Statement Of Faith
From its inception, the Church has always found it helpful to summarize its core convictions in somewhat short and succinct statements such as hymns, creeds, and confessions to impart truth, clarify and prevent confusion, protect from false teaching, and otherwise hold fast to the historic landmarks of our heritage.
The Christian confession is merely a response to God’s revelation. Thus, the confessions of a church and its individual members should correspond to the boundaries and contours of biblical truth that God has revealed to us. All Christians everywhere may say they believe the Bible, but creeds, confessions, and statements help to clarify what we believe.
Our Statement of Faith is an attempt to condense our core convictions into a concise and accessible document for the edification of members and attendees. Though it is not exhaustive of all we believe, it is comprehensive in conveying those truths we believe to be sufficiently clear and foundational for the life of Reformation Church.
We believe that the biblical canon consists of 39 books of the Old Testament and 27 books of the New Testament. This sacred Scripture is the very word of God, and each and every word is fully inspired by the Spirit. Therefore, it is the authoritative, inerrant, and sufficient self- disclosure of God to mankind. It is a perfect treasure of heavenly instruction progressively revealing the kingdom of God made manifest in Jesus Christ. As originally revealed and recorded, the Bible is infallible in all it teaches although our interpretation may be fallible. Therefore, each book is to be interpreted according to its context and purpose and in reverent submission. All believers are exhorted to study the Scriptures individually and in community, and to diligently apply them to their lives. The Scriptures are the authoritative rule and guide of all Christian life, practice and doctrine. They are wholly sufficient and must not be added to, superseded, or changed by later tradition, extra-biblical revelation, or worldly wisdom. Every doctrinal formulation (whether of creed, confession, or theology) must be subjected to the greater and ultimate authority of the full counsel of God found in Holy Scripture.
Psalm 19, 119; 2 Timothy 3:15-17; 2 Peter 1:19-21
THE TRUE AND TRIUNE GOD
We believe that there is one, and only one, living and true God: all powerful, all knowing, ever present, loving, and good—Creator of heaven and earth. In the unity of the Godhead, there are three Persons—Father, Son and Holy Spirit—co-existent, co-equal, and co-eternal yet distinct persons with distinct roles and responsibilities. The Father is not the Son, the Son is not the Holy Spirit, the Holy Spirit is not the Father, yet each is truly God and fully deserving of worship and adoration. In the divine unity, there is glorious diversity and so a blessed mystery for the Church to behold; one triune God— Father, Son and Spirit—is the foundation of Christian faith and life.
Matthew 3:16-17, 28:19-20; 1 Corinthians 12:4-6; 2 Corinthians 13:14; Ephesians 4:4-6; 1 Peter 1:2; Isaiah 45:18-23
GOD THE FATHER
We believe that God the Father, the first person of the Trinity, created the heavens and the earth through the Son and by the Spirit. For His glory, He freely created the world out of nothing. Through His word, He daily sustains all His creatures. He rules over all and, together with the Son and the Spirit, is the only Sovereign. His eternal plans and purposes cannot be ultimately thwarted. He is faithful to every promise, works all things together for good to those who love Him and, in His unfathomable grace, gave His Son, Jesus Christ, for mankind’s redemption. He made all things for the praise of His glory and intends for man, in particular, to live in faithful and joyful fellowship with Himself.
Genesis 1:1-31; Romans 8:1-39; Acts 17:24-28
JESUS CHRIST, GOD THE SON
We believe that Jesus Christ, the unique Son of God and the second person of the Trinity, is the eternal Word made flesh, supernaturally conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of a virgin. He is perfect in nature, teaching, and obedience. He is one person with two distinct natures—fully God and fully man. He was always with God and is God. Through Him all things came into being and were created. He was before all things, and in Him all things hold together by the word of His power. He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation, and in Him dwells all the fullness of God.
He is the only Savior for the sins of the world, having shed His blood and died a vicarious death on the cross. By His death, He revealed divine love, upheld divine justice, and conquered the enemies of the kingdom (namely Satan, sin and death), removing our guilt and reconciling us to God. Having redeemed us from sin, on the third day, He rose bodily from the grave, victorious over death and the powers of darkness. Afterwards, He appeared to over 500 witnesses, performing many convincing proofs of His resurrection. He ascended into heaven where, at God’s right hand, He intercedes for His people and rules as King and Lord over all, awaiting His return. He is the Head of the Church and should be adored, loved, served, and obeyed by all.
