BreakPoint Blog

Banner
Banner
In the Netherlands, Atheists Are Running the Church


Abraham Kuyper just might be spinning in his grave. Kuyper, a statesman, theologian, educator, and journalist, at the opening celebration of the Free University in Amsterdam on October 20, 1880, declared that Christ is Lord over all of creation, or in his own words, "There is not a square inch in the whole domain of our human existence over which Christ, who is Sovereign over all, does not cry: 'Mine'!" Kuyper used his influence to help reform the church, state, and education. The speech is titled "Sphere Sovereignty," and the book in which you can find it is Abraham Kuyper: A Centennial Reader, ed. James D. Bratt (Grand Rapids, Mich.: Wm. B. Eerdmans, 1998): 461-462.

Sadly, just over 130 years later, there is a growing de-Christianization happening in a number of churches in the Netherlands. According to a study conducted at the Free University, one in six pastors of the Protestant Church of the Netherlands and a number of other denominations are either atheist or agnostic.

While this is indeed bad news for believers worldwide, it isn't a hopeless case, as is illustrated in Kuyper's own life and the history of his country.

Secular humanism was flourishing in universities and divinity schools throughout the Netherlands. The schools were churning out pastors who were atheists and agnostics. At one point, Kuyper himself was on the same road to becoming a thoroughly secular theologian. It was through his first congregation that he came to believe in the Triune God. After which, he became a force for good within the church, the state, and the educational establishment.

After declaring Christ's sovereignty, Kuyper continued with his speech opening the university, "We have listened to the sighs of our Christian people who, in the shame of their self-abasement, again learned to pray for leaders to command them, for shepherds to tend them, for prophets to inspire them. We realize that the honor of Christ may not remain thus trodden under scoffers' feet. As surely as we loved Him with our souls, we must build again in his name. And when it seemed of no avail, when we looked upon our meager power, the strength of the opposition, the preposterousness of so bold an undertaking, the fire still kept burning in our bones. There was One mightier than we who urged us and spurred us onward. We could not rest. In spite of ourselves we had to go forward. That some of our own brothers advised against building at this time and preferred to go on living with Humanism was a painful source of quiet shame. But it only made the inner drive more urgent, since the hesitation of such men seemed an increasing threat to the future of our life-principle."

The takeaway of this section from Kuyper's speech is that while we, and many faithful Christians worldwide, including those in the Netherlands, have "meager power," we do have the power of Christ to do good, to build Churches whose pastors actually believe in the Holy Trinity, and where educational and seminary establishments can teach the orthodox Christian faith. Out of those establishments, a number of people, just like Kuyper did, will also assert that Christ is sovereign over all of creation!

In the meantime, let's pray that the unbelieving pastors across the Netherlands will hear the voice of God.

Comments:

That may be, Lee, but I have come across a lot of atheists seemed curiously self-righteous about their devotion to facts.
Flexible "Truth" makes good netting
...but can't provide firm support.

Jason, ponder this: if the atheists are correct (as they of course believe they are), what is the real consequence of lying? It may have a social result of diminished credibility, but this can be weighed against achieving a positive objective (which could include a salary for the liar, all the way up to producing social change via a literal pulpit). So lying for an atheist is not a black-and-white moral failure, but rather a mere tactic requiring a cost-benefit analysis.

FYI, the Dutch word for "deceiver" is "bedrieger", and those pastors bedrieg-in' Christ's name through the mud by their pretense. I believe Scripture has some specific warnings about that. Of course, one would need to believe that Scripture has authority before one would take those warnings seriously.
Do they even consider that this is LYING. This is like an adulterer praising marriage or a traitor praising patriotism.

If they want to be Atheists they shouldn't be pastors.