Continental Reformed church

A Continental Reformed church is a Reformed church that has its origin in the European continent. Prominent subgroups are the Dutch Reformed, the Swiss Reformed, the French Reformed (Huguenots), the Hungarian Reformed, and the Waldensian Church in Italy.

The term is used to distinguish these churches from Presbyterian, Congregational or other Calvinist churches, which can trace their origin to the British Isles or elsewhere in the world. Continental Reformed churches are descended from the Protestant Reformation in respective European countries. Notably, their theology is largely derived from the Swiss Reformation, as Switzerland (specifically Geneva and Zürich) was a base for the most influential Reformed theologians of the era. It was inaugurated by Huldrych Zwingli, who formulated the first expression of the Reformed faith. Swiss Reformation was more fully articulated by Martin Bucer, Heinrich Bullinger and John Calvin. In the sixteenth century, the movement spread to most of continental Europe, sometimes aligning and secured by monarchs and other nobles, like in Switzerland, Hungary, and France.

Continental Reformed
Countries with significant Continental Reformed churches.

History

The first Reformed churches were established in Europe after 1519 and were part of the Protestant Reformation.

Reformed doctrine is expressed in various confessions. A few confessions are shared by many denominations. Different denominations use different confessions, usually based on historical reasons.

The following is a chronological list of confession and theological doctrines of the Reformed churches:

Forms of government

In contrast to the episcopal polity of the Anglican and many Lutheran and Methodist churches, continental Reformed churches are ruled by assemblies of "elders" or ordained officers. This is usually called Synodal government by the continental Reformed, but is essentially the same as presbyterian polity, with the elders forming the consistory, the regional governing body known as the classis, and the highest court of appeal being the general synod. The Reformed Church in Hungary, its sister church in Romania, the Hungarian Reformed Church in America, and the Polish Reformed Church are the only continental Reformed churches to have retained the office of bishop.

Reformed churches worldwide

Many churches in the Reformed tradition spread either by European immigration, or European and North American missionary work.

A comprehensive list of Continental Reformed churches can be found here.

See also

External links

Aartswoud

Aartswoud (West Frisian: Ierswoud) is an unincorporated village in the Dutch province of North Holland, part of the municipality of Opmeer. It lies about twelve kilometres (7.5 mi) northeast of Heerhugowaard.

Aartswoud has been inhabited since the Neolithic, and a church may have existed as early as 1395; the village still has a 16th-century church tower. Formerly a harbor settlement on the Zuiderzee, it became landlocked after the Wieringermeer was created. The village sits on the Westfriese Omringdijk, a dike completed in 1250 that protects an area of 800 km2 (310 sq mi), and is now an accesspoint for several nature reserves that reclaim the land, the landscape, the water levels, and the flora and fauna of the earlier West-Frisian countryside.

Calvinism

Calvinism (also called the Reformed tradition, Reformed Christianity, Reformed Protestantism, or the Reformed faith) is a major branch of Protestantism that follows the theological tradition and forms of Christian practice set down by John Calvin and other Reformation-era theologians.

Calvinists broke from the Roman Catholic Church in the 16th century. Calvinists differ from Lutherans on the real presence of Christ in the Eucharist, theories of worship, and the use of God's law for believers, among other things. As declared in the Westminster and Second Helvetic confessions, the core doctrines are predestination and election. The term Calvinism can be misleading, because the religious tradition which it denotes has always been diverse, with a wide range of influences rather than a single founder. In the context of the Reformation, Huldrych Zwingli began the Reformed tradition in 1519 in the city of Zürich. His followers were instantly labeled Zwinglians, consistent with the Catholic practice of naming heresy after its founder. Very soon, Zwingli was joined by Martin Bucer, Wolfgang Capito, William Farel, Johannes Oecolampadius and other early Reformed thinkers. The namesake of the movement, French reformer John Calvin, converted to the Reformed tradition from Roman Catholicism only in the late 1520s or early 1530s as it was already being developed. The movement was first called Calvinism, referring to John Calvin, by Lutherans who opposed it. Many within the tradition find it either an indescriptive or an inappropriate term and would prefer the word Reformed to be used instead. Some Calvinists prefer the term Augustinian-Calvinism since Calvin credited his theology to Augustine of Hippo. The most important Reformed theologians include John Calvin, Huldrych Zwingli, Martin Bucer, William Farel, Heinrich Bullinger, Peter Martyr Vermigli, Theodore Beza, and John Knox. In the twentieth century, Abraham Kuyper, Herman Bavinck, B. B. Warfield, J. Gresham Machen, Karl Barth, Martyn Lloyd-Jones, Cornelius Van Til, Gordon Clark, and R. C. Sproul were influential. Contemporary Reformed theologians include J. I. Packer, John MacArthur, Timothy J. Keller, David Wells, and Michael Horton.

