Black and Reformed

Status
Not open for further replies.

SolaGratia

Puritan Board Junior
Has anyone read Anthony J. Carter book, On Being Black and Reformed: A New Perspective on the African-American Christian Experience?
 

raekwon

Puritan Board Junior
Yep. It's good. Is there anything specific you want to know about it?

Incidentally, Carter's planting a church in Atlanta. I recently pointed my dad and stepmom in their direction, and they're already thinking about joining.
 

SolaGratia

Puritan Board Junior
I just bought the book in amazon.com, looking forward to reading it.


I have heard that Carter uses Philippians 2 almost as a base-text to deal with Anglo-American's? Is this true?

Specifically Philippians 2:3-6:

3 Do nothing from rivalry or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. 4Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. 5 Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus,
 

SemperEruditio

Puritan Board Junior
Carter and Anyabwile's books are very good. At the Miami Pastor's Conference they were both very adamant that Reformed African-Americans and Latinos begin getting their work published.
 

Roldan

Puritan Board Junior
Carter and Anyabwile's books are very good. At the Miami Pastor's Conference they were both very adamant that Reformed African-Americans and Latinos begin getting their work published.

We gonna take it back to the latin fathers, LOL
 

SolaGratia

Puritan Board Junior
As a historical example,

Latin America and Northern Europe did not became Christian per see, because of books being published or because of the sword. It became Christian when Southern Europeans served in a Christ-like manner towards the indigenous people of those regions.

For this reason, in Latin Amercia and Southern Europe you cannot just write books, like in American and England, and expect for the people to change and become Reformed. The people need to see for themselves what your mouth and pen is boasting all about.

Writing a book nowadays has more to do with showing off intellectaully and making money, than with serving the Church of Christ because of Christ. Yes, we need the Sproul's, the Beeke's to write and teach, but we also need reformed folks to start servng our neighbors. therefore Christ. I will say that Reformed Protestant Churches need more of the Christ-like serving in action to better reflect our worshipped and pratice. This balance is missing.
 
Last edited:

SemperEruditio

Puritan Board Junior
Latin America and Northern Europe did not became Christian per see, because of books being published or because of the sword. It became Christian when Southern Europeans served in a Christ-like manner towards the indigenous people of those regions.

For this reason, in Latin Amercia and Southern Europe you cannot just write books like in American and England and expect for the people to change. The people need to see for themselves what your mouth and pen is boasting all about.

Yep. However we are talking about the good ole US of A. Here our peeps do not care what some guys with wigs had to say. They want to know what guys who read about those other guys have to say. Does not matter if it is the same thing as long as it is a black/brown person writing it. I don't agree with it but I was able to get some to read Carter initially who I pray will read Edwards. Some will never read Edwards because he owned a slave...still working on this guy.
 

SolaGratia

Puritan Board Junior
With the U.S. of A, I will leave that to Christ and prayer.

With the Reformed Churches in the U.S., however, we need to demonstrate that true Christiantity is about doctrine, but in order to serve, in order to love our neighbor (wheter believer or unbeliever) as ourselves because of Christ, who love and gave himself. We don't give ourselves. That is the real fruit of the doctrine of Justification.


I think that is why the Reformed Community is not growing. There is not much fruit to spread its seeds.

In this regard, I think Catholic Hispanic immigrants are doing a better job serving neighbor, therefore Christ, as cooks, maids, construction workers, etc. than American born Protestants. What In American is refer to as "dirty jobs," to a Catholic Immigrant is a means of providng for family and neighbor, and again, therefore Christ. And the poor immigrant has no legal papers, no education, cannot speak english, and probaly for that reason has more faith.
 

SemperEruditio

Puritan Board Junior
With the U.S. of A, I will leave that to Christ and prayer.

With the Reformed Churches in the U.S., however, we need to demonstrate that true Christiantity is about doctrine, but in order to serve, in order to love our neighbor (wheter believer or unbeliever) as ourselves because of Christ, who love and gave himself. We don't give ourselves. That is the real fruit of the doctrine of Justification.


I think that is why the Reformed Community is not growing. There is not much fruit to spread its seed.
I would have to disagree about the community not growing.

In this regard, I think Catholic Hispanic immigrants are doing a better job serving neighbor, therefore Christ, as cooks, maids, construction workers, etc. than American born Protestants. What In American is refer to as "dirty jobs," to a Catholic Immigrant is a means of providng for family and neighbor, and again, therefore Christ. And the immigratnt has no legal papers, no education, cannot speak english, and probaly for that reason has more faith.



:worms:

:popcorn:
 

SolaGratia

Puritan Board Junior
The Reformed Community is not growing compare to other religions. Any growth that the Reformed Church has had, has been mainly indirectly from the Reformed Community as a whole. For example, many reformed folks have become Christians because of Arminianism. Personally, I' am one.

My intention is not to open a can of worms. My intention is to analyze the state of the Church and better serve it. Here I am viewing the Church in Amercia in how it finds itself within the Black and Hispanic community in order to filled in what is lacking for its overall health.


If you disagreed, no problem, but why. Perhaps you can help me.
 

A.J.

Puritan Board Junior
As a historical example,

Latin America and Northern Europe did not became Christian per see, because of books being published or because of the sword. It became Christian when Southern Europeans served in a Christ-like manner towards the indigenous people of those regions.

For this reason, in Latin Amercia and Southern Europe you cannot just write books, like in American and England, and expect for the people to change and become Reformed. The people need to see for themselves what your mouth and pen is boasting all about.

Writing a book nowadays has more to do with showing off intellectaully and making money, than with serving the Church of Christ because of Christ. Yes, we need the Sproul's, the Beeke's to write and teach, but we also need reformed folks to start servng our neighbors. therefore Christ. I will say that Reformed Protestant Churches need more of the Christ-like serving in action to better reflect our worshipped and pratice. This balance is missing.

