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Reformed churches

The Reformed churches are Protestant denominations historically related to one another by a similar Calvinist system of doctrine. Each of the nations in which the Reformed movement was established has its own church government and most have experienced splits into multiple denominations. A 1999 survey found 746 Reformed denominations worldwide. The Reformed churches which originated in the British Isles are called Presbyterians. A sub-family of the Reformed churches, called Reformed Baptist[?] churches, adhere to modified Reformed confessions, and have Baptist views of the sacraments and of church government. Congregationalist Churches are similarly a sub-family of the Reformed churches, historically holding fully Reformed confessions but differing in their form of government. Commitment to teaching the original Calvinism, although it usually continues to be reflected in their official definitions of doctrine, is no longer necessarily typical of these churches.

Table of contents
1 International organizations of Reformed churches

Continental Reformed churches

The largest branch of the Reformed movement, and the only one of the national Reformed churches to survive without division since the Reformation to the present time. The Hungarian Reformed Church has adopted the Heidelberg Catechism[?] and the Second Helvetic Confession[?] as a definition of their teaching, together the Ecumenical creeds of the Christian Church: Athanasian Creed, Nicene Creed, Chalcedon, and the common creed ("Apostles' Creed"). Regional churches may also adopt the Canons of Dordt[?], and in Transylvania Luther's Small Catechism[?] is adopted.

In France, the Reformed protestants were called Huguenots. The Reformed Church of France survived under persecution from 1559 until the Edict of Nantes (1598), the effect of which was to establish regions in which Protestants could live unmolested. These areas became centers of political resistance under which the Reformed church was protected until until 1628, when La Rochelle, the protestant center of resistance to Louis XIII[?], was overrun by a French army blockade. After the protestant resistance failed, the Reformed Church of France reorganized, and was guaranteed toleration under the Edict of Nantes until final revocation of toleration in 1685. The periods of persecution scattered French Reformed refugees to England, Germany, Switzerland, Africa and America. A free (meaning, not state controlled) synod of the Reformed Church emerged in 1848 and survives in small numbers to the present time. The French refugees established French Reformed churches in the latin countries and in America.

The first Reformed churches in France produced the Gallic Confession[?] and French Reformed confession of faith, which served as models for the Belgic Confession of Faith[?] (1563).

Toleration for the Reformed churches in Germany was established under the Peace of Westphalia, in 1648, but political difficulties at the end of the 17th century almost eliminated them. In the 19th century, by state mandate the Reformed churches were combined with the Lutherans to form an Evangelical Union in Prussia.

The Dutch Reformed churches have suffered three major splits.

Reformed churches in Britain and Ireland

The churches with presbyterian traditions in the United Kingdom have the Westminster Confession of Faith[?] as one of their important confessional documents.
  • The Presbyterian Church in Ireland serves the whole of the island.

Reformed churches in the U.S. and Canada (and Old World counterparts)

The CRC is a conservative/evangelical denomination founded by Dutch immigrants in the nineteenth century in West Michigan.
The Presbyterian Church of Canada split from a larger group of the same name that voted to join the United Church of Canada in 1925
One of the most conservative Reformed/Calvinist denominations in the world, the PRC separated from the CRC in the 1920s in a schism over the issue of common grace.
The RCA is a liberal/evangelical denomination formed by Dutch immigrants during colonial times.

Most Presbyterian churches adhere to the Westminster Confession of Faith, but the Presbyterian Church (USA), in order to embrace the historical expressions of the whole Reformed tradition as found in the United States, has adopted a Book of Confessions[?]. The BOC contains the Nicene Creed, Apostle's Creed[?], Scots Confession[?], Heidelberg Catechism[?], Second Helvetic Confession[?], Westminster Confession of Faith[?], Westminster Shorter Catechism[?], Westminster Larger Catechism[?], Theological Declaration of Barmen[?], Confession of 1967[?], and A Brief Statement of Faith - PCUSA[?].

The Presbyterian Church (USA) has split a number of times in its history. Many of these historic splits have been resolved. From the continuing branch churches, some have split in turn. Only some of the continuing branches from the main bodies are listed here, with the year of their separation.

Reformed churches in Korea

The Korean Presbyterian Church which formed the primary body of the Presbyterian General Assembly[?] (the Reformed Church in Korea) was established by missionaries of the Presbyterian Church (USA), and Canadian and Australian Presbyterians. It is not to be confused with the much more conservative Presbyterian Church in Korea[?] (Kosin), whose seminary is not recognized by the General Assembly.

Reformed churches in Nigeria (and founding counterparts)

The various Reformed churches of Nigeria formed the Reformed Ecumenical Council of Nigeria[?] in 1991 to further cooperation.

International organizations of Reformed churches

For another list of world Reformed churches, see [2] (http://reformed.net/church/orgs).

See also: List of Christian denominations



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