Remember how the movie (book) Narnia opens in a winter landscape that hasn’t seen a spring thaw for as long as anyone can remember? Narnia is a picture of Europe. The Ice Queen is the secular power structure, represented by the arts, the media, the universities, government, and yes, the secularized grassroots themselves. But you recall that spring time came to Narnia in due time. The ice melted, the sun shone, even frozen creatures thawed from the inside out.There are signs of a thaw these days. The Dutch online newspaper de Volkskrant reports that the churches have gone on the offensive to counter the obvious threat posed by Islam. Our translation follows:
Dec. 24, 2007
Christian churches going on a mission
by staff reporter Lidy Nicolasen
Amsterdam — The Catholic and Protestant churches are going on a mission in our country. They want to stop the erosion of the Church and prevent Islam from becoming the dominant religion in the Netherlands. The churches are afraid that they will otherwise reach the limits of their further existence.
“This isn’t about stealing sheep. We are interested in having people find Jesus and learn his way,” says Wout van Laar of the Dutch Missionary Council.
“Christians and Muslims are competitors. We are looking for new evangelism and ways to talk about Jesus. We Protestants and Catholics must want to be missionaries again,” says Utrecht Assistant Bishop Gerard de Korte.
Christianity and Islam are both missions-oriented religions and are therefore competitors. Both are active in recruiting believers, sometimes among each other but mostly among nonbelievers. Many Muslims have a distinct profile. A fair number of Catholics and Protestants lack a specific identity. They want to play a part in the daily social life again.
On January 1, Holland will get a second missiology professor in the person of Mechteld Jansen. This department at the Protestant theological University of Utrecht is paid for by the Protestant mission. Jansen has the job of focusing primarily on missions in the home country.
Churches are developing missionary activities in their own circles. The Protestant Church of the Netherlands wants to make nonbelievers curious, opening the church to alternative times, sponsoring encounters, for example, a spiritual café. The influential Catholic Antoine Bodar wants to reintroduce the daily closing commentary on radio and television. According to Korte, “there are low-threshold observances everywhere. You can see the missionary zeal again on radio and television: KRO, CRV and especially EO. There are websites, news sites, and a famous podcast priest who is known far outside of Holland.”
Europe has long ceased to set the tone in Christian congregations worldwide. Nowhere has secularization gone so far as it has here. In other parts of the world, Christian churches are growing.
Holland has about 800,000 Christian immigrants. Every Sunday they get together. Groups of about 75 people hold services in church buildings, garages and schools. These are often evangelical churches. The evangelical churches are the fastest-growing in the world. Catholics and Protestants are giving this influx a chilly reception, but mutual contacts have meanwhile emerged.
Laigle’s Forum comments:
If the new missionaries in Holland impart the message of Jesus Christ, namely, sin and the redemption of fallen man, then they can take back their country for Christ.
But if their spiritual café’s are staffed by wimpy long-haired hippies, whose only message is “God is love,” they might as well just hand over their country to the Muslims right now. The rarest commodity in Europe at this point in time is testosterone, and the Muslims have it. They’re importing and selling it to disgruntled Dutch people who are sick to death of politically correct defeatist weakness.
The Dutch church needs to take a lesson from us. New Age Christianity with its nondescript effeminate music, lisping youth pastors and worship teams that look and act like car salesman, is failing miserably in the United States. After all, when the church looks like the world, what is the point of going to church? Sinners find their way into churches to repent of their sin with bitter tears, acquire a new self-sacrificing lifestyle and boldly tell others of the salvation they have found. Yet all they find in many cases is the message that their sins aren’t all that bad or aren’t even sins, that God not only loves homosexuals but winks at gay sex as well.
Our advice to the Dutch Church: Open your spiritual cafés if you think that will help, but keep your churches open too. And staff both with Christian real men who present the Gospel for what it is and portray Christ as a real man, because that’s who He is.
You can let the girly hippies wash the teacups.