From Nashville to the Netherlands

3 years ago Triangle 0

Written by: Nathan Ecarma, Editor-in-Chief

Around 250 Dutch leaders recently signed a translation of the Nashville Statement, and LGBT activists have spoken back. Now the Netherlands government has been brought in to see if Dutch law has been broken by these leaders.  

When political leaders of parliament in Amsterdam signed the document, a pro-LGBT opera singer Francis van Broekhuizen filed a police statement against a signee, Kees van der Staaij. She stated that it was a “call [for] discriminating against [LGBT] people.”

The Public Prosecution Service is allegedly reviewing the statement to determine whether Dutch law concerning discrimination has been broken. But a local reporter told Christianity Today that the politicians who signed it will likely not be legally prosecuted because the country’s constitution has protection over freedom of speech.

Emancipation minister, Ingrid van Engelshoven, described the statement as something of a time-machine as it’s a “step back in time” showing that “emancipation is still a long way off.” Another politician, Rutger Schonis said, “You hereby deny the existence of a basic fundamental right for many thousands of Dutch people,” expressing his disappointment with Van der Staaij signing the document on Twitter.

Many local news services have described these pastors as “hard-lined” and “fundamentalist.”

American evangelical leader Albert Mohler writes, “The words are absolutely what virtually every Christian church, every Christian denomination throughout the last 2,000 years would have believed and affirmed without question. Now, in 2019, that’s enough, at least in the Netherlands, to have these pastors identified as ‘hardline Protestant ministers.’” Yet, many believe that importing the Statement is the same as importing American-culture wars.

Even though most of the signers were of the Dutch Reformed tradition, Willem Smouter, president of the Dutch Reformed Churches (Nederlands Gereformeerde Kerken or NGK), tweeted, “I have read with approval that people explain why they do not want to sign the Nashville Declaration. Not pastoral enough, import of American culture war etc. All true.”

The translation came from evangelist Arjan Baan and professor Piet de Vries, who were joined by half a dozen others.  

Last month, evangelist Arjan Baan and pastor and professor Piet de Vries led a team of a half dozen pastors and theologians to translate the English statement into Dutch—the version generating the national outcry this week.

Nathan Ecarma is a senior majoring in Christian Studies with a minor in Greek and journalism.