Continental Reformed church
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A continental Reformed church is a Calvinist church that has its origin in the European continent. The term is used to distinguish these churches from Presbyterian or other Calvinistic churches that have their origin in the British Isles. Sometimes these churches are referred to simply as Reformed, usually when the term is used in juxtaposition to Presbyterian, even though Presbyterians and other Calvinist churches are commonly referred to as Reformed. They are descended from the Swiss Reformation inaugurated by Huldrych Zwingli and more fully articulated by Martin Bucer, Heinrich Bullinger and especially John Calvin. In the 16th century, the movement spread to most of Europe, aligning with national governments in most cases, though several of these national or specific language-based churches later expanded to worldwide denominations.
The first Reformed churches were established in Europe after 1519 and were part of the Protestant Reformation.
Reformed doctrine is expressed in various confessions. A few confessions are shared by many denominations. Different denominations use different confessions, usually based on historical reasons.
The following is a chronological list of confession and theological doctrines of the Reformed churches:
- First Helvetic Confession (1536)
- Consensus Tigurinus (1549)
- French Confession (1559)
- Scots Confession (1560)
- Three forms of Unity
- Second Helvetic Confession (1566)
- Helvetic Consensus (1675)
- Barmen Declaration (1934)
Forms of government
In contrast to the episcopal polity of the Anglican and many Lutheran and Methodist churches, continental Reformed churches are ruled by assemblies of "elders" or ordained officers. This is usually called Synodal government by the continental Reformed, but is essentially the same as Presbyterian polity, with the elders forming the consistory, the regional governing body known as the classis, and the highest court of appeal being the general synod. The Reformed Church in Hungary, its sister church in Romania, the Hungarian Reformed Church in America, and the Polish Reformed Church are the only continental Reformed churches to have retained the office of bishop.
Reformed churches worldwide
Around the world many churches of Reformed tradition emerged, both by migration and missionary work. Here is a List of Reformed churches.
- Category:Reformed church seminaries and theological colleges
- Community of Protestant Churches in Europe
- Congregationalist polity
- World Alliance of Reformed Churches
- World Communion of Reformed Churches
- North American Presbyterian and Reformed Council
- List of Reformed denominations