Total Depravity

Total depravity, or total inability, describes man’s absolutely sinful and corrupted fallen state as a result of original sin. When Adam, the representative head of the whole human race fell into sin, the entire human race fell too. This is clearly shown in Romans 5:12, “Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned.” Hence, eve- ry single man, head for head is totally depraved. Since the fall, every single person, even a newborn baby, is depraved as he is born in sin. This is seen in Psalm 51:5 which says, “Behold, I was shapen in iniquity, and in sin did my mother conceive me.” This implies that sin is deeply embedded into man’s nature. He is totally ruined and willingly turns to evil from the very day that he was born.

Because man is born into sin, every part of him is totally depraved. Man is wicked, corrupt, perverse and opposed to God in his nature. He is inclined to serve his own will and desires and to reject the rule of God, as proven in Genesis 6:5 “And God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.” He is also unable to serve and love God wholly with all his heart, mind and strength. Man rests under the curse of sin and is wholly incapable of loving God or to do anything which merits salvation. Even the good which man may intend to do have false motives. This is seen in Romans 3:10-12 “As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one: There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God. They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one.”

This doctrine of total depravity, however, is denied by most Christians today and avoided by many as it is not seen as a “friendly” doctrine. Many of them cannot accept that they are totally depraved such that they are unable to do any good by themselves. They assert that there is a difference between total depravity and absolute depravity. Their understanding is that man is totally depraved, but not absolutely depraved. They falsely claim that man, although sinful, is still able to do some good, such as to do good works, or to choose God. This is absolutely wrong as since the fall, man is completely unable to do any good. Psalm 14:1-3, The fool hath said in his heart, there is no God. They are corrupt, they have done abominable works, there is none that doeth good. The Lord looked down from heaven upon the  children of men, to see if there were any that did understand, and seek God. They are all gone aside, they are all together become filthy: there is none that doeth good, no, not one. Their belief further emphasizes their wickedness, as the nature of fallen man is such that he readily listens to any theory which makes him even partly independent of God as he wishes to be the master of his fate and the captain of his soul. This is seen in many other beliefs too.

Total depravity also proves to man that all his claims of goodness are unfounded, and it shows him that his only hope of a change in life lies in the sovereign and divine grace of the Almighty God. The old man is constantly opposed towards God. It is only the power of the Holy Spirit, which works in man’s cold and hardened heart, which allows him to be saved.

This alone proves the eternal and infinite love of God when he sent his only begotten son Jesus Christ to die on the cross so as to provide redemption for His people. John 3:3, Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.

From this, we are to learn that there is no room for pride. We owe everything that we have to God. We ought to be thankful for and appreciate God’s unconditional   grace,   and     further rely on Him and use the means of grace that He has given us, such as the preaching of His Word, family devotions, prayer and youth group activities so that we can grow more in Him. Furthermore, we are not to look down on others. By comparing ourselves to others and deeming ourselves better, we are full of pride, and as we are warned in Proverbs 16:18, pride goeth before destruction. In fact, we have absolutely nothing to be proud of, as the scriptures clearly says that we are all equally depraved, dead, and wicked, and we have all gone astray.

Only through understanding our depravity, are we able to comprehend how great the measure of God’s love is for us when he unconditionally elects us,   wretched   sinners,   and saves us from eternal damnation in hell even though we are such unworthy creatures who continue to sin against Him time and again. Our lost, ruined and helpless state must be constantly set before us so that we can comprehend our depravity and thank God for the gift of salvation that He has bestowed on us.

Written by: Koh Hui Qi | Issue 7

Introduction to TULIP

Over the past year, Covenant Keepers (CK) has been learning about the Five Points of Calvinism. It can be said that this doctrine is the dividing line between the reformed and the non-reformed and thus it is important that the young people of the church are taught this doctrine from young and maintain the reformed heritage that has always upheld the truth of God’s effectual grace and that all things are to the glory of God alone.

