At Redeemer we are Reformed in our theology. Reformed theology seeks to understand both the Old and New Testaments in their contexts, while also formulating a holistic, synthetic interpretation of the entire Bible. Anyone who reads the Bible will try and organize its teachings. However, because of the complexity and diversity of Scripture, it is easy to drift away from the text and into error. Reformed theology is zealous to rightly divide the Word of truth. Below are some important aspects of Reformed theology.
Historical—Reformed theology has its roots in the Reformation (1517). The Reformation was a pivotal moment for the Church. The Reformation took place when the Church at large split into two camps—Catholic and Protestant. (Protestant means “to protest.”) Protesting against the heresy of the Catholic church, the reformers of the day went back to the Scriptures in order to understand the doctrine of the Christian faith. The Reformers are associated with articulating Reformed theology. However, even the Reformers were sinners and got things wrong, and so those who hold to Reformed theology are constantly testing their doctrine to the Bible, refining as the Holy Spirit moves and illuminates.
Covenantal—Reformed theology believes that God relates to His people through covenant (Gen. 15; 2 Sam. 7:12; Jer. 31:31; Heb. 8). A covenant is a binding agreement between two parties. In the Bible, God binds Himself to His people through the atoning sacrifice of His Son (Luke 22:20). God is the initiator and keeper of the covenant. For those outside of God’s covenant there will be judgment. The only way into God’s covenant of grace is through Jesus Christ, the only Mediator between God and man.
Theocentric—Reformed theology holds to a theocentric understanding of faith and practice. (Theocentric means “God-centered.”) There are four major areas this applies to. (1) The Bible is the inspired Word of God that reveals a holy Creator and what He requires of His creatures. God dictates what the Bible means and says. This means that we interpret Scripture by Scripture. (2) Salvation is the work of God from beginning to end. God saves the sinner. All people are completely incompetent to save themselves and unable to come to God apart from God’s Spirit sovereignly working in their hearts. (3) Worship should center on the person of God and what He has accomplished for His people. Only the God of the Bible is to be worshipped and feared. (4) A Christian is only made holy by the work of Christ on the cross. There is no godliness apart from Jesus and His saving work. Jesus is the only person who reveals God to man.
Christocentric—Reformed theology believes that any religion without Christ is a false hope of salvation (John 14:6). (Christocentric means “Christ-centered.”) Only in Christ is redemption found, and only in Christ is meaning realized. Biblical teaching is only biblical if it reveals Christ and His saving work. An understanding of the Old Testament without the New is not adequate to save a person. A Christocentric philosophy believes and lives in the gospel of Christ. Therefore making much of Christ will eventually result in acting, thinking, and looking like Jesus. Traditionally and historically, Reformed theology has made much of the person and work of Christ.
Evangelistic—Reformed theology teaches that God’s name should be hallowed and exalted among all peoples. Since God saves the sinner and has decreed that the gospel be the means by which people are saved, anyone who does not believe the gospel will not be saved. Therefore, following the great commission (Matt. 28:18-20), every believer has the obligation to proclaim the grace and love of God in Christ.