About the Reformed Church in America

  • What is the Reformed Church in America?

    The Reformed Church in America is a denomination in the U.S. and Canada with 900+ churches and about 260,000 members. Its roots lie in the Protestant Reformation, drawing particularly on the teachings of John Calvin. The denomination has a long history of engagement in mission. The RCA is evangelical, embracing the authority of Scripture and the centrality of the gospel of Jesus Christ. It is ecumenical, seeking to work collaboratively with many other churches and Christian groups. And it is Reformed, seeking to live creatively according to Scripture in all of life. Its order and structure are similar to Presbyterian churches, governed by ministers, elders, and deacons in the local church and in larger assemblies.

  • How does the seminary intersect with the RCA?

    Western Theological Seminary is part of the RCA but is governed by its own board. We highly value the diversity of Christian perspectives found in our student body and actively support Christians preparing for ministry in a variety of denominations and para-church settings. At the same time, the seminary's long-standing relationships in the RCA provide rich opportunities for networking and deepening relationship for denominational students. Currently about 2/3 of our students will end up serving within the RCA. Part of our ministry is to help RCA students find their place and ministry within the denomination. Seminary faculty members also serve the RCA (as well as other denominations) in many different capacities at the denominational level.

  • What if I am not a member of the RCA?

    You are most welcome here! The RCA has always had a strongly ecumenical tradition, and we open our arms to Christians from a wide range of backgrounds. We find this diversity enriches and deepens the educational experience of all our students. An increasing proportion of our student body is "post-denominational," eager to serve Jesus Christ, but unsure about the sorts of institutional or post-institutional contexts in which they are called to serve. Western is a safe place to explore such questions. We do not pressure our students to join any denomination; we simply seek to help them become the persons God has called them to be, equipped to lead the church in mission.

  • Why does a denomination matter?

    There is no such thing as a solitary Christian. When we are joined to Jesus Christ, we are also joined to the body of Christ—to others who belong to Christ. This is true, not only at the local level in a congregation, but at a larger level as well. A denomination is, quite simply, a larger expression of the body of Christ—serving Christ in ways that extend beyond the capacity of a local congregation. A denomination provides mutual accountability and support for Christians who recognize and embrace the fact that God's call invites us into something larger than ourselves. Being part of a denomination helps individual Christians and local churches multiply their resources and serve Jesus Christ more effectively.

Reformed Church in America website.

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