The Five Points of Calvinism is a body of doctrines concerning Soteriology, or “Salvation” with its emphasis on the sovereign good pleasure and working of God in choosing and saving certain people unto salvation as well as man’s utter helplessness and wickedness. It is identified by namely, Total Depravity, Unconditional Election, Limited Atonement, Irresistible Grace and the Perseverance of the Saints; also known as TULIP. Each individual aspect will be discussed more thoroughly in the coming issues but for now, an overview will suffice and such would be the scope of this article.

The Five Points and God’s Attributes

Those who think little of this truth or any other truths for the matter would usually think that belief over this doctrine ought not to disrupt the “unity” among professing Christians. However, this doctrine is crucial because it concerns the attributes of God. Every work of God comes forth from who He is or i.e., His attributes. How much more important is this truth since it involves the work of salvation itself? Since we know God by His attributes, thus, if a person denies this doctrine of salvation, the god he worships differs from the one true God whom we reformed believers worship and is nothing but an idol made up by the fancy of men’s carnal heart.

The Sovereignty of God

Underlying this doctrine is the sovereignty of God. The sovereignty of God begins with God being the decider of good and evil, of love and hate, of what exists and what does not, etc. In all things, He decides and it originates from His good pleasure. This is only be tting as He alone is king and ruler of all creation. Being the creator, does He not have the right to decide?

Regarding salvation, He alone, in His eternal counsel, decides who He will save and leaves the rest in their sins to their own condemnation. Using the language of the Bible itself, “Behold the goodness and severity of God…” (Rom 11:22)

While Paul could have used all sorts of soothing, nice-sounding words to soften the reality of God’s sovereignty in salvation, under the inspiration of the Spirit, he was telling the Romans to accept it for He is God and has every right to do so. “Nay but, O man, who art thou that repliest against God?

Shall the thing formed say to him that formed it, Why hast thou made me thus? Hath not the potter power over the clay, of the same lump to make one vessel unto honour, and another unto dishonour?” (Rom 9:20-21)

Though this reality is frightening and ought to strike fear in every person, yet this truly is good news to the child of God who in all things seek first the glory of God and is in every way God-centred (cf The Five points of Calvinism and Good News).

The Love and Zeal of God

“O give thanks unto the LORD, for he is good: for his mercy endureth for ever.” – Ps 107:1

Those who deny this doctrine of salvation must necessarily deny the everlasting virtue of the love and mercy of God. For they have to certainly claim, after having claimed that God loved everyone but condemns those who refuse to believe to hell, that the love of God ends for those people because of their unbelief. That is certainly untrue of the love of God. Alternatively, there are also those who claim that God only begins loving a person when they exercise faith to believe in Christ. That is untrue too. To those whom God has set His love on, he loves them to the very end (Jn 13:1). I.e., either God has loved a person and will love him or her to the end, or He has never loved that person.

Many would like to think that love is but a sentimental feeling and think that to be true of God. “O how God would love to save you and has done everything he can but he is waiting for you to choose him.” Truth is, God is zealous for those He loves and His love is a working love that is real and will de nitely bring salvation to those whom He loves. “For out of Jerusalem shall go forth a remnant, and they that escape out of mount Zion: the zeal of the LORD of hosts shall do this.” (2 Kings 19:31) and “And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins.” (Mat 1:21)

[These are just a few examples of the attributes involved and other attributes which are not discussed includes the omnipotence, omniscience of God etc. which may be discussed in the later articles]

The Five Points to the Glory of God Alone

God is a being of reason and thus everything that He does is for the highest reason possible — that is, Himself and His glory. TULIP teaches man’s utter ruin in sin, and helplessness regarding his salvation that not even his will would wish that he be saved in Christ (total depravity) while teaching also, that God certainly saves those whom He for His good pleasure and glory has chosen before the foundation of the world was laid. Since God begins and finishes His work of salvation, TULIP rightly teaches that all glory belongs to God in the work of salvation.

The Five Points and History/Worldview

Why do nations rise and fall? Why do the things on Earth, despite the tremendous pain and suffering, occur throughout world history? Only a Calvinist can answer, and that is for the salvation of the Church.

