Sabbath Peace On Earth Today: A Vision from the Outer Hebrides and the Dutch Bible Belt

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There are several places around the Earth where the Sabbath Day is still strictly adhered to. It is a glorious thing to behold where whole communities, towns and cities keep the Sabbath day holy. Places where all businesses are closed even community swimming pools are shut down. Where people walk or ride their bicycles to Church and Sabbath peace is truly a peace on Earth. People who are not Christians respect their neighbors enough to keep even their children out of sight of playing and where jogging is frowned upon. These places look so lovely that it almost makes me want to emigrate to these places.

Dutch Bible Belt

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Truly an amazing place that captures my imagination of what can be done here in the United States and other parts of the world. Where town ordinances are ordinances from the Word of God. A place where one friend even commented, “I am shocked that any such place ever even existed on earth.”. Within the Dutch Bible Belt there are at least 500,000 Reformed Fundamentalist Christians who control the entire belt. They control all the local government and only pass laws when they are in accord with the Divine Law of God. Cities of Yerseke, Tholen, Ouddorp, Opheusden, Kesteren, Barneveld, Nunspeet, Elspeet and Staphorst are all within the Dutch Bible Belt, and the three biggest cities are also part of the bible, they are Ede, Veenendaal and Kampen.

Link to 6 minute video on the Dutch Bible Belt: http://www.dw.com/en/the-netherlands-life-in-the-bible-belt/av-16329239

Three of the most notable Reformed Churches are the Christian Reformed Churches, the Restored Reformed Church and the Reformed Congregations (“Gereformeerde Gemeenten”), known colloquially as zwarte-kousenkerken (“black stockings churches”). Most of them came out of the Mainline Dutch Reformed Church after the 1832 schism, known as the Afscheiding (“Secession”) and the 1886 schism, Doleantie (“Sorrow”) which was led by Abraham Kuyper and formed their more own more conservative congregations.

So this is not some small fringe group but a massive powerhouse of Orthodox Reformed Christianity.

The belt has one of the highest rate of church attendance and if you miss church you must give an account to the Congregation. Those Reformed Christians in the bible are oppose to the liberal practices of Dutch society, such as euthanasia, gay rights, abortion etc. Public life is accompanied by conservative outlook, preference for large families (the region has relatively high fertility rates), and an emphasis on traditional values. They even reject state run vaccination programs and generally do not get vaccinated.

In many ways, it almost looks like the Amish Communities of Pennsylvania except they do not reject electricity, are involved in politics and are not Anabaptist but strictly Reformed and Calvinistic.

These are the true heirs of John Calvin, the 16th century Reformed Reformation. And they have very little deviated from the historic teachings of the Reformed Church.

Pious sobriety dictates politics, fashion and other aspects of daily life in the town of Staphorst, 90 minutes from from liberal Amsterdam. (4)

Statistics from cable company Ziggo show that nearly 80 percent of locals have no television in an attempt to shutter out the hedonistic outside world. Residents flock to church in thousands twice every Sunday, when no buses run. In 2005 the municipal council banned swearing, though no penalty is imposed. In 2009 In the municipal elections, most residents voted for the SGP Christian party, which bars women from holding public office.

In Staphorst, the town of 16,000 people has one of Europe’s highest birth rates, few career women and fewer restaurants. It also boasts nearly 1,000 women who still wear the chaste modest, cover-all outfit of their great-grandmothers.

The traditional clothing comprises over a dozen items of clothing in summer, including a anklr-length, black, pleated skirt; apron; shawl and bonnet; and black shoes. Also key are the black thigh-high socks, traditionally hand knitted and fastened with an elastic band, that gave rise to the Bible Belters’ nickname of “zwartekousen” (black stockings).

Even among women who have abandoned the traditional dress as old-fashioned, hardly any wear trousers which they regard as “men’s clothing, unbiblical,” “A dress is what I feel comfortable in,” said Jentje Veijer, 21, adding she had no desire to visit Amsterdam with its famous red-light district, “because they have different values there.”

More then Half of young people in Staphorst move directly from their parental home to marriage and only one in 30 babies are born to unmarried parents and the Dutch Bible Belt has one of the Netherlands’ lowest divorce rates: 39 per 1,000 residents.

