CultureWatch

Bill Muehlenberg's commentary on issues of the day...

Nashville, Holland and Christian Persecution

Jan 14, 2019

One might think that the land of country music and the Grand Ole Opry has little to do with the land of Erasmus and Rembrandt. But there is in fact a connection, and even I have a bit of a connection to both. The issue in question was something I thought I might write about at some point, but a few things motivated me to get this article rolling.

One was a very nasty comment I received to this site. Now there is nothing new about that, as I get them all the time. Yesterday I received two ugly and foul comments, one of them on this very matter. The story is really an update about an older story. Let me explain.

A year and a half ago a very helpful public document called the Nashville Statement appeared, seeking to affirm some basic biblical truths about human sexuality, marriage and the like. It was signed by a stellar line-up of evangelical heavyweights, including: Al Mohler, D. A. Carson, John MacArthur, John Piper, James Dobson, J. I. Packer, Wayne Grudem, R. C. Sproul, and Francis Chan. I wrote about it at the time, and concluded my piece with these words:

Overall this is a terrific restatement of some of the core biblical teachings on these issues, and it is well worth sharing far and wide. While it is of course not perfect, and other things might have been added, it is a very good start indeed. Many thanks to all those responsible for putting it together.
billmuehlenberg.com/2017/08/30/the-nashville-statement/

But it seems some Dutch Christians have embraced this document, only to get hammered for doing so. Thus I was thinking I might revisit this issue at some point. But my hand was forced a bit by one of the comments that came in yesterday. Obviously an angry homosexual was also aware of the latest development to this story, and it seems he came looking to see if I had written on it.

Well, he did find my first article, and that seemed to suffice. So he dutifully sent in his not very pleasant comment. Given that I get hundreds of comments like this, it was no real surprise. This is how the other side tends to ‘make its case’. Of course the comment is so vile and disgusting that I can only offer an edited version of it here. It comes from someone calling himself ‘Joe C*ck’.

I must first warn you and apologise in advance, but he said this: “Let us have a very nice gay f**kers day, with gay bears, leather gays, and lots of c**ckrings to f**k these Protestants a**holes all so they will feel how nice a big d**k in their holes will enjoy them all. Big a** f**kers are marvellous”

Hmm, feel the love. So many good logical arguments found there. Nice to have my position so thoroughly and intelligently refuted. But as I say, this is par for the course, and I get these sorts of ‘comments’ all the time. This is what we are up against.

Anyway, after having that sent to me, I decided it might be time to look at the newest development to this story. So let me provide that, and then offer a bit of commentary. The group that produced the Statement wrote about the Dutch response to it:

More than 250 pastors and church leaders in the Netherlands have signed a Dutch translation of the Nashville Statement, drawing widespread criticism in response. The translation, the signers of which come from conservative Protestant churches in the Netherlands, comes almost a year and a half after the Nashville Statement was originally released in August 2017, when a coalition of evangelical pastors, scholars, and other leaders sought to articulate a biblical view of human sexuality.

The issues that led to the original statement are not unique to English-speaking contexts, however. The group that produced the translation explain their motivation for the statement in a set of questions and answers on their website. “In this time, the biblical view of marriage is strongly opposed,” they write. “That is why we want to be in the gap. We are deeply convinced that life according to [God’s] order is beneficial for man and society.”

They observe that the content of the statement “has always been the general point of view,” but that many churches in Western Europe have recently adapted to the culture. “We are convinced, however,” they write, “that the Bible also has a message that applies to everyone.”
cbmw.org/topics/the-nashville-statement/news-over-250-dutch-pastors-and-leaders-sign-nashville-statement-drawing-national-attention/

But the powers that be in ‘tolerant’ Holland – a country I happened to live in for five years – were not very tolerant about this. The Dutch pastors very quickly were blasted from various quarters. And there might even be legal action taken against these pastors – I kid you not. As another piece on this reports:

What happens when a nation abandons God and replaces Him with full-throated secularism? In the Netherlands, it has meant the unleashing of a torrent of hostility toward religion in general and biblical Christianity in particular as the keepers of the nation’s secular ethos seeks to marginalize those who would speak openly about biblical truth. Case in point, the overweening reaction to a group of pastors signing a simple statement of faith about marriage and gender. Authorities in the Netherlands are reportedly investigating whether the 250 evangelical pastors who signed the Nashville Statement on biblical sexuality have violated the law after objections were raised by so-called “equality organizations.”…