Although TULIP does not explicitly teach that everything in history existed to save the church, yet it teaches that all who Christ had died for must certainly be saved and so therefore everything that happens in the world happened by the sovereign will of God that the means of grace (i.e. Preaching of the gospel etc.) will reach the elect and through them, God irresistibly calls the elect to Himself.

The Five Points and Good News

Although previously mentioned that the sovereignty of God is frightening, yet to His people it is of great comfort.

“…or that decree of election and reprobation, revealed in the Word of God, which though men of perverse, impure and unstable minds wrest to their own destruction, yet to holy and pious souls affords unspeakable consolation.” (Canons of Dordt 1st Head art.6)

This is due to the certainty of salvation as taught by TULIP. For the world, the devil and his hosts, and even our sinful flesh constantly wages war against us and if we had to rely on our own will to be saved, we would be eternally lost. That, however, is not so as God promises otherwise that He would secure the salvation of His people.

Furthermore, the sovereignty of God is for, and not against, us. God loves His people in Christ and thus works all things for the good of His people. (Rom 8:31-39)

Also, in the sovereignty of God, God only gives us what is best for our salvation and His glory. As God does all things on the account of Himself (as previously mentioned), He, out of His own nature, can only give us what is best and anything less than the best would be contrary to His nature and His glory.

The Five Points and Other Doctrines

TULIP does not stand alone and as any other doctrine, it exists as part of a larger set of intertwining doctrines such as atonement, sanctification, justification, the assurance of faith and covenant theology etc.

Anyone who debates against those who deny TULIP will often find themselves debating against other doctrines as well, such as the disproving of dispensationalism or defending the perfect substitutionary atonement of Christ.

The Five Points and the Five Solas

The five Solas of the reformation was pointing towards a certain direction; the sovereign work of salvation by God alone. For if TULIP were to be denied, the five solas cannot stand too:

“Grace alone” and “Christ alone” would have to be denied since an external condition would be required.

Faith would then become a condition for salvation and that is not the true meaning of “faith alone” since faith has always been the means, and not the requirement, by which we are saved.

Thus, the denial of TULIP would not have been the teaching of “scripture alone” as it no longer teaches salvation to the glory of God alone since man has to fulfil certain requirements and crediting some glory (however little), to himself.

O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past finding out! For who hath known the mind of the Lord? or who hath been his counsellor? Or who hath first given to him, and it shall be recompensed unto him again? For of him, and through him, and to him, are all things: to whom be glory for ever. Amen. (Romans 11: 33-36)

Written by: Woon Tian Loong | Issue 6

Why We Must Be Distinctively Reformed

In the previous issue we briefly explained what Reformed distinctives are and their importance to the individual believer and the church of Jesus Christ. By distinctives we refer to the unique doctrines and practices of the Reformed church that give it its unique character. Without distinctives, a church cannot be Reformed. Our faith would not be Reformed.

We live in an evil age where churches prefer to be less distinct in order to be more accepting of men. These churches claim that doctrinal distinction is a hindrance to the unity of the church. They assert, moreover, that we must be loving and sympathetic towards those who share a different opinion in matters of the truth. Some would go so far as to say that the individual child of God can never be certain of the truth.

Confusion is bound to reign in churches which tolerate doctrinal differences amongst her members. Where their members confess sharply opposing doctrines, an accurate understanding of God’s truth is lost. For example, on the one hand some members confess that God’s grace is common to all men. Yet at the same time others believe that God’s grace is particular only for His elect. On the one hand some claim that God’s covenant is conditional upon faith and obedience. On the other hand others maintain

that no conditions are attached to membership in the covenant. On the one hand some claim that the Christian marriage can be dissolved by lawful divorce. Yet others in the same church maintain a lifelong marriage bond. The prophet Elijah’s question comes to them forcefully, “How long halt ye between two opinions? if the LORD be God, follow him: but if Baal, then follow Him.” (1 King 18:21)

The truth of the matter is that churches which prefer to be doctrinally tolerant and obscure do not love the truth at all costs. Their attitude is rooted in what Christ condemns as luke- warmness, being “neither cold nor hot” (Rev 3:16). They are not at all concerned about the purity Christ’s doctrine. These churches desire to please men more than God. Christ would have none of that when He declared: “He that is not with me is against me; and he that gathereth not with me scattereth abroad” (Matt 12:30). The church of Jesus Christ either cleaves steadfastly to the truth and confesses it distinctively or sells it to the devil. No church sits on the fence. It is either or.

