Persistence

This summer I’ve been reading 19th century Dutch ethical theology (J.H. Gunning, Jr, and Chantipie de la Saussaye, Sr.). Yesterday Ch de S remarked how the principles of their theology appeared to have few to no takers and their influence would soon die out. I don’t have the time — and perhaps not the expertise — to  explicate all of what they were about. My point is different. Their perspectives didn’t die out, but found their way into the 20th century with people like O. Noordmans and A. A. van Ruler. These were enormously influential in Dutch 20th century theology. And more. Their influence is not waning but waxing even into the 21st century.

I find this of interest because we so often get discouraged in pushing a point of view. When CI got started a few years back Dan Meeter, I think, cited his favorite theologian, Donald Rumsfield, in saying this would be a “long slog.” Indeed, fashionable causes take the front burner. And we may think our reflections soon to be left behind. But ideas have a certain persistence to them.

More — our point is not to be right. It isn’t even for a “point of view.” It is to be faithful to what we think God is calling us to be about. Then, if it is so, it will persist. If not, then, properly, we will disappear, likely not even to show up in a footnote anywhere. But if I get my Reformed theology right, it’s not about us, but about the glory of God and the coming of God’s kingdom.