In A Goodly Heritage, Cornelis Pronk surveys the history of the Secession of 1834, beginning with the events leading up to this important spiritual movement and subsequently following its long journey through the Netherlands and North America until 1892. He then focuses on a small minority that decided to continue as the original Christian Reformed Church, considering its growth and how it formulated theological positions in relation to several other Reformed denominations. Throughout, special attention is given to the doctrines of covenant, baptism, and the Holy Spirit’s ministry in applying salvation. This work not only explains the concerns of De Cock and other fathers of the Secession. It presses beyond the early years of the reform movement to present a larger picture of the developments of Secession theology and the contributions made by its main representatives.
Cornelis Pronk is an emeritus pastor of the Free Reformed Churches of North America. He is a visiting professor of church history and historical theology at Puritan Reformed Theological Seminary, and is editor of The Messenger, the denominational periodical of the FRCNA.
“Cornelis Pronk’s A Goodly Heritage is a fascinating and enlightening read for anyone interested in the Dutch Secession churches of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. This book is a gold mine of valuable information on Secession leaders such as De Cock and Scholte as well as on others that have seldom been written about in English such as Brummelkamp, Pieters, Kreulen, Ledeboer, and many more. Since this book was originally written in a first draft form for the Free Reformed denominational periodical as a labor of love, the author freely evaluates the character and theology of various Secession leaders from a Free Reformed perspective—which, in my opinion, makes the book even more of an engaging read. One does not have to agree with every detail of the author’s assessment to recognize that this is a valuable work that needed to be written and provides much cause for reflection about the gospel and its promises, covenant theology, the role of election, and a host of additional areas germane to the Reformed faith. I have learned much from reading my esteemed friend’s A Goodly Heritage, and trust you will as well.”
— Joel R. Beeke, president, Puritan Reformed Theological Seminary, Grand Rapids, Michigan
“Can historical theology be written in a way that is relevant, pastoral, spiritual, accessible, interesting, and edifying? Pastor Pronk’s book answers ‘yes’ on all these fronts. Not only valuable for reminding Dutch Reformed Christians of their wonderful heritage, but also for all Christians who want to learn more about the Gospel—what it is, how to preach it, and how to embrace it.”
— David Murray, professor of Old Testament and practical theology, Puritan Reformed Theological Seminary, Grand Rapids
“Neil Pronk has served the global church with this first grand overview of the Dutch Secession of 1834 and its aftermath through the 19th century. I say a service to the global church as the issues at stake are of all times and all places, and because in this book we see how God continuously raises up men and women to stand up for the true doctrine and for the true preaching of the Word. It took long before a book on this important event appeared in English. But now it´s there, and it sure was worth waiting for!”
— Herman J. Selderhuis, professor of church history and church polity, Theological University of Apeldoorn