Silver Creek Community Church is a Reformed church. What's that?
Being a "Reformed" Church means that we always
bear with us a reminder that it is not our traditions or our personal
preferences, but the purposes of God that determine our direction and mission
as a church. Historically, Reformed
churches were born out of a specific time period in the church when many church
leaders began to question whether some of the practices of their Roman Catholic
Church were really drawn from God's Word or from human tradition. These church leaders called upon Christians
to reform their worship and their
lives according to what they could find in the Bible and not simply what they
were told from a pulpit. This
revolutionary mindset produced a body of believers ready to discover fresh
instruction from God's Word in each new generation and always open to be
remolded in the shape of God's overarching purpose.
Distinctly Reformed emphasis includes:
The Sovereignty of God - All Christians
believe that every atom of this universe, including ourselves, exist only
because our God chose first and foremost to make a choice. God created all things out of nothing and
therefore everything and everyone in this world belongs indisputably to
him. This is a strong point of emphasis
in the Reformed Church which teaches that God is always taking the initiative
and we as humans are always responding to what God is doing in creation, in
winning back his broken creatures, and in establishing God's new Kingdom. Religion is not humanity's search for God. Instead, it's the story of what God has been
doing long before we even understood to win us back and make all things new.
Biblical Authority - A common
Reformation catchphrase were the Latin words "sola scriptura" (Scripture
alone). This means that the only primary
source Reformed Christians have for the shape of their spiritual, ethical and
communal lives is God's Word found in the Bible. There are many helps to found in studying
God's Word (rational thinking, scholarship, traditions, good Christian authors
and teachers), but only source speaks with absolute authority and requires us
to "reform" ourselves around it.
And that is the Bible.
Ruler by Elders - Reformed churches
are governed by a "presbyterian" system which simply means "rule
by elders (those with experience)".
In reaction to a more strictly hierarchical system in the Roman Catholic
Church, the Reformers held that Scripture taught a more collaborative type of
leadership. In local congregations God
calls elders, as people with spiritual experience and maturity to care for, teach,
lead and maintain discipline in the church.
Alongside elders are also called deacons whose focus is upon looking
after and meeting the physicals needs of a local church.
Transforming Culture - Reformed Christians
believe that a transformed heart must necessarily lead to a transformed life. The primary reason for the existence of an
earthly church is for transformed believers to be able live this new kind of
life together, a life characterized by love, self-sacrifice, equality and
worship. As this community grows it
cannot help but have an impact on the culture that surrounds it, even as the
church, at the same time, draws the very best from the culture and offers it up
to the service of God. The purpose of
the church is expand the visible Lordship of Jesus Christ over all areas of
life with the beautiful effect of creating distinct expressions of worship from
the art, music and languages of the world over.
As a way of unifying the work of thousands of local
congregations both across time and throughout the world, Reformed churches have
adopted official "Standards of Unity" that spell out basic beliefs
and can be used to guide and teach those new to the faith. The Reformed Church in America adheres to
four basic standards of unity.
The Belgic Confession of Faith
(37 short articles on what Reformed Christians basically believe)
The Heidelberg Catechism
(129 brief Q&As meant for teaching Reformed doctrine)
The Canons of Dort (An
early Reformed ruling  on the assurance of Christian salvation)
The Belhar Confession (A
statement on the importance of Christian unity throughout the world)