Saturday, May 17, 2014

Van Bekkum Responds to Canadian Critics

In recent years, Synods from the Canadian Reformed Churches and the Free Reformed Churches (Australia), as well as popular writings in our church papers, have often expressed concern with the writings of one particular professor at the Theological University in Kampen, namely Koert van Bekkum, objecting to his approach to Biblical interpretation (hermeneutics). Dr. van Bekkum has written a response to the ecclesiastical concerns, which can be found here. Although at Reformed Academic, it has not been our focus to interact with developments in and with respect to the Netherlands, we appreciate his response, and find ourselves in much of what he says.

Part of the background of his 13-page piece includes the fact that this past January, the Canadian Reformed Theological Seminary (CRTS) hosted a conference on hermeneutics, which included presentations and responses across the Atlantic. The blog of CRTS student Jeremy de Haan featured some “Thoughts and Stories from the Conference”, and, after some discussion there, van Bekkum introduced his response today as follows:
Dear Jeremy (and other brothers and sisters in Canada),

After the conference of last January I had a chat with prof. Van Dam and Rev. De Gelder about my thesis, which had (on purpose) not been the subject of discussion during the CRTS-conference. We shortly discussed the fact that I am not happy with the misconceptions of my views in the Report of the CanRC-subcommittee for the relations with the RCN and in the decisions of the General Synod of Carman 2013. Both brothers invited me to write a reaction in which I offer my response to the ecclesiastical and ecumenical criticism of my thesis. This suggestion was later approved by the Dutch deputies of BBK. Accordingly, I wrote a response.

So for everyone who might be interested: hereby my response: Just in case we will have some further conversation about biblical hermeneutics in the future.


In that spirit, we too look forward to continued academic, ecumenical, and ecclesiastical conversations as we seek to engage God's world in faithfulness to his word.