“The first generation of Doleantie pastors were retiring and making way for the next generation, who thought differently and had only heard about the Herculean struggles and high price that was paid for Doleantie pastors to extricate themselves from the grip of the rampant liberalism in the Old State Church (HK). Bavinck’s students from the Free University were now occupying pulpits, and some were not as adept as their teaching in dealing with the problems of modern society. Whereas the older generation had emphasized the idea of the antithesis vis-à-vis culture, the younger generation was more in tune with the concepts of what today is called contextualization and accommodation in spite of what Bavinck and others had taught them.”
The younger generation argued that “in order for the Reformed church to remain relevant in Holland, it had to busy itself with seeking and finding ‘new paths’ for both church and society. Interestingly, the astute student of church history can find this pattern and these sentiments repeated throughout the ages. Equally interesting are the statistics that point inexorably to the truth that when a church starts down such a path, the results are often disastrous. Those desiring to be creative or innovative in the church usually compromise the gospel somewhere along the line, and the same holds true for those who are intent on ‘engaging the culture.’ They fail to realize that the culture will engage you back, and you had better be more than prepared to deal with both the blatant aspects as well as the subtleties of unbelief. Bavinck, Kuyper, Rutgers, Noordtzij, and other had developed an excellent way of working out a biblical life and worldview. . . . These youngish theologians were neither Kuyper nor Bavinck. They were lacking the requsite intellectual tools and life experience to analyze and to correct culture in the manner in which Bavinck had learned to do. Wanting to be Kuyper and Bavinck ‘clones,’ these young men fell short of the mark. Even though their intentions were honorable, without the requisite intellectual prowess and wherewithal their embrace of the new questions raised by culture carried the seeds of destruction for the Reformed church, as the history of the Dutch church would manifest.”
Ron Gleason, Herman Bavinck: Pastor, Churchman, Statesman, and Theologian (P & R Publishing, 2010), 408-9, 412.