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Home GS GKv Ede '14 English materials/articles abt. GS Ede / RCN in general Choose or lose (1) by D.J. Bolt - appraising situation RCN (lib)

Choose or lose (1) by D.J. Bolt - appraising situation RCN (lib)

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Br. D.J. Bolt (editor eeninwaarheid.info) tries to appraise the situation in which they find themselves in the liberated Reformed churches.

If in the process we mention names it is not about them personally but about their beliefs and what they stand for. We are interested in the direction of the churches. As we asked ourselves: Is the Word still safe in the GKv, and what is the role of the bond of churches?

Can anybody postpone a decision after Synod Ede 2014?

We are convinced that no one can avoid decisive and concrete answers any longer. ’Doing nothing’ is also a choice, a decision. It is obvious that after the closed meeting of distressed church members [2] there is acceleration in the developments. When pastors say farewell to the GKv it works as an example to follow. That is understandable. Yet it would be good if everyone gives account to himself why he takes his decision. Separating (and  especially not-separating) shall have to be motivated. ’Not feeling at home’ is an inadequate reason and neither is blindly following the leaders.

We wish to give our account in a few articles of our deliberations and the resulting choice. That weighs heavily, because it brings with it a certain responsibility towards our thousands of readers who either with or without approval follow our site. It can keep you wide awake at night. Is the recommended direction justified before for the Lord? Can we boldly call also others to make the same choice? It can weigh heavily on your soul. Peace can be found only in prayerful consideration - praying for the Holy Spirit to point the way to the Word.

Which questions have to be answered?

At the end of last season (June 2014) we asked a number of pressing and related questions which in our opinion need to be answered:

  • Is Scripture still safe in the GKv (RCN)?
  • Does the bond of churches still build up or does it break down?
  • Is it still justified to stay in this church community?
  • If not, what way should we go?

Summarizing what is going on in the Reformed Churches in the Netherlands (lib)

On this occasion we will not consider the different matters in detail. Many topics have been discussed extensively on this site. We will refer to them when appropriate. Our concern now is to summarize what we believe is going on in our church communion. We do this point by point without pretending to be exhaustive.

First point: The authority of Scripture is history

Over the years we have seen how there is tampering with texts and parts of Scripture. There is selective shopping in sermon texts. Speaking about the punishment of sin and God’s wrath in the absence of repentance is avoided or circumvented. All kinds of biblical commandments have been stripped of their authority. Results of the modern Bible sciences are being used to deprive concrete historical events of their meaning.   
Over against this, searching for the truth, uncertainty about what the Lord concretely asks, is glorified. Scoffing at our early history as being tainted with ‘church-ism’ and “when we knew everything without fail” is widespread. Speaking about God’s commandments, even if in sermons, is branded as questionable, put down as rigidity.
The result is confusion.

(...)

And this will not be the end, for the church’s anchor in the Scriptures is dragging.
A startling symptom of this is the recently published book Cruciaal in which a TUK[2] employee criticises the doctrine of reconciliation through satisfaction, as taught by Calvin and others and which forms part of our confession (Heidelberg Catechism) [3] .

Second point; Rejection of all objections and admonitions

At this synod various foreign sister-churches had lodged extensive objections against our churches, especially focusing on the issue of doctrine and the related conduct of life. Objections which we as church members had submitted before but had been rejected. Objections against Bible-critical views of dr. K. van Bekkum, dr. S. Paas, drs. J.J.T. Doedens, dr. J. Douma, dr. E.A. de Boer and dr. A.L Th. de Bruijne. The sister churches made an extensively motivated, loving and urgent appeal to our community to deal with these teachers because they go against Scripture.
But the churches in Ede rejected all the objections and decided that this put a full stop to the matter.

(...)

The concerns of the churches abroad were not limited to the ideas of the TUK’s1 teachers. The sister-churches also raised objections against the way the Scriptures are being used with respect to women in office. They object to the union with the NGK, given those churches’ loose binding to the Confession.
But the Synod of Ede did not agree with any of these objections. On the contrary, she was rather annoyed about these sister-churches’ admonitions

Third point: Demolition of reformed life

GKv2 members who experienced the forty years following the Liberation as a period of rebuilding, during which much reformed life was developed and supported by various organisations and institutes - think of reformed schools, a reformed newspaper, political, social and economic organisations – are sadly watching all this being rapidly demolished. If anywhere, it is here that the relationship between doctrine and life can be demonstrated. Whereas in the past church members did their utmost to ‘have their children instructed in the aforesaid doctrine’ if only in small institutions, today it bothers no one when their colour turns evangelical or they have to close their doors because of waning interest.
Reformed is out, general christianity is in [8].

