A Spiritual Awakening

FEATURES: A Spiritual Awakening

"Important men in other denominations are feeling the necessity of a spiritual awakening in their ranks. Two reasons seem evident: (1) a hunger for the Word of God among a Christendom dying of spiritual starvation, and (2) the influence of the Advent Movement."

Secretary, Netherland Union Conference

Important men in other denominations are feeling the necessity of a spiritual awakening in their ranks. Two reasons seem evident: (1) a hunger for the Word of God among a Christendom dying of spiritual starvation, and (2) the influence of the Advent Movement.

As an example of the first reason, we can mention the names of Earth in Switzerland and Niemoller in Germany. Not that these men have much interest in our Advent message, but nevertheless they are preaching and writing to awaken an interest in a much-needed spiritual revival. They seem to have a burden on this matter.

Some very interesting examples of the second reason we now find in the Nether lands. Three professors, all of the university in Amsterdam, made the following important statements concerning the state beyond death.

Dr. F. W. A. Korff said:

"The doctrine of the immortality of the soul, which we find in our theology, does not come from a belief in Christ, but from the Greek philosophy, especially that of Plato. . . .

"The doctrine of the immortality of the soul is based on a separation of the body and the soul, but the Bible does not teach this. . . .

"That the cross means victory is evident in the resurrection. Cross and resurrection belong together; the resurrection is the other side of the cross. . . . The resurrection is the beginning of a new life. . . .

"Both our body and soul become decomposed. But Christ shall raise body and soul and He will give us new, real life." Onsterfelijkheid, pp. 8-15.

Dr. G. van der Leeuw has this to say on page 32 of his book, Onsterfelijkheid of Op- standing:

"Our church is Greek-minded in doctrine and service, but nevertheless she believes in the resurrection of the flesh and keeps in this way her Israelitish character. This does not mean that the body, which I am now, will still exist later. The body dies. But also the soul, the spirit, which I am now, shall not exist. The soul also dies. But the whole life will be renewed by God. The Lord will raise me at the final day. Some say that the belief in an immortal soul is so essentially Christian that even radical movements in the Christian church retained this doctrine. But this is a mistake. The belief in the immortality of the soul is even less Christian than would be the belief in an immortal body. That is the Greek idea. Only God is immortal. (1 Tim. 6:16.) To men He gave the promise of the resurrection."

Dr. G. E. van Niftrik wrote in the weekly church paper De Gereformeerde Kerk in 1948:

"That anybody is so obstinate'as to speak about the mortal remains, only shows that the world and the church fell away from the Bible.

"Only a few people seem to understand that this complexity of thoughts [about an immortal soul] is absolutely contrary to the Holy Scriptures. This whole line of thought is heathen, Greek philosophy but in no case Biblical."

And in De Jongeman, June 25, 1949, the same professor wrote about the doctrine of the immortality of the soul in this interesting fashion:

"We have to be very careful so that our Christian convictions are not adopted from history and judgment rather than from the Bible. Much too long has theology remained connected with certain conceptions of the world and man. We need Scriptural theology. . . .

"The Bible teaches us to profess the resurrection of the flesh, and this is something quite different from the immortality of the soul. . . .

"When the Bible speaks about the flesh this means not only the body, but also the whole man, with everything belonging to him, his soul included. The soul is not something mysterious, not a spirit ual entity which lives inside of me; no, the soul is the life of my entire being. . . .

"Everything that is human is mortal. I am mortal. I am the soul of my body: I (the soul of my body) am mortal. God only, the Bible teaches, is immortal."

Is it not significant that these three university professors should write so clearly and openly about this important question? A minister of another denomination in Amsterdam said to his church members, "If you want to know the truth about the state of the dead, you should go to a Seventh-day Adventist minister." And it is a fact that when we advertise to speak on this subject, we here in the Netherlands have our largest audiences.

We have a marvelous message for this time. The Lord has given us wonderful light on many important Bible doctrines. Let us use this light to the fullest, never forgetting that our power lies in a humble preaching of the Advent message in the name of the Lord and in the strength of His Holy Spirit.

 

 


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Secretary, Netherland Union Conference

September 1951

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