We are committed to the supreme authority and complete truthfulness of the Word of God and we believe the Holy Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments to be the verbally inspired word of God, the final authority for faith and life, inerrant in the original writings, infallible, and God-breathed (2 Timothy 3:16, 17; 2 Peter 1:20, 21; Matthew 5:18; John 16:12, 13).
We believe that God’s intentions, revealed in the Bible, are the supreme and final authority in testing all claims about what is true and what is right. In matters not addressed by the Bible, what is true and right is assessed by criteria consistent with the teachings of Scripture.
Therefore, the process of discovering the intention of God in the Bible – which is its fullest meaning, is a humble and careful effort to find in the language of Scripture what the human authors intended to communicate. Limited abilities, traditional biases, personal sin, and cultural assumptions often obscure Biblical texts. For that reason, the work of the Holy Spirit is essential for right understanding of the Bible, and prayer for His assistance belongs to a proper effort to understand and apply God’s Word.
Central to our worship is the proclamation of the Word of God by way of biblical exposition, in the tradition of Reformation faith and practice. Our Theology is evangelical in that it affirms with historic Protestantism such vital doctrines as Sola Scripture and Sola Fide.
We believe that the Word of God provides clear instruction not only for the way of salvation, but also for man’s everyday life in the world, His divine healing and the Holy Spirit helping us through perseverance. We believe that all spheres and domains of life, education inclusive, must be subject to the ordinances and glory of God. “Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God” (I Cor. 10:81)
The basic theological beliefs of the Reformers on the XVI century
Sola Scriptura – The Bible is the sole written divine revelation, our only infallible rule for faith and life, and alone can bind the conscience of believers absolutely (Matt. 4:4; 2 Tim. 3:16).
Sola Fide – Justification is by faith alone. By God’s free grace, the righteousness of Jesus Christ is imputed to us by faith and is the sole ground of our acceptance by God, by which our sins are pardoned (Rom. 5:1; Gal 2:16; Eph. 2:8-10).
Solus Christus – Jesus Christ is the only mediator through Whose work we are redeemed (John 14:6; John 3:16).
Sola Gratia – Our salvation rests solely on the work of God’s grace for us (Rom. 2:4; Eph. 2:8-10).
Soli Deo Gloria – Salvation is of God and has been accomplished by God, therefore to God alone belongs the glory (Isa. 42:8; Col. 3:17).
We all believe with the heart, and confess with the mouth, that there is one only simple and spiritual Being, which we call God; and that He is holy, love, eternal, incomprehensible invisible, immutable, infinite, almighty, perfectly wise, just, good, and the overflowing fountain of all good.
We also believe in one only God, who is the one single essence, in which are three persons, really, truly, and eternally distinct, according to their incommunicable properties; namely, the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Ghost.
The Father has never been without his Son, or without his Holy Ghost. For they are all three coeternal and co-essential. There is neither first nor last: for they are all three one, in truth, in power, in goodness, and in mercy. Thus each Person in the Godhead is fully and completely God.
Salvation and Eternal Election
We believe that all the posterity of Adam being thus fallen into perdition and ruin, by the sin of our first parents, God then did manifest himself such as he is; that is to say, merciful and just.
Merciful; since he delivers and preserves from this perdition all, whom he, in his eternal and unchangeable counsel of mere goodness, has elected in Christ Jesus our Lord, without any respect to their works.
Just; in leaving others in the fall and perdition wherein they have involved themselves.
We believe that God’s election is an unconditional act of free grace and received by personal faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, whose precious blood was shed on Calvary for the forgiveness of our sins (Ephesians 2:8–10; John 1:12; Ephesians 1:7; 1 Peter 1:18–19). By this act God chose, before the foundation of the world, those who would be delivered from bondage to sin and brought to repentance and saving faith in his son Jesus Christ.
We believe in the blessed hope that at the end of the age Jesus Christ will return to this earth personally, visibly, physically, and suddenly in power and great glory; and that He will gather His elect, raise the dead, judge the nations, and establish His kingdom. We believe that the righteous go into everlasting life, and receive that fullness of joy and refreshing which shall come from the presence of the Lord, but the wicked, who know not God, and obey not the gospel of Jesus Christ, shall be cast into eternal torments, in the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his fallen angels.
The Church and Government
We believe that the church, which is the body and espoused bride of Christ, is a spiritual organism made up of all born-again persons (Ephesians 1:22, 23; 5:25–27; 1 Corinthians 12:12–14; 2 Corinthians 11:2). Also, it is God’s will that the universal Church find expression in local churches in which believers agree together to hear the Word of God proclaimed, to engage in corporate worship, to practice the ordinances of baptism and the Lord’s Supper, to build each other’s faith through the manifold ministries of love, to hold each other accountable in the obedience of faith through Biblical discipline, and to engage in local and world evangelization.
We believe that the establishment and continuance of local churches is clearly taught and defined in the New Testament Scriptures (Acts 14:27; 18:22; 20:17; 1 Timothy 3:1–3; Titus 1:5–11). We believe in the autonomy of the local churches, free of any external authority and control, with the right of self government and freedom from the interference of any hierarchy of individuals or organizations (Acts 13:1–4; 15:19–31; 20:28; Romans 16:1,4; 1 Corinthians 3:9, 16; 1 Corinthians 5:4–7, 13; 1 Peter 5:1–4).
