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Reformed

Reformed

Association of Free Reformed Churches

Canadian and American Reformed Churches

Christian Presbyterian Church (Korean)

Christian Reformed Church in North America

Church of the Golden Rule

Churches of God, General Conference

Confederation of Reformed Evangelical Churches

Free Reformed Church of North America

Heritage Netherlands Reformed Congregations

Hungarian Reformed Church in America

Lithuanian Evangelical Reformed Church

Netherlands Reformed Congregations

Protestant Reformed Churches in America (PRC)

Reformed Church in America

Reformed Church in the United States

Reformed Church of Quebec

United Reformed Churches of North America

Association of Free Reformed Churches

c/o Shiloh Christian Church, 14030 Radcliffe Rd., Leroy Township, OH 44077

Alternate Address

c/o The Christian Statesman, PO Box 42, Geigertown, PA 16526.

The Association of Free Reformed Churches was formed in 1994 by several ministers in the Cleveland, Ohio, area, including Jeffery A. Ziegler, pastor of Shiloh Christian Church, who is the association’s moderator. In 1985 Zeigler had founded the Reformation Bible Institute to train pastors and laymen in the theological opinions of the historic Reformed faith. Ziegler is a board member of the National Reform Association, whose mission is to maintain and promote the Christian principles of civil government in American life. Among other founders is Andrew Sandlin, pastor of Church of the Word in Painesville, Ohio, the editor of Chalcedon Report and the Journal of Christian Reconstruction, two influential Christian Reconstructionist periodicals founded by R. J. Rushdoony.

Both associations and the Institute generally hold to what has been termed Christian Reconstruction theology, a perspective that grows out of a reading of traditional Calvinist theology. Christian Reconstruction affirms that God’s law is found in the Bible and remains as a standard of righteousness. It is to be used for three important purposes: to move the sinner to trust in Christ; as a standard of obedience for the Christian; and to maintain order in society, by restraining evil. It is the job of the Christian to build Christ’s kingdom in the present time and advocate the godly taking dominion over the earth and society. Every area dominated by sin must be “reconstructed” in terms of the Bible, from the individual to the state. The goal is the building of a Christian civilization.

Reconstructionists support the separation of church and state, but affirm that no separation should exist between the state and God. They seek what they think of as a godly decentralized theocracy, or the rule of the law of God. That is distinct from rule by an institutional church.

The Reconstructionist movement has been a matter of ongoing conversations within the larger Evangelical community, in which it is a distinct minority. The association’s vice-moderator, Rev. William O. Einwechter, who is also the vice-president of the National Reform Association, has been a focus of controversy as he has been widely quoted for his opinion that juvenile delinquents should be stoned per Deuteronomy 21:18–21, and that God commands the woman as wife/mother to stay at home to care for the family and manage the household.

Membership

Not reported.

Educational Facilities

Reformation Bible Institute, Eastlake, Ohio.

Periodicals

The Puritan Storm, 35155 Beachpark Dr., Eastlake, OH 44095.

Sources

Bauswein, Jean-Jacques, and Lukas Vischner, eds. The Reformed Family Worldwide: A Survey of Reformed Churches, Theological Schools, and International Organizations. Grand Rapids, MI: W. B. Eerdmanns, 1999.

Canadian and American Reformed Churches

PO Box 62053, Burlington, ON L7R 4K2

Alternate Address

American Reformed Churches, c/o Rev. P. Kingma, 3167 68th St., SE, Caledonia, MI 46316 American Reformed Churches, c/o Rev. P. Kingma, 3167 68th St. SE, Caledonia, MI 46316.

The Canadian and American Reformed Churches is a conservative reformed church founded in Canada in 1950. It spread to the United States in 1955. It accepts the Bible as the infallible Word of God and finds it is best summarized in the Belgic Confession of Faith (1561), the Heidelberg Catechism (1563), and the Canons of Dort (1618–19). It has a presbyterian polity.

Membership

In 2007 the churches reported 54 congregations, 16,365 members, and 68 ministers in the United Sates and Canada.

Periodicals

Reformed Perspective. • The Canadian Reformed Magazine.

Educational Facilities

Theological College of the Canadian Reformed Churches, Hamilton, Ontario

Remarks

The group produces a radio broadcast, Voice of the Church.

