There are really only two belief systems in the world, Christianity and unbelief. Some may feel this is simplistic, but ultimately any religion or system of belief that “denies the Son” also “denies the Father” who sent Him (1 John 2:23). Therefore, despite the variety of different religions/beliefs, they are all idolatry, because they all “suppress the truth” in unrighteousness, and have ” exchanged the glory of the immortal God” for a lie (Romans 1:18-23). Jesus made it clear, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me” (John 14:6). The apostle Peter echoed Him, saying, “And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved” (Acts 4:12).
By Reformed we mean that we adhere to the “Five Solas” that came out of the Reformation:
–Sola Scriptura (scripture alone): The Bible alone is our highest authority in all matters pertaining to faith and life, man’s salvation, and God’s glory.
–Sola Fide (faith alone): Our justification is by faith alone–apart from works–in the finished work of Jesus Christ.
–Sola Gratia (grace alone): Salvation is by the grace of God alone.
–Solus Christus (Christ alone): Jesus alone is our Lord, Savior, and King.
–Soli Deo Gloria (to the glory of God alone): Glory belongs to God alone in all things.
Reformed also means that we subscribe to many of the Reformed Confessions, but specifically the Westminster Confession of Faith (along with the Larger and Shorter catechisms). Our worship and doctrine are informed by these principles.
There are two important things to understand about the Christian life and the church. First: “If we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth” (1 John 1:6), and again, “No one born of God makes a practice of sinning…” (1 John 3:9). Our lives as Christians are to be transformed by the Gospel, and marked by the continual shedding off of the old man. Anyone who professes Christ while habitually or knowingly practicing sin is a hypocrite, and no true Christian. Second: That said, “if anyone does sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous” (1 John 2:1). It is important to remember that, although new creatures in Christ, Christians are still works in progress (i.e. sanctification) who do, at times, fall into sin, and are always in need of mercy and forgiveness. “Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own” (Phil 3:12).
In the end, we ask that you look to Christ as the example, not others.
When it comes to the transmission of the Bible through the centuries, many people have in mind something closer to a game of Telephone than what is actually the case. Rather than a single manuscript (or even a few) being produced from the originals, there were several copies being sent throughout the known world. One unique quality of the Bible is that it has never been centrally controlled by any government, king, or group of clerics, therefore it was never possible for the entire Bible to be altered or corrupted without noticeable conflict with the other manuscripts. We know what the Bible originally said because we are able to critically analyze the various manuscripts, rejecting the ones that depart significantly from the majority (or most likely meaning), and deducing the true intention of the original writers.
For more information: James White- New Testament Reliability, Michael Kruger – 10 Misconceptions about the NT Canon
Often this question is asked in a way that implies that our current culture is sophisticated whereas older cultures were primitive. We believe this is the wrong approach to answering the question. First, what is a culture? A culture is formed by the values of the people. Does our culture value life, or does it value death? Does our culture value mercy, or does it value revenge? A future-oriented perspective or must-have-now mentality? A spirit of serving or an attitude of entitlement? Turn on the television and see what you find. Which values truly lead to a culture of love and peace, and which to its own destruction? What is shaping our current society? Social media? TV? Newspapers? Popstars and Hollywood? Music? Who better to shape our society than the Creator Himself? Come and see that the Bible is not what you might have heard–outdated. Rather the Bible is timeless and full of rich insight on the values that should shape our society. Consider that the Bible has survived 2000 years of violent persecution and has transcended over countless cultural, economic, and political boundaries having a positive, transforming impact on many cultures around the world. Challenge your presuppositions–we invite you to join us to truly study the Bible and see for yourself.
It is true that nobody is perfect, especially in upholding God’s law in their life. Most will admit that they have lied (even “small” ones), lusted (Matt 5:27-30), stolen (even something small), used Christ or God as a curse word, envied, or coveted someone else’s possessions. The problem, however, is that God demands perfect obedience to His law, and if a person has broken even one commandment they are as guilty as if they broke them all (James 2:10). The “so what?” becomes a very serious question, because in the eyes of a holy God we are guilty sinners, and the punishment for sin against an infinite God is eternal.
The good news of the Gospel is that Jesus Christ perfectly kept God’s law, He was sinless (Heb 4:15; 7:26), and yet He bore our sins–and the wrath of God–on the cross, so that by faith in His completed work, “we might become the righteousness of God” (Rom 4:5-8; 2 Cor 5:21). “He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins” (Col 1:13).
We are careful to handle this subject with both reverence to the gospel and respect of the seriousness of sin. The Bible clearly proclaims that men who have murdered, raped, or stolen can find forgiveness for their sins in the blood of Christ. Do you find that offensive? There might be one of two reasons for that. First, a common misunderstanding of the Gospel is that it saves men to continue in their sin. Rather Christ our King saves men from their sins. He saves them from the consequence of their sins, but He also saves them from their bondage to sin. And one day, after death or when the Lord returns, He will also save His people from the presence of sin–to never sin again. The Gospel is the means by which God turns men’s heart to pursue good for both himself and his neighbor. Yes, this grace is extended to the most wretched of sinners, so that even they can be forgiven and given a new heart! The second reason why you might find this offensive is this: you don’t see yourself as being as wretched as the murderer. You have never raped anyone. You have never murdered anyone. It is tempting to think this way. But, it is not just about what you have not done. It is about what is in your heart. What kind of person are you when no one is around to hold you accountable? What evil do you think? What good do you not do? What curses have you wished on others? Whom have you lusted after? Whom have you hated because of jealousy? Do you have gratitude for your Creator creating you? People usually avoid looking deep within their heart in answer to these questions. Why? Because they wouldn’t like what they saw. We don’t like what we see in ourselves either, but we love what we see in Jesus. We invite you to join us in our pursuit to know and understand the mercy of God in Christ more and more each day. Please join us as we all come to terms with our own wretchedness, repent of our sins, and live with new hearts by faith in Jesus Christ together. There is no such thing as a perfect Christian, but there is a perfect Savior.