Borg, Jan ter (1782-1847)

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Jan ter Borg was a Mennonite preacher at Amsterdam, and in every respect was a remarkable man. He was born 22 December 1782 at Borne in the province of Overijssel, the son of the baker Koenrad Hendriks ter Borg and his wife Geesken Jans Hulshoff. At the age of 10 he lost his father. Through the aid of friends at Borne and Amsterdam he was able to prepare himself for university study. Then he studied in Franeker and after October 1806 at the seminary and the Athenaeum in Amsterdam, especially with the professors Hesselink and van Lennep.

On 20 June 1810, having become a ministerial candidate, he received a call to Oldeboorn in the province of Friesland, which he accepted at the end of the year after marrying Fenneken Pol. In 1812-1820 he served the congregation of Dantumawoude. On 13 February 1820, after the death of Pastor A. H. van Gelder, he became a minister of the Mennonite Church of Amsterdam. He was honorable, gentle and kind in disposition; Dr. Sepp called him "an unusual man, in whom clearness of intellect and soundness of judgment combined with a depth and sincerity of feeling, and so rich a gift of presentation combined with so original a gift of comprehension and reflection, that he produced a profound effect on Muller with his sermons." The fact that Prof. S. Muller, who for years was the guiding spirit of the brotherhood in Holland and who was himself noted for his extraordinary gift of preaching, was so moved by ter Borg is a particularly honorable testimonial for his talents. Others praised him for his genuine Johannine nature.

But gradually ter Borg came under the influence of the religious awakening that seized Holland at that time, known as the Reveil, represented by men like Bilderdijck, da Costa, and Willem de Clercq. Especially when Thelwall, the English minister in Amsterdam, arose as a preacher of repentance (1825), ter Borg was deeply moved. He had undergone a great deal of sadness at home in the hypochondria of his wife and the death of three children. In 1826-1828 he took a more and more Calvinistic view of redemption, predestination, the Trinity, etc., with the result that unity with his fellow ministers was destroyed and church services were attended by members of other denominations more than by Mennonites, and some parents hesitated to send their children to him for religious instruction. Consequently a committee of the church council drew up a report concerning ter Borg's relation to the congregation, with a statement by Muller, both of which have been preserved in the church archives. Although ter Borg was modestly but definitely defended by the poet J. van Oosterwijk Brun, a deacon, it was decided that it would be best to have ter Borg resign or to employ a fourth preacher besides him. At the same time Muller was appointed to the seminary and he and his colleague were each assigned half duty in the ministry, so that the situation was temporarily unchanged. In November 1828 ter Borg informed the church council that he had also gradually changed his views on baptism and now preferred infant baptism. On 18 December 1828, he asked for release; this was granted in a dignified manner with the title of pastor emeritus and a pension of 1,000 guilders. He remained in Amsterdam until 1831 and then moved to the village of Nigtevecht, where he died 11 May 1847. Although his sympathies were on the side of the Reformed, he apparently remained a Mennonite the rest of his life. Thus his personal friendship with Prof. S. Muller, in spite of all their differences of opinion in religious matters, remained intact until his death.

From his pen appeared: Leerredenen (Amsterdam, 1831); Vier bijzondere leerredenen (Amsterdam, 1833); in Vaderlandsche Letteroefeningen (1819) appeared the ter Borg address delivered at the meeting of the Frisian Societeit: "Heeft Menno Simons eene volstrekt algemeene weerloosheid gepredikt?" which he answered in the negative.


Doopsgezinde Bijdragen (1895): 122; (1898): 51.

Hege, Christian and Christian Neff. Mennonitisches Lexikon, 4 vols. Frankfurt & Weierhof: Hege; Karlsruhe; Schneider, 1913-1967: v. I, 246.

Reinders, U. J. Doopsgezinde Bijdragen (1897): 1-76.

Author(s) Jacob Loosjes
Date Published 1953

Cite This Article

MLA style

Loosjes, Jacob. "Borg, Jan ter (1782-1847)." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. 1953. Web. 26 Sep 2022.,_Jan_ter_(1782-1847)&oldid=143987.

APA style

Loosjes, Jacob. (1953). Borg, Jan ter (1782-1847). Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 26 September 2022, from,_Jan_ter_(1782-1847)&oldid=143987.


Adapted by permission of Herald Press, Harrisonburg, Virginia, from Mennonite Encyclopedia, Vol. 1, p. 390. All rights reserved.

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