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What We Believe

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The Basics

The Reformed Church of Cortlandtown is a community of believers who worship in the Reformed tradition. Our denomination is The Reformed Church in America (www.rca.org).

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.

How We Worship

Worship is the central act of the church's life. It is the action of acknowledging God's praise-worthiness and glory. We acknowledge God's presence with us through songs, hymns, prayers, sacraments, giving gifts, and listening to a message from the Bible.

Worship celebrates God's greatness and faithfulness to his people. Worship enables believers to articulate their faith and to act it out in word, song, and action.

Reformed congregations share a commitment to sound preaching, Christian education for people of all ages, and loving spiritual care and guidance. RCA worship services range in character from highly formal to very informal, and many congregations have their own special worship traditions and practices.

These aspects of worship are usually shared by Reformed congregations:

Reformed Church worship is corporate.
Worship is not a performance with the minister as actor or actress and the congregation as the audience. God is the audience and the whole congregation is involved in the service, in prayer, song, and offering.

Reformed Church worship is liturgical.
The word "liturgy" means "the work of the people." Reformed Church worship is liturgical in the sense that our worship involves the whole people of God in the activity of worship.

While each local congregation has its own worship traditions, most Reformed worship services include singing, praying together, and a message given by the pastor, based on a passage from the Bible.

Reformed Church worship is sacramental.
When we celebrate the sacraments of baptism and the Lord's Supper, God comes to us through all of our senses. We hear God's promise of forgiveness; we see and hear the water of baptism that cleanses; and we touch and smell and taste the bread and wine that signifies Christ's body and blood. Our faith is awakened, renewed, and energized when we celebrate the sacraments.

For more information on the Reformed Church in America visit our denomination's website: www.rca.org


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