Diagram of Christological developments in the Netherlands post WWII

       (source: A. van den Beek, "Christology in the Netherlands" REC FOCUS vol. 4 no. 2 [2004]:  33-49)       

     45       50      55       60      65      70      75       80       85    90    95      00       05


    ________________________ ____________________________________

       K. H. Miskotte (Leiden)  Hendrikus Berkhof (Leiden)

      (Barthian Christology)    (Barthian Christology)


                                                                H. J. Adriaanse (Leiden)

                                                               (Barthian Christology)


                                                           E. P. Meijering (Leiden)    

                                                           (Barthian Christology)


       G. C. van Niftrik (Free Univer. of Amsterdam)

        (Barthian Christology)


       G. C. Berkhouwer (Free Univer. of Amsterdam)

        (Barthian Christology)


                                            H. M. Kuitert (Free Univer. of Amsterdam)

                                              (Humanistic Christology)


                                                                    A. van de Beek (Free Univ. Amsterdam)

                                                                  (classic infralapsarian Christology)


                                                                                              C. van der Kooi

                                                                                          (Hinkenen binnen de lijnen)

                                                                                           (keep to confessions)



                                                                                         L. J. van den Brom

                                                                                        (Verzoening of koninkrijk)


                                                                                                A. van den Beek

                                                                                              (Gespannen liefde)


  O. Noordmans (minister)

(Barthian Christology)


         A. A. van Ruler (Utrecht) "Christ as plumber"

        (Barthian Christology) "Christ is just emergency measure"



                      ___________________________________                              _________________

                        J. de Graaf (Utrecht)                                           J. Muis (Utrecht)

                                                                                       (ecumenical synod 2000)

                                                                                     [homoousios to homoiousios]

                                                                                  (ECUMENICAL CHRISTOLOGY)

                                                                   (A. van den Beek REC FOCUS vol. 4 no. 2 2004: 48)


                                    P. Smits  (Leiden)


                                       H. J. Heering (Leiden)

                                       H. Wiersinga (Verzoening als verandering...1971)

                                       (contra substitution)


                                                                                    C. J. den Heyer (Kampen)

                                                                                    (contra substitution)


H. N. Ridderbos (Kampen)

(contra Wiersinga Zij wei op de verkeerde weg? 1972)


                                                              H. Baarlink (Kampen)

                                                              (contra Den Heyer 1998)


                                                                                               G. C. van Hertog




Seventh Day Adventism is mostly in this group of scholars. This position represents the Word of God literally the best in Adventist exegesis. One difference is though that only the sacrificial death of Christ was at the Cross once and for all and not the Atonement, which happens in at least six phases until the final eradication of sin. 

Christology in Calvinism of the Netherlands elaborated

by koot van wyk   23 November 2005

Christology in Calvinism made a roller-coaster ride through the centuries. For Seventh Day Adventism, Calvinism is important since the SDA church is in essence a Reformation church. It means that the Fundamentalism or Biblicism that one finds at the Reformation, that same spirit is operative in the mechanics of exegesis and hermeneutics of SDAs.

Christology, is a subheading of Systematic Theology but is not solely the possession of that science. It is every Christians thinking on the role of Christ in salvation, in history, personally for the Christian day to day.

What changed through the centuries since the inception of Calvinism in 1540, is their view of Christ.

John Calvin had a supralapsarian Christology. In the 17th century, Calvinists swinged to what is called an infralapsarian Christology. What does it mean?

Supralapsarian Christology claims that people were created to be saved. God foreknew everything and basically we are like robots dancing according to God's design. It is a kind of fatalism. Infralapsarian Christology claims that we are not created to be saved. We were created perfect but through mishap of Adam and Eve, sin started and salvation was made necessary. SDA's are Infralapsarian Christology scholars. The works of EGW and SDA scholars like E. Heppenstall and H. K. La Rondelle, dr. Ahn of Sahmyook, Johann Japp of Helderberg College, Peter van Bemmelen, the list can go on, nearly every single Adventist is infralapsarian in view. How you recognize this view is when they say that the eternal covenant was concluded between the Trinity that "if" someone sins in the human race, that Jesus will be willing to die for them. That is an interpretation of Ephesians 1:4, salvation before the foundation of the earth, chosen in Christ before creation. Conditionality is an aspect that separates infralapsarianism from supralapsarianism.

Although infralapsarianism is better, its design lacked a number of items. Adventism is a development in this stream of thought namely that the sanctuary message and the role of Jesus as the replacement of the Old Testament sanctuary, also involved a long drawn out ministry of Jesus in phases, similar to the Old Testament priestly functions.