John 1:1-3, 10:27-33, 20:26-28; Colossians 1:15-23; Hebrews 1:1-14
GOD THE HOLY SPIRIT
We believe that the Holy Spirit, the Lord and Giver of life and third person of the Trinity, brings order to creation and convicts the world of sin, righteousness, and judgment. Through the proclamation of the gospel, He compels men to repent of their sins, confess Jesus as Lord, and trust in divine mercy. The Holy Spirit unites believers to Jesus Christ in faith, brings about the new birth and dwells within the regenerate. The Holy Spirit has come to glorify the Son who, in turn, came to glorify the Father. He will lead the Church into a right understanding and rich application of the truth of God’s Word. He is to be respected, honored and worshipped as God.
Furthermore, the Holy Spirit empowers believers for Christian witness and service. He desires to continually fill each believer with power to bear witness to the gospel and imparts His gifts for the edification of the body and the work of ministry in the world. The healthy exercise of diverse gifts within a unified body is essential to the mission of the Church in the world today.
1 Corinthians 2:10-11; 2 Timothy 1:14; Acts 5:3-4; Hebrews 10:15-17; John 14:26, 15:26, 16:13-14
We believe that God made man—male and female—in His own image, as the crown of creation so that man might glorify Him by enjoying Him forever. He was created in holiness; but by temptation and voluntary transgression fell from that holy and happy state into rebellion against his Creator. Consequently, all are now sinners. By both nature and willful choice we are utterly void of the righteousness required by God, enslaved to evil and totally depraved. This depravity is radical and pervasive, extending to our mind, will, and affections. Apart from divine grace by the Holy Spirit, we remain wholly unwilling and unable to repent and return to God and therefore justly without hope, defense, or excuse apart from the gospel.
Though marred by the Fall, mankind still retains the image of God and therefore possesses intrinsic value, dignity, and dominion over creation. Thus, human dignity is not dependent on age, mental capacity, developmental stage, health, race, or gender.
Genesis 3:1-7; Jeremiah 2:12-13; Romans 1:18-25; Romans 5:12-19; Ephesians 2:1-3
We believe that the gospel is the good news of the kingdom of God made manifest in His Son. The kingdom is the foundation of the overarching storyline of Scripture from creation to consummation as God redeems a people unto Himself. This good news was inaugurated in the incarnation, ministry, death, burial, resurrection, and ascension of Jesus Christ. At the center of the story is the crucifixion, which is a substitutionary and propitiatory sacrifice to God for our sins. It satisfies the demands of God’s holy justice, appeases His holy wrath, and shames and defeats His enemies. It also demonstrates His mysterious love and reveals His amazing grace. At the heart of all sound doctrine is the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ and the infinite privilege that redeemed sinners have of glorifying God as a result of what He has accomplished. Therefore, we want all that takes place in our homes, work, church, and ministries to proceed from and be related to the gospel.
Matthew 9:35-36; Mark 1:14-15; 1 Corinthians 15:1-3; Colossians 1:13-14, 2:13-15
SALVATION AND UNION WITH CHRIST
We believe that salvation is provided by grace alone, through faith alone, because of Christ alone, for the glory of God alone. Anyone turning from sin in repentance and looking to Christ and His substitutionary death receives the gift of eternal life and is united with Christ. This union with Christ is the fountainhead from which all other blessings in the Christian life flow. The believer is justified as the righteousness of Christ is reckoned to him. He is regenerated to life, reconciled to God, and adopted by the Father to become His child. He is freely, fully, and forever forgiven the debt of his sin. He is liberated from the law of sin and death into the freedom of God’s Spirit.
John 3:1-21; Romans 3:21-26, 5:1-21, 6:1-11; Ephesians 1:3-14, 2:8-10
THE PROPER RESPONSE TO THE GOSPEL
We believe that the blessings of salvation are made free to all who will repent. It is the immediate duty of all to accept the gospel by a humble, penitent, and obedient faith: but, all naturally resist and reject this duty apart from the effectual call of God.