Toleration of false doctrine is toleration of lies about God Himself. The devil is the father of the lie that hates God and His truth. From the beginning in creation the devil deceived Eve by questioning God’s true Word, bringing mankind down in sinful ruin. Because the devil is cunning and subtle, he presents false doctrines as the truth and tempts the church of Jesus Christ to accept them. Gradually more false doctrines enter into the church and corrupts the whole truth. A little leaven leaveneth the whole lump (1 Cor 5:6). How sad is it today that the majority of churches have fallen sway to the devil’s devices.

But the true church will always stand firm in the truth. One of the distinctive marks of the true church is her preaching of the pure doctrine of the gospel (Belgic Confession Art 29). Not obscure, contradictory and confusing but pure, unadulterated, decisive doctrine. It is the doctrine of her God who has revealed Himself to her. It is her confession of the truth about Him. Her love is manifested in the accuracy and boldness of her confession. She will do this because she loves Him with all her heart, soul, mind and strength. There are crucial reasons why a Reformed church must not only be doctrinally distinctive but also maintain her distinctives unashamedly.

1. All doctrine is principally a doctrine of God. God would not have His people confessing a shallow and obscure doctrine about Him, much less one that is false. For this reason He calls the church to be the pillar and ground of the truth (1 Tim 3:15). Ever does the church that loves her God desire to be an un inching witness to His truth. As a wife loves her husband as a unique person, so the church loves her God according to the unique truth that He reveals Himself in. She will not tolerate a speck of lie in any degree about her God.

2. The one calling of the church is to preach the gospel distinctly. The call of the gospel that extends to the people of God must be quick, and powerful, and sharper than any two- edged sword (Heb 4:12). It is a call that pierces the believer’s conscience, turning his heart to the sovereign Lord who graciously pardons the sinner in the cross of Jesus Christ. It is a call that comes with the full counsel of God, declaring Who He is and all His wondrous works. She holds forth the word of life (Phi 2:16) accurately, confidently and powerfully.

3. By doctrinal distinction the true church is separated from the false. It is striking that the BC in Article 29 declares that “we ought diligently and circumspectly to discern from the Word of God which is the true church, since all sects which are in the world assume to themselves the name of the church”. For the true church, the Word of God is her infallible rule. She cleaves steadfastly to this rule for all matters of her faith and practice. She will not be flippant about observing this rule.

4. The church cannot be governed according to the rule of Christ where His doctrines are not distinctly confessed. A trumpet that gives an uncertain sound cannot prepare soldiers in Christ’s army for battle (1 Cor 14:8). Where differing doctrines pervade in the church, members can live according to any doctrine they believe in. After all, they insist that we should not condemn others for believing in a differing doctrine. There is not one doctrine according to godliness (1 Tim 6:3), but many according to them. Church discipline, the third mark of distinguishing a true church, can hardly be exercised in such a church.

5. Godliness and holiness of life are impossible without doctrinal distinction. The apostle Peter speaks of the fact that believers are to increase in their gifts and the fruits of the Spirit according to the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ (2 Pet 1:8). It is evident that doctrines flow into life. Without doctrine, we cannot be a holy people. Without doctrinal distinction, we would still be babes who cannot take solid meat from God’s Word. We are to desire the sincere milk of the Word, that we may grow thereby (1 Pet 2:2).

