"Reformed and always being reformed according to the word of God"
A God centered, Christ focused, Gospel driven ministry
Rev. John Samson
Founder & President
Reformation Study Center
WELCOME. It is our strong hope and prayer that this web site will be a blessing to you in your walk with God.
Dr. Sam Storms once stated, "Many Christians are either woefully deficient in their knowledge of Scripture or noticeably devoid of any experience of God's power. The Lord never intended this for His people. We have all seen firsthand the joyless intellectual arrogance the absence of spiritual power can produce, as well as the fanatical emotional excess that comes from the lack of theological integrity."
Here at the Reformation Study Center we are committed to holding together two things that are often viewed as separate: a commitment to sound doctrine and a passionate pursuit of the presence of God. We are Catholic, Evangelical and Reformed. What exactly do we mean by this? Well...
Our theology is "Catholic" (used in its historical sense, meaning "universal") in that we affirm the doctrines of historic Christian orthodoxy such as those defined by the Apostles Creed and the great ecumenical councils of the first millennium of Christian history such as the Councils of Nicea, Chalcedon, Constantinople, and others. These catholic doctrines include such affirmations as the Trinity, the deity of Christ, the sinlessness of Christ, His atoning work of redemption through His life, death and resurrection, as well as other doctrines that are integral to historic Christianity.
Our theology is "Evangelical" in that we affirm with historic Protestantism such vital doctrines as Sola Scriptura and Sola Fide. Sola Scriptura refers to the article that the Bible, as the inspired, infallible, and inerrant Word of God, is the sole written revelation that rules the faith and practice of the Christian community and alone can bind the conscience. Sola Fide refers to the doctrine of justification by faith alone whereby the believer is justified before God by the free grace of God by which He imputes the righteousness of Christ to the believer. The sole ground of our justification is the merit of Jesus, which is imputed to all who put their trust in Him. Though good works flow necessarily and immediately from all justified persons, these works are not the meritorious grounds of our justification.
Our theology is "Reformed" in that, in addition to catholic and evangelical doctrine, the distinctive doctrines of the magisterial Reformers such as Luther, Calvin and Knox are also embraced in a way that distinguishes the Reformed tradition from other Protestant bodies. Reformed theology places great emphasis on the doctrine of God, which doctrine is central to the whole of its theology. In a word, Reformed theology is God-centered.
With Scripture alone as our sure foundation, we affirm that justification is by grace alone, through faith alone, because of Christ alone, for the glory of God alone.
"But when our wickedness had reached its height, and it had been clearly shown that its reward, punishment and death, was impending over us; and when the time had come which God had before appointed for manifesting His own kindness and power, how the one love of God, through exceeding regard for men, did not regard us with hatred, nor thrust us away, nor remember our iniquity against us, but showed great long-suffering, and bore with us, He Himself took on Him the burden of our iniquities, He gave His own Son as a ransom for us, the holy One for transgressors, the blameless One for the wicked, the righteous One for the unrighteous, the incorruptible One for the corruptible, the immortal One for them that are mortal. For what other thing was capable of covering our sins than His righteousness? By what other one was it possible that we, the wicked and ungodly, could be justified, than by the only Son of God? O sweet exchange! O unsearchable operation! O benefits surpassing all expectation! that the wickedness of many should be hid in a single righteous One, and that the righteousness of One should justify many transgressors!"
The quote is from The Epistle to Diognetus 9, translated by Roberts-Donaldson. This text dates from early to mid 2nd century AD. It is an early indication that the doctrines of substitutionary atonement and double imputation were not first the product of the Protestant Reformation, but were held dear by the earliest generations of Christians. The author is unknown - he refers to himself simply as a mathetes “disciple”.
"No Christian can avoid theology. Every Christian has a theology. The issue, then, is not, do we want to have a theology? That's a given. The real issue is, do we have a sound theology? Do we embrace true or false doctrine?"
"Although tradition does not rule our interpretation, it does guide it. If upon reading a particular passage you have come up with an interpretation that has escaped the notice of every other Christian for two-thousand years, or has been championed by universally recognized heretics, chances are pretty good that you had better abandon your interpretation." - R. C. Sproul
‘It is God Himself who in holy wrath needs to be propitiated, God Himself who in holy love undertook to do the propitiating, and God Himself who, in the person of His Son, died for the propitiation of our sins. Thus God took His own loving initiative to appease His own righteous anger by bearing it His own self in His own Son when He took our place and died for us. There is no crudity here to evoke our ridicule, only profundity of holy love to evoke our worship.’ - John Stott, The Cross of Christ
"You will have noticed that most dogs cannot understand pointing. You point to a bit of food on the floor; the dog, instead of looking at the floor, sniffs at your finger. A finger is a finger to him, and that is all. His world is all fact and no meaning." - C. S. Lewis.
Study the human eye with its billions of intricate working parts that makes sight possible and you will find that it connects with the human brain in ways still beyond all current scientific and technological progress. You can try to muffle the silent screams of creation all around you, whether in outer space with our sun being just the right distance away from earth to make life possible (another million miles closer or nearer and we would either fry or freeze to death), or consider the inner world of the human body with its DNA code that contains more information than a vast array of encyclopaedias... and deep down, you and I know that there is amazing design all around us that point to a vastly intelligent Designer. Creation is pointing somewhere. Do you get the point? - John Samson
THE FIVE SOLAS
We affirm the five solas of the Protestant Reformation. The Latin word “sola” means “alone” and each of these summarize the biblical gospel recovered and proclaimed at that time:
Sola Scriptura - Scripture Alone: The Bible alone is the word of God. As such it is the sole written divine revelation and alone has the authority to bind the conscience of the believer absolutely.
Sola Gratia - Grace Alone: Our salvation rests solely on the work of God’s grace for us. Because of this, human boasting is not merely discouraged or kept to a minimum but is excluded completely.
Sola Fide - Faith Alone: Justification is by faith alone. Faith is the sole ground of our acceptance with God, by which our sins are remitted and imputed to Christ and the merit of Christ’s righteousness is imputed to us.
Solus Christus - Christ Alone: The Lord Jesus Christ is the only mediator through whose work we are redeemed.
Soli Deo Gloria - To God alone belongs the glory.
Each sola is important, but the first four really exist to preserve the last one, namely, the glory of God. By sola Scriptura, we declare the glory of God’s authority by noting that only His inspired Word can command us absolutely. Sola fide, solus Christus, and sola gratia all exalt God’s glory in salvation. God and God alone – through His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ – saves His people from sin and death.