Your Ecumenical Task - Dr. Klaas Schilder

Reproduced by kind permission of Inheritance Publications,
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(introduction)   by T. PLANTINGA  

As you know, the speech I am about to deliver is entitled "Your Ecumenical Task."" In this title you have a strange word - ecumenical. Don't blame me if you think it is too learned: the topic has been given to your servant in those very words.

However, you should not let the word "ecumenical" frighten you. All of you speak "ecumenical language" every Sunday, when you confess with the church of all places: I believe a holy, catholic, Christian church. And "catholic" has the same meaning as "ecumenical." The "ecumene" means "the entire inhabited world"; therefore "ecumenical" means "pertaining to the entire cultural world" or "concerning the entire human race." In your Book of Praise you can find an ecumenical heirloom, the Nicene Creed, which dates back to the so-called First Ecumenical Council of 325. There the Arians were condemned, and also the Cathari (or Novatians), who, so it says, could not join the ecumenical church if they did not agree with the dogmas - that's what it says - of the universal and catholic church. Stipulations were also made concerning the so-called baptism of heretics.

All of this sounds rather strict, and dogmatic, and precise. Well, it is indeed strict, and dogmatic, and precise, because it is the church that is speaking here, and she is standing on guard for the benefit of the whole world. For exactly that orthodox Church has the oldest papers of the ecumenical movement; she is like a lioness as she fights her attackers on the ecumenical hunting ground.

The church that is strict and orthodox and takes a firm stand against heresy has never been a sect. She has understood from the beginning that God's truth has been set as the norm for the whole world; and that therefore everyone who wants to render a service to the "ecumene, the wide, wide world, must preach the truth only according to the command of Christ; and that the first service, the first ecumenical security service that can be rendered to the world is to fight against heresies such as the one propounded by Arius, and to call them by their name. Using an image from Isaiah: if the church dogs, i.e. the watchdogs of the Good Ecumenical Shepherd Jesus Christ, bark loudly against the wolves, they are performing their ecumenical service, fulfilling their ecumenical task. Whoever readmits or flirts with a heresy that has been condemned by the ecumenical church at any one time removes himself from the first and oldest ecumenical movement, willed by God.

This movement has, in fact, been underway since the moment God spoke to His first created people as His covenant partners: go, dwell on the earth, as My "watchers" over this My ecumenical heritage, and cultivate her to My honor. When Adam put the first spade into the ground, he performed an ecumenical service. When he, as head of the family and as "church father," gave his "woman" the divine covenant law as the fundamental law for all times and places, that was the first "ecumenical message." When Eve bore her first son, that was the first move of the "ecumenical movement." When they sinned, that was the first "ecumenical misdeed." When God gave the mother promise, that was the first "ecumenical restoration."

When Cain killed his brother, in the first church persecution, that was the first thrust toward a contra-ecumenical organization, the first sectarian deed, the principial deviation from ecumenical paths. Cain was the first sectarian, and exactly as a sectarian, he eventually gathered the most votes and had the largest number of followers. Then that great fool thought he was ecumenically minded and worked ecumenically (he was as dumb as sin can make a man); he thought that in order to be able to work ecumenically, you had to have the greatest number. But God said no: to be active ecumenically in the ecumenical apostolate means to fulfill the mission mandate, the mandate which makes you take the Word of God, received in a certain place, out to the whole world, saying: "I have now passed on to you what I have received from the Lord."

In his conversion, Adam remained faithful to that oldest and legitimate ecumenical movement, and Abel and Seth followed him in this respect - but Cain chose the sect. He separated himself. As forerunner of the antichrist, he wanted to win the entire world for his revolution against the truth "received" from God. And he thought that numbers will determine who wins the battle. But God says: the ecumenical movement started from Me, and it will also be brought to a proper end by Me. Therefore, the question "Who is serving the ecumenical apostolate?" can only be answered well if it is preceded by the question "Who keeps the 'received' Word of God unchanged and goes out to the wide world with it?"

