As a Reformed church, we are a Bible-centered church. That was one of the mainstays of the Reformation of the 16th century: Sola Scriptura – the Bible alone. Because the Bible is the inspired Word of God (2 Peter 1:21, 2 Timothy 3:16), we believe it is authoritative for worship and life. Our worship is Bible-centered. And our lives are Bible-centered.
Worship is a dialogue between God and his children, and the Scriptures are the authoritative means through which God speaks. The Scriptures are his voice, and when the Scriptures are read and proclaimed, we believe God speaks to his people via those means.
The essence, manner and even order of our worship are Bible-based. In other words, our worship must be regulated by the Word of God, which we confess to believe. Many evangelical and even reformed churches take unwarranted liberty in content, style and order of worship. Of course those who believe in Sola Scriptura can disagree on some of the details relating to corporate worship, but we believe we are not at liberty to simply be pragmatic in worship as to its content, style and order so as to be attractive to the unbelieving world. We believe we are conscience bound to do in worship those things commanded by Christ the head of His church in His Word. We confess concerning the “Sufficiency of Holy Scripture” in Article 7 of the Belgic Confession, “The whole manner of worship which God requires of us is written in it at length.” Therefore the Word of God is central and determining for worship in the Owen Sound Canadian Reformed Church.
The Bible is also central to our way of life. We do not believe, as some do, that God speaks authoritatively to us outside the Bible. The Bible is also the ultimate norm for the way we live. But not everything is normative for us in the same way. The ten commandments are normative for our faith and life in a different way than the historical accounts of events recorded in the Bible. Still, in those historical accounts, God also wants to teach us what we are to believe and how we are to live.
We also believe that no writing of men is of equal value to the Bible, however holy those men may have been. That also counts for the confessions of the church. They were written by men. In those confessions the church over time has digested what the Bible says and summarized that in statements and holds the members to that. But the authority of the confessions is not equal to the authority of the Bible. The authority of the confessions rests on the authority of the Bible. The confessions may always be tested with the Bible, and can be changed on the basis of a better understanding of the Bible. So the confessions which we as Reformed church maintain always need to be read and explained in the light of the Bible.
We also believe that the Bible is clear in what it says. That doesn’t mean that we can understand everything written in it. God’s marvelous deeds are ultimately incomprehensible to us. When we speak of the clarity of the Bible, we also don’t mean to say that the Bible has a ready answer for every question we have or issue we encounter. That the Bible is clear means that it tells us how to live for God, how we are to live as His people in this world. In that regard, the Word of God is a lamp to our feet and a light on our path (Psalm 119:105). In the Bible everyone can discover how to be saved and how to live in gratitude for such a salvation. There are difficult parts in the Bible, but the amazing thing is that if you read the Bible in faith, it also explains itself.
We therefore invite you to worship with us and study the Bible with us. We assure you that the gospel of salvation contained in the Bible is worth embracing. And if you embrace that Word of God in faith, you will experience the truth of the sufficiency and clarity of the Bible and the joy of knowing God and His glorious grace!