“I Am Not My Own”: The Heart of Reformed Catholicity


“In the end, what is at stake in pursuing biblical, Christ-centered renewal along a catholic-Reformed path of retrieval? Nothing less than a reality at the heart of the Christian faith. In the words of the apostle Paul: ‘I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh l live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me’ (Gal. 2:10). In the deeply countercultural words of the Heidelberg Catechism, ‘I am not my own, but belong . . . to my faithful Savior, Jesus Christ.’ We live in a consumerist, tinkering, MTD [that is, moralistic therapeutic deistic] culture that is endlessly preoccupied with the self, its own needs, its own rights, and its own attempts to stand above history and tradition. It is a restless age, and Augustine was right in praying, ‘You have made us for yourself, Lord, and our hearts are restless until they rest in you.’ The good news of the gospel is that we are not left to the restless, barren, MTD world in which we are the center. By the Spirit, we are displaced—we enter into a new drama, embrace a new identity—one in which we call God ‘Abba! Father!’ (Rom. 8:31) as we find our life in Christ—Christ who lives in us by faith. Let us not settle for the ‘halfway good news,’ which is correlated with and accommodated to our own cultural captivities. Let us recognize that our true identity is this: we have been crucified with Christ, and we are not our own; our true life is found in him. For our only comfort in life and in death is that we belong—body and soul, in life and in death—to our faithful Savior, Jesus Christ.”

J. Todd Billings, “Afterword: Rediscovering the Catholic-Reformed Tradition for Today,” in Michael Allen and Scott Swain, “Reformed Catholicity: The Promise of Retrieval for Theology and Biblical Interpretation” (Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2015), pp.160-161


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