Pieter Beets, born 8 March 1729 at Hoorn in Holland, studied at the seminary of the Zonists at Amsterdam, was appointed proponent (ministerial candidate) at Medemblik, a few months later ordained as preacher in Middelharnis on the island of Goeree, in 1753 followed a call to the church at Aardenburg, in 1756 became preacher at Almelo in Overijssel, where he worked with his uncle Cornelis Ris on the well-known Confession of Faith. In 1764 he was unanimously chosen to the pastorate of Hamburg-Altona, but this he refused in two sincere letters. In 1770 this call was repeated. This time he accepted after a little time for consideration, although his uncle would have preferred to have him accept the call from the large church at Groningen, which he received at the same time, for he would then have been able to use his extensive knowledge and rich gifts in teaching at the university. On 16 June 1771 he delivered his first sermon in Altona, and from then until his untimely death, 25 August 1776, his work there was singularly blessed. G. Karsdorp delivered his funeral oration, "Het character van wylen den Eerw. P. Beets" (Altona, 1776). He was a capable pastor and above all he was a faithful intercessor for his church. He belonged to the strictly orthodox wing of the Mennonites. Through his eloquence he drew so many from other creeds that the balconies of the church had to be supported with iron pillars. He introduced audible prayer, conducted midweek services, and with the consent of the Danish government, re-established the church school in 1774, which had been closed in 1737, and prepared young men for the ministry. Most of his hymns were put into the new hymnal, Geestelijke Liederen (Altona, 1777), that was introduced in Hamburg at the beginning of the 19th century. He was one of the Mennonite delegation in Overijssel to greet Prince William V (Orange) in 1766 on his visit in Kampen. His work as an author was outstanding. His printed works are: Stamboek der Willingen 1591-1761 (Deventer, 1767); Afscheidsrede te Almelo (1771); Intreerede te Hamburg en Altona (1771); Schetsen van leerredenen, benevens einige geestelijke liederen (Altona, 1777); Dertig predikatiën (with foreword by C. Ris), 2 vols. (Hoorn, 1778-79), and several other works. His correspondence with Jan Deknatel, the son of the well-known Johannes Deknatel, is worthy of note (published in Mennonitische Blätter, 1859, 12 and 34), as is also his interesting conception of the custom of infant consecration (Mennonitische Blätter 1900, 75 f.). He left sketches on Mennonite history, which S. Blaupot ten Cate used in his historical work.
Cate, Steven Blaupot ten. Geschiedenis der Doopsgezinden in Groningen, Overijssel en Oost-Friesland, 2 vols. Leeuwarden: W. Eekhoff en J. B. Wolters, 1842: v. I, 171 f.
Catalogus der werken over de Doopsgezinden en hunne geschiedenis aanwezig in de bibliotheek der Vereenigde Doopsgezinde Gemeente to Amsterdam. Amsterdam: J.H. de Bussy, 1919: 246, 249, 250, 278.
Doopsgezinde Bijdragen (1912)
Hege, Christian and Christian Neff. Mennonitisches Lexikon, 4 vols. Frankfurt & Weierhof: Hege; Karlsruhe; Schneider, 1913-1967: v. I, 152.
Hoop Scheffer, Jacob Gijsbert de. Inventaris der Archiefstukken berustende bij de Vereenigde Doopsgezinde Gemeente to Amsterdam, 2 vols. Amsterdam: Uitgegeven en ten geschenke aangeboden door den Kerkeraad dier Gemeente, 1883-1884: v. I, Nos. 757, 758.
Molhuysen, P. C. and P. J. Blok. Nieuw Nederlandsch Biografisch Woordenboek, 10 vols. Leiden, 1911-1937: v. III, 86-87.
Roosen, Berend Carl. Geschichte der Mennoniten-Gemeinde zu Hamburg und Altona Hamburg: [B.C. Roosen], 1886-1887, Reprinted: Hamburg : [s.n.], 1990: v. II, 50, 60-71.
Cite This Article
Neff, Christian. "Beets, Pieter (1729-1776)." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. 1953. Web. 17 Mar 2014. http://gameo.org/index.php?title=Beets,_Pieter_(1729-1776)&oldid=100237.
Neff, Christian. (1953). Beets, Pieter (1729-1776). Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 17 March 2014, from http://gameo.org/index.php?title=Beets,_Pieter_(1729-1776)&oldid=100237.
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