Dutch politics: reducing the confession to gain numbers

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According to Nederlands Dagblad (ND) 23-9-2014 there are moves afoot in the ChristianUnion to adopt a new foundation. A discussion paper has been distributed with the aim of replacing the Three Forms of Unity with the Apostles’ Creed.

What is the ChristianUnion? It is a merger (in 2000) of two political parties: the GPV (the political party of the Liberated Reformed Churches of the Netherlands) and the RPF (political party of the Christian Reformed Churches of the Netherlands). Bother these church federations and political parties had Scripture and the Three Forms of Unity as their basis.

ND reported that the reason for wanting to switch from the Three Forms of Unity to the Apostles’ Creed is because the latter is acceptable to “all Biblically-faithful Christians” while evangelicals and Roman Catholics could find parts of the Three Forms of Unity objectionable. The Reformed confessions, for example, call the Roman Catholic mass “an accursed idolatry” and speak of the “error” of those who deny infant baptism. This, apparently, makes the Three Forms of Unity “problematic”.

Having just the Apostles’ Creed as foundation would solve this problem, it is felt by many, because this creed is generally accepted in all churches. The ChristianUnion wants all its members not only to share the same values but also to ensure that its politics is based on “the acknowledgement of Jesus Christ as Lord”. The formulation of a new political program would still allude to the Three Forms of Unity but only to those parts considered relevant for politics.

Discussions about the formulation of the new basis are expected to take place in different localities in coming months.

Comment:

  1. This Nederlands Dagblad article illustrates a marked and lamentable change since the days when the GPV was established. At that time it was recognised that the entire confessions ought to be the basis for a reformed political party. Just as one could not say that only some parts of the Bible apply to politics, so one could not say that only some parts of the confessions apply to politics.
  2. Comments made by those seeking to remove the Three Forms of Unity are reminiscent of overtures in the 1960s by a number of people who left the (Liberated) Reformed Churches of the Netherlands (RCN) because they thought that sticking with the Three Forms of Unity was narrow minded. At that time one of the leaders of this liberal movement wanted to restrict the church’s confession to the Apostles’ Creed and even went so far as to suggest that the basis of the church should be limited to the confession: “Jesus is Lord”.
  3. The ChristianUnion discussion paper, in attempting to reduce what is confessed as basis for this merged political party, works to compromise faithfulness to the reformed confessions in order to promote unity with Roman Catholics and evangelicals.