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Reformed Theology

Our Priceless Heritage

"Listen to me, you who pursue righteousness, you who seek the LORD: look to the rock from which you were hewn, and to the quarry from which you were dug. (Isaiah 51:1 ESV).

Many Christians today are not familiar with the historical confessions of the Protestant Reformation in Europe. However, for those who seek to understand the priceless heritage of Tyndale Christian School, it is necessary to have some understanding of the theological views of those whose labours, blessed by God Almighty, resulted in the formation of the Association in 1957 and the commencement of the school in 1966.

The history of Tyndale Christian School is inextricably linked with the history of Australia in the period immediately following the Second World War. As Europe in particular had been devastated by five years of war, many of those who had survived sought to escape from the ruins and begin life anew in places such as Australia. Among the flood of migrants were those from The Netherlands, a nation where the Protestant Reformation had taken deep root and flourished during the early 16th century, despite long and cruel persecutions beginning in 1523 under Emperor Charles V and continuing until 1609 when The Netherlands and Spain finally agreed upon a truce. It was during this period of struggle for religious and political freedom that Dutchman Guido De Bres drew up the Belgic Confession of Faith which expressed what the Reformed Churches of The Netherlands believed concerning the Bible, God, man, the way of salvation, the church and government. This was the faith that many of the Dutch migrants brought to Australia.

When Dutch migrants began to arrive in Australia in greater numbers during the early 1950s, those of Reformed persuasion were dismayed to find that Christian schools like those they themselves had attended in The Netherlands did not exist in the new land. Rather, government schools dominated the educational scene, with Roman Catholic parish schools offering the only real alternative. Of course, Protestant schools did exist but were not numerous and, besides, the fees charged by such schools were far more than most migrants could afford. So what did they do? They set about establishing a completely new type of Christian school in Australia, unlike anything previously known.

The vehicle the Dutch migrants used to establish this new type of school was the Reformed Churches of Australia, as it was then known. This denomination also was new, having likewise been founded by Dutch migrants in 1951. It is important to understand, however, that it was not the local Reformed Churches that established or operated the new schools like Tyndale, for the Dutch migrants believed that responsibility for educating their children belonged to them as parents, not to the church and certainly not to the government. This understanding of education, virtually unheard of in Australia at that time, was a practical out-working of their Reformed faith.

Of course, the fact that the Christian school associations that began to emerge in Australia in 1954 were independent does not mean that the Reformed Churches had no role to play. Rather, the Reformed Churches nurtured the fledgling Christian school associations, widely championed the cause of Christian parent-controlled education and provided the vast majority of volunteers who became office-bearers in the new Christian school associations as well as the members of those associations.

The history of Tyndale and its sister schools in the Australian Christian parent-controlled schools movement is all the more astonishing when the particular circumstances are recalled. Migrants who fled a small, war-ravaged nation in Europe in order to establish themselves in another country on the other side of the world, an unfamiliar country with a different language and culture that lacked at least some of the institutions taken for granted in The Netherlands, such as Christian schools. Despite the acute pressure they experienced in learning a new language, finding suitable accommodation, finding employment and establishing a church, these faithful folk brought to Australia a vision for Christian parent-controlled education that in turn was shaped by their Reformation heritage and world-view.

Reformed Theology - from 'The Reformed Reader' website