Welcome to a Reformed Church: A Guide for Pilgrims by Daniel Hyde
Reformed Theology by R. Michael Allen
One thing I appreciate about my church is that we don’t wear our labels on our sleeve. That does mean, however, that a lot of people can go to our church for quite a while and not know that there is a very real theological ethos woven into everything we do.
We belong to the oldest American denomination–the Reformed Church in America–which ascribes to a theological tradition called “Reformed Theology”. And because many, many people in our church likely have little idea of what that especially means within the broader Christian family, we’ll be spending this Fall exploring these ideas in our monthly Theology Book Club.
So how are we going to do this? Well, I really struggled with this one, because though Reformed Theology has some general contours, there really is quite a bit of diversity and flexibility within that definition of being “Reformed”. In looking for a good book, the problem I kept finding was that most books on this topic tend to define Reformed Theology very narrowly and very dogmatically. I don’t think this is helpful.
That being the case, we’re doing two books this month, which should provide helpful fodder for thought depending on where you’re coming from to this discussion. Note: I have not yet read either of these books, just their introductions, so I’m wading into these readings along with you!
The first book is Daniel Hyde’s Welcome to a Reformed Church: A Guide for Pilgrims. I’ll be honest, from the Introduction, I fear this might be one of those more narrow books, but it seems thorough, conversational, and it really does address the real questions that normal people would have about this issue.
The second book is one I’m really excited about: Reformed Theology by R. Michael Allen. It gives us the history of Reformed though, how it’s changed, and the full breadth of diversity within Reformed Theology. The problems? The paperback is pricey (not the ebook, though), it’s a little long, and it gets into the weeds a bit.
If you have some exposure to Theology proper, or you think you’re pretty familiar with Reformed Theology and want some more depth and complexity, this is the book for you. You don’t need to have ever taken a religion or seminary class, but if you know what the words “soteriology” or “eschatology” mean, you’re probably okay.