Exodus Church, in Gorinchem, central Holland, is the site of a turn in Dutch Protestant theology, the BBC’s Robert Pigott reports.
It is part of the mainstream Protestant Church in the Netherlands (PKN), and the service is conventional enough, with hymns, readings from the Bible, and the Lord’s Prayer. But the message from Mr Hendrikse’s sermon seems bleak – “Make the most of life on earth, because it will probably be the only one you get”….
Nor does Klaas Hendrikse believe that God exists at all as a supernatural thing….
Mr Hendrikse describes the Bible’s account of Jesus’s life as a mythological story about a man who may never have existed, even if it is a valuable source of wisdom about how to lead a good life.
The Pluralist says this is nothing new – not by a far sight.
Robert Pigott forgets that there are ministers of religion in mainstream, Unitarian and Liberal/ Old Catholic Churches in Britain who think just like Pastor Hendrikse….
As Unitarians of old found, all you have to do is read the gospel accounts and then more of the New Testament to come to views different from orthodoxy. Then add critical academic study that became more thorough in the nineteenth century and you can arrive at quite a sceptical position. There is still the narrative, but there isn’t the direct history. Where there is the history, its about the Christian community already underway and justifying its leadership and rituals, under conditions of rapid change. When you try to do history of the particular prophet and his community, it becomes very Jewish, last days and strange. We don’t share his worldview and indeed we don’t share the last days and tradition making worldview of Paul either. Not in ordinary practical life and not in academic life either.