The Reformed churches are a group of Protestant denominations historically related by a similar Calvinist system of doctrine but organizationally independent. Each nation in which the Reformed movement was originally established had its own church government. Several of these local churches have expanded to worldwide denominations and most have experienced splits into multiple denominations. Commitment to teaching the original Calvinism usually continues to be reflected in their official definitions of doctrine, but in some cases is no longer necessarily typical of these churches. A 1999 survey found 746 Reformed denominations worldwide.
Source of doctrine
Reformed doctrine is expressed in various creeds. A few creeds are shared by many denominations. Different denominations use different creeds, usually based on historical reasons. Some of the common creeds are (with year of writing):
- Scots Confession (1560),
- Three Forms of Unity
- Heidelberg Catechism (1563),
- Belgic Confession (1566),
- Canons of Dort (1619),
- Second Helvetic Confession (1566)
- Westminster Standards
- London Baptist Confession of 1689
The Three forms of unity are common among Reformed churches with origins in the European continent (especially those in the Netherlands). The Westminster Standards have a similarly common use among Reformed churches (known as the Presbyterian churches) with origins in the British Isles. More recent confessions and creeds are shared by fewer denominations.
- See main page: Reformed theology