What does Reformation Fellowship believe?
As our name suggests, Reformation Fellowship holds to the historic reformed faith. Reformation Fellowship believes that the Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments are the only rule God has given to direct us how to glorify and enjoy Him forever. We understand the Bible to teach one way of salvation, by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone, from beginning to end. We interpret, preach, and teach the whole Bible in light of this unifying message, holding forth the gospel of Christ in every part.
We believe in one, eternal, unchanging God who is holy and sovereign over all. This one God eternally exists in three persons: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit—they are to be equally loved, honored, and adored.
We believe that God created all things out of nothing by his word. Adam and Eve, the first humans, did not evolve, but were created. They were holy, had fellowship with God, and ruled the creation as God’s image bearers. They had natural life, yet God’s goal for man was eternal life. Natural life was the result of creation but was subject to death if man ate of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. Eternal life, unchangeable fellowship with God, was promised as a reward if man refrained from eating in obedience to God’s word.
Fall & Death
We believe that Adam and Eve entered the state of death by their disobedience. Adam represented the whole human race, so all his natural descendants became guilty of his sin and are born into the same state of death. All people, born in this condition of death are completely unable to exert any effort to love God or mend the broken relationship with him.
God’s Plan in Jesus
We believe that man’s sin did not destroy God’s goal of eternal life, but served to show that God’s all-wise, eternal, unchangeable plan was to bring a portion of fallen mankind to that goal by grace through a Second Man, the Last Adam—Jesus!
We believe that for no other reason than His own unmerited love and mercy, the Father, from all eternity, chose some fallen sinners to be his holy children through Jesus. The Father gave these to belong to the Son, and the Son promised to permanently take a true human nature in order to represent them in full obedience (what Adam and his descendants didn’t do) and a cursed death (what Adam and his descendants deserve). Just as Adam represented the whole human race in his fall, so also God appointed Jesus to represent a portion of fallen humanity, so that they would certainly have the benefit of his obedient life and sacrificial death: eternal life.
We believe that Jesus rose from the dead and bodily ascended into heaven. He currently reigns in glory as the true image bearer—he is Lord over all things for the good of his people, the Church. He gives the Holy Spirit to sovereignly apply his completed work to those he represented, bringing them from death to life.
The Christian Life
We believe that all those made alive by the Spirit will have ears to hear the Bible’s promise of life through Jesus, will trust in Him alone for salvation (faith), and will turn from their sin and seek to obey God (repentance). In as much as this faith and this repentance are fruit of the new life that God gives, they do not in any way merit salvation. Still, true faith and repentance will necessarily be present and active in all who are made alive in Christ and will continue in them until death. As such, we believe that faith and repentance are required of all who come to Christ, are rightly commanded as ongoing duties of the Christian life, and will be rewarded in the final judgment.
A Christian who believes that the Bible teaches this view of the Christian life is sometimes called a “Calvinist” because one of the many people in the history of the church who have held this view of the Christian life was the protestant reformer, John Calvin (1509-1564), but John Calvin didn’t invent the view.
The Church & Baptism
We believe that Scripture sometimes views the church as all those the Father chose, the Son redeemed, and the Spirit seals—the full number of God’s people, His invisible church. Scripture also views the church as a local, visible congregation, comprised of all those who credibly profess faith in Christ and their children. All members of Christ’s visible church are to be baptized in the name of the Triune God.
We believe that a faithful church is marked by the true preaching of God’s word, the right administration of Baptism and the Lord’s Supper, and the faithful exercise of discipline. Jesus Christ appointed that these should be maintained in visible churches through elders who teach and rule in accordance with Scripture.
We believe that Jesus Christ will appear and return once, visibly and bodily, on a day unknown to anyone except God alone. Appearing in glory, he will execute final judgment, granting his people a resurrection to life with the full enjoying of God for all eternity, and condemning the unbelieving and unrepentant to a resurrection of corruption in the eternal torments of hell.
For More Information
Reformation Fellowship has adopted historic documents (mid-17th century) that provide a more formal and detailed statement of what we believe the Bible teaches. Those documents are called the Westminster Confession of Faith and Catechisms. Please click here. These official standards of the OPC express the same beliefs summarized in the historic doctrinal standards (the “Three Forms of Unity,” namely the Belgic Confession, Canons of Dort, and Heidelberg Catechism) of other Reformed churches that the OPC has ecclesiastical fellowship (NAPARC) with such as the URCNA and RCUS.