Our History and Vision
Christ Reformed Church began from meetings of a small group of people at the home of Dr. Kim Riddlebarger. As a home missions plant of the Christian Reformed Church (CRC), our first official service took place on Reformation Sunday, October 30, 1995 in Placentia, CA. It was "standing room only" as the small Lutheran church was filled beyond capacity. It was immediately apparent from those early services that there was a yearning on the part of many for sound teaching and reverent worship that had been lacking in so many of our Christian lives.
Dr. Kim Riddlebarger has been pastor of our congregation since its inception. Dr. Michael Horton shared pastoral duties from the church's founding until 1998, when he left to pursue post-doctoral studies at Yale and then took up his calling at Westminster Seminary California.
Along with a number of churches in our classis, in 1997 Christ Reformed left the CRC and joined a new federation of confessional Reformed Churches, the United Reformed Churches of North America (the URCNA). This is the federation of churches to which we belong.
Without gimmick or fanfare, the Lord has graciously added to our church. In 1998, we moved to our current (and much larger) facility at the Anaheim Seventh Day Adventist Church near Anaheim Stadium. Over time, the demographics of the church have changed. We have gone from a church with many young singles, new to the Reformed faith, to still young but more established families. All along, the radio program The White Horse Inn has been instrumental in drawing newcomers to our church. There are visitors every Sunday who come because of the White Horse Inn.
We are a congregation that is diverse in background, vocation, and ethnicity, but very like-minded in matters of faith and doctrine. Our vision for Christ Reformed has been that of a church that is God-centered in worship, with law-gospel preaching that directs worshipers to the story of our glorious and merciful God, who, through His Son, redeemed fallen humanity. We believe the word preached should boldly speak of our sin and depravity, followed by the grace of God and our utter dependence upon that grace. We believe that through the proclamation of the good news of the gospel, the Holy Spirit renews our faith, and fills us with gratitude and reverence so that we do those good works which God prepared in advance for us to do.
In addition, the sacraments of baptism and communion are administered as ordained by our Lord to increase our faith and confirm God's covenant promises.
We fear that many churches today have gone the way of the seeker-sensitive model, treading too lightly on doctrine, abandoning Christ-centered preaching, and down-playing or ignoring the sacraments and church history. Too often these gems have been traded for man-centered themes of self-love, self-improvement, and self-absorption. Worship is often reduced to entertainment. The gospel becomes too offensive or deemed too foolish to appeal to the masses, and so it goes unpreached or watered-down to become more palatable.