What Is Reformed Theology?
Grace Reformed Church stands in the great tradition of the Protestant Reformation, and as such holds to what is called the ‘Reformed’ faith. The following is a brief summary of Reformed theology:
Reformed theology is biblical truth. This means, first of all, that it holds to the doctrines characteristic of all true Christians, including such truths as: the inspiration, inerrancy and infallibility of the Bible as God's word; the Trinity; the true deity and humanity of Jesus Christ through His incarnation and virgin birth; the necessity of Christ’s atonement on the cross for sin; the historical resurrection of Christ; the church as a divinely ordained institution; the need for regeneration by the Holy Spirit; justification by grace through faith alone in Christ; the necessity for Christians to live moral lives according to God’s law in thankfulness for their redemption; obedience to the Great Commission; the personal and visible return of Jesus Christ; and the resurrection of the body. More specifically, other doctrines important in defining Reformed theology are:
The Authority of Scripture
Reformed theology holds to the Bible's inspiration, authority, and sufficiency as the very Word of God, having the authority of God Himself. The Bible is the entirely sufficient guide for what we are to believe and how we are to live as Christians, and is not, nor need be, supplemented by new or ongoing special revelation. Reformed theology also stresses the way the objective, written Word and the inner, supernatural ministry of the Holy Spirit work together – the Holy Spirit illuminating the Word to God's people.
The Sovereignty of God
Reformed theology emphasizes God's sovereignty, ruling over His creation with absolute power and authority, and determining all that comes to pass. This includes His absolute sovereignty in the salvation of sinners – of His providing and applying redemption for His chosen people.
Reformed theology views the Bible in its unity and continuity as an organic unfolding of revelation through God's covenant of grace, in various historical administrations of God's dealings with His people. There is one covenant and one people from the Old Testament into the New Testament. Christ is the center and sole Mediator of this covenant.
The Centrality of Grace
Reformed theology stresses the centrality of grace for salvation. This grace has been summarized in the ‘Doctrines of Grace’, also known as the ‘Five Points of Calvinism’, expressed with the acronym TULIP: T = total depravity; U = unconditional election; L = limited atonement; I = irresistible grace; P = perseverance of the saints. Reformed theology emphasizes a Christ-centered proclamation of the gospel. Salvation is wholly of God, by grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone, as revealed in the Scripture alone, to the glory of God alone.
The Cultural Mandate
Reformed theology believes in the cultural mandate, which emphasizes the obligation of Christians to live actively in society and exercise godly influence in the world and its cultures. Christians are called to be in the world though not of the world, and are not to withdraw from it. They are to be active in both word and deed ministry, including concern for people’s temporal needs. But the chief needs of people in a sinful world are primarily spiritual, and social ministries can never substitute for evangelism. Sinners are confronted effectively as their hearts and minds are changed by the gospel of Jesus Christ.