Today we conclude this series on the principles of the Reformed faith.
Man, who occupies a unique position in God’s creation, is in his deepest sense a servant of the Almighty.
On the one hand man is creaturely, like all other creatures, i.e. earth, plant and animal, non-self-sufficient, dependant and subject to the law-order of God. On the other hand man is destined to be a co-worker of God on earth, to continue the creation work of God in human fashion, called as a child of the King to realize the possibilities that God laid inside him and the world through cultural creations.
Because man was created in the image of God (in broad terms), he is raised infinitely above animals. This is proven by the fact that man is ruler over the earth, creator of culture, through language he reveals what is going on inside and around him, and that he has spirit and love. Although mankind was created in the image of God, it remains as an image and not God, bound by time and earth, subject in all things to God’s laworder and God infinitely raised above man.
Human freedom is possible only when man answers to His God-given destiny, and fulfills his calling according to the will and law of God, in which man is also accountable to God. When man in rebellion against God enslave himself to sin, he stands guilty before God. Even in rest and recreation man stays accountable to God.
Because man is dependant on God for all he is, does and owns, he may never glorify himself, but must thank and glorify God in everything. In the struggle between the Kingdom of Light and the kingdom of darkness, man as believer will relentlessly do everything he can to combat the forces of darkness. This is true for all terrains of society and mankind as a whole, and not only individuals. In all of that we have a religious principle of the being, existence, purpose and acts of man, which demands the Christinianizing of his whole life.
8. Church and Christianity
The goal here is not to show the all of the Calvinistic conclusions about church in the theological sense, but to answer the question about the role of the church in evangelizing and the Christianizing of the life of man regarding marriage, family, nation, state and company, in science, art and all the other areas of culture. Must the church, as Rome teaches, include and thus Christianize all these areas?
To this question, the reformed faith answers in the negative. The reformed faith does not want churchism, i.e. a churchly marriage, family, nation, no church-state (like the Vatican), no church-political parties, no church-controlled economies or labor unions, arts and sciences. The church as institution, (sovereign in its own sphere, with its own sovereign task) stands according to the reformed faith next to all the other terrains of society and the other spheres of science, art, politics, economy etc. wherein each must handle its own tasks sovereignly in its own sphere.
Where does the call to Christianize of all of life’s areas then originate? The moving force for that, seen from the human perspective, is resides in the heart of the believing Christian. Not as the member of a church, but as believing Christian shall he in his office as believer Christianize all areas of life. From the Holy God Triune he received a calling to be obedient in all areas of life to the will and law of God, to labor for and to the glory and honor of God, according to the purposes and ordinances of God for all areas. To that effect God gave the believer his talents, circumstances and opportunities.
Calvinism is therefore not churchism. Therefore it is necessary to distinguish between faith in the narrower sense, as expressed in the praise, prayer-life, use of sacraments etc, and faith in the broader sense of religion. According to his religion as servant of God with his whole life and in all that he does, the believer will endeavour to have not a churchly, but a Christian marriage, family, state, company etc. The Christian believer will also work for Christian morality, art, economy science etc.
As a total Christian, and not only as a church-member, the Christian acts in his office as believer, individually as well as in society. Calvinism is Christian-universal or totalitarian, truly catholic (all-encompassing), though not churchly, but Christian-catholic, because out of God, through God and to God are all things.
So what is the task of the church in all of this? Its task is to inspire believers to these Christianizing actions, because even if they are sovereign in their own sphere, the different spheres can ultimately not be totally separated from each other. Ultimately everything is connected with everything else in the most fundamental sense, in that everything is connected in and through the creation with God-Triune.
The eight principles of the reformed faith is a short but valuable and beautiful description of Christianity. It presents the deepest Biblical presuppositions from Scripture which one cannot even attempt to approach an understanding of Gods revealed will.
It summarizes the authority of God’s Word, and the truth of God’s sovereignity. This short presentation is by no means a complete treatment of the topic, so I implore you to study each of the principles further, for the glory of God alone.