The oldest, the original, the "genuine" ecumenical movement is not winning the world numbers for your deviating message, but winning as many people as possible for God's judgment-laden, directive message. Heresy is always a denial of the ecumenical apostolate. To become an ally of hers is to disturb the original ecumenical movement, thrust forth from the old paradise. The flood was an ecumenical judgment, albeit to preserve the ecumenical church, and the ecumenical apostolate. The sectarians as well as the isolationists were drowned, but the church was preserved. The way of the ecumenical movement of the apostolate invariably goes through the ark. And if therefore our form for baptism - in the prayer - speaks about that flood, then 1 dare say: your baptism, which found its prototype in the flood, meant that your foot was placed on the ecumenical path. Therefore, whoever says: "Baptize all who are brought into the baptismal house, even if they take their stand over against the ecumenical divine message," may win large numbers (for a while, at least ... ), but he only opposes the ecumenical apostolate. He opposes the church, which has wanted to be ecumenical all through her life, and supports the sect, the schism.

Sin always produces the separation of Cain; the separatists are usually in the majority, while those who stand for the right ecumenism are usually in the minority. Your own confession says as much when it states: this Holy Church, i.e. the ecumenical community, sometimes appears very small for a while, and in the eyes of men to be reduced to nothing. And then it points to Ahab's "wicked era." Ahab was king of Israel; therefore his task was to preserve the church in its purity. He was supposed to see to it that Israel's course was not altered, so that the pure water of God's word of grace and of the messianic blessing could, one day, at Pentecost, flow into the "ecumene," that wide world life.

If Ahab had preserved Israel's life purely, he would have worked with Elijah, that great ecumenical figure. Preservation of the Church is the first social deed, the primary ecumenical act. But Ahab married a Tyrenian princess, Jezebel, who was up to her neck in synthesis, and in world trade and world politics, and in the ecumenical largest-common-denominator-religion, that message of-and-to-and-for-oneself. So Jezebel played the role of ecumenical figure in apostolic robes and cap, upon which, in the Esperanto of those days, were embroidered the initials S.o.N. (Shepherdess of Nations).

But Elijah knew that the S.o.N. the Shepherd of Nations, the Pastor Ecumenicus, was Christ, the Messiah according to the promise. Therefore, he turned Mt. Carmel into an Ecumenical Union Square. Carmel. became the Place de la Concorde of his Reformation: he banned the syncretists. That's why the Revelation of John mentions both Jezebel and Elijah. There Jezebel is banned by the Shepherd of Nations, and the power, the authority of Elijah is given to the two witnesses in Chapter 11. They are prophesying on the Place de la Concorde of the Revolution: the wide streets of the great city which spiritually is called Sodom and Egypt and which is built where Christ's cross once stood. So she is also called Jerusalem, but then the Jerusalem, relieved of the ecumenical mandate since Pentecost, forsaken of God. On this Place de la Concorde, the witnesses read the Formula of the True Concord - the Biblical testimony. Unadulterated. And they have made their witness in the orthodox way (Revelation 11:7 states: they have "finished" their testimony). Over against that forsaken Jerusalem, on the last page of Scripture stands the accepted, the fulfilled, the Eternal Ecumenical Jerusalem - the City of the Great King, built square, with its gates are open to all sides.