Christian Presbyterian Church (Korean)

4741 N Glen Arden Ave., Covina, CA 91724

The Christian Presbyterian Church was founded in 1992 when a group of Korean members of the Christian Reformed Church in North America under the leadership of Dr. John E. Kim left the denomination over the issue of woman’s ordination, which the Koreans strongly opposed. By 1976 Kim had built his own congregation in Los Angeles into the second largest within the Christian Reformed Church. Kim also founded International Theological Seminary, a Los Angeles–based seminary largely serving students from third-world countries. He took a leading role in 1992 in the formation of the International Reformed Fellowship (IRF), a conservative ecumenical organization that served as an alternative to the World Council of Churches, the World Alliance of Reformed Churches, and the Reformed Ecumenical Council. The Christian Reformed Church was a prominent member of the Reformed Ecumenical Council, and its leadership sharply criticized Kim for his actions.

The newly formed Christian Presbyterian Church included some 40 percent of the Korean membership of the Christian Reformed Church. During the next three years, the Los Angeles congregation almost doubled in membership, growing from 1,440 members to 2,800 members. In 1995 Kim returned to Korea to become president of Chongshin Seminary, the largest ministerial training school in the world.

The church is conservative, and acknowledges the Westminster Confession of Faith, the Belgic Confession, and the Heidelberg Catechism. It affirms the Bible as the infallible word of God.

Membership

In 1995 the church reported 20 congregations and 50 ordained clergy.

Educational Facilities

International Theological Seminary, Los Angeles, California.

Sources

International Theological Seminary. www.itsla.edu.

Maurina, Darrell Todd. “Dr. John E. Kim Appointed President of World’s Largest Reformed Seminary in Seoul, Korea.” United Reformed News Service, May 26, 1995. www.iclnet.org/pub/resources/text/reformed/archive95/nr95-042.txt.

Christian Reformed Church in North America

2850 Kalamazoo Ave. SE, Grand Rapids, MI 49560

Alternate Address

In Canada: 3475 Mainway, Box 5070 STN LCD 1, Burlington, ON L7R 3Y8, Canada.

The Christian Reformed Church began in the Netherlands in the 1830s. At that time, some members of the Reformed Church of the Netherlands resisted an attempt to bring the church under the control of the Dutch monarchy. Despite the objections of these churchmen, the church was brought under state control. This led in 1834 to the Sucession (the formation of a church independent from the monarchy). Sucession leaders were Hendrik DeCock (1801–1842), Henrik Scholte (1805–1868), and Albertus C. van Raalte (1811–1876). They saw themselves as defenders of the historical faith that was being lost because of the indifference of the main body of the Reformed Church of the Netherlands. Following religious persecution and the failure of the country’s potato crop in 1846, the dissidents supporting the Sucession made plans to immigrate.

In 1847 the settlers arrived in western Michigan and by 1848 had formed the Classis Holland. Having been aided by members of the Reformed Church in America with whom they shared the same faith, they affiliated with them in 1850, becoming a classis within the Reformed Church in America. Members of the Classis Holland understood that they could leave the Reformed Church in America if the ecclesiastical connection should prove a threat to their interests. For most, it never did. However, one church that belonged to the Classis Holland did leave the classis and the Reformed Church in America in 1857, and others followed, eventually forming the Christian Reformed Church.

The background of the schism starts with Gysbert Haan (1801–1874). Within a few years of the 1850 affiliation, Haan began to criticize practices of the Reformed Church in America, and in 1857 four documents of Sucession were received by the classis, urging the classis to leave the Reformed Church in America. The documents charged the Reformed Church in America with open communion, the use of a large collection of hymns, and the neglect of catechism preaching. Further, the documents asserted that the Reformed Church in America believed the Sucession in the Netherlands had been unjustified. The classis received but did not approve these documents. Several churches left the classis beginning in 1857, and in 1859 these congregations became known as the Dutch Reformed Church. Growth was slow at first and came primarily from additional immigration from the Netherlands. Immigration and growth were particularly heavy in the closing decades of the nineteenth century. Through a series of name changes the church became the Christian Reformed Church in 1904, and it has retained that name.

