23-03-1912 – 03-04-1981
Vreugdenhil was born in Vijfhuizen, a village in the province of North Holland. His father studied theology at a later age and became a minister in the Christian Reformed Churches. (Those churches who did not join in the Union of 1892.)
After serving there as minister for three years, he joined the Gereformeerde Gemeenten (A conservative bond of churches in the Netherlands.)
Johannes decided to become a teacher, serving at two different schools before becoming principal at the Groen van Prinsterer School at Kampen. He retired from this task in 1977.
He became quite famous in Reformed circles by the books he wrote: Bible History and Church History for Young and Old. Some 150 000 copies were sold of the Bible History set. Church History for Young and Old had thirteen reprints. The bible series was translated into four different languages. The Church History series was translated into English and Russian.
His youngest daughter wrote: ‘Dad demanded too much from himself and wanted to do too much too well.’ He saw the writing of these stories as a calling to which the LORD had called him. His focus was to make sure the message was conveyed properly. He was a perfectionist with much attention to detail.
He knew himself very dependent on the LORD, also in the little things of life. He was critical of a superficial faith, a faith with little content. He was equally critical of strict legalistic preaching. His main concern was for his children to love and serve the LORD.
Wherever he was, there was a lively discussion happening.
He was married and received eight children. Although keeping strict discipline in his family, he also knew how to play with his children and invented all sorts of games for them. He loved his wife dearly and helped her where he could with the household chores. For eight years he served in the special office, first as deacon then as elder.
One of his mantras was ‘God makes His word true; He does what He promises’. He often stressed this to his children and his students. At 68 he developed a tumour for the second time. This became a difficult stage in his life. He would never complain, he accepted that whatever the LORD did was good. Slowly but surely his body wasted away. Once he confided to his daughter: ‘Now I can’t even kneel anymore’ He had great difficulty accepting that.
He died at the age of 68.
Below is part of his work that have been recently translated from Dutch into English. The structure below is laid out in chapters. Clicking the link will automatically download the chapter in PDF format.
Please note that this is an ongoing translation project, so not all chapters will be ready for download. However it is our intention to continue translating and making subsequent chapters available for download as they become complete.
00. Johannes Vreugdenhill
0. Why church history
1. The apostolic age
2. The start of the Jewish revolt
3. The destruction of Jerusalem (1)
4. The destruction of Jerusalem (2)
5. The stone which became a mountain
6. Nero the persecutor of the Christians
10. Justin the Martyr
11. Lyons and Vienna
12. Perpetua and Felicitas
13. A Spirit of Error (1) – Gnosticism
14. A Spirit of Error (2): Marcion.
15. A Spirit of Error (3): Montanism.
16. Two Unsuccessful Attempts to Exterminate Christianity.
17. A Severe Trial.
18. Constantine the Great.
19. The Catacombs.
20. Julian the Apostate.
21. The Church Father Athanasius and the Arian Conflict.
22. The Fearless Bishop of Milan.
23. The Faithful Bishop of Constantinople.
24 Augustine: ‘The Snorting Horse’.
25. Augustine: ‘The Brave Warrior in God’s Church’.
26. Believing the Lie (1): Worship of Saints and the veneration of Mary.
27. Believing the Lie (2): Image Worship and Relics.
28. Believing the Lie (3): The Popish Mass and Confession.
29. Hermits and Monks.
30. The Pope of Rome.
31. Great Changes: Migration Period.
32. Scaffolding for God’s Church: Gregory the Great.
33. Mohammed, the False Prophet.
34 An Escape from a Threatened Danger.
35. The Heroes of Ireland.
36. Some Frank Missionaries.
37. Anglo-Saxon Missionaries (1): Willibrord.
38. Anglo-Saxon Missionaries (2): Boniface.
39. Charles the Great (Charlemagne): His Wars.
40. Charlemagne’s Works of Peace.
41. The Norsemen.
43. A Reformation of Monasteries—The Cluniac Reformed Monastic Order.
44. Hildebrand or Gregory VII.
45. The Struggle Between Church and State.
46. The Pilgrimage.
47. The Crusades (1) ‘God Wills It!’
48. The Crusades (2) ‘Does God Want It?’
49. The Crusades (3) ‘The Consequences’
50. Bernard of Clairvaux.
51. A Warning Voice: Bishop Claudius.
52.The Sorrowful Times.
53 The Waldenses.
54. Several Mendicant Orders.
55. The Black Death
56. The Great Schism.
57. John Wycliffe.
58. John Huss (1): An Admonishing Voice.
59. John Huss (2): Silence Imposed.
60. The Hussite Wars.
61. Geerhard Groote and His Followers.
62. Humanism and the Renaissance.
64. Erasmus: Weighed in the Balance and Found Wanting.
65. Europe before the Reformation
66. Martin Luther (1) – His Youth
67. Martin Luther (2) – True peace sought and found
68. Martin Luther (3) – Luther against Tetzel
69. Martin Luther (4) – breaks with Rome
70. Martin Luther (5) – The Diet and the Wartburg
71. Martin Luther (6) – Ongoing Struggle and his death
72. Ulrich Zwingli (1)
73. Ulrich Zwingli (2)
74. John Calvin (1) – His youth
75. John Calvin (2) – His early ministry
76. John Calvin (3) – Second Genevan ministry
77. John Calvin (4) – His last Years
78. The Counter Reformation
79. Charles V’s dream to Unite Europe Fails
80. The Thirty Year War
81. The struggle in France
82. A Shameful Betrayal. The St Bartholomew night
83. God’s Vengeance and the Edict of Nantes.
84. The Sun King and the Huguenots.
85. England: The Anglican State Church.
86. The Reformation in Scotland.
87. John Knox, the Unyielding Scot.
88. The Reformation in the Netherlands.
89. Faithful unto Death (1).
90. Faithful unto Death (2).
91. God’s Care for His Church in the Netherlands.
92. The Troubled Year of 1566.
93. Seemingly All Lost.
94. Struggle and Victory.
95. A dangerous onslaught upon God’s Church
96. The Attack Repulsed
97. The important Synod of Dordt
98. The English Church in the 17th Century.
99. Stadtholder – King William III.
100. Pietism in Germany and the Netherlands.
101. The Methodists.
102. The Enlightenment
103. The French Revolution
104. The Foolishness of the Dutch
105. The Synod of The Hague – The Church muzzled
106. The Revival
107. The minister of Ulrum
108. The Secession 1834
109. Rev. Ledeboer and the Ledeboerians.
110. The ‘Doleantie’ 1886
111. The Reformed Church in the Netherlands After 1886.
112. The Multitude Which no Man can Number (1).
113. The Multitude Which no Man can Number (2).
114. The Multitude Which no Man can Number (3).
115. The Multitude Which no Man can Number (4).
116. The Light on our Path.
117. … and then Shall the End Come’.