Reformed Churches of New Zealand
Reformed Churches of New Zealand is a Reformed Christian denomination in
New Zealand. The denomination is constituted of 19 member churches, the first eight of which were formed in 1953. Total membership as of 2007 stands at 3,332.
Form of doctrine
doctrineof the Reformed Churches of New Zealand is expressed in the four confessions of faith to which it subscribes. These are the Heidelberg Catechism(1563), Belgic Confession(1566), Canons of Dort(1619) (known collectively as the "Three Forms of Unity"), and the Westminster Confession of Faith. Also recognised are the Apostles' Creed, Nicene Creedand Athanasian Creed, all of which summarise the churches' doctrines.
The Reformed Churches of New Zealand are one of the few
Reformed churchesinternationally to subscribe to both the Three Forms of Unity (common among Reformed churcheswith origins in the European continent, especially the Netherlands) and the Westminster Confession of Faith(common among Reformed or Presbyterian churches with origins in the British Isles).
Form of governance
The Reformed Churches of New Zealand hold to the system of
Presbyterian church governance. Each church has a ruling Session composed of elders, one of whom is the church’s minister (also known as the "teaching elder"). Churches which have no minister are said to be vacant. Each church also has deaconswho are charged with maintaining the temporal well-being of church members and with alleviating social distress. In larger churches deacons meet in their own Deacons’ Courts, while in smaller churches they meet together with the rest of the Session. Only men are eligible to serve in the offices of minister, elder, and deacon.
Churches belong to one of three regional
Presbyterieswhich meet three times per year to discuss matters of common interest and to provide mutual oversight. Churches also meet in General Synod once every three years to discuss matters of joint interest and to manage activities pertaining to the denomination. Rights of appeal are available to presbytery and synod.
"Church" "Year Formed" "Current Minister" Auckland Presbytery Reformed Church of Avondale 1964 "vacant" Reformed Presbyterian Church of Bucklands Beach 1953 Dirk Van Garderen Reformed Church of Hamilton[http://hamilton.rcnz.org.nz] 1953 Michael Willemse Reformed Church of Hukanui 2002 Reinier Noppers Reformed Church of Mangere[http://mangere.rcnz.org.nz] 1964 Sjirk Bajema Reformed Church of North Shore 1980 John Rogers Reformed Church of Pukekohe 1989 John Haverland Wellington Presbytery Reformed Church of Foxton[http://foxton.rcnz.org.nz] 1984 Pieter van Huyssteen Reformed Church of Hastings[http://hastings.rcnz.org.nz] 1960 Bruce Hoyt Reformed Church of Masterton 1987 Peter Kloosterman Reformed Church of Palmerston North[http://palmnorth.rcnz.org.nz] (including a group in Wanganui) [http://wanganui.rcnz.org.nz] 1953 Michael Flinn "vacant" Reformed Church of Silverstream 1967 Paul Archbald Reformed Church of Wainuiomata 1975 Leo de Vos Reformed Church of Wellington 1953 Andrew Nugteren Christchurch Presbytery Reformed Church of Bishopdale 1982 Robert van Wichen Reformed Church of Christchurch[http://christchurch.rcnz.org.nz] 1953 "vacant" Reformed Church of Dovedale 2001 Andre Holtslag Reformed Church of Dunedin[http://dunedin.rcnz.org.nz] (including a group in Oamaru & Timaru) 1955 "vacant" Reformed Church of Nelson 1953 "vacant"
The Reformed Churches of New Zealand is a member of the
International Conference of Reformed Churches[http://www.icrconline.com] . Sister-church relationships are held with churches abroad which hold to similar doctrine and practice.