Confessional subscription is required and church doctrine is based on the Belgic Confession, the Heidelberg Catechism, and the Canons of the Synod of Dort. In 1906 the church adopted the Conclusions of Utrecht, which recognized that some questions were open for disagreement. Only the children of confessing members are baptized. The church is staunchly antilodge. Worship is ordered and consistent with the practice of the Christian church through the centuries. The early hymnology was largely confined to the Psalms, but an expanded hymnology developed in the twentieth century. Catechistic instruction is stressed. Polity is presbyterial. The general synod, the broadest assembly of the church, is composed of two ministers and two elders of each of the 47 classes. There is no intermediate or particular synod between the classis and general synod. Classes meet biannually or triannually.

There is an active mission program. Home missions include an active church-planting program, an established church development program, campus ministry, and Native American missions. World mission agencies of evangelism, education, relief, and development are active in 40 countries located in North America, Central America, South America, Africa, Europe, and Asia. A media ministry (radio/TV) blanketing the globe is called the Back to God Hour. Other media ministries include Kids Corner, Walk the Way, and Spotlight.

Membership

In 2008 the church reported 300,000 members and 1,000 congregations.

Educational Facilities

Calvin Theological Seminary, Grand Rapids, Michigan.

Calvin College, Grand Rapids, Michigan.

Periodicals

The Banner. • Reformed Worship. • CRC Ministry Report. • Today daily devotional.

Sources

Christian Reformed Church in North America. crcna.org.

One Hundred Years in the New World. Grand Rapids, MI: Centennial Committee of the Christian Reformed Church, 1957.

Schapp, James C. Our Family Album: The Unfinished Story of the Christian Reformed Church. Grand Rapids, MI: CRC Publications, 1998.

Church of the Golden Rule

6507 Ranch Rd. 32, Blanco, TX 78606

The Church of the Golden Rule continues the French Huguenot tradition of the Alsatian Protestants who look to Martin Buber and the city of Strasbourg as the source of their faith. A congregation of Alsatian immigrants was formed in 1939 at Hempstead, Long Island, New York, under Pr. Alfred E. Huss. He was authorized by Pastor Boegner of the Alsatian churches. When Huss died, the congregation relocated to California. In 1971 there were four congregations with about 600 families, all in California, under the leadership of Dr. Pierre Duval. The Church of the Golden Rule is under the Unite Huguenotte Française.

Membership

Not reported.

Remarks

The Church of the Golden Rule owns Ridgewood, a working ranch in Willits, California, that was the orginal home of the legendary racehorse Seabiscuit. The ranch has been designated one of the United States’s most threatened historic places by the National Trust for Historic Preservation, and the church has endeavored to be a model steward of the ranch by keeping developers at bay and by permanently protecting the historic structures that constitute Seabiscuit’s legacy. The church has worked toward restoring several historic buildings and has joined the Seabiscuit Heritage Foundation, the National Trust, and others to develop an overall preservation and resource management plan and identify necessary funding sources for the effort.

Sources

Church of the Golden Rule. www.churchofthegoldenrule.org.

Churches of God, General Conference

PO Box 926, Findlay, OH 45839

The Churches of God, General Conference was formed by John Winebrenner (1797–1860), a German Reformed pastor of four churches in and around Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. Winebrenner, though a reformer in many areas, never intended to form a new denomination. However, in attempting to reform what he perceived as the spiritual apathy in the Reformed Church, he and other Reformed pastors adopted some of the “new measures” which had become popular during the Second Great Awakening. They began to preach the importance of personal acceptance of Jesus Christ as savior; they introduced prayer meetings in the homes of those concerned about their salvation; they prayed for people by name in their services; they initiated altar calls.

The vestry of the Harrisburg congregation served by Winebrenner took exception to these new devices. Their concern was heightened by their pastor accepting invitations to preach in the local Methodist church and by his refusal to baptize the children of unbelieving parents. He was locked out of the church building in 1823, though he continued to serve other Reformed congregations and remained a member of the synod for several years.

In 1825, a Harrisburg congregation of persons loyal to Winebrenner and others attracted by his preaching was formed. The General Conference dates its beginning from this event. The name Church of God was adopted after a search of the scripture showed it to be the New Testament name of the church. The name was considered to be inclusive of all true believers. (Winebrenner’s was one of several early nineteenth-century movements that attempted to return to the New Testament model of the church. It was the first of many to follow that adopted the name “Church of God” as an element in their self-reformation.)

