PAPENDRECHT – The noisy Nijkerkse turmoil already appearing in churches have also reached the Alblasserwaard nationwide. Encouraged by pastors and other religious leaders, people begin to shake and tremble during church services and burst into loud screams. One of the villages where the turmoil is occurring is Papendrecht.

From far and wide people come to Papendrecht to watch strange things that happen during the church services of the local pastor. For two months holding ds. Bernardus Elikink such glow full ringing state that a great cry from the packed village church. Some attendees cry out and have convulsions. In churches in neighboring villages it also happens, but not as bad as in Papendrecht. Therefore, we wanted to see with my own eyes.

When we arrive at the church we notice immediately a boy running through between the congregation and are kicking around. He wriggles in his hands and calls all at random. We hear:

“Weg duivel, weg satan; go away from me Satan! O Heer, o Jezus, help me! Jesus!”

But that is still the part that we can understand. The boy shouts something "Bab, bab, bab "in" Hap, hap, step ". Meanwhile, we see him as a dog biting his own hands without really putting in his teeth.

detail: An impression of the Nijkerkse tumults of Reinier Vinkeles (1788, Atlas Van Stolk) © Atlas van Stolk

The church is so full that Reverend Elikink to climb over the seats to get to his place. He saves the Bible and reads a scripture for that seems to have been chosen specifically for the tortured boy: "It is good for a man that he bear the yoke in his youth." The kid is possibly even wilder at once. He strikes with his wild moves even a shelf in the pew.

Not only the boy feels attracted by the pastor. During the sermon a few dozen worshipers shouting together for salvation through Jesus. We see a girl praying aloud that she could no longer survive without Jesus. The situation in time so chaotic that Elikink should stop preaching. He will sing a psalm to bring the audience to calm.

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Visitors from outside

It strikes us that not only the impassioned speech by the minister to let the people call conversion. Also, firing the congregation themselves to each other on. Some of them are not completely Papendrecht. Especially a man who appears to come later from Utrecht, we see incite people. Is he there in agony if it's a thrill seeker? We have unfortunately not to speak to him.

After the service we get the boy was gone by that rage as before and during the service. We ask him why he did that. "Because of my sins", he replied briefly. But if we ask what horrible sins he might have committed than to have to shout so, he got no further than "like that of all men".

With that answer, we do not settle. For still should make the entire church uproar? Yet this does not happen. Now what makes this boy is as late going? He says that he many curses and swears. Much wiser we are not like.

God's Spirit?

We inform with Pastor Elikink. He says that what is happening in the church is God's work. He refers to surrounding villages in churches people loudly lament for their sins and shaking and trembling beg for repentance. "I prayed earnestly to God that it would please Him to reveal His Spirit here in Papendrecht. He was so good that this happened too. "

Indeed, we see more villages as similar upheavals in Papendrecht. It all started about two months ago, at least in the Alblasserwaard. The source of it we do not have to look far. in Werkendam, across the river Merwede, is an itinerant preacher active who repeatedly dares to cross and then calling for repentance in living-room people.

The spread of "disturbances’ the Alblasserwaard. A.P.B. van Meeteren

This James Groenewegen was in turn inspired by impassioned preachers from America and Scotland which have large groups of believers get on their feet. Even shaking at those meetings and the people tremble and beg for salvation. In Nijkerk received this turmoil two years ago as a first foothold in our country, hence they also Nijkerkse disturbances are called. It seems Groenewegen she has brought to the Alblasserwaard.

After Giessendam follow rapidly Hardinxveld, Giessen-Nieuwkerk and Sliedrecht and soon sees Elikink that his congregation is susceptible to. He therefore decided from late February to deviate from the usual biblical texts and talk about the sin of the people and God's judgment on this. Elikink remembers well what happened when he did that for the first time:

"When I was about, The disturbances were suddenly very strong. I heard people deep sigh and groan heartbreaking. I had to end my sermon and I just pray. I cried aloud to God, but tempers not subsided. Afterwards people said they had not that I had started to prayer. "


Are all ministers so enthusiastic about the phenomenon Nijkerkse? We meet ds. Arthus Kopp Irish Hardinxveld. He is fiercely against the agitations: "All that mindless shouting has nothing to do with conversions. God is a God of order, not chaos. "He also said during sermons and catechisaties.

Koppiers: "Not long after I had talked about during catechism James Groenewegen stood on the sidewalk. Those accused me too much to use my mind. "Faith is a matter of the heart '. Nou, I find him a harmful tool. "

The Hardinxveldse minister is not alone with his opinion. Pastors especially in Dordrecht see events in the Alblasserwaard with sorrow. They're not waiting for the same disorder in their churches. They think about ways to contain the disturbances. Whether this will succeed, is the question.

Hoe ging het verder?

After Papendrecht in the Alblasserwaard have reported disturbances in Vineyards, Bleskensgraaf, Molenaarsgraaf, Oud-Alblas, Alblasserdam, Streefkerk en Nieuwpoort.

De opvallende en luidruchtige bekeringen in de Alblasserwaard trekken van overal vandaan nieuwsgierigen, onder meer uit Dordrecht, Zwijndrecht, Charlois, as said, Utrecht. Some not only from sensationalism. There are those who copy the way you work. So we are not too long after seeing upheavals in Charlois.

In the media there is a lot written about. Not always positive. There are witnesses who say they saw boys of seven or eight years trying to keep shaking boy in check. One of the witnesses, the boy would have given some money to get him some more tremors. "Then the toad got a laugh, left several times with his mouth and eyes, pulled his legs and moved his body here and there. When I threw a few bucks in his neighborhood, which he quickly turned and creeping with open eyes and eager hands grabbed the readies. "

lay ministers from Dordrecht and surroundings that their colleagues from churches where disturbances occur not allowed to go to other churches. Dordrecht refuses from May itinerant preachers while access to the city to prevent unrest.

John Oriental, the minister of Streefkerk, like Arthus Kopp Irish a fierce opponent of the agitations. He has a lot to ask his parishioners. He calls after a service a woman with him who had disrupted the sermon by falling against the devil, but can not penetrate her.

Maker: A.P.B. van Meeteren

"Nefarious hypocrisy", Oriental wrote to the authorities in the village, "Which our entire faith and religion in general so miserably profaned and makes ridiculous." He looks a trick in. Whether that led to action by the village board, is niet bekend.

In any case, administration of Charlois late 1753 iedereen die schudt en schreeuwt tijdens kerkdiensten oppakken door de schout. Then it was quickly made the agitations there.

Na 1753 lijkt het heilige vuur in de regio te zijn uitgedoofd. Maar sommige gelovigen blijven in kleine groepjes bijeenkomen en hier en daar doen zich nog beroeringen voor. Maar die blijven altijd kleinschalig.


  • A.P.B. van Meeteren, The ruys chen as Lebanon: the upheavals in Nijkerk in Bleskensgraaf 1752 (Bleskensgraaf 1998)
  • J. van Dijk, Sincere story about the spiritual upheavals in the years 1751 en 1752 Werkendam and the Alblasserwaard (Giessenburg 1980)
  • Regional Archives Dordrecht, Handschriftenverzameling, No.. 2166, Notes on the work of persuasion and turmoil in Papendrecht, written by Bernard Elikink (February-August 1752).

Author: A.P.B. van Meeteren

published: 26-11-2018

story number: 95

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