A prominent figure of the mainstream Protestant Church of the Netherlands (PKN) is ‘reverend’ Klaas Hendrikse, author of the infamous book Believing in a God that does not exist: the manifesto of an atheist pastor. In his sermons Mr. Hendrikse paints a dark and hopeless picture of human existence and the meaning of life:
“Make the most of life on earth, because it will
probably be the only one you get.”
“Personally I have no talent for believing in life after death,” … “No, for me our life, our task, is before death.”
In an interview with the BBC (video provided at the bottom of this article) Mr. Hendrikse further outlines his beliefs and teachings regarding God, the meaning of life and death, and Christ’s existence and resurrection. Here are some of the more disturbing excerpts.
Regarding the nature and presence of God:
“The Christian code for me is too narrow. … My understanding of the word God is that is one word of saying things or expressing experiences for which you also can use other words. Like, for instance, Allah.”
“For me the word God is important. The only thing is that it is not a being, not an existent being. … God is not a being at all… it’s a word for experience, for human experience.”
Concerning Jesus Christ’s existence:
“His existence for me is not relevant. … Because the message or what the story about Jesus has to tell me has nothing to do with his physical existence.”
Regarding Christ’s resurrection:
“You don’t have to believe that Jesus was physically resurrected. There is another way of looking at it. The words life and death can also have different meanings than what we say that it means in 2011.”
Finally, when the incredulous BBC interviewer reminds Hendrikse that a key tenet and “central feature of Christianity is that Jesus Christ did exist, that He was the Son of God and that He was resurrected from the dead because he was the Son of God, and that process, His death on the cross, was designed specifically by God to liberate everyone from their sinfulness,” and asks him whether he believes that is not true, Hendrikse absurdly asserts: “That’s correct, that’s a misunderstanding of what [St.] Paul said.”
Another leader of these pseudo-Christian Dutch congregations, one ironically named “Exodus Church”, is priestess Kirsten Slettenaar. She also rejects the idea that Jesus Christ was divine or the actual Son of God.
“I think ‘Son of God’ is a kind of title,” she says. “I don’t think he was a god or a half god. I think he was a man, but he was a special man because he was very good in living from out of love, from out of the spirit of God he found inside himself.”
Unfortunately, Mr. Hendrikse and Mrs. Slettenaar are not alone in their atheistic beliefs. A study by the Free University of Amsterdam discovered that one in six clergy in the mainstream Protestant Churches of the Netherlands was either agnostic or atheist. That means that approximately 17% of these ‘pastors’ have actually apostatized, they are no longer Christian in belief or practice.
Whatever these clergy teach is not Christianity in the traditional or even the most enlightened or modern sense of the word. They are really impostors and traitors; Benedict Arnolds through and through. While retaining the name of their Savior and professing allegiance to Christ, they have become His enemies. While enjoying the privileges and authority of their pastoral offices, they have betrayed their calling and corrupted their vocation. While seeming to protect and comfort their flocks, they have confused, scattered, and endangered them. While claiming to help their congregations, they have lead them astray. Promising truth and life, they spread lies and spiritual death. They have thrown their lot with Judas, yet still feast at the Lord’s table without any shame or remorse for their treachery.
Christianity is the one religion whose entire existence is founded on two grand miracles of the Incarnation of God as man in the person of Jesus Christ (fully divine and full man) and the Resurrection of that same Son of God, after He was killed on a cross and buried in a sepulcher for three days. Any religious system that claims the title Christian and fails to embrace these central and extraordinary realities of our faith is a complete fraud, an abomination.
The duty of true and faithful shepherds is to preserve and defend the Christian faith. “We are to defend Christianity itself–the faith preached by the Apostles, attested by the Martyrs, embodied in the Creeds, expounded by the Fathers.” wrote C.S. Lewis. We cannot add or subtract from the teachings of Christianity based on individual opinions regarding God or man or other timeless tenets of the faith that we may consider difficult or objectionable.
There are certain lines that Christians, especially priests and Christian leaders, cannot cross and still remain a Christian. In his book, God in the Dock, C.S. Lewis cautioned that clear boundaries of Christian doctrines must be established and maintained by all who preach Christianity. If such limits are forsaken by pastors, the only honorable solution is for them to change their professions.
“But I insist that wherever you draw the lines, bounding lines must exist, beyond which your doctrine will cease to be Anglican or to be Christian: and I suggest also that the lines come a great deal sooner than many modern priest think. I think it is your duty to fix the lines clearly in your own minds: and if you wish to go beyond them you must change your profession.”
Clearly, many Dutch priests have not only crossed this line, but completely obliterated it. Their preaching not only distorts and perverts the core principles of Christianity, but wholly contradicts the words of Christ and the witness of the entire Christian Church across two thousand years of her existence. Their teaching goes against the true Christian faith as “preached by the Apostles, attested by the Martyrs, embodied in the Creeds, expounded by the Fathers.” These ‘Christians’ are no longer Christian.