Canadian and American Reformed Churches

Infobox Christian denomination
name = Canadian and American Reformed Churches


caption =
main_classification = Protestant
orientation = Orthodox Reformed (Calvinist)
polity =
founded_date = 16 April 1950
founded_place = Lethbridge, Alberta (Canada)
parent = Reformed Churches in the Netherlands (Liberated)
merger =
separations =
associations = International Conference of Reformed Churches
area =
congregations = 54
members = 16,570
footnotes = Statistics as of December 2007 [Visscher, Dr. J. (ed.). "Yearbook Anno Domini 2008 Canadian and American Reformed Churches", Premier Printing.]
PortalCalvinismThe Canadian and American Reformed Churches (CanRC) is a federation of over fifty Protestant Christian churches in Canada and the USA, with historical roots in the Reformed Churches of the Netherlands, and doctrinal roots in the sixteenth century Protestant Reformation. Its emphasis is on Biblical, Christ-centered, covenantal, redemptive-historical preaching and teaching, and holy living as a response of gratitude to the gospel.

Basic beliefs and doctrine

In the Canadian and American Reformed Churches, members believe that the Bible is the infallible Word of God and the authoritative rule for all of life. The heart of the preaching and teaching in these churches is that Jesus of Nazareth is both true man and true God and is the long-awaited Messiah who suffered and died for the sins of God's people, and that this demands a thankful response of faith and obedience. Like other Reformed churches, they teach that salvation is by grace through faith in Jesus alone, follows Reformed (Calvinist) theology, and has adopted the Three Forms of Unity (Belgic Confession, Heidelberg Catechism, Canons of Dort) as its doctrinal standards. Upon public profession of faith, members are understood to subscribe to these confessions as faithfully summarizing the doctrine of the Bible.

History

The Canadian Reformed Churches were founded by members of the Reformed Churches in the Netherlands (Liberated) who immigrated to Canada following World War II. These Dutch immigrants first made contact with already-existing Reformed churches in Canada, especially the Protestant Reformed Churches in America (PRC) and the Christian Reformed Church in North America (CRCNA), in the hope that they could join with them. This was not possible, however, due to theological differences with the PRC, and the fact that the CRCNA sympathized with the churches from which the Reformed Churches in the Netherlands (Liberated) had broken away in 1944.

The first Canadian Reformed congregation was instituted in Lethbridge, Alberta on April 16, 1950. There are currently just over 50 congregations, with a total membership of 16,570 at the end of 2007. Local churches are found in British Columbia, Alberta, Manitoba and Ontario, as well as in the American states of Washington, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Maryland and Colorado.

Church government

Believing that the government of the church must be regulated by the Bible, the CanRC federation practices a traditionally Reformed "bottom-up" polity, as opposed to a "top-down" model of church government. This approach to church polity reflects their continental Reformed roots. It emphasizes both the principles of being anti-hierarchical and anti-independent, thus defending both the autonomy of the local church and the need to cooperate within a federation. Its official system of government is described in a church order based on the church order adopted by the Synod of Dort (1618-1619). The federation is divided into eight classical regions, with annual regional synods and a general synod every three years.

Ecumenical relations

The Canadian Reformed Churches also have "ecclesiastical fellowship" with a number of Reformed and Presbyterian church federations, including the following:

The Americas:
*United Reformed Churches in North America
*Reformed Church in the United States
*Orthodox Presbyterian Church
*L'Église réformée du Québec
* [http://www.homestead.com/igrejasreformadas/ Reformed Churches in Brazil]

Abroad:
*Reformed Churches in the Netherlands (Liberated)
*Free Reformed Churches of South Africa
*Free Reformed Churches of Australia
*Reformed Churches of New Zealand
* [http://new.kosin.org/html/about/about02.html Presbyterian Church in Korea]
*Free Church of Scotland

Organic unity is currently being pursued with the United Reformed Churches in North America (URCNA). The Canadian Reformed Churches are also a member of the International Conference of Reformed Churches (ICRC), and presently seeking membership in the North American Presbyterian and Reformed Council (NAPARC).

Theological Education

Maintaining the principle that theological education must be maintained by the churches and for the churches, the federation operates the Theological College of the Canadian Reformed Churches [http://theologicalcollege.ca/] , which is located in Hamilton, Ontario.

References

External links

* [http://www.canrc.org/ Official web site for the Canadian and American Reformed Churches]
* [http://theologicalcollege.ca/ Theological College of the Canadian Reformed Churches]


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