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THE REFORMED CHURCH OF AMERICA
The Reformed Church
The Reformed Church of America stands within the mainstream of the Christian Church. It has sought to avoid extremes and to focus on the central truths of the Christian tradition. It is ecumenical and evangelical, socially engaged biblically grounded and mission-focused. Above all, however, it is Christ-centered.
Christ is our starting point. The words of Christ are our charter and guide, his life is our pattern, his death and resurrection our only hope. It is in the living Christ that we find help for every human need and a future that is sure.
The final authority in the Reformed faith is the Bible. We believe the Bible is God's Word for every person, made understandable and alive through the holy Spirit's ministry. It is more than a textbook; it is the living word of God, the source of all revelation to God's will, and the norm by which all teaching must be checked.
Worship is the central act of the church's life. It is the action of acknowledging God's worth. We acknowledge God's presence with us in songs, hymns, prayers, sacraments, giving gifts, and listening to a message from the Bible. Worship enables believers to articulate faith and to act it out in word, song, and gesture. While Reformed Church congregations do not all worship in an identical manner, certain principles and convictions about worship are normative for Reformed congregations.
The History of the Reformed Church
The Reformed Church of America is part of the church of Jesus Christ. Its roots go further back than the 1600's when it was founded its first North American congregation on the island of Manhattan. Its history can be traced to the Netherlands in the seventeenth century to Germany and Switzerland during the Protestant Reformation to the Roman Empire and beyond.
As centuries passed the church grew, but it also began to drift away from what it had been. Abuses and errors crept in. The Bible seemed to become less important, sometimes it was ignored. Worship was conducted in a language that was no longer the spoken language of the people. Ideas were advocated that were contrary to the New Testament. Leaders of the church sometimes failed to live honorably. Tyranny, greed, selfishness, and corruption could be found in the highest positions of the church. The church had become a powerful force in the world, but it had lost its biblical focus and its mission purpose.
A widespread movement for reform culminated in the sixteenth century in what came to be called the Reformation. This profound renewal movement changed the course of Western history.
The individual generally identified as the father of the Reformation is Martin Luther. Luther, like other early reformers, never intended to start a new church. He wanted to see the church renewed, or "reformed" according to the Word of God. Ultimately, it was not possible to effect the needed changes within the existing structures of the church.
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