ADVERTISING
 
Thursday, June 20   Sign in or Register
 
Evangelical Focus
 

 
ADVERTISING
 
 
FOLLOW US ON
  • Twitter
  • Facebook
  • Google +
  • Instagram
  • Soundcloud
 

Newsletter
Newsletter, sign up to receive all our News by email.
 

POLL
30 years of internet...
Will digital natives and the "Gen Z" use new technologies with a better ethical/values reflection than the previous generation?



SEE MORE POLLS
 

 
TOP 10 MOST VIEWED



Jeff Fountain
 

Netherlands: Flirting With Christian Culture

Whether the election results swing left or right, the church will always steer its own course. And she will not be afraid to be critical of the government where the gospel would require. A manifesto by theologians Janneke Stegeman and Alain Verheij.

WINDOW ON EUROPE AUTHOR Jeff Fountain 13 MARCH 2017 09:52 h GMT+1
Theologians Stegeman and Verheij.

Concerned with how some politicians have been using the Christian tradition as a stick to chase migrants away from Europe during the Dutch elections, two theologians recently drafted a manifesto now signed by many other theologians, church leaders, publishers, broadcasters and prominent believers.



Janneke Stegeman, ‘theologian of the fatherland’, and Alain Verheij, self-styled ‘theologian of twitterland’, noted the flirtatious behaviour of politicians towards Christian culture. While appreciating the renewed interest in politics in ‘our beautiful tradition’, they wanted to clarify some points to these politicians before they could see how much common ground they shared.



Freely translated, their manifesto (which inspired parts of last week’s ww) reads:



 



1. Bosom pals we will never be (fortunately).



A church is not a political party, a political party is not a church. That’s why we have the separation of church and state. When those two sit on each other’s laps, you get a political or religious dictatorship, where neither God nor the people, but only those in positions of power, are well served.

Whether the election results swing left or right, the church will always steer its own course. And she will not be afraid to be critical of the government where the gospel would require. In the Bible, the best prophets lived far away from the palace for everyone’s sake.



 



2. God’s kingdom is not from here.



Christians are not to follow politicians like sheep. Their kingdom is not from here; their king is not of this earth. You may call it ‘otherworldly’, head-in-the-clouds, super-spiritual or even dangerous to the state (because Jesus had no message to Caesar).

We see it a little differently.

We will always use our hands and words to create a better version of the land on which we stand.

We will always work towards this promised kingdom on earth in the country where we live.

We will always seek connection with our neighbours.

And yet the fact remains that it is impossible to mobilise Christian culture as a political force.

Our kingdom is an outrageous utopia – too radical for the compromise of your coalitions, too embracing for your borders, too demanding for responsible policy makers.



 



3. ‘Christian’ is an invitation, not a rejection.



Anyone may belong to the Christian culture: Jew, Gentile, woman, man, slave, king.

So said the apostle Paul, one of our founders.

This Christian Jew with a Roman passport wrote that in Greek.

You don’t become a Christian by race or birth or because of your history; but rather by the gracious adoption of a loving heavenly father.

This invitational character is deeply rooted in the Christian culture.

Everywhere the term ‘Christian’ is used, it needs to sound a welcome.

Excluding whole groups while calling yourself a Christian is not an option within our tradition.

Even if that person is regarded as a competitor or as a threat.

‘Love your enemy’ is a rule of thumb that we have wonderfully (sometimes painfully) learned from our Lord himself.



 



4. Christian culture is compassion.



Jesus explains who may be called ‘Christian’ through the story of the sheep and the goats.

The sheep (Christians) are at Jesus’ right hand because they feed the hungry, give drink to the thirsty, give a home to the foreigner, give clothes to the naked, and visit the sick and those in prison.

This, more than all creeds, all the church buildings or church history, this is the foundation of all Christian culture: compassion.

Love God above all things and treat one another as you want to be treated – this is the heart of the Law and the Prophets, and so the heart of the Christian tradition.



 



5. Christian morality is virtually impossible to translate into a political programme.



Those wanting to apply the Sermon on the Mount or other words of Jesus to a political programme will sooner or later start tearing their hair out.

Revenge is subordinated to turning the other cheek!

