The Splintered Reformed Churches & Unity
“What is up with all the different Reformed denominations? Isn’t it sad that all you reformed people are so separated? Doesn’t that show that Satan is having his way?” ~Anonymous
Yes and No.
Yes it shows that Satan and sin are at work in the Reformed branch of the Church. Satan will employ his best tricks to divert our attention from the true gospel and that is certainly shown in the splintered Reformed Churches. I made the following flow chart of the “true Church” as a joke, but there is a hint of truth to it:
If you are Reformed…you probably hesitantly laughed and you most certainly understand this.
Now, why are there so many reformed churches? Yes it is in part to sin. But just like Martin Luther was kicked out of the Roman Catholic Church, so most of these churches formed out of attempts to remain true to the Bible and glorify God. There certainly were some schisms, and liberation’s that were not biblical, but for the most part the participants desire was to be faithful.
The following chart shows the real schisms/liberations/secessions etc. that have happened in the line of the Dutch Reformed Church (also known as Contintental Reformed). The Churches in BOLD are still active denominations. Some have counterparts over in North America, but I left most of those, as well as the smallest denominations, out as this chart would be far to big.
In 1628 the Dutch Reformed Church landed in new world and became the Reformed Church in America. So I followed the two lines from both “parent Churches” and tried to show the major denominations from both lines. (If I missed you… sorry!) The point I am trying to make is the cycle we see at the end. My Church (Ok you can LOL) the CanRC is in talks with the URCNA to merge. If this happens it will be the first time (that I was able to ascertain) that 2 denominations from either line merged back together. I am certainly praying for this unity as I believe that our father is grieved when His children are separated.
So if there is any encouragement in Christ, any comfort from love, any participation in the Spirit, any affection and sympathy, complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind. Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.