With the U.S. of A, I will leave that to Christ and prayer.

With the Reformed Churches in the U.S., however, we need to demonstrate that true Christiantity is about doctrine, but in order to serve, in order to love our neighbor (wheter believer or unbeliever) as ourselves because of Christ, who love and gave himself. We don't give ourselves. That is the real fruit of the doctrine of Justification.


I think that is why the Reformed Community is not growing. There is not much fruit to spread its seeds.

In this regard, I think Catholic Hispanic immigrants are doing a better job serving neighbor, therefore Christ, as cooks, maids, construction workers, etc. than American born Protestants. What In American is refer to as "dirty jobs," to a Catholic Immigrant is a means of providng for family and neighbor, and again, therefore Christ. And the poor immigrant has no legal papers, no education, cannot speak english, and probaly for that reason has more faith.

The Reformed Community is not growing compare to other religions. Any growth that the Reformed Church has had, has been mainly indirectly from the Reformed Community as a whole. For example, many reformed folks have become Christians because of Arminianism. Personally, I' am one.

My intention is not to open a can of worms. My intention is to analyze the state of the Church and better serve it. Here I am viewing the Church in Amercia in how it finds itself within the Black and Hispanic community in order to filled in what is lacking for its overall health.


If you disagreed, no problem, but why. Perhaps you can help me.

Hello Gil. Let me help. I am not an American, and I haven't been to the US. I do agree that Reformed balance between doctrine and actual practice is missing many times. But I disagree with some of your observations.

From time to time, I do visit the denominational websites of NAPARC churches when doing research on vital doctrinal and ethical topics (including racial issues). So I get a lot of information about what is happening in the North American Reformed community. I am aware of what Reformed churches have done and have been doing in reaching out to minorities, and preach the gospel to them. This I think is the fruit of a prayerful reflection on the mistakes of Reformed churches in the past (especially the 19th century). The American Reformed churches are increasingly becoming multi-racial. There are Blacks, Asians (especially Koreans), and Hispanics in groups like the PCA, OPC and the URCs. (See the PCA-MTA website, for instance, for the racial make-up of the largest conservative Reformed denomination in America.) In fact, there are Reformed congregations which are predominantly non-White (e.g. KAPC). Last year, I was reading an edition of the OPC's New Horizons, and found an article discussing the planting of an OPC congregation in a Hispanic area. I think it was Puerto Rico, an American territory. There was a good combination of Blacks, White, and Mulattoes in the congregation. This is a proof that the Reformed faith has grown considerably.

Last year, a Filipino was ordained as a minister in the URCs. He is now in the Philippines working as a missionary, and pastors the congregation I attend. The minister who officiated the ordination service is an Indian. One of the URC pastors who attended the ordination was Black. And all of them are in a federation which is predominantly White. Dr. Scott Clark noted in his blog recently that another URC minister was ordained to serve in a Spanish-speaking congregation. So I disagree with your statement that the Reformed community is not growing compared to other religions. It has grown, and is continually growing as it is increasingly embracing people from every nation and tongue (Rev. 5:9). That may not bee easily seen in the numbers (as compared to, say, the SBC or AoG). But the fact that people of different races (including Blacks and Hispanics) are worshipping together as one in these churches says a lot about what Reformed churches by God's grace have accomplished.

The American federation assisting the small group of Filipino Reformed churches (which is presently organizing as a federation, and of which I am thinking of becoming a member) is the RCUS. They are in a sister relationship with your federation. This coming Sunday, the pastor who will lead our worship service is Rev. Gil Baloy, a Californian RCUS minister. Joel Beeke is coming to the Philippines to lecture on Reformed Theology this coming May. My pastor also told me that Mike Horton is going to hold a conference on Reformed Theology also next year. These I think are small but significant ways in which Reformed people are living out what they profess. About two months ago, a PB member and PCA layman, Scott Truax, traveled to my country not only to visit the family of his Filipino wife, but also to give lecture on Reformed Theology. I know you are viewing the Church in America. But these men are American. They are serving Christ, and loving their neighbors even if that means leaving their country temporarily. And they are just a small number of American Reformed believers who do this. There are American Reformed missionaries practically in every continent (except Antartica) of the world in obedience to the Great Commission. Also, there are various Reformed churches/denominations in different parts of Asia (like Indonesia, Malaysia and Burma) which would not have been possible apart from the missionary efforts of American Reformed missionaries. The Japan Presbytery of the RPCNA is an example. The Reformed Faith thus has really grown.

Lastly, I was born and raised in a culture that is not very different from that of Latin America. My surname is Medina (my mother's maiden name is Villanueva) which says a lot about the common history Filipinos share with Hispanics. My country is predominantly Roman Catholic, and millions are living in poverty. In the last two or three decades, there has been an increasing interest in Reformed Theology in my homeland. And the reason for the interest is the dissemination of Reformed and Puritan literature! The increase of Reformed Baptist churches and the reformation of spritually declining Reformed Paedo-Baptist ones is due to the reading of books and essays written by people like Calvin, Owen, Spurgeon, and Warfield. With the use of the internet, more and more people have been exposed to the Reformed faith. So I don't think that the writing of more books nowadays has simply become a showing off of intellectual prowess and a means of making money. Many non-native English speaking people and churches in the globe have been blessed by the publications of Banner of Truth and P&R Publishing (whether old or recent). I and the Reformed churches in this side of the globe (including those who reside in other East Asian and Southeast Asian countries) are a living example of that. If this could happen to Roman Catholic Philippines, it can happen to Roman Catholic Latin American countries (and to Roman Catholic Southern Europe) as well! Translation of these works (to Spanish and Portuguese) is the pressing need of the day. Some have done so. See monergismo.com

