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PKN & Reconciliation of All

23-10-2012 - Posted by Andre Piet

A member of the Protestantse Kerk Nederland (PKN, the Protestant Church in the Netherlands) had objected to Article 37 of the Dutch Confession which teaches that unbelievers for ever will be lost. The synod of this Protestant Church appointed a committee to study this issue. This week, the negative report was publicized. Today (October 20) het Nederlands Dagblad (ND), (a Dutch newspaper) devoted an editorial to this topic. I quote:

… That Jesus Christ saves everyone from eternal destruction and that no hell exists, is as old an issue as the Christian church. This doctrine of “the reconciliation of all” has always been opposed by the church, but it, again and again in one form or another, keeps raising its head.

Indeed, the doctrine of “the reconciliation of all”, has always been contested by the church, with their most important trump card the selective rendering of aion with eternity, in the Bible translations. Aion does not mean eternity, but eon (age). “Eonian times”, in Scripture, have a beginning (“before the eons”) and an end (“the consummation of the eons”). Had they recognized this fact, they would also have known that an “eonian demise” is not hopeless. Besides, GOD knows of no hopeless cases, anyway. ND continues:

… the denial of a hell and the thought that God, through Jesus Christ, reconciles everyone with Himself, is alive at this moment, stronger than was the case ever before; also outside of the PCN. It is courageous that the Commission does not avoid the confrontation with this deviation from the Bible.

The ND speaks of a “deviation from the Bible”, but it is evident that, in reality, it is a deviation of the church doctrine. Just consider: Point one: “Hell” is an ecclesiastical invention that serves as a translation of the Greek word Gehenna. This is completely unjustified, because Gehenna denotes, irrefutably, the valley of Hinnom. That is a geographical location near Jerusalem, where unburied corpses will lie during the Kingdom of Peace (see the last verse of Isaiah). Point two: “That God, through Jesus Christ, reconciles everyone to Himself” is exactly what Paul, black-on-white, teaches in Colossians 1:20. That is also the Bible verse from which the expression, “reconciliation of all” is derived (apokatallaxai ta panta). In this verse we read:

and THROUGH HIM (=the Son of God), TO RECONCILE ALL TO HIM (making peace through the blood of His cross), through Him, whether those on the earth or those in the heavens.

Here it is explicitly stated (and in many places it is confirmed) that God, through his Son, “the all”, “whether what is on earth or what is in heaven” reconciles to Himself. It does not testify of courage, as the ND writes, but of brutality to dare contradict this Biblical fact. The ND:

It is true, however, that it is possible to take isolated texts of the Bible, that seem to underline what the author of the objection states. But that is true of so many “heretical” thoughts and beliefs. Whoever peels loose isolated texts from the whole of the Bible, is always able to find a “proof” for his views. Every heretic has his text”, according to the folk-wisdom of old. In contrast, the Bible should be read as a whole, contextually: the main, connecting red lines that speak of God, should be found. To discover these, church creeds can still fulfil a very good function.

The motto “every heretic has his text” is used to serve as an excuse not to answer with: “it is written”. Because (according to the ND) to discover the contextual truth of the Bible, we are dependent on the church creeds. There is where we find “the main, connecting red lines that speak of God.” This view also explains the ecclesiastical jargon in which they usually speak, in one breath, of Scripture and of their creeds. In speaking of the Bible, in practice, is speaking of the confessional creeds. This also sheds light on the following quote:

Concerning reconciliation, the Bible speaks clearly: God wants to save everyone from eternal perdition, but he does require faith, repentance and love, in return.

How sad: God wants it, but it does not happen, because people do not want it. In church they sing, and are comforted by it, “what His love wants to achieve, His ability will not deny Him”, but in reality, the doctrine of the church denies it… Certainly, “faith, repentance and a love-response” are necessary for there to be reconciliation. Reconciliation wants to say, the enmity is changed into peace. But beware: reconciliation is, in Scripture, God’s work, consistently, and man is in this the direct object. Not we reconcile us, but God reconciles us to Himself. Whenever Paul speaks of reconciliation (and he was the only apostle who uses this term in his letters; katallaso), man is passive.

… being enemies, we WERE conciliated to God through the death of His Son… Romans 5:10

… our Lord, Jesus Christ, through Whom we now OBTAINED the conciliationRomans 5:11

Yet all is OF GOD, Who conciliates US TO HIMSELF2Corinthians 5:18

… that God was in Christ, conciliating THE WORLD TO HIMSELF2Corinthians 5:19

We are beseeching for Christ’s sake, “BE CONCILIATED to God! 2Corinthians 5:20

TO RECONCILE all TO HIM… Colossians 1:20 

… And you, being once estranged and enemies in comprehension (…) He reconciles... Colossians 1:21

God reconciles – about this fact the Bible is perfectly clear. And that also applies to the scope of this reconciliation. It is “the world”, ta panta – all and everybody. The Bible knows of only one condition, in order to be reconciled: one has to be alienated and hostile. Is from our side this condition fulfilled… then for GOD there is nothing to prevent Him to reconcile us (“each in his own order”) to Himself. The ND:

People who deliberately reject Him and His offer of acquittal, enter a road that, literally, runs forever into a dead end. Jesus is clear about that.

It is true, there is a road that, for the eons, runs into a dead end. Many people come, during the last eons, in the lake of fire, “which is the second death.” But has this the last word? No, because Christ, Who will reign “for the eons of the eons” must reign UNTIL the last enemy, which is death, will be nullified. From that moment, all will live and Christ’s mission will successfully be completed. A perfected Kingdom, He will give to His Father: “That God may be All in all” (1Cor.15:22-28). Alas, to become aware of these good tidings and this powerful word of reconciliation, according to the commission, you should not attend the PKN. Poor church goers!