So what is a Reformed Church?
Let’s start by thinking historically. Many people are hearing of Reformed churches for the first time, but Reformed churches are not new. The things we believe and practice are drawn from deep wells. Reformed theology and piety, including the Presbyterian variety, are very old.
How old? It depends on where you start. The Orthodox Presbyterian Church (est. 1936) is part of the history of American Presbyterianism, which began two-hundred and thirty years earlier when the first American Presbytery was founded. And American Presbyterianism itself has its roots in the European Reformation of the sixteenth and seventieth centuries.
So Reformed churches trace their roots back to the Reformation. However, it must be remembered that reformers like John Calvin and Martin Luther did not merely want to change the Roman Catholic Church—replacing one man’s tradition for another—they wanted to reform the church according to Scripture. That is what it meant to be Reformed. A Reformed church is a church whose doctrine and piety is formed by the Word of God.
The same is true today. Covenant Orthodox Presbyterian Church is a presbyterian church that neither blindly follows history, nor desires to be the hot-new-thing. We are simply a church that follows “the pattern of sounds words,” as those before us, thankfully, taught us to do (2 Tim 1:13). We call ourselves Reformed to identify ourselves with the biblical theology and piety of the Reformation.
So a Reformed church is a Bible church, a historic church, a Christian church. A Reformed church is a body of sinners who have rejected the traditions of men, to find salvation in the Word of God, which is “able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus.” (2 Timothy 3:15).