The Fundamental Insights of Reformed Theology

Central beliefs of Reformed Christians

Sola scriptura, solus Christus, sola gratia, sola fide, soli Deo gloria – Scripture alone, Christ alone, grace alone, faith alone, glory belongs to God alone: these are the great fundamental principles of the Reformed faith. Their implementation, proclamation and transposition at the level of the church constitute the central theme of Reformed theol-ogy.

Scripture alone (sola scriptura), Christ alone (solus Christus), by grace alone (sola gratia), by faith alone (sola fide), and glory to God alone (soli Deo gloria): this five-fold ‘alone’ comprises the most concise summary of the Christian faith according to the Reformed understanding. Reformed Christians owe everything they are, believe and do to the triune God, his word and presence. Therefore all worship, confession of the faith and prayer belong to God alone. According to the Reformed understanding, Christian theology reflects on and concretizes the five-fold confession of Christ for the proclamation and praxis of the church in each period of its existence.

From a biblical-theological standpoint, the church does not exist in the plural. It knows neither denominations nor church politics. The talk of state or member churches, of church communions or ecumenism reflects a historical development. The biblical promises and theology define the church differently, for the confession of the one Christ is the confession of the one church, with Christ as its sole cause, head and aspiration.

In 2017, the Protestant Church in Switzerland celebrated 500 years since the Reformation. The Reformation began as a church reform movement and resulted unintentionally in a previously unknown confessionalism. Thus, the five-fold Reformation ‘alone’ is not a confessional agenda, but instead a wake-up call to reflect on biblical testimonies.