The Dutch Bible belt town of Ede in Gelderland has rejected all forms of Sunday shopping in a local referendum. Residents of the town and outlying villages voted against three proposals: region-wide Sunday shopping, 12 Sunday shopping days a year and town centre-only Sunday shopping. (1)

In the Belt Football on the Sabbath is completely forbidden for whatever the occasion even if the Netherlands make it to the first football World Cup title. In the village of Elburg the local minister has prayed for Oranje to lose. He has even advised parents to put a filter on their children’s computers so they do not watch such a ‘sinful’ match. (2)

Even a scantily-clad woman underwear ads was removed from a bus shelter in the Brabant town of Aalburg because it was against the Town Ordinances.. (3) (Watch out if you click the link because it shows the underwear ad) In SGP circles (The Bible Belt Political Party) women are expected to dress modestly and wear skirts.

Christian parties dominate the local council and the SGP, which believes that the country should be governed ‘entirely on the basis of the ordinances of God as revealed in the Holy Scriptures’, is the biggest of them, with four seats.

Even the local newspaper does not have a sports section but does have a lot of information regarding church events, activities and those things that are important to the church.

Outer Hebrides: Isle of Lewis, Isle of Harris and Isle of Stornoway

 

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In the Outer Hebrides of Scotland there lies an Isle named Lewis. There in Lewis a strong Scottish Presbyterian presence is felt. It is said that it is one of the last places in Britain where the Sabbath is still held. The northern islands of Lewis and Harris are dominated by Calvinist ‘free churches’. They are also home to a unique form of Gaelic psalm singing. The Christian Religion is extremely important in Lewis, with much of the population belonging to one of five Presbyterian churches represented on the Island: the Free Church, the Free Church (Continuing), a congregation of the Associated Presbyterian Churches, the Free Presbyterian Church and the Church of Scotland.

“The Reverend Alasdair Smith, who is now in his 80s, and his wife Chrissie remember the days when people would be “horrified” by someone riding a bicycle on the Sabbath – even if they were cycling to church.

Chrissie says: “I went to Sunday school and enjoyed it because you could walk to the school with your friends and if it was a nice day you ambled back. Because that was the only time you got to go for a walk – to church or Sunday school – not for pleasure.” (5)

Reverend Smith did not grow up Christian, but he remembers how careful his mother tried to keep the Sabbath day and not to offend her neighbors,

“She wouldn’t let my dad work in the garden and she would ask me to play behind the house so I couldn’t be seen by our neighbours.” “As a child I resented that, because it made me feel guilty and furtive. I felt I was being watched and disapproved of – and that didn’t seem fair.“ “But now, as an adult … I understand my mother was showing respect.”

Even in Lewis today most businesses are closed and it is frowned upon to go swimming or to go in a sauna. Community swimming pools and sauna are even closed if you even wanted to go to a public one.

 

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Many people eat light meals so there is not too much kitchen work and it gives them time to spend with their children and focus on their souls as well as their own.

Even people who don’t believe in the Sabbath or are unbelievers keep the ground rules, for example, ‘don’t put washing out on a Sunday’.

There is a major controversy about having a sports center that will be open on the Sabbath.

Free Church minister Rev Dr Iain D Campbell, of Day One, (formerly the Lord’s Day Observance Society), says that Sunday sports centre opening would have a negative effect on the community as a whole. “I know people say there is nothing wrong with it but maybe we are not examining it properly. What about the people that need to work to give others that option? What about the pressure there would be on families to enter their children into sports competitions that take place on a Sunday and so on?”

On the Isle of Harris, is one of largely Presbyterian population that practises sabbatarianism and all retail outlets are shut on Sunday. This area has been described as one of the last bastion of conservative Calvinism in Britain.

Stornoway, like the northern (Protestant) Hebrides as a whole, has a tradition of adherence to the Sabbath. As Stornoway, with the majority of the island’s services, shops and businesses, undergoes the most visible change on a Sunday.

The strong Presbyterian (mainly Free Church) makeup of the island undoubtedly is a major force behind the recent campaigns to retain Sunday’s peaceful nature.

