Our name REFORMED means that we are extremely grateful for the 16th century Protestant Reformation which led to a recommitment to the Bible as the ultimate authority. We unashamedly confess that truth that was rediscovered in the Bible at the time of the Reformation Ė most importantly, that God alone saves sinners by His sovereign grace. Ephesians 2:8-9 states this truth very clearly and simply: ďFor it is by grace you have been saved, through faith Ė and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God Ė not by works, so that no one can boast.Ē (NIV)
In contrast to many other churches, we believe that the Bible, the very Word of God, is to be our rule in life; for example, the Ten Commandments, and not simply our guide in life. The Protestant Reformation clearly stated that Christ alone, Scriptures alone, grace alone, faith alone, and that we are to seek Godís glory alone. From these statements, the Gospel definition of our justification from sin by Christís death upon the cross follows: Our justification by Christ is then by grace through faith alone. Similarly, our sanctification is then by grace through faith. When the Holy Spirit awakens our God given conscience to what horror sin truly is: disobedience in all parts of our lives against God, and that unrepentant sin will bring us to eternity not in heaven but hell which is separation from God. He, the Holy Spirit gives to us new spiritual life (regeneration) and also works in the regenerate true conversion: repentance, which is a complete change of mind, heart, and soul; and faith, by which we receive justification. This leads us to the conviction that we are to surrender unconditionally and seek to obey Him. Sanctification is Godís gracious and supernatural work of purifying believers, a work in which we should cooperate, by Godís grace in gratitude, by using the means God has graciously provided us. To be sure, we will make many mistakes in life which come as the result of sin but our life is not our own but belongs in body and soul to God. We must then pray that God converts us daily to be holy or become sanctified because He is holy through the entirety of our lives. Salvation then is not a process where God does 99+% and we do the rest either in the beginning or after His initial conversion of us. Repentance follows regeneration and that leads to reformation of our lives. That understanding of the Scriptures came through the reformer John Calvin and many other Reformed theologians who led our churches being called Reformed churches and not Calvin churches. As a church, we then are both to preach the Gospel and live it. The Gospel is wondrously summarized in Ephesians 1: 4-14. Evangelism is a priority to us not because we can save souls but God has promised that His electing grace will bring all that He has ordained to eternal life (John 15:16). We are then one of many means that He uses to bring people of all nations to himself.
There are three formal creeds that we as a Reformed church and most true Christians throughout all ages recognize and teach. They summarize many basic Biblical doctrines. They are:
These creeds in their initial forms were written in the 1st to the 4th centuries A.D. in response to heresies and their language was only changed slightly later to clarify them.
As the Protestant Reformation in Europe unfolded in the 16th and 17th centuries, new questions developed about Reformed doctrine and our response to God. The doctrinal standards written then are known as the Three Forms of Unity since they most imperatively define our views of preaching Godís Word and the proper administration of the sacraments of baptism and the Lordís Supper. They are:
The Heidelberg Catechism written in three sections: sin, salvation, and service define a large part of our weekly worship, teaching, and Christian living.
The Belgic Confession clearly defines the true Christian faith as coming from the teachings of the Bible alone and not mixed with tradition.
The Canons of Dort were written to answer the five views from those who follow the teachings of Jacob Arminius. We teach that we are born in the state of Total depravity, that we are sought through Godís Unconditional election, that only those are elect are saved by Christís Limited atonement, those chosen by God will be saved by his Irresistible grace, and finally, He will Preserve us as saints. These statements define us and our salvation by grace alone.
The Solas of the Reformation
We believe that that
the majesty of the Lord God is supreme! He is sovereign over all
things, including salvation. This truth was summarized from various
angles in the ďSolasĒ or ďAloneĒ cries of the 16th
century Protestant Reformation:
1. Scripture Alone!
We believe that the
sixty-six books of the Christian Bible are Godís own holy Word,
inerrant and infallible, the only ultimate authority for faith and
life. These Scriptures reveal the Triune God of Scripture, the sin
and misery of mankind, and the only way to be restored to Godís
favor. We gladly submit ourselves to the one, true God as He speaks
perfectly in His holy and sufficient Word, confessing that no
thoughts, decisions, or writings of men are of equal value. (Psalm
19:7-9; 2 Timothy 3:16,17; 2 Peter 1:21)
2. Christ Alone!
We confess that all
people are sinners who have violated Godís law and come under Godís
just and eternal judgment. Because God is a perfectly righteous and
holy Judge, sin requires eternal separation from God in hell. The
only way to escape Godís eternal wrath is to be reconciled to God
through the Mediator and Savior He has providedóthe Lord Jesus
Christ. This Savior is Godís eternal Son (true God) who has assumed
our human nature (true man). His perfect obedience to Godís law, and
His death on the cross to pay sinís penalty, provide His people with
the righteousness and forgiveness of sins necessary to be accepted
by God and to receive eternal life. Jesus Himself proclaimed, ďI am
the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father
except through Me.Ē (John 14:6; Acts 4:12; 1 Timothy 2:5)
3. Grace Alone!
We believe that
salvation is only by grace (undeserved mercy towards undeserving
sinners), and not by any merit or worth on the part of the sinner.
Salvation is a gift of God, obtained through the perfect work of the
Lord Jesus Christ. We cannot find acceptance in Godís eyes based on
anything we have done or have not done. We are saved by grace alone.
(Ephesians 2:1-10; Titus 3:4-7)
4. Faith Alone!
Although all people are
conceived and born in sin, subject to Godís wrath, not all people
are saved. Only those who are united to Jesus Christ by a true faith
are delivered from Godís condemnation and declared righteous in His
sight. Faith alone is the instrument by which sinners become
partakers of Christ and all His benefits. And true faith is not only
a knowledge and agreement with what God has revealed in His Word, it
is also a personal trust in the saving promises of that Word. Even
this faith is not man-made, but is a gift of the Lord, who
graciously shows us our sin and gives to us a new heart to repent
and believe. (Habakkuk 2:4; Acts 16:31; Ephesians 2:8)
5. Glory to God Alone!
All glory is due to God alone for He alone performs the work of saving sinners. He provided the Savior, He brought us to faith, He preserves and protects our faith while we live on earth, and He will glorify us after this life to live eternally with Him. From beginning to end, salvation is the work of the Triune God. Even the process of sanctification, by which we strive to grow in holiness after the pattern of Christ, is the work of God the Holy Spirit who works in us. Hence, the cry of our hearts: ďNot to us, O LORD, not to us, but to your name be the glory!Ē (Psalm 115:1; Ephesians 3:20,21)
If you would like more information regarding our ministry or beliefs, please contact us!
© 2015 Faith URC
|HOME | OUR BELIEFS | MINISTRIES | ABOUT US | CONTACT|