Thursday, May 31, 2007

Lina Joy's Rejected Appeal

Lina Joy's appeal to the federal court has been rejected! After more than 6 years of legal struggle, her simple appeal to have her identity card's stated religion change from 'Muslim' to 'Christian' has being denied. The federal court asked her to obtain an apostasy letter from the Syariah court instead.

Is this the kind of promised 'good quality of life' and 'protection' that Islam Hadhari advocates?

PM Abdullah Badawi's recent speech at Meiji University, Japan:
16. At the national level, we call this approach Islam Hadhari. The approach is a reminder to Muslims, and a revelation to non Muslims, that Islam in reality is a religion which is tolerant, progressive and peace loving. It is meant to enable Muslims to know the appropriate method of practising the religion as a way of life in these modern times. It exhorts them to be innovative, creative and relevant in this day and age of science and technology. Abiding by the principles of Islam Hadhari would add value to the human capital and would enable them to become more valuable assets to the society...

18. At the international level, we offer Islam Hadhari as Malaysia’s contribution towards a better understanding of Islam by all concerned, that is by both Muslim and non Muslim societies and peoples. Islam Hadhari advocates good governance. It calls for putting into practice, among others, justice, freedom, love of knowledge, balanced development, a good quality of life for the people, protection of minorities and moral integrity. Islam Hadhari is a demonstration that the teachings of Islam can be used to develop contemporary models of governance and social change that are based on the needs and aspirations of ordinary Muslims. It is a call to apply the deepest wisdom of Islam to find solutions to present day problems. [emphasis added]
Can Islam Hadhari be consistently portrayed by the state? I pray and beg the PM to look into this. This is the time when Islam Hadhari DEMONSTRATES its alleged potential. Is Hadhari as good as our PM promotes? Can it delivers as it promises?

Secondly the chief justice Ahmad Fairuz Sheikh Abdul Halim's claimed that, “To say that she [Lina Joy] is not under the jurisdiction of the Syariah Court – because she no longer professes Islam – is not appropriate” [emphasis added]. He says that it is logical for one who wants to walk out from a religion to first obtain permission from the religion. So if Lina were to change her religion on her IC, she needs to first get an approval from her ex-religion.

That's the logic of our chief justice Ahmad Fairuz Sheikh Abdul Halim. I think the chief justice took matters onto his own personal logic too much. It is clearly stated in Malaysia's constitution:

Article 11. Freedom of religion.

(1) Every person has the right to profess and practice his religion... [emphasis added]

Here, we can see 2 things:

1) The chief justice seems to not follow the constitution!!! It's a grave example shown by the chief justice himself. If the chief justice can DISOBEY the constitution, follow his own logic (his own whims and fancies), and still warming his chief justice's seat, why should we, the chief citizens, obey the constitution and disregarded when we follow our own whims and fancies logic?

2) If the federal court does not grant the right for its citizen to profess and practice his religion, the federal court fails to treat citizen as a 'person'. That means the federal court DOES NOT recognise Lina Joy as a person!! Outrageous!!

The federal court and the chief justice had just violated Malaysian and International Law!

Since Article 11 states everyone has the right to profess one's religion, then on what basis allow the chief justice to claim that 'profession' is not legitimate indication (his term: appropriate) for one to claim one's religion?

Monday, May 28, 2007

Our Prime Minister Dato' Seri Abdullah Badawi

Malaysia's prime minister has just recently delivered a speech at Meiji University, Japan, on the schism between the western Christian civilizations and the Muslim world. Diplomatic in his speech, gracious in his words, humble in his deliverance. Truly resemble a national leader.

In the speech, he suggested many constructive proposal to bridge the gap between both civilazations. Some of his brilliant points worth mentioning:

20. Malaysia is thus fully supportive of various efforts at the international level which are designed to generate greater understanding between cultures and civilizations, especially between those of the west and the world of Islam. This dialogue is essential to expose and establish the fact that Islam is a religion which espouses universalism, not exclusivism. Islam is a religion which does not make any distinction between any race or culture.

