Trinity is a Reformed congregation. This means we believe Reformed theology, also called Calvinism, especially as it is set forth in the Westminster Confession of Faith, is a good and faithful, but not infallible, summary of the truth taught in God’s Word.
We understand that for many people in Cleveland Reformed theology is new and strange. Two doctrines of Reformed theology are particularly troubling to those unfamiliar with it.
The first is the doctrine of God’s sovereignty. We believe God is sovereign over all of his creation and “works all things according to the counsel of his will (Ephesians 5.11). This knowledge gives us great comfort, especially in times of distress. For, no matter what happens, we know our good, wise and all-powerful God sits on his throne in heaven. Our God reigns. There are no accidents. He is working all things together for the good of those who love him.
However, some people believe the doctrine of God’s sovereignty is incompatible with man’s free will and therefore undermines his moral responsibility and significance. We understand this concern. From our perspective it is difficult, if not impossible, to reconcile God’s sovereignty with man’s responsibility and significance. But, here is where our Reformed theology helps us. We believe God’s Word, and not our brains, is the final authority in questions of faith and practice. Therefore, while we don’t understand it completely and can’t explain it perfectly, we believe and affirm both God’s sovereignty and man’s freedom because God’s Word clearly teaches both.
We are not hyper-Calvinists, who deny human freedom. Nor are we Arminians, who believe God voluntarily limits his sovereignty to allow for human freedom. We believe it is contrary to God’s Word to deny either God’s sovereignty or man’s freedom. We affirm both.
The second doctrine that disturbs many people is the doctrine of election – which is simply the expression of God’s sovereignty in salvation. We believe that Scripture teaches that God chose some, but not all, to be holy and blameless before him, in love predestining them for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ, and granting them redemption, the forgiveness of sins, through his blood, according to the riches of his grace (Ephesians 1.3-9). We understand why this seems unfair to some people. Wouldn’t it be more fair if God simply offered salvation to all men and allowed them to accept or reject it?
It may seem so, but we ask you to remember that all men are by nature God’s enemies (Romans 5.10), hostile in mind towards him (Colossians 1.21). No one seeks God…not even one (Romans 3.11-12). Therefore, if God simply made salvation available, none would be saved. That God chooses to save some by granting them faith and repentance unto life (Acts 11) is a testimony to his gracious mercy, not a reason to condemn him.