The following article is about the present situation in the Reformed Churches of the Netherlands – liberated (RCN or GKv).
How the gold has lost its lustre, the fine gold become dull!
The sacred gems are scattered at the head of every street.
(Lamentations of Jeremiah 4:1)
The prophet Jeremiah is standing at the ruins of Jerusalem … Jerusalem, the place chosen by the LORD to serve Him, where He established his dwelling place, where He called His holy people to sacrifice, to worship and to praise.
That city, centre of God’s presence, had been captured by the enemy and destroyed. Most of its residents were taken captive and exiled. God’s sanctuary was completely razed and levelled to the ground.
And it was Judah’s own fault. They had forsaken the LORD, despised the covenant and broken it. Despite the many calls from faithful servants of the Lord, they refused to repent. Now, God’s judgment has come and been completed. Jerusalem … once a beautiful place, full of God’s glory, is now a devastated city in ruins without, humanly speaking, any future. And, standing at the ruins, Jeremiah sings his lamentations—in deep sorrow and humiliation.
If we now look at the developments in the Reformed Churches (GKv), is this word, this sad complaint of Jeremiah, this Word of God, then not applicable?
How did it all come about?
In the church struggle during the 1940s, in the Liberation of 1944, many understood their calling to break with the synodal churches. They wanted to remain faithful to God’s Word, faithful to the covenant. They let themselves be called to continue the church in the Netherlands, to continue Jerusalem in another place.
And the LORD blessed incredibly! Even outsiders noticed that, right from the beginning. New churches appeared throughout the nation, with their own Theological College, an enormously rich reformed society life, their own reformed schools, a reformed daily newspaper, a respected place in society and in politics …
Were we not grateful? Were we not very motivated to be active in church and in the community of the covenant?
The GKv were a safe place for decades. Despite all sin and hardship and conflicts they were, by God’s grace, allowed to continue to show the marks of the church of Christ. Throughout much struggle the Lord Christ held on to His churches in the Netherlands. True to God’s own Word, living in the covenant. Gold! Lustrous gold! Received from the LORD.
But now that golden lustre has darkened. The gold shines no more. It has decayed. Its value has gone.
Israel in Jeremiah’s days had accepted the lie and let itself be misled. Then came God’s judgment. This is what the authors of the letters to the Thessalonians warn against today. Against God’s judgment.
If the truth slowly changes into the lie, the Lord sends a strong power of delusion. Then He ensures that the truth is no longer seen. That the lie is no longer recognized. That the truth cannot be seen and recognized! For then He makes people spiritually blind.
And this applies not only to those who do not want to accept His Word, but also to those who have heard and accepted that Word but do not resist the lie.
That is God’s judgment on increasing apostasy and stubbornness. Then He causes people no longer to discern the truth. Then they become easy-going and allow the lie to stand next to the truth, pushing the truth aside. Then the Lord Christ hands them over to their unbelief and sin.
It is a very serious warning, placed by Paul and his associates in the context of Christ’s return. A warning with the greatest earnestness.
We believe – and we say it with hesitation because in this matter none of us is without blame before the Lord – that the GKv have surrendered to the spirit of modern times.
There has been growing openness towards others outside the churches. First in the editorial board of the newspaper (ND), then in the political (GPV) and other associations, in the schools, and later on in the churches. People sought room to work with others, leading to tolerance of unscriptural ideas and practices. This is how worldly thinking entered the church, accompanied by changes to the explanation of God’s Word. Slowly at first, but then more and more quickly the lie was given a place next to the truth.
However, truth and falsehood cannot go together. Not in our obedience to the Lord. Then it becomes a matter of surrendering to the lie. Then there is deception, and having pleasure in unrighteousness (2 Thess 2:12). Whoever is willing to see that, whoever loves the truth, can see that too.
In the GKv many church ministers, as well as the ecclesiastical meetings, have accepted what we know as postmodernism. That is the spirit of the times, so dominant in today’s society. It is a completely different way of looking at the world and at ideas and opinions.
A completely different way of dealing with faith and truth. An anti-christian way.
(translation of part of an article by S de Marie and TL Bruinius, in De Bazuin of 6 Sept 2017)