21. This dialogue between cultures and civilizations should take place at all levels of the international society such as between scholars, writers, activists, academics, journalists. Non-governmental organizations can play an important catalytic role in this endeavour. Over and above that, the dialogue must have the support of governments.

22. The support of governments is crucial for such inter-cultural or inter-civilization dialogues to succeed because, as I have stated earlier, the root cause of the conflict between cultures and civilizations is not religious but political and strategic in nature. There is no possibility of creating a true alliance of civilizations except with the involvement of governments, ideally through multilateral processes of inter-governmental deliberations such as at the United Nations.

23. The discord which has divided cultures and civilizations may have gone beyond disputes between the leadership of governments to the hearts and minds of their populations. It may not be possible to achieve consensus except by way of persuasion. But the role of government remains critical because governments have the power of enforcement, including preventing the recurrence of future conflicts. Above all, the dialogue cannot be effective unless we are able to establish our common goals and values. And we need the governments of the world to provide guarantees that these goals and values become enduring.

24. Malaysia believes therefore that a dialogue which can effectively bridge the gap between cultures and civilizations is a discourse based in the multilateral process. Malaysia is fully committed to promoting the preeminence of multilateralism in the management of world affairs.
(emphasis are mine)

That's part of his speech which seem to shed lights and pave the way forward for world peace. But wait a minute... Isn't more than a week earlier prior to the PM's beautiful speech at Meiji University, he CANCELLED the 6th Building Bridges dialogue which aims to serve the exact proposal in his Meiji U's speech?

So much for our PM's beautiful speech for world peace. What he lack of is just a crown. Muacks, PM.

But later on, our PM clarified that it is not really a cancellation. He 'postponed' the dialogue so that he can attend. Postpone till when, PM?

After months of preparations by many international scholars from both civilizations, the PM 'postponed' the event just because he wasn't available to attend. He halted the whole world to and for his convenience. Has he ever thought of video-cam? Dont you know, PM, those hand-held recorder that ppl use to record events? Nowadays we can record events in colors, ask Sony. Probably our PM is thinking too much of his crown and forgot about technologies; worst about the nation's image of a harmonious multi-religious society. It's alright. We understand, PM. Muacks.

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Archbishop Rowan Williams in Singapore

The archbishop was in Singapore earlier this month. A few of us were blessed to attend his public lecture "Christianity: Public Religion and the Common Good" on the 12th May. After the lecture, there was a Q&A session open to the floor. What follows is some lenghty quotes from the lecture.

In the lecture, he stated by drafting the historical background of how did we came to where we are:

...After a period of savage religious wars, there was a strong and understandable desire to avoid further conflict over religion, and a deep suspicion of religious authority as oppressive and irrational. Many intellectuals believed that moral behaviour, combined with a vague reverence for a supernatural creator, was something that all reasonable people were capable of grasping and putting into practice; they did not need revelation from heaven, or religious institutions with priests and sacred books to tell them what they could work out for themselves...

As the modern age developed, a further element came to play a part in this. The idea of human rights became increasingly powerful. For many if not most who thought about it, this meant that each human individual was born with an intrinsic claim to be treated with respect, possessed of a natural dignity and liberty which should be recognised by the law... A reasonable and fair society would be one in which each person’s freedom to choose and to pursue their happiness was respected and each person was protected from being seriously disadvantaged by someone else exercising their freedom. This became an important aspect of modern capitalism, with its goal of increasing every individual’s range of personal choices.

...the ideal society appears as one in which the government as a whole does not promote the values of any one philosophy or religion, except to affirm universal human rights to free choice; it does not give public recognition or support or privilege to any religious body, though it allows religions to exist as private associations, so long as they do not threaten the way in which society overall carries on its business.

