Our Beliefs

Know that achievement depends on a community of persons working together

What do we believe?

Understanding the beliefs of an entire church is a difficult job for a website to communicate. What you will find here is a summary of the primary convictions that guide and shape The Alliance of Reformed Churches. Above all, our faith is “centered in Christ”. Every need of ours finds its answer in Jesus Christ.

The following confessions and creeds are statements of our Reformed beliefs:
  • We affirm the Apostles’, Athanasian, and Nicene Creeds as a member of the global Church.
  • Because their doctrines align with our understanding of God’s Word, we affirm the Heidelberg Catechism, Belgic Confession, and the Canons of Dort as historic Reformed expressions of the Christian faith. These doctrinal standards help us to understand the Bible, direct the way we live in response to the gospel, and locate us within the larger body of Christ.
  • We affirm the Belhar Confession as an appendix to the Belgic Confession so that the Belhar’s contemporary declaration of unity, justice, and equality is framed within the context of the Belgic’s view of humanity, Scripture, and God’s saving work through Jesus Christ. Founded on these Biblical truths, the Belhar Confession adds its prophetic call for unity and reconciliation to the Church’s witness to the world. Christ himself is our peace, tearing down the dividing wall of hostility among all peoples.
  • We affirm the Great Lakes Catechism on Marriage and Sexuality as a confessional appendix to the Heidelberg Catechism so that its affirmations regarding human sexuality are read within the context of the Heidelberg Catechism’s teachings on sin, salvation, and service
  • We affirm that future confessional statements may be adopted as confessional addendums to the Heidelberg Catechism or the Belgic Confessions.

The final authority in the Reformed faith is Holy Scripture, the living Word of God, spoken to everyone through the Holy Spirit of God. The Holy Spirit takes the Word of God and makes it real and actual in our lives. This has always been and will always be the authentic wellspring of Reformed faith.

The following helps to explain our Beliefs about the Sacraments:

The word sacrament is based on the Latin word sacramentum, which means “something sacred.” In the early church sacramentum came to stand for many things sacred, including rites that had a hidden meaning. During the Reformation, using Scripture as a guide, the reformers limited the number of sacraments to two: baptism and the Lord’s Supper.

These sacraments, instituted by Christ, are a means of grace within the covenant community. They are visible signs and seals of something internal and invisible and the means by which God works in us through the power of the Holy Spirit.

Baptism is a sign and seal of God’s covenant of grace with us and our children. Baptism is the visible word of God that we are cleansed in Christ’s blood, buried with him unto death, that we might rise with him and walk in newness of life.

In the Reformed Church, baptism is always performed in the context of a congregation of God’s people. The congregation commits itself to the spiritual nurture of the infant, child, or adult being baptized. Baptism is the mark of corporate, as well as individual faith. The journey of faith that begins in individual baptism continues in the church community.

In baptism God promises by grace alone –

  • to forgive our sins;
  • to adopt us into the Body of Christ, the church;
  • to send the Holy Spirit daily to renew and cleanse us and;
  • to resurrect us to eternal life.

Through baptism Christ calls us to new obedience –

  • to love and trust God completely;
  • to forsake the evil of the world and;
  • to live a new and holy life.

The Reformed Church baptizes infants as well as older children and adults. Recognizing the symbolic cleansing and refreshing characteristics of water, The Alliance affirms sprinkling, immersion and pouring as methods of baptism.

Communion, also known as the Lord’s Supper or Eucharist, is Christ’s gift to the church.

On the night in which he was betrayed, Jesus took bread, gave thanks, broke it, and shared it with his disciples. “This is my body that is for you,” he said. “Do this in remembrance of me.” He also took a cup of wine and said, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood. Do this as often as you drink it in remembrance of me.

Following Jesus’ example and instruction, when the church celebrates the Lord’s Supper we receive gifts of bread and wine; we give thanks to God; we break the bread and pour the wine; we share the food and drink with each other. In these simple actions believers experience a profound mystery: Christ himself is present and his life passes into us and is made ours. As baptism is the sign and seal of our ingrafting into Christ, so the Lord’s Supper is a means by which Christ continually nourishes, strengthens and comforts us.

Through our prayers and the sharing of bread and wine we are joined to Christ and through Christ to each other. At the table we remember what God has done for us. The past event of our Lord’s death, resurrection and ascension comes into the present so that its power once again touches us, changes us, and heals us. We gather at the table with joy. Our eating and drinking is a celebration of our risen Lord. Through the power of the Holy Spirit, Christ is present with us at the table and so we give joyful thanks for what God has done and is doing in our lives and in the world. We come to the table in hope. We look forward with joyful anticipation to the coming reign of God when “Steadfast love and faithfulness will meet; righteousness and peace will kiss each other” (Psalm 85:10).

Within The Alliance, there is great diversity in the practice of communion. Some churches serve communion once a month, some do more or less frequently. The practice of the early church and the teaching of the Reformers of the 16th Century was to celebrate the Lord’s Supper weekly. Some churches use a common cup for the wine or juice, and some use individual cups. Some churches practice intinction (dipping the bread in the wine), and some serve the elements separately. Sometimes people are served in the pew. At other times they may be invited to come forward to the table. These practical decisions are largely left to the leaders of the congregation.

At RRC the practice of communion varies among these options. We will change the format depending on the time and occasion of the service. As God’s grace comes to us in various ways, so we choose to vary the style of the celebration of grace in the life of the congregation.

Christ is the host and invites us to his table. All who have been baptized into Christ are welcome to participate in the Lord’s Supper, although local boards of elders have been given the responsibility to decide at what age and under what circumstances young children may be served.