Reformed Perspective

Seminaries are sometimes smorgasbords, or even battlegrounds, of conflicting Christian loyalties. By contrast, the CTS faculty shares a single Reformed worldview, seamless across the curriculum in both class and fieldwork.

The view is of an interconnected creation, fall, redemption, and consummation –– each and all to be seen in large scope. God is the creator of all that’s good-not just of souls, but also of bodies; not just of human beings, but also of galaxies and giraffes; not just of particular human beings, but also of the great systems and expenditures of human energy in agriculture, science, commerce, business, and the arts. Creation is the platform of the world drama and of the human drama, and stopping short of confusing it with God, it’s almost impossible to see creation too large.

On this view, the angelic and human fall into sin has spoiled the good creation, so that everywhere we look, we see good and evil conjoined, intertwined, the one growing out of the other. This fact alone generates great tragedy, irony, and drama in the human story, much of which can be seen in the Bible’s story of Israel and of the church.

Because the corruption has reached deep into human minds and hearts, generating massive amounts of willed ignorance and of self-deception, human beings need a powerful revelation from God to crack through and get our attention. This accounts for the centrality of Scripture in Reformed thinking. God must speak to us anew in Scripture and in Christ, who “exegetes” God the Father.

Through Scripture; Jesus’ incarnation, death, and resurrection; through the Spirit, Pentecost, and the church, God has undertaken to make all things new. The movement may be said to center on the resurrection of Jesus, the line that forever defines “before” and “after.” Every Christian hospital, college, orphanage, media ministry, counseling service, political party, relief agency, and AIDS clinic builds on this platform. Christian hope builds on this platform. In fact, a Christian’s hope rises with Christ because Christians see in his resurrection that God’s grace cannot be defeated, not even by death itself.

The God who created all, who has begun to redeem all that’s spoiled, will one day consummate the process of redemption. Scripture appears to teach not only that there shall be a new heaven and earth, but also that it shall be this earth, renewed. In Revelation 21 the city of God descends to us. We do not go to heaven; heaven comes to us. In a vision lovely enough to break a person’s heart, John shows us what God showed him, that up ahead of us, after centuries of tribal feuds and racial arrogance, after centuries of xenophobic snapping at each other, after we human beings have silted history full with the debris of all our antagonisms-after all that, the city of God will descend to us, and God will dwell with us, and, once more, God will make all things new.

Under the canopy of this vision, Calvin Theological Seminary helps students to speak with wonder, with assurance, with faith. Ministry is not just for the church, but also for the kingdom of God, and not only for the kingdom of God here and now, but also for the great emergence of the kingdom in its final stage.

“Your kingdom come; your will be done on earth, as it is in heaven.”

-Cornelius Plantinga, Jr.