Having the background painted, the archbishop gave the reason of his lecture before providing some observation of the problems facing our current era were being highlighted:

In this lecture, I want to look at some of the unanswered questions in my own context, and to ask whether these questions have anything to suggest about the relation in other contexts between religious institutions and society or law. As I do this, I shall be speaking primarily about Christianity; this is not because similar questions don’t arise in relation to other faiths, but because it is my own faith and, historically, the faith of my own culture – but also because there are areas where it raises what I believe to be some highly distinctive issues that other faiths do not so clearly deal with.
When our culture is so full of the language of relative values and so obsessed with consumerist patterns of behaviour, where is it that people get the motivation to act for the sake of others or simply to value things that are not of immediate economic use?

...our age is one in which the spirit of volunteering is less in evidence. What is more, if society has no moral orientation by which to guide younger citizens, what will fill the gap? As stable patterns of family life are undermined by the same short-term consumerism that prevails in economics, as people become less and less willing or psychologically able to make the long-term and unconditional commitments of marriage and parenting, we cannot assume that children will grow up with clear moral priorities. And the effect, as recent studies in the UK have shown with alarming clarity... generation of young people who are often bored and unhappy in a new and worrying way, vulnerable to mental illness as never before.

...we are more aware of the clash of competing rights, the risks of individualism, the assumption that I can always enforce what I believe is due to me. We are beginning to see that these things create a society that is aggressive and suspicious, where trust is in short supply...

To be relatively fair, the archbishop explores another alternative (that is Islam) and gave his reason why he thinks that Islam is inadequate to provide the solution for these identified problems:

Traditional Muslims can and do argue that the muddle and fragmentation of western societies indicates that only Islam is able to weld a cohesive society together in our present chaos. But it is not as though there is a single clear system of Islamic government that can be persuasively presented to the world; and the difficulties Muslim legal scholars often have about the limits to freedom of public religious diversity leave a question about how much of our understanding of human rights is compatible with a strict Islamic legal system. If Muslims are right, at least some of our assumptions about human rights may be wrong.

But what the dialogue with Islam has done is to remind people in our Western world that not everyone in the world simply takes for granted the same ‘rational’ and secular basis for social life.

His own take on these problems (the gist of the lecture):

I want to suggest two areas in which Christian faith makes a proposal of potentially central importance about the nature of the world we live in, in the hope that this may stir up some proper discussion of the limits of secular thinking in social administration and policy and may open up our social context to some wider and more lifegiving forces. This is not an attempt to force Christian faith on anyone or to suggest that it should be backed by law; it is just to suggest that without some of these elements being taken completely seriously by governments of whatever complexion, our developed economies will never secure anything like justice or stability.

Here is the first of these principles. Christianity teaches that each person is created by God with a distinct calling and capacity. For the Christian believer, human dignity – and therefore any notion of human rights – depends upon the recognition that every person is related to God before they are related to anything or anyone else; that God has defined who they are and who they can be by his own eternal purpose, which cannot be altered by any force or circumstance in this world...

This means that whenever I face another human being, I face a mystery. There is a level of their life, their existence, where I cannot go and which I cannot control, because it exists in relation to God alone... The reverence I owe to every human person is connected with the reverence I owe to God’s creative Word which brings them into being and keeps them in being... The Christian will have the same commitment to human rights and human dignity; but they will have it because of this underlying reverence, not because of some legal entitlement.

It means therefore that a human person is worth extravagant and lasting commitment. A human being deserves complete attention and care whether rich or poor, whether they will live for a day or for six decades. It is typical of Christian practice, for example, that the dying receive expensive care, that those who do not have productive mental capacities as we usually understand them are treasured – and that children and even the unborn are regarded with respect. And it is also typical of Christian practice when it is vital and energetic that people feel able to make the lifelong commitment of marriage to each other – because the beloved person will never be completely understood or ‘captured’, even in decades of relationship... Our crisis in sexual morality in the developed world is not just about a failure to keep rules, but about a loss of the sense of personal mystery and the calling to explore someone else’s mysteriousness for a lifetime.

It means that no-one’s value is ever measured simply by how successful or how productive they are. There will always be something precious that does not need to be proved by success. There will always be something that escapes what society thinks and expects...