Reformed churches may exercise several forms of ecclesiastical polity; most are presbyterian or congregationalist, though some are episcopalian. Calvinism is largely represented by Continental Reformed, Presbyterian, and Congregationalist traditions. The biggest Reformed association is the World Communion of Reformed Churches with more than 100 million members in 211 member denominations around the world. There are more conservative Reformed federations such as the World Reformed Fellowship and the International Conference of Reformed Churches, as well as independent churches.

Christianity in Europe

Christianity is the largest religion in Europe. Christianity has been practiced in Europe since the first century, and a number of the Pauline Epistles were addressed to Christians living in Greece, as well as other parts of the Roman Empire.

According to a 2010 study by the Pew Research Center, 76.2% of the European population identified themselves as Christians.As 2010 Catholics were the largest Christian group in Europe, accounting for more than 48% of European Christians. The second-largest Christian group in Europe were the Orthodox, who made up 32% of European Christians. About 19% of European Christians were part of the Protestant tradition. Russia is the largest Christian country in Europe by population, followed by Germany and Italy.Since at least the legalization of Christianity by the Roman Emperor Constantine in the 4th century, Europe has been an important centre of Christian culture, even though the religion was inherited from Africa and the Middle East and important Christian communities have thrived outside Europe such as Oriental Orthodoxy and the Church of the East since the time of Christ. Christian culture has been an important force in Western civilization, influencing the course of philosophy, art, and science.Europe has a rich Christian culture, especially as numerous saints, martyrs and popes were European themselves. All of the Roman Catholic popes from 741 to 2013 were from Europe. Europe brought together many of the Christian holy sites and heritage and religious centers.

Congregational church

Congregational churches (also Congregationalist churches; Congregationalism) are Protestant churches in the Reformed tradition practicing congregationalist church governance, in which each congregation independently and autonomously runs its own affairs.

Congregationalism, as defined by the Pew Research Center, is estimated to represent 0.5 per cent of the worldwide Protestant population; though their polity-related customs and other ideas influenced significant parts of Protestantism, as well as other Christian congregations. The report defines it very narrowly, encompassing mainly denominations in the United States and the United Kingdom, which can trace their history back to nonconforming Protestants, Puritans, Separatists, Independents, English religious groups coming out of the English Civil War, and other English dissenters not satisfied with the degree to which the Church of England had been reformed.

Congregationalist tradition has a presence in the United States, the United Kingdom, Ireland, Canada, South Africa, Australia, New Zealand, and various island nations in the Pacific region. It has been introduced either by immigrant dissenter Protestants or by missionary organization such as the London Missionary Society. A number of evangelical Congregational churches are members of the World Evangelical Congregational Fellowship.

In the United Kingdom, many Congregational churches claim their descent from Protestant denominations formed on a theory of union published by the theologian and English separatist Robert Browne in 1582. Ideas of nonconforming Protestants during the Puritan Reformation of the Church of England laid foundation for these churches. In England, the early Congregationalists were called Separatists or Independents to distinguish them from the similarly Calvinistic Presbyterians, whose churches embrace a polity based on the governance of elders. Congregationalists also differed with the Reformed churches using episcopalian church governance, which is usually led by a bishop.

