We are a church that is dedicated to the basic teachings of reformed theology. This is the teaching which came out of the sixteenth-century Protestant Reformation. In fact, many churches trace their roots to this sixteenth-century movement: Lutheran, Reformed, Presbyterian, Anglican. Perhaps the most famous of the reformers was Martin Luther, whose writings concerning the church and how a sinner is made right with God marked the beginning of the Reformation. Luther emphasized that a sinner was justified (that is made right with God) by God’s grace alone, “The righteousness of God is that righteousness whereby, through grace and sheer mercy, He justifies us by faith.” God used many others to proclaim the message of the Gospel as well: John Calvin, John Knox, Ulrich Zwingli, John Huss, Martin Bucer, and others.
Reformed Christians hold to the doctrines characteristic of all Christians, including the Trinity, the true deity and true humanity of Jesus Christ, the necessity of Jesus’ atonement for sin, His death and resurrection, the church as a divinely ordained institution, the inspiration of the Bible, the requirement that Christians live moral lives, and the resurrection of the body.
Despite these similarities, there are several distinctives in the Reformed Church:
- The Doctrine of Scripture.
We are committed to the Bible as the very Word of God. As such, it is the authority for the believer, and superior to all governments and all church hierarchies. It is sufficient in all things; therefore, it does not need to be supplemented by new or ongoing special revelation (i.e., speaking in tongues or new revelation). Furthermore, the believer is called to study God’s word because it is clear on the matters essential for salvation, life and godliness.
- The Sovereignty of God.
The Reformation was a call to view God as sovereign in all things. Sovereignty means rule, and the sovereignty of God means that God rules over His creation with absolute power and authority. He determines what is going to happen, and it does happen. God is not alarmed, frustrated, or defeated by circumstances, by sin, or by the rebellion of His creatures.
- The Doctrines of Grace.
Reformed theology emphasizes what have come to be known as the Doctrines of Grace. These doctrines hold a high view of God, recognizing His holiness, justice and sovereignty as well as his mercy and grace. But they also see how bad man is in the sight of God; since God requires holiness, all have failed. In fact, sin has so touched every part of man that he does not desire God nor understand Him. This is where God’s mercy and grace are truly seen as He changes the hearts of sinners so that they seek after God and believe in Christ. This is why these doctrines are called the “Doctrines of Grace,” because they teach that the salvation of any person is only by the grace of God alone, and not based on anything God sees in man (because all God would ever see in man is rebellion apart from His work of grace). Furthermore, because salvation is all of God’s grace, the Reformed teach that the true saints of God will persevere until the end; that is, they will continue in the fight of faith until the day they die. Though they will never be perfect in this world, and will struggle with sin, they will strive to show their love to God in all they do out of a grateful heart for His saving grace.
- The Cultural Mandate.
Reformed theology also emphasizes the cultural mandate, or the obligation of Christians to live actively in society and work for the transformation of the world and its culture. We are not called as Christians to withdraw from the world. Rather, we are to help those in need, care for the hungry, clothe the naked, and visit the prisoner. But the chief needs of people are still spiritual. So, we realize that our efforts to help are no substitute to pointing people to Christ as their only hope in life and death.
A Short Primer on New Covenant Theology Essentials
To read a little more about New Covenant Theology click on this link.