The essential teachings of the New Testament Church were taken to be redemption and regeneration through belief in Jesus Christ, justification by faith, and free moral agency. Three “ordinances” instituted by Jesus were followed: believer’s baptism by immersion, the observance of the Lord’s Supper, and feetwashing. A presbyterial polity was followed, with preachers ordained as “teaching elders,” assisted by “ruling elders” and deacons in the local congregation. The first organization of a group of churches into an eldership was accomplished in 1830. For many years the group was known General Eldership of the Churches of God in North America.

While pastors and elders still participate with each other in the sixteen regional annual business meetings, most are now called “conferences” rather than “elder-ships.” The triennial meeting of ministerial, lay, and youth delegates from local conferences and elderships is called the General Conference.

An administrative council functions between the triennial meetings of the General Conference.

The General Conference has affiliated work in six countries, including Bangladesh, Brazil, Haiti, India, Moldova, and Sweden. They also have ministries to U.S. Asian Pacific, Haitian, Hispanic, and Southwestern people groups.

Membership

In 2006, the church reported 33,208 members, 319 congregations, and 451 ministers in the United States.

Educational Facilities

The University of Findlay, Findlay, Ohio.

Winebrenner Theological Seminary, Findlay, Ohio.

Periodicals

The Church AdvocateThe Missionary SignalThe Gem

Sources

Churches of God, General Conference. www.cggc.org.

Kern, Richard. John Winebrenner, 19th Century Reformer. Harrisburg, PA: Central Publishing House, 1974.

We Believe. Findlay, OH: Churches of God Publications, 1986.

Yahn, S. G. History of the Churches of God in North America. Harrisburg, PA: Central Publishing House, 1926.

Confederation of Reformed Evangelical Churches

Randy Booth, Moderator, 8784 FM 226, Nacogdoches, TX 75961

The Confederation of Reformed Evangelical Churches (CREC) was formed in 1997 in reponse to a concern that the Christian church is in a period of decline, and that Christians need to return to scriptural standards and encourage others to do the same. Its member churches and leaders see the confederation as a group within the larger church from which they can work together for a reformation of the whole.

Member churches are asked to adopt as their doctrinal standard the Apostles Creed, the Nicene Creed, and the Chalcedonian Creed, as well as one or more of the following creedal statements: the Westminster Confession of Faith (1647); the American Westminster Confession of Faith (1788); the Three Forms of Unity (Belgic Confession—1561, Heidelberg Catechism—1563, Canons of Dort—1619); the London Baptist Confession (1689); the Savoy Declaration (1658); or the Reformed Evangelical Confession. The Bible is the acknowledged ultimate authority, but members believe that the aforementioned creeds rightly interpret and summarize it.

The confederation is committed to the autonomy of the local church, though it sees value in transcongregational structures insofar as they do not violate local independence. In keeping with this policy, missionaries are sent from local churches. Any two local churches may form a presbytery, and two or more presbyteries may form a church council. The council elects a moderator who becomes the spokesperson for the denomination. The council may not appoint any standing committees, and all committees must operate as a task force and disband as soon as their work is completed.

Churches applying for membership in the confederation must have existed for at least two years; those that do not meet that criterion may be accepted as mission churches. There is an annual meeting of the CREC. It is a member of the Alliance of Confessing Churches.

Membership

Not reported. During the 2005 meeting of the CREC, two presbyteries were established: Augustine Presbytery east of the Rockies, and Anselm Presbytery in the western United States. Congregations also are located in Canada, Japan, Poland, Russia, and Uganda. In 2008 there were 24 members in the Anselm Presbytery and 34 in the Augustine Presbytery.

Sources

Confederation of Reformed Evangelical Churches. www.crepres.org/.