Disclaimer: Since I am not an American, I do not claim to be someone who knows what it really means to be a member of an American Reformed church. I don't and can't ultimately speak for Blacks and Hispanics in America. Reformed churches everywhere (not just in North America) still have a lot to do in dealing with racial issues, but I praise God that the ethnic and racial make-up of many of them has changed dramatically over the years especially in the major American and Canadian cities. This is consistent with the Reformed view of the Church. I simply wanted to give my :2cents: on two of your assertions, namely, that the Reformed Faith is not growing vis-a-vis other religions, and that the writing of books nowadays has become more of a means for making money and showing off intellectually. Both are untrue. I disagree with you on this, but I agree with you that Reformed people in many ways are inconsistent in what they believe on the one hand, and what they actually do in practice (e.g. belief in the sovereign power of God in converting sinners, and actual evangelism). :)
 
Last edited:

Roldan

Puritan Board Junior
As a historical example,

Latin America and Northern Europe did not became Christian per see, because of books being published or because of the sword. It became Christian when Southern Europeans served in a Christ-like manner towards the indigenous people of those regions.

For this reason, in Latin Amercia and Southern Europe you cannot just write books, like in American and England, and expect for the people to change and become Reformed. The people need to see for themselves what your mouth and pen is boasting all about.

Writing a book nowadays has more to do with showing off intellectaully and making money, than with serving the Church of Christ because of Christ. Yes, we need the Sproul's, the Beeke's to write and teach, but we also need reformed folks to start servng our neighbors. therefore Christ. I will say that Reformed Protestant Churches need more of the Christ-like serving in action to better reflect our worshipped and pratice. This balance is missing.

With the U.S. of A, I will leave that to Christ and prayer.

With the Reformed Churches in the U.S., however, we need to demonstrate that true Christiantity is about doctrine, but in order to serve, in order to love our neighbor (wheter believer or unbeliever) as ourselves because of Christ, who love and gave himself. We don't give ourselves. That is the real fruit of the doctrine of Justification.


I think that is why the Reformed Community is not growing. There is not much fruit to spread its seeds.

In this regard, I think Catholic Hispanic immigrants are doing a better job serving neighbor, therefore Christ, as cooks, maids, construction workers, etc. than American born Protestants. What In American is refer to as "dirty jobs," to a Catholic Immigrant is a means of providng for family and neighbor, and again, therefore Christ. And the poor immigrant has no legal papers, no education, cannot speak english, and probaly for that reason has more faith.

The Reformed Community is not growing compare to other religions. Any growth that the Reformed Church has had, has been mainly indirectly from the Reformed Community as a whole. For example, many reformed folks have become Christians because of Arminianism. Personally, I' am one.

My intention is not to open a can of worms. My intention is to analyze the state of the Church and better serve it. Here I am viewing the Church in Amercia in how it finds itself within the Black and Hispanic community in order to filled in what is lacking for its overall health.


If you disagreed, no problem, but why. Perhaps you can help me.

Hello Gil. Let me help. I am not an American, and I haven't been to the US. I do agree that Reformed balance between doctrine and actual practice is missing many times. But I disagree with some of your observations.

From time to time, I do visit the denominational websites of NAPARC churches when doing research on vital doctrinal and ethical topics (including racial issues). So I get a lot of information about what is happening in the North American Reformed community. I am aware of what Reformed churches have done and have been doing in reaching out to minorities, and preach the gospel to them. This I think is the fruit of a prayerful reflection on the mistakes of Reformed churches in the past (especially the 19th century). The American Reformed churches are increasingly becoming multi-racial. There are Blacks, Asians (especially Koreans), and Hispanics in groups like the PCA, OPC and the URCs. (See the PCA-MTA website, for instance, for the racial make-up of the largest conservative Reformed denomination in America.) In fact, there are Reformed congregations which are predominantly non-White (e.g. KAPC). Last year, I was reading an edition of the OPC's New Horizons, and found an article discussing the planting of an OPC congregation in a Hispanic area. I think it was Puerto Rico, an American territory. There was a good combination of Blacks, White, and Mulattoes in the congregation. This is a proof that the Reformed faith has grown considerably.

Last year, a Filipino was ordained as a minister in the URCs. He is now in the Philippines working as a missionary, and pastors the congregation I attend. The minister who officiated the ordination service is an Indian. One of the URC pastors who attended the ordination was Black. And all of them are in a federation which is predominantly White. Dr. Scott Clark noted in his blog recently that another URC minister was ordained to serve in a Spanish-speaking congregation. So I disagree with your statement that the Reformed community is not growing compared to other religions. It has grown, and is continually growing as it is increasingly embracing people from every nation and tongue (Rev. 5:9). That may not bee easily seen in the numbers (as compared to, say, the SBC or AoG). But the fact that people of different races (including Blacks and Hispanics) are worshipping together as one in these churches says a lot about what Reformed churches by God's grace have accomplished.

The American federation assisting the small group of Filipino Reformed churches (which is presently organizing as a federation, and of which I am thinking of becoming a member) is the RCUS. They are in a sister relationship with your federation. This coming Sunday, the pastor who will lead our worship service is Rev. Gil Baloy, a Californian RCUS minister. Joel Beeke is coming to the Philippines to lecture on Reformed Theology this coming May. My pastor also told me that Mike Horton is going to hold a conference on Reformed Theology also next year. These I think are small but significant ways in which Reformed people are living out what they profess. About two months ago, a PB member and PCA layman, Scott Truax, traveled to my country not only to visit the family of his Filipino wife, but also to give lecture on Reformed Theology. I know you are viewing the Church in America. But these men are American. They are serving Christ, and loving their neighbors even if that means leaving their country temporarily. And they are just a small number of American Reformed believers who do this. There are American Reformed missionaries practically in every continent (except Antartica) of the world in obedience to the Great Commission. Also, there are various Reformed churches/denominations in different parts of Asia (like Indonesia, Malaysia and Burma) which would not have been possible apart from the missionary efforts of American Reformed missionaries. The Japan Presbytery of the RPCNA is an example. The Reformed Faith thus has really grown.

