Religious Landscape - Reformed Church

Fundamental principles of the Reformed Churches in Switzerland

The Reformed Churches in Switzerland are committed to the Gospel (the joyful message) of Jesus Christ. The Gospel is the basis and motivation on which the Reformed Church is based and on which it wants to constantly reform itself. The historic Reformation frequently revealed hidden doctrines founded on the Bible. These principles are still pivotal for the Reformed Church. Examples of such fundamental principles are:

  • By Christ alone (solus Christus)
  • By grace alone and by faith alone (sola gratia / sola fide)
  • Glory to God alone (soli Deo gloria)

The meanings can be summarized as follows:

  • solus Christus (By Christ alone): The love of Almighty God is evident in Jesus Christ, in his birth in poverty, his life, his preaching and healing, his crucifixion and resurrection. Jesus Christ opens the door to God, His and our Father in Heaven. He calls us to follow in His footsteps.
  • sola gratia (By grace alone) and sola fide (By faith alone): God’s salvation does not have to be earned; it is freely given to mankind (sola gratia). The only demand on us is that we accept it and receive the gift in faith (sola fide).
  • sola scriptura (By scripture alone): In questions of a Christian life and faith, the Reformed Churches are not guided by doctrines. They also have no authority to decree any binding directives. Their only guideline and source of knowledge are the scriptures of the Old and New Testaments.
  • soli Deo gloria (Glory to God alone): In praising God, we express the fact that we have Him to thank for everything. His mighty deeds and works are behind everything on earth. And so by praising God, we can move beyond ourselves and experience ourselves as part of a reality that transcends us.
  • The priesthood of all believers: everyone is received into the priesthood through baptism. The Reformed Churches do not differentiate between clergy and laymen but between general and official practice of work as a priest. Clergy are officially legitimized for this, meaning they are officially authorized to perform official duties for everything and everyone. Their office holds the specific task with which all who have been baptised are familiar: making the Gospel seen and heard throughout the world by word and deed.

Focusing on these fundamental principles leads to

  • varied and lively religious services;
  • a spiritual culture with Bible readings, quiet reflection and prayer;
  • tackling current issues and a culture of critical internal and external discussion;
  • pastorally and socially committed community services and
  • ecumenical and inter-religious meetings against the background of a clear Reformed position.

If you seek counselling in an important life situation; want to gain an insight into understanding Reformed Church services; are interested in church events; the architecture of buildings from the Reformation or the structure of the Reformed Churches, then find more here.

Food for thought

What feelings do the fundamental principles of the Reformed Churches trigger in you? Are they too absolute and restrictive? Or do they give you freedom and/or security?


Portal of the Reformed Churches
World Communion of Reformed Churches
World Council of Churches