10.31.13

Reformed Theology Is on the Chopping Block!

It’s Reformation Day! The day we celebrate Martin Luther’s nailing the 95 Theses to the church door at Wittenberg, Germany and launching, by God’s grace, the Protestant Reformation. Who knew the echo of that mallet, still going strong today, would redound worldwide lasting nearly five centuries later?

To show you how strong Reformation theology is, it’s reached a people group (African-Americans) that wasn’t even a people group during the Reformation itself. It’s reached a demographic within that people group (hip-hop) that itself spreads the Reformation flame farther and faster than a thousand preachers.

I’m grateful to God for the theology that comes out of the Protestant Reformation. I’m grateful because those rich doctrines (and it’s more than just the TULIP!) help us to know our God better and love our God as they summarize magnificent biblical truth. I’m grateful that the Reformation did not skip over people of African descent and that it has a life among young artists and thinkers.

To celebrate Reformation Day, we want to feature four gifted Christian hip-hop artists and faithful Christian brothers talking about the theology (at least TULIP) and humbly wrestling with their questions. So, join Shai Linne, Stephen the Levite, J’son and Tony from Hazakim as they put Reformed theology on the Chopping Block:

If you’re not familiar with the Chopping Block, then you’re more behind the times than I am! I found out a long time ago, like yesterday afternoon! If you want to view more, check out videos on:

  • Discipleship
  • Homosexuality
  • Favorite Christian Hip Hop Album of All Time
  • The State of Christian Hip Hop
  • Random Questions

Check ‘em out!

Thabiti Anyabwile
Thabiti Anyabwile serves as a pastor of Anacostia River Church (Washington DC). He is the happy husband of Kristie and the adoring father of two daughters and one son. Holler at him on Twitter: @ThabitiAnyabwil

C’mon Up!

  • Tom Brainerd

    Wow. That was GREAT!

  • Christoph

    Hehe! Lamp Mode vs Tony. 🙂 Love those guys! I’ve benefited much from their ministries.

  • Ritetheology

    This was refreshing. Seeing four young AA males talk about theology is outstanding. I’m soooooo proud right now. There is hope. The title “Reformed” gets in the way. I like “Biblical” WAY better.

    • Shane Ebanks

      Hey Ritetheology,

      I concur! Very refreshing! And to add, the “Reformed” title only gets in the way, when we allow it to get in the way. In other words, when a title/label becomes the only point of emphasis, rather than and/or not in addition to, the terms it defines, and in this case the period in church history it milestones, then I can see it getting in the way of some. I’ve found (when done in wisdom) that it’s helpful to properly define our terms, and establish our stance. http://www.gracefamilybaptist.net/voddie-baucham-ministries/blog/so-why-all-labels-2012-06/

      Grace and Peace!

      • Ritetheology

        Bro Shane, appreciate your comments. I don’t why we get stuck in the 1500’s. No question Martin Luther’s actions in Germany had ripples that impact us to this day. But my argument is that we must go back further. Our faith did not begin in Germany, it began on Pentecost (A.D. 30) and the ONLY title that we had was “Disciple”. i’m okay with this title. Reformed, Baptist, Lutheran or any other extrabiblical title/label has it’s own problems. It was NOT Augustine, Luther, Calvin, Ryrie, Nor Grudem that created our theology, it was Paul, Peter, John, Jude and whoever wrote Hebrews? It wasn’t Luther that changed Christianity, it was Christianity that changed Luther. It wasn’t Calvin’s Institutes that influenced the Bible, It was the Bible that influenced Calvin’s institutes. The Bible defines us, NOT History (at least this is the way it should be). I sincerely believe that this “Reformed resurgence” is a Fad. What we really need is not a theological resurgence but a Hermenutical resurgence. May I add in closing that the best place for black Christians is to stick with Biblical labels.

        In His Grip
        RT

        • Shane Ebanks

          Good
          day RT,

          I prayyour experiencing the Lords grace today.

          Appreciate your response as well brother, very well said and very poignant. I just have a
          few thoughts:

          1) I don’t think anyone properly understanding “Reformed Theology” should get stuck in the 1500’s; for what God did through Martin and others in the reformation, was call his people back to a “hermeneutical” approach reestablishing the faithful handling of the scriptures. So as to properly read – exposit and apply what Paul, Peter, John and that writer of Hebrews etc. wrote under inspiration of the Spirit, to the benefit of the church and to the maximum glory owed to God. What’s more, establishing the authority of the scriptures over the church, as opposed to making the
          scriptures subordinate to the church (e.g. Roman Catholic Church).

          2) There should be some respect showed and homage paid to brothers and sisters who came before us. Who God used to help steer the people of God. Not in a way that robs God of any glory; but an acknowledgement to Gods faithfulness in providence in their lives.

          3) All of us (Christians), though often times imperceptivity, have been influenced in how we practice and think through our faith by those who came before us. And even if we can prove some autonomy, there is someone, at some time that has clear the path we now tread. The only question that matters is, “does that path lead to giving God the maximum amount of glory?”

          4) I would be careful not to altogether dismiss history so quickly and nonchalantly, as being a contributing factor God uses to shape us. We serve a God that is active in space and time (Acts17:24-27), and has raised up men, as well as providentially watched over his word, through the
          course of history. Resulting in the expositional offspring of warnings and reminders for the people of God, and the erection of boundaries around the scriptures
          as it pertains or faith and practice.

          5) I would not pit theology against hermeneutics. I think it’s clear that at all times there should be an exaggerated effort put forth to the proper rendering of both, in every generation. History shows us ;-).

          6) I certainly hope it’s not a fad! 🙂

          In closing, the scriptures are the chief authority, in the binding of one’s consciousness, I agree. We ought to “think after God has thought it.” Also, under the scrutiny of scripture we give thanks to the people God’s raised up and the works they’ve produced. We heap up praises to God in all the areas he has blessed his people.

          Grace and peace!
          Shane

          • Will

            Well said brother. Correct Orthodoxy(right belief) leads to Correct Orthopraxy (righ action/behaviour) and altimately to great Doxology !! (Praise of God) & ) commands us to STUDY, to KNOW and to DO ALL that God has given to us in His glorious Word !! All this leads to CHRIST – the Center Piece of True Theology.


            Oh, 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 has known the mind of the LORD?
            Or who has become His counselor?”
            fnRom 11:35
            “Or who has first given to Him
            And it shall be repaid to him?”fn

            For of Him and through Him and to Him are all things, to whom be glory forever. Amen.