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10209Desiring education

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  • Karen Rath
    Jul 3, 2004
      Hello everyone,
      I have been a member of this list for almost a week and it has proved to be interesting reading. My reason for joining is probably unusual. I am not a believer in the Reform tradition, but I am trying to learn about it from believers. I respect your beliefs and in no way wish to try to change them. I am something of  Quaker, but looking for a more traditional Christian church. I was raised mainline Presbyterian, in a church that is now affiliated with the Presbyterian Church USA. I am quite aware that you have significant disagreements with them, and their views do not appeal to me now. I have a degree in Religious Studies and I did study Calvin and Knox and some of the various Reformation beliefs to which I have seen people on this list refer, but that was a long time ago. I am currently a graduate student in sociology and am particularly interested in social psychology.
      My mother was raised in the Coventanted Reform Presbyterian tradition. Her father was born in Scotland and was a lay minister in the US. However, she herself came to be at home in the more mainline Presbyterian Church, and that is how I was raised. My father was a non-religious Roman Catholic. My parents are dead, but my mother's sister is still alive. While she attends the same church in which I was raised, she is not in agreement with its modern ideas. However, she doesn't drive and is not near any Reform Presbyterian Church to attend. She seems to be rusty on some of the doctrines with which she was raised, but has given me an idea of some of the basics. She is 91. I have learned much interesting historical material from her about some of the doctrinal disputes in the Presbyterian Church in the Unites States in the 1920s when she was a child.
      I found this list from doing a Google search and finding the coventanter.org site. I read part of the material on that site and I have read parts of some of the links I have seen in this list. I have to admit that it is rather daunting to me, despite an academic background in Religious Studies. It's a very different sort of Christian doctrine from that to which I am accustomed, and I am having some difficulty understanding it. My primary reason for doing this research is that I feel that the way I was raised both religiously and psychologically was influenced by the Scottish Covenanted Reform Presbyterian Church. These ideas seem to have created a certain atmosphere for my psyche, and I am curious to learn more about it.
      Despite its biblical basis, election doesn't make much sense to me. I say this not to debate nor to argue. I say this because from the point of view of those who believe in election and other Calvinist ideas ( I seem to be what some call a 2.5 Calvinist), I probably am not one of the elect or these doctrines would be more appealing to me. For that reason, you may not wish to waste your time with me. But if anyone feels so led, I would appreciate links or info that can give me on Reformed Presbyterian beliefs in the most basic and concise form without all these many doctrinal disputes and details. I am having a hard time getting a handle on it. I want to get to the essence of this tradition. If that is not an inappropriate request, I would appreciate any assistance.
      Karen Rath
      God is our refuge and strength,
      A very present help in trouble. (Psalm 46.1)