This is a Christian Protestant denomination, also called Calvinism, after its founder, John Calvin.
The Reformed church was one of the results of the Protestant Reformation. It’s name is coincidentally related to the Reformation itself. The Catholic church referred to the denomination as “Calvinism” (somewhat pejoratively), and that name is often still used.
There are two major branches: Dutch Reformed and German Reformed.
Reformed theology has five tenants or doctrines, represented by the acronym TULIP:
- Total depravity: man is born into the slavery of sin, and can only resist through the grace of God
- Unconditional election: those saved and those damned are predestined by God; He selected the “elect” in advance (the opposite of this is reflected in so-called “Arminianism,” where the predestination is God’s grace and salvation for the believer, but each person can freely choose whether or not to accept it)
- Limited atonement: Christ died only to repent for the sins of the elect
- Irresistible grace: God’s grace is irresistible, and it is what causes the salvation of the elect
- Perseverance of the saints: those truly born again will never cease their belief, and doing so is proof of a lack of genuine conversion
There are two major organizations of Reformed churches in the United States:
- Reformed Church in America (this is colloquially known as the “Dutch Reformed Church”)
- The Christian Reformed Church in North America
Why I Looked It Up
My children attended a Dutch Reformed Christian school (it was previously named “Calvin Christian School”). My son still attends a Dutch Reformed church. I never quite understood what it meant.
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