The Reformed churches
are a group of Christian Protestant
denominations historically related by a similar Calvinist
system of doctrine.
(A detailed breakdown of Reformed and Presbyterian churches by region and country is available at Reformed Online)
Continental Reformed churches
The Dutch Reformed churches have suffered numerous splits, and there have been some subsequent partial re-unions. Currently there are eleven existing denominations, including:
- to visit the wiki in Dutch (Gereformeerde Gemeenten)
Since the Reformation the Netherlands, as one of the few countries in the world, could be characterised as a mainly Calvinist state. Until the first half of the 20th century, a majority of the Dutch (about 55%) were Reformed and a large minority (35-40%) were Catholic. Because of large scale secularisation during the 20th century, these percentages dropped dramatically. Today only 15-20% of the Dutch (about 2.5 million people) is Reformed, while 25-30% is Catholic. About 45% is non-religious. There is no cooperative body for the different Reformed churches.
Dutch emigrants and missionaries brought Reformed churches to many other countries outside Europe, including Canada, United States, South Africa, Indonesia, Australia and New Zealand.
The Swiss Reformed Churches
were started in Zurich by Huldrych Zwingli
and spread within a few years to Basle (Johannes Oecolampadius
), Berne (Berchtold Haller
and Niklaus Manuel
), St. Gall (Joachim Vadian
), to cities in Southern Germany and via Alsace (Martin Bucer
) to France. After the early death of Zwingli 1531
, his work was continued by Heinrich Bullinger
, the author of the Second Helvetic Confession
. The French-speaking cities Neuchatel, Geneva and Lausanne changed to the Reformation ten years later under William Farel
and John Calvin
coming from France. The Zwingli and Calvin branches had each their theological distinctions, but in 1549
under the lead of Bullinger and Calvin they came to a common agreement in the Consensus Tigurinus
(Zurich Consent), and 1566 in the Second Helvetic Confession. Organizationally, the Reformed Churches in Switzerland remained separate units until today (the Reformed Church of the Canton Zurich, the Reformed Church of the Canton Berne, etc.), the German part more in the Zwingli tradition, in the French part more in the Calvin tradition. They are governed synodically and their relation to the respective canton (in Switzerland, there are no church-state regulations on country-level) ranges from independent to close collaboration, depending on historical developments. A distinctive of the Swiss Reformed churches in Zwingli tradition is their historically almost symbiotic link to the state (cantons) which is only loosening gradually in the present.
There is an English-speaking reformed church in Lausanne, Switzerland, called Lausanne Free Church. (See under external links) There is also the conservative Reformed Churches of the Westminster Confession, which has congregations in Austria as well.
A total of 2.4 million Swiss are member of a Reformed church, according to the 2000 census, which corresponds with 33% of the population. The past decades show a rapid decline in this proportion, coming from 46% in 1970.
Hungary and surroundings
The Reformed Church in Hungary, Transylvania and southern Slovakia
is one of the largest branches 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
In 2001, more than 1.6 million people in Hungary were member of the Hungarian Reformed Church. In Romania, 700,000 people were Reformed, nearly all of them ethnic Hungarians living in Transylvania. In Slovakia, 110,000 Calvinists were recorded.
The German Reformed Church (Reformierte Kirche
) forms, together with the German Lutheran
Church, the Evangelic Church of Germany
, which is the - formerly - established Protestant Church, forming, together with Catholicism, Germany's "mainstream" religion. The German Reformed Church is unusual because it does not trace its changes back to Zwingli or Calvin, but rather to Philipp Melanchthon
, Luther's best friend and closest ally. Only after his death, his successors in the "Philippist
" cause were attacked of Crypto-Calvinism
and mercilessly persecuted and partially killed, by the extremist Lutherans, from whom Luther had previously distanced himself, in several states, especially Saxony
. Other states, such as Hesse
, were openly Philippist
and Reformed. Only during the time of Calvin himself did genuinely Calvinist influences enter German Reformer faith; even today, it is more Philippist
than Calvinist. In the German Empire, further on some states were Lutheran, some Reformed. Both confessions were united by the King of Prussia
in 1848, but this was not followed in most other states. The German Reformed Church's finest hour was perhaps during Nazi times, because, while by far not all Reformed clergy and members were opposed to the Nazis, the Bekennende Kirche
resistance against the Nazis was dominated by the Reformed Church - partially, it has been said, because of its much less hierarchy- and state-centered perspectives than the Lutherans.
