In the 18th century harmful philo­so­p­hical influ­ences began to incre­a­singly threaten the confessing character of the church. Especially the Enlightment proved to be a great danger to spiritual life. In spite of the decline of the church, manu church members continued to long for true biblical spiri­tu­ality. In the 19th century the Church Order was replaced bij a set of rules, imposed upon the church by the secular government. At the same time, the reformed confes­sions were no longer consi­dered to have a binding character. From this time on, the Dutch reformed churches were referred to as 'Neder­landse Hervormde Kerk' (NHK).

When protests were raised against these devel­op­ments in the church, a Secession followed, beginning in 1834 at Ulrum in the province of Groningen, where Hendrik de Cock was pastor. From this Seces­si­on­mo­vement the CGKN springs. Another movement in the church of the 19th century was the so-called Doleantie of 1886, which took place under the leadership of dr. Abraham Kuyper. His aim was to restore the 'Neder­lndse Hervormde Kerk' from within; but his action resulted in a second secession.

At first the CGKN sympa­thized with the Doleantie. However, certain objec­tions prevailed. These objec­tions concerned the way the Doleantie viewed the 'Neder­landse Hervomde Kerk', and especially the teachings of the infuentail dr. Kuyper regarding the doctrines of baptism and regene­ration. Yet, in 1892 a great majority of churches joined in the unifi­cation process by which the churches were called the 'Gerefor­meerde Kerken in Nederland' (GKN). A small segment of the CGKN found it impos­sible to join with this merger of churches; they held that their objec­tions had not been solved satis­fac­torily. Therefore, they remained as the conti­nuing CGKN.

They were not motivated by secta­ri­anism but they simply desired to remain faithful to the Scrip­tures and the Confession of the church. They valued very strongly the heritage of both the Refor­mation and the Second Refor­mation, which empha­sized the personal experience of faith and the work of the Holy Spirit. During the first years after 1892 the CGKN paid much attention to questions regarding the diffe­rences with the CGKN. The CGKN was convinced that the doctrine of presumptive regene­ration is unbiblical. During these years there was the necessity to rebuild and renew eccle­si­as­tical life.

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