Incomprehension concerning the-reconciliation-of-all

by André Piet
November 19th 2012

Last Saturday (10 November), the synod of the Protestant Church Netherland, decided to continue its rejection of "the doctrine of the- reconciliation-of-all. The reason for this decision was that a church member had expressed opposition to Article 37 of the Dutch Confession (about the "Last Judgment"). This news was reported as follows:

A committee, appointed by the synod, with the help of experts on this so-called appeal, studied the issue. The committee concluded that there is no Biblical support for the proposition that God forgives every man and everyone goes to heaven, or the-reconciliation-of-all. The synod agreed with this. Only three of the 113 members present, voted against this rejection.

For now, the judgment of the committee is not my concern nor that of the Synod, but the definition of the concept needs a comment or two. "The reconciliation-of-all" is deemed to mean: God forgives every man and everyone goes to heaven. In the said newspaper report, a member of the synod also presented the same erroneous ‘concept'.

Elder Gerben van Dijk placed a marginal comment. He believes in a generous, gracious God, he said. "But I do wonder: if you want to remain the enemy of God, why would you want forgiveness?"

With this presentation, a false start is made in advance, because it demonstrates ignorance of what is being talked about. Since the concept of the reconciliation-of-all is directly derived from Colossians 1:20 (Gr. apokatallaxai tapanta), one should also go there for basic insight. In this verse, it is stated that God, through the blood of the cross, reconciles all with Himself, whether those on earth or those in heaven. Where "reconcile" means (see also the following verse): make the estranged and the enemies into friends. Please observe that the creature is being reconciled, i.e., the creature is passive and the direct object. GOD is the One who reconciles: He turns an estranged and hostile creature into a friend. How? "… by the blood of the cross". The cross of Golgotha proves that there can be no enmity so great or GOD overwhelms it. Enmity is not a hindrance, but exactly a requisite in order to be reconciled! All this is evident from the only Bible verse from where the expression "the-reconciliation-of-all" is derived. "Reconciling all" does not mean that God forgives every man", but that He changes every creature (not just people!) from enemy to friend. A church's right to exist lies precisely in the recognition and proclamation of this fact. Paul calls it in Colossians 1:23, "the expectation of the evangel" and earnestly encourages us not to deviate from it.

How exceedingly sad, therefore, that a synod, "with the help of experts," officially rejects this truth, with such a large majority, and decides that it is not true…


Translation: Peter Feddema

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