What Does Reformed Mean?
At Almond Valley Church, our faith in Jesus as our Savior is the most important thing!
Every church, even non-denominational ones, has a theological perspective that guides it. This theology guides the way it interprets the Bible, the way it preaches, and the way it influences what things are most important to it. Almond Valley is a Christian Reformed Church. This may be a newer term to you so we have provided the following brief introduction.
The term "Reformed" has two different connotations. It can refer to a particular way of interpreting the Bible. This is often referred to as Reformed theology. It stresses the sovereignty of God in all things and the centrality of faith in Jesus Christ. The term can also refer to a particular tradition or branch of the Christian churches. These churches have their historical roots in the Protestant reformation of the 1500s and are based on the teachings of John Calvin. The reformers stressed 5 concepts called "solos" when they split from the Roman Catholic Church:
- Scripture Alone (Sola Scriptura):
This means the Bible is God's inspired word. It is the ultimate authority in our lives and guides all aspects of our lives.
- Christ Alone (Solus Christus):
This means that Jesus Christ is the only way that one can be saved and have an eternal relationship with God.
- Grace Alone (Sola Gratia):
This means that salvation comes only by God's grace or "unmerited favor." It is a completely free gift and is not based on anything done by us, the sinners.
- Faith Alone (Sola Fide):
This means that our righteousness and justification (things we need to have a relationship with God) are received by faith in Jesus Christ alone.
- Glory to God Alone (Soli Deo Gloria):
This means that all glory is to be given to God alone since salvation is accomplished solely through His work and His will; and actions of Almond Valley fit into both of these categories (Reformed Theology and Tradition). However, we have people who come from a variety of different traditions that are a part of our church.
What are some aspects of Reformed Theology?
- Fallen Humanity:
All of humanity and our entire world are affected by sin. Internally and personally, all people sense that they are "not right"--not at peace, not whole, not everything they could be. Externally, they are surrounded by evidence that the world is not right; but is filled with crime and hunger and bloodshed.
- Adopted by God:
With a heart of love, someone brings a child home to cherish and raise, to make him/her a part of the family. That's just what God does for the lost, the fallen, and the wandering people of this world. Adopted children do not do anything to merit their adoption. Likewise, we do not (indeed, we cannot) take the initiative in being chosen by God. We are dependent on God's electing love.
- Intentional Atonement:
The Good News of the Gospel is that Jesus did for us what we are unable to do for ourselves. Because we are fallen—that is, tainted by sin—we cannot offer ourselves as a pure, blameless sacrifice needed to atone (pay the price) for our sins. But, because Jesus was without sin, He could be such a sacrifice for us. And He was! His death on the cross paid the price for "the sins of the world."
- Transformed by the Holy Spirit:
God loves us and draws us to Himself. The Holy Spirit opens our sin-darkened eyes and sin-stopped ears, enabling us to see and hear the Good News that we have been saved from sin (John 9:35-41). The Holy Spirit replaces our rebellious, stony hearts with warm, receptive hearts (Ezekiel 36:26). He opens our hearts to receive the things of God (Acts 16:14). He gives us the gift of faith, enabling us to believe (Ephesians 2:8-10). The Holy Spirit renews us so that we desire God and God's will (John 3:1-8). Do you desire God and the things of God? That's the Holy Spirit at work in your life! Salvation is God's gracious work—outside and inside.
- Held by God:
The joyous conclusion of all this is that we are held eternally secure in the good hands of God. Because we are in God's grip, we cannot lose our salvation. The Bible teaches that our eternal security does not depend on our hanging on to God, but on God handing on to us!