These are ideas which people of many faiths can share and work on together in society. But there is an extra element brought by Christianity to the analysis of a good society, and this is the second point I want to underline. The New Testament describes what happens when human beings are brought into relationship with Jesus Christ by faith as a community in which everyone’s gifts are set free for the service of others. The community that most perfectly represents what God wants to see in the human world is one where the resources of each person are offered for every other, whether those resources are financial or spiritual or intellectual or administrative.

The Christian vision is not therefore one in which the person’s choice is overridden by a religiously backed public authority – which is why Christianity has a mixed history of relation with political power. It has always been a complex balance. When churches have directly tried to exercise political power, they have often compromised their real character as communities of free mutual giving and service; but when they have retreated in the face of power, they have risked betraying their distinctiveness. Christians are called, it seems, to live out the vision of relationships in the Body of Christ without fear of conflict with the rest of society; because sometimes that living out of these relationships can be unpopular with society. They are not called to impose their vision on the whole of society. If they have a role in the political realm, it is that they will argue that the voice of faith should be heard clearly in the decision-making processes of society. If they fail in this attempt, they may still be able to live with integrity. To pick up a phrase used recently in a meeting of European Christian leaders, the churches do not campaign for political control (which would undermine their appeal to the value of personal freedom) but for public visibility – for the capacity to argue for and defend their vision in the public sphere, to try and persuade both government and individuals of the possibility of a more morally serious way of ordering public life.

But the greatest influence that can be exercised by Christian groups in a complex modern democracy is simply in the messages given by various sorts of behaviour which embody the radical respect I have been talking about. Voluntary activity which conveys this message will have the potential, over a period, to shift what society takes for granted...

...Christianity has asked not for licence for its leaders to control society, but for a proper hearing of its concerns and – ideally – a willingness on the part of political leaders to show self-critical honesty and, where appropriate, repentance... It is not that the state and the laws of society must represent in all respects the commands of the gospel; it is rather that the state will become a sterile and oppressive thing unless it is continually engaged in conversation with those who speak for the gospel.

With that he concludes:

This is more than just an affirmation of human rights, more than a commitment to abstract justice. Christians are called to see others and especially others in profound need from the perspective of an eternal and unflinching, unalterable love. So far from Christianity threatening to undermine humanity’s freedom and dignity, as some of the Enlightenment’s legacy suggests, it establishes that dignity on the strongest possible basis. If the story of the Bible tells us how deeply God has loved what he has made, the Christian knows that the world in which he or she lives makes the alarming claim to be seen as worthy of that kind of love. We hope and pray that we as believers can respond to this by the strength of God’s Holy Spirit; and we proclaim this vision as the firmest possible ground for hope in any imaginable human society, eastern or western, past, present or to come.

Excellent lecture! Political theology in simple words! Theology is not as 'cheem' (Hokkien slang: difficult) as we all thought. After the program, i approached the giant, shook his gigantic hand and asked humbly for permission for a shot with him to which he courteously agreed. Here is it:

Full transcript of the lecture and the Q&A session.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Endeavor To Study II

My endeavor continues...

Today SBC registrar's officer told me that they will refund my application fee and documents. That means my appeal is futile. The deadline is just too far behind. Sad..

I'll be meeting up with a friend tomorrow for advice. Since he is in the field for some time, he will be able to give me some good words. I will talk to David Burke later tomorrow. There are TCA, SBC and TTC here in Singapore. I dont know which option should i take..

I dont want to wait for another year... it's dreadful...

I dont want to study fundamentalists' stuffs... it's even more dreadful!

I'm thinking of going to TTC for good.. at least till my M.Th.

I'll call up a few friends for consultation. But at the end of the day, i know that the decision has to be mine. I'll take full responsibility of my own choice and my own path. There is a life to live.

Thoughts of giving up this endeavor occur not-so-many times, due to the rocky road. And as a Christian, when the road is not smooth, it could means different things:

1) Devil is interrupting what God wants me to do.. (on the other side of the coin, could be God testing me)
2) This is not what God wants me to do.. (These are how theological languages work.. at many times, they work both (if not many) ways..)