The marks, by which the true Church is known, are these: if the pure doctrine of the gospel is preached therein; if she maintains the pure administration of the sacraments as instituted by Christ; if church discipline is exercised in punishing of sin: in short, if all things are managed according to the pure Word of God, all things contrary thereto corrected, and Jesus Christ acknowledged as the only Head of the Church.
Hereby the true Church may certainly be known from which no man has a right to separate himself. With respect to those, who are members of the Church, they may be known by the marks of Christians: namely, by faith; and when they have received Jesus Christ the only Saviour, they avoid sin, follow after righteousness, love the true God and their neighbour, neither turn aside to the right or left, and crucify the flesh with the works thereof.
But this is not to be understood, as if there did not remain in them great infirmities; but they fight against them through the Spirit, all the days of their life, continually taking their refuge in the blood, death, passion and obedience of our Lord Jesus Christ, “in whom they have remission of sins, through faith in him.”
We believe that there should be a plurality of elders in each local church. This plurality of elders is not only biblical, but practical. It has the benefit of rounding out the pastor's gifts to ensure the proper shepherding of God's church. Each local church should recognize and affirm the divine calling of spiritually qualified men to give leadership to the church through the role of pastor-elder in the ministry of the Word and prayer. Women are not to fill the role of pastor-elder in the local church, but are encouraged to use their gifts in appropriate roles that edify the body of Christ and spread the gospel.
This true Church must be governed by that spiritual policy which our Lord has taught us in his Word; namely, that there must be ministers or pastors to preach the Word of God, and to administer the sacraments; also elders and deacons, who, together with the pastors, form the council of the Church: that by these means the true religion may be preserved, and the true doctrine everywhere propagated, likewise transgressors punished and restrained by spiritual means: also that the poor and distressed may be relieved and comforted, according to their necessities. By these means everything will be carried on in the Church with good order and decency, when faithful men are chosen, according to the rule prescribed by the Apostle Paul in his Epistle to Timothy.
We seek to be what we preach and teach. We desire our personal lives and organizational structure and policies to give explicit evidence that we treasure Jesus Christ above all things. We will pursue loving, gracious honesty in all of our communication.
Our desire is to abide in him constantly, “Praying at all times in the Spirit” (Ephesians 6:18). Therefore, we will be intentional to build prayer into the visible life of the organization at all levels and to cultivate a shared life together of living by faith in God’s future grace for us.
The pastoral Epistles instruct the church to grow by God’s grace through the means of grace, exercised routinely and ordinarily in Lord’s Day worship.
We believe, that our gracious God, on account of our weakness and infirmities has ordained the sacraments for us, and we are satisfied with the number of sacraments which Christ our Lord has instituted, which are two only, namely, the sacrament of baptism, and the holy supper of our Lord Jesus Christ (Matthew 28:19, 20; Acts 2:41, 42; Acts 18:8; 1 Corinthians 11:23–26).
We believe that baptism is:
1. A sacrament of the new testament, ordained by Jesus Christ, not only for the solemn admission of the party baptized into the visible church but also, to be unto him a sign and seal of the covenant of grace, of his ingrafting into Christ, of regeneration, of remission of sins, and of his giving up unto God, through Jesus Christ, to walk in newness of life. Which sacrament is, by Christ’s own appointment, to be continued in his church until the end of the world.
2. The outward element to be used in this sacrament is water, wherewith the party is to be baptized, in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, by a minister of the gospel, lawfully called thereunto.
3. Dipping of the person into the water is not necessary; but baptism is rightly administered by pouring, or sprinkling water upon the person.
4. Not only those that do actually profess faith in and obedience unto Christ, but also the infants of one, or both, believing parents, are to be baptized.
5. Although it be a great sin to contemn or neglect this ordinance, yet grace and salvation are not so inseparably annexed unto it, as that no person can be regenerated, or saved, without it; or, that all that are baptized are undoubtedly regenerated.
6. The efficacy of baptism is not tied to that moment of time wherein it is administered; yet, notwithstanding, by the right use of this ordinance, the grace promised is not only offered, but really exhibited, and conferred, by the Holy Ghost, to such (whether of age or infants) as that grace belong unto, according to the counsel of God’s own will, in his appointed time.
7. The sacrament of baptism is but once to be administered unto any person.
We believe that the Lord's Supper is:
Our Lord Jesus, in the night wherein he was betrayed, instituted the sacrament of his body and blood, called the Lord’s Supper, to be observed in his church, unto the end of the world, for the perpetual remembrance of the sacrifice of himself in his death; the sealing all benefits thereof unto true believers, their spiritual nourishment and growth in him, their further engagement in and to all duties which they owe unto him; and, to be a bond and pledge of their communion with him, and with each other, as members of his mystical body.
