What We Believe
We believe that God created the world and everything in it, including human beings. God created a perfect world. In the beginning, there was no sin–no hatred, no disunity, and no death. But God also allowed humans to make their own choices. The first humans, Adam and Eve, disobeyed God, allowing sin to enter God’s perfect world. From then on, every human has been born with sinful desires that lead to separation from God. But the story doesn’t end there. God loves the world and the people in it–so much, in fact, that he made a plan to take away the guilt of our sin. God sent his son, Jesus, into the world as a human. Jesus gave his life to pay the price for sins he didn’t commit. Jesus accepted the punishment for our sins so that we don’t have to. Three days after Jesus was killed, God brought Jesus to life again, defeating the power of death and evil. Jesus still lives today, eternally in heaven with God the Father. One day he will come back to earth to put an end to evil–sin, death, and pain–and renew all things. He will gather all who have believed in him from every time and place to live with him forever. Our faith is centered in God’s love for us demonstrated in Jesus Christ, his son. When we accept Jesus’ sacrifice for us and commit our lives to following him, God sees us as perfect, the way we were first created to be. We cannot manufacture such faith on our own; it is the result of God’s Spirit working within us.
The Reformed View of Christian Faith
In the Reformed view, the final authority is the Bible–known as the Holy Scriptures, the Word of God. The Reformed perspective is centered in the overwhelming love of God toward us. We believe that God is three in one–God the father, God the son (Jesus Christ), and God the Holy Spirit. We believe that we are saved by grace alone through faith, not by what we think or do to earn God’s favor. Our good works don’t earn our salvation, but are a way to thank God for this free gift of salvation. The Reformed Church in America celebrates two sacraments: baptism and the Lord’s Supper. They remind us of God’s promises to us and help us to claim those promises as our own. The RCA is confessional, which means that together we have statements of belief, called creeds and confessions. These statements guide our understanding of faith and shape its practice. The RCA is “Reformed and always reforming,” earnestly seeking to know the mind of Christ as it strives to be faithful in a changing, complex, and often troubled world. The RCA’s position papers on contemporary issues provide guidance to the members of the church and are a part of the church’s witness in society.