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What is Reformed Christianity?
This is a form of Christianity, a family that includes Orthodox, Roman Catholic, Anglican, and Evangelical. It is Calvinist, confessional, and evangelical in its theology. It emphasizes the importance of the theological study and its application to the current situation of the world.
Reformed churches are diverse but share common beliefs which are taught by John Calvin. The World Alliance of Reformed Churches, which is a voluntary organization, represents the majority of the Reformed believers. But now, this branch has formed more churches all around the world.
History of Reformed Theology
The Reformation was a movement in Europe in the 16th century that challenged the Roman Catholic Church. It started with the development and posting of the Ninety-five Theses by Martin Luther, which questioned the practices of the Roman Catholic Church and proposed reformations. There was a strong opposition when the Roman Catholic Church condemned Luther and banned the citizens of the Roman Empire in defending his ideas.
Martin Luther criticized the beliefs of the Catholics on the sale of indulgences, the authority of the Pope over the Catholic Church. He also questioned the absence of foundation of the Treasure of Merit in the Bible. Other reformers such as Ulrich Zwingli, John Calvin, Martin Bucer, John Knox, and Heinrich Bullinger arose as Luther continued to fight for their criticisms. A reformed Christian believes in the ideas of Luther but disagrees on certain theological issues. John Calvin then formed the Reformed theology with his writing Institutes of the Christian Religion.
What are the differences in beliefs between branches of Christianity?
This branch of Christianity believes that the grace of God can save us only through faith. It is different from the beliefs of the Roman Catholic Church that we can earn salvation through good works and the intercession of the church. Also, believers think that the Bible alone is the authoritative Word of God. This opposes the beliefs of other forms of Christianity that church traditions and preaching of church leaders also represents the word of God.
Also, all believers of Christ are priests of God who can serve him always in everything they do. Unlike the Roman Catholicism, Reformed believers do not believe in Mary and the saints. For them, prayers should only be through God. Lutherans thought that Christ is physically present in the bread and wine during the Holy Communion. However, the Reformed branch of Christianity believes that Christ is rather spiritually present through the Holy Spirit in the hearts of the believers.
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