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Prophets of the Round Table: The Protestant Church in the Netherlands and the Public Domain

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In the current Dutch public debate on the public role of religion, three political options are defended: secularism, pacified pluralism and social cohesionism. They correspond to three types of ecclesiology: the church as witness, the church as a platform of moral deliberation and the church as a community of moral formation. In the document ‘The Church and the Democratic Constitutional State’ (2009) the Protestant Church in the Netherlands (PCN) set out its vision on its own public role. The church is presented as ‘prophet at the round table’; a combination of the first two types of ecclesiology. It results in a ‘polder-ecclesiology’, fully understandable within the Dutch context of a radically secularized, democratic constitutional state, but probably inadequate as a response to its reigning political, ethnic and social instability.

Affiliations: 1: Protestantse Theologische Universiteit The Netherlands


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