History

History

The official name of the churches is: The Free Reformed Churches in South Africa.

We acknowledge Jesus Christ as Lord of the church. We believe that we are part of the one, holy, catholic christian church, Christ is gathering in this world.

The word “Reformed” reveals that these churches are influenced by the Reformation of the 16th century. The Reformation was an influential movement that had a healing influence on Christianity in Europe. Leading figures were men like Luther, Calvyn and Zwingli. Thanks to the Reformation superficiality in the church and the supremacy of traditions was replaced by the authority of the Bible for personal life, church and society. The influence of the Reformation has also radiated to South Africa in the recent centuries.

The FRCSA are not the same as the Reformed Churches in South Africa. We use the word “Free” to distinguish us from this federation.

Where does the word “Free” derive from?

The first Free Reformed Church in South Africa was instituted in 1950. The addition Free refers to the Liberation that took place in 1944 in the Netherlands. This was a reformation of the Reformed Churches in the Netherlands, emphasizing the fact that churches and church members are bound solely by the Word of God, and that a synod cannot prescribe how to interpret the Bible. Since the latter became a reality in the Netherlands, a number of churches liberated themselves from this synodical domination. Furthermore the founding members of the FRC in South Africa also wanted to make an appeal upon the RCSA with the addition of the word “Free”, since the RCSA after their secession in 1859 initially also called themselves the Free Reformed Churches.

Later Developments

For years there were only three congregations in the FRCSA, in Pretoria, Johannesburg and Cape Town. There members consisted mainly of Dutch immigrants. Nowadays the immigrants’ offspring are Afrikaners, although some Dutch traditions still exist.

Since the 1990’s a number of ministers from the Dutch Reformed Church (DRC) joined the FRCSA. They took this step because of unscriptural doctrine and church governance in the DRC. Together with them a new congregation, the FRC Bethal, was instituted in 1995 and welcomed in the FRCSA. Futhermore the FRC Pretoria-Maranata was instituted, since the FRC Pretoria became too big. In the 2000’s the federation expanded further with three churches instituted thanks to the mission work, in Mamelodi and Soshanguve-North in Gauteng, and Belhar near Cape Town. Despite differences in race, language and culture we experience a strong unity in Christ and his Word.