Lastly, I was born and raised in a culture that is not very different from that of Latin America. My surname is Medina (my mother's maiden name is Villanueva) which says a lot about the common history Filipinos share with Hispanics. My country is predominantly Roman Catholic, and millions are living in poverty. In the last two or three decades, there has been an increasing interest in Reformed Theology in my homeland. And the reason for the interest is the dissemination of Reformed and Puritan literature! The increase of Reformed Baptist churches and the reformation of spritually declining Reformed Paedo-Baptist ones is due to the reading of books and essays written by people like Calvin, Owen, Spurgeon, and Warfield. With the use of the internet, more and more people have been exposed to the Reformed faith. So I don't think that the writing of more books nowadays has simply become a showing off of intellectual prowess and a means of making money. Many non-native English speaking people and churches in the globe have been blessed by the publications of Banner of Truth and P&R Publishing (whether old or recent). I and the Reformed churches in this side of the globe (including those who reside in other East Asian and Southeast Asian countries) are a living example of that. If this could happen to Roman Catholic Philippines, it can happen to Roman Catholic Latin American countries (and to Roman Catholic Southern Europe) as well! Translation of these works (to Spanish and Portuguese) is the pressing need of the day. Some have done so. See monergismo.com

Disclaimer: Since I am not an American, I do not claim to be someone who knows what it really means to be a member of an American Reformed church. I don't and can't ultimately speak for Blacks and Hispanics in America. Reformed churches everywhere (not just in North America) still have a lot to do in dealing with racial issues, but I praise God that the ethnic and racial make-up of many of them has changed dramatically over the years especially in the major American and Canadian cities. This is consistent with the Reformed view of the Church. I simply wanted to give my :2cents: on two of your assertions, namely, that the Reformed Faith is not growing vis-a-vis other religions, and that the writing of books nowadays has become more of a means for making money and showing off intellectually. Both are untrue. I disagree with you on this, but I agree with you that Reformed people in many ways are inconsistent in what they believe on the one hand, and what they actually do in practice (e.g. belief in the sovereign power of God in converting sinners, and actual evangelism). :)

WOW........I was moved by your post brother.
 

SemperEruditio

Puritan Board Junior
AJ,
That was a great post. I have read about what Reformed missionaries do and am always encouraged at how God works. That is why I love the mentality of the PCA with their Missions to North America division or group or whatever it is classified as. That is the mentality we need which is to send missionaries into North America from North America.

The problem I know from having a few missionaries friends is the ones I know will travel clear across the globe to "share Christ" by digging a ditch but will not even speak to the American standing next to them at CVS. Now I am talking in very general terms and about the three missionaries I know. These are not Reformed people much less connected in any way to the PCA-MNA but my point is the same an older pastor once told me,

"Before you go evangelize the world way overseas somewhere...before you cross rivers and oceans and mountains and valleys...before you learn the foreign language and foreign customs...and before you have to evade the killing squads.....talk to your neighbor who lives right next door to you...talk to your best friend who doesn't even know you're a Christian...talk to the people you know now. Do that before going off to save the world for Christ."

I cannot agree about a "dramatic improvement." Any improvement is better than none whatsoever. The issue that Gil is raising is real and one I generally agree with. The growth in the PCA of Hispanics and African-Americans is not dramatic but it is happening.

Perhaps Gil can elaborate but I think he is talking about what I have also noted which is growth in the Reformed community is not from the unregenerate but from other doctrines. From Arminianism/Semi-Pelagianism to Calvinism. Is that correct Gil? I think the contention might be that we are not evangelizing as well with unregenerate Black or Latino. Now I am not sure how many Latino PCA churches there are. I see from the PCA website what it has but having gone through most of the list it is difficult to get a real grasp. Now the OPC is a different matter. They have made a very conscious effort to address the Latino population. Their website has an abundant amount of reformed articles and books translated into Spanish. I was impressed that there is an OPC church in Cuba! :amen:

After speaking offline with a few White brothers about the thread on "racial expectations" and my concerns we were all helped in seeing a few things more clearly. While I was and still am upset at the assumption that a Latino or Black Americans is going to be a church planter in his community is it really that wrong? So I get upset that "churchplanter" is the first assumption that my Anglo brothers make but if I am called to preach & teach to whom should I go? Like that older pastor I am looking to go and become a chaplain but will not go to my own community...?!?!?

As much as I do think we need to dialogue, the dialogue needs to be in a safe environment. What is safer than the church, current shootings notwithstanding? If we as Reformed Blacks and Latinos bring our fellow brothers then our Anglo brothers can begin to develop relationships. Then they can begin to fellowship with each other and dialogue as friends. God has brought us into these denominations for a reason. We get here and then are alarmed at how White they are...:confused:

I am not excusing the lack of evangelism by our brothers to any people. Nor do I think diversity is the job of only those who are diverse. However there is the reality that people of color will speak to other people of color. We have Anglo brothers who are fearful because of the racial climate in America and with good reason. They cannot say something without having their motives questioned. In the congregation there is the freedom found in Christ. However I will not excuse a congregation who is now diverse but has formed cliques based on color.

So I have had a radical change of heart in speaking offline openly with a few Anglos. See the thing is you have to be willing to make some major sacrifices. We have to give up our lives as a sacrifice to worship God. The story of the church I attend is that it is the joining of two separate PCA churches. One was a predominantly black congregation and the other white. Both pastors have a vision for a church which represents the body of Christ in all its shades and cultures. Upon formation the White Pastor thought it would be better to have the Black Pastor be the senior pastor. The more I think about it the more I marvel at the humility this had to take. So we have an ebony and ivory TE combination. :D The result is that there is diversity in the church. Each TE has brought people into the church of different races. People are coming or transferring membership into our church because they see represented in the people less of a mono-ethnic grouping. Perhaps I am actually spoiled now that my eyes have been opened. I just took it for granted.