Of course, you understand that much more can be said about this subject. But this small amount is enough to remind you that our Pentecost is the Ecumenical Feast of the church - and thus the obligatory Ecumenical Feast of the World. Whoever does not let himself be gathered to the true church at Pentecost, which, according to Acts 2, can be quite easily distinguished from the false church, and who thus takes something away from the Gospel- according-to-the- Scriptures as it is inseparable from Christ as God's Son and our Guarantor, has forfeited the right to speak of and for the ecumenical apostolate. Even if he shouts until he is hoarse for the Ecumenical Message and for the Ecumenical Movement and for the Ecumenical Apostolate, it won't make any difference. The "messages" must be true to the Message; and if they are not, the ecumenical dawn will not appear. The ecumenical feasts of God are the feasts of His "extremists " and thus of His "extremists." There are other extremists too. But whoever finds "extremists" an abusive term suited only for sectarians has thereby sent the ecumenical apostolate down a dead end street. That dead end is exactly where the devil wants us: he wants the Place de la Concorde reserved for the heralds of the revolution, not for the heralds of God's Reformation in Revelation 11.

No wonder the Bible is full of the ecumenical proclamation of the Great Ecumenical Drama. "Ecumenical" is not a new term but a very old one. The Jews had already transcribed the Greek word "oikoumene" into Hebrew letters in the rabbinical scriptures and left it untranslated. Luke starts the Christmas message with the ecumene: Caesar Augustus wants the ecumene registered for the Roman Empire (the Beast of Daniel, and of Revelation). But from a stable in Bethlehem, the Great Son of David began at that very moment to "register" the ecumene for Himself, and for the God of David.

Ecumene is then the inhabited world, viewed as the operative area of world politics. The Beast grasps at the latter - but the Spirit has been ahead of him for centuries, when He had David anointed as king of the birthplace of theocracy, i.e. as king of Israel's ecumenically directed community, keeping the ecumenical seas of the world pure. Jesse's living room, where David was anointed, and the stable of Bethlehem, the starting point for the world rule of the Son of

David, are the stages of God's Ecumenical Movement, a movement as old as the world ruled by God's Covenant. Emperor Nero, who in the Revelation of John is an image of the ecumenical anti-christ, is called Ecumenical Daemon in Greek emperor's titles, just as Emperor Claudius is called Ecumenical Benefactor, or Savior.

"Ecumenical" has here become a matter of world politics and world culture. Therefore Scripture commands that there be ecumenical preaching (Matthew 24:14). Over against the Satanic temptation of ecumenical world power, Christ places the "It is written" He wants to become the Ecumenical Savior-Judge only through obedience (Luke 4:5). Christ predicts an ecumenical temptation in the last days (Revelation 3:10), and also catastrophe (Luke 21:26); and thus the prophet Agabus predicts an ecumenical famine (Acts 11:28). In this regard he is an ally of John on Patmos who, at the opening of the third seal, sees the black horse of famine dash across the world (Revelation 8:5-6). All this is the beginning of the ecumenical judgment (Acts 17:31).

In short, the Bible, from Genesis to Revelation, speaks continually about the one great ecumenical Drama. On the one side is the ecumenical preaching (Romans 10:18; see also Psalm 19:4); on the other side is the ecumenical error, the ecumenical temptation under the leadership )f the Antichrist, God's great adversary, with his "catholic," i.e. universal, propaganda service, with his ecumenical contra-speech against the Speech of God and against all His Sayings.

Today, many people want to argue away the "antithesis." With their principial denial of a principial antithesis, they try to force a "breakthrough" between the existing parties. (1) Several years ago Adolf Hitler with his "paranymphs" did just that. Rosenberg was his prophet. Many proselytes will always be found for this breakthrough theory, in whatever form it appears. But when the separate-from-the-antithesis movement, with the help of this theory, has gathered the crowds of dissidents against the antithesis-positing- gospel, then the Antichrist will take up the antithesis-preaching again. He will refer  back to Genesis 3:15, but only to set over against it his word, his "contra- gospel." The text is old: I shall put enmity between the serpent and the seed of the Church-woman. But the explanation is new. For the serpent, even in the days of early Christianity, was the symbol of paganism, e.g. in Pergamus, with its Asclepius-worship. Asclepius was the god of Light and Life. The Christians, however, had their God of Light and Life. That was the God of whom John speaks in the first chapter of his Gospel, when he says: in the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God and the Word was God. In that Word was Life, and the life was the Light of men. And that Word has now become flesh. It has come to bruise the head of the old serpent.