To be saved, sinners must be regenerated (i.e. “born again”). Regeneration consists of being granted a new nature by the power of the Spirit in accordance with the proclaimed word , so as to secure our voluntary obedience to the gospel. Its proper evidence appears in the holy fruits of genuine, yet imperfect, repentance and faith.
Repentance and faith are sacred duties, and also inseparable graces, wrought in our souls by the regenerating Spirit of God; whereby being deeply convinced of our guilt, danger and helplessness, and of the way of salvation by Christ, we turn to God with authentic contrition, confession, and request for mercy; at the same time, we heartily receive the Lord Jesus Christ as our Prophet, Priest and King, and rely on Him alone as the only and all sufficient Savior.
This response to the gospel is rooted and grounded in the free and unconditional election of God for His own pleasure and glory.
John 3:1-21; Acts 17:30-31; Romans 8:7-8; 1 John 2:3-6
GOD’S PURPOSE OF ELECTING GRACE
We believe that election is the eternal purpose of God, according to which He graciously regenerates, justifies, sanctifies, and saves sinners solely on the basis of His will and not the decision of man. Mankind truly responds to the gospel, but only as an effect of the gracious cause of God’s elective decree, who ordains both the end and the means of redemption. This work of the divine will is a most glorious display of God’s sovereign goodness, being infinitely free, wise, holy, and unchangeable—and it utterly excludes boasting, and promotes humility, love, prayer, praise, and trust in God.
John 6:35-51; Romans 9:1-24; Ephesians 1:3-14
We believe that sanctification is the process through which, according to the will of God, we are made partakers of his holiness and conformed to the image of His Son. Sanctification is a progressive work begun in regeneration and carried on in the hearts of believers by the presence and power of the Holy Spirit, through the continual use of His appointed means of grace—especially, the word of God, self-examination, self-denial, watchfulness, worship, community, ordinances, and prayer.
John 17:15-19; 1 Corinthians 6:9-11; 1 Thessalonians 4:2-7; 2 Thessalonians 2:13; Hebrews 10:14
THE PERSEVERANCE OF SAINTS
We believe that Christ preserves those whom He calls such that He loses none of those given to Him by the Father. Therefore, only and all real believers endure unto the end as their persevering is the grand mark which distinguishes genuine faith from hypocrisy. Furthermore, a special providence watches over the welfare of the elect and they are kept by the power of the Holy Spirit through faith unto salvation.
John 6:38-40, 10:27-29; Romans 8:28-30; 1 Thessalonians 5:23-24; 1 John 2:19
We believe that God, by His Word and Spirit, created the Church, calling sinful men out of the whole human race into the fellowship of Christ’s body. By the same Word and Spirit, He guides and preserves that new redeemed humanity. The Church is not a business, building, or denomination, but instead an assembly of all who have personally appropriated the gospel. The Church exists to glorify God through worship and faithful service to do His will on earth. The ultimate mission of the Church is the glory of God, and the means by which this is accomplished is the making of disciples through the preaching and embracing of the gospel. This involves a commitment to see the gospel preached, churches planted, and righteousness reigning to the ends of the earth as the people of God push back the darkness of the world.
All members of the Church are to be a vital and committed part of a local church. In this context, they are called to walk as the people of God and demonstrate the reality of the kingdom. The ascended Christ has given the enduring offices of elders and deacons for the equipping of Christ’s body so that it might mature and grow. Elders are qualified men charged to shepherd the church in oversight and teaching while deacons are qualified servants who help with the physical administration of the ministry of the body. All members of the Church are to be nurtured and equipped for the work of the ministry. In the context of the local church, God’s people receive pastoral care and oversight and the opportunity to employ their God-given gifts in His service in relation to one another and to the world.
Matthew 5:14-15; 1 Corinthians 12:12-14; Ephesians 1:22-23, 2:19-22; 1 Timothy 3:14-15
ORDINANCES OF THE CHURCH
We believe that Christ has left two enduring ordinances for His people: baptism and communion.