Congregationalism in the United States traces its origins to the Puritans of New England, who wrote the Cambridge Platform of 1648 to describe the autonomy of the church and its association with others. Within the United States, the model of Congregational churches was carried by migrating settlers from New England into New York, then into the Old North West, and further. With their insistence on independent local bodies, they became important in many social reform movements, including abolitionism, temperance, and women's suffrage. Modern Congregationalism in the United States is largely split into three bodies: the United Church of Christ, the National Association of Congregational Christian Churches and the Conservative Congregational Christian Conference, which is the most theologically conservative.

Leipzig

Leipzig (, also US: , German: [ˈlaɪptsɪç]; Upper and Lower Sorbian: Lipsk; Upper Saxon: Leibzsch) is the most populous city in the German federal state of Saxony. With a population of 581,980 inhabitants as of 2017 (1.1 million residents in the larger urban zone), it is Germany's tenth most populous city as well as the second most populous city in the area of former East Germany after (East) Berlin. Together with Halle (Saale), the largest city of the neighbouring state of Saxony-Anhalt, the city forms the polycentric conurbation of Leipzig-Halle. Between the two cities (in Schkeuditz) lies Leipzig/Halle International Airport.

Leipzig is located about 160 kilometres (99 mi) southwest of Berlin in the Leipzig Bay, which constitutes the southernmost part of the North German Plain, at the confluence of the White Elster River (progression: Saale→ Elbe→ North Sea) and two of its tributaries: the Pleiße and the Parthe. The name of the city as well as the names of many of its boroughs are of Slavic origin.

Leipzig has been a trade city since at least the time of the Holy Roman Empire. The city sits at the intersection of the Via Regia and the Via Imperii, two important medieval trade routes. Leipzig was once one of the major European centers of learning and culture in fields such as music and publishing. Leipzig became a major urban center within the German Democratic Republic (East Germany) after the Second World War, but its cultural and economic importance declined. Events in Leipzig in 1989 played a significant role in precipitating the fall of communism in Central and Eastern Europe, mainly through demonstrations starting from St. Nicholas Church. Since the reunification of Germany, Leipzig has undergone significant change with the restoration of some historical buildings, the demolition of others, and the development of a modern transport infrastructure.Leipzig today is an economic centre, the most livable city in Germany, according to the GfK marketing research institution and has the second-best future prospects of all cities in Germany, according to HWWI and Berenberg Bank. The city is one of two seats of the German National Library (together with Frankfurt), as well as the seat of the German Federal Administrative Court. Leipzig Zoo is one of the most modern zoos in Europe and ranks first in Germany and second in Europe according to Anthony Sheridan. Since the opening of the Leipzig City Tunnel in 2013, Leipzig forms the centrepiece of the S-Bahn Mitteldeutschland public transit system. Leipzig is currently listed as a Gamma World City, Germany's "Boomtown" and as the European City of the Year 2019.Leipzig has long been a major center for music, both classical as well as modern "dark alternative music" or darkwave genres. The Oper Leipzig is one of the most prominent opera houses in Germany. It was founded in 1693, making it the third oldest opera venue in Europe after La Fenice (Venice, Italy) and the Hamburg State Opera (Hamburg, Germany). Leipzig is also home to the University of Music and Theatre "Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy". It was during a stay in this city that Friedrich Schiller wrote his poem "Ode to Joy". The Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra, established in 1743, is one of the oldest symphony orchestras in the world. Johann Sebastian Bach is one among many major composers who worked and lived in Leipzig.

Reformed Church in Hungary

The Reformed Church in Hungary (Hungarian: Magyarországi Református Egyház, MRE) is the largest Protestant church in Hungary, with parishes among the Hungarian diaspora abroad. Today, it is made up of 1,249 congregations in 27 Presbyteries and four Church districts and has a membership of over 1.6 million, making it second only to the Roman Catholic Church in terms of size. As a Continental Reformed church, its doctrines and practices reflect a Calvinist theology, for which the Hungarian term is református (pronounced [ˈrɛformaːtuʃ]).

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