It is a common perception that members of the Dutch Reformed Church are weary when the church claim to have the truth, because of the mistake made with Apartheid. The DRC said that Apartheid was right, that it was biblical and Godly and whatever else you might want. And then in 1986 they said sorry, we were wrong. It is commonly said by the so-called postmodern theologians that people don’t trust the church because previously, when the church said that “we have the truth”, the church was wrong. I again found this in an article by Julian Muller, but he surely isn’t the only one saying this.

But today, when again I read this, I stopped to ask myself: Is this true? Is this why I don’t trust the DRC? Suppose (and this is nearly impossible to imagine) that the DRC were always the church that was against Apartheid, would I trust them more? Would I trust them less? I was born in 1984, I didn’t even really know about Apartheid until well after it was over. I never heard a sermon defending Apartheid, never in my life. And in all honesty, I don’t think most of my friends who isn’t studying theology have ever stood still to really consider the fact that once upon a time when we were still being breastfeeded, our mother church said that Apartheid was Biblical.

I have found more people younger than 25 who claim that the Dutch Reformed church cannot be trusted because we are not strong enough against homosexuality than those not trusting the DRC because of the Apartheid issue. Or what about those that don’t trust the church because they feel they can’t ask the really burning questions. Also so many that don’t trust the church because some pastor didn’t know how to handle some pastoral situation, didn’t follow up throughout the crisis etc.

While typing the previous paragraph, ons of the youth from our church came in, so I asked her whether she knew that the DRC said Apartheid was right; she didn’t. She was shocked when she did find out, because she think Apartheid is wrong, but in her mind she think that the Afrikaner is to blame, never occured to her that the church was supposed to be blamed.

I think Muller’s paragraph on this is highly oversimplified, although I must admit it was partly his teaching that helped me to notice this. I think you’ll find a general mistrust of institutions with people under 25, a general mistrust of churches, no matter what their history, and natural knowledge that truth is relational (a word I think closer resemble the epistemological viewpoint of an emerging generation than relativistic).

Maybe the Apartheid story is something church leaders are more scared of than the young people of the day. More scared that they make the same mistake than young people are that the church would make the same mistake. But then again, I might be wrong…


I know I’m not blogging that often at the moment. Something I believe we should give ourselves freedom to do: sometimes not blog! And I was at the point of writing something on Revelation and preaching, but that will have to wait. When I opened my dashboard, I saw the amount of people searching for stuff on the “evangeliese initiatief” (EI)*, and I decided that maybe it has become time that I write some thoughts on this.

First of all. I did not attend the EI event at moreleta yesterday. I was lucky enough to attend Arthur’s birthday party, and have some great conversations with Cori and some of the Nieucommunities people. About allergies, beer, God, poverty, South Africa, Rugby and some other stuff. But really, I did not want to attend this event! Usually I’m all for listening to everyone, and I would have said that actually I should go, even though I don’t agree with them. But then they came with the whole idea that if they get enough people at their event, then they can proceed with their cause, knowing that the church supports their ideas. Since when are we back to a democracy? Why, if I get 10000 young people in our church together to say that… well… to say anything, does that add weight to my argument? Come on, really, can’t anyone see where this is going?

And when are the church going to learn to talk to each other. I’ve been studying theology at TUKS for 5 years. I’ve been chairman of theological students for the past year. When will the EI, and all these other people stop talking about how bad it is for the poor students that get indoctrinated by lecturers, and start talking to us. Start really listening. And listening is only listening if it’s possible that both sides can change their point of view. So please, don’t come to theological students with the idea that you have all the answers and that they simply need to confirm your ideas of heresy in the faculties or something, we have had enough of that kind of thing!

So, you want the inside info? I like my lecturers (sorry for those of you whose classes I skip from time to time, if you were to read this, I know I’m not that good an example for other students:-)). I respect my lecturers. I respect them as academics, they are brilliant people. But I also respect them as fellow believers. They taught me some greek and hebrew (although I’m not always so sure how successful that was), they taught me theology. Theology which helped me through some difficult times. But in them I also saw fellow believers, in different ways some of them have been mentors for me.

But this happened in relationships. It happened in relation with lecturers, together with the rest of the theological students. So I just wish all those supposedly well meaning people from the EI who are so worried about the theological students and their lecturers would just keep quite for a while and act like Christians and take the conversation where it is supposed to go on: with the people it is about. You are really hurting students! Have you ever thought what you are doing to theological students when you tell them that the lecturers whom they like, respect, and learn from, are supposed to be heathens or heretics of whatever? Do you really think you will call them closer in the proses? Come on, stop the joke, all you are doing is making us more and more uncomfortable with the type of theology you are practising, since we see the bad side to it. You are reminding us to keep up with that which we have been taught: To search for better, more biblical, ways of being followers of Jesus in this world we live in today.

I dream of a church where we listen to each other

I dream of a church where we make room for each other

I dream of a church where we live in the way of Jesus, acknowledging that not one of us have the final word on this

I dream of a church where God is central, and we realize that sometimes our words are simply not enough, that the words of another might be necessary, and that sometimes we should all just shut up… be quite

The direct translation for Evangeliese Initiatief would be Evangelical Initiative, although I not sure if this will do justice to there cause. I understand that they want to link with the Reformed Evangelical tradition, rather than the more American Evangelical tradition, which is what people generally think about when they hear the word evangelical. They started a few months ago, have been talking a lot about a literal physical historical resurrection, claiming that this is the way the Bible portray the resurrection, and