But this Bible language is cast aside as worthless by the antichristians. So when united heathendom goes so far as to proclaim the serpent, the Asclepius- symbol of an "autonomous" light and "autonomous" life, as the ecumenical symbol, then the antichrist will affirm: 1 will put enmity between this my serpent and you, 0 woman of the Church; between your seed and her seed. That seed of the serpent will bruise your head, and you will not even get the chance to bruise the heel of that other seed. Then the ecumenical antithesis will have been proclaimed again. God's Word is always right in the end.

That's why the first task of the church will always be the proclamation of that centuries-old antithesis. She does not tolerate a breakthrough on the basis of false slogans proclaiming unity. What she desires is a breakthrough with the sharp weapon of that Biblical antithesis - over against all groups and all movements that have denied and ridiculed the Biblical idea of the antithesis and have cursed it as the greatest folly and a fragmenting force, including, therefore, the ecumenical church movement which has no confession, and also the youth movement that has allowed itself to become part of this "ecumenism."

Girls, it looks like an endless job, if not a jaunty bluff, to speak to you about "your ecumenical task" in this context and in the face of so much dramatic force. What can you do, with your small numbers, and in such a small country, a country which is steadily losing its own characteristic power in ecumenical world politics? I can already hear you asking the question.

But you should not hold up the Pentecost Spirit any longer with such questions, nor bore each other with them any more. Don't you think that in Moscow they tell each other that the boys and girls have an ecumenical task?

Yes, but - you may object - they have those large numbers to boast of. That may well be - but could the Pentecost congregation of Acts 1 and 2 boast of large numbers when it received the mandate to go out into the world preaching and baptizing? Yes, you say, but the Pentecost congregation saw powers and signs, and the white rider on the white horse went out to conquer. Whereas we today, living in the atmosphere at the end of the age, now see more readily the gray, the red, the black horse, of death-and-Hades, of war- and-blood, of hunger- and-famine, than the white horse of the triumphant gospel - so what can we yet do? It's a bit disappointing. Sometimes we think it appropriate to quote the French poet who once said: I was born too late into a world which is already too old.

So, catholic girls, are all these things somewhat disappointing? But then you should be quite ashamed before God. Has the Bible foretold anything different from what you see today? Indeed not: it has calmly prepared you for a future like the present - a future of decreasing church numbers, of undermined authority, of the lumping together of classes, and after that of races, and of political groups in a so-called democracy whose authority steadily dwindles to the degree that it becomes more infatuated with that one man, who mesmerizes her with his slogans, and with his suggestions that he is bone of her bone, flesh of her flesh. It has been foretold us.

If our numbers do not shrink over the whole world, we should ask ourselves whether we have ever really comprehended Christ's eschatological discourses and properly understood the Revelation of John. If you, girls, have remembered even one percent of what was in all those sermons by the ministers and the books by the professors of your own church, then you know: we must not choose isolation ourselves, and we must not apathetically shrug our shoulders at the decrease in numbers, and say: "Those who left knew no better" - because we ourselves axe also guilty if they leave good-naturedly, instead of with a hearty curse that would show, at least, that they are shocked at the
atmosphere of the latter days.

But now the other side of this coin: you must never complain about an isolation into which you axe pushed by others, as though it were some misfortune, or grumble about dwindling numbers, like a child who watches his playmates go someplace more interesting. All of this has been foretold us, and what it means, in simple terms, is that God does not give you permission to use this decline as an argument to say that our ecumenical task stops as soon as we go below a certain number. For the ecumenical task of the church is not bound to any place or any time, and consequently not to any number either.

Therefore, your first ecumenical task is witnessing. People sometimes say, a bit scornfully: Well, that's easy enough. You'd better give us something more manly. And especially: if you talk about an "ecumenical task," give us a work program immediately, and a program of guidelines. Otherwise we cannot do a thing.

