A new Reformed Magazine

Right now you are looking at a first issue of a new periodical. Upon reading its title: ‘Reformed Continua’, you might wonder what the intentions are behind this magazine. While pondering, the title most likely left you with, at least, a few clues. As it refers to ‘being Reformed’, ‘continuation’, as well as implicating a steady flow of emerging future issues. In order to explain the purpose of this magazine, we will have to explore, a little, recent church history that took place in the Netherlands. It takes us to a synod held in the year 2005 at Mariënberg, a small village in Overijssel, a province in the east of The Netherlands.

This Synod of Mariënberg formulated the following decision: ‘The Reformed Churches (restored)of the Netherlands desire wholeheartedly to seek unity with all those who faithfully adhere to Holy Scriptures of the Old and New Testament as confessed in the Three Forms of Unity (the Belgic Confession, the Heidelberg Catechism, the Canons of Dordt) and the Church Order of Dordt.
In order to actively seek this unity this synod appointed deputies for ‘Contact with Churches Abroad’. Their mandate was, in line with the above, to seek and/or maintain contact with churches abroad. Initially this contact was to be sought with all those churches in correspondence with the Reformed Churches (liberated) of The Netherlands as assembled at the General Synod at Leeuwarden (1990).

This contact was established to inform these ‘foreign’churches about the necessity of the Liberation that took place in The Netherlands in 2003. Further, to convince these churches of the legitimacy of this act of Liberation. This act had the inevitable outcome that the bond of churches named ‘The Reformed Churches of the Netherlands’ now had to continue with the postfix ‘(restored)’. The deputies requested those ‘foreign-churches’ to recognize the Churches they represented as the lawful continuation of the Church of Christ. Its ‘legitimacy’ could only be concluded when the ‘act of Liberation’ was a result of their obedience to God’s Word, the binding to the Confessions, and upholding the Church Order of Dordt.

The task of the deputies was clear: ‘seek and maintain contact with churches abroad’. However, soon they stumbled across the ‘language barrier’. At first this barrier was underestimated.
We knew that church-magazines issued in The Netherlands were read oversees as well. From this we assumed that enough information was passed on to others. In doing so deputies relied to much on the situation of their oversees relatives and acquaintances assuming that most people had the same access to information related to the Dutch churches. That this is not necessarily true for everyone was insufficiently realized. On top of this we insufficiently realized that many of the first Dutch emigrants that mastered the Dutch language have passed away. Thus giving place to the second (whose Dutch is still quite good), third (those that know some important words to get by), and even a fourth generation having little or no command of the Dutch language. Thus Dutch articles could only be read by some, by others with great difficulty or not at all. Thus leaving people ‘at a loss’ when it comes to being informed about the situation of Christ’s Church in The Netherlands.

Upon realizing this, the idea was conceived to issue a ‘magazine’ in the English language informing people about the Reformed Churches (restored), events leading to the above mentioned Liberation, as well as providing some background information concerning other developments in the Netherlands.
It is our intention to publish this magazine periodically. To start off we hope to do so twice a year, in July and December.

To accommodate to everyone that will read this magazine we make the assumption that little is known about the subjects covered as starting point. For this reason we start off with some general articles informing about the Reformed churches in The Netherlands. In this way, we hope, you will become more familiar with them.

It is our intention for future issues to cover issues such as:
- The history of the reformed churches
- Events leading to recent (2003) Liberation
- Information about the different local churches in the Netherlands
- Facts and figures in relation to the churches, its members and events
- The ministers
- The way the ‘bond of churches’ is organized
- The work of the different Synods
- The work of the various deputies
- The official church magazine ‘De Bazuin’ (transl. Clarion)
- Updates regarding contact with different churches around the globe
- And, the Lord willing, much more

To be able to reach everyone and to save costs it is our intention to distribute this magazine ‘digitally’ via e-mail. You are free to pass it on to other people that might be interested.

Joh. Houweling,