Today, there are four kinds of German Protestantism, all under one national umbrella, but differentiated by region (usually smaller than the states):
- 1. Lutheran
- 2. Reformed
- 3. Administration-United - in these churches, the Parish is either Lutheran or Reformed, and so is the congregation and the Pastor, but the administration is the same for all
- 4. Consensus-United - there is no difference even on the Parish level
In Germany today, roughly 25 million (about less than one-third) of Germans are Protestant. Of these, less than 2 million are Reformed. The main co-ordinating body for Reformed churches in Germany is the Reformed Alliance in Germany Smaller denominations include Evangelical Oldreformed Churches, Bond of Evangelical reformed Churches in Germany, Free Reformed Church - Episcopal
In France, the Reformed Protestants were called Huguenots
. The Reformed Church of France
survived under persecution from 1559
until the Edict of Nantes
), 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 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 the final revocation of toleration in 1685
(Edict of Fontainebleau
). The periods of persecution scattered French Reformed refugees to England
(especially South 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).
Today, about 350,000 people are participating in the Reformed Church of France. There is also the smaller, but more conservative Reformed Church of Elsance-Lorraine and the National Union of Independent Reformed Evangelical Churches of France.
- This network of churches recover the reformed tradition of Italian Reformers like Pietro Martire Vermigli, Girolamo Zanchi et al.
- Originally founded by Peter Waldo in the 12th century, the Waldensian church adopted the Reformed doctrines under the influence of William Farel.
Smaller, but more conservative denominations include:
Australia and New Zealand
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
United States of America and Canada
- Associated with the Dutch Reformed (Gereformeerde Gemeenten (Dutch)) churches in the Netherlands.
- The PCA is the second largest Presbyterian denomination in the United States, after the PCUSA. Its motto is: "Faithful to the Scriptures, True to the Reformed Faith and Obedient to the Great Commission of Jesus Christ."
- The Presbyterian Church in Canada, formed in June 1875, as a union of 4 Presbyterian groups in the Dominion of Canada (created in 1867); These "Continuing Presbyterians", did not join the United Church of Canada in 1925, of Presbyterians, along with Methodists, Congregationalists, and Union Churches.
- 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 which includes the Westminster Confession of Faith.
- Presbyterian Churches have split a number of times. 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.
- *Cumberland Presbyterian Church (1810)
- *Orthodox Presbyterian Church (1936 from the Northern PCUSA)
- *Bible Presbyterian Church (1937 from the OPC)
- *Presbyterian Church in America (1973 from the Southern PCUS)
- *Reformed Presbyterian Church in the United States(1983 from the PCA)
- *Evangelical Presbyterian Church (1980 from Northern UPC and Southern PCUS)
- 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 the oldest Reformed church in the North America, formed by Dutch immigrants in earliest colonial times.
- Formed in 1957 through the union of the Congregational Christian Churches and the Evangelical and Reformed Church, both of which were themselves formed by 1930s mergers--the Congregational and (German) Reformed roots being clearly Reformed in origin and the (German) Evangelical stream being a union of Lutheran and Reformed roots (the Christian Churches stream, the smallest of the predecessors, came out of the Restorationist movement).
Republic of Korea
- Presbyterian Church in Korea (Kosin 고신). The PCK is a Reformed denomination in Korea which accepts the Westminster standards as its confession. The church also recognizes "Three Forms of Unity", to be same as the Westminster Standards. Kosin church wants to be a biblical and confessional denomination, pure in doctrine and life. There are about 2,000 local churches, including some churches in North America and Europe.
- The Korean Presbyterian Church (Hapdong 합동) 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.
