Die tragiese geestelike odusse van Lourens Ingelse: Anteunis Janse oor die spirualiteit van die Nadere Reformasie

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Abstract:

This article reflects on the spiritual pilgrimage of an ordinary Christian farmer, who lived in the Northern part of the Netherlands during the second half of the eighteenth century. His rough character and reformed religious convictions got him into trouble with the authorities, he was apprehended, jailed and finally, away from his home, wife and children, banned for more than eight years. Ingelse himself later on pinned down his story and especially his spiritual experience during the years of his exile. About a century and a half later, Ingelse's tragic odyssey, revealing his continuous and profound religious struggles was retold (in a small booklet published in 1926 and reprinted in 1932) by a school teacher from the same area, Antheunis Janse of Biggekerke. Janse still experienced the aftermath of the semi-mystical spirituality of the Dutch Second or Further Reformation of the seventeenth and early eighteenth century (roughly 1600 until 1750) - the spiritual climate in which Ingelse also lived. But from a more reformational perspective Janse added his own commentary to Ingelse's chronicle. In a convincing way Janse indicated from the Bible that the Reformed religion of the Further Reformation lacked a real, solid biblical grounding. Centered on the inner experience of the human soul to attain practical certainty about one's conversion and eternal salvation can never provide certainty of faith and a joyful, thankful commitment to serve God in one's whole life, but can only result in desperation. This was clearly testified in the wavering spiritual life of Ingelse. Since similar kinds of mystical spiritualities are presently becoming the "in thing" the world over, Janse's biblical-based evaluation of such phenomena is not out-dated. It still contains valuable guidelines to be applied in evaluating contemporary related spiritual currents - also in today's reformed churches worldwide.