Christian Reformed Churches of Australia[http://www.crca.org.au]
Presbyterian Church of Eastern Australia[http://www.pcea.org.au]
**Orthodox Presbyterian Church, USA [http://www.opc.org]
Canadian and American Reformed Churches[http://www.canrc.org]
**Reformed Church in South Africa (Die Gereformeerde Kerke in Suid-Afrika) [http://www.gksa.org.za/]
**Christian Reformed Churches of the Netherlands (De Christelijke Gereformeerde Kerken in Nederland) [http://www.cgk.nl]
** [Reformed Churches of the Netherlands (Liberated)|Reformed Churches of the Netherlands (Liberated) (Gereformeerde Kerken in Nederland [Vrijgemaakt] )] [http://www.gkv.nl]
*Other churches with which contact is had:
Grace Presbyterian Church of New Zealand[http://www.gpcnz.org.nz]
Free Reformed Churches of Australia[http://frca.org.au]
United Reformed Churches in North America[http://www.trinityurc.net/urcna.htm]
Reformed churcheshave their origins in the 16th-century Protestant Reformation. In the late 1940s migrants from the Netherlandssettling in New Zealandexpected to find their spiritual homes in existing churches of Reformed persuasion. Instead they found departures from Reformed doctrine and practice that they could not overlook. Discussions were begun in Aucklandin 1951 with a view to establishing an indigenous Reformed denomination. A minister from the Netherlands, Rev J W Deenick, arrived in 1952 to support the fledgling group. The Reformed Churches of New Zealand were officially established in 1953 at a synod in Wellingtonwhere churches from Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch were represented. By the end of that year further churches in Bucklands Beach, Hamilton, Nelson and Palmerston North were established. A further 12 member churches have since been formed.
As with many other conservative Calvinist churches, the Reformed Churches of New Zealand were convulsed by controversy over
theonomy, a theocratic theology that is otherwise known as Christian Reconstructionism, whose chief proponents were the late Rousas John Rushdoony, Greg Bahnsenand Gary North. In the early eighties, several Reformed Church of New Zealand trainees attended the Reformed Theological Seminary, where Greg Bahnsenwas a lecturer, and were exposed to his theology.
Richard Flinn was a proponent of this theology, especially during New Zealand's debate over homosexual law reform in 1985/86, where he advocated the death penalty for homosexuality, which had not existed in the British Commonwealth since the nineteenth century. Flinn was minister at the North Shore Reformed Church, where he published The Isachaarian Report, and acolytes also produced Family Alert, and ran an organisation called Women of the Reformed Church. Flinn later left the North Shore Reformed Church under unexplained circumstances. The General Synod of the Reformed Church debated the issue in 1989, and reached no firm conclusions, therefore proponents of theonomy are not excluded from membership.
The churches hold
worshipservices twice each Sunday and generally on Christmas Day, Good Friday, Ascension Dayand New Year's Eve. Preachingfrom the Bibleis the central element of worship. Preaching is by ordained ministers, or alternatively sermonswritten by an ordained minister may be read by a lay male Session appointee when a minister is not available. Sung praiseand corporate prayerare the next most significant elements of worship. The Christian Reformed Church in North America's "Psalter Hymnal" is the main source of hymnody, however the compilation and evaluation of a denominational psalter/hymnal is currently in progress. The singing of the Psalmsfeatures strongly in the hymnody. Corporate confession of sin and the assurance of God's pardon are an integral part of Sunday morning worship, while in the second service one of the creeds is usually recited in unison.
sacramentof the Lord's Supper(or Holy Communion) is celebrated at least three-monthly. The sacrament of baptismis administered to new converts and to the infant children of church members.
List of synods
