|Doctrines|| ||The Reformed Church of
France shares the principal doctrines of other reformed churches: the
Bible is the Word of God and sole authority for Christian belief, Jesus is
the incarnate Son of God, double predestination, justification by grace
through faith, and the sacraments of baptism and the Lord's Supper.|
|History|| ||In the 16th century
reformed theology established itself only slowly in France. Once it did
make itself felt it was severely persecuted. On 18 October 1534 a group
of French Protestants spread placards around Paris condemning the Catholic
Mass. The French king, Francis I, with the support of the church,
severely and indiscriminately put down the protests by imprisoning and
executing those suspected of organising or supporting the incident of
October 18. |
Francis I's successor, Henry II (1547-59), continued to persecute the Protestants by imprisoning or putting to death by fire those who would not convert to Roman Catholicism. The consequence of this repression was a series of long civil wars between the Protestants and the French monarch.
Peace was restored when the Protestant king, Henry IV, came to power in 1589. The Protestants (now known as the Huguenots) were protected by the Edict of Nantes (1598) which secured toleration for the Protestants. French Protestantism enjoyed sustained growth until the Edict of Nantes was revoked by Louis XIV in 1685. This led thousands of French Protestants to flee to other European countries or America.
The small remnant who continued to live in France practised their faith in secret. It was only with the French revolution of 1789 that French Protestants were able to regain their full rights. As in other countries, French Protestantism experienced a number of schisms during the 19th century. These were addressed in the 1930s when efforts to unite the various reformed groups led to the establishment of the Reformed Church of France.
|Symbols|| ||The principle symbol of
the Reformed Church of France is the Huguenot Cross. The Huguenot cross
is composed of a four petal lily of France in the form of a Maltese cross.
The four petals represent the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John.
Connecting each of the four petals are four fleur-de-lis, the fleur-de-lis
being a symbol of France. Hanging from the lower petal on a ring of gold
is a dove which represents the church.|
|Adherents|| ||The Reformed
Church of France has 350,000 members. Affiliated to the Reformed Church
of France is the Reformed Church of Alsace Lorraine which has 35,000
members (Europa Publications Ltd. 1997 I, 1296).|
| ||Reformed Church of France, 47 rue de Clichy, 75009
Paris, France; Reformed Church of Alsace Lorraine, 1 Quai St Thomas, 67081