To speak at this early date of a history of the Protestant Reformed Churches might, perhaps, be considered presumptuous. Eleven years of existence and development would, it might appear to some, hardly yield sufficient material to write such a history, especially if it concerns a small and outwardly insignificant group of churches. Then, too, it would probably seem premature to write judiciously about the origin of these churches. A longer period must first elapse, it might be argued, before the events of 1924-25 can be perceived in their proper perspective.
Several considerations, however, may be urged in favor of a publication of this kind, even at this early date. The first and chief of these is that the rising generation in our Protestant Reformed Churches certainly must have an opportunity to acquaint themselves with the history of the churches of which they are members. It is especially with the practical purpose in view to offer them this opportunity that this history was written. Secondly, though it may be true that at a later date a better perspective might be obtainable of the events narrated, it is equally true that "distance lends enchantment to the view," and that under the spell of such enchantment the events of the past may appear somewhat distorted. In favor of this early publication is the fact that the events described are still fresh in the memory, not only of the author, but also of many that with him passed through the history of 1924-25. The latter may be summoned as witnesses that the facts of this history were not distorted in the narrative of them that is hereby offered to the public. And, thirdly, it is certainly desirable that the history of the Protestant Reformed Churches, especially as to their origin, be narrated by one of their own men, that was witness of the events here described. And I consider it no weakness but a point in favor of this narrative that it is told from the Protestant Reformed viewpoint.
In Part II of this book the reader will find a discussion of the doctrinal differences that, since 1924 exist between the Christian Reformed and the Protestant Reformed Churches.
May the Lord bless this effort and cause it to be effective unto the purpose for which it was written.
Rev. H. Hoeksema
Grand Rapids, Mich., 1936
Eleven years elapsed since the first edition of The Protestant Reformed Churches in America was offered to the public. If, at the time of its first edition, reasonable doubt might be raised whether such a history as this could be written, and the facts related in it could be viewed and evaluated in their proper perspective, this doubt has now been removed. Except for the fact that the injustice committed against those that were ejected from the fellowship of the Christian Reformed Churches in 1924 stands out in bolder relief at this later date, there was no reason to make any substantial alterations in this second edition. Hence except for some minor additions, this edition is quite like the first.
May it, under God's blessing, continue to instruct our own people, as well as others, in the history and specific doctrinal basis of the Protestant Reformed Churches, which should never be forgotten.
Grand Rapids, Mich., 1947