No. Year Venue Moderator and General Adjunct Clerks 1 1953 Wellington R E Dijkstra, Wellington J W Deenick, Auckland 1: A van Gelder 2 1953 Auckland J W Deenick, Auckland E Dijkstra, Wellington 1: Th Althuis 3 1954 Wellington E Dijkstra, Wellington J A Scarrow, Bucklands Beach 1: A van Gelder 2: F Channing 4 1955 Christchurch B Boelens, Christchurch J W Deenick, Auckland 1: F Channing 2: P G van Dam 5 1957 Hamilton J W Deenick, Auckland E Dijkstra, Wellington 1: W In’t Veld 2: J Kleinjan St: F Channing 6 1957 Dunedin J A Scarrow, Bucklands Beach R J Venema, Dunedin 1: H van der Pols 2: P G van Dam St: F Channing 7 1961 Wellington R J Venema, Bucklands Beach J W Deenick, Auckland 1: P G van Dam 2: W van Rij St: R J Venema 8 1962 Wellington S Cooper, Christchurch P H Pellicaan, Dunedin 1: D G Vanderpyl 2: R O Zorn, Hamilton St: R O Zorn, Hamilton 9 1964 Wellington R O Zorn, Hamilton P van der Schaaf, Christchurch 1: A I de Graaf, Wellington 2: F Channing, Nelson St: R O Zorn, Hamilton 10 1965 Christchurch G I Williamson, Mangere P H Pellicaan, Dunedin 1: A I de Graaf, Wellington 2: F Channing, Nelson St: R O Zorn, Hamilton 11 1967 Avondale H L Hoving, Silverstream R O Zorn, Hamilton 1: A I de Graaf, Wellington 2: T E Tyson, Bucklands Beach St: C J Reitsma, Wellington 12 1969 Nelson C J Reitsma, Wellington T E Tyson, Bucklands Beach 1: D G Vanderpyl 2: F Channing, Nelson St: D G Vanderpyl 13 1971 Wellington H L Hoving, Silverstream/ Wainuiomata A W Palmer, Mangere 1: W Wiersma, Christchurch 2: F W Kroon, Bucklands Beach St: D G Vanderpyl 14 1974 Silverstream W Wiersma, Christchurch W A Davies, Bucklands Beach 1: D G Vanderpyl 2: H L Hoving, Invercargill St: D G Vanderpyl 15 1977 Hamilton G I Williamson, Silverstream A W Palmer, Mangere 1: M Schwarz, Hamilton 2: L Reurich, Hastings St: D G Vanderpyl 16 1980 Palmerston North M Schwarz, Hamilton J Goris, Avondale 1: J C Williams, Nelson 2: L Reurich, Kerepehi/ Tokoroa St: D G Vanderpyl 17 1983 Christchurch P D Stadt, Christchurch J E de Graaf, Bishopdale 1: B U Kuipers, Palmerston North 2: C A R Larsen, Dunedin St: D G Vanderpyl 18 1986 Mangere D J van Garderen, Bishopdale P R Flinn, North Shore 1: B Hoyt, Silverstream 2: L Draijer, Nelson St: D G Vanderpyl 19 1989 Silverstream W Wiersma, Hamilton B Kroon, Christchurch 1: J A Haverland, Bucklands Beach 2: D van der Vecht, Avondale St: D G Vanderpyl 20 1992 Bishopdale W Wiersma, Hamilton J A Haverland, Bishopdale 1: M A Flinn, Pukekohe 2: B Hoyt, Masterton St: J Ploeg 21 1995 Avondale J A Haverland, Bishopdale M A Flinn, Pukekohe 1: B Hoyt, Hastings 2: W Walraven, Silverstream St: J Ploeg 22 1998 Wainuiomata J A Haverland, Bishopdale G H Milne, Wainuiomata 1: B Hoyt, Hastings 2: M A Flinn, Pukekohe St: B Hoyt, Hastings 23 2001 Palmerston North M A Flinn, Dovedale M Capill, Bucklands Beach 1: S Bajema, Mangere 2: J van Rensburg, Bucklands Beach St: B Hoyt, Hastings 24 2002 Christchurch W Wiersma, Hamilton J A Haverland, Bishopdale 1: B Hoyt, Hastings 2: W Walraven, Silverstream St: B Hoyt, Hastings 25 2005 Hamilton J A Haverland, Pukekohe M A Flinn, Dovedale 1: B Hoyt, Hastings 2: R de Vries, Christchurch St: B Hoyt, Hastings 26 2008 Hastings J H Rogers, North Shore D J van Garderen, Bucklands Beach 1: P van der Wel, Hamilton 2: A Nugteren, Wellington St: B Hoyt, Hastings
Latest synodical appointments
**Church Extension Committee
**Church Order Committee
**Emeritus Fund and Long Service Leave Fund Committee
**Education Resource Committee
**Inter-Church Relations Committee
**Overseas Mission Board
**National Diaconate Committee
**National Publications Committee
**Reformed Theological College and Student Assistance Committee
**Committee to Update Forms and Confessions
**Psalm and Hymnody Selection Committee
**Sexual Abuse Study Committee
**Who May Preach Study Committee
**Deputies to the Reformed Theological College
**Year Book Editor
**Synodical Liaison to Calvinist Cadet Corps
*John Haverland: "Theonomy: What Have We Learned?" in Dirk Vanderpyl (ed) Trust and Obey: A History of the Reformed Churches of New Zealand: Hamilton: Reformed Church Publishing Society: 1994.
* [http://www.rcnz.org.nz Reformed Churches of New Zealand]
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