Beginner’s Understanding the Basics of Reformed Theology

Do you know what is reform theology? Reformed theology is a branch of Protestant Christianity that traces its roots to the 16th-century Reformation. Its central doctrine is the sovereignty of God over all aspects of human life, including salvation. This article will provide a comprehensive overview of the key doctrines, role of scripture, sacraments, worship, and church polity in Reformed theology.

Key Doctrines of Reformed Theology

The Five Solas of the Reformation

The Five Solas are the foundational doctrines of Reformed theology. These include Sola Scriptura, which states that the Bible is the only source of divine revelation; Sola Fide, which emphasizes that salvation is by faith alone, and not by works; Sola Gratia, which asserts that salvation is entirely a gift of God’s grace; Solus Christus, which declares that Christ is the only mediator between God and humanity, and Soli Deo Gloria, which means that all glory belongs to God alone.

Total Depravity

Reformed theology teaches that all human beings are born with a sinful nature, and are therefore totally depraved. This means that we are unable to save ourselves or even cooperate with God in our salvation.

Unconditional Election

Reformed theology holds that God’s choice to save some people is not based on any merit or foreseen faith on their part, but is solely an act of his sovereign will. This is known as unconditional election.

Limited Atonement

Reformed theology teaches that Christ’s sacrifice on the cross was intended only for those whom God had elected to save, and not for all humanity. This is known as limited atonement or particular redemption.

Irresistible Grace

Reformed theology teaches that those whom God has elected to salvation will inevitably come to faith in Christ, because God’s grace is irresistible.

Perseverance of the Saints

Reformed theology asserts that those who are truly saved will persevere in their faith until the end, and will not fall away. This is known as the perseverance of the saints or eternal security.

The Role of Scripture in Reformed Theology

Sola Scriptura

Reformed theology teaches that the Bible is the only authoritative source of divine revelation, and that it is sufficient for all matters of faith and practice. This is known as Sola Scriptura.

Interpretation of Scripture

Reformed theology emphasizes the importance of interpreting the Bible in its historical and literary context. It also teaches that the Holy Spirit illuminates the minds of believers to understand the meaning of Scripture.

Authority of Scripture

Reformed theology asserts that the Bible is the ultimate authority in all matters of faith and practice. This means that all other sources of authority, such as tradition or human reason, must be subject to the authority of Scripture.

Sacraments in Reformed Theology


Reformed theology teaches that baptism is a sign and seal of God’s covenant of grace, which signifies our union with Christ and our regeneration by the Holy Spirit. It is also a public declaration of faith in Christ and a pledge to live a life of obedience to him.


Reformed theology holds that communion is a sacrament that signifies our union with Christ and our participation in his body and blood. It is a means of grace through which we receive spiritual nourishment and strengthen our faith.

Views on Sacraments

Reformed theology distinguishes between sacraments and ordinances. While sacraments are seen as means of grace that convey spiritual blessings, ordinances are seen as symbolic acts of obedience to Christ.

Worship and Church Polity in Reformed Theology

Regulative Principle of Worship

Reformed theology holds to the regulative principle of worship, which means that only those elements of worship that are explicitly commanded or clearly inferred from Scripture should be included in corporate worship. This principle is based on the belief that God alone has the right to determine how he is to be worshiped.

Presbyterian Polity

Reformed theology is often associated with Presbyterian polity, which is characterized by a system of representative government in which ruling elders, ministers, and deacons share authority. The Presbyterian Church is governed by a hierarchy of courts, with each level having authority over the level below it.

Congregational Polity

Another form of church polity that is common in Reformed circles is congregational polity. However, there is still a recognition of the need for leadership and oversight by ordained ministers and elders.


Understanding Reformed theology is important for contemporary. Christian life because it provides a biblical and coherent framework for understanding God, humanity, and salvation. Its emphasis on the sovereignty of God and the sufficiency of Scripture provides a foundation for Christian belief and practice. Additionally, its focus on the sacraments, worship, and church polity provides guidance. How we should live out our faith in community with other believers.

To learn more about Reformed theology and its founder John Calvin. Visit johncalvin where you can find resources on his life, teachings, and legacy. By studying the history and theology of the Reformation.