Are we following the Reformed Churches in The Netherlands?

With sadness we see our Dutch sister churches going into a direction which leads away from the truly Reformed heritage. Last year we remembered that five hundred years ago the church under God’s grace returned to the Bible. One of the important issues in the time of the Reformation was the authority of the Bible. For five hundred years the Reformed theology was based on the presupposition that the Bible, and the Bible only, has divine authority and therefore must be believed. The Bible is the Word of God Who never changes. What God said to His people in the past, He still speaks today.

That doesn’t mean that what God said to Abraham, He still says in the same way to us. We have to read everything in the Bible in its context. An important element of the context is that we see the place of the event in the history of salvation, and based on that we must explain what the text means for us. However, the Reformed theology always maintained that the Bible still is God’s Word to us, who live now. God’s Word is His eternal Word and never changes. God’s Word does not depend on our emotions or on our culture.

The Dutch churches have given up this Reformed heritage and now emphasize very much that our present culture has an important place in the explanation of the Bible.

In a recent speech, Rev. J. Moesker of our Canadian Reformed sister churches, addressed this matter, and connected with that the question whether the Canadian Reformed Churches are following their sister churches in The Netherlands, maybe at a distance of 20 or 30 years. It is important to understand what drove and is still driving our sister churches in The Netherlands, and then also to look at our own situation to recognize the dangers which we are facing in our society and culture.

What Rev. Moesker says about the Canadian Reformed Churches is to a certain extent applicable to the Free Reformed Churches of Australia as well. Having lived and experienced the situation in The Netherlands, as well as in Canada and now in Australia, I believe that the situation in Australia is even more similar to the situation in the Dutch churches a generation ago, than the situation in Canada is. Therefore, the warning to the Canadian Reformed Churches also comes, and maybe should come even stronger, to the Free Reformed Churches of Australia.

Rev Moesker, in a well thought out presentation gives some very valuable and edifying thoughts. The speech is highly recommended. It is accessible here:

Are We Following The Reformed Churches in the Netherlands?