I wasn’t always Reformed.
In fact, I didn’t really know what Reformed Theology meant until a year or so ago. To be perfectly honest, I thought my husband was going through a “phase” of sorts of just digging in deeper into the Word. He started mentioning things when we were courting, and I distinctly remember him leading me through a study of Romans. Let me say, chapters 9 and 10 were extremely difficult to wrap my mind around. But it wasn’t until we had been married a year before he introduced me to a Reformed church (first Baptist, and then Presbyterian). That’s when all the things he had been saying for a while started to mean something different in my mind, and also make sense.
What’s my background? Well, I grew up in central Virginia and attended a Black Baptist church for the majority of my life. Fortunately, this wasn’t one of those “backwoods” sorts of Baptist churches where the pastor is homegrown. No, my pastor graduated from seminary and moved south to Virginia. Our church had a pastor, other ministers, a deacon board, and a trustee board. And everyone believed that it was God’s intention and design for men to “run the church”. Well, that changed when I was about 5 years old. My mother felt called to the ministry, and she felt called so strongly that she was able to sway over 50% of the deacon board to allow her to become ordained, even as our pastor voted against her. So, when I was 6 years old, my mother was officially ordained, preached her first sermon, and became the first female minister in our Baptist association of about 13 churches. She had a lot to prove, and she made sure that her children were knowledgeable of the faith and the Scriptures.
Fast-forwarding, I made a confession of faith as a child, and my pastor, not fully convinced that children could make a fully informed confession of faith, questioned me in front of the entire church about my beliefs. Well, I passed and was baptized a few months later. I made it through some difficult high school years and left home to attend college in Atlanta, Georgia. The biggest advice I received was to find a good church home, and taking one older lady’s suggestion, I started attending a mega-church.
Fortunately, I met my husband attending this church, but unfortunately, I remained a member there for about 6 years. It was around year 5 that I realized some things I was hearing weren’t really lining up with Scripture, and I attended the church less and less until I stopped going altogether. Not knowing what to do, I started listening to my husband’s church online. We were courting at the time, and he lived in Colorado and attended a church formed by former Mennonites. We were married in June 2011 and kept attending the church until we moved to Louisiana in July 2012, and he formally introduced me to a Reformed church.
So basically, I’m a newbie. I’m the new kid on the block of Reformed Theology. My husband has been reading things for a couple of years, but I’ll be honest, I wasn’t paying much attention. But I’m here now, and I feel a little slow and considerably behind in most things. For instance, I didn’t know anyone in London had made a confession of faith, and I surely didn’t know why it was so important. I thought I knew what tulips were until I heard about TULIP, and I still forget some parts of it. I had no idea what the RPW was, and then I learned that it meant “regulative principle of worship”. I’ve gotten the gist of it at this point, but I still have a hard time reconciling this with my Black church experience. Lastly, I’ve realized that Reformed theology has a vocabulary all its own, and I need to memorize it quickly (plus the acronyms) because I’m always behind in understanding most conversations at this point.
Basically, I feel like a baby in Christ, like I’m starting all over from scratch. I know I shouldn’t throw out my entire Christian life until this point, but sometimes it feels like the best thing to do because I’m always having to re-learn something that I thought I already knew, over and over again…
Part 2 of my reformed journey can be found here!