Weenigem, Bastiaan van (ca. 1625-1697)

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Bastiaan (Sebastiaan) van Weenigem (Weenighem), born ca. 1625, died 24 March 1697, was a merchant at Rotterdam, Holland, and a minister of the local Flemish Mennonite church from 1655 and elder from 1659. He was a man of great power and authority, somewhat imperious, prompted by great love for the church and the desire to maintain its strictly basic principles, a fervid opponent of Collegiantism and other liberal movements in the Dutch brotherhood which he often fought with more vigor and ability than courtesy. In 1659 and again in 1668 he dropped the proposal of the Rotterdam Waterlanders to merge with the Flemish. In 1660 he was the instigator and secretary of a conference of conservative Flemish leaders held at Leiden (see Leidsche Synode) to take measures against Galenus Abrahamsz and his progressive adherents. In July and August 1661 he was one of the seventeen ministers called in to mediate in the dissensions in the Utrecht Flemish congregation between a strict and a moderate group. They solved the matter by suspending the progressive preachers (see Willem van Maurik). Van Weenigem led the Flemish congregation of Schiedam in 1674 to a stricter church discipline, excluding from the pulpit preachers who did not agree with the confessions of faith, and refusing the Lord's Supper to such members as worshiped with the Collegiants or the Remonstrants. After the great schism among the Dutch Mennonites in 1664 when the Lammerenkrijgh divided them into liberal Lamists and strict Zonists, van Weenigem visited many churches persuading them to side with the Zonists, in this way preparing the Zonist conference called the Verbondt van Eenigheydt.

He often served in other Mennonite congregations and was very active in supporting a number of small churches in the neighborhood of Rotterdam like Zevenhoven and Sommelsdijk; in Sommelsdijk he settled a quarrel in 1676. Several times he preached and administered baptism and communion at Hamburg and in 1663 he ordained Gerrit Roosen as an elder of the Hamburg-Altona congregation.

In the struggle against the growing liberalism van Weenigem was supported by the well-known elder of Dordrecht and composer of the great Martyrs' Mirror, T. J. van Braght. Together they drew up a new confession of faith in 1661, which was, however, never officially approved, but became the basis of the Verbondt van Eenigheydt. The Amsterdam Library has a copy of Bastiaan van Weynich - Om uyt last van Tieleman van Bracht, Bisschop van Dort. Copia van een ernstige Vermaen-Brief, geschreven aen Samuel Apostool cum Sociis. Dordrecht den 20 Jan. 1664 (n.p., n.d.), an anonymous booklet which severely criticizes van Weenighem's conservatism.

When gradually a less strict and more tolerant attitude arose in the Rotterdam Flemish congregation, van Weenigem was deeply disappointed; he then resigned as elder on 13 January 1686.

In July 1663, when in Hamburg, he met with representatives of the Hamburg Dompelaars church, who had separated from the Mennonites. This conversation was followed by a correspondence that lasted until 1667 and by the publication of a number of books on baptism. Van Weenigem published Nootwendige Verantwoording van zeventien Redenen (Rotterdam, 1666), and De Maniere van Doop, Voetwasschinge en Avontmael, soo by de Dompelaars tot Hamborg gebruyckt wert, wederleyt (Rotterdam, 1666). He was opposed by the Hamburg Dompelaar preacher Jan Arents in Eindelijcke Verklaringe der gedoopte Christenen . . . (n.p., 1668), then wrote Antidotum ofte Tegengif op eenen Brief, geschr. uyt Hamborgh, van Samuel Stockmann lsaacksz. . . . En op seker Boeckjen genaemt: Eyndelijcke Verklaringe . . . (Rotterdam, 1669). This latter book by van Weenigem was refuted by W. D. Redoch, Antidoti Wenigani Vanitas, of Ydelheydt van Bastiaans van W.'s laatste uytgegevene Tracktaatje . . . , 2 vv. (Haarlem, 1672 and 1673).

Besides these polemics van Weenigem published Kruys-poorte of Lydens-schoole (Rotterdam, 1664), Gansche Natuere des Doops (Rotterdam, 1668), 't Gelukkig Afsterven der Rechtveerdige (Rotterdam, 1684), a catechetical booklet, called Catechisatie ofte Vragen en Antwoorden over het . . . heyligh Euangelium van Mattheus (Rotterdam, 1684), and his farewell sermon Afscheyds-Reden gedaen tot Rotterdam (n.p., 1686).

In his old age (June 1694) van Weenigem was temporarily excluded from the communion service because as a minor public official he had sworn an oath. Though he was somewhat disappointed, he remained a loyal member of the church. At his death he left the Rotterdam congregation a large legacy.

Van Weenigem, who (judging by his family name) stemmed from Flanders, married Liesbet van Hemelcours. Both he and his wife were baptized in 1649 into the Rotterdam Flemish congregation. They had two daughters, one of whom was Elizabeth Catharine, b. in 1647, who in 1674 was married to Pieter van Beeck, a wealthy Mennonite merchant in Amsterdam.

In Amsterdam (Zonist church) there were also some van Weenigems. A Sebastiaan van Weenigem was baptized there in 1713.


Doopsgezinde Bijdragen (1896): 55, 58; (1900): 188; (1908): 107; (1909): 159; (1916): 150 ff., 170, 172, 181.

Molhuysen, P. C. and P. J. Blok. Nieuw Nederlandsch Biografisch Woordenboek. v. 1-10. Leiden, 1911-1937: v. III, 1397.

Roosen, B. C. Gesch. der Mennoniten-Gemeinde zu Hamburg und Altona I. Hamburg, 1886: 43, 46 ff., 60.

Vos, K. Geschiedenis der Doopsgez. gemeente te Rotterdam, 1907; Reprint: 18-20, 42.

Vos, K. "Sebastiaan van Weenigem en het Eedsvraagstuk." Ned. Archief v. Kerhgeschiedenis II (1908) 137 ff. (1909).

Author(s) Nanne van der Zijpp
Date Published 1959

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MLA style

Zijpp, Nanne van der. "Weenigem, Bastiaan van (ca. 1625-1697)." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. 1959. Web. 19 Apr 2021. https://gameo.org/index.php?title=Weenigem,_Bastiaan_van_(ca._1625-1697)&oldid=135356.

APA style

Zijpp, Nanne van der. (1959). Weenigem, Bastiaan van (ca. 1625-1697). Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 19 April 2021, from https://gameo.org/index.php?title=Weenigem,_Bastiaan_van_(ca._1625-1697)&oldid=135356.


Adapted by permission of Herald Press, Harrisonburg, Virginia, from Mennonite Encyclopedia, Vol. 4, pp. 909-910. All rights reserved.

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