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"Amillennialism 101" -- Audio and On-Line Resources
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Preaching to the Dogs?

For my last birthday, my wife gave me a couple of courses from the Teaching Company (they have some very interesting stuff).  One of the courses is entitled, "Dutch Masters:  The Age of Rembrandt"

I've really enjoyed the DVDs so far, especially the painted scenes of life in Holland around the time of the Synod of Dort (1618-19).  The faces painted by Frans Hals are simply magnificient.

One of the artists, whose work I greatly admire, is Emanuel de Witte.  de Witte is noted for his interior scenes of churches.  This painting is the "Interior of the Oude Kerk [old church], Delft," from about 1680.  It is now housed in the Art Institute of Chicago.

The scene is of a Reformed minister, preaching from the raised pulpit in the center of the church.  If you look carefully, one of those listening to the sermon has brought his dog with him (in the shadow at the bottom right).  According to the lecturer, this was a common practice.  Whenever Fido got too noisy, or attempted to do his business, church wardens would instruct the dog's owner to take them outside, or else clean up after them.

Clearly, the Reformed fully understood the superiority of dogs to cats.  You won't find a feline anywhere in the Oude Kerk (unless one sneeks in)!

And no, you can't bring your dog to Christ Reformed.  Even Andy stays home on Sunday.  He goes to "house" church on the Lord's Day.

Reader Comments (10)

I read or heard somewhere that people often brought dogs to church in order to keep their feet warm.
November 3, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterWes Bredenhof
Note how the light draws the eye to the focus of the image, a well-dressed man ("of quality"), standing heroically (and defiantly) apart from the crowd, conducting his individual assessment (judgment?) of what he sees; while the preached word is barely hinted at with the minister in silhouette in the background. Until I read the text of the post, I didn't even notice the minister, or any of the other congregants; I thought it was a picture of a man admiring an empty church! (Pre?)Enlightenment anyone?
November 3, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterRubeRad
The only dogs in heaven will be the ones who heard... nevermind I won't go there.
November 3, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterMark
It was just a few weeks ago that a woman brought her dog into our worship service. She came in with her poodle, sat down in the back during the sermon for about 10 minutes, then got up and left.

I wasn't sure what to make of it, but now I understand she must have been from the Dutch Reformed tradition.
November 4, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterAaron
I was in Madagascar and preached in a church where the pastor's dog came in and urinated on the communion table.

Was that a case for church discipline?

RubeRad: Interesting that my eye was drawn to the pulpit straight away.
November 4, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterPhil B
Just another good reason to become Reformed. Dogs rule.
November 4, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterPB
I bet you could make a good case for "Dogs are reformed; Cats are Arminian" based on how they relate to their "masters"
November 4, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterRubeRad
I have a friend whose cat can detect Arminians so I guess cats can be Reformed.
November 4, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterChad V.
I noticed the preacher in the pulpit the first thing. I also noticed that all the other people in the painting, with one exception seem to be facing the pastor. Even the fashionable gentleman in the foreground appears to be listening.
November 5, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterDB

I didn't know poodles were considered to be dogs. Just another example of the 2nd law of thermodynamics, or was it Murphy's law?

It is interesting that de Witte's paintings of the interior of churches are mostly painted as an observer, never as one who is partaking in the service. He often painted dogs in the churches, one even peeing on a pillar. He died by suicide- hung himself, but the rope broke and he fell into a frozen canal- his body wasn't recovered until 11 weeks later.

see more of his painting's here;
November 6, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterChris Sherman

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