Frequently Asked Questions



A: Yes, we are a historic Christian church that confesses the (universal) Catholic Christian faith according to the ecumenical creeds: Apostles’ Creed, Nicene-Constantinopolitan Creed, Creed of Chalcedon and Athanasian Creed.
In addition, we are a Reformed church, i.e. a confessional Protestant church that adopts the historical confessional documents of the European Reformed churches: the Belgic Confession of Faith (1563), the Heidelberg Catechism (1561), the Canons of Dordt (1619, and the Westminster Standards.


A: A historic church is a church that preserves the heritage of theology, practice, and piety that the Christian Church has produced since the post-apostolic era. We follow in the footsteps of the Apostles and Church Fathers with respect, gratitude and awareness of both the victories and defeats of Christianity, not wishing to undo the illuminating work of the Holy Spirit through the ages, but drawing lessons from the testimony of our past leaders (Heb. 13:7).


A: Over the centuries, Christianity has undergone a slow and gradual alteration with respect to the truths revealed in the Bible: traditions consolidated over time and extra-scriptural dogmas introduced by certain councils have added doctrines that not only cannot be found in the canonical books of the Old and New Testaments, but that sometimes clearly contradict them.

The Protestant Reformation of the 16th century was a religious movement that wanted to bring back to the centre of the Christian faith the formal principles of the ultimate authority of Scripture above all other human authority (Sola Scriptura), of justification by faith alone (Sola Fide) in the person of Christ the only mediator and our advocate (Solus Christus), by divine grace alone and not by works (Sola Gratia), with the one and only purpose of giving all glory to God (Soli Deo Gloria).

The aim of the Protestant Reformation was never the revolution of the Christian faith, but its reform, i.e. the restoration of its original form as revealed in Holy Scripture. From the 16th century onwards, “reformed” churches sprang up in Switzerland, France, Italy, the Netherlands, Flanders, Germany, Bohemia and Hungary, and where the political conditions existed they gradually consolidated and expanded. The Reformed churches were from the beginning in fraternal relations, albeit with differences, with the German Evangelical churches (today known as Lutheran) and the Church of England, and were distinct from both the Roman Catholic Church and the radical groups known as Anabaptists.


A: A confessional church has its foundation in the Holy Scripture of the Old and New Testament, which is considered the Word of God. The Bible is regarded as the superior and ultimate authority from which, either directly or by good and necessary consequence, the doctrines we confess come and to which we refer for the solution of questions of doctrine and practice.

Holy Scripture, however, is not the only authority in the Christian church, but the highest. In accordance with the apostolic teaching (“the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and support of the truth”, I Timothy 3:15) and the practice of the church over the centuries, a denominational church also makes use of certain documents such as confessions of faith, catechisms and canons that summarise sound doctrine, answer questions and expound judgments on matters of faith that have emerged over time.

These documents are considered neither inspired nor equal to Scripture, as is the case in other Christian denominations, but are nevertheless considered authoritative because their content has been judged adherent to Scripture and orthodox (correct) by the churches that have profitably adopted them over time. A written confession of faith is not only a valuable aid for the church to observe sound doctrine, but also a guarantee to protect church members from false teachers.


A: A Reformed church, as illustrated in the previous questions, is a historic and confessional church, which therefore adopts a written confession of faith that precisely defines the doctrine taught. The Reformed confessions of faith, written between 1500 and the mid-1600s, have been used effectively and profitably by the European Reformed and Anglo-Saxon Presbyterian churches for over five centuries. The doctrine taught is uniform and includes some essential points that distinguish the Reformed churches:

  • Our knowledge of God comes from Creation, the natural revelation that manifests God’s visible qualities, and from the Bible, the special revelation God gave to mankind that is complete from the apostolic age. Although from the observation of nature we can know that there is a God, only Scripture allows us to know God in a saving way. The Reformed interpretation of the Bible follows the principle of the Analogy of Faith (Sacra Scriptura sui interpres, Sacred Scripture interprets itself) according to a hermeneutic that respects the historical and literary context and is Christ-centred. “God, having formerly spoken many times and in various ways to the fathers by the prophets, has in these last days spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the universe.”, Hebrews 1:1-2. All forms of supposed further revelation are therefore excluded, as are traditions that add dogmas of faith. Tradition, as a body of Christian wisdom through the ages, is of great value in that it educates and admonishes us, but it is not normative and cannot supersede Holy Scripture.
  • The Bible is clear in exposing the state of misery of sinful man, totally in need of redemption, charged with the perfection of God’s Law; it is equally clear in showing the immeasurable grace of God announced in the Gospel to redeem sinners.
  • The centrality of the cross of Christ in every moment of redemption history, both before and after the Incarnation. There is no caesura between the Old and New Testaments.
  • The doctrines known as the Five Points of Calvinism: Total Depravity of Man; Unconditional Election; Particular Redemption; Irresistible Grace; Perseverance of the Saints. These doctrines are not an invention of John Calvin, having always been affirmed to varying degrees throughout Church history and in particular by Saint Augustine, but were set out systematically by the French reformer and reaffirmed at the Synod of Dordrecht in 1619.
  • Covenant theology, also called federal (from fœdus, covenant): the relationship between man and God in the history of redemption is expressed through a covenant. Three covenants are commonly recognised: the Covenant of Redemption between the persons of the Trinity; the Covenant of Works instituted by God with Adam before the Fall; the Covenant of Grace between God and the elect through the mediation of Christ. The latter covenant was inaugurated by God in Eden, after the Fall (Genesis 3:15), and was administered in various ways through the history of redemption, first primarily between God and the elect in the Jewish nation, and then, with the Ascension of Christ, between God and the elect among the peoples of the world called to be part of the divine people.
  • The sacrament of Holy Communion, far from being a mere commemorative symbol, is the mystical nourishment of the people of God through the body and blood of Christ, spiritually present in the midst of the Church.
  • The sacrament of Baptism is the sign and seal by which a Christian is received into the Church. As was the case for the Old Testament Church with circumcision, adults who have publicly professed the faith as well as children of believers are baptised and received as members of the Church.
  • Ecclesiology (church government) of the Presbyterian type; the Lord Jesus left the church three offices: minister of the Word and Sacraments, elder and deacon. As our confession of faith teaches (Article 30), “that there be ministers or pastors to preach the word of God and administer the sacraments; that there also be overseers and deacons, to be with the pastors as the senate of the church, and by this means preserve true religion, and cause true doctrine to have its course, so that vicious men may be corrected spiritually and kept in check, that in this way the poor and all the afflicted may be succoured and comforted, according to their need.” Local churches operate in agreement with each other and are part of a national federation.
  • Worship on the Lord’s Day must be conducted in accordance with Scripture and is conducted as a dialogue between God speaking and the congregation responding with prayers, offerings and the singing of psalms. That is why it is not called worship, but Divine Service, because it is not we who offer something to God, but it is God Himself who feeds His flock with the Word and the Sacraments.


A: Even though the Reformed Churches and the Roman Catholic Church share most of the fundamental Christian doctrines, summarised in the ancient creeds and symbols, and much of the history of Christianity up to the 16th century, there are nevertheless some major differences, such that the painful separation that took place five centuries ago was necessary.

The first major difference concerns the question of authority. The Roman Catholic Church recognises equal authority to sacred tradition and sacred Scripture; the Reformed Church recognises the primacy of authority to Scripture alone, to which the various human traditions are subservient. Only Scripture is held to be the infallible Word of God in matters of faith, piety and practice.

Submission to Scripture alone as the source of truth implies that the Church does not have a magisterial, but a ministerial role: the Church’s task is not to establish the truth, but to administer the faith “transmitted once and for all to the saints” (Jude 3:3). The decisions of councils do not have the authority to amend Scripture, nor to add to it or take away from it.

Scripture, albeit with the articulation proper to theological matters, also indicates the following truths with sufficient clarity:

  • Our salvation is by grace alone, through faith alone in Jesus Christ, the only mediator between God and man. (1 Timothy 2:5 “For there is one God, and also one mediator between God and men, Christ Jesus the man, who gave himself as a ransom for all”). Good works, whether our own or those of others, cannot contribute to saving us, but are a consequence of justification.
  • Our Lord Jesus Christ left us two sacraments for our spiritual nourishment: Holy Baptism, and the Eucharist or Lord’s Supper.
  • Baptism does not have the value of justification from sins (Cat. Catholic Church, point 1987), but is the sign of entrance into the community of believers and the seal of divine promises, and must be administered to both adult converts and children of believers.
  • The Eucharist is not the re-enactment or re-proposition of Christ’s sacrifice, which having occurred once for all cannot be repeated (Hebrews 10:10-14). In it, the elements of bread and wine remain as such, without any transubstantiation, but are nevertheless the mystical nourishment of the faithful through the body and blood of Christ.
  • Mary is the mother of our Lord Jesus, worthy of great reverence as an example of faith and submission, but not of veneration or adoration, due only to the Triune God.
  • Outside of Paradise and Hell, Scripture does not recognise any other intermediate place. Purgatory, therefore, as an intermediate place of purification of souls, has no scriptural basis.
  • The Church has no hierarchical organisation, and recognises no head but the Lord Jesus Christ (Ephesians 1:20-23). According to the apostolic model, the local churches are entrusted to councils composed of duly ordained ministers and elders and deacons; the local churches are in fraternal fellowship with other churches of the same federation, mutually bound by their subscribed confessions of faith, and regularly meet in national synods.