The dichotomy is that if we want more Blacks and Latinos we must have more Black and Latinos as TE's. We must have more Blacks and Latinos writing and publishing. I do not believe the books will be any different than what is currently available but the reality is that with a black or brown face on the cover the doctrines of grace will be easier to swallow. Carter, Anyabwile, Jones, Leach, and Bauchman have gotten the ball rolling in our generation. They are not saying anything different than Edwards, Spurgeon, Calvin... The difference is there is a "hermeneutic of suspicion" among our ethnic brothers and the ways to begin to counter that is to pray, talk with them, invite them to church, and present them with authors that look like them. Truth is truth. For some it just needs to be packaged in a different wrapper at first. If someone wants steak they might prefer to get it from the butcher, grocery store, ordered online, or slaughter it themselves...in the end they're eating steak.

If you got this far then I thank you for reading. :eek:
 

SolaGratia

Puritan Board Junior
As a historical example,

Latin America and Northern Europe did not became Christian per see, because of books being published or because of the sword. It became Christian when Southern Europeans served in a Christ-like manner towards the indigenous people of those regions.

For this reason, in Latin Amercia and Southern Europe you cannot just write books, like in American and England, and expect for the people to change and become Reformed. The people need to see for themselves what your mouth and pen is boasting all about.

Writing a book nowadays has more to do with showing off intellectaully and making money, than with serving the Church of Christ because of Christ. Yes, we need the Sproul's, the Beeke's to write and teach, but we also need reformed folks to start servng our neighbors. therefore Christ. I will say that Reformed Protestant Churches need more of the Christ-like serving in action to better reflect our worshipped and pratice. This balance is missing.

With the U.S. of A, I will leave that to Christ and prayer.

With the Reformed Churches in the U.S., however, we need to demonstrate that true Christiantity is about doctrine, but in order to serve, in order to love our neighbor (wheter believer or unbeliever) as ourselves because of Christ, who love and gave himself. We don't give ourselves. That is the real fruit of the doctrine of Justification.


I think that is why the Reformed Community is not growing. There is not much fruit to spread its seeds.

In this regard, I think Catholic Hispanic immigrants are doing a better job serving neighbor, therefore Christ, as cooks, maids, construction workers, etc. than American born Protestants. What In American is refer to as "dirty jobs," to a Catholic Immigrant is a means of providng for family and neighbor, and again, therefore Christ. And the poor immigrant has no legal papers, no education, cannot speak english, and probaly for that reason has more faith.

The Reformed Community is not growing compare to other religions. Any growth that the Reformed Church has had, has been mainly indirectly from the Reformed Community as a whole. For example, many reformed folks have become Christians because of Arminianism. Personally, I' am one.

My intention is not to open a can of worms. My intention is to analyze the state of the Church and better serve it. Here I am viewing the Church in Amercia in how it finds itself within the Black and Hispanic community in order to filled in what is lacking for its overall health.


If you disagreed, no problem, but why. Perhaps you can help me.

Hello Gil. Let me help. I am not an American, and I haven't been to the US. I do agree that Reformed balance between doctrine and actual practice is missing many times. But I disagree with some of your observations.

From time to time, I do visit the denominational websites of NAPARC churches when doing research on vital doctrinal and ethical topics (including racial issues). So I get a lot of information about what is happening in the North American Reformed community. I am aware of what Reformed churches have done and have been doing in reaching out to minorities, and preach the gospel to them. This I think is the fruit of a prayerful reflection on the mistakes of Reformed churches in the past (especially the 19th century). The American Reformed churches are increasingly becoming multi-racial. There are Blacks, Asians (especially Koreans), and Hispanics in groups like the PCA, OPC and the URCs. (See the PCA-MTA website, for instance, for the racial make-up of the largest conservative Reformed denomination in America.) In fact, there are Reformed congregations which are predominantly non-White (e.g. KAPC). Last year, I was reading an edition of the OPC's New Horizons, and found an article discussing the planting of an OPC congregation in a Hispanic area. I think it was Puerto Rico, an American territory. There was a good combination of Blacks, White, and Mulattoes in the congregation. This is a proof that the Reformed faith has grown considerably.

Last year, a Filipino was ordained as a minister in the URCs. He is now in the Philippines working as a missionary, and pastors the congregation I attend. The minister who officiated the ordination service is an Indian. One of the URC pastors who attended the ordination was Black. And all of them are in a federation which is predominantly White. Dr. Scott Clark noted in his blog recently that another URC minister was ordained to serve in a Spanish-speaking congregation. So I disagree with your statement that the Reformed community is not growing compared to other religions. It has grown, and is continually growing as it is increasingly embracing people from every nation and tongue (Rev. 5:9). That may not bee easily seen in the numbers (as compared to, say, the SBC or AoG). But the fact that people of different races (including Blacks and Hispanics) are worshipping together as one in these churches says a lot about what Reformed churches by God's grace have accomplished.

The American federation assisting the small group of Filipino Reformed churches (which is presently organizing as a federation, and of which I am thinking of becoming a member) is the RCUS. They are in a sister relationship with your federation. This coming Sunday, the pastor who will lead our worship service is Rev. Gil Baloy, a Californian RCUS minister. Joel Beeke is coming to the Philippines to lecture on Reformed Theology this coming May. My pastor also told me that Mike Horton is going to hold a conference on Reformed Theology also next year. These I think are small but significant ways in which Reformed people are living out what they profess. About two months ago, a PB member and PCA layman, Scott Truax, traveled to my country not only to visit the family of his Filipino wife, but also to give lecture on Reformed Theology. I know you are viewing the Church in America. But these men are American. They are serving Christ, and loving their neighbors even if that means leaving their country temporarily. And they are just a small number of American Reformed believers who do this. There are American Reformed missionaries practically in every continent (except Antartica) of the world in obedience to the Great Commission. Also, there are various Reformed churches/denominations in different parts of Asia (like Indonesia, Malaysia and Burma) which would not have been possible apart from the missionary efforts of American Reformed missionaries. The Japan Presbytery of the RPCNA is an example. The Reformed Faith thus has really grown.

