There is a new website of interest in the Netherlands. It commenced 1st April 2023 and has reformed articles both in Dutch and English.
Those familiar with the reformed magazine De Bazuin will recognise the names of those responsible for this new initiative: Rev S deMarie and Tonnis Bruinius—both members of De Gereformeerde Kerk hersteld (DGKh). They have been prolific writers for De Bazuin.
The authors hope by means of this new website, https://www.bouwen-en-bewaren.nl, to contribute to the upbuilding of the church and the preservation and defence of the truth. Hence the title “Bouwen en Bewaren” (Building and Preserving).
That aim is reflected in the first article by T L Bruinius titled “De Kerk – zaak van geloof 1” (The Church – a matter of faith 1). Although this article is in Dutch, the intention is to publish a number of articles in English. Moreover, each day’s devotional will be both in Dutch and English.
To reach the youth, the articles are “smartphone friendly”. I am told that it is easy to make an app from a URL to Rev deMarie’s daily devotionals which can be found here: https://www.bouwen-en-bewaren.nl/en/category/daily-devotional/.
The authors give an account of their commendable motivation in the following statement which I’ve freely translated into English.
What motivates us, and who are we?
It is a task of the church and its members to build and preserve. To build one must cooperate to the best of one’s ability. Article 28 of the Belgic Confession says we must “serve the edification of the brothers and sisters, according to the talents which God has given them, as members of the same body”. And HC Q&A 55 says of the communion of saints, “that everyone is duty-bound to use his gifts willingly and cheerfully for the benefit and well-being of the other members”.
I Corinthians 3 speaks about the foundation of God’s building, the church. Christ is the foundation. And every church member is called to build on that foundation with the gifts the Lord has given him or her (verses 10-12).
Building the church, building Zion, is something we also read about in Ezra and Nehemiah. The returned exiles knew themselves called, and were urged, to rebuild the walls of God’s city. In the New Testament God’s city, Zion, is the Church. And building—that is working in the Church with the gifts of faith and knowledge, working with the Word that the Lord has given! It is to do so for the mutual edification and strengthening of one another in the faith—to the honour of the Lord Christ, the Lord of the Church.
In Nehemiah we encounter that wonderful and important command to also preserve while we build. The enemies of God’s people do all in their power to stop the rebuilding of God’s city, including the use of force. But in the name of the LORD Nehemiah acts: “So it was, from that time on, that half of my servants worked at construction, while the other half held the spears, the shields, the bows, and wore armour; and the leaders were behind all the house of Judah. Those who built on the wall, and those who carried burdens, loaded themselves so that with one hand they worked at construction, and with the other held a weapon. Every one of the builders had his sword girded at his side as he built. And the one who blew the trumpet was beside me” (Neh. 4: 16-18).
In 1 Timothy and in 2 Timothy the young pastor Timothy is emphatically instructed by the Lord, through the mouth of Paul, to keep God’s Word accurately. Against all wrong teaching, he is to defend the truth, the sound doctrine. “That good thing which was committed to you, keep by the Holy Spirit who dwells in us ” (2 Tim. 1: 14; see also I Tim. 1: 20). In I Tim. 4: 13, we read what that means concretely: “Till I come, give attention to reading, to exhortation, to doctrine”. When Jude writes in his letter how much the church is suffering lately, he exhorts church members in verse 20: “But you beloved, build yourselves up in your most holy faith and pray in the Holy Spirit, keep yourselves in the love of God”.
Building and preserving is Christ’s command for Timothy, for the church, for all church members. Help build, by God’s grace, the new Jerusalem coming down from heaven. Always hold fast the Word, continue to proclaim it, explain it to one another; use that Word to encourage, teach, exhort. Do it against all heresies, against the devil, the world and one’s own flesh. All this is to apply not only to church life and the communion of saints, but also to life as a Christian in the world. “But why are you called a Christian? Because I am a member of Christ by faith and thus share in his anointing, so that I may, as prophet confess His name, as priest present myself a living sacrifice of thankfulness to Him, and as king fight with a free and good conscience against sin and the devil in this life, and hereafter reign with Him eternally over all creatures ” (HC Q&A 32).
Building and preserving, holding onto, living out of, and at the same time fighting with, the Word that directs us to Christ. “Because you have kept the word of My perseverance, I will also keep you from the hour of temptation, which shall come upon all the world, to tempt those who dwell on the earth. Behold, I am coming soon. Hold fast what you have, lest anyone take away your crown” (Rev. 3: 10, 11).
Zion, the City of God, the Church gathered and preserved by Christ Himself, has been fiercely attacked throughout the centuries. It has been attacked from without and from within, by false doctrine, by lack of knowledge and by temptations and apostasy. As we near the end of time, the attacks and struggles become fiercer. The Church as we confess it is becoming smaller and smaller. But a remnant, according to God’s promise, remains. Christ Himself calls us to that battle and equips us for it (1 Tim. 6: 11-14; Eph. 6: 10-20). Thus equipped we must work and fight. From that work and from that struggle we get no rest. Not even today. Even now Christ’s Church is under threat and under attack by the spirit of revolution and by abandonment of the Word. Today’s Church is not immune to those attacks. We see and recognise Satan’s attacks. We also note again today a slackening and caving in to the spirit of the times, a growing ignorance of what Scripture and confession say about various matters, a diminishing vigilance.
To be able to build and preserve, we need to keep equipping each other. Keep studying and explaining and showing what the Word of the Lord means to us. In addition, our continued prayer is needed for the necessary gifts and strength of the Holy Spirit.
We would like to contribute to that equipping of one another with the gifts the Lord gives us by means of this website. We hope to do that by posting articles on faith, church, church life, Christian living, confessions, church history, etc. It is all intended to strengthen our faith, but also to defend it. In addition to this we intend to provide daily nourishment through short Biblical meditations.
To do this in the way we envisage we could not use De Bazuin, as it is now only published once a month. Hence this website.
May the Lord grant us the strength, insight and, above all, faith and faithfulness to tackle this work. May He grant that it may serve the building and preservation of His Church.