The sign out front says, “Hope Reformed Presbyterian Church.” That’s our official name, but we usually just call it “Hope Church.” Why? Well, several years ago we did an informal survey of the community and found that many people misunderstand the words “Reformed” and “Presbyterian.” Yet almost everybody understands “Hope.”

Nevertheless, “Reformed” and “Presbyterian” are good words to describe us. For instance, “Presbyterian” comes from the New Testament word for elder. A Presbyterian church is a church that is led by a team of elders. And “Reformed” links us to the Protestant Reformation in 16th century Europe.

What was the Protestant Reformation all about?

Well, the Reformation was a period of spiritual renewal. The teaching of the reformers can be summarized in five key phrases:

  1. Scripture alone. This means that the Bible alone teaches all that is necessary for our salvation from sin, and is the standard by which all Christian behavior must be measured.
  2. Grace alone. This means we are rescued from God’s wrath by his grace alone. Salvation is not a human work in any sense.
  3. Faith alone. This means we are saved only by faith in what Christ has done for us.
  4. Christ alone. What has Jesus Christ done for us? The answer is: He lived the perfect life that we could not live, and he died the death we deserved to die. He lived and died as our substitute. This means that God pardons all our sins, and accepts us as righteous in his sight, only because of the righteousness of God attributed to us.
  5. The Glory of God alone. This means that salvation is from God. Salvation has been accomplished by God. And salvation ultimately leads to the glory of God.

The bottom line is this: God saves sinners.