Christian Reformed Church, denomination formed after the secession of a group from the Reformed Church in America in 1857. Colonists from Holland who began settling in Michigan in 1846 generally became members of the Reformed (Dutch) church there. A number of these immigrants, dissatisfied with the doctrinal laxity and practices of that church, separated from it in 1857 and united in a new congregation at Holland, Mich. Later other congregations of this "True Holland Reformed Church" were formed in neighboring states. Missionary work in Holland led many Dutch immigrants to join this church upon their arrival in the United States. In 1882, after a new secession movement in the Reformed Church in America, caused by the General Synod's refusal to condemn Freemasonry, a considerable addition to the church was made. In 1890 it adopted the name Christian Reformed Church; in that year it was joined by the True Reformed Dutch Church (1822) of New York and New Jersey. Its constitution is an adaptation of that approved by the Synod of Dort (1619). Its doctrines are drawn mainly from those of the Reformed Church in Holland. The church, which has approximately 280,000 members in the United States and Canada (1997), is very active in mission work.
See the centennial publication One Hundred Years in the New World (1957); P. DeKlerk and R. R. DeRidder, ed., Perspectives on the Christian Reformed Church (1983).