That decision to publish the website ignited a firestorm in the largely secular nation, prompting liberal churches to condemn the pastors. Many proclaimed their solidarity with the sexual revolutionaries by flying rainbow flags on their buildings. The Hague also joined the fray, flying a rainbow flag of their own in response to the pastors’ decision.
Dutch News reported this week that the prosecution service is “examining whether the Nashville Statement on marriage and sexuality breaches the law after a recent Dutch translation was condemned by equality organisations.”

The article goes on to say that the document was signed by “hardline Protestant ministers,” an apparent pejorative reference to “biblically faithful” Christians. A spokesman for the public prosecution service told Dutch News that they were “examining the statement to see if there was any basis for a criminal investigation” but did not indicate how long the investigation might take.
pjmedia.com/faith/dutch-authorities-threaten-criminal-charges-for-pastors-who-signed-biblical-marriage-statement/?utm_source=PJMFacebook&utm_medium=post&fbclid=IwAR29Qyj9nq91LIiXN9NJVMRtUu067d50rB0MKNeDYB1o6QBm_9wDRwWGfms

Not surprisingly, Denny Burk, President of the Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood – which put out the Statement – also wrote about this issue. He said in part:

Yesterday, I did an interview with a TV News program in the Netherlands about the Nashville Statement (my part begins at 2:42, see below). The interviewer’s line of questioning reflects the general hostility that these pastors have been experiencing. It also reflects a basic misunderstanding about what the Nashville Statement is. For that reason, I clarified once again that the Nashville Statement is a church document, not a political document. It advocates for no candidate or public policy. Nor is it an evangelistic tract. It simply seeks to confess what the Christian church has always believed about sexuality.

But what the church believes about sexuality is precisely what is being contested today and what is so incomprehensible to secular people in the West. Much of my interview was edited out of the final version that you see above. In one exchange which is not included above, the interviewer asked if I believed in a “free society.” His question implied that Christian teaching about sexual morality is somehow at odds with free societies. He did not seem to recognize the irony of such a query. It doesn’t seem to have occurred to him that the outcry in the Netherlands threatens religious freedom, not sexual freedom.

I appreciate the opportunity to appear on this news program. They genuinely wanted to understand the aims and purposes of the Nashville Statement, and I think we made some headway on that front. That is more than I can say about the media’s response to the statement’s release in the U.S. a year and a half ago. Even though the Nashville Statement was widely covered in national media, not a single news outlet–secular, Christian, or otherwise–interviewed me about the statement. They interviewed our critics but failed to interview the people who spearheaded the effort. Consequently, a distorted narrative about the aims and purposes of the statement went unchallenged in many news reports.

I have been in touch with some of the Dutch signatories of the Nashville Statement. I am grateful for these men and their courageous stand for biblical teaching. Pray for these pastors. They did not anticipate this kind of opposition to what is essentially a confessional statement. But now they are being called to stand in the face of severe headwinds from the wider culture. They are also facing a potential criminal investigation from the country’s public prosecution service. Hopefully, this effort to criminalize Christian teaching will come to nothing, but we should nevertheless pray for these pastors until it does.
www.dennyburk.com/dutch-pastors-face-possible-criminal-investigation-for-signing-the-nashville-statement/?utm_source=Christian+Concern&utm_campaign=187980406d-WN-20190111&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_9e164371ca-187980406d-127559305&fbclid=IwAR1KzPKpUkQ1_tmQw3CWQmsHdvtAOn3qYhxOXjnUPS5pyp61OKya63Q2SIM

His comments in the three minutes of interview that did make it through were very good indeed. You can click on the above link to find this Dutch television interview.

As I said, I lived in the Netherlands, and it has a reputation for being a country of tolerance (think most recently of those sheltering Anne Frank in Amsterdam during WWII). But as the nation – and all of Europe – gets increasingly secular as it rejects its Christian heritage, true tolerance is also going out the window.

Now Holland is just another PC nation where tolerance is only a one-way street: you will be made to tolerate all the secular left agenda items, with all things homosexual and transgender topping the list. Those who oppose all this however will NOT be tolerated, and the heavy hand of the law will be brought in to deal with any dissenters.

