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Reformed Distinctives

The Christian Faith has three parts to it; theology, piety and practice.  Theology is what Christians confess and teach from what is revealed in the Bible. Piety is our relation to God and practice is the practical outworking of these things.  Reformed Theology is a tradition in Christianity which separates us from other traditions such as Pentecostalism, Charismaticism, Roman Catholicism and Wesleyanism.

If you're new to the Christian faith a lot of what you read here may go over your head and that's absolutely fine as you may not know these theological terms. Having said that, please have a read and if you would like to ask any questions then just get in touch.

What it means to be Historically Reformed:

Affirm the great Solas (Latin for "only") of the Reformation.

Sola Gratia - Grace Alone
Sola Fide - Faith Alone
Solus Christus - Christ Alone
Sola Scriptura - Scripture Alone
Soli Deo Gloria - To the Glory of God Alone

To summarize, salvation by Grace Alone, through Faith Alone, in Christ Alone, according to the Scriptures Alone, to the Glory of God Alone.

Affirm and promote a profoundly high view of the supremacy and sovereignty of God in all things and sees God as actively involved in His creation, governing and overseeing all the affairs of men.  cf. Psalm 115:3; Job 34:14-15; 37:6-13; Daniel 4:35.

Affirm the utter dependence of sinful man, upon God, in all things, especially concerning salvation.

Affirm the Doctrines of Grace (commonly referred to as Calvinism), which display God as the author of salvation from beginning to end.

The acrostic TULIP (which is a summation of the Canons of Dort) is the most familiar way of delineating the doctrines of Grace. TULIP is made up of 5 points, which are:

* T - Total Depravity
* U - Unconditional Election
* L - Limited Atonement
* I - Irresistible Grace
* P - Perseverance, and Preservation, of the Saints

Creedal - To affirm the great creeds of the historic, orthodox church.

The Apostles' Creed
The Nicene Creed
The Definition of Chalcedon

Confessional - To affirm one, or more, of the great confessions of the historic orthodox church.

* The Westminster Standards
- The Westminster Confession of Faith
- The Westminster Longer Catechism
- The Westminster Shorter Catechism


* Savoy Declaration of Faith

* The Three Forms of Unity
- The Belgic Confession of Faith
- The Heidelberg Catechism
- The Canons of Dortrecht

Covenantal - To affirm the great covenants of Scripture and see those covenants as the means by which God interacts with and accomplishes His purposes in His creation, with mankind.  The Scriptures contain numerous examples of God "covenanting" with man, establishing and ordaining a variety of covenants.

A high view of Scripture, in it's necessity, infallibility, sufficiency and internal consistency, and our dependence upon it to learn what God has revealed about Himself, His commands, and His way of salvation.

A high view of the church in preaching (the exposition and application of God's Word), the ordinances, discipline, prayer, worship, fellowship, and evangelism.

A distinctly Biblical, Christian worldview that permeates all of life, a life lived in the world, but at the same time, a life not oriented to the world and it's standards, but oriented to God's Word.

A clear understanding of the distinction between, and relationship of, Law and Gospel.


The Law has Three Uses:

1) The civil use. The law serves the commonwealth or body politic as a force to restrain sin. The law restrains evil through punishment. Though the law cannot change the heart, it can inhibit sin by threats of judgment, especially when backed by a civil code that administers punishment for proven offences.

2) The pedagogical use. The law also shows people the perfect righteousness of God, and their sinfulness which deserves punishment, and points them to mercy and grace outside of themselves, found in the Gospel alone.

3) The moral, normative, sanctifying use. The moral standards of the law provide guidance for believers as they seek to live in humble gratitude for the grace God has shown us. This use of the law is for those who trust in Christ and have been justified by grace alone, through faith alone, apart from works.

The 2nd use of the Law and its perfect requirement points us to the Gospel (good news) of the purchased redemption and free grace of the Son, for God's people, and the Gospel, once applied by the Holy Spirit, then points us back to the third use of the Law in delight to obey its commands to the glory of God as a new creation in Christ Jesus.

Why do Reformed Church's baptise infants?

Reformed Protestants understanding of the Bible is that God has always included the children of believers in His covenant people. Old Testament children were given the covenant sign of circumcision, New Testament believers are given the covenant sign of baptism.  Below are two recommended brief explanations on why God commands that we administer the sign of the covenant (baptism) to the children of believers and is therefore Biblical.

Not only those that do actually profess faith in and obedience unto Christ,[a] but also the infants of one or both believing parents are to be baptized,[b] and those only.

a: Mark 16:15-16, Acts 8:37-38 
b: Genesis 17:7, Genesis 17:9, Galatians 3:9, Galatians 3:14, Colossians 2:11-12, Acts 2:38-39, Romans 4:11-12, Matthew 28:19, Mark 10:13-16, Luke 18:15, 1 Corinthians 7:14 

Savoy Declaration of Faith 29.4

Question: Should infants, too, be baptized? Answer: Yes.

Infants as well as adults belong to God's covenant and congregation. (1)

Through Christ's blood the redemption from sin and the Holy Spirit, who works faith, are promised to them

no less than to adults. (2)

Therefore, by baptism, as sign of the covenant, they must be incorporated into the Christian church and distinguished from the children of unbelievers. (3)

This was done in the old covenant by circumcision(4 ), in place of which baptism was instituted in the new covenant. (5)

  • 1.Gen 17:7; Mt 19:14.

  • 2.Ps 22:10; Is 44:1-3; Acts 2:38, 39; 16:31.

  • 3.Acts 10:47; 1 Cor 7:14.

  • 4.Gen 17:9-14.

  • 5.Col 2:11-13.

Heidelberg Catechism Lord's Day 26 Q74

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