Lastly, I was born and raised in a culture that is not very different from that of Latin America. My surname is Medina (my mother's maiden name is Villanueva) which says a lot about the common history Filipinos share with Hispanics. My country is predominantly Roman Catholic, and millions are living in poverty. In the last two or three decades, there has been an increasing interest in Reformed Theology in my homeland. And the reason for the interest is the dissemination of Reformed and Puritan literature! The increase of Reformed Baptist churches and the reformation of spritually declining Reformed Paedo-Baptist ones is due to the reading of books and essays written by people like Calvin, Owen, Spurgeon, and Warfield. With the use of the internet, more and more people have been exposed to the Reformed faith. So I don't think that the writing of more books nowadays has simply become a showing off of intellectual prowess and a means of making money. Many non-native English speaking people and churches in the globe have been blessed by the publications of Banner of Truth and P&R Publishing (whether old or recent). I and the Reformed churches in this side of the globe (including those who reside in other East Asian and Southeast Asian countries) are a living example of that. If this could happen to Roman Catholic Philippines, it can happen to Roman Catholic Latin American countries (and to Roman Catholic Southern Europe) as well! Translation of these works (to Spanish and Portuguese) is the pressing need of the day. Some have done so. See monergismo.com

Disclaimer: Since I am not an American, I do not claim to be someone who knows what it really means to be a member of an American Reformed church. I don't and can't ultimately speak for Blacks and Hispanics in America. Reformed churches everywhere (not just in North America) still have a lot to do in dealing with racial issues, but I praise God that the ethnic and racial make-up of many of them has changed dramatically over the years especially in the major American and Canadian cities. This is consistent with the Reformed view of the Church. I simply wanted to give my :2cents: on two of your assertions, namely, that the Reformed Faith is not growing vis-a-vis other religions, and that the writing of books nowadays has become more of a means for making money and showing off intellectually. Both are untrue. I disagree with you on this, but I agree with you that Reformed people in many ways are inconsistent in what they believe on the one hand, and what they actually do in practice (e.g. belief in the sovereign power of God in converting sinners, and actual evangelism). :)


First, the original post was first about Anglo-American Protestants not having a spirit for giving themselves as servants, in a Christ like manner, according to Paul as found in Phil. 2. This is the case given by Anthony J. Carter in his book (see above).

This had nothing to do with a lack of "Reformed balance" in general, but with Anglo-American Reformed Protestants lack of servitude as when you said "I do agree that Reformed balance between doctrine and actual practice is missing many times."

Secondly, I said that the Reformed Church has grown in America, but it has grown "indirectly" overall, rather than directly as a result of Reformed Protestants being active in trying to win over people to the Reformed Faith. Didn't you yourself become Reformed as an Arminian "indirectly" when you read and listen to Reformed/Calvinistic sermons and when you "discovered Reformed Theology ironically while studying in a Roman Catholic university" according to your own biography.

I am very familar with what the RCUS is doing in the Philippians. And I prayed that the Lord continues to work there. Just imagine what would happen if the Filipino people would embrace the True Christian Faith and no longer be under the false superstitious brought upon by the papist.

However, I am sorry to tell you, but the reality is that it is going to take more than Reformed Books, Michael Horton and Joel Beeke conferences to convert the Filipino people to the Reformed faith. BTW, Joel Beeke has been to Brazil and Mexcio already to promote his books.

More Important

Did you know that the Filipino Reformed Church does not have to used the Westminster Confessional Standards nor the Three Forms of Unity in English or translated into Tagalog to be a Reformed Church. The Filipino Reformed Church does not have to learn English to be Reformed. The Filipino Reformed Church does not have to be or act "American" to be Reformed. Why? Because the Filipino Reformed Church can make up their owned Confessional Standards in Tagalog that will better suit the overall Filipino culture and people, as long it agrees with the teachings of the Bible, just like the WCS and the TFU do.

As a matter of fact, this is exactly what John Calvin told the English Reformers to do in England.

When this take place in your country, in Brazil, in Mexico, in France, wherever, then and only then, will this be because the Reformed Faith has triumph, like when Martin Luther turn Jesus into a "German" for the salvation of his people in his German Bible.

For the John Calvin 500 birthday celebration in Geneva, Switzerland this year, I will rather see all the reformed guest speakers outside the building sharing the Reformed faith to the people of Switzerland, than to have them inside a building talking and listening about John Calvin. Actually, that John Calvin 500 celebration conference makes my point.
 
Last edited:

A.J.

Puritan Board Junior
First, the original post was first about Anglo-American Protestants not having a spirit for giving themselves as servants, in a Christ like manner, according to Paul as found in Phil. 2. This is the case given by Anthony J. Carter in his book (see above).

This had nothing to do with a lack of "Reformed balance" in general, but with Anglo-American Reformed Protestants lack of servitude as when you said "I do agree that Reformed balance between doctrine and actual practice is missing many times."

Secondly, I said that the Reformed Church has grown in America, but it has grown "indirectly" overall, rather than directly as a result of Reformed Protestants being active in trying to win over people to the Reformed Faith. Didn't you yourself become Reformed as an Arminian "indirectly" when you read and listen to Reformed/Calvinistic sermons and when you "discovered Reformed Theology ironically while studying in a Roman Catholic university" according to your own biography.

