The Reformation and Canadian Foundations

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We live in the age of information. Some information is ‘revised’ when it comes to History. However, if you look into books written long ago before the internet became the primary source of information, you can verify facts before repeating them or even ‘sharing’ them on Facebook.

As an explicitly Christian blog written for an explicitly Christian audience, our hope at ChristianRoots Canada, is for you to be inspired to dig deeper and verify any information you read here. We hope you will become like the Bereans (See Acts 17:11), by being diligent to check any information here against accurate historical research.

In God’s Providence, I had the very great privilege to audit a class on Reformation History at the Reformed Presbyterian Seminary, from September 2016 to February 2017. This has reinforced for me, the truth of the old adage, that ‘context is king’.  If you have not read about the Reformation in France, please do so. The French Reformers (Huguenots) played an important part in establishing The Dominion of Canada.

Even though their reasons for settlement were probably driven by the desire for trade, (and I have not discovered any noble motives as yet) one reads that the Huguenots, as a rule, held the truths of Scripture so dear to their hearts that they were  they were willing to lay down their lives for those deeply-held beliefs. Thousands were massacred during that period of history for no other reason but their belief in Sola Scriptura.

I have no reason to doubt that they lived honorable Christian lives among the natives for a period which spanned over eight decades.

But God, in His Providence, used their wealth, their education, their privilege and navigational abilities to send them across the ocean to settle new lands. This is the context in which we would like to frame our information about God’s hand in the settling of Canada. This much we know:

  • The Reformers in France were largely highly educated, academy (university) trained men of the nobility and / or privilege
  • They were aligned to the Huguenot King Henry lll (also known as Henry of Navarre and Henry lV)
  • Because of their noble birth and privileged education, they were merchants, explorers, soldiers and advisors to the King
  • They were the first to settle new lands in North America for France (New France or Canada)
  • King Henry had given them a monopoly to trade in furs (which lasted about 83 years) in exchange for favours to him (1598). This is a long time to have impact, of which the history books are sketchy at best
  • Because of Huguenot / Catholic conflicts, the next Catholic King (Louis Vlll) rescinded their monopoly in the Edict of Nantes (1685) giving sole monopoly to Catholic merchants / settlers
  • The Huguenots were given the ultimatum of converting to Catholicism or to leave the colony in two weeks
  • Many Huguenots left, but others stayed to continue the ‘underground’ organization of Reformed communities

Today, there are still a fair number of Huguenot descendants in Quebec, and  a Reformed Theological Seminary has been revived in recent years.

Make it Personal:

  • Study the map of Quebec.
  • Read about its earliest settlements by the Huguenots.
  • Follow the St. Lawrence River to learn its importance in establishing The Dominion of Canada.
  • What kind of Kingdom impact can you leave in 83 years of  your life?

Live your life today in such a way that it matters to your children and grandchildren tomorrow. Lynette

Let us know if this was helpful. Leave us a comment. 


2 thoughts on “The Reformation and Canadian Foundations”

  1. I find this fascinating. In university I wanted to write a major paper on the Huguenots in France but was warned off the topic due to the lack of primary sources. I guess there are a lot of holes in the historical accounts of the Huguenots.

    1. Hi ragnew1,
      I know someone from Quebec who has his family tree of Huguenot descendants and another person who has done other Huguenot research and teaches about it too. I will see if anyone from that community is willing to do a podcast. There is also a Prof. of European History who I met at our church in Pittsburgh last summer, just before she moved to France to serve at the only Reformed Presbyterian Church in France. Guess where it is? Uh huh. Nantes. Got lots to put together. So excited!

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