Forgiveness needs to be repeated ad infinitum!

To those demanding something from you, you should not refuse but rather give double!

No politician can convert this into policy!

Realistically, Christian morality is an open invitation for violent opportunists to exploit a defenseless culture.

Century after century, followers of Jesus have said, ‘You can’t be serious!’

But he was indeed serious enough to put it into practice, to hand himself over to be mocked, spat upon, tortured and crucified. Political flirts should also reckon with the example of the ‘first’ Christian, Jesus Christ.



 



6. Finally, we as Christians refuse to be used for this empty campaign rhetoric.



We refuse to be the symbolic stick by which others are being chased away.

The heart of Christianity has compassion beyond borders, is far above local political affairs, and should be ‘a blessing to all peoples’.



 



Jeff Fountain is Director of the Schuman Centre for European Studies, and speaks on issues facing Christians today in Europe. He writes at Weekly Word.


 

 


0
COMMENTS

    If you want to comment, or

 



 
 
YOUR ARE AT: - - - Netherlands: Flirting With Christian Culture
 
ADVERTISING
 
 
 
AUDIOS Audios
 
Julia Doxat-Purser: 25 years of EEA office in Brussels Julia Doxat-Purser: 25 years of EEA office in Brussels

An interview with the socio-political representative of the European Evangelical Alliance about how evangelical Christians work at the heart of the European Union.

 
Lars Dahle: Nominal Christianity, a mission field for the church Lars Dahle: Nominal Christianity, a mission field for the church

An interview with Lars Dahle, of the Steering Committee of the Lausanne Movement Global Consultation on Nominal Christianity held in Rome.

 
Testimony: Wildfires near Athens Testimony: Wildfires near Athens

Nico Spies, a Christian worker in Athens, gives details about the wildfires in Greece.

 
PICTURES Pictures
 
European Freedom Network Bridge 2019 conference European Freedom Network Bridge 2019 conference

Images of the fifth EFN gathering. Experts, activists, counsellors and church leaders met in Pescara, Italy.

 
Glimpses of the ELF 2019 conference Glimpses of the ELF 2019 conference

Evangelical leaders from across Europe meet in Wisla (Poland) to network for mission in a range of fields. The vision is to renew the biblical church and evangelise Europe.

 
AEA Plaza opens to serve African evangelicals AEA Plaza opens to serve African evangelicals

After many years of labour, the Association of Evangelicals in Africa officially opened its new centre in Nairobi, Kenya. “Africa, your time has come!”, said the World Evangelical Alliance Secretary General Efraim Tendero.

 
‘Small churches, big potential for transformation’ ‘Small churches, big potential for transformation’

Photos of the Spanish Evangelical Alliance’s annual gathering “Idea 2019”, in Murcia. Politicians and church leaders discussed about the role of minorities in society.

 
VIDEO Video
 
Mercy Ships volunteers perform 100,000th free surgical procedure Mercy Ships volunteers perform 100,000th free surgical procedure

The milestone represents an important point in the nonprofit’s 40-year legacy.

 
What are the most important truths that Christians should seek to convey in a secular context? What are the most important truths that Christians should seek to convey in a secular context?

Espen Ottosen talks about the truths Christians should share with people who have little knowledge and/or many prejudices about Christian belief.  

 
A 50-metre high monument will encourage Britons to pray A 50-metre high monument will encourage Britons to pray

Thousands of visitors will have the chance to discover “the God who is alive who listens and answers prayers”.

 
John Lennox on Acts John Lennox on Acts

Professor John Lennox  examines the three supernatural events in the first three chapters of Acts: Jesus' ascension, the Holy Spirit's descent at Pentecost, and the healing of a lame man by the Apostles.

 
 
Follow us on Soundcloud
Follow us on YouTube
 
 
WE RECOMMEND
 
PARTNERS
 

 
AEE
EVANGELICAL FOCUS belongs to Areópago Protestante, linked to the Spanish Evangelical Alliance (AEE). AEE is member of the European
Evangelical Alliance and World Evangelical Alliance.
 

Opinions expressed are those of their respective contributors and do not necessarily represent the views of Evangelical Focus.