As I’m preparing for my Modern Church Age final I couldn’t help but replay in my mind how I got here, and where this strange thing called ‘Reformed’ has taken me these last years.

It all started out for me while I was with Teen Mania Ministries, an Arminian Charismatic missions organization. I was doing their big youth rallies throughout the US, Canada, and Mexico when I first began to wrestle on a deeper level with God’s sovereignty, man’s freedom, and the goal of creation itself. I was a missionary so I was pretty much broke which meant I couldn’t purchase expensive books so I started buying little booklets composed from Charles Spurgeon’s sermons, and as you can guess the sovereignty of God began to become very attractive for my spiritual life.

After Teen Mania I returned home to my local Charismatic church and my friends, a close group of my friends and I began studying Romans together and as we approached Romans 9-11 I realized that I needed more help with those difficult chapters so I picked up a book called Chosen By God by R.C. Sproul. Late one night while reading through it I experienced what felt like a second conversion, an overwhelming reservation and theological conclusion that God’s loving hand had been upon my life before creation began and that he would guide me into all the works he had planned ahead for me. It was deeply relieving and sacred, as if his Spirit was applying a peace to my conscious that had never really been apart of it, a filling out of particular biblical truths that were some how incomplete before. Well as you might guess the other friends of mine didn’t ‘catch the illumination’ experience I did and thus began a common element of young Calvinist men, the apologetic crusade for the five points. I defended time and time again to my close friends and eventually they became Reformed as well.

Latter we all began wondering if TULIP was all there was to being Reformed, it was at this point that we we’re introduced to Abraham Kuyper and Cornelius Van Til’s writings and we realized that being Reformed meant embracing an entire life and world view, that it meant applying a hermeneutic and a theological prolegomena that was particularly Reformed to all areas. We also at this point became enamored with Reformed theologians who were also pastors, men like: R.C. Sproul, John Piper, John MacArthur, Sinclair Ferguson, C.J. Mahaney; etc. This also meant that we began to look for Biblical scholars who were particularly Reformed as well so that the commentaries we read lined up and deepened our understanding of Reformed theology.

It was in seminary that I realized there would be other social dimensions previously unexplored that would become important aspects of being Reformed, they are: 1) the desire to get back to the 16th and 17th century Reformers as a litmus test for contemporary Reformed theological developments and tendencies; 2) in keeping with this ‘getting back’ tendency, weighing the differences and similarities between Old Princeton and Old Amsterdam; 3) also important is the role of developing my opinions of other Reformed seminaries in relation to my own, understanding the theologians or movements poorly addressed by other seminaries as well as the things they out-striped my seminary in; 4) the last social dimension and perhaps the most influential was the denominational decisions, which ecclesiology would I subscribe to for my pastoral labor.

This has been for me a ‘road less marked, but progressive’; I haven’t always understood where the next development would occur but I’ve appreciated that there seems to be some sort of momentum to the animal called ‘being Reformed’. (Along side this ‘Being Reformed’ spiritual and theological dimension in my life are others, I’m not mono-traditional but ‘Being Reformed’ is definitely the larger animal in my life when it comes to adjoining myself with the historical and particular church)

What have your own experiences in ‘being Reformed’ taught you about the nature of growing in a tradition? For those of you who are not from this tradition what have your own journey’s demonstrated to you about spiritual and theological growth?