Free Reformed Church of North America

950 Ball Ave. NE, Grand Rapids, MI 49503

The Free Reformed Church of North America was started by post–World War II immigrants whose roots were in the Christian Reformed Churches in the Netherlands (Christelijke Gereformeerde Kerken in Nederland). The first churches of this denomination began to form in 1950, and two U.S. congregations joined in the 1960s. A synod of the churches meets annually in June, usually in Ontario, Canada, where most of the churches are located. The churches fully subscribe to three creeds (the Heidelberg Catechism, the Belgic Confession, and the Canons of Dort) that are found, together with the liturgical forms used, in the denominational songbook, The Psalter. A full corresponding relationship exists with the parent denomination in the Netherlands. The denomination also supports foreign mission work in Cubulco, Guatemala.

Membership

In 2008 the church had 21 congregations (18 in Canada and three in the United States) and a mission church in Guatemala.

Periodicals

The Messenger.

Sources

Free Reformed Church of North America. www.frcna.org.

Heritage Netherlands Reformed Congregations

540 Crescent St. NE, Grand Rapids, MI 49503

The Heritage Netherlands Reformed Congregations resulted from a 1993 split within the First Netherlands Reformed Congregation of Grand Rapids, Michigan (affiliated with the Netherlands Reformed Congregations), which had more than 1,000 members. In July 1993 the split resulted in the dissolving of the former congregation and each group’s establishing a new one. One group continued its previous denominational affiliation, whereas the other formed a new denomination. Rev. J. R. Beeke, who had led the previous congregation since 1986, continued as pastor of the new organization. Subsequently, the original Heritage Netherlands Reformed Congregation was joined by three other congregations, including two in Ontario, Canada.

Though small, the new denomination opened its own seminary in 1995. Beeke has served as a professor of theology at the seminary, whose students come from a variety of reformed groups.

Membership

In 2008 the church reported six affiliated congregations in the United States and five in Canada.

Educational Facilities

Puritan Reformed Theological Seminary, Grand Rapids, Michigan.

Periodicals

The Banner of Sovereign Grace Truth. • Sovereign Grace Truth.

Sources

Heritage Netherlands Reformed Congregations. www.hnrc.org/.

Heritage Netherlands Reformed Congregation, Grand Rapids, Michigan. reformed.net/hnrc/mi/gr/index.shtml.

Puritan Reformed Theological Seminary. www.puritanseminary.org/.

Hungarian Reformed Church in America

c/o Andrew Harsanyi, 220 4th St., Passaic, NJ 07055

Hungarian Reformed congregations were established in the United States in the late nineteenth century and in 1904 the Hungarian Reformed Church in America was formed under the care of the Reformed Church in Hungary. Following World War I, however, there was a series of negotiations with the Reformed Church in the United States resulting in the 1921 Tiffin Agreement. This agreement, made at Tiffin, Ohio, joined the Hungarian Reformed Church in America to the Reformed Church in the United States. The merged body is now a part of the United Church of Christ. Three congregations of the Hungarian Reformed Church did not wish to accept the Tiffin Agreement. These congregations and four new ones united to form the Free Magyar Reformed Church in America, which in 1958 adopted the name Hungarian Reformed Church in America.

Doctrinally, the church follows the Second Helvetic Confession and the Heidelberg Catechism. The constitution includes elements of both the presbyterian and episcopal systems. There is a synod headed by a bishop and a lay curator. The New York, Eastern, and Western Classes are headed by a dean and lay curator. The synod meets every four years. The church is a member of the World Alliance of Reformed Churches (Presbyterian and Congregational), the National Council of Churches, and the World Council of Churches.

Membership

In 1995 the church reported 4,195 members, 38 ministers in the United States; 275 members and 12 ministers in Canada.

Periodicals

Magyar Egyhaz (Magyar Church). Available from Mr. Stephen Szabo, Synod Chief Elder, 464 Forest Ave., Paramus, NJ 07652.

Sources

Hungarian Reformed Church in America. www.hrca.us.

Lithuanian Evangelical Reformed Church

c/o Mrs. Halina Davis, 3542 W 66th Pl., Chicago, IL 60629

The Lithuanian Evangelical Reformed Church consists of one congregation that is an outpost of the synod of the Reformed Church in Lithuania. The Reformed Church first came to Lithuania in the middle of the fifteenth century, and the first church was formed in 1555. It was granted equal rights with Lutherans and Catholics in 1564. It survived through the centuries as the country fell under Russian and then Soviet control. (Through the twentieth century, more than 800,000 Lithuanians migrated to the United States.) There are more than 10,000 members of the Reformed Church residing in Lithuania.

