What is Reformed Theology?


When we speak of Reformed Theology, we mean the theology of the Protestant Reformation, the faith that first unified Protestant Christians.  When Martin Luther and other early Reformers of the sixteenth century found themselves at odds with the Roman Catholic Church, the controversy lay primarily in a single question:  Should tradition, proclamations of the pope or the Church, or any other standard have the same authority as God-breathed Scripture?  As even casual students of history will know, there was considerable corruption within the Catholic Church at the time of the Reformation, but the issue was much deeper than any individual theological debate.  The great question was, Is God's Word the supreme authority for all that a Christian believes and does?  And in considering that question, the Reformers found themselves conscience-bound to acknowledge that the Bible claims to be God's inspired revelation of Himself to mankind, that it claims supremacy over all other teachings and doctrines of man, and that it is given to be the standard by which we know and obey God.  The very notion of the Protestant Reformation was to see the Church re-form itself to align with Scripture.


The essence of Reformed faith lies in the phrase semper reformanda ("forever reforming"), which refers to the necessity of constantly evaluating Christian faith in light of God's Word and making sure that our beliefs and practices conform to the Bible alone.  Thus, our goal is never to conform to some standard of being Reformed, but to constantly evaluate our faith and practice in light of God's Word.  Thus, "Reformed" does not refer to a denominational or doctrinal position, so much as it refers to that faith which seeks to honor God's Word above all else.  Reformed faith is sometimes called Covenant Faith, because it understands God's relationship to mankind in light of the covenant promises God made, beginning with Adam and extending to true believers today.


One aspect of Reformed faith is being confessional--that is, we honor those written and spoken confessions of faith that directly reflect and summarize Biblical teaching, holding them in esteem only to the extent that they directly reflect God's Word.  Being confessional means a lot more than merely reciting creeds and confessions, though:  it's about actively proclaiming all of the truth of God's Word, both to the Church and to the world at large, bearing witness to the truth of the Gospel and bringing glory to God as we bear true witness of His glorious character.


Some specifics traits of historic Reformed faith include the understanding of God's self-revelation based on His covenants; an emphasis on the coming Kingdom of God, not the political and social realm of this world as the aim of the Christian's true allegiance, and the understanding that our salvation is wholly and entirely of God's will, not our own doing--thus, it is equally wrong for God's people to forbid others what God allows, as to permit what God condemns.  A rich tradition of thoughtful, informed Biblical scholarship is a part of the Reformation heritage, as is a passionate commitment to seek the salvation of others by proclaiming the Gospel of Jesus Christ and trusting that God will draw to Himself all whom He has appointed to salvation, to His eternal glory.


If you have questions about Blue Ridge Church, Reformed faith, or Christianity in general, we would love to hear from you!  Please use the "CONTACT US" link to send a note, and an elder will be happy to arrange a time to talk with you one-on-one, if you like.