Why does the contemporary evangelical church need “reformed” theology ?
“Reformed theology” is the romance and poetry at the heart of the gospel.
The gospel is the story of how God in his mercy sent his Son to purify a people for his own possession, to the praise of his glorious grace. It’s a love story, which makes most sense when expressed in the biblical idiom of predestinating love, intentional redemption, effective power, and eternal unbreakable covenant promise. Jesus is a “one woman man” – he loved his bride, his people, his church, and he loves her to the uttermost so that no-one can snatch her away from him.
I think other species of theology tend to dampen down the wonder and stupendousness of this good news because they can’t quite believe it’s so good, and that God would take our salvation entirely upon his own shoulders. Reformed theology at its best seeks to preach this undiluted soul-refreshment and defend it from the adulterating pollution of what the Anglican Homilies call “the stinking puddles of men’s traditions (devised by men’s imagination) for our justification and salvation.”
Again, Reformed theology is what the Reformation was all about. Luther thunderously preached grace, and the later Reformers both here and on the Continent explored the depths of his insights into God’s message. As later generations of Roman Catholics, rationalists, and radicals challenged core Reformation truths, the Reformers worked hard to refute their increasingly sophisticated false teaching, especially in their catechisms and confessions (such as the 39 Articles). They handed on to us a pattern of sound teaching and a system of doctrinal alarm bells, so to speak, designed to ring as loudly as possible when grace is under threat. We neglect their hard work to protect us from spiritual danger to our peril.