A very important event took place in the Vrije University, Amsterdam, on Thursday 16 April. To mark the Baptist Seminary in the Netherlands entering into partnership with the Vrije University Faculty of Theology and the 400th Anniversary of the formation of the first Baptist Church in 1609 in Amsterdam (English-speaking General Baptists), a day symposium was held at the University to look at “Doing Theology in a Baptist Way”. IBTS Pro-Rector Dr Parush R Parushev delivered the keynote address to a capacity crowd of over 100 people drawn from the University, other theological institutions in the Netherlands and many from the Dutch Baptist family. Parush, as we would expect, delivered a tour de force expounding the concept of the gathering, intentional, convictional, baptistic communities of believers focused on primary theology. He explained this fourth stream of Christian life (the other three being Orthodox, Catholic and Protestant) building on earlier work by Bishop Lesslie Newbigin about the “pneumatic” family of Christian communities, sometimes also known as the “believers’ church” stream or as Jim McClendon describes us “Baptists with a small b”. taking viagra woman Viagra Secondary Pulmonary Hypertension Baby cheap gerneric viagra
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Naturally, this approach of the “gathering church” was subject to criticism by Reformed theologian Professor C van der Kooi, Director of the Centre for Evangelical and Reformed Theology (CERT) at the University and a leading figure in the evangelical community in the Netherlands. He argued Baptists were really in the classic reformation/evangelical family and there was no ecclesial difference, only sociological, between Baptists, Reformed and Lutheran. In the debate which followed I felt bound to point out to Professor van der Kooi that it was not a matter of sociology, but of profound ecclesiology grounded in deep theological convictions and practices. And this was clear to both Baptists and to the Community of Protestant Churches in Europe (CPCE), who have made clear to us that we do not share “church fellowship” with them and so we cannot be placed in the ecclesial family which includes the magisterial reformation churches in Europe (Lutheran/Reformed), now expanded to include Methodists and some later forms of free evangelicals.
This is an on-going debate, but our Dutch Baptist friends were delighted when in the debate Professor van der Kooi conceded that we belong to a different and distinct ecclesial family. This was an excellent day profiling Baptists in the Netherlands.