6. Biblical evangelism begins with doctrinal distinction. Our evil age of tolerance prides itself in promoting mission work and evangelism to the unbelieving world. But where a church is not strong doctrinally, she will only promote a shallow gospel at best. A Reformed church does a great injustice to the blessed Reformed faith when she does not preach with doctrinal distinction.

7. The church in succeeding generations will grow stronger with doctrinal distinction. The psalmist declares that “one generation shall praise thy works to another, and shall declare thy mighty acts” (Ps 145:4). They are able to do so because they know the works of Jehovah distinctly. They know Him intimately. Therefore the church prospers in strength and true unity.

“If in our day Reformed men would be a little less disposed to tolerate error and a little more disposed to refute and contradict the errors rejected by our fathers, Reformed churches in general would be doctrinally more vigorous and spiritually more healthy” (pg 292, The Voice of Our Fathers, Homer C. Hoeksema, RFPA, 1980).

These words by Prof. Hoeksema underscore the importance of maintaining solid doctrinal distinctions. A vague and obscure understanding of the truth would be of little profit to the child of God. Our fathers at Dordt would not budge an inch in their condemnation of false doctrine. So must we not.

Well, do we in CERC confess that by the grace of God alone we have been delivered the Reformed faith? Doctrinal distinction is required for that faith to mature and develop. It requires a zealous striving to understand the deeper things of God found in His Word. It requires a godly courage to fight the enemies of the truth. It requires an impeccable boldness to stand alone for the truth’s sake when friend and family forsake us. God’s truth, to the Reformed believer, is above all. He will be distinctively Reformed.

Written by: Aaron Lim | Issue 4

Distinctively Reformed

A Case for Doctrinal Distinctives

Reformed churches, since the time of the Reformation in the 16th century, have been in grave danger of sacrificing their faith. The days of the Reformation were marked by severe persecution upon those who opposed Rome and all her idolatry. Rome never hesitated to make martyrs out of her enemies. Persecution for Reformed churches today takes on a slightly different form. Reformed churches are forced to compromise on their witness to the truth. Great pressure is heaped upon Reformed believers and clergies to be tolerant of false doctrine. Under the false piety of Christian love, Reformed churches are compelled to be accepting towards churches of differing doctrinal persuasions. Anyone who refuses would be labeled arrogant and unforgiving. Tolerance is the ecclesiastical password to be accepted in the modern church world.

Prof. Herman Hanko of the Protestant Reformed Churches in America writes,

“Sad to say, the church has always been plagued with these great compromisers. They are almost more dangerous than outright heretics, for they sell the truth under the guise of toleration, love for brethren, and desire to be known as peacemakers” (pg 169, Contending for the Faith, RFPA, 2010).

As if calling ourselves Reformed were already not being exclusive, many shun the idea of developing the church’s doctrine for fear of being given unfriendly labels. Church leaders hesitate to maintain distinctive doctrinal standards for fear of offending others. As a result, the doctrines and practices which give the Reformed faith its unique power and vitality are compromised. The Reformed church sacri ces the truth on the altar of tolerance.

God’s Word is clear for the Reformed believer to “buy the truth, and sell it not; also wisdom, and instruction, and understanding” (Prov 23:23). Wisdom, instruction and understanding are all products of his priceless purchase of the truth. The Reformed man uses all his talents and gifts God has given him to acquire as much of the truth as possible. Like the wise man who upon nding a pearl of great price, sells all that he has to purchase it (Matt 13:46). He learns it, studies it, confesses it, defends it and hides in his heart (Ps 119:11). Above all, he refuses to sell his purchase because it is God’s priceless gift to him.

What then are doctrinal distinctives?

They are the doctrines and practices which give the Reformed faith its rich meaning and uniqueness. They are the doctrines of sovereign, particular grace which proclaim a mighty and sovereign God in the salvation of sinners. They are the doctrines of God’s unconditional covenant which he sovereignly establishes with his elect in the cross of Jesus Christ. In sum, they are the deep truths of Scripture that have been passed down to us with the sweat and struggle of our spiritual fathers.

Consider the following 4 statements: 1. God saves sinners.