The church holds to the Apostles Creed and the Heidelberg Catechism as its standards of faith. It is led by its elders (teaching and ruling), and congregational representatives meet annually as a synod. The Lithuanian synod opened ordination to women in 1991.

The church in the United States retains fraternal relations with other Lithuania churches, especially several that are integrated into the Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod. It is a member of both the World Council of Churches and the World Alliance of Reformed Churches.

Membership

In 2008 the single congregation had approximately 50 members.

Periodicals

Musu Srarnai (Our Wings).

Sources

Bauswein, Jean-Jacques, and Lukas Vischner, eds. The Reformed Family Worldwide: A Survey of Reformed Churches, Theological Schools, and International Organizations. Grand Rapids, MI: William B. Eerdmanns Publishing Co., 1999.

Netherlands Reformed Congregations

Current address not obtained for this edition.

The Netherlands Reformed Congregations were formed in 1907 by the merger of two Dutch Reformed denominations. The Churches of the Cross had originated in 1834 with churches that had broken with the Seccession (an earlier group that had broken with the state church). The Ledeboerian Churches had been established under the leadership of Reverend Ledeboer, who had left the state Reformed church at a later date. Doctrinal standards of the church are the Belgic Confession, the Heidelberg Catechism, and the Canons of the Synod of Dort. The church has been very active in publishing and Christian education. It operates seven high schools and elementary schools in the United States.

Membership

In 2003 the Netherlands Reformed Church (NRC) had 9,524 members in 27 congregations served by 10 clergy members.

Educational Facilities

Netherlands Reformed Theological Seminary, Grand Rapids, Michigan.

Periodicals

Banner of Truth. • Paul. • Insight Into NRCEA.

Protestant Reformed Churches in America (PRC)

4949 Ivanrest SW, Grandville, MI 49418

The Protestant Reformed Churches in America (PRC) has its roots in the sixteenth-century Reformation of Martin Luther and John Calvin, as it developed in the Dutch Reformed churches. The denomination originated as a result of a controversy in the Christian Reformed Church in 1924 involving the adoption of the “Three Points of Common Grace.” Three ministers in the Christian Reformed Church, the Revs. Herman Hoeksema (1886–1965), Henry Danhof (d. 1942), and George Ophoff (1891–1962), and their consistories (Eastern Avenue, Hope, Kalamazoo) rejected the doctrine. Eventually, these men were deposed, and their consistories either deposed or set outside the Christian Reformed Church. The denomination was founded in 1926 with three congregations.

The PRC follows the presbyterian form of church government as determined by the Church Order of Dordt. There is an annual synod. The synodical stated clerk and board of trustees deal with the necessary business of the church between the meetings of synod.

The PRC’s doctrinal standards are the Reformed confessions: the Heidelberg Catechism, Belgic Confession of Faith, and Canons of Dordrecht. It maintains the “five points of Calvinism.” The doctrine of the covenant is a cornerstone of its teaching. It maintains an unconditional, particular convenant of grace that God establishes with His elect. In practice, the Protestant Reformed Churches maintains the regulative principle of worship, rejects remarriage of divorced persons, and maintains many of its own Christian schools.

Membership

In 2008 the PRC included about 25 churches in the United States and two in Canada (Edmonton and Lacombe, Alberta), and almost 6,000 members. The denomination’s seminary is in Grandville, Michigan, where the largest number of churches is located. Over the years the PRC has established numerous mission stations in North America, and has been working in Northern Ireland, United Kingdom, New Zealand, the Philippines, and Singapore.

Educational Facilities

Protestant Reformed Theological School, Grandville, Michigan.

Periodicals

Although the PRC has no official publication, its seminary publishes the Protestant Reformed Theological Journal, and several organizations within the denomination publish periodicals, including Beacon Lights, Perspectives in Covenant Education, and Standard Bearer. Another organization, the Reformed Free Publishing Association, also publishes religious books both theological and educational.

Sources

Protestant Reformed Churches in America. www.prca.org/prc.html.

Hoeksema, Herman. The Protestant Reformed Churches in America. Grand Rapids, MI: Author, 1947.

———. Why Protestant Reformed? Grand Rapids, MI: Sunday School of the First Protestant Reformed Church, 1949.

