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Even Christians long familiar with Reformed theology can find the answer difficult to articulate. You’ll find as many responses as the number of people you ask.

Sure, we talk about how God is in control and about TULIP (total depravity, unconditional election, limited atonement, irresistible grace, preservation of the saints), but what does it all boil down to in our practical, everyday lives?

As you read the answers from the folks below, consider what yours might be. Next month Rev. Neal Plantinga, president of Calvin Theological Seminary, has agreed to weigh in with his.

“At the heart of the Reformed perspective is the understanding that God is sovereign over all things. As Reformed Christians, then, we are called to be co-workers with Christ in reclaiming all of culture for him. God has chosen us, and we are his.”

—Melissa Groot, 28, lives in Crestwood, Ill., and is a Web Director at CHANGE Design Group. She is a member of Palos Heights (Ill.) Christian Reformed Church.


“I think of being Reformed through my dancing

—praising God and having people know Jesus is raised and coming back to us, even though we do wrong and right things.”

—Kelly Brower, 19, is home schooled and attends Harderwyk CRC, Holland, Mich.

“To be Reformed is to be saved. I’m not sure exactly what else it means. I think it is to be saved by faith, not by works or doctrines.”

—Dwayne Felver, 43, is a factory assembler and a member of Gold Avenue Christian Reformed Church, Grand Rapids, Mich.

“The Reformed faith encourages a wide view of involvement in society and the world. All of life is part of Christian service.”

—Harry Kits of Ottawa, Ontario, is executive director of Citizens for Public Justice.

“I am Reformed because I was raised in the Christian Reformed Church. I am thankful because I know I belong to a sovereign and omniscient God. This knowledge gives me comfort when the horrors and sadness in this world are often so difficult to understand.”

—Jeannette Smith, 71, belongs to Avery Street CRC in South Windsor, Conn., and has served for many years as the church’s librarian.

“To be Reformed is to be always changing our lifestyle so that it’s pleasing to God. Being Reformed means having a radically different worldview from the one the world endorses. It means standing up for what I believe and going against the norm. I appreciate the tradition of the CRC. The preaching pushes me to think beyond my personal opinions. I think it’s cool that our denomination supports things like the Canadian FoodGrains Bank and the Christian Reformed World Relief Committee—that it has a strong commitment to global relief. One thing that’s special is infant baptism. I like how family is important and how it’s OK for teens to sit with their families in my congregation.”

—Rebecca Prins, 15, is a member of Willoughby Christian Reformed Church in Langley, British Columbia, and a grade-10 student at Langley Christian High School. She participates regularly in worship as a violinist.

for discussion
  1. Read over the answers given to the question “What does it mean to you to be Reformed?” Which one do you like best, least? Give your reasons.
  2. How would you have answered that question?
  3. What gift of the Reformed faith is most precious to you?
  4. How does it impact your daily life?

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