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Page 323


Principal Issues or Contentions

A. The Secession (1834)

Rev. De Cock, Scholte, Van Raalte, and the Secession people objected to:

  • The state's rule in the church - ministers being paid by the state; classes and synods having been dissolved and a state council appointed to govern
  • New Candidate for the Ministry Forms which no longer required candidates to declare their full agreement with the Three Forms of Unity, but "agreement insofar as they agree with Scripture."
  • A growing liberal spirit and denial of the Five Points of Calvinism in the Reformed Church
  • Rev. De Cock's suspension from office for baptizing children outside of his parish district and for his writings against various liberal Reformed preachers

B. The Petition for Freedom (1839)

1834-1839 was a time of harassment and persecution for the Secession people in the followings ways:

  • Loss of business
  • Discrimination in employment
  • Gatherings declared illegal
  • Ministers fined for breaking the law
  • Vandalism, arson, and physical beatings in certain localities

During these five years, the Secession had grown from sixteen to thirty-five congregations of approximately four thousand people. In 1839, the state offered to legalize the Secession gatherings and end their persecution if they agreed to sign its "Petition for Freedom." This document declared that the Secession churches were:

  • Presently illegal existing religious societies
  • Not the true Reformed church
  • Recipients of their freedom by permission of the state

Although they did not agree with these statements, Rev. Scholte and several congregations agreed to sign the "Petition for Freedom" to end the persecution. These congregations became known as the "Liberated Churches."

The congregations which refused to sign became known as the "Churches Under the Cross," i.e., the cross of persecution.

Other factors involved in the 1839 split include:

  • The use of a newly-revised Church Order or the Dordt Church Order
  • The singing of the New or the Old Rhyme Psalms in church
  • The observance of various religious holidays by the church
  • The dress of ministers and other local custom issues

C. Old Christian Reformed Church (1869)

All but three of the thirty-one' 'Churches Under the Cross" united with the "Liberated Churches" to form the Old Christian Reformed Church.

The three remaining congregations (Enkhuizen, Tricht, and Lisse) became known as the "Reformed Congregations Under the Cross."

D. The Ledeboerian Congregations (1841)

Rev. Ledeboer and his congregations objected to the same first three points listed under "A. The Secession" and the church governing board's demand that certain hymns be sung each service from its new hymn book.

The "Ledeboerian Congregations" multiplied and Rev. Ledeboer desired to ordain two men to assist in serving the churches - P. Van Dyke and D. Bakker. P. Van Dyke was ordained, but D. Bakker did not feel free to agree to this.

E. Bakker/Van Dyke split (1863)

After Rev. Ledeboer died, Bakker desired ordination, but Rev. Van Dyke refused to ordain him, due to a different emphasis regarding personal justification. Bakker was then ordained by his elders and a split occurred in the "Ledeboerian Congregations."

(Continued on the next page)


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