Fourth point: The old pluralistic church doctrine is embraced

A spirit which regards church unity as the highest good has taken control of our church people. In this pursuit unity of faith, unity in the teaching of Scripture, is of lesser importance. And is it not so that in postmodern thinking everyone has his own (religious) truth? (...) No wonder that also because of the ever increasing lack of understanding of what the church really is, GKv membership is in decline.

(...)

Pluriformity expresses itself also in an enormous push for innovation. Change in the church is for some almost identical with the work of Holy Spirit [12]. (...) For many, the consequence of this is alienation of the church which they love.

Fifth point: A creeping process that affects everybodies thinking, lack of opposition, instead: habituation to process

It is almost impossible to escape the developments outlined above.
It is an creeping process that affects one’s thinking. Church publications contribute to this in a major way.

(...)

How many have not been, and are not being, sucked in by this silent revolution? How can parents still raise their children in this rapidly changing world in a Christian, a Reformed way? How will young people remain standing in a world that is so much at odds with what Reformed faith and living stand for?
It all comes together: waning knowledge of what the church is, spineless sermons, confusing information, schools that lose their reformed character, catechism classes where kids ‘have to learn nothing.’ Add to this the influence of degeneration. Think for example of the progressive language and ideas of young liberated theologians as Rikko Voorberg and Martijn Horsman [16], the desecration of the Sabbath, cohabitation and divorce.
Leaders in our churches do not combat this with corrective instruction but would rather pander to these symptoms.

(...)

The worrying concern is that even as an older member you get used to many things. At first they give you a shock, but all too soon they find a shielded (or not) place in your life. How much more will this be the case for our (grand) children! The question aches: Is it responsible for yourself and for posterity to keep exposing yourself to this? So that, if the trend continues, after two generations, perhaps only one, the bitter question must be asked: where did our youth go? And we have to ask ourselves: have we not been too negligent, too weak, and did we give the wrong example? Have we been unfaithful to the Lord and must we therefore experience His anger in being abandoned to sinful willfulness [17] ?

Sixth point: Worship services - no longer: Thus says the Lord. Proclamation with the command to believe and repent.

But in many church services it seems, perhaps with some exaggeration, that the preacher pays more attention to beautiful power-point images, internet films and songs that the band can whack, than for a thorough explanation of the Scriptures. Catechism preaching is out. Sunday after Sunday it is not on the agenda, as we have experienced. How then is the doctrine of the church passed on to and impressed on old and young? While these as well as the other confessions offer so many starting points for living in our secular society and can provide the much needed resistance to numerous pagan beliefs and worldly temptations.
Where is the church that is like a protective sheepfold, where the sheep live a loving life with the Lord and together are taught and trained to survive the cold chilly life outside?

But isn't this all a a drawn-out lamentation, is a cheerful christianity not much more attractive?

But we will not join in. Because that ‘cheerful’ road is a dead end. All the above mentioned symptoms are indicative of the deeper problem in our churches that the Bible has become an object of free interpretation and argumentation. God’s revelation is lying on the operating table of theological science. As long as you reason bible-wise you are justified, even though it leads to statements that are in direct conflict with the Scriptures [20]. Bible criticism has insidiously entered into our churches. Not many see it. There is still so much beauty in our churches, they say.
It is not hard for us to confirm that. We do notice childlike faith, and hear (ir)regularly sermons that preach the full gospel. But we’ve stressed it more often: it’s all about the direction of our churches. The direction in which our churches are moving leads away from God’s Word and from the obedience to it. Bible criticism is like an iceberg tearing the cruise ship open below the waterline. On the surface it is barely perceptible. You really need an investigation to discover that the ship’s deck has become a sloping surface. In the salons meanwhile it can still be massively cheerful, with passengers dancing to happy waltzes and proposing toasts to a safe journey. But the disaster is inevitable.

But don't we have to trust each other?

We have to trust each other, people say. Have trust in the Deputies for Church Unity, for example. Not always that suspicion, that checking up.
However, shall we not still have to ask, admonish and reject each other if deviation from the Scriptures is obvious, provable? In that case the demand for trust is improper, is it not? When an accountant asks trust instead of explaining why there is church money missing, is that not sufficient reason to get the auditors in or even the police? As the ancients said: first try and then trust.

JT

1The TUK is the Theological University in Kampen of the Reformed Churches in the Netherlands (lib)
2GKv = RCN (lib), Gereformeerde Kerken vrijgemaakt = Reformed Churches liberated

Source: eeninwaarheid.info D.J. Bolt 07-03-2015 - Choose or lose (1) - an English translation of 10-01-2015 Kiezen of verliezen 1.

Laatst aangepast op zaterdag 07 maart 2015 16:51  

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