A Vision

Both the Outer Hebrides and the Dutch Bible Belt sounds almost paradise to my ears, a bit of peace of Heaven on Earth. But what these places have done in my mind are examples for us. Examples that may be instituted even here in the United States. We need such Communities built. We need the Sabbath peace for our souls and we need to come together to create such places. The old adage is “United we stand, divided we fall” and we have been divided and separated for way too long. And our enemies have known this and they have worked very hard to keep Christian communities from building up even by subverting from within to create a bias against creating Christian communities. What I am proposing is solid Reformed and Covenanter communities where we rule ourselves as far as possible. Come together and build together.

We need absolutely to do what our ancestors did in the United Societies back in Scotland. They had set up a state within a state.

“At their first convention and in the Lanark Declaration, the Societies had created a state within a state. However, from their perspective it was a question of legitimacy. The Societies’ saw their convention as invested with legitimate authority from the People until a new legitimate state was created, as it derived from the power of a people reduced to a radical state of nature and free of their obligations to their governors.”-The United Societies: Militancy, Martyrdom and the Presbyterian Movement in Late-Restoration Scotland, I679 to I688 by Mark Jardine

“Regarding the Societies’ general meetings or correspondences, the Vindication avoided the secular term ‘general convention’ and denied that they had created an ‘Erastian republic’ by discussing matters of church and state in a judicial manner in their general meetings. Instead the Vindication countered that they had not assumed a power of magistracy, but because they had been reduced to a state of ‘native & radical liberty’ they had ‘judged it lawful, expedient, & necessary’ to form by ‘common consent’ a general meeting for the management of affairs among the ‘purer & better part’. It also maintained that nothing in public matters or relevant to their testimony was agreed to without ‘harmonious consent’ and claimed that their resolutions were not ‘formal statutes of either civil or ecclesiastic judicatories’, yet understood as of ‘binding force upon all’ within the Societies, but not on the whole kingdom.”-The United Societies: Militancy, Martyrdom and the Presbyterian Movement in Late-Restoration Scotland, I679 to I688 by Mark Jardine

The United Societies was the great concept of a state within a state. They basically set up an entire State within the State of Scotland thereby being as far from the wicked fellowship with the then government of Scotland that was illegitimate. It allowed for full political dissent. It paralleled the Government of Scotland and set up a counter government that the Society people were able to use including a court system. And they believed having such would eventually allow them to have even greater success of no longer being a state within a state but to be a Covenanted Nation.

This would be akin to the Jewish Communities of New York or the Amish Communities around the Country. The Indian Reservations that is a state within a state or even some of the Muslim Sharia no-go zone territories that are popping up around the nation. Or like the Dutch Bible Belt of the Netherlands or the Outer Hebrides of Scotland.. It can be done and it has been done. The path and road has been shown to us.

We should set up our own schools, medical centers with faith based medical doctors, libraries, businesses with commerce such as food stores and merchandise stores that is Covenanter friendly and not giving funds to wicked causes. They can be set up like Amish stores that are dotting the Pennsylvania country side that sell to other Amish people. Hand made furniture builders, etc.. And not all separated but close together in our own communities. We should not allow the United States government to command us or tell us what to do within our businesses or who we can hire or whom we can sell to. If the Amish can do it we certainly can do it. And as more and more heathen businesses around this country give in to funding Planned Parenthood or the Sodomy agenda and we are forced to no longer shop at such businesses we NEED our own replacements or we are not going to be able to shop or buy anything. And until we do such we will not have the True Sabbath Peace around us and by being divided and separated we will fall.

This is a true Post Millennial Dream. Let us work forward our goals.. And then the Real Sabbath Peace will reign from coast to coast and from every island.

The greatest problem in all this will come in convincing men that we are permitted to do this by Divine Law (we have be taught so much bad theology over the decades) and that that they could be economically successful in such a community. Like Lot, everyone wants to live near the prosperous pagans. We live in a lukewarm to cold age and where money is the biggest desire for men even those who call themselves Christians. But the examples and patterns of success are before us. Duty is ours, Providence is God’s. Let us do our duty and be that shining beacon of light on the hill.

(1) http://www.dutchnews.nl/news/archives/2015/06/dutch-bible-belt-town-rejects-sunday-shopping-in-local-referendum/

(2) http://www.dutchnews.nl/news/archives/2010/07/bible_belt_says_no_to_football/

(3) http://www.dutchnews.nl/news/archives/2015/12/offensive-underwear-advert-removed-from-bible-belt-town/

(4) http://www.hewdge.com/2009/08/978/

(5) http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-scotland-29708202

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