The end of my doctoral studies, that is. The defence of my Th.D. dissertation, “For the Cause of the Son of God: the Missiological Relevance of the Belgic Confession,” is scheduled for next Friday April 9 at 1:00 PM Eastern. Consequently, next week will be quiet here on Yinkahdinay — I’ll be using most of my spare time for preparation. I hope to resume my regular blogging habits come Monday April 12.
If you’re interested, here’s the abstract of my dissertation:
For the Cause of the Son of God: the Missiological Relevance of the Belgic Confession
In the 1950s and especially the 1960s, discussions surfaced in the Christian Reformed Church about whether the Three Forms of Unity were liabilities or assets when it came to the church’s missionary calling. A consensus developed that these documents had little to do with mission or missiology. The Belgic Confession was particularly singled out as being inadequate at best. The goal of this dissertation is to re-examine this question using more recent historiographical methods and insights into the context out of which the Belgic Confession emerged. This study argues that the Reformed churches of the Lowlands of the sixteenth century understood themselves to be living on a mission field, and this self-understanding is reflected in the content of the Belgic Confession. Furthermore, the case is made that, structurally, the Confession can be regarded as a highly contextualized witness. The contemporary missiological strengths and weaknesses of the Confession are considered in depth and an attempt is made to provide a missiological commentary on selected articles of the Confession. The dissertation also considers the use of the Confession by a seventeenth-century Reformed theorist of mission (Gisbertus Voetius) and a seventeenth-century Reformed practitioner of mission (Johannes Megapolensis). The next-to-last chapter gives attention to discussions of the Belgic Confession in the CRC in the 1950s-1980s; discussions which led to the development of the Contemporary Testimony: Our World Belongs to God. Finally, the concluding chapter considers the relationship between Reformed missiology and the confessions, as well as the perennial issue of status confessionis.