A BRIEF OVERVIEW OF THE HISTORY OF OUR CONGREGATION
Approximately at the end of 1983, there were a number of members in a particular Reformed Church in the Vaal Triangle, who became increasingly disillusioned regarding certain issues in the church. These included the lack of a properly functioning community of saints, a lack of proper praise and worship, including a lack of expression of the doctrine of professing members. A core group of this particular congregation, over a period of approximately 12 months, began investigating other possibilities for a spiritual home.
United with fellow believers of other denominations, nine brothers and sisters met on a regular basis, praying for a spiritual leader that could shepherd and teach them in a new congregational dispensation.
At the recommendation of Rev. Konki van der Walt, this group became aware of a civil engineer by name of Nico van der Walt, who completed his theological studies at Potchefstroom University (PUK). Nico was called for this purpose and work. He accepted and together with his wife, Soniah and four daughters moved to Vereeniging in July 1984 to start this new Afrikaans congregation.
Initially the Church was affiliated with the ABC (Afrikaans Baptiste Kerk – Afrikaans Baptist Church). However, as early as 1985 there was a directional change and the Church became an independent Church. “Vaal Triangle Christian Community”. Initially the congregation was “semi-charismatic”, the emphasis being more “semi”. Biblical truths by way of “solid” exegetical preaching, was central in the life of the Church and its members.
At the beginning of 1990, Nico and his family moved to Noordhoek in the Western Cape. The following two years the Church was led by various elders. Mercifully, the Lord, at the beginning 1992, and that at the request of the leadership of the Church, called Nico and his family back to the congregation.
A profound theological adjustment occurred with the return of Nico. He made it clear that he became convicted of God’s grace and of the absolute truths of the Reformed faith. Shortly after, the Church affiliated with the former RBA (“Reformed Baptist Association of South Africa”). “The Baptist Confession of 1689 Faith” was adopted as the creed of the Church (that is, to this day still the creed of our congregation). During this period, the Church’s name was changed to Antipas Gereformeerde Baptistegemeente (Antipas Reformed Baptist Church) – abbreviated simply: Antipas Church. This name is derived from the name of the faithful witness in Rev.2: 13.
In 1997, the leadership of the Church became acutely aware of the need that existed for Nico to preach in other parts of the country, but particularly in Pretoria. After much prayer and discussion, it became obvious that the Lord was preparing Nico for a “new job” in Pretoria. During January of 1998, Nico and a group of believers, started services in a school hall in Pretoria. During the second half of 1999, he and his family, with the blessing of the Church, relocated to Pretoria. Antipas Reformed Baptist Church, Pretoria was founded shortly afterwards. Initially the Pretoria Church was under the guidance of the elders of the Vereeniging Church.
In March 1999, Johannes de Koning was called to Antipas, Vereeniging. He together with wife, Jacolette labored faithfully at Antipas, Vereeniging till November 2003.
Meanwhile, our Heavenly Father was at work in the heart of Kobus van der Walt (also a former PUK). Kobus was called and accepted this call, joined by his wife Jeanne, as pastor and shepherd
of the congregation commencing January 2005.
In August 2015 the Church decided unanimously to change the church’s name to Three Rivers Baptiste Kerk/Three Rivers Baptist Church and also decided to start with an English Church Plant at the end of January 2016.