Godefridus Udemans -- By: Joel R. Beeke

Journal: Puritan Reformed Journal
Volume: PRJ 05:1 (Jan 2013)
Article: Godefridus Udemans
Author: Joel R. Beeke


Godefridus Udemans

Joel R. Beeke

Godefridus Cornelis Udemans (c. 1581-1649) was one of the most influential Dutch Further Reformation divines of his generation. With the exception of Willem Teellinck (1579-1629), no seventeenth-century theologian from the Zeeland province exerted greater influence upon his contemporaries than Udemans, the preacher from Zierikzee. Through his preaching and writing, Udemans promoted Reformed piety in Zeeland and neighboring provinces for nearly half a century.1

Life

Godefridus Udemans was born at Bergen op Zoom in 1581 or 1582 into a Reformed family. His father played a significant role in helping found the Reformed church at Bergen op Zoom. Godefridus was converted in his youth and may have studied theology under his spiritual father, Marcus Zuerius, a seasoned minister of good reputation at Bergen op Zoom. Zuerius was also the grandfather of Marcus Zuerius Boxhorn (1612-1653), who became a professor of theology

at Leiden. Udemans retained a close friendship with his teacher until Zuerius’s death.

Udemans sustained his classical examinations for ministerial candidacy on April 19, 1599. Seven months later, he accepted a pastoral call from Haamstede. A week later, on November 23, Classis Schouwen examined and admitted him into the ministry of the Reformed churches. He was ordained on December 12, succeeding Jan Cornelis Kempe, who had died early in that year. Initially, the young minister received some opposition, but when he received a pastoral call to the Reformed church in Zierikzee in 1602, the congregation opposed his departure. Ultimately, the civil authorities of the Zeeland province intervened. On April 11, 1604, nearly two years after being called, he was finally installed in Zierikzee, where he served the church faithfully for forty-five years. On January 29, 1613, he married Magdalena Stoutenburg (c. 1582-1662), daughter of the mayor of Brouwershaven. In 1620, the Udemans family was blessed with twins.

Udemans died at Zierikzee on January 20, 1649, still active in the ministry though in his late sixties. He was buried in the St. Lievensmonster tower of Zierikzee.

Influence

Appointments

Udemans was a major influence on the Dutch Reformed church in his day in a variety of ways. Due to his diversity of gifts, both ecclesiastical and civil authorities called upon him to serve on various committees and in other capacities.

Udemans became involved in the Remonstrant (Arminian) debate early on. In 1616, Udemans and Herman Fa...

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