As we continue to unpack the name of our local church, we come to the word “Reformed”. There is a great deal of confusion and fuzzy thinking surrounding this word, and many people mean very different things by it when they use it. So what does it mean for a church to be “Reformed”, and why have we chosen to identify ourselves this way?
At a very basic level, being Reformed means two things: a commitment to the sovereignty of God in salvation, and a belief that Scripture tells us how to worship God. This foundation, however, expresses itself in all areas of life: family, work, culture, etc.
A commitment to the sovereignty of God in salvation means that we believe that apart from the work of Christ, all men are (spiritually speaking) dead in their sins and trespasses. Claims that man has been severely injured by sin, or that sin has rendered him deathly ill simply do not go far enough. Without Christ, we are spiritual corpses. There is nothing that we can do to prepare ourselves for grace, no acts of cooperation that we can do with God in order to further our salvation. If we are going to be saved, God needs to give us life by a sovereign act of His power. We don’t vote in the matter, or give an opinion as to whether we want to be saved, or whether or not we really need saving. We’re dead, and thus, pretty uncooperative.
But God, who is rich in mercy, gives us life by means of His Holy Spirit on account of the work of Jesus Christ, and raises us up as part of His new creation. As sinners, we grab for glory all the time, but the Reformed doctrine of salvation humbles us: there isn’t anything that we did that led or moved or helped God to save us. Salvation is by grace alone, and so God alone receives the glory!
Holding to the belief that Scripture tells us how to worship God rightly frees us from the need to invent or modify our pathway to God. In the ancient world, and even in our own day, people believe that there are many paths to God, many ways to approach Him. But the Bible tells us that God reveals Himself to us. We don’t need to try to find Him; He is the one seeking worshipers, and He has made Himself known in the Scriptures. And so, we seek to approach God not according to our own ideas, or market research, or by the practices of our ancestors, but by the means revealed in the Word of God: preaching, prayer, psalms, and the sacraments of baptism and the Lord’s Supper.
We believe that worship shouldn’t be mystical or magical or secret or pre-packaged or malleable. Worship is fundamentally simple: do what God says to do in His Word.
Ultimately, we are Christ Reformed Evangelical Church because we believe that the Bible teaches us that God is sovereign in the salvation of sinners, and because we believe that the Bible tells us how to worship God rightly.