How the Reformation Shaped the Church
From Reformation theology flows seven characteristics or identity markers of the church.
First, the church is doxological, it’s oriented to the glory of God.
Second, the church is Word-centered. It’s centered on the incarnate Word, who is Jesus Christ, and the inspired Word: Scripture.
The church confesses sound doctrine—what it believes about God, Jesus Christ, and the Spirit.
Thirdly, the church is to be Spirit-activated. It’s created, gifted, united, and empowered by the Holy Spirit.
Fourth, the church is covenantal. It exists in new covenant relationship with God, and together, the members exist in a covenantal relationship with one another.
Fifth, the church is confessional. Each member had a personal confession of faith in Jesus Christ as their Savior and Lord. Together the church confesses sound doctrine—what it believes about a triune God, Jesus Christ, the Son incarnate, and the Spirit.
Sixth, the church is missional. It’s the body of divinely-called, divine ministers who proclaim the gospel throughout the world.
Seventh, the church is here, but not here. It’s already, but not yet. We’re sojourners, we’re strangers. We’re pilgrims in this world. We enjoy walking with the Lord and doing his will now, but we look forward to something greater in the future.
Reformation theology gives impetus to these seven characteristics or identity markers of the church.
We study the Reformation because of what we can learn. We learn of the treasure of the gospel.
World missions and the work of the local church are integrally related, both ultimately existing to bring honor to Christ among the nations.
Mention the church to a group of Christians and you are likely to get a mixed response.
The New Testament apostles can't conceive of anything called a Christian that's not connected to Christ's body.