I am very familar with what the RCUS is doing in the Philippians. And I prayed that the Lord continues to work there. Just imagine what would happen if the Filipino people would embrace the True Christian Faith and no longer be under the false superstitious brought upon by the papist.

However, I am sorry to tell you, but the reality is that it is going to take more than Reformed Books, Michael Horton and Joel Beeke conferences to convert the Filipino people to the Reformed faith. BTW, Joel Beeke has been to Brazil and Mexcio already to promote his books.

Gil, thanks for the reply. I see the point your earlier posts with greater clarity now. Okay. I am from an Arminan background myself. So I can't differ with you with the claim that the growth of the Reformed community has been somewhat "indirect." I completely agree that this has been the case. And this isn't just true for North America. It is also true in the lives of many Asian Reformed believers, not just Filipinos. I apologize if I misunderstood you at this point. I should have carefully examined where you are coming from.

I also agree that it's going to take more than Reformed books to convert the Filipino people to the Reformed Faith. In fact, I never disagreed with that. Where I disagreed with you is your statement saying the writing of books nowadays has become a means of showing off intellectually. I see the value of writing more books in our day, and making the Reformed Faith as understandable as possible, and its defense as accessible as possible even to the most unsuspecting (evangelical) laymen. I'm not giving an overemphasis on the importance of Reformed books and other writings. Don't get me wrong on this. But to be honest with you, many people in Asia have been converted by reading the writings of the Puritans, and have been enlightened in the Reformed faith by reading the works of R.C. Sproul or Michael Horton. I hope you see where I'm coming from. To have such literature in our hands (and see them being sold in otherwise non-Reformed bookstores which I have personally seen) as citizens of societies that are either predominantly Buddhist or Muslim or Roman Catholic (and where there is always this possibility of religious discrimination) is a great privilege for us. God has used the writings of these men as instruments in the expansion of His kingdom (as seen in the difficult and financially-exhaustive planting of Reformed churches) in this side of the globe. The Lord is doing the same even for more recent Reformed publications. There is always a need to produce, and disseminate Reformed literature to as many areas as possible.

More Important

Did you know that the Filipino Reformed Church does not have to used the Westminster Confessional Standards nor the Three Forms of Unity in English or translated into Tagalog to be a Reformed Church. The Filipino Reformed Church does not have to learn English to be Reformed. The Filipino Reformed Church does not have to be or act "American" to be Reformed. Why? Because the Filipino Reformed Church can make up their owned Confessional Standards in Tagalog that will better suit the overall Filipino culture and people, as long it agrees with the teachings of the Bible, just like the WCS and the TFU do.

As a matter of fact, this is exactly what John Calvin told the English Reformers to do in England.

When this take place in your country, in Brazil, in Mexico, in France, wherever, then and only then, will this be because the Reformed Faith has triumph, like when Martin Luther turn Jesus into a "German" for the salvation of his people in his German Bible.

For the John Calvin 500 birthday celebration in Geneva, Switzerland this year, I will rather see all the reformed guest speakers outside the building sharing the Reformed faith to the people of Switzerland, than to have them inside a building talking and listening about John Calvin. Actually, that John Calvin 500 celebration conference makes my point.

Are you suggesting that Filipino Reformed believers (or Asian ones for that matter) write another set of Reformed confessions? Asian Reformed believers have seen the wisdom of adopting the Westminster Standards and/or the Three Forms of Unity as their subordinate standards because these documents are Reformed. The Westminster Standards and the Three Forms of Unity are hardly American. They were written even before the thirteen colonies became the United States of America. Asian Reformed believers confess the truths in these confessions for their faithfulness to Scripture and their systematic way of explaining the beliefs and practices of the Christian faith.

It would be quite unwise for us Asians to attempt to write another set of Reformed confessions precisely because we don't have to. As a matter of fact, that would be very tedious. In my country alone, more than a hundred languages are spoken. Many of these Filipino ethnolinguistic groups (I belong to two of them by descent) even vary widely in their customs and cultural beliefs. The same holds true for Indonesia. What more if we include the Chinese (in mainland China, Taiwan and Southeast Asia), the Indians (in India and in Southeast Asia), and the Papuan peoples! We're satisified to have the Westminster Standards and the Three Forms of Unity whether in English or in the local vernacular. Also, we must put Calvin and the early Reformed churches in context. During their time, the Reformed community had to distinguish itself not just from Roman Catholicism but also from the other Protestant bodies. Official statements about beliefs and practices of the Calvinistic branch of the Protestant Reformation were needed by them especially in addressing certain errors which centuries later would become the popular belief of professing Christian world. The best example would be Arminianism. The Canons of Dort were written to address this errorneous system of doctrine.

I don't see any need to write a new Westminter Confession or Canons of Dort. There is no need for that. And even if Asians or non-Westerners were to write their own version of these documents, we would find ourselves explaining the exact same doctrines all over again - something which the European Reformed churches have already done for us in the 16th and 17th centuries. What a relief! There is already an exisiting Reformed theology, piety and practice. There is a confessional identity that distinguishes Reformed believers from other groups existing in our planet. To attempt to re-explain this identity would probably do more harm than good to our churches. If we believe that the Reformed confessions are Biblical, then there is absolutely no need to write another set of them. If they are faithful to Scripture (and they are), they can and they do transcend culture.

Let me once again use Arminianism as an example. Arminianism, as are the other errors of the modern evangelical churches, is not something peculiar to American evangelicalism . It is an error that transcends cultures and continents. The problem of Arminianism is universal. Many of us were Arminian without even knowing that we were Arminian. And millions of people all over the world are like that. I am glad that I have the Westminister Confession or the Canons of Dort which I can use as easy reference when explaining why I disagree with Arminianism. This erroneous system of theology is still a clear and present danger to the Biblical gospel as it was during the time of the Synod of Dort. Now, the point is that the triumph of the Reformed Faith is not found in writing new sets of Reformed confessions with the purpose of making them well-suited to the culture of the people in which the Reformed Faith is being taught or proclaimed. The errors of modern fundamentalism, modern evangelicalism and even false religions are addressed in our creeds and Reformed confesssions in one way or another. These false systems are simply resurrecting and/or modifying the heresies long condemned by the historic Christian Church. So why write new Reformed confessions?

