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On this Issue

The work of reforming the church is always a work of God by His sovereign grace. The church is God’s, and He has determined the marks of the true church. These marks are the preaching of the pure gospel, the proper administration of the sacraments, and the right exercise of Christian discipline.

However, due to the sinful natures of believers as well as the presence of carnal seed within the church, there is a constant tendency for the church to depart from these biblical standards. For this reason, God must reform His church from time to time.

No greater reformation of God’s church ever occurred than the great sixteenth century reformation of Luther and Calvin. After a thousand years of apostasy and corruption, reform was crucial in all aspects of the church’s life—doctrine, worship, church polity, and walk of life.

This one glorious reformation, God worked differently in the various regions of Europe. This issue of theStandard Bearer is devoted to the reformation of God’s church in the Netherlands, or the Lowlands. One of the notable features of this reformation in the Netherlands is that there was no dominant churchman to lead the way. Yet the reformation there was a thoroughgoing reform of God’s church. It was also unashamedly Calvinistic.

This issue will examine the reform of doctrine, church polity, and worship in the Netherlands; the problem of the church and state relationship in this period; and the contributions of this reformation to missions. And, finally, this issue will demonstrate that the convictions of these Reformed Dutch were deep-seated, as untold thousands gave their lives for the sake of the truth.

—RJD