WHAT IS A CHRISTIAN REFORMED CHURCH?

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In the Netherlands, the Christian Reformed Church had its foundation. One of several Calvinist churches in Europe, in the 1600s, the Dutch Reformed Church became the Dutch state religion. But that Church, during the Revolution, strayed from the teachings of Calvin. The common people responded by creating their own community, worshiping the conventicles in small groups. Persecution by the state church led to the formal secession of Rev. Hendrik de Cock and others in 1834.

Rev. Albertus Van Raalte decided several years later that the only way to escape more persecution was to move to the USA. In 1848, they had settled in Holland, Michigan. They have united with the Dutch Reformed Church in New Jersey to overcome the harsh conditions. By 1857 the Christian Reformed Church seceded and established a coalition of four churches.

The North American Christian Reformed Church is headquartered in Grand Rapids, Michigan, USA, with congregations scattered all over the US and Canada and almost 30 other Latin America, Asia, and Africa countries. The North American Christian Reformed Church (CRCNA) has over 230,000 adherents in more than 1,000 churches. Notable ministers and members of the CRCNA include Jerry Dykstra, Hendrik de Cock, Albertus Van Raalte, Abraham Kuyper, and others.

Over time, the apostate Church slipping further and farther from the scriptures in structure, theology, and rituals of worship. And theological corruption came along with its doctrinal corruption. Of course, not everyone accepted these activities. There emerged brave reformers within the Church itself who wanted to put the Church back into harmony with the scriptures. John Wycliffe was amongst the first of these reformers.

John Wycliffe, who was born about 1320, named the “morning star of the Reformation,” spoke out against the monastic order, the granting of indulgences for the remission of sins and the doctrines of baptismal redemption and sacraments. In addition, he denied the papal authority Theological justification and insisted on the primacy of the Bible. Wycliffe is best known for the first popular edition of an English Bible translation. In the end he ‘d been excommunicated. John Wycliffe was executed in 1384.In 1415, unhappy with his excommunication and death, the Council of Constance ordered Wycliffe ‘s remains to be dug up, his bones burned, and the ashes cast into the Swift River which flows through Lutterworth, England.

John Huss was born about 1371 in Bohemia. Huss opposed numerous violations of the Church, including the veneration of pictures and the selling of indulgences. He stressed religious life over the sacraments in general. In addition, Huss believed that church officials could only exercise divine powers, not be earthly rulers. In 1412 he was excommunicated by his archbishop for insubordination. He was tried to be summoned to the Council of Constance, found guilty of teaching that the papal office did not exist by Divine order, and burned on the stake on July 6, 1415, as the Emperor had promised his protection even if found guilty.

The Father of the Reformation is identified as Martin Luther (1483-1546). “In 1517, when Luther nailed 95 theses (oppositions to the church tradition of selling indulgences) at the church door at Wittenberg, Germany, he started the Reformation. Christ is the supreme mediator between God and man, Luther proclaimed. He rejected the pope’s superiority and claimed the scriptures were the supreme authority of the Church. From 1521 Pope Leo X defrocked Luther.

In sermons, Ulrich Zwingli (1484-1531), a leader of the Swiss Reformation, argued that the doctrines and practice of the Church had diverged greatly from the plain Christianity of the New Testament scriptures. He asserted authority in Scripture. Among Zwingli’s activities listed as unscriptural were the worship of saints and icons, assurances of miracle healing, and indulgence scheme church abuses. Before a priest, he tried to abolish both the Mass and confession. Zwingli ultimately taught that committed Christians need neither the pope nor the Church.

William Tyndale (c.1494-1536) was an English reformer who firmly believed the scriptures should be open to all and should not be held in possession of the church hierarchy. He acted on its conviction. Tyndale retains the distinction that he was the first man ever to print the New Testament in English. He was charged and sentenced for heresy and treason. Tyndale was strangled and burned at stake on October 6, 1536, in Brussels, Belgium.

John Calvin (1506-1564) was called the “Guiding Spirit of the Protestant Reformation,” published Christian Religion Institutes. He agreed with Luther on several of his apostate church critiques. The scriptures, Calvin declared, are the supreme authority. The doctrines of Calvin may well be the greatest influence of the Reformation among the Protestants today. Those who follow his creed continue to be called “Calvinists.”

CRCNA Board of Governors

The CRCNA has a hierarchical ecclesiastical legislative structure consisting of the local council; the classis, or provincial assembly; and the Canadian and US synod, or bi-national assembly. The second two classes are smaller than the local council and not larger. These bodies discuss doctrinal questions, ethical problems, and life and practice in the Church. The synod is divided into eight boards that oversee the ministries of the different CRCNA.

Beliefs of the Reformed Christian Church

The Christian Reformed Church professes the Creed of Apostles, the Creed of Nicene, and the Creed of Athanas. They believe that redemption is the work of God from beginning to the end and that human beings can not do anything to win their way to heaven.

Baptism-the blood and spirit of Christ wash away sins at baptism. Infants, as well as adults, can be baptized and received into the Church according to the Heidelberg Catechism.

Bible – The Bible, the fundamental text of the Christian Reformed Church, is the “inspired and unfailing word of God.” Although the Scripture represents the individual writers’ personalities and cultures, it infallibly conveys the revelation of God. The Christian Reformed Church has approved many Bible translations to be used in the worship services over the decades.

Clergy-Women in the Christian New Church can be ordained to all ecclesiastical offices. Since 1970, the Synods have been discussing this topic, and not all local churches agree with this view.

