AN OPEN LETTER
This letter is addressed to those that left the Protestant Reformed Churches in the recent schism. Yet not to all of them, but only to those that are still Protestant Reformed, not only in