Reformed Church in America

475 Riverside Dr., New York, NY 10115

The first Dutch settlers in America, members of the Reformed Church in the Netherlands, brought that church to this country. The Rev. Jonas Michaelius arrived in 1628 and organized the first congregation, now known as the Collegiate Church of the City of New York. Because of a shortage of ministers, some people began to advocate ministerial training in the colonies. Queens College (now Rutgers University) was founded and a theological seminary established there. The independence of the American church was achieved in 1770 when John Livingston returned from his theological work at Utrecht with a plan of union. In 1792 a constitution was adopted, and in 1819 the church was incorporated as the Reformed Protestant Dutch Church. It took its present name, the Reformed Church in America, in 1867.

The church spread through New York and New Jersey during the colonial era. In the middle of the nineteenth century a new wave of Dutch immigrants arrived. They settled primarily in Michigan and Iowa and from there moved to other states, particularly South Dakota.

Doctrinally, the church has remained very conservative, accepting as its standard doctrine the Belgic Confession, the Heidelberg Catechism, and the Canons of the Synod of Dort. Worship is outlined in the liturgy and is supplemented by the church’s hymnal, Rejoice in the Lord. The liturgies of the Lord’s Supper, baptism, and ordination are obligatory; those for the Sunday service and marriage are not.

The polity is presbyterial. The highest authority is the General Synod, which meets annually in June. A 62-member executive committee functions between sessions. The General Synod is divided into 46 classes that are distributed in eight regional synods made up of lay and clerical members of each classes. The voting members of the classes are all the ministers and an elder from each church in the classes. The ruling body at the congregational level is the consistory, composed of the ministers and elected elders and deacons.

Education has always been given high priority by the Reformed Church, and a Board of Theological Education keeps oversight of its seminaries. The General Synod Council oversees work among American Indians; social services; and foreign work in Central America, Africa, Asia, Europe, and the Middle East. The church is a member of the National Council of Churches and the World Council of Churches.

Membership

In 1997 the church reported 304,113 members, an additional 190,000 active communicants, 957 churches, and 1,800 ministers. There were 6,535 members in Canada.

Educational Facilities

Seminaries

Western Theological Seminary, Holland, Michigan.

New Brunswick Theological Seminary, New Brunswick, New Jersey.

Colleges

Hope College, Holland, Michigan.

Northwestern College, Orange City, Iowa.

Central College, Pella, Iowa.

Periodicals

The Church Herald. Send orders to 4500 60th St. SE, Grand Rapids, MI 49512.

Sources

Reformed Church in America. www.rca.org/NETCOMMUNITY/Page.aspx?pid=183&srcid=425.

Reformed Church in the United States

407 W Main St., Grass Valley, CA 95945

In 1934 the Reformed Church in the United States merged with the Evangelical Synod. (In 1961 that merged body joined the United Church of Christ.) One classis of the Reformed Church in the United States, the Eureka Classis in South Dakota, decided not to enter the 1934 merger. So the Eureka Classis adopted the name of its parent body, the Reformed Church in the United States, and stayed separate from all the other classes that joined the 1934 merger. The present Reformed Church in the United States continues the polity and doctrines (adherence to the Heidelberg Confession) of the former Reformed Church in the United States. The classis meets annually.

Membership

In 2008 the church had 46 congregations. It has two main mission fields in Africa. They have fraternal relations with the Canadian and American Reformed Churches, Reformed Churches in the Netherlands (Liberated), Reformed Confessing Church of the Congo, Reformed Presbyterian Church of North America, and the Orthodox Presbyterian Church. They are members of the North American Reformed and Presbyterian Council and the International Conference of Reformed Churches.

Periodicals

The Reformed Herald. Send orders to 6121 Pine Vista Way, Elk Grove, CA 95758.

Sources

Reformed Church in the United States. www.rcus.org/.

Reformed Church of Quebec

844, rue de Contrecoeur, Quebec, QC, Canada G1X 2X8

Reformed Church of Quebec claims a heritage that begins even before the Protestant Reformation, in the writings of Jacques Lefevre d’Etaples (c. 1450–1536), a professor of theology of the University of Sorbonne. In 1512, he authored a commentary on the biblical book of Romans that had an instrumental role in the transformation of Martin Luther and was subsequently read by leading French Reformers such as William Farel and John Calvin. Through the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries many Protestants (in France called Huguenots) migrated to Canada and several rose to positions of eminence.

