Church and State in the Modern Age: A Documentary History

By J. F. MacLear | Go to book overview

time, both in the mutilation or rejection of the teaching of our Fathers, based on God's Word, and in the corruption of the administration of the Holy Sacraments according to the ordinance of Christ in his Word, and in the almost total neglect of church discipline, all of which, according to our Reformed confession, art. 29, are the marks of the true Church; and having received. . . . a Pastor and Teacher who presented to us the pure doctrine of our Fathers . . . putting it into practice both particularly and generally, thereby arousing the congregation to turn increasingly to regularity of faith and God's Holy Word in confession and conduct, . . . and also to refrain from serving God after man's commandments . . . by which means the congregation dwelt in peace and quiet.

However, this peace and quiet was disturbed by the unlawful and ungodly suspension of our unanimously beloved and esteemed Pastor and Teacher, because of his public testimony against false faith and polluted public worship. . . . Several entirely reasonable proposals were made both by our Pastor . . . and the remaining deacons . . . and repeatedly examination and judgment were requested according to God's Word, but everything was in vain. This most reasonable request was denied by the Classis, Provincial Council, and Synod, which contrariwise demanded . . . repentance, without indicating the offense from God's Holy Word, and demanded total submission to synodical regulations. . . .

By this means this Dutch Church Council is now made identical with the Papal church, which was rejected by our Fathers, not only because of the abovementioned decay, but also because God's Word is rejected and invalidated by church regulations and decisions. . . . Finally, by authority of the provincial Church Council the preaching of the Word of God by a publicly acknowledged Church preacher among us, the Reverend and very learned Mr. H. P. Scholte, Reformed teacher at Dovren and Gendren . . . in North Brabant has been forbidden, and the common meetings of believers, held with open doors, have been penalized by fine;-from all of which it has now become increasingly clear that the Dutch Reformed Church does not give credit to art. 29 of our confession;

Wherefore the undersigned declare here that, in accordance with the function of all believers, art. 28, they separate themselves from others who are not of the church and that they wish fellowship no longer with the Dutch Reformed Church until the latter returns to the true service of the Lord; and at the same time they declare their wish to practice fellowship with all true Reformed members and their desire to be united with each assembly based on God's infallible Word. . . . herewith testifying that we adhere to God's Holy Word and our old Forrnularies of unity in everything based on that Word, namely the Confession of Faith, the Heidelberg Catechism, and the Canons of the Synod of Dort. . . . Finally, we hereby declare that we keep our minister who was illegally suspended, acknowledging him as our lawfully called and ordained Pastor and Teacher.

Source: H. de Cock, Acte van Afscheiding of Wederkeering ( Groningen, 1834), pp. 3-6.


SUGGESTIONS FOR BACKGROUND AND REFERENCE

M. G. Hansen, The Reformed Church in the Netherlands ( New York, 1884), pp. 298-304.

M. E. Kluit, Het Réveil in Nederland 1817-1854 ( Amsterdam, 1936), pp. 159-199.

-220-

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