Have those people forgotten what Kuyper wrote in 1878? An election platform should, in his opinion, be as short as possible. The best platform is a single word which everyone remembers and quotes - a shibboleth. If necessary, a sentence or a slogan or a few words. But there is no question of a political confession of faith in such a platform. And concerning the program of guidelines Kuyper wrote: "Of your principles you can only give a program if the principles of the others are set over against yours." And if you, in general, are in the opposition, then you cannot, according to Kuyper, put up a program of principles at the outset, "because in the beginning you do not know where you axe." You will find these words in Kuyper's introductory article in Our Program.

I ask: what else is said here than that if you do not witness - and that as sharply as possible - then the program of guidelines and the principially dominated election platform will fail completely? Some people say to you: we should not start without a well-formulated program, for witnessing is too easy for us. Kuyper said: without witnessing you will never come to a good program, because your principles will only be formulated when the others state theirs. To conduct opposition in general is something that can only be done after a while. You must start by witnessing. That is certainly our ABC today: conduct opposition in a general way. We have no alternative when those who deny the antithesis try their wholesale breakthrough. Moreover, Kuyper says, the case is as follows: if (and that is also our ABC today) the point is the purging of what used to go together without belonging together, then a signal flag must be raised - a signal flag of very distinct colors which can arouse the real friends to enthusiasm again but which will make the half-hearted hybrid hangers-on leave as soon as possible, shaking their heads. Thus Kuyper in 1878. And then that tremendous effort followed, for decades. (2)

I am sometimes afraid that nowadays you are being taught to deny the great value of a faithful testimony. For a while we have been accustomed to cabinet ministers at our conferences, and to a few friends in Parliament. But now that we see our numbers decreasing - and I refer not only to our little circle but to the entire Christian, confessional sector of the nation - many are saying: Let ecumenical matters take their course. If we can no longer perform "great deeds," like Piet Hein, (3) we will leave the witnessing to Maranatha brethren. Witnessing is too old-fashioned for us, at least in the context of world politics. It may be done in the church, but not outside of it.

However, 1 tell you that your ecumenical task, your primary mandate, is faithful witnessing. If witnessing does not turn into a pseudoreligious self- characterization but remains the quiet, level-headed passing on of the content of Scripture as we confess it, then it represents the beginning of all Christian efforts in the ecumenical sphere. Did you think witnessing is easy? It is the most difficult thing there is, be~ cause it means con-Ling not with stories, nor with pictures, or haloes or heroes, but with the Word, which says: To the Jews I am a stumblingblock, and to the Greeks foolishness. When in Revelation 11 the two witnesses, i.e. the two office-bearers, have their backs against the wall, on the Place de la Concorde of the Revolution, they have to "complete" their witnessing, to get out of it whatever they can. Not just repeating old slogans, but speaking pointedly about the carefully disclosed consequences of what God has told us for today, tomorrow and the day after tomorrow. And do you think this is a cosy affair? You'd better not - it will cost you your life. Pawns are tolerated in a chessboard counter-offensive; but sounding trumpets that spurn ensemble-playing are smashed in anger.

To be a witness of Jesus Christ's Name and Word means doing justice to the Holy Spirit. It was He who came to explain Christ's work in the world at Pentecost. Thus He is the Ecumenical Perfecter in God's Triune Universal work.

This witnessing is necessary for the others, you say? Yes, sure, but - you'd better not blow your trumpet too much. You yourself need it in the first place. Just ask people who really study, and who do not repeat a string of pious essays and slogans throughout their lifetime. Just ask them how they fared. They will tell you: 1 have learned most on my own. And I myself needed that study as much as I needed bread, because 1 knew that if 1 did not do that, I'd become either a Niagara of words or a silent timid person - but not a witness.

