My name is Sam Powell. I am the pastor of First Reformed Church in Yuba City.
I love the Heidelberg Catechism and have from my youth when I first memorized it. I fully and without reservation subscribe to the Reformed Creeds known as the Three Forms of Unity, which are the Belgic Confession, the Heidelberg Catechism and the Canons of Dordt. I would be happy to provide the reader with a link, if you are unfamiliar.
My blog is a record of my thoughts and my studies. I hope and pray that the reader will find those thoughts edifying. I know that there are those who might disagree with me. I bear them no ill will.
There are some who want to discuss things with me that they might disagree with. I don’t mind a discussion, but I have very little time. My church occupies a lot of my time and I do not want to neglect the sheep that God has placed under my care to carry on long debates on-line. I certainly will not take time away from my wife and family to do so. But if I find myself with a moment or two to spare, I may respond.
Others, however, disagree with me and want to post argumentative and reviling comments. These will not be approved and not allowed to post. You may disagree with my decision, but it is my blog. If I have limited time for discussion, I certainly have no time for an argument with a reviler. I love discussion, and I love talking about my faith and my savior, Jesus Christ. But I find argument to be distasteful in the extreme and will not engage. I have never changed anyone’s mind by arguing with them, and they have certainly not changed mine by reviling me or my family.
There are also those to whom I owe an accountability, being a part of a Reformed denomination, and I take that accountability seriously. If I post something that concerns you, or that you wish to discuss, you all know who you are and who I am, and you know how to get a hold of me.
That being said, browse and enjoy my thoughts. You may be challenged, comforted, confronted, wondering, or perhaps indignant, but I pray that whether you agree or disagree you will be edified.
And with that, I leave you with the first question and answer of the Heidelberg Catechism:
- What is thy only comfort in life and in death?
“That I, with body and soul, both in life and in death, am not my own but belong to my faithful Saviour Jesus Christ, who with His precious blood has fully satisfied for all my sins and redeemed me from all the power of the devil; and so preserves me, that without the will of my Father in heaven not a hair can fall from my head; yea, that all things must work together for my salvation. Wherefore, by His Holy Spirit, He also assures me of eternal life, and makes me heartily willing and ready henceforth to live unto Him.”
Since it comes up frequently, I also thought I would add this:
I cannot call myself an egalitarian, for I believe that office in the church is restricted to men only.
This does not mean that women have no function, no place, no leadership, no role. It simply means that the offices of the church are limited in scripture to the men.
I know this is controversial. I love you all anyway.
I cannot call myself complementarian, for I find them even more distasteful than the typical egalitarian. Complementarianism is linked to ESS, patriarchialism, courtship and purity culture, permanence view of marriage, and other false ideas. Since labels mean something, I cannot use this label for my own view, for I believe that these views have devolved to a very ugly place, and are responsible for great harm in the church of Jesus Christ.
I don’t know why I must be labeled either/or.
Some call me a feminist, but that term has been defined by so many in so many different ways that it has lost all meaning. I believe that women are created in God’s image, co-heirs of eternal life, with only one mediator – Jesus Christ. Their womanhood is a blessing, not a curse, and they are called by God to use their gifts and abilities to the best of their ability according to the talents given to them for the glory of God and the good of their neighbor. I believe that there are two sexes – male and female. I believe that there are differences physically between the two sexes. I also believe that there tend to be differences in emphases and strengths and viewpoints. However, I do not believe that speaking of “masculine” Christianity or “feminine” Christianity is helpful or accurate. I reject as unbiblical the idea that women are emotional and men are rational. I reject as unbiblical that women are less in God’s image than men. I also reject that men are superior in any way.
I do not believe that the words “effeminate” or “tomboy” are accurate or helpful. There are wide varieties of gifts and personalities.
To some, this is a feminist view. They can defend their own position.
I reject the “feminism” that brought sexual promiscuity and abortion as the route to freedom (as promoted in literature such as Cosmopolitan magazine, and others). All that did was put millions of women into even greater bondage, but that is another story. The solution to that is not patriarchy. The solution is Christ, just as it is with any sinful behavior.
Wives are to submit to their own husbands. This does not mean that the husband is the boss of the wife, nor does it mean that he has been given supreme command in his home. The command given to wives is not a command to men to rule over them. But a command for wives to submit. This also must be seen in the light of Ephesians 1-3.
I reject the idea that the husband is the commander of his home. This does not follow from Ephesians 5:22. You might have to think through your logic.
Husbands are to love their wives as Christ loved the church. This does not mean that they sanctify their wives, are the king of their wives, are the priests for their wives, or the prophets for their wives. It simply means that they are to follow Christ in his love.
I believe that men can be obedient or they can be disobedient. I believe that women can be obedient or they can be disobedient.
Further, I believe that the ten commandments sum up the whole duty of man, and that it is ungodly to multiply the commands of men and enforce those commands through bullying and intimidation. Stick to the ten.
And one more thing – you might disagree with me. That’s OK. If you speak kindly to me and show me why you disagree, I might respond if I have the time. If you believe that Jesus is the Son of God who died and rose from the dead for your sins, I will consider you a Christian brother or sister even if we disagree.
I would hope that you would show me the same courtesy, but I know that isn’t always the case.
I love you anyway, even those who quit talking to me because they disagree with me on these points.
Hope this helps.