Jan Dirk Wassenaar Hearing God’s footsteps. The protestant theologian Oepke Noordmans and the organ
Het ORGEL 104 (2009), nr. 1, 38-43 [summary]

From his earliest days Oepke Noordmans (1871-1956), who is called the ‘most brilliant reformed theologian of the Netherlands’, was familiar with the organ. In his family home – and later in his rectory – there was an organ, to which the builder had added three 16’ pipes as ‘encore’. When Noordmans was a preacher, he used these pipes in a sermon as symbol for ‘faith, hope and charity’ from 1 Corinthians 13.
The organ played a role in the discussion about liturgy at the beginning of the 20th century, in which Noordmans played a main role as opponent of Gerardus van der Leeuw. On the one hand Noordmans admitted the value of the organ as liturgical instrument. After hearing a Bach organ work in the Grote Kerk in Arnhem he wrote: “I have never in my life heard anything that gave me such a strong sensation of God’s audible footsteps.”
On the other hand, according to Noordmans, the sermon had to remain the central element of the church service. He disapproved of the idea of making the organist a sort of proclaimer of the gospel in addition to the preacher.
 


The residence-organ of Oepke Noordmans