In September 2000 it was decided to set up a centre at the Evangelical Theological High School (ETH) in Veenendaal for the study of Puritan theology. This is to serve both Independent and Reformed churches in the Netherlands.
The aim of this new venture is to provide Puritan literature and study material for all interested people and also, where possible, to integrate the study of Puritan theology into the main curriculum of the ETH.
The vision is that students will go on to use Puritan theology in their own preaching and pastoral care. In this way, it is hoped that a new generation of spiritual leaders, grounded in the Scriptures, will be trained for tomorrow’s churches.
Reform often starts in theological colleges through their teachers and the Christian literature they use. A theological college is the ‘kitchen, where the menu for the church is developed’, according to Rev. Henk Bakker, one of the initiators of this enterprise.
In the short term, it is hoped to equip a Puritan library, with particular help from the George Whitefield Foundation book-fund, and run a series of lectures by experts in the field. The GWF Bulletin will be used by the centre as a forum for publishing theses etc.
First responses to this in-itiative have been encouraging. After reading The Puritans by Erroll Hulse, one student said: ‘Why has nobody told me about this before?’
Henk Bakker says: ‘We do not need clones of the Puritans, but people … who are full of Christ and his Word, who speak freely about him in a relevant way for today, based on sound exegesis and theology’.