Press review by P van Gurp. De bazuin #44 /2013

Churchism in kampen -- freedom & joy

In his column, Delen in de gescheurde Kerk, Professor Dr. A. be Bruijne has called on the readers of the ND of November 9, 2013 to share his convictions concerning the dividedness of the churches.

He writes that the ongoing discussions are always about how the churches can arrive at complete unity. But he feels increasingly uncomfortable with this ‘passion for unity‘. He perceives there is a flawed vision concerning the division of the churches. These divisions are judged as abnormal ~ they should never have existed. But is this opinion of the people in their ‘unity passion’ justified? Is it really true?
He asks if it would be possible for this dividedness to be explained as a positive policy of God instead.
He then follows with positive words about the Kuyper’s doctrine of pluriformity. In the different churches Kuyper saw something of the many differentiated facets in creation.
De Bruijne also comes with that motif saying that God’s creation has endless variation and colors. You see that in all the different churches so he calls these an artificial but necessary division that the Lord Himself had established!
He then applies this as follows: each church must maintain its own character and ‘administer whatever God has entrusted to it’.

Is this acceptable considering the prayer and command of the Lord Jesus Christ?
Should we then not long for and work toward church unity?

Dr. A. be Bruijne recommends nevertheless that you should not sacrifice the elements of this many colored state. Within the entirety of the divided church it is your duty to work with this characteristic. Do not let the charismatic lose the perspective of their dependence on the Spirit. And Roman Catholics should not give away the Papacy as the symbol of world wide union. The Dutch Reformed must not lose their traditional orientation nor evangelicals their energy to experiment. Reformed churches should not cross out valuable aspects of their confessions in order to smooth the way to open the door for others. Let us administer what God has entrusted to us as much as possible with our fellow churches.
His conclusion then is that the dividedness of the churches should most certainly be upheld. Each church must follow its own ideas and interpretations and not strive for church unity. For, he suggests, you recognize the broken body of Christ in the splintered churches. Whoever desires unity must learn to work in the torn body of Christ.

My reaction is as follows: There is nothing new under the sun. Led by the Spirit Isaiah had to ascertain what in his days was proffered by the false prophets: the evil they call good and the good evil. All of this is not speaking in harmony with the heart of Jerusalem, but a speaking as of the false prophets. Speaking according to the heart of sinful man who only reckon with their own desires and therefore gladly these things.
The members of the church would certainly be sent on a sinful course with this teaching.
If we look back even further we see the fall of man in paradise because he listened to the devil who suggested: you will be able to know good and evil yourself. In other words to decide yourself what is good or evil. This first sin continues throughout the centuries, concerning the church especially. You are able to decide for yourself where you feel at home and what is most attractive. That idea is passed on to prospective theological students so that they teach the youth of the church in the same vein. This is nothing but churchism ~ build your own church according to peoples tastes without taking into consideration the commands of the Lord.

Two more observations:
First, all this is in flagrant opposition to the confessions which dr. De Bruijne also under signed and in doing so promised to fight all errors opposed to it. This is a test case which reveals, so to say, how far the instruction for the training of the ministry of the Word is (not) protected against unscriptural education in the Reformed Churches (lib) in Kampen.

And secondly: the Theological University at Apeldoorn will join in with this type of instruction if it desires to form a centralized Reformed Educational system.

What a blessing it is that our students (GK hersteld) do not have to be exposed to such evil teachings!

All church members must recognize this spirit as a spirit of error and arm ourselves against it. To teach the youth to stay with Scripture and confession which both teach us that it is the Lord Jesus Christ who gathers His congregation in the unity of the true faith.
And also to warn them against all self will when it comes to membership of the church.

Translator’s note. A short time ago a press review appeared in de Bazuin #36/2013 discussing comments made by ds. Harinck in an interview with the Reformatorisch Dagblad where he said a succession or liberation is only a reformed tradition used to solve problems in the church and therefore not in line with our Lord‘s call for unity in truth. (posted Oct 26 on this site). Yet if we draw any conclusion from the opinions of Dr. de Bruijne it would be that; by keeping all different opinions and teachings separate in different bodies of churches the glory of God’s many hued creation would be obediently upheld and characteristics found in the worship styles in these various different denominations would the better portray the present brokenness of the body of Christ. I fear that Kampen is more and more trumpeting an unknown sound and even a contradictory message.