The ordinance of baptism is the immersion in water of a confessing believer, into the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, to show forth, in a solemn and beautiful emblem, our faith in the crucified, buried, and risen Savior. The one time act of being immersed in water as a believer represents our death to sin and resurrection to a new life, as well as our lifelong union with Christ and each other. As such, it is a prerequisite to the privileges of church membership and participation in the Lord’s Supper.
The ordinance of communion is to be observed only by those who have become genuine followers of Christ and have been baptized into His death and resurrection. This ordinance represents the breaking of Christ’s body and the shedding of His blood on our behalf, and is to be observed repeatedly throughout the Christian life as a sign of continued participation in the atoning benefits of Christ’s death. As we partake of the Lord’s Supper with an attitude of faith and self-examination, we remember and proclaim the death of Christ, receive spiritual nourishment for our souls, signify our unity with other members of Christ’s body, and mysteriously commune together with Christ Himself.
Matthew 26:26-30, 28:18-20; Acts 22:14-16; Romans 6:1-5; 1 Corinthians 11:20-34, 1 Peter 3:20-21
SEXUALITY AND THE FAMILY
We believe God has ordained the family as the foundational institution of human society and image of the glorious reality of the spiritual family of the Church. At the same time, we fully affirm the value and calling of those with the gift of singleness (whether lifelong or not) as a blessing to the ministry and mission of the kingdom. At the heart of the family is the sacred union of marriage. Marriage is the uniting of one man and one woman as defined by creation and biblical revelation. Such union involves a lifelong covenant for the purpose of intimate companionship, sexual expression, joy, and procreation of the human race. The marriage relationship mirrors the relationship between Christ and His Church, and thus any perversion of that picture obscures the glory of God displayed in the gospel. This meaning of marriage and sexuality is, thus, incompatible with homosexuality, transgenderism, polygamy, gender-fluidity, adultery, fornication, pornography, or any other distortion of the consistent teaching of Scripture as affirmed by the unanimous and long-standing tradition of the Church.
Though equal in essence, value, and dignity, men and women have unique and different roles and responsibilities even as Father, Son, and Spirit are equal in glory and, yet, distinct in role. A husband is to love his wife as Christ loved the Church and provide for, protect, and lead his family. A wife is to submit herself graciously to the servant leadership of her husband—even as the church willingly submits to the headship of Christ and has the God-given responsibility to respect her husband and to serve as his helper in managing the household and nurturing the next generation.
Children, from the moment of conception, are a blessing and heritage from the Lord. Parents are to teach their children biblical truth (including spiritual and moral principles) and to lead them, through consistent lifestyle example and loving discipline, to know and love Jesus Christ. Children are to honor and obey their parents as their God-appointed authority.
Genesis 2:18-25; Ephesians 5:22-33; Colossians 3:18-21; 1 Peter 3:1-7, Deuteronomy 6:4-9
We believe that Civil Government is of Divine appointment, for the interests and good order of human society; magistrates are to be prayed for, conscientiously honored, and obeyed— except in things opposed to the will of our Lord Jesus Christ, who is the only Lord of the conscience, and the King of the kings of the earth. Though our ultimate hope is not in governmental policies or politics, Christians have an ethical responsibility, to the extent that they are able, to promote and practice biblical justice and morality to and within a lost and dying world.
Romans 13:1-7; 1 Peter 2:13-25; Jeremiah 29:4-7
THE RETURN AND ETERNITY
The consummation of all things includes the future, physical, visible, personal, and glorious return of Jesus Christ, the bodily resurrection of the dead, the translation of those alive in Christ, the judgment of the just and the unjust, and the fulfillment of Christ’s kingdom in the new heavens and the new earth. In the consummation, Satan, with his hosts and all those outside Christ, will be finally, fully, and forever separated from the benevolent presence of God, enduring eternal conscious punishment; but, the righteous, in glorious bodies, shall live and reign with Him forever, serving and giving Him unending praise and glory, and receiving unending joy. Then shall the eager expectation of creation be fulfilled, and the whole earth shall proclaim the glory of God, who makes all things new.
Isaiah 65:17-25; Matthew 25:31-46; Revelation 20:11-15, 21:1-6, 22:1-5 Scripture