In this sacrament, Christ is not offered up to his Father; nor any real sacrifice made at all, for remission of sins of the quick or dead; but only a commemoration of that one offering up of himself, by himself, upon the cross, once for all.
As faithful expressions of the Bible, we believe the historic Reformed confessions of the church are the best expression of biblical Christianity. Thus, The Apostle’s Creed, The Nicene Creed, the Three Forms of Unity, a collective name for The Belgic Confession, The Canons of Dordt, The Heidelberg Catechism and the Westminster Confession of Faith set the parameters for us. But, they aren’t to be a replacement for the Bible and they shouldn’t be given equal authority to the Bible. We need statements that illuminate what exactly we see in the Scriptures: i.e. that Christ is God, that he died for our sins, and that without him we perish and enter everlasting torment.
The use of catechisms, which correctly summarize biblical teaching, does not deny or remove the role of Holy Scripture. As summary statements of what the Holy Scriptures themselves teach about a particular doctrine, they serve to a more effective Bible study.
The Mission Field
We aim to be part of God’s global redemption as He gathers worshippers from all the peoples of the world through the gospel of Jesus Christ. We lift up our eyes beyond local pressures and pleasures and look toward the less reached places and peoples of the world. We support and partner the vision of the missionary field with the organization: The Apple of God’s Eyes in Nepal and we also have a very strong bond with Pastor Fikret Bocek at Izmir Protestant Church, Pr. Kerem Koç at Antalya Kilisesi Church, and Pr. Yavuz Kapusuz at Yüce Lütuf Kilisesi in Turkey, recognizing their effort to reach out the lost souls at this particular spot of the world so disputed by different ethnic and religious groups.
Final Authority for Matters of Belief and Conduct
This Statement of Faith does not exhaust the extent of our beliefs. The Bible itself, as the inspired and infallible Word of God that speaks with final authority concerning truth, morality, and the proper conduct of mankind, is the sole and final source of all that we believe. For purposes of the faith, doctrine, practice, policy, and discipline, our Church's minister/executive committee/board of directors is Reformed Christian Church of Orlando’s final interpretive authority on the Bible’s meaning and application.
The Sanctity of Human Life
We believe that all human life is sacred and created by God in His image. Human life is of inestimable worth in all its dimensions, including pre-born babies, the aged, the physically or mentally challenged, and every other stage or condition from conception through natural death. We are therefore called to defend, protect, and value all human life (Ps. 139).
Statement on Marriage, Gender, and Sexuality
We believe that God wonderfully and immutably creates each person as male or female. These two distinct, complementary genders together reflect the image and nature of God (Gen. 1:26-27). Rejection of one’s biological sex is a rejection of the image of God (Imago Dei) within that person.
We believe that the term “marriage” has only one meaning: the uniting of one man and one woman in a single, exclusive union, as delineated in Scripture (Gen. 2:18-25). We believe that God intends sexual intimacy to occur only between a man and a woman who are married to each other (I Cor. 6:18; 7:2-5; Heb. 13:4). We believe that God has commanded that no intimate sexual activity be engaged in outside of a marriage between a man and a woman.
We believe that any form of sexual immorality (including adultery, fornication, homosexual behavior, bisexual conduct, bestiality, incest, pederasty, pedophilia, masturbation and use of pornography) is sinful and offensive to God (Matt. 15:18-20; I Cor. 6:9-10).
We believe that in order to preserve the function and integrity of Reformed Christian Church of Orlando as the local Body of Christ, and to provide a biblical role model to the Church’s members and the community, it is imperative that all persons employed by the Reformed Christian Church of Orlando in any capacity, or who serve as volunteers, agree to and abide by this Statement on Marriage, Gender, and Sexuality (Matt. 5:16; Phil. 2:14-16; I Thess. 5:22).
We believe that God offers redemption and restoration to all who confess and forsake their sin, seeking His mercy and forgiveness through Jesus Christ (Acts 3:19-21; Rom. 10:9-10; I Cor. 6:9-11).
We believe that every person must be afforded compassion, love, kindness, respect, and dignity (Mark 12:28-31; Luke 6:31). Hateful and harassing behavior or attitudes directed toward any individual are to be repudiated and are not in accord with Scripture nor the doctrines of the Reformed Christian Church of Orlando.
Because God has ordained marriage and defined it as the covenant relationship between a man, a woman, and Himself, Reformed Christian Church of Orlando will only recognize marriages between a biological man and a biological woman. Further, the pastors/ministers/clergy and staff of Reformed Christian Church of Orlando shall only participate in weddings and solemnize marriages between one man and one woman. Finally, the facilities and property of the Reformed Christian Church of Orlando shall only host weddings between one man and one woman.
The membership of Reformed Christian Church of Orlando shall be composed of individuals who are believers in the Lord Jesus Christ and affirm the tenets of the Church Constitution, and who offer evidence, by their confession and their conduct, that they are living in accord with their affirmations and this Constitution and Bylaws, and are actively pursuing and continuing in a vital fellowship with the Lord, Jesus Christ. The minister/executive committee/board of directors of Reformed Christian Church of Orlando shall have final authority in all matters of church governance, as set forth and described in the Bylaws.