In 1835 two Swiss missionaries, Louis Roussy and Henriette Feller, from the Swiss Missionary Society, arrived in Montreal. From their effort an initial parish was formed in 1837. Two years later, they formed the Franco-Canadian Missionary Society. In 1921, the congregations resulting from this effort became a part of the Presbyterian Church of Canada and then moved into the United Church of Canada. However, as Canada grew, and attention was focused on growth in the far west, the French-speaking element in the church declined. By 1975, only three congregations of some 25 remained.

In 1978 Rev. Harold Kallemeyn of the Christian Reformed Church began a new thrust into Quebec and founded a congregation in Montreal. His effort also led to the foundation of the Evangelical Reformed Alliance (Alliance Reformee evangelique [A.R.E.]) founded that same year at Montmorency. A.R.E. proposed three goals: (a) to establish Farel Institute (later Farel Reformed Theological Seminary) for the training of ministers; (b) to launch a journal; and (c) to revise and publish French Reformed books. Over the next decades with the support of Christian Reformed Church in North America, the Presbyterian Church of America, and the continuing Presbyterian Church of Canada, additional congregations were formed. In 1984 several congregations formed the Conseil des eglises Reformees du Quebec (C.E.R.Q.) as a step toward the formation of a separate French-speaking Reformed denomination. A three-year process of negotiation on structure and doctrine followed and the Eglise Reformee du Quebec was officially inaugurated on November 6, 1988.

The church accepted the Heidelberg Catechism and the Westminster Confession of Faith. Initially, nine congregations affiliated.

Membership

As of March 2008, there are five congregations and seven clergy, all in Quebec. The church reported a membership of 250.

Educational Facilities

Farel Reformed Theological Seminary, Montreal, Quebec, Canada.

Sources

Reformed Church of Quebec. www.erq.qc.ca.

Farel Reformed Theological Seminary. www.farel.net.

Bauswein, Jean-Jacques, and Lukas Vischner, eds. The Reformed Family Worldwide: A Survey of Reformed Churches, Theological Schools, and International Organizations. Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmanns, 1999.

United Reformed Churches of North America

No central headquarters. For information, write c/o, Mr. Bill Konynenbelt, Stated Clerk of the Federation, 5824 Bowwater Cr. NW, Calgary, AB, Canada T3B 2E2

The United Reformed Church of North America (URCNA) grew out of dissatisfaction with a variety of decisions being made within the Christian Reformed Church of North America. Dissatisfaction initially manifested through the organization of a Consistorial Conference, a gathering of consistories/councils at which issues could be aired and discussed. In the early 1990s, the conference transformed into the Alliance of Reformed Churches that included both congregations that had withdrawn from the Christian Reformed Church and others that retained their formal affiliation. Over time, several congregations not previously a part of the Christian Reformed Church also affiliated with the Alliance.

In November 1995, representatives from more than 40 churches in both the United States and Canada gathered in Lynwood, Illinois, to develop a constitution and by-laws for a new federation of reformed churches. Their work led to the formation the next year of the United Reformed Churches in North America at a synod meeting also held in Lynwood.

The new federation adopted the Bible as confessed in the Heidelberg Catechism, Belgic Confession, and the Canons of Dort as their standard of faith (Three Forms of Unity). Liturgical forms based on that of the 1976 Psalter Hymnal of Christian Reformed Church were also adopted in a slightly modified form.

At its Sixth Synod (2007), the United Reformed Church gave a new committee permission to post a list of URC Churches, Synodical agendas and minutes, and similar documents on a newly developed and soon to be public web site of the federation, www.urcna.org. The next Synod meeting of the URCNA is scheduled be held in London, ON, Canada, in 2010.

The URCNA is a member of North American Presbyterian and Reformed Council (NAPARC, www.naparc.org) and The International Conference of Reformed Churches (ICRC, www.icrconline.com).

Membership

In 2008 the church reported that there were 21,832, 68 congregations in the United States and 34 congregations in Canada.

Sources

United Reformed Churches in North America. www.urcna.org.

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