What is a Reformed Church?
What does it mean to be a ?
The meaning of ““ can seem ambiguous, but the answer is straightforward. A is one that has broken off from the in an effort to get back to the traditional teachings and of .
What is the basic history of churches?
After His death, ‘s followers did their best to spread His teachings, causing churches to spring up wherever they went. However, as the centuries passed, differences created division, and leaders became corrupt. As a result, the churches were divided geographically—the Eastern Orthodox and the Latin Western , later known as the .
Though many protesters, also known as “Protestants,” tried to correct the teachings of the and call the clergy to repentance, they weren’t successful until the 16th century when several events resulted in wider access to the Bible—both the Old and New Testaments. It was then that the people could judge for themselves what their leaders were teaching and if they thought it was true. Many left the and joined reformed churches in an effort to return to the teachings of the scriptures. Several strands of these Protestant churches sprung up as a result, including the Lutheran and Anabaptist churches in Germany, Episcopalian churches in England, Reformed churches in Switzerland and France, and Orthodox Presbyterian churches in Scotland, among others.
What did change or leave behind?
Though several churches broke off from the and had minor doctrinal disagreements between themselves, they all agreed that the had gotten some key things wrong. ‘s beliefs include:
- Prayer should be directed to God, not to Mary or other saints
- The Bible alone contained God’s word, not or things leaders might say
- Our sins can be fully washed away through Christ’s sacrifice
- is by God’s alone through , and our good works aren’t enough
- A clergy’s blessing of the communion bread and wine doesn’t actually turn them into the literal flesh and blood of
Though these reformed faiths agreed on many things, several differences sprung up between them as well. For example, , a major reformer whose teachings spread across Switzerland, France, the Netherlands, Scotland, and beyond, had differing opinions with another reformer, , about the Lord’s Sacrament. Luther believed Christ was physically present somehow during the Sacrament, and Calvin believed Christ was there in spirit. This difference caused the first split in the .
Are reformed churches orthodox?
Yes. Though the Protestant churches had some differences amongst themselves at the beginning that continue on today, their intention was to get back to the orthodox, or original, teachings of .
Are reformed churches still Christians?
Yes! Reformed churches follow Christianity, making their members Christians, or people who follow and believe in the life, teachings, , and sacrifice of .
What are the main reformed churches?
Major reformers desired to create a from the Old and , but once they broke off from the , it became easier to divide among themselves. Today, many branches of the original reformed church include the Protestant, Presbyterian, Episcopalian (Anglican), and . that could bring its members and believers back to the original teachings of the Bible and
What’s the difference between a and the ?
There was a ” in the United States during the 17th century. It had that was actually called “the two branches—the first being founded by Dutch settlers in 1628 (Dutch Reformed branch) and the second being formed by German immigrants in the early 1700s (German Reformed branch). Though they were technically the same to the in America. In 1857 several branches broke off from the and formed what’s now known as the . The branch previously known as the eventually took the name in the US (RCUS), and then in 1934 it merged with the American Synod of North America to form the of Christ., both branches remained distinct, and in 1867 the Dutch branch changed its name from the
Though the churches mentioned above actually have the word “reformed” in their name, many other churches don’t. However, you don’t have to have “reformed” in your . Any that broke off from the as part of the and formed its own is considered a “.” title to be considered a
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