2. God saves sinners in the cross of Jesus Christ.

3. God saves His elect sinners in cross of Jesus Christ.

4. God saves His elect sinners in the cross of Jesus Christ by His grace alone.

Each statement is true from a biblical point of view. Yet each successive statement increases with detail and precision. Each statement increases in depth and meaning which stem from the rich fountain of Scripture. They give us a fuller understanding of the doctrine of salvation. Such is an example to develop the truth in sharper clarity and deeper meaning.

It would be extreme unfaithfulness on the part of a Reformed church to be satisfied with a shallow understanding of the truth. More than 400 years have passed since the days of the Reformation. The Reformed faith has since developed in great depth, clarity and beauty. Doctrines which were unheard of in the past have been forged in the res of controversies and intense spiritual struggles. It is nothing less than the duty of those who call themselves Reformed to carry on the legacy of doctrinal development.

To be doctrinally distinctive is not an easy course to take. On the one hand there are those in the church who have no genuine love for the truth. They are the Esaus of the covenant who, although, have been raised under the instruction of the church, despise all that they were taught. When the church develops the truth and confesses it with boldness and clarity, this wicked element are forced to reveal their true natures. On the other hand there are those outside the church who oppose her with an intense hatred. The bolder she confesses the truth of God, the more intense this hatred will be. Persecution is inevitable.

That many Reformed churches have been engulfed by a tolerant and liberal spirit is not surprising. Scripture speaks of those who “will not endure sound doctrine…[who] turn their ears away from the truth” (2 Tim 4:3-4). These churches have almost no interest in the development of the truth. Under the false notion of Christian unity, they join hands with all sorts of churches. Without any thought of the spiritual consequences, they freely allow exchanges of pulpit with each other. Ministers perform the sacraments for each other’s churches and discipline standards slip. Yet, they are not alarmed as unity is more important to them than the truth.

Prof. Hanko hits the nail squarely on the head with these words, “the salvation of the church lies in her intolerance – intolerance of all that is contrary to God’s truth in Christ” (pg 21). May we who have been so blessed to receive the Reformed truth learn this intolerance from our fathers of old. Our comfort comes from the Spirit of God who alone will lead the church into all truth (Jn 16:13). For the love of the truth, for the glory of God, the Reformed church must be doctrinally distinctive.

In the next article, the Lord willing, we will explore the reasons for maintaining doctrinal distinctives in the church of Jesus Christ.

Written by: Aaron Lim | Issue 3

The Importance of Doctrine

“Where there is no doctrine, there is no church.” – Martin Luther

The Scriptures speak of a time where many will not endure sound doctrine (2 Tim 4:3). We live in such a time. The church today has very little interest in doctrine. Professing Christians prefer simple lessons on practical Christian living to doctrinal instruction. They speak passionately of reaching out to the unbelieving. Evangelism becomes the sole preoccupation of the modern church and doctrines are intellectual and boring concepts that have little relevance to her today. Rev. Ronald Hanko accurately depicts the situation of the church world today:

“Doctrine is not highly regarded anymore. In many evangelical churches there is such ignorance of doctrine that even the fundamentals of Christianity are not well understood. Even in churches that remain faithful in their teaching and preaching, there is often little interest in learning and understanding doctrine. The youth are, for the most part, bored by it, and their elders are content with a superficial knowledge of the doctrines of the Reformed faith” (Doctrines According to Godliness).

The Reformed church, by contrast, loves her doctrine. Her doctrines teach her Who the God of the Scriptures is. Her doctrines magnify the glory of her God in all His perfections. They reveal Him as the only sovereign God Whose will alone is to be obeyed. Her doctrines are like a spiritual compass that guide her in the way that she is to live in this world. She guards her doctrines jealously because her God is jealous of His truth. Constantly she seeks to develop her doctrines to grow in a fuller understanding of His Word. She teaches them faithfully and diligently to her young so that they grow up to be mature men and women who are characterised by godliness. Again Rev. Hanko offers his words of wisdom,

“If the church and the lives of God’s people are to be rescued from super ciality, decline, and all the church troubles that af ict us today, there must be a return to doctrine”. Why return to doctrine?

