ASSEN 1926; J.H. Kok, Uitgeversmij, Kampen, The Netherlands; 31 pages; price, f 1, 25.
This Dutch-language booklet is the Report Concerning the Doctrinal Declaration “Assen 1926” to the General Synod of Amsterdam 1967. Readers of the Standard Bearer will recall that the Reformed Churches of the Netherlands recently withdrew the decisions of 1926 in the so-called Geelkerken Case. These decisions concerned the question of the literal historicity of the Scriptural record concerning paradise, the trees, and the serpent in connection with heresy charges brought against Dr. Geelkerken in 1926. Now the decisions are no longer binding, and the door is open to any and every interpretation, supposedly within the confines of the Reformed confessions. It is not my intention to criticize the recent synodical decision at this time; it is well-known that the Standard Bearer looks with complete disfavor upon that decision. Perhaps at a later date I will offer criticism of the contents of this booklet.
It is interesting and disturbing to note the ecclesiastical method by which the Reformed heritage in the Netherlands is gradually (or rapidly?) being destroyed. First some leaders (usually from Amsterdam and Kampen) begin to present divergent views and to agitate against the adopted position of the churches. Next the matter is officially brought to the General Synod, and a study committee is appointed, usually consisting of several doctors of theology, and this committee comes with a liberal report. Then this liberal position is adopted by the Synod and the official position of the church in the past is nullified, as in the case of Assen 1926. And then, in order to calm people’s fears and still the disturbed ecclesiastical waters a booklet is published whose evident intent is to present a bad decision as a good one, to apply a “coat of whitewash” as it were, and to hoodwink the people. By this method theGereformeerde Kerken will fast lose what Reformed character they have left. I can well understand that cries are being raised in the Netherlands for reformation, and that it is claimed that this reformation must come from the laity because it will never come from the doctors. And churches in this country may well take warning,—before it is too late.
Again, for those able to read Dutch and who are interested in learning what is taking place in the Netherlands, I recommend this booklet.