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The Reformed churches are a group of Protestant denominations characterized by Calvinist doctrines. They are descended from the Swiss Reformation inaugurated by Huldrych Zwingli but developed more coherently by Martin Bucer, Heinrich Bullinger and especially John Calvin. In the sixteenth 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. There are now many different reformed churches: a 1999 survey found 746 Reformed denominations worldwide.
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)
- Westminster Standards
- Helvetic Consensus (1675)
- 1689 Baptist Confession of Faith
- Barmen Declaration (1934)
Forms of government
In contrast to the episcopal polity of the Anglican and many Lutheran and Methodist churches, Reformed churches have two main forms of governance:
- Presbyterian polity or Synodal government - rule by assemblies of "elders" or ordained officers.
- Congregationalist polity, e.g. Congregationalist churches
The Reformed Church in Hungary, its sister church in Romania, the Hungarian Reformed Church in America, the Polish Reformed Church, and the Reformed Episcopal Church are the only Churches in the Reformed Tradition to have retained the office of Bishop.
- Pre-Reformation movements
- Reformation era movements
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
- World Alliance of Reformed Churches
- World Communion of Reformed Churches
- North American Presbyterian and Reformed Council
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