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The Early History of Covenant Reformed Church


Covenant Reformed Church has its foundations in God's biblical covenant with His people, the biblical re-emphasis of the Protestant Reformation, and the biblical command to function as a local church within Christ's universal Church.

The Protestant Reformation linage of Covenant Reformed Church is rooted in the Netherlands. There the Churches were led to unite on the basis of their shared confession of God’s truth, expressed in the Belgic Confession, the Heidelberg Catechism and the Cannons of Dort.

During the 1800s, liberalization of doctrine within the Dutch churches caused many to secede from the state church. Religious persecution and economic hardship led many Reformed Christians to immigrate to America.

Under the leadership of Rev. Hendrik Pieter Scholte, many of these Dutch immigrants came to the city of Pella, which was founded in 1847, but they were not all united in their religious beliefs. Some did not join Rev. Scholte's church because they desired to remain faithful to the Dort Church Order.

Later, more immigrants with similar beliefs arrived in Pella, which enabled these people to organize as an independent congregation known as the Holland Reformed Church. Despite continued conflict, this group led to the eventual establishment of Pella's True Dutch Reformed Church in 1866. This was the first congregation of its denomination west of the Mississippi River. Today, it is known as the First Christian Reformed Church.

Denominational decisions and issues during the latter decades of the 1900s led to unrest in Christian Reformed denomination. Many members and congregations left the denomination and its churches to become independent Reformed congregations during the 1990s.

Over 475 members of the council and congregation of First CRC in Pella disaffiliated with the denomination and became known as First Independent Reformed Church in March of 1998. These members would organize into what is today known as Covenant Reformed Church. 

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