Thus this small group of courageous Dutch pastors are now learning all about Dutch tolerance – and it is not doing them very much good at all. One-way tolerance very quickly becomes tyranny. We are seeing this occur all throughout the West.

The bizarre thing is, the origins of Dutch tolerance really began in the 16th century, and was of a religious nature, with a Protestant monarch showing toleration to the country’s Catholic minority. But as the Christian faith declines there, the only tolerance we find remaining is for all the radical leftist social policies, such as toleration for prostitution, drugs, homosexuality, euthanasia and so on.

As we find happening time and time again in history, the Judeo-Christian worldview helps produce all sorts of tremendous social goods – freedom, democracy, pluralism, rule of law, etc – but as the Christian foundation is undermined, weakened or abandoned, soon those social goods can no longer stand.

Or they become perverted. So now freedom in Holland means freedom for depravity, sin and evil, but no freedom for those who differ. So now tolerance in Holland means running with all the latest progressive causes, while opposing and even penalising “reactionaries” such as biblical Christians.

To simply state and reaffirm traditional morality on human sexuality is now something that will NOT be tolerated in “enlightened” and “progressive” Holland. Too bad about those brave believers who stand on these millennia-old social and moral norms. They are now the new outcasts, and they will not be tolerated.

[1908 words]

21 Responses to Nashville, Holland and Christian Persecution

  • German Lutheran pastor Martin Niemöller said, “First they came for . . .”

    It appears that LGBT activists in a small California community have successfully put their target’s head on a platter. Pulpit & Pen brought to you the news of Pastor Justin Hoke posting “Bruce Jenner is still a man. Homosexuality is still sin. The culture may change. The Bible does not” on the church sign at Trinity Bible Presbyterian Church. LGBT activists swarmed the church last Sunday, claiming the sign was “hateful.” Later, the activists vandalized the church sign. Today, Pastor Hoke announced that he was no longer the pastor at the church after an elder asked him to resign following claims of a potential mass exodus of church members.

    Hello. Christians wake up.
    https://pulpitandpen.org/2019/01/12/pastor-who-posted-bruce-jenner-is-still-a-man-on-church-sign-ousted-as-pastor/

  • Thanks John. Yes I was going to write a piece on him as well. It is getting hard to keep up with all the anti-Christian bigotry going on.

  • Definitely a ‘stand up and be counted world’ we live in now. Interesting to read the origin of Dutch tolerance.
    (I think where you mentioned Anne Frank above you might have meant Corrie ten Boom? )

  • Thanks Brenda. Actually I did have both in mind, so I slightly altered that sentence thanks.

  • Greetings Bill, servant to the Most High.

    Without sounding sappy I wept reading this article and how you are being treated. It doesn’t surprise me and what kept coming into my mind is the Lord’s words, “If they hated Me they will hate you.” There’s so few speaking out like you and few being hated to the level you are. My prayer group prays for you each week and I pray for you every time you cross my mind. Eugene Delgadio here in the U.S. is facing a lot of what you are. He’s on the forefront also.

    Thank you for all your doing for Him and all of us. Blessings in all your footsteps and comings and goings. The more they insult you the more He is going to lift you above their hatred.

    Undeserved curses can not hurt you — they’re like birds flying by that never settle.
    Prov. 26:2

    Louise : )

  • Many thanks indeed Louise. Those prayers are most certainly appreciated.

  • The Netherlands is confusing place for Christians.

    They persecute us for following biblical truth. But they are also one of the leading countries on banning halal food. Some of the other leading nations are Belgium, Poland and Switzerland.

    More confusion comes from usually reliable pro-Christian Geert Wilders:

    “Geert Wilders is not so keen on the people who shout murder and fire for the Nashville Declaration signed by hundreds of Reformed pastors. The PVV leader sees a greater danger in the Koran, according to him a “book full of hatred and violence” that is recited every week by all imams in this country. They must be prosecuted, not the Nashville pastors.”

  • A classic case of ‘it is not what goes into the mouth that defiles you but what comes out of it’. The language expressed by the homosexual is not surprising and indeed expected and the only reason that homosexuals can express themselves freely in this disgusting way is because we have not obeyed the will of God as expressed in Leviticus 20.13.
    John Abbott

  • Praise God for Louise! You have a great gift of encouragement!

