The True Meaning Of Semper Reformanda

“The Reformed church is always in need of reformation.” The common mythology behind this quote, which supposedly originated with Calvin, is the idea that the church always has to be improving, revising, and changing its doctrine to accord with Scripture. Yet the quotation emerged in the seventeenth century when elements of the Dutch Reformed church embraced Roman Catholic theology. The call, therefore, was not to revise Reformed theology but to purge Roman Catholic doctrine from a backsliding Reformed church.

J. V. Fesko | The Covenant of Redemption: Origins, Development, and Reception, (Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 2016), 188.


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    Post authored by:

  • Inwoo Lee
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    Inwoo Lee (BA, UCSD) earned his MA (Historical Theology) in 2020 from Westminster Seminary California and is author of “Righteous Before God: William Perkins’ Doctrine of Justification in Elizabethan England” (MA Thesis, Westminster Seminary California, 2020). He lives in the Great Seoul area, in South Korea with his wife Holly.

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  1. cant tell ya how many “reformed” baptists have told me this when talking about infant baptism. I love my baptist bros and sisters but saying semper reformanda as a last resort answer for everything conrta anything baptist. Not cool. Give me chapter 1 article nine of the WC and lets see if they are still right, I say this in a loving way. Again love the baptists but saying semper reformanda at the end of every debate is like saying when someone insults you and your response is “I know what you are but what am I.” Again love my Baptist brothers and sisters


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