Do you know why you need witnessing, in this sense, so badly? Well, for this simple reason: on today's ecumenical market you can buy so many pigs in an equal number of pokes. The word "church" is constantly being devalued. In a painfully suppressed conflict with the confession, it is simply being denied that we could tell you that belief in the existence of an obviously true church is what turns Reformed girls into "catholic" girls. They play for so long with the foolish concept of "revelation of Christ's body" that they begrudge the true church a true revelation. And then, nevertheless,' the Ecumenical Drama will be brought to its final act this way.

And then the word "democracy," although it contains the concept of "people," is watered down to "people's democracy" - but who still knows what that is? Nevertheless, it leads the ecumenical drama to its last act. And then the teaching of the Scriptures is abandoned more and more in the fundamental doctrine about the relationship between authority and freedom. The result is that, even with the approval of statesmen who were brought up in the church, the sovereignty of Godgiven authority in the state is surrendered, first in part, but eventually in toto.

And then nothing is left to remind us of a royal house, except an administrative apparatus, with dear memories of the past, as part of the federal world-state-to-be. The king in the state then becomes the governor of a constituent part of the federation. (4) And concerning authority in the church, the basis is not sought in Christ's kingship, as known from His own word, but in religious autarchy and ecclesiastical pretentiousness. What this means, basically, is a transfer of the idea of people's sovereignty to the sphere of what pretends to be "church." Nevertheless, in this manner also, the ecumenical drama is accelerated into its final act. The name of Christ is mentioned, but any further confessional examination of the name of Christ or of the name Christian is forbidden.

The present federalism in world politics, also in church polity and the church politics, means a rapid revolution under the pretext of a thoughtful reformation. We are in the thick of it already. It boils down to this, that states and churches allow themselves to be put on a par and incorporated into one great Corpus Humanum, a Body of humanistically conceived World State and World Church. That world church is something different from a world-wide confederation of churches. The one is already inclined to the other; soon the one will support the other and will associate with the other. And the so-called natural law will exploit the doctrine of the two states from Augustine's badly managed inheritance in order to reach the final goal - the identification of the heavenly state with the secular state. The misapprehension of Augustine's final intent will make them say: self-love will cause people to despise a transcendent God. Humanity will become a God unto itself. And love towards this "God" would place the individual over against his self-made God. Thus the individual will eventually submit freely and "religiously" to the exponent of World- State-and-World- Church - the antichristian "Fuhrer," the "First Brother" of all people. And at that, the Ecumenical Movement, which has completely freed itself from the confession of God, the transcendent one, and of Jesus Christ, the Mediator and Guarantor of the Covenant of Grace, has reached its goal: the Beast will have seduced all the nations, and the ecumenical Pentecost movement will be completely contradicted in an ecumenical Counter-Movement.

Therefore your second ecumenical task is to preserve the Ecumenical Pentecostal Movement, guided by a clearly understood Word of God in a maintained confession of the Christian church on the basis of apostles and prophets. Your task is to calmly allow yourself to be known by, and in, a burning love for your church, with her firmly bound and confessionally prefaced membership book, which, never the less, always has room for new pages to be inserted. In that church you have to oppose the present Humanistic Ecumenical Movement to its face. In other words, you must love your church as God's visible, legitimate congregation, and allow, and then also command, the expansion only to the pure church.

Seek expansion for the Word of God. That is: never run away from your place. Do not hanker after a place different from the one where God has placed you - a helper in your circle, a girlfriend to your boyfriend, a wife to your husband, a mother to your child, and above all, a member of your church. Do not be enticed away by the mere magic formula "ecumenical," and never believe the story that the dividing line runs between ecumenical conviction, on the one hand, and partisan conviction, on the other. For this is not the dividing line; and you should never venture into conviction ethics. The dividing line lies elsewhere. It lies between ecumenical love for God and ecumenical infatuation with man; between and ecumenical road to the right, and the ecumenical goad to the left; between military service in the Ecumenical Army of the Christ-King assigned to us by the Spirit of Pentecost, and puppet service in the Ecumenical Legion of the Beast disguised as God.

