Mennonite Revolutionaries: An Oxymoron? (2014 and 2019)

Mennonite Revolutionaries: An Oxymoron? (2014 and 2019)

This post shares slides from a presentation that I gave on Friday, 1 March, 2019, at the Grace Mennonite Church in St. Catharines. My talk’s title was “Mennonite Revolutionaries: An Oxymoron? Examples from the Dutch and Batavian Republics (ca. 1780-1810), and (Maybe?) Their Relevance for Today.” It was the second of four talks in a public discussion series called “Peace of Cake” (talks about peace church histories and ethics, plus continuing discussions afterwards over cake). I gave an earlier version of this presentation at Piet Visser’s retirement symposium in Amsterdam in June 2014.

*** You can view the slides by going to ***

Many of the quotations are in Dutch without translations. For the presentation in St. Catharines, I provided explanations.

For the 2019 presentation I prepared the following handout / timeline…



The Mennonite Preacher François Adriaan van der Kemp’s Sermon on the American Revolution as a Model for the Dutch (Feb. 1782)

In America the Sun of Salvation has risen, which will shine its rays upon us provided we so desire. Only America can revive our Trade and our Shipping…. America provides us again, if we dare look at it, a striking proof of how Righteousness exalteth a nation: but sin is a reproach to any people. America can teach us how to resist the degeneration of National Character, how to check the corruption of morals, how to prevent bribery, how to choke off the seeds of tyranny and restore moribund Liberty to health.

Post updated: Nov. 2021 (new reference added; and the original Dutch sermon is included below in full)

The quotation above is an English translation of a passage from François Adriaan van der Kemp’s prayer day sermon of 27 February 1782 (sermon 11 from Elftal Kerkelycke Redevoeringen [11 Sermons]). The original passage reads:

In America is de Heilzon opgedaegd, welke ons ook zal bestraelen, indien wy willen: America alleen kan onzen Koophandel, onze Zeevaert doen herleven: America kan onze Fabrieken op nieuw doen bloeijen, en ons LEYDEN herstellen in zynen voorigen luister. America levert ons op nieuw, indien wy ons zelven niet durven beschouwen, een spreekend bewys op, hoe de Gerechtigheid een Volk verhoogt en de Zonde de schandvlek is der Nation. America kan ons leeren, hoe de verbastering van het Volkscharacter tegen te gaen, het bederf der zeden te stuiten, de omkooping te weeren, de zaeden der dwingelandy te verslikken, en de zieltogende Vryheid in gezondheid te herstellen.

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