What is REFORMED?
(See What is the Reformed Faith? booklet)
- Centered on God
- Based on God’s Word alone
- Committed to faith alone
- Devoted to Jesus Christ
- Structured by two covenants (works and grace)
Also defined by the “5 solas of the Reformation”
- Sola Scriptura: The Scripture Alone is the Standard
- Soli Deo Gloria! For the Glory of God Alone
- Solo Christo! By Christ’s Work Alone are We Saved
- Sola Gratia: Salvation by Grace Alone
- Sola Fide: Justification by Faith Alone
Reformed confessions and creeds do not differ greatly from other evangelical confessions and creeds as it relates to its Doctrine of God. However, the greatest difference between reformed doctrine and greater evangelicalism is its Doctrine of God. Reformed theology uses its Doctrine of God as the lens through which it views everything. This viewpoint places God, the Creator, in the center. Man, the created, is not in the center.
What does PRESBYTERIAN mean?
- Derives from the Greek word presbyteros, which means elder
- Presbyterian churches are overseen by a group of elders called a Session, who are elected from the members of the church. Groups of churches are overseen by regional boards called presbyteries. Presbyteries are overseen by a General Assembly.
- Presbyterian polity was developed as a rejection of governance by hierarchies of single bishops (episcopal polity), but also differs from the congregationalist polity in which each congregation is independent. In contrast to the other two forms, authority in the presbyterian polity flows both from the top down (as higher assemblies exercise considerable authority over individual congregations) and from the bottom up (as all officials ultimately owe their elections to individual church members). This theory of government developed in Geneva under John Calvin and was introduced to Scotland by John Knox after his period of exile in Geneva.
Who was John KNOX?
- Born circa 1510 and died 1572
- After being exiled from Scotland, served with John Calvin in Geneva in the English Reformed Church
- Returned to Scotland and led the Protestant Reformation in Scotland
- Considered the father of Scottish Presbyterianism