What Does It Mean to Be Reformed?
Reformed theology developed at the time of the Protestant reformation in the 16th century. At that time, God raised up a number of key men who led the church back to a thoroughly biblical understanding of Himself. After a time of great decline in the belief and practice of the church, the Reformers, like Martin Luther, John Calvin and John Knox , guided the Church back to an orthodox understanding of the doctrines that had been passed on by the Apostles . The reforms they made in doctrine and practice are timeless, and thoroughly biblical and God-honouring, and that is why we continue to stand by them today.
Below is more detailed information about the Reformed faith and what we believe:
God Is Sovereign
We believe that God – Father, Son, and Holy Spirit – is eternal, infinite, unchanging, holy, wise, all-knowing, and all-powerful. As the Creator of heaven and earth and everything in them, He rules and upholds all things with His powerful hand. Nothing happens by chance, but everything is under His perfect control.
This belief in the sovereignty of God is to shape our whole approach to Him. We are to be humble and reverent in the presence of such a great God. It is not appropriate to be flippant or casual in speaking to or about Him. We are to be dependent on Him in prayer and in child-like trust, even in times of suffering and trial, which God allows for our good. We are to live for His glory and honour above all else.
Scripture Is Authoritative
We believe that the Bible is God’s authoritative Word. It is inspired by God and is given to us for teaching, correction, rebuke and training in righteousness (2 Tim. 3:16). The Scriptures are entirely sufficient for us to know God and His will for our lives, and we do not look for or expect new revelations from God.
We believe that the books of the Bible progressively unfold God’s plan of redemption for the world. There is an essential continuity between the Old and New Testaments, and proclamation of the Word of God should be central both to the life of the Christian and the life of the Church.
People Need Salvation
We believe that people are made in the image of God and have been given the faculties of intellect, emotion and will so that they may serve God and glorify Him. However, sin has brought separation from God and has rendered mankind spiritually dead. As sinners, we do not naturally seek after God or do what is right. In fact, by nature we are the enemies of God and subject to His wrath.
We believe that the only hope for people lost in sin is that they are born again by the inward work of the Holy Spirit. Only then will they begin to seek after God and place their faith in Christ as Saviour. Because we cannot save ourselves, we need someone else to save us, and only Christ can do that. He is the only mediator between God and man; our only Saviour and Redeemer.
To be saved by Christ, we must repent of our sin and believe that He died in our place, taking the punishment for our sins on Himself and fulfilling the requirements of God’s law for us. Only when we have such faith in Christ can we be pardoned by God and declared righteous in His sight.
We Are Saved by Grace Alone
We believe that salvation is the work of God. He alone can save us, and He saves all whom He chooses to call to Himself. He works in their hearts by His Word and Spirit, gives them the gift of faith, and then, on the basis of that faith, declares them righteous in His sight. We confess, along with the Apostle Paul, that “It is by grace you have been saved, through faith – and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God, not by works, so that no one can boast.”
We recognise that we cannot convert anyone ourselves and we must not manipulate people into making a decision for Christ. Rather, we must proclaim freely and powerfully the message of salvation, looking to God to work inward]y in the hearts of Hhis chosen ones. This belief in God’s sovereign work in salvation, however, does not remove our responsibility. We are all called to respond to God – to seek Him, to love Him with all our heart, to obey His Word, and to submit to the Lordship of Jesus Christ. As we do so, we give thanks to God for His grace at work in us.
The Church Is Important
We believe that God intends those who are saved to meet and worship together in local churches which are the visible expression of Christ’s body.
- Christians should be seriously committed to a local church, meeting regularly with the believers, using their gifts to help build up the body, and submitting to the oversight of the elders.
- We believe that local churches are to be ruled by a body of godly men who are appointed as elders in the church.
- We believe that the work of the Holy Spirit is essential to the life of the local church and the individual Christian. While some of the gifts of the Spirit were temporary for the establishment of the Christian church and the giving of foundational revelation, many of the gifts of the Spirit continue today, and are given to each member of the church for the up-building of the body.
- We believe the local church should be a praying community that earnestly seeks the Presence and Power of the Holy Spirit.
- We believe that the children of believers belong to the visible church and are to be received into the local church by way of infant baptism. (We do not baptise infants on the presumption that they are saved, nor do we believe that baptism saves them. Rather, we understand that in Scripture God included in his covenant community not only believers but their children as well. He extended to them the privileges and responsibilities of being a part of his people. As a child grows up within the church, he/she should be challenged to respond personally to the Lord and profess their faith in Him.)