.”

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