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About Henk Bakker

Born (1960) and raised in the eastern part of Haarlem, close to Amsterdam, Henk Bakker grew up in an open minded and typical Dutch Protestant environment. Fascinated by the Gospel, and in particular by the calling of the Church to relate Gospel life to the world, he turned to believer’s baptism and became a Baptist follower of Jesus. Gradually a ‘calling’ to study and to become a minister grew and, happily, also materialized. After finishing studies at Leiden University, at Leuven (Belgium, Lic./MA), at Mid-America Baptist Theological Seminary (Memphis, USA) and a second Master at Utrecht University (New Testament), he completed a doctorate in early Christian literature at Groningen University. The research done resulted in the PhD thesis Exemplar Domini: Ignatius of Antioch and His Martyrological Self-Concept (2003, with Prof. Gerard Luttikhuizen and dr. Ton Hilhorst).

From 1991 to 2005 Dr. Bakker pastored several Baptist churches. He and his wife Jenny have two adult daughters.

"As a reconciling community the church’s first aim is to reconcile humanity with God and from there with each other. Hence, it can be explained that churches are critical regarding any kind of violence and breakup."

Inaugural Address, VU University Amsterdam, 2013

"In the community of Christ conventional boundaries between status, culture, and sexes were overcome (which did not imply serious societal negativism for Paul). As Luther would articulate one and a half millennium later: omnes sumus aequales, “we are all equals.” For Paul the church was a kind of new breed of mankind, the cornerstone of a new society in anticipation of the arrival of the Kingdom of God. Here, a fisherman, a Moroccan, and an ordinary lady have just as much voice as a governor, a Jew, or some powerful male personality."

Towards an Evangelical Hermeneutics of Authority

From 2013 – 2017 Rev Prof Dr Henk Bakker was Professor of Baptist Studies - History, Identity, and Theology of the Baptist Faith at Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam. Recently he has become Chair holder of the James Wm. McClendon Chair for Baptistic and Evangelical Theologies at VU University Amsterdam (Sept. 1st. 2017). Dr. Bakker is also lecturer of Theology and Historical Theology at the Dutch Baptist Seminary, Amsterdam, and lecturer of Baptistic Histories and Theologies at IBTS Centre, Amsterdam.

From 2005 – 2017 Dr. Bakker was Lecturer of New Testament and Theology at Ede Christian University of Applied Sciences, and from 1991 - 2004 Lecturer of New Testament and Theology and the Evangelical Theological Institute, Veenendaal. From 1985 – 1990 he was Lecturer of Theology at the Evangelical Theological Faculty and at Bible Institute Belgium, Leuven.

Dr. Bakker published extensively on early Christian studies, especially on martyrdom, and history and modern (predominantly Baptistic) theology. We will only mention some of his publications. Currently he supervises around 10 PhD-students.

At VU University Amsterdam Dr. Bakker initiated a project ‘Religious Martyrdom in Dialogue’, consisting of a research group taken from major religious traditions (Jewish, Muslim, Hindu, Buddhist, Christian) to discuss religious texts on martyrdom. The outcome of the dialogue is promising. Publications will probably follow next year.