29 July 2010

Doctrine of Grace, Culture of Grace

Perhaps the greatest fault of American Reformed communities since Puritan times is that they have cultivated an elitism.

Ironically, the doctrine of election has been unwittingly construed as meaning that Reformed people have been endowed with superior theological, spiritual, or moral merit by God himself. The great irony of this is that the genius of the Reformed faith has been its uncompromising emphasis on God's grace, with the corollary that our own feeble efforts are accepted, not because of any merit, but solely due to God's grace and Christ's work.

The doctrine of grace, then, ought to cultivate humility as a conspicuous trait of Reformed spirituality.
--George Marsden, 'Introduction: Reformed and American,' in Dutch Reformed Theology (ed. David Wells; Baker 1989), 11

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