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  • Writer's picturePublieke Getuienis

Are there only two currents in the Dutch Reformed Church?

Braam Hanekom

In 14 August 2021's Rapport, two letters were published that further stimulate the narrative that there are actually only two currents in the Dutch Reformed Church. This can create the impression that the Dutch Reformed Church actually only consists of these two camps and is currently engaged in a struggle over right and wrong, the soul of the church and the heart of our faith. That the conversation is going on, no one can ignore or doubt. For me, however, the Dutch Reformed Church is much, much bigger than this.

I am aware of thousands of believers whose faith is deeply defined in a simple, call it a childlike, love for God, Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit. However, it is also a faith that awakens them - not the battles inside the church, but the tremendous need outside the church. It is a stream of members who seek God's face and wisdom, not primarily over synodal decisions, but about what to do in a time like this (Acts 2). They understand that our challenges are far greater than our own advice, wisdom and clarification and therefore quietly seek deeper answers. Sometimes about concrete issues such as housing, unemployment, poverty, irreconcilability, violence etc.

They think and pray about the problems together. They understand that they cannot change the country, but can make a substantial difference somewhere in their local congregation and community. And they do it! They do not issue statements and do not write long letters in newspapers about these matters. They often do not have the time or inclination for it, because they saw the need in the eyes of their fellow human beings and compatriots and were deeply touched.

Maybe we should also think about these currents within the Dutch Reformed Church... The Dutch Reformed Church's public prestige (call it trademark), is in deep trouble. There are many reasons for this, but it can also be changed.

Meanwhile, this is not what these other believers in the Dutch Reformed Church are about. It is about a Kingdom vision and calling that must be lived now and every day.

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