What It Means to Be Theologically Reformed

The content of this page was largely adapted –with my edits in bold— from the Reformed Baptist Facebook group’s overview of the meaning of Reformed.

>Affirms the 5 great “Solas” (Latin for “only”) of the Reformation

  • Sola Gratia – Grace Alone
  • Sola Fide – Faith Alone
  • Solus Christus – Christ Alone
  • Sola Scriptura – Scripture Alone
  • Soli Deo Gloria – To The Glory of God Alone

To Summarize: Salvation by Grace Alone, through Faith [belief] Alone, in Christ Alone, according to the Scriptures Alone, to the Glory of God Alone. That is to say, man is not saved from sin by performing well or perfectly adhering to some ethical code. Rather, his salvation is a graceful gift from God that is received as a result of believing the true propositions of the Gospel as revealed to us in the Bible. This salvation was earned by the work of Jesus Christ on our behalf and was given to us for the advancement of God’s effort to glorify Himself.

>Affirms and promotes an extremely high view of the supremacy and sovereignty of God in all things and sees God as actively involved in His creation, governing and overseeing all the affairs of men.

>Affirms the dependence of man upon God in all things, especially concerning salvation.

>Affirms the Doctrines of Grace (commonly referred to as “Calvinism”) which display God as the Author of salvation from beginning to end.

>The acrostic TULIP (which is a summation of the Canons of Dort) is the most familiar way of delineating the doctrines of Grace. TULIP is made up of 5 points, which are:

  • T – Total Depravity (man is born predisposed against God and does not desire to know God) 
  • U – Unconditional Election (God chose those whom he would save from among the entire human race; and did so without basis in any specific merit of the elect)
  •  L – Limited Atonement (Christ sacrificed his life for the elect– not for every human being)
  •  I – Irresistible Grace (When God decides to impart his saving grace on his elect, he changes their mind so that they welcome, instead of resist, God)
  •  P – Perseverance, and Preservation, of the Saints (Those whom God justifies, can never become unsaved once again).

>Creedal (Affirms the great creeds of the historic, orthodox church)

  • The Apostles’ Creed
  • The Nicene Creed
  • The Definition of Chalcedon

>Confessional (Affirms one or more of the great confessions of the historic orthodox church)

  • Presbyterian
    • The Westminster Standards
      • The Westminster Confession of Faith
      • The Westminster Longer Catechism
      • The Westminster Shorter Catechism
  • Reformed Baptist
    • Reformed Baptist Standards
      • The 1689 London Baptist Confession of Faith
      • The Baptist Catechism
      • The Orthodox Catechism
  • Continental Reformed
    • The Three Forms of Unity
      • The Belgic Confession of Faith
      • The Heidelberg Catechism
      • The Canons of Dordrecht

>Covenantal: To affirm the great covenants of Scripture and see those covenants as the means by which God interacts with and accomplishes His purposes in His creation, with mankind. The Scriptures contain numerous examples of God “covenanting” with man, establishing and ordaining a variety of covenants.

>A high view of Scripture, in its necessity, infallibility, sufficiency and internal consistency, and our dependence upon it to learn what God has revealed about Himself, His commands, and His way of salvation.

>A high view of the church in preaching (the exposition and application of God’s Word), the ordinances, discipline, prayer, worship (the Regulative Principle), fellowship and evangelism, all encompassed in the keeping of the Christian Sabbath, commonly called The Lord’s Day.

>A distinctly Biblical, Christian worldview that permeates all of life; a life lived in the world, but at the same time, a life not oriented to the world and its standards, but oriented to God’s Word.

>A clear understanding of the distinction between, and relationship of, Law and Gospel.