Translation of a Press Review by T.L.Bruinius

Comments on a press review.                           
The following is a translation of an article of a press review in the Bazuin #36 (2013) written by T.L. Bruinius. The article shows that there is an unwillingness for deformation to seriously deal with reformation. What is worse, to make sure that those who read about it also adopt that same unwillingness unless the Lord willing there is an open and humble heart.

Solution for a problem?

Some attention was given to “ten years a new liberation” in the Nederlands Dagblad (ND) and in the Reformatorisch Dagblad (RD). The ND gave abridged reviews again of interviews with ds. P. van Gurp, A. Admiral and W. Dijkstra. The RD used up two whole pages of its Saturday edition ‘Accent’ of Sept. 21 on the matter.
Except for an overview of the facts in the form of a timeline space was also given later for interviews with ds. S. de Marie, prof. dr. G. Harinck and ds. A. van Houdt.
We now would like to delve further into some of the comments by dr. Harinck. Dr. Harinck is an authority we might say in the realm of church history. His opinions count.


Concerning the matter of whether ten years after the ‘new liberation’ another seperation could threaten the Gkv on account of the discussion about women in office, we read:
History Prof. dr. G Harinck ascertains that the risk of new friction in the church is not imaginary. The director of the Center for historical documents of Dutch Protestantism (1800 - to the present) postulates that ‘ solving a problem by seceding is within the tradition of the GKV.’
A tradition is a custom that survives and is passed on. Harinck sees secession as surviving custom in the GKV. If you have a problem you secede; apparently this is a typical Liberated solution. We may explain his words this way. In fact they infer that it is not necessary to secede at all. Others seek a different solution. He suggests that people in the GKV choose traditional faithfulness before secession. You would expect a better reaction from a reformed historian. A more reformed reaction. The liberation of 2003 was not an expression of tradition. The succession of 1834 was not either, not the Doleantie either, nor the Liberation of 1944. None of these had anything to do with tradition. Not with custom, nor the choosing of a ‘solution’. On the contrary wasn’t everything done to the utmost to preserve unity in all these situations!
No, in all these cases there was spoken of serious deviation from the Word and for a return to the Word because that is what the Lord called for. Had that not been the case there would have been no successions or liberations.
That is something completely at variance with choosing for the tradition of solving things by succeeding. To speak this way seriously shortchanges the matters that arose and that still arise today; faithfulness to God’s Word. It also shortchanges the work of the Lord Himself.


Further on in the article we read:
Within the mainstream of the ‘newly liberated’, the Reformed Church (restored), the HDC director sees ‘’something radical’’ however. In earlier successions the church orderly way of dealing with concerns  was ‘followed to completion.’ Opposed to that the newly liberated went away on their own.’
Apparently there is still something that differentiates the newly liberated from all the other traditional secessionists: something radical. And what is that? That the others always followed the church orderly way to its end. Apparently we did not do that. Apparently we left when the way was still open.
Pity that a historian speaks this way. The facts prove different. Whoever takes the trouble to follow in detail the history leading up to and the history of the synod Zuidhorn must conclude that on many points dealt with at Zuidhorn the church orderly way was closed.
To say it differently would not do justice to the facts. It is easy and inaccurate to represent the liberation of 2003 in this way.


We read something else remarkable as well. Harinck admits that the GKv has changed. You can not escape it. He also sees that the DGK considers itself the continuation of the Gkv, and this is from their point of view, suggests Harinck, justified. Does the light shine through now? Regrettably:
‘They are longing for the situation as it was approximately  between 1944 and 1960. There was a sort of pure liberated thinking then.’
Our vision, our field of view, is apparently determined by nostalgia! A mournful longing for a particular past. But have arguments ever been brought forward from the side of the concerned and newly liberated that give occasion for that kind of thinking? No, all objections that argued against the developments in the Gkv and against many synodical decisions were based on the Bible and confessions. What dr. Harinck presents here is nothing but his own interpretation. A man in his position should not have made such a call but should present proof.
But that proof will never be delivered.

Traditional, radical, nostalgia

Dr. Harinck makes some more interesting observations. For example, his view on the possibility of a new liberation as a result of the eventual establishment of women in office. We sincerely hope that he is not proven right:
That will not be fitting for a neo-Calvinist who wants progress. Therefore I think that those who are against women in office will sigh deeply, remain concerned, but ultimately will not go away enmass.
May the Lord prevent that this man is right….

What concerns us however is the picture of our liberation, (2003). When you place all the above statements in line then an image about us, “newly liberated“, appears. Traditional, in a negative sense, solving problems by running away instead of finding a ‘better’ solution, and nostalgic, longing for a permanently departed past.
We think that not only Prof. Harinck, but many in the Gkv look at us in this way. If this is the way you look then you bypass the question about which everything turns: simply staying with the Bible. But that they will not talk about.
If you do not want to deal with it properly then you must give a false representation of the matters at hand, otherwise you condemn yourself.

We should not let ourselves be disheartened by such opinions, by such an image that others present. The Lord hears and sees them too. His honor is the most aggrieved. Let us leave it in His hands therefore. Let us keep praying for those of the Gkv who are still prepared to see the continuing deformation so that they may receive the strength to travel the way of reformation.

Translator’s note.
It is true that dr. Harinck’s remarks are telling but the above article reveals a real inconsistency in his and others of the Gkv’s thinking. When we consider that many of the Gkv are participating in organizing a national synod commemorating the Synod of Dordt which is considering inviting Arminians and even Roman Catholics it would seem there is a nostalgia for old traditions that existed even before the great Reformation. They would then have to admit that the unlawful deposition of office bearers would also have to be a product of these reformed traditions. This makes one wonder what ecclesiastical  method they have that would be consistent with the church orderly way, since I suppose they would be consistent and exhaust all avenues in their reconciliation efforts. Would it be according to the Word of Christ and a lawful part of His church gathering work?