The word Reformed has a long history, going back to the time of the Reformation in the 16th century. At that time the church was subject to much abuse and had hidden many truths of the gospel. God raised up a number of leaders who rediscovered many great biblical truths that had long been dormant and challenged the church with the need to reform.
We believe the truths they emphasized are just as important and precious today, and are the basis for ongoing reform in the life, worship and ministry of the church.
Reformed churches have five core beliefs:
We believe the Bible is the Word of God. In it, God has revealed himself to us and only as we get to know the Scriptures do we get to know God. Because it is his Word, it has authority. We want to submit our lives to it, following its principles and testing everything we do and teach by its standards.
So… in South Barwon we place a strong emphasis on teaching, preaching, reading and studying the Bible.
The Bible reveals Jesus Christ as the Son of God, who became human. He came into this world to be our Saviour. He alone is the bridge between God and mankind. In his death on the cross he paid the price for our sins and turned away the wrath of God from us. In his resurrection Jesus secured victory for us over sin, death and condemnation. New life is found in him – and only in him.
So… in South Barwon we talk a lot about Jesus Christ. He is our focus and our chief desire. We believe the work of the Holy Spirit is focused on Jesus Christ. The Holy Spirit gives us faith to believe in him, draws our attention to him, helps us understand His Word, makes us more like him, and enables us to witness for him.
The only way to be saved by Christ is to have faith in him. We are not saved by our good works, or our attempts to be religious, or our nice lifestyle. We are saved by believing in Jesus and accepting his death and resurrection in our place.
So… in South Barwon we call people to believe in Christ - to trust him and not rely on themselves or anyone else for salvation. We want people around us, family, friends and community, to come to know, love and trust in Jesus alone.
Our salvation in Jesus is not something we have earned or deserved. It is the free gift of God. Grace is about undeserved favour. We believe that is what we have from God – undeserved blessing. Our new experience of joy, peace, hope, love and purpose is a free gift from God.
So… in South Barwon we stress that God’s grace to us is to be celebrated and enjoyed and it is to motivate us in living grateful lives, to the glory of God.
We believe that God alone is worthy of praise and worship. He is our Creator and Redeemer. He is to be honoured, loved, respected and praised.
So… in South Barwon, the focus is on God and His glory. Worship is not just what we do at church – all of life is worship. In everything we do, we are responding to the God who made us and saved us. Every area of life is to be embraced as an area of service to God and an expression of love for Him.