Very very likely i wont be giving up on this endeavor so easily. This is not merely a calling but what i really want to do. Just as an artist desires to realize his vision for his own life, I have my vision to make real. It's at such crossroad when almost immediately one feels abandoned. No compass, no map, nothing. No matter which road that i choose, it will be my choice.

(I'm not in any mood to argue with hyper-calvinists if there are too many 'i, my, me' stand out in this post)


Tuesday, May 22, 2007

"Who Do You Say I Am?" asked Jesus

Can anyone pls find the remains of Jesus of Nazareth? Or some early manuscripts on the delusion suffered by Jesus' early followers? Or other more sophisticated account of the rise of Christianity without the 'Resurrection' event?

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Endeavor To Study

The past 3 weeks i have been rushing for my application into Singapore Bible College. I'd secured a place with Trinity Theological College, but cancelled it because of some personal reasons. I 'd submitted my application minus a completed medical report and birth certificate. So i did my medical report and asked my family to send my birth cert over to me last week. A few days later I was told that there are traced of blood in my urine...

I didn't know how to respond when i heard that. There wasn't any anxiety nor negative thoughts and emotions. I felt that that's life. Somehow i've prepared myself for it subconsciously. I dont know, really. But given such reaction, there must be some reasons that i'm not conscious of.

Anyway, i was told to go through another more thorough check-up, which i did, on Saturday. I went through it reactionless.

I got hold of the result this afternoon. Everything is fine. There is no red-blood cell in my urine. After submitting everything to SBC, i went away happy and satisfied. Felt like as though i have finished some kind of task. Just a few minutes later, the registrar office called me and told me that my application is being rejected because the lecturer who is supposed to review my application is not around and my application was way passed the deadline. Again, i was reactionless. I told the caller, "OK, thank you". Somehow it seems like i was prepared for such news.

Half a minute later, i called up the registrar office to ask for an email indicating that my application is rejected, so that i have a copy to send to Rev. Burke, my senior pastor.

Dont know whether is it due to my Calvinism. I didn't feel bad. Part of me actually rejoice over this rejection while other part felt like crying. But the crying mechanism just didn't work. No tears.

"The sovereign God is over looking this entire process", whispered the Calvin in me.

Anyway, i had just send my appeal to the dean of SBC. If Calvin is right, whether my appeal is approved or rejected later, all things work for the good of those of love God. Opps.. i mean Paul.

Updates (17 May 2007): On hindsight, i feel disappointed. Anyway, Dr. Chong, dean of SBC, informed me that my appeal is not possible due to immigration regulation. Very kind of him.

Friday, May 11, 2007


"...Tun Dr Mahathir also started using the term Melayu Baru (New Malay). Again, the aim was to aid the emergence of economically developed Malays...Datuk Seri Abdullah Badawi, has continued in the same discursive vein to favour the emergence of 'towering Malays', while his deputy Datuk Seri Najib Razak reiterates the idea of a 'global Malay'." (Ooi Kee Beng, From Malay to Muslim to Melayu Baru ...What next? )



If non-Malay Malaysians are not exempted from taxes then please treat us as our citizenship deserves!

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Theologize Systematically

This is my humble and fallible observation on 2 current prevailing manners of studying theology systematically:

All started when Agora Sg was looking for an introductory textbook for the group to learn about theology systematically. Here, i would avoid using the term 'systematic theology' because it is often being identify with one particular type of theological reflection that is organized in a fixed catechical format which is very well seen in the works of Louis Berkhof (1 volume Systematic Theology), Wayne Grudem (1 volume Systematic Theology), Millard Erickson (1 volume Christian Theology) and Norman Geisler (4 volumes Systematic Theology).

