21st March 1968
I think it was at the age of 7 that I asked my mother how I could best serve mankind and how I could best bring them to God. But it was not until the age of 20 that there was born in me a deep love for God, for His Son Jesus Christ and for the Bible, in that obscure Salvation Army Hall in a little place in Holland. That love, I must confess, has never left me. On the contrary, it has deepened and has become more mature as the years sped by. Now, looking back for just a moment, I can confess gladly that my faith is still based upon that love of God which has revealed itself within me. My faith is still based upon the salvation of Christ, which he has offered to me, and my faith is still based upon the revelation of the holy scriptures, through which God reveals himself to me and to the world.
The call to the ministry came when I was 7, and was confirmed again when I was 20. The call did not constitute a vision or a voice from heaven; it came when my eyes were opened to the tremendous need in this world. It came when I for the first time saw mankind wrestling with the problem of sin, of evil, of injustice. It came when I heard the cry of the people to give them that living bread which comes down from heaven.
This call to the Christian ministry is very real indeed to me. I like the words of Wesley when he said: THE WORLD IS MY PARISH, and something similar I feel. The ministry which God has given to me has taken me beyond the borders of narrow church life; it has put me in the middle where the problems are, where the need is in reality, and where people of different races, different beliefs and different traditions are still hungering after the living God.
My call is to bring to the people of the world the truth of a living God who is intensely interested in their welfare. My call is to show that the salvation of Jesus Christ comes to us in every aspect of life and touches every corner of our social, economic, materialistic, physical and spiritual being. My call is to show and to tell that when Christ becomes a living reality we have to let him transform us completely, including the world in which we live.
The call to the Christian ministry became clear to me when I discovered, slowly but surely, the different gifts he has granted unto me - gifts which, in accordance to the Biblical revelation, I must use, and can best be used in the ministry of Christ’s church.
I have, I must confess, given serious thought to my ordination. Many a time I would have liked to escape it. Many a time there was within me that voice which told me that there was an easier path where I could be used. But I must also confess that once God takes hold of you there is no escape possible. It then becomes a question of life and death, in a spiritual sense. And I have chosen life. For the promise of my Lord is still with me, and with everyone who takes him serious, for he said: I have come that you might have life and have it more abundantly.
It is for these reasons, Mr President, that I seek ordination in the Christian ministry of the Congregational Order of Churches.