Heritage Reformed Congregations (HRC)
Although the Heritage Reformed Congregations have only recently been officially incorporated, their historical roots can be traced back 125 years to the original incorporation of the Christian Reformed Congregation of Grand Rapids (Michigan) in October 1870. Later, in 1877, the Grand Rapids consistory, along with the consistory of Lodi, New Jersey, agreed to unite under the name of Netherlands Reformed Church (NRC).
In December 1986, Rev. Joel Beeke became the pastor of the First Netherlands Reformed Church of Grand Rapids, which at that time was composed of more than one thousand souls. In 1993, the Heritage Reformed Congregations (HRC) were established after the Netherlands Reformed Church underwent a split related to church order and theological issues. The most substantive underlying issue relative to the HRC was Christ-centered preaching combined with the preaching of an unconditional offer of grace. The two denominations, although split, continue to cooperate with running Christian schools founded by the NRC.
The HRC subscribes to the Three Forms of Unity as well as the Westminster Standards. It places an emphasis on early Puritan teachings. The HRC also emphasizes experiential preaching, which it explains means, Christ-centered preaching which stresses that for salvation sinners must by faith have a personal, experiential (that is, experienced) Spirit-worked knowledge of Christ, and, by extension, of all the great truths of Scripture. Thus the HRC emphasizes, as the Puritans did, that the Holy Spirit causes the objective truths about Christ and his work to be experienced in the heart and life of sinners.
The HRC consists of eleven congregations with more than two thousand souls: six churches in the United States and five in Canada. Currently there are three classes. It is involved in mission work in Africa, South Africa, and Zambia. The HRC congregations continue to have close relations with their sister churches, the Gereformeerde Gemeenten, in the Netherlands.
The HRC owns and governs the Puritan Reformed Theological Seminary, which was established in 1995 and is located in Grand Rapids, Michigan.
The HRC has been a member of NAPARC since 2007. Being a young federation of churches, it is taking its time in considering churches with which to engage in ecumenical relations.
Shortly after coming to Grand Rapids, Rev. Joel Beeke earned his doctorate. Dr. Beeke was the key figure in the establishment of the HRC and of Puritan Reformed Theological Seminary. In addition to being a pastor of the Heritage Reformed congregation in Grand Rapids, he is president and professor of systematic theology and homiletics at the seminary; editor of Banner of Sovereign Grace Truth; publisher of Reformation Heritage Books; president of Inheritance Publishers; and vice-president of the Dutch Reformed Translation Society. He has written, coauthored, or edited more than seventy books and has contributed more than two thousand articles to Reformed books, journals, periodicals, and encyclopedias. He is a frequent lecturer at seminaries and speaker at Reformed conferences around the world.
Complete information about the HRC can be found on its website at www.heritagereformed.org.
The website for Puritan Reformed Theological Seminary can be found at www.puritanseminary.org.
Korean American Presbyterian Church (KAPC)
The Korean American Presbyterian Church was formed in 1978 by Korean immigrants on the campus of Westminster Seminary in Philadelphia. On its founding date, the church consisted of five presbyteries. It joined NAPARC in 1983.
Currently KAPC has twenty-seven presbyteries and six hundred congregations with about seventy thousand communicant members and twelve hundred ministers It has ninety-four missionaries supported by its own World Missionary Society, and it has eighteen men serving as chaplains in the US military.
KAPC adheres to the Westminster Standards. Its church office-bearers also must subscribe to the KAPC church creed, which can be found at http://www.creeds.net/reformed/kapc.htm.
KAPC maintains its own seminary in California, but it accepts other pastoral candidates who graduated from conservative seminaries upon examination.
The KAPC website is found at www.kapc.org, with content only in Korean.
One of the KAPC presbyteries is the North American Presbytery (NAP). This presbytery was organized in 2002 and was formed to oversee English-speaking second-generation churches and pastors within the Korean American Presbyterian Church. That presbytery currently consists of eight congregations. The NAP website can be found at www.napres.org.
The March/April issue of The Outlook, which featured NAPARC member church the Free Reformed Churches of North America, contained an error. It was stated that the FRC’s Puritan leanings have brought them into close fraternal relations with the Netherlands Reformed Congregations. It should have stated instead that their close relations are with the Heritage Reformed Congregations. The Outlook apologizes for any confusion that may have resulted from this error.
Mr. Myron Rau is the chairman of the board of Reformed Fellowship. He is a member of the Covenant United Reformed Church in Kalamazoo, Michigan.