Communion-The Lord’s Supper is given as a commemoration of the “once-for-all” sacrificial death of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins.

Holy Spirit-The Holy Spirit is the Consoler that Jesus promised before his ascension into heaven. In the here and now, the Holy Spirit is God with us, encouraging and directing both the Church and individuals.

Jesus Christ-The, Son of God Jesus Christ, is the cornerstone of human history. Christ fulfilled the prophecies of the Messiah in the Old Testament, and His life, death, and resurrection are historical evidence. After his resurrection, Christ returned to heaven and will come again and make all things new.

Race Relations-The Christian Reformed Church believes in racial and ethnic equality so much that it has set up an Office of Race Relations. It facilitates ongoing work to lift minorities to leadership positions within the Church and has developed a program on antiracism for global use.

Redemption-God, the Father has refused to allow sin to overtake humanity. He had sent his Son, Jesus Christ, through His sacrificial death to save the world. Furthermore, God raised Jesus from the dead to illustrate that Christ overcomes sin and death.

Sabbath-Christians have observed Sabbath on Sunday since the time of the early Church. Sunday should be a rest day except by necessity from work, and leisure should not conflict with church worship.

Sin-The fall brought into the world the “sin virus,” which contaminates anything from humans to creatures to institutions. Sin can result in separation from God, but a person’s desire for God and wholeness can not be blotted out.

Trinity-God, as mentioned in the Bible, is One in three persons. As Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, God is a “complete culture of love.”

Worship Practices

Sacraments-The Christian Reformed Church is practicing two sacraments: Baptism and the Supper of the Lord. Baptism is done by a minister or associate of the government, by sprinkling water on the forehead but can also be done by immersion. Baptized adults are called upon to make a public declaration of faith.

The Supper of the Lord is given to you like bread and cup. According to the Heidelberg Catechism, bread and wine are not transformed into Christ’s body and blood but are a certain indication that by communion, the participants receive absolute forgiveness for their sins.

Worship Service-Christian Reformed Church worship services include gathering in the Church as a covenant group, reading the Scriptures, and a sermon that proclaims the Word of God, celebrating the Lord’s Supper, and rejecting the mandate to serve in the outside world. An authentic service of worship is of an “intrinsically sacramental nature.”

Social intervention is a central facet of CRCNA. Its ministries provide radio broadcasts to countries that are inaccessible to evangelism, work with the disadvantaged, ministries to indigenous Canadians, work on race relations, world relief, and other projects.

Deficiencies in the Reformation

Accepted Scriptural Departures

These were brave men, committed men ready to fight for what they believed. And some have. Nevertheless, despite their good intentions and admirable bravery, these men struggled to reform the organization, theology, and worship traditions of the Church to adhere to the teachings of the New Testament concerning the first-century original Church. In two ways, the Reformers fall short. They acknowledged several bigs departs from the scriptures without protest. Among the undisputed traditions were: infant baptism, sprinkling baptism, and church-worship musical instruments.

New Creeds Established

Only Grace

Also, they formed their creeds. The apostate Church preached redemption by meritorious deeds. Martin Luther replied, “forgiveness of sin and redemption is achieved by the grace of God alone (sola gratia) and obtained by faith alone (sola fide) on the part of man”—teaching in direct contrast with James 2:14:” What doth it profit, my brethren, though a man says he hath faith, and have not worked? Can faith save him? Will such faith save him? “and the conditions for the final judgment of Jesus in his” Sheep and Goat” narrative (Matt. 25:34–36)

Martin Luther had no intention of setting up another church. However, after his death, his adherents founded the Lutheran Church, based on Luther’s doctrines.

An inherited depravity

John Calvin believes that babies are born with sin inherited by their parents because the entire race of humans falls into Adam’s sin. Ezekiel 18:20 explicitly contradicts Calvin claiming that children do not inherit from their parents, either good or bad. “The soul that sins is that which shall die; the son shall not share the Father’s iniquity, neither shall the Father share the son’s iniquity: The righteousness of the good man shall be attributed to him, and the unjust shall be guilty of the unjust.

Jesus went so far as to suggest that we must become like little children for us to join the kingdom of heaven. “And said, Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven.” (Matthew 18:3) And, if someone ignores his point, he reiterates the message: “Let the little children come to me, and do not impede them, for to such belongs the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 19:14).

The majority of what we think we have in common with the worldwide Christian Church and across the ages.

The good news of the Christian faith starts with the understanding that the God who created and preserved the world loves you and accepts you.

We call the Bible the Word of God, believing that through this text, God communicates to us through the force of the Holy Spirit.

Everything about Heaven! Many of us who speak with the Transformed accent have a rather strong opinion of the supremacy of God: the will of God, the plan of God, the power of God.

Three creeds embraced centuries ago by the worldwide Church sum up the most important tenets of our religion.

The Translation of the Three Revised Principles in 2011 is the outcome of the work of the Revised Church in America (RCA) and the Christian Reformed Church in North America (CRCNA), a joint task force set up.

A testimony that speaks of the changes in culture, environment, technology, and politics that have taken place since the writing of our confessions.

This category was established by Synod 2012 when it adopted the Belhar Confession.

Summaries of the doctrinal and ethical positions of the Church, as demonstrated by the synod over the years. This content is intended to provide straightforward and succinct explanations of CRCNA ‘s positions.

Over the years, CRCNA synods have accepted a variety of Bible translations for Christian Reformed congregations to use in worship.

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