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Question and Answer

Liberal and Reformed?


How is it possible to be liberal and Reformed? I've read a lot of information on this site and others like it but I still don't understand why some Reformed churches are liberal and others not.

I've also noticed that the OPC seems to be quite conservative but you don't seem to be legalistic like some Baptists, Church of Christ and some Pentecostals. In fact my SBC seems liberal when I compare it to the local OPC. How is this?


Thank you for your questions. I think the answer lies in which definition of Reformed one uses. There are a number of churches that have that term in their name, but have forgotten what it means. It comes from the Reformation slogan that "The Reformed church is always reforming" according to the Word of God. In other words, we are consciously seeking to change anything in our thinking or practice that is not rooted in the Scripture. Understood historically, it is impossible to be Reformed and liberal theologically. We test all things by the Word of God, and that Word only. With that singular authority, we cannot stray from the Gospel.

As you also note, this also protects us from legalism. We are not free to design manmade standards to promote holiness. We find our righteousness entirely in Christ. We are not free to invent mandates or prohibitions. What God requires is required; what he forbids is forbidden; all other things are indifferent.

May God protect us from our own pride, and bring us as students to his Word!

About Q&A

"Questions and Answers" is a weekly feature of the OPC website. The answers come from individual ministers in the Orthodox Presbyterian Church expressing their own convictions and do not necessarily represent an "official" position of the Church, especially in areas where the Standards of the Church (the Scriptures and the Westminster Confession of Faith and Catechisms) are silent.

The questions come from individuals like yourself. If you have questions about biblical and theological matters, you are invited to send them by e-mail by using the "Pose a Question" link on the OPC home page or by clicking here.

At least one new question is posted each week, so there should always be something new here for you to read. (For those people who would like to look at previous questions and answers, they will continue to be available as well.)

The purpose of the OPC website's "Questions and Answers" is to respond to biblical and theological questions. Matters of church discipline, disputes, or debates go beyond the scope of our work. We recommend that you present your concerns in these areas to the appropriate judicatory. In most cases this will be to a local pastor, elder, or session. We do not want the website to replace personal involvement in, or commitment to, the local, visible church.

While we will respond to every serious questioner, we are not bound to give a substantive answer to every question, should we deem the question to be beyond the scope of our purpose or our own ability to answer.

You will receive an answer by e-mail. Please be patient as many of our respondents are busy pastors. The response to your question may take up to two (2) weeks. Some of the questions submitted will be chosen to be posted here, along with the corresponding answers.

Note that the "Questions and Answers" posted on the site have been edited—all personal references are removed, Scripture references or from some source may be added, and sometimes portions are expanded—to make the questions and answers more useful to a larger audience.

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