15 March 2011

A wrong turn made long ago....The Dutch Reformed Tradition

This is a good quote which demonstrates why Dutch Reformed Theology can sound so good and convincing, but at the same time can be so mistaken.

Read it carefully.........

Scripture is the Book of the Kingdom of God, not a book for this or that people, for the individual only, but for all nations, for all of humanity. It is not a book for one age, but for all times. It is a Kingdom book. Just as the Kingdom of God develops not alongside and above history, but in and through world history, so too Scripture must not be abstracted, nor viewed by itself, nor isolated from everything. Rather, Scripture must be brought into relationship with all our living and with the living of the entire human race. And Scripture must be employed to explain all of human living.

Herman Bavinck

Did you catch it?

The Dominionism of Kuyper and the Dutch Reformed School misses the fact that the Scriptures are a Revelation of Jesus Christ, not a textbook to transform culture and society.

We know that you must be Born Again to grasp the Scriptures and their real meaning. The Word is for the Church, not the nations and humanity. The Church comes from all nations and all humanity. 

But the two are not the same thing.

The Word reveals the Gospel which we proclaim- Christ died to save sinners and reconcile them to God.
And with the Gospel come its demands- Repent and Believe

While the old Dutch Reformed tradition acknowledges this, the real focus becomes the task of Transformation, and this is key to the whole Dominionist-Transformationalist model and mindset....

That somehow the unbeliever with some understanding of Scriptural principle helps to build the Kingdom of God. They want the Bible to shape cultures and societies, believing God gave us the Scriptures for this task....for the whole human race.

If he meant the Bible is applicable to all people, that they might come to know Jesus Christ, that would be okay.

But, 'with the living of the entire human race. And Scripture must be employed to explain all of human living.'-- demonstrates he means something quite different.

Applying this to eschatology:

Postmillennialists believe that at some point the whole world will be Christian, so they can skirt around the problem of the unbeliever participating in Kingdom construction...the golden to age to come will be a time of world-wide regeneration. The golden age under this scheme occurs prior to the return of Christ and the Final Judgment.

But Amillennialists have no such expectation and find in fact the very opposite expectation taught from the Scriptures. We expect as per the parable of the Wheat and Tares (Matthew 13) that the believers and unbelievers will continue in tension until the very end.

If the Scriptures hint at any kind of numerics, the general idea is that the apostasy will grow worse toward the end. Will the Lord find faith on the earth?

Postmillennialists read that passage and answer with a resounding 'Yes!'

So they need to prepare for that coming day, when everyone more or less will be Christian.

If this expectation is wrong and unbiblical, what does that do this emphasis?

Ironically most of the Dutch School is usually classified as Amillennial ...Bavinck, Kuyper, Berkhof, Van Til, and others...they're all Amil.

Much of what these men have said and written is of great worth, but over it all hangs this cloud....

The Dominionism of the Dutch School has led them regardless of their technical eschatological position, to a practical embrace of a Post-millennial mindset.

A lot of times you'll hear like minded persons self-identify as optimistic Amils. This essentially means.....I don't think the Bible says we're going to take over, or the world will become Christianized, but we're to try and might experience a great deal of success.

They call people like me pessimistic Amillennialists. They would say I hold to a pessimistic eschatology.

From their standpoint absolutely.

Their culture building experiment didn't work out so well in The Netherlands did it? Nor in South Africa we might add. The Indonesians weren't terribly impressed either.

The historical failures of this doctrine don't necessarily negate it. It still could be true, but if it's not, then the historical examples are nails in the coffin and expose it for what it is.......

Error stemming from a grave and massive misreading of Scripture and a fundamental misunderstanding of what the Church is and what it is here for.
Their ideas, particularly those of Kuyper played a key role in the shaping and development of Theonomy as well as the less rigid form of Dominionism espoused by Francis Schaeffer. These ideas have now reached the Evangelical Street and regardless of the Dispensationalism held by most Evangelicals have become the default Theology-in-Action, or mindset of the American Church.

Granted, your average Evangelical is probably uncapable of elaborating these ideas, knows nothing of their origin, and doesn't realize these notions may conflict with their other theological commitments. Nevertheless, each and every day these ideas are being disseminated and expanded upon in Evangelical circles.

If the Bavinck quote is true, then ignore me. But if it's not, then I hope you can see the magnitude of this error and its implications.

The fact that the Church is still here despite centuries of opposition from pagans as well as pseudo-Church's and pseudo-Christian states...is cause for an unbridled optimism.

Who's pessimistic? They seem to think the Church has more or less failed for all those centuries. Some of the Theonomists have said as much. They blame people like me for the failure.

Kline charged these people with blaspheming the Holy Spirit...decrying and degrading the Spirit's work for 2000 years...as if God's purposes are not being accomplished. Church history has in fact been glorious, but it's not cathedrals, popes, monks, or empires.

They would do well to read Hebrews 11....by worldy standards a bunch of losers and failures.

But spiritually speaking...more than conquerors.

They just don't get it.

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