What are the Netherlands Reformed Congregations?
There are many different churches with the name Reformed and they all claim to stand in the Reformed tradition. We are just one of them. The Netherlands Reformed Congregations (NRC) is indeed a denomination which values the Reformed heritage, and seeks to preserve this. The word ‘Reformed’ is of great significance to us, and we do not relinquish this designation in our name. We bear this name, being conscious of both our privilege and our responsibility. The name Reformed bears witness to God’s preservation of his church. Indeed it was God Himself who Reformed His church when she was in danger of perishing due to the errors and superstitions that abounded in the church during the middle ages. The Lord used such well-known reformers as Luther, Calvin, and Zwingli to again place both doctrine and life under the discipline of the Word of God. The NRC stands in a Calvinist tradition. We are ‘Reformed’ in the old, classical sense of the word; that is, in doctrine, life, and ecclesiastical government – no more, but also nothing less than that. One may wonder, why is it called ‘Netherlands’ Reformed Congregations? Is this a Dutch speaking church? Must you be from Dutch descent in order to be a member of it? Does ‘Netherlands’ refer to a specific kind of belief? The answer is simple. The word ‘Netherlands’ merely points to the fact that the roots of this denomination are found in the country of the Netherlands. Many members of the NRC can trace their ancestry to this country in Europe. In 1907 the ‘Churches Under the Cross’ and the ‘Ledeboerian Churches’ were united and together formed the ‘Gereformeerde Gemeenten’, our sister denomination in the Netherlands. At present this denomination consists of 156 congregations with a total of about 104,000 members. It is largely from these ‘Gereformeerde Gemeenten’, and also partially from those who left the Christian Reformed Church (because of the teaching of pre-supposed regeneration), that the Netherlands Reformed Congregations originated.
The NRC has 27 congregations across North America with almost 10,000 members. Some of our churches were established more than 140 years ago, while several others are also more than 100 years old. Other congregations are much younger, being established after World War II when the new immigrants formed churches in which they could hear the same Scriptural-experimental truth they used to hear in the ‘old country’.