What does it mean to be Reformed?
That’s a good question!
There are many different answers people might give to what being a Reformed church means; everything from a confused look, to pointing to the 5 points of Calvinism.
When we call ourselves “reformed” we are saying we are a church that stands in the tradition of the 16th century Protestant Reformation. Simply put, we are a Protestant church. In some ways you could sum that up doctrinally by saying two (2) things:
1. We believe in the inspiration, inerrancy, authority, clarity, and sufficiency of Scripture. We hold that the Bible is the only rule for faith and practice. Ultimately the Bible and the Bible alone settles all questions of faith (what we believe and teach) and practice (how we are to live in obedience to the Lord Jesus Christ).
2. We believe in the doctrine of justification by grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone, to the glory of God alone. We are forgiven and accepted by a holy God solely because of the righteousness of Jesus Christ imputed or reckoned to us by faith alone. This was described by the Reformers as the "5 Solas" (Sola means "Alone"): Sola Scripture, Sola Christ, Sola Faith, Sola Grace, Sola God's glory. In other words: we are saved by grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone, as revealed by Scripture alone, to the glory of God alone.
So we are we a Protestant church, but we are also a Reformed church in that we hold to the doctrinal standards--explanations of faith-- that were introduced by the churches of the Reformation.
In Europe (think: Switzerland, Netherlands, and Germany etc.) the Reformed churches came to hold to confessional documents known as the “Three Forms of Unity” (which consist of three things: the Heidelberg Catechism, the Belgic Confession, and the Canons of Dort). These statements of belief "unite" Reformed churches. You can find them on our beliefs page.
You may be familiar with the Presbyterian tradition; Presbyterian and Reformed churches essentially teach the same system of doctrine and hold to most of the same creeds and confessions. (Great minds do think alike!)
Along with many Christian Churches around the globe, we hold to three creeds that were written in the first few centuries after Christ's death and resurrection.
Hopefully you find this brief summary helpful in understanding what we mean by saying we are a Reformed church. Rather than just identifying us as part of a denomination, it identifies us as part of the broader movement of the Reformation in the tradition of John Calvin and others.