- The Independent Reformed Church (IRC) was established on 1964, independently from other denominations. IRC is the first church in Korea to put "reformed" in her name. IRC confesses the Westminster Standards, Heidelberg Catechism, and Canons of Dordt together with the ecumenical creeds.
The various Reformed churches of Nigeria formed the Reformed Ecumenical Council of Nigeria in 1991 to further cooperation.
- Banua Niha Keriso Protestan (Protestant Christian Church of Nias)
- Gereja Masehi Injili Halmahera (The Christian Evangelical Church in Halmahera)
- Gereja Angowuloa Masehi Indonesia Nias (Christian Communion of Indonesia Church in Nias)
- Gereja Batak Karo Protestan (Karo Batak Protestant Church)
- Gereja Injili Indonesia (Indonesian Evangelical Church)
- Gereja Jemaat Protestan di Irian Jaya (Protestant Congregations Church in Irian Jaya)
- Gereja Kalimantan Evangelis (Evangelical Church in Kalimantan)
- Gereja Kemah Injil Indonesia (Indonesian Gospel Tabernacle Church)
- Gereja Kristen di Luwuk Banggai (Christian Church in Luwuk Banggai)
- Gereja Kristen di Sulawesi Selatan (Christian Church in South Sulawesi)
- Gereja Kristen Indonesia (Indonesian Christian Church)
- Gereja Kristen Indonesia Sulawesi Selatan (Indonesian Christian Church of Sulawesi)
- Gereja Kristen Injili Di Tanah Papua (Evangelical Christian Church in West Papua)
- Gereja Kristen Jawa (Javanese Christian Church)
- Gereja Kristen Jawa Tengah Utara (Javanese Christian Church of Northern Central Java)
- Gereja Kristen Jawi Wetan (The East Java Christian Church)
- Gereja Kristen Kalam Kudus (Holy Word Christian Church)
- Gereja Kristen Kalimantan Barat (West Kalimantan Christian Church)
- Gereja Kristen Pasundan (Pasundan Christian Church)
- Gereja Kristen Pemancar Injil (Gospel Propagating Christian Church)
- Gereja Kristen Protestan di Bali (Protestant Christian Church in Bali)
- Gereja Kristen Sulawesi Tengah (Christian Church in Central Sulawesi)
- Gereja Kristen Sumatera Bagian Selatan (Christian Church of Southern Sumatra)
- Gereja Kristen Sumba (Christian Church of Sumba)
- Gereja Kristus (Church of Christ)
- Gereja Kristus Tuhan (The Church of Christ the Lord)
- Gereja Masehi Injili di Bolaang Mongondow (Christian Evangelical Church in Bolaang Mongondow)
- Gereja Masehi Injili di Minahasa (Christian Evangelical Church in Minahasa)
- Gereja Masehi Injili di Timor (Christian Evangelical Church in Timor)
- Gereja Masehi Injili Sangihe-Talaud (Christian Evangelical Church in Sangihe-Talaud)
- Gereja Potestan di Indonesia Bagian Barat (Protestant Church in West Indonesia)
- Gereja Protestan di Indonesia (Protestant Church in Indonesia)
- Gereja Protestan di Sulawesi Tenggara (Protestant Church in Southeast Sulawesi)
- Gereja Protestan Indonesia di Buol Toli-Toli (Indonesian Protestant Church in Buol Toli-Toli)
- Gereja Protestan Indonesia di Gorontalo (Indonesian Protestant Church in Gorontalo)
- Gereja Protestan Indonesia di Irjan Jaya (Indonesian Protestant Church in Irian Jaya)
- Gereja Protestan Indonesia Donggala (Indonesian Protestant Church in Donggala)
- Gereja Protestan Indonesia Luwu (Luwu Indonesian Protestant Church)
- Gereja Protestan Kalimantan Barat (Protestant Church of West Kalimantan)
- Gereja Protestan Maluku (Protestant Church in the Moluccas)
- Gereja Reformed Injili Indonesia (Indonesian Reformed Evangelical Church)
- Gereja Toraja (Toraja Church)
- Gereja Toraja Mamasa (Toraja Mamasa Church)
- Gereja-Gereja Kristen Indonesia Sumatera Utara (Indonesian Christian Church of North Sumatera)
- Gereja-Gereja Masehi Musyafir (The Pilgrim's Churches)
- Gereja-Gereja Reformasi di Indonesia (Reformed Churches in Indonesia - Irian Jaya)
- Gereja-Gereja Reformasi di Indonesia (Reformed Churches in Indonesia - Nusatenggara Timur)
- Gereja-Gereja Reformasi di Indonesia Kalimantan Barat (Reformed Churches in Indonesia - Kalimantan Barat)
- Kerapatan Gereja Protestan Minahasa (Minahasa Protestant Church Assemblies)
- Orahua Niso Keriso Protestan (Communion of Protestant Christian Church of Nias)
Reformed churches in South Africa
According to the census of 2001, more than 3.2 million people recorded themselves as Reformed. This however is fast decline compared to the 1996 census, when still 3.9 million people were Reformed. Particularly amongst black and coloured people the Reformed churches lost many members, while the number of Reformed whites remained status quo due to mass emigration.