In the first place, the Reformed faith is a body of doctrine. The Reformed faith which we love so dear consists of doctrines. To confess our faith is to confess doctrine. It is the body of truth concerning God Himself as He reveals Himself in His Word. The doctrines of the Reformed faith proclaim the sovereignty of God in all His works. They reveal Him as the absolute Lord of heaven and earth, the One who created all things and to Whom all things owe their existence. A student of Reformed doctrine is humbled by this truth and stands in awe at Reformed doctrine.

In the second place, doctrine is the foundation of all practical Christian living. A believer can never know how to live aright before God without doctrine. This is because true doctrine is the truth of God’s Word that is a lamp unto his feet and a light unto his path (Ps 119:105). The Word of God is profitable for doctrine, to the end that the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works (2 Tim 3:16-17). The doctrines which the Reformed believer subscribes to is according to godliness (1 Tim 6:3). He adorns the doctrine of God His Saviour in all things (Tit 2:10). His life is a pattern of good works and whose doctrine demonstrates incorruptness, gravity and sincerity (Tit 2:7).

Thirdly, doctrines are the truths of Scripture in which the Reformed believer instructs his family. He speaks sound doctrine to them (Tit 2:1) and faithfully explains them because it is his covenant duty as head of the family. By such instruction God causes those them that weaned from the milk and drawn from the breasts to understand doctrine (Isa 28:9). His children receive doctrinal instruction from their catechism classes and grow up in the consciousness of their faith in Jesus Christ.

Fourthly, doctrines are necessary for the Reformed church to grow in the grace and knowledge of her Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ (2 Pet 3:18).

She must preach the doctrine of Christ with power (Luk 4:32) to build up and to edify His body. She must by sound doctrine (Tit 1:9) reprove those who oppose themselves to the truth. As the mother of believers she nourishes them up in the words of faith and of good doctrine (1 Tim 4:6). She exhorts them with all longsuffering and doctrine (2 Tim 4:2). It is the glory of the church, says the puritan William Perkins, to have its doctrine powerful and effectual for the winning of souls (The Art of Prophesying).

The Word of God is dreadfully clear in its warnings against false doctrine. False doctrines are the lies of Satan which corrupt God’s truth and all that is true. The Scriptures speak of the wicked doctrines of the Pharisees and Sadducees (Matt 16:12). There are those who hold the evil doctrine of Balaam (Rev 2:14) the wicked prophet and despiser of God. Many transgress God’s law because they abide not in the doctrine of Christ (2 Jn 1:9).We who love the doctrines of the Reformed faith are called to try the spirits whether they are of God; because many false prophets are gone out into the world (1 Jn 4:1). We study God’s Word diligently so that we may rightly divide the word of

truth (2 Tim 2:15). Constantly we place our doctrines to the test of the Scriptures so that we may oppose all that which is contrary to sound doctrine (1 Tim 1:10). Our doctrines identify us as the pillar and ground of the truth (1 Tim 3:15). We desire growth and development in our doctrinal understanding so that we are no more like children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine (Eph 4:14).

Reformation in the true church of Jesus Christ always begins with a return to doctrine. This is the old paths which the prophet Jeremiah spoke of, where is the good way to walk therein to find rest for our souls (Jer 6:16). Luther walked in these paths, as did Calvin and the other faithful reformers. Our brethren in the Protestant Reformed Churches walk in these paths, where to follow will bring us safety and joy immeasurable.

The Lord in His goodness has given to us a young people’s magazine, where a platform for the propagation of His truth may be served. In a time where Christians prefer shallow and superficial spiritual reading to solid doctrinal study, let us proclaim God’s truth in all its power, depth and beauty. Let others know that we are a people who love our doctrines, who live by them and who will die for them. Let others see the infinite glory of our God in the doctrine we confess! (1 Tim 4:16)

Written by: Aaron Lim | Issue 1