Perhaps - let me end with this - perhaps some people think, in or outside this hall, that my speech today had a new sound, that it represents a retaliatory response to happenings of late. .(5) But they are mistaken. For your League (under your selfsame president), this speaker, as early as 1934, delivered an address about "Two Priscillas

(known from Church History)." Allow me to close by reading a few literal quotations from it, for then you will know 1 am only giving you an old story: "The first Priscilla waits for Christ, and prepares for the day of days, yes, prepares for that day, for her part, by serving Christ, by doing, 'here and now,' i.e. in the time and in the place God has appointed for her, what the law of love asks of her. However, Priscilla II calls ever more nervously: Maranatha, maranatha. She goes to the place where the Lord is supposed to appear, but does not see Him, as He gathers His sheep, in His office, in the church .... Priscilla II ... tears the church away from the place which God has reserved for her .... Priscilla I, however, knows all about going into the desert, with the persecuted church, because of the Name of Christ .... And whereas Priscilla II projects the church into the sky, and makes the believers peer into the sky for a new cloud chariot for Christ Triumphant, Priscilla I is the woman who has both feet on the ground of reality, and therein waits on the salvation of the Lord .... Priscilla II turns the clock back .... But Priscilla I spends her hours well on simple womanly chores every day .... And thus she, who served the saints and God's missionary Paul, allowed the clock to continue quietly, the clock of revelation history and of missionary history."

Let us close here. A few years ago we heard a lot about a "movement" (the Dutch Nazi Movement, or N.S.B. in Dutch). It passed around passwords but not the Word, paroles but no confession. Remember that the Kingdom of heaven comes with power, but only in the unity of confession. Join yourselves, as catholic girls of the Netherlands, under your Ecumenical Shepherd. He comes, He comes to judge the people, in righteousness and equity. His Spirit has already been working for nineteen centuries, ripening the grapes in the vineyards of the "ecumene." As His laborers, "black but lovely," hoe the paths of His vineyard and catch for Him the foxes which ruin the vineyard. 

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This speech was given at a Young Women's Society League Day in Rotterdam on "Pentecost Monday," 1951, and was published in The Reformation, Vol. 26, No. 33 (May 19, 1951) and reprinted in Schilder's "Verzamelde werken," in the third volume on De Kerk (Goes: Oosterbaan & Le Cointre, 1965), pp. 467-479. It was published in English translation in Australia in 1975 by a group calling itself the Launceston Committee. . Some changes have been made in word order, punctuation and diction.


(1)Here Schilder is referring to the political situation in the Netherlands after World War II. Many prominent Christians denied the relevance of the "antithesis" in the political sphere and in other spheres, advocating a "breakthrough" that would be a departure from the existing party formation on the basis of creeds. The new political parties would have secular bases, as did the Labor Party. -TRANS.

(2) Schilder is referring to to a wide range of activities in all spheres of life, such as had been stimulated by Kuyper, the captain of the "little people" (kleyne luyden). The confession of Christ as King produced a self-conscious Reformed testimony in science, the arts, education, industry, and so forth. -TRANS.

(3)Admiral Pieter Pieterszoon Heyn captured the Spanish "Silver Fleet" in the Caribbean (1628) during the war waged by the Dutch for their independence horn Spain. A nineteenth- century folk song glorified his "great deeds," perhaps to a degree out of proportion to their strategic value. -TRANS.

(4)Around 1950, the debate on federalism revealed that there were distressingly deep rifts in the Dutch nation. Frequently the debate centered on the vestigial powers that would be left to the Sovereign of the Netherlands in a federal Europe. It was conceivable that the House of Orange, with its rich and glorious history of over 400 years, would be left without any authority. -TRANS.

(5)Schilder is referring here to the liberation and its aftermath. -TRANS.