Within Reformed churches worldwide, the famous National Synod of Dordt (1618-1619) is venerated and remembered for its service in systematizing the core concepts of Calvinist soteriology as well as reaffirming the theological orthodoxy of sixteenth-century Reformed confessions and catechisms. The Calvinist position at that synod was at the time also known as the Counter-Remonstrant position, because of its opposition to the followers of the famous Jacobus Arminius (1560-1609), who had become known as the Remonstrants. It is to the victory of the Counter-Remonstrants at Dordt that we owe the concept of TULIP, the five soteriological points of Calvinism.
A little less well-known fact is that the followers of Arminius in the Netherlands would continue to establish a church, the Remonstrant Brotherhood, which continues to exist to this day. Nonetheless, as Calvin and Gomarus (the leader of the Counter-Remonstrants at Dordt) would be ashamed of what the Reformed church has become in the twenty-first century, I believe that Jacobus Arminius, who once described Calvin as the greatest exegete of all time, would likewise fail to recognize his spiritual ancestors as orthodox.
This is because the Remonstrant Brotherhood today is, like many churches worldwide across the denominational spectrum, essentially a Marxist SJW club. A couple of years ago they undertook a public action on behalf of the sodomite lobby, plastering posters at train stations all across the Netherlands reading: “My God also marries homosexuals.” This church brags about becoming the first denomination in the world to bless sodomy in 1986.1
Now they’ve snatched another golden opportunity to further their centuries-long legacy of destruction. They’ve discovered racism in the church! Yes, that’s right – this group of SJWs, who are unable to find predestination in the New Testament, have managed to find a reference to “negroes” in verse 19 of hymn 737 of the hymn book of the Dutch Reformed Church. The hymn, entitled “Jerusalem, My Father City,” sings about the glory of the New Jerusalem in the eschaton. This lengthy hymn largely consists of singing the praises of Christ in this glorious city and describing the glorious presence of all the angels and saints. At one stage it references David playing his harp, Mary singing the magnificat, and songs of praise being sung and performed by an impressive list of saints: Simon, Miriam, Hanna, Ambrose, Gregory, Luther, and even Bach. Thereafter the hymn moves to reference people from all over the world and from all backgrounds entering the city in verses 19-20, with the weakest, the children, leading the way. The two most prominent mentions in this regard, however, are “the negroes with their praise trumpet, the Jews with their star.”
The lyrics, written by the twentieth-century Dutch poet-theologian Willem Barnard and based on a sixteenth-century English hymn, was of course, naturally intended for a Dutch audience in a Dutch cultural setting. It thereby rhetorically drives home the idea of the Church and heaven consisting of all nations by referencing two people-groups far removed from the Dutch both culturally and genetically – blacks and Jews. The underlying distinctions within the church, as reflected in the eternal Holy City, thereby serve to emphasize the glory of Christ’s gospel in saving people of very different classes and groups (1 Tim. 2:3-4). Here at Faith and Heritage, Nil Desperandum has previously emphasized this very same point.
Nonetheless, with Marxist hatred for the glory of God as reflected in his creative distinctions having become the overriding principle of the Arminian Church, their argument against the hymn was quite simply based on the fact that it is the current year (I kid you not). Admitting that there may have been good intentions behind the hymn, they feel that “in 2016 one cannot unconcernedly sing about negroes and their trumpets.”2
Of course, the timing of this public opinion made during this past week by Tom Mikkers, a leading Remonstrant theologian, is impeccable. It fits perfectly into the currently prevailing (and seemingly never-ending) anti-Dutch and anti-white narrative in the public domain in the Netherlands. The theme of the day is how, in order to best accommodate the increased cultural “diversity,” every element of traditional Dutch culture has to be set aside. The most famous example of this, naturally, is the St. Nicholas and Black Pete controversy, a tradition even the United Nations felt the need to publicly criticize. Apart from that, earlier this month the SJW action group “Stop Oppressive Stereotypes” authored an open letter to the popular amusement park Efteling, concerning the “racist nature of some of their attractions,” which includes a feature tour around the world “stereotypically” portraying some African and Asian cultures to children.3 It’s hard to be forced to take such lunacy seriously, but unfortunately this is the world we live in now.
As expected, no one from the Reformed churches in the Netherlands has offered a rebuttal to this destructive accusation of “racism” by the Arminians. My prediction, unfortunately, is that they will soon cave to the pressure and follow the path directed to them by the world, as the modern church has become accustomed to doing.
- http://www.coc.nl/geloof-cultuur/remonstranten-werven-met-mijn-god-trouwt-ook-homos – note: article is in Dutch ↩
- http://www.rd.nl/muziek/zingen-over-negers-niet-meer-acceptabel-1.1103659 – note: article is in Dutch ↩
- http://nos.nl/artikel/2115431-discussie-over-racistisch-karakter-van-attracties-in-de-efteling.html – note: article is in Dutch ↩