Central America & Caribbean
- Iglesia Evangélica Nacional Presbiteriana de Guatemala
- Iglesia Evangélica Presbiteriana en Bolivia (Korean Mission)
- Iglesia Evangelica Presbiteriana en Bolivia-Cochabamba (Korean Mission)
- Iglesia Presbiteriana Biblica (Chilean Mission)
- Iglesia Presbiteriana de Bolivia (Brazilian Mission)
- Iglesia Presbiteriana en Bolivia (Bolivian initiative)
- Confederação das Igrejas Reformadas do Brasil
- Christian Reformed Church - Hungarian
- Dutch Reformed Church in Brazil
- Igrejas Evangélicas Reformadas no Brasil website
- Igreja Presbiteriana do Brasil
- Igreja Presbiteriana Independente do Brasil
- Igreja Presbiteriana Unida do Brasil
- Igreja Presbiteriana Conservadora do Brasil
- Igreja Presbiteriana Renovada
- União das Igrejas Evangélicas Congregacionais do Brasil
- Aliança das Igrejas Evangélicas Congregacionais do Brasil
- Igreja Cristã Evangélica do Brasil
- Igreja Evangélica Congregacional do Brasil
- Aliança das Igrejas Evangélicas Congregacionais Brasileiras
- Igreja Congregacional Bíblica
- Igrejas Congregacionais Conservadoras
- Korean Presbyterian Churches
- Iglesia Cristiana Presbiteriana de Chile
- Iglesia Evangélica Presbiteriana en Chile
- Iglesia Presbiteriana de Chile
- Iglesia Presbiteriana Fundamentalista Biblica
- Iglesia Presbiteriana en America
- Iglesia Presbiteriana Nacional de Chile
- Iglesia Evangelica Reformada de Colombia
- Iglesia Presbiteriana Cumberland de Colombia (Cumberland Presbyterian Church)
- Iglesia Presbiteriana de Colombia (Sinodo Reformado)
- Iglesia Presbiteriana de Colombia (Synodo presbiteriano)
- French Guiana
- Eglise Evangelique de la Guyane francaise - French Reformed Church
- Guyana Congregational Union
- Guyana Presbyterian Church - Canadian Mission
- Presbyterian Church of Guyana - Scottish Mission
- Iglesia Presbiteriana en el Paraguay - Mission of the Bazilian Presbyterian Church
- Iglesia Presbiteriana Taiwanesa en Asuncion- Taiwanese Presbyterian mission
- Missao Coreana en el Paraguay - Korean Presbyterian missions
- Iglesias Evangelicas Congregacionalistas en el Paraguay - German Reformed
- Iglesia Evangelica Peruana
- Iglesia Evangelica Presbiteriana y Reformada en el Peru (Scottish Free Presbyterian)
- Hervormde Kerk van Suriname - Dutch Reformed Church of Surinam