In this first manner of studies, one will usually list out the methods (prolegomena) then followed by the great doctrines (Bible, God, Christ, Man, Sin, Salvation, Church etc). And usually in each topics, we find certain prefix presumptions on a certain doctrine before a list of Bible passages to support that presumptuous doctrine. For eg. an author will first assumed that God is immutable with all kind of philosophical reasonings, and then he will back that claim with verses which either explicitly or implicitly support that presumption (Hebrews 13.8). Usually the author will discuss briefly each differing views on a certain issue before arguing for his own 'correct' view. And naturally, the author makes explicit his stand on issues. In other words, the author does have significant influence (possibly dictation) on a young reader (young in the sense of being 'green' or new to a particular subject). This is the first manner of doing theology.

On the other hand, there is a second way of reflecting on theological issues. We can distinguish the works by theologians like Alister McGrath (3 volumes A Scientific Theology, 1 volume Christian Theology, 1 volume The Christian Theology Reader) from the one mentioned above. This second method pays more attention to historical background, context and tradition, philosophical reasonings, and methods before going to the task of tackling doctrines. In this sense, the prolegomena is more detailed and comprehensive. This manner does help readers to be led into the flow of contemporary theological scene. When it comes to reflecting on doctrines, this second way will be more of conversant than one-way presentation. For eg. The author will explore many options on a certain doctrine and very often do not give a conclusive stand. The author prefers to allow the readers to explore more for themselves and, through that, reach a conclusion themselves. This way encourages readers to be adventurous and be accountable for their own theologies. The not-so-good impact of this second method is that readers do get frustrated struggling over unsettled issues which are raised in the book.

Objectively, i think, the second method is the one that would be prefer by theological institution for its educational integrity. This method might not provide conclusion to all issues, but isn't that the whole point of studying theology? It is a 'study'! Thus, learning should be encouraged and inspired rather than through dictation and indoctrination. Readers and students should be adventurous and explore as much as one can before drawing up one's own theological framework. Besides this method gives the student the accountability for constructing and preserving his own theology.

But to be fair, one must compare McGrath's introductory text (Christian Theology: An Introduction) with Grudem's (Systematic Theology: An Introduction To Biblical Doctrine). For McGrath magnum opus book on Christian Theology, his 3 volumes A Scientific Theology, is way different and more advanced in many areas.

Monday, May 07, 2007

Christianity: Public Religion & the Common Good

A special lecture by the Archbishop of Canterbury

How are religions contributing to society today? What roles do they play? With special reference to Christianity, Rowan Williams will speak on the place of religions in providing stability, a long-term vision, a deeper perspective of humanity and the common good we all share.

If you have to postpone your anniversary celebration, so be it! A must attend!

Date: 12 May 2007, Saturday
Time: 7.30pm
Venue: St. Andrew's Cathedral (New Sanctuary), 11, St. Andrew's Road, S(178959)

Admission is free.

Friday, May 04, 2007

Reformed or Not?


After spending some time with different people who claimed to be Reformed, i started to get confused what does that term really means. At first impression, 'Reformed' people seem to be those who are serious in sorting out issues regarding their belief. But as time uncovers, this term seems to be more of a dogmatic label than intellectually promising.

I have never seriously considered myself to be a Reformed person. Nevertheless i enjoy the achievements by Reformed heroes; folks like John Calvin, Abraham Kuyper, Alvin Plantinga, Nicholas Wolterstorff, James Smith, N.T Wright, Alister McGrath, Leron Shults, and many others bear this label and due to that, naturally, the label looks good.

On the other hand, this many others who bear this label make it look bad. How? Let me refresh how did we came to where we are now.

In the early 20th century, as modern culture and urbanization brought increasingly secular learning, and especially following the rise of Darwinism and of biblical scholarship that approached texts critically, many Christians developed a set of “Fundamentals,” seeking to rid the church of those who deviated toward “modernism.” Thus was born the term “Fundamentalism.” Heresy trials occurred in several Protestant denominations. In Reformed circles the Five Fundamentals were biblical inerrancy, the virgin birth of Jesus, the resurrection of the body, a satisfaction theory of the atonement, and the literalness of Jesus’ miracles as recorded in the Bible. (Louis B. Weeks, A Brief Look At The Reformed).

