Narcissus is a mythological story about a young man who became so fascinated with his own reflection it cost him his life. Narcissism is a psychological disorder that confuses subjective experience for objective reality. In Recovering the Reformed Confession I described the phenomenon whereby confuse their personal views and opinions for the Reformed faith. There is an objective definition of the adjective Reformed. It is that theology, piety, and practice confessed by the Reformed churches. The Remonstrants (Arminians) sought to redefine the Reformed doctrine of salvation and the Synod of Dort, representing the Dutch Reformed Church, other European Reformed churches, and the Church of England all rejected the claims of the Arminians.
After the Remonstrant crisis, the definition of “Reformed,” the Amyraldian crisis presented another challenge. The response by the churches was rapid and less unified. The Helvetic Consensus Formula (1675) would come to represent the majority response to the revisions proposed by Amyraut. Nevertheless, in view of the 60+ confessional documents crafted by the churches, including the Three Forms of Unity and Westminster Standards, the strong agreement of the churches was evident for a long period of time.
In recent years, however, the rise of the self-described Young, Restless, and Reformed movement, through the use of the new media, is raising questions again about the definition of the adjective “Reformed.” This above video is a good example of the tendency to define “Reformed” in one’s own image.