The "once and for all" words of the book of Hebrews in Adventism only applies to the sacrifice of Christ not to the atonement process. In infralapsarian Christology of Calvinism it only applies to the cross in 31 CE. This is one of the cardinal and crucial differences of Adventism with Calvinism today.

The Jesus of Adventists are still working for us, but the Jesus of Calvinists of the 17th century has worked in 31 CE by His suffering, death and resurrection.

This brings us to the diagram attached here.

Due to Adventist scholars studying in Calvinistic schools after WWII a number of things happened. Some friction and rowing happened concerning the words "once and for all" and the locking up of Jesus importance solely at the cross. However, the equilibrium eventually gained through this is the status quo of the 1844 sanctuary message that Jesus had a ministry in the First Apartment between 31 and 1844 and in the Second Apartment between 1844- current.

In postwar Calvinism there were also developments. Three streams of Christological views developed, maybe four.

A. van den Beek in his article cited for the diagram indicated in 2004 that the three views are (1) a Christology influenced by the view of Karl Barth with his focus on the incarnation of Jesus Christ and the most important event ever. In the diagram we have indicated those scholars, including the doktervater of Hans la Rondelle, G. Berkhouwer who were influenced by Karl Barth. There are strong thoughts of Karl Barth that are part of the heritage of Adventism since its inception and especially expressed by Ellen White in her works. The doctoral dissertation by J. Blanco, now retired at Southern Adventist University in Tennisee, USA, but who received his doctoral on a comparison of Karl Barth and Ellen White on the concept of Creation, clearly showed remarkable correspondences. That does not make White Barthian or Barth Whitist. There are problems in Barth's views since he is considered "liberal" and confrontational mainly against the Nazis, but those agendas are not found in Ellen White, who predates Barth by 20 years or more.

(2) The neo-liberal view of Christology of P. Smits of Leiden in 1959 in his provocative article on Good Friday of that year, saying, that if substitution demands the blood of someone on his behalf then his portion of it should be given to the dogs.

(3) Classical infra-lapsarian Christology that we mentioned above that is still operative at many places in the Netherlands which displays a major difference with Adventism "process Atonement" as opposed with their "once and for all Atonement".  

(4) Ecumenical Christology. This is a formulation that was done after the 2000 ecumenical synod of the Reformed churches and Evangelic Lutheran church in the Netherlands. J. Muis formulated the words of the consensus and it indicates that they are thinking of moving away from homoousios to homoiousios.

For those who do not know, these two terms were hot debates in the third and fourth centuries of the Christian era discussing the nature of Christ.

Homoousios is a term used to say that Jesus is exactly like God, He is divine and He is exactly like us, He is fully human.

Homoiousios is a term used to say that Jesus is not exactly like God and neither is He exactly like us, He is similar to God and similar to us. There is a major difference here.

With the second term accepted by this synod in 2000 in the Netherlands, it implies that Jesus is not divine. The formulation actually reads: "Jesus (is) not God" (Published in English in REC FOCUS vol. 1 no. 2 June [2001]: 1-50, especially page 9). Also mentioned in A. van den Beek, "Christology in the Netherlands" REC FOCUS vol. 4 no. 2 [2004]: 48).

What actually happened is that the forces of secularization caused the theologians to move "out of the Bible" into human created norms (pseudo biblical norms) considered by them more important than a inductive reading of the Bible and thus substituting the Biblical messages.

From incarnation as the key important factor in Biblical Christology the modern secularized theologians embarked on liberation theology, social gospel of the poor, labor issues, women rights, nuclear ethics and a host of topics important for horizontalism and human conduct and human relations but not important vertically. The Bible has a gospel for example to everyone, not only the poor. All are indeed poor since they come short of the glory of God. That is true poverty. Not so with horizontalism which tries to use the Bible and these social ethics to manipulate society structures for self or corporative gain.

Jesus in the view of Ecumenical Christology is just a very good man. He is the best of humanity. Good to be emulated. Thus, the Jesus of their gospel is now almost a Buddhist, or a Shintoist, or a Hindu or any pagan holy man. He has good morals and a life of example to be emulated by all.

This Christology is neo-liberal and thus wrapped up in pluralism and UN initiatives under the umbrella of Catholic scholars like Hans Kung and others, pushing for more ecumenical dialogue since there is a "quietism" of differences and inhibition of the own identity during such meetings. By participating in these pluralistic exposures, different church scholars allow their own tongues to be tied and their minds to be benumbed.

Seventh Day Adventists cannot participate in pluralistic endeavors for self gain. It is no gain at all but rather loosing.

As far as SDA's keep their eyes focussed on the Elijah message, on the role of their doctrines that set them aside from other denominations, on their remnant concept, on their Sabbath truth, their Sanctuary message, their special view of the atonement(s), they are to keep their identity and not be swept under the carpet of pluralism that easily.   

End item