The 'Fundamentalists' have slip on the Reformed label. And some Reformed slip into Fundamentalism. Why is this happening? Basically due to the nature of human being. When we find ourselves couldn't answer some serious questions, in desperation, we will turn to the Fundamentalism, wearing its cap.

What do Fundamentalists do? They affirm the biblical inerrancy, the virgin birth of Jesus, the resurrection of the body, a satisfaction theory of the atonement. And they do just that: Affirm. There are traces of such affirmations be found here in this part of the world. That said, i have to add that there are also hybrids. A hybrid is one who embrace both Reformed and Fundamentalism. I consider Stephen Tong, BB Warfield, Charles Hodge, J. Gresham Machen etc as Fundamentalist and Reformed. Some sway more to Fundamentalism and some more to the Reformed. But i think the true Reformed is not Fundamentalist. Not in the least in according to the 7 pointers listed below.

Anyway, my point is that Fundamentalist and Reformed are different species altogether. As i gave one distinction between them is that fundamentalist just affirm. While Reformed do affirm something but definitely NOT the 5 solas, TULIP, and the Westminster Confessions. Meaning a Reformed is NOT someone who recites the 5 Solas and Westminster Confessions for breakfast every morning. What is a Reformed then?

According to Gerhard Sauter's essay Observations on the Current State of Reformed Theology, he listed 7 distinct 'Reformed marks' which are affirm by Reformed people:

... first with the structure of the Sunday service. It should concentrate on the proclamation of the Gospel. According to the order of worship, all hymns and prayers, the call to worship, the confession of sin, the prayer for illumination, the affirmation of faith, the doxology, and the benediction surround the promise of the Gospel and its directives. Reformed preaching has often been very close to mere instruction for Christian life. Mostly preaching and education were intertwined…

The second step: I would like to question the administration of the church, especially the role of the presbytery and the synod.

This leads us to a third marker of Reformed theology. We have to take into account the readiness to revise church doctrines by discovering the inexhaustible richness of biblical witness that is neither harmonized nor systematized. How can we think and act in a way that is shaped by sincere biblical theology, formed by the biblical narrative?

There is, fourth, the rational nature of Reformed theology—a rationality that, for example, comes into effect when faithful people speak of having recognized God’s acting in history and in social affairs, or of God’s providence directing personal life and the fortune of a church or a nation.

...fifth, the awareness of God’s sovereignty, expressed especially in the doctrine of predestination and election. This awareness includes two components: the glory of God as the ultimate direction of human life in all its acting and suffering…

...sixth special mark of Reformed theology, an unusually far-reaching doctrine of the Holy Spirit, especially of his boundless presence.

Seventh, last but not least, there is the difficult and troublesome relation between eschatology and history...

I really did measure myself with this 7 pointers to see whether am i a Reformed. I realize that i dont really care about the first, sympathize with the second, amen to the third (especially the 'revise' part- given my postfoundationalism), alleluai on the fourth, fifth, sixth, and seventh point. Ohh... i am some sort of Reformed. This said, to differ from Fundamentalism, i don't really subscribe to the 5 Solas and the Westminster Confessions. My Reformed marks are not those but the other 7 pointers listed above.

Well, let me end with Jurgen Moltmann's summary on Reformed Theology:

Reformed Theology is, as its name testifies, nothing other than reformatory theology, theology of permanent reformation...

Reformatory theology is a theology of a constant turning back, the turning back to that future of God's kingdom promised by the Word of God...

... 'reformation' is not onetime act to which confessionalist could appeal and upon whose events a traditionalist could rest.

In essence, 'reformation according to God's Word' is 'permanent reformatory'; one might say, adapting Trotsky's call to revolution, it is 'an event that keeps the church and theology breathless with suspense, an event that infuses church and theology with the breath of life, a story that is constantly making history, an event that cannot be concluded in this world, a process that will come to fulfillment and to rest only in the Parousia of Christ'... As reforming theology, Reformed Theology is eschatologically oriented theology.
(Jurgen Moltmann, Theologia Reformata et Semper Reformanda, in Towards The Future Of Reformed Theology, David Willis & Michael Welker, ed., p.120-121.)