  • Bill,
    What happened to coexist? Oh! It only applies if you agree with the sins of the secular left. Perverts expect us to go along to get along but strangely it only works one way. This ideology is satan created. The peversion activist will laugh their way right into hell. Who will have the last laugh?

  • The people of God in a largely apostate Western World would seem to have reached a Status Confessionis crisis when it comes to the matter of what it truly means when Holy Scripture says of humanity “…male and female created He them.”. Dietrich Bonhoeffer and the Confessing Church’s courageous stand against the Nazi government on the matter of the Jewish Question comes to mind.

    We may be expected to answer before magistrates and other human authorities for adhering to the eternal words of our Lord Jesus on marriage, sexuality and divorce. His “from the beginning it was not so” must be the cornerstone of any genuinely Christian response to the “rainbow anarchy” of the Sexual Revolution.

  • I remember years ago reading about the exploits of Dutch Christian Brother Andrew aka ‘God’s Smuggler’ who would daringly ‘smuggle’ the Bible into then hostile Communist countries. Who would have thought his own native Netherlands would rapidly degenerate and become hostile to Christianity?

  • Thanks, Bill… much appreciated and well-documented. I’m currently debating the Nashville Statement with a number of my friends in the Netherlands and will be there soon as well. I am sadly surprised by many of my solid Christian friends who are bending towards the secular and social pressure amidst a prevalent mindset of “compassion and tolerance”… they are loosening themselves from the biblical stance on these issues. I hope to present this well in the coming weeks.

  • Ah yes. The aptly names Netherlands that gave us free access to prostitutes and drugs, euthanasia, SS “marriage” and the “F” word. A very good example of having a beautiful facade and yet being full of dead men’s bones.

    It’s probably good that I wasn’t the one who was asked do I believe in a “free society” (whatever that is supposed to mean) because I think I would have said: “DO YOU?! You’re the scum who are trying to take away my freedom to stand for sexual morality.” This is the stinging irony and deceit when they use the term “bigot” to shut down their own thinking and accordingly demonstrate clearly their own bigotry.

    The fact is that truth is “hard line.” If truth wasn’t hard line then all people would be saved because God is not willing that any should perish but we are told very clearly that the majority are going to destruction. (2 Pet 3:9, Mat 7:13) For those brought up in a relativist world where our children suffer the great evil of being rewarded whether they do well or not, this makes no sense because they are cosseted deliberately against facing truth.

  • More Christian persecution:

  • As a follow-on to the above article, a bit of Christian history: at one point Holland sheltered persecuted English Puritans who in turn went on to America, helping to establish that great nation: https://billmuehlenberg.com/2019/01/15/pilgrims-holland-america-and-religious-freedom/

  • Not specifically about Christianity but still another example of saying the ‘wrong’ thing and the consequences:
    https://www.rt.com/news/448804-paris-opera-anti-gay-dancer/

  • Denny Burk is a hero. He spoke very well and was unflustered even with very emotive line of questioning.

  • Off-topic (but then again maybe not at all in terms of trying to resist evil) but take a stand against blasphemous nonsense:
    https://www.citizengo.org/en/md/167848-dc-comics-slated-release-blasphemous-series-about-jesus

  • While I respect the result of the Australian Marriage Plebiscite, let it be known that Marriage is the union of one man and one woman.

    While I respect people who are suffering from gender identity issues, let it be known that one being a Man or a Woman is based on biology and not on any psychological or sociological factors.

    While I respect different family arrangements, let it be known that the ideal family structure is one in which a child is raised by their natural biological parents, and that the traditional nuclear family should be celebrated as the norm in our society.

    Am I now guilty of hate speech?

  • Glad to be able to get a better understanding on the Neshville Statement.
    Your explanation of what is behind it all makes good reading Bill. I am starting to realise what is in the mind of Dutch folk these days. Over 70% now agree with the sexual diversity and acceptance of the LGBT. No wonder then that my own relatives give me a hard time when I stand up for Christian views, that do not agree with the majority of the Dutch populous. No doubt our destiny is heading headlong into the same direction.
    Bill Heggers

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