The word “Reformed” means “a return from wrong to right.” It refers to the 16th century Protestant Reformation, which began on October 31, 1517, when a German monk named Martin Luther nailed 95 Theses on Indulgences to the bulletin board on the door of the Castle church in Wittenberg, Germany. This marks the beginning of the church’s return to the Bible as the supreme authority and its gospel of salvation by grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone (Galatians 2:16; Ephesians 2:8-9).
The Reformed Faith is summarized by five basic truths:
Scripture Alone: is the final authority for faith and life (2 Tim. 3:16-17).
Grace Alone: eternal life is a gift of God’s grace alone, not of works (Eph. 2:8-9).
Faith Alone: whoever has faith in Christ “has everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation, but has passed from death into life” (John 5:24). Faith in Christ produces a sanctified life of good works out of thankfulness (Eph. 2:10).
Christ Alone: is all we need to be saved, because He fully paid the penalty for sin, leaving no penalty for us (John 19:30; Acts 20:28).
To God alone be glory: God alone deserves all the glory and credit for our salvation (Rom. 11:33). Jesus said to His disciples, “You did not choose Me, but I chose you” (John 15:16)
“We are Reformed because we believe that to be Reformed is to be biblical. To be Reformed is not only to stand firmly on the same doctrine as our faithful Reformation forefathers, it is to stand firmly on the Word of God. To be Reformed is not only to believe that God is sovereign over salvation, but to believe that He is sovereign over everything. To be Reformed isn’t simply to accept the doctrines of grace, but to take comfort in them, to teach them graciously, and to defend them courageously. To be Reformed is to believe that God has one glorious covenantal plan of redemption, and that He is carrying out that plan. To be Reformed is not to give mere lip service to the historic Reformed confessional standards, but to affirm them heartily and study them diligently. To be Reformed means not only that we are professing members of a local Reformed church but that we are regular, active worshippers and participants in the life, community, and mission of our local churches as we take the gospel to the ends of the earth. To be Reformed is not to be a complacent, smug, arrogant, or apathetic people, but to be a gracious, dependent, humble, prayerful, evangelistic, joyful, loving people who believe that God not only ordains the end of all things but that He ordains the means of all ends in us and through us by the powerful ministry of the Holy Spirit for His glory alone” (Burk Parsons, Table Talk, May 2017).
Lots of great content at Ligonier Ministries.