One hundred eighty-five years ago...

One hundred eighty-five years ago, on October 13, 1834, two elders and three deacons in the small Reformed church in Ulrum, the Netherlands, signed their names to the Act of Secession, or Return. Their actions sparked an uproar in the national Dutch Reformed Church. And as a result, the men and their families faced intense persecution, not only from the church they left, but also from the political authorities in the Netherlands. They, and others who joined them, were forced to house soldiers in their homes. They were forbidden to meet in groups larger than twenty people. When they met, they were fined large amounts, and imprisoned when they couldn’t pay.

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The year 1834

God is ever faithful throughout history to preserve his church in the truth of his word. October 31, 1517, marks the great Reformation of the church by Martin Luther. This is significant for all Protestants and Roman Catholics. The sixteenth-century Reformation restored to the church of Christ the truths of the sole authority of God’s word and of justification by faith alone. The first was the formal principle of the Reformation; the second was the material principle. If one denies either of these principles, he stands with Rome in opposition to the Christian church.

The year 1834 marks the reformation of the Reformed Church in the Netherlands. In that year those who separated from the apostate Hervormde (Reformed) Church in the Netherlands returned to these Reformation principles and to the truth of sacred scripture as set forth in the Reformed creeds: the Belgic Confession, the Heidelberg Catechism, and the Canons of Dordrecht.

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