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Contributor: Kim Riddlebarger


Basics of the Reformed Faith: Marks and Mission of Christ’s Church

Kim Riddlebarger
The New Testament has no category for someone who is a believer in Jesus Christ but who is not also a member of a local church. The reason is so obvious that we take it for granted. Since all true believers become members of the body of Christ by virtue…
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March 20, 2012

Basics of the Reformed Faith: Good Works and the Christian Life

Kim Riddlebarger
Closely related to the doctrines of justification and sanctification is the subject of good works. One of the most common objections raised by critics of the biblical doctrine of justification by faith alone is this: “If we are saved by grace alone, through faith alone, on account of Christ alone,…
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Basics of the Reformed Faith: Sanctification

Kim Riddlebarger
It is not until we understand what it means to be justified, that we are in any position to discuss sanctification, which is that life-long process through which the old habit of sin (what we call “indwelling sin”) is progressively weakened and the new nature (given us by virtue of…
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Basics of the Reformed Faith: Justification

Kim Riddlebarger
Reformed Christians affirm without hesitation that the doctrine of justification is the article of faith by which the church stands or falls. Although the oft-cited comment is attributed to Martin Luther, it was actually the Reformed theologian, J. H. Alsted (1588-1638), who first put these words to paper–no doubt echoing…
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February 28, 2012

Basics of the Reformed Faith: Election

Kim Riddlebarger
As Americans raised in a democratic republic, we cling tenaciously to the principle “one person, one vote.” It is very easy (and almost natural) to carry over this principle to our understanding of the doctrine of salvation. It is easy to simply assume that God should give everyone a chance…
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February 21, 2012

Basics of the Reformed Faith: The Order of Salvation

Kim Riddlebarger
When Christians speak of the “ordo salutis” we are referring to the “order of salvation.” While we should qualify any discussion of such an “order” by affirming that an omniscient God does not need to do things in sequential order as we do, nevertheless there is a logical order to…
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February 14, 2012

Basics of the Reformed Faith: The Law and the Gospel

Kim Riddlebarger
Although often identified as a Lutheran distinctive, the law-gospel distinction has been recognized by the Reformed tradition as well. Reformed theologians such as Louis Berkhof have spoken of the Bible as containing two parts–the law and the gospel. Although people often assume that this means the Bible has two testaments…
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Basics of the Reformed Faith: The Death of Christ

Kim Riddlebarger
As redemptive history unfolds in the Bible, the story of God’s saving purposes takes a number of surprising twists and turns. The New Testament opens with an angel announcing to a young virgin that God’s promised Savior was at long last coming to visit his people with salvation. Jesus was…
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January 31, 2012

Basics of the Reformed Faith: Jesus as Prophet, Priest, and King

Kim Riddlebarger
The diagnosis is not very good: we are ignorant, guilty, and corrupt. But the prognosis is far worse. We are under the curse and face certain death. As fallen sinners ravaged by a threefold consequence of our sins, our hearts are darkened (Romans 1:21) and our thoughts are continually evil…
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January 24, 2012

Basics of the Reformed Faith: Divine Image Bearers

Kim Riddlebarger
With the language of the eighth Psalm clearly in mind (“you have made [man] a little lower than the heavenly beings and crowned him with glory and honor” v. 5), Reformed theologian Cornelius Van Til once declared that Adam was created to be like God in every way in which…
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January 17, 2012