The Dutch Reformed Church in a colonial context : a comparative study of the Taiwan and American experience (1624-1664)
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This thesis compares the missionary work among the aborigines in Formosa and New Netherland. Both places were ruled by The Netherlands from 1624 to 1662 (Formosa) and from 1624 to 1664 (New Netherland). In Formosa, the missionary work achieved a good result, while that in the New Netherland was fruitless. The reasons for such results were due to different methods used in both places. In Formosa, the early missionaries were inf1uenced by the Remonstrant theology and hence freely compiled catechisms and accommodated doctrines according to the local situation. Besides, the missionaries lived in the aboriginal villages, and consequently managed to use the aboriginal languages and acquired knowledge about the aboriginal culture and religion. In the New Netherland, the missionaries never lived among the Native Americans and hence it was difficult to use their language and understand their culture. In 1643, the Governor, Willem, Kieft, massacred a Native American village, which caused a hostile relationship between the Dutch and Native Americans, thus preventing any effective missionary work.
In the 1660s, Dutch sovereignty in both places was replaced by other governments. In Formosa, the new ruler, Koxinga, was hostile towards Christianity. As a result, the once blossoming missionary field was uprooted. In the New Netherland, due to the English policy, of the tolerance Reformed Church retained it's church and practice and witness among Native Americans until today.