The existence of the International Conference of Reformed Churches (ICRC) proves the point I've been making. It's consitution states that,

The basis of the Conference shall be the Holy Scriptures of the Old and New Testament as confessed in the Three Forms of Unity (the Belgic Confession, the Heidelberg Catechism, the Canons of Dort) and the Westminster Standards (the Westminster Confession of Faith, the Larger and Shorter Catechisms).​

and that

Those churches shall be admitted as members which:

a. faithfully adhere to the Reformed Faith stated in the confessional documents listed in the Basis, and whose confessional standards agree with the said Reformed Faith​

Yes, the organization is international and inter-continental. But these Reformed churches from different continents have no problem confessing European-written documents. They confess them not because they are European, but because they are Biblical. And if Reformed churches remain semper fidelis to what they believe, and if they are semper reformanda in everything they do, then that would surely be a triumph for all of us.

You seem to be saying that learning English = "American." There are many non-Americans in the Puritan Board, and all use English. And yet they are not Americans. Many Indians, Singaporeans, Malaysians and Filipinos speak English, but they are not Americans. If we didn't learn English, how in the world will we be able to read the writings of Old Princeton for instance? How can we read the sermons of C.H. Spurgeon or the writings of John Owen? How can we participate at all in the Puritan Board? I concede that there is a need for translation of Reformed literature, and the proclamation of the gospel in the native tongues of the hearers but not at the expense of learning English. Furthermore, if we didn't learn English, how could we translate the Reformed confessions in Asian tongues at all? I agree that Filipino Reformed churches do not have to act "American" to be Reformed (as if Reformed and American must necessarily go together). The ICRC has non-American churches but they are very Reformed. Last Lord's Day in church, we recited the Apostle's Creed and sang several Psalms all in my native tongue, Tagalog. Other Filipino Reformed chuches recite the Creed and sing the same songs in their non-Tagalog Filipino languages (which are unintelligible to me). These activities are hardly American but they are Reformed. And we do them in unity not only with our English-speaking American Reformed brethren who do the same things in their churches, but also with the historic Christian Church of the previous centuries including that span of time preceding the Protestant Reformation.

If Filipino Reformed churches attempted to draft a new set of Reformed confessions with the seemingly benevolent aim of avoiding becoming too "American," and if they didn't use the English language which they have learned, do you think that RCUS would work with them at all? I don't think so. Such an attitude (if it had been present among the Filipino Reformed churches) is both arrogant, and a-historical. In fact, it is very un-Reformed.

Anyway, I am grateful for the help the Filipino Reformed churches have received from our American Reformed brethren especially the people from your federation. Calvinism has been experiencing strong resistance from different groups even in this part of the world. This has been a greater incentive for Filipino Reformed churches to proclaim themselves as a confessing Reformed Church holding the Three Forms of Unity (and the Westminster Confession additionally).

You mentioned,

For the John Calvin 500 birthday celebration in Geneva, Switzerland this year, I will rather see all the reformed guest speakers outside the building sharing the Reformed faith to the people of Switzerland, than to have them inside a building talking and listening about John Calvin.

I totally agree, brother. :)
 
Last edited:

Backwoods Presbyterian

Puritanboard Amanuensis
Not to get too far off topic but I find it ironic that the whole reason Calvin had himself buried in an unmarked grave was to prevent the kind of "hero worship" and "man honoring" that is going on this year.
 

Marrow Man

Drunk with Powder
Not to get too far off topic but I find it ironic that the whole reason Calvin had himself buried in an unmarked grave was to prevent the kind of "hero worship" and "man honoring" that is going on this year.

Yep. Ironically that was one of the very first points made at the Calvin Conference at GPTS this week -- that Calvin himself would have disapproved of such a meeting. And there was quite a bit of commentary that would not have been "hero worship" -- for example, the presentation that was very critical of Calvin's views on economics and Ian Hamilton's readings from those who disagreed with Calvin's view on the sacraments (e.g., Dabney and Hodge; though Hamilton agreed with Calvin).
 

SolaGratia

Puritan Board Junior
Albert,

The Filipino people do not need Owen, Spurgeon, Calvin etc. The filipino people need first the Preaching of the Gospel. That is also the point that Owen, Spurgeon, Calvin, would hade made. Now, if this is being done "indirectly" by these book, I have no problem; but do understand that this is not the norm of evangelizing. Don't forget that making disciples of Christ is the command.


Romans 10:11-17 (King James Version)

11 For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed.

12 For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him.

13 For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.

14 How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher?

15 And how shall they preach, except they be sent? as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things!

16 But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Esaias saith, Lord, who hath believed our report?

17 So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.
 
Last edited:

A.J.

Puritan Board Junior
Albert,

The Filipino people do not need Owen, Spurgeon, Calvin etc. The filipino people need first the Preaching of the Gospel. That is also the point that Owen, Spurgeon, Calvin, would hade made. Now, if this is being done "indirectly" by these book, I have no problem; but do understand that this is not the norm of evangelizing. Don't forget that making disciples of Christ is the command.

Gil, you seem to be pitting the reading of the writings of these men against the preaching of the gospel/making disciples (Rom. 10:11-17; Matt. 28:18-20). Filipino Reformed believers (like Reformed believers everywhere) do preach the gospel verbally (in church and out of church), and read their writings. After all, these men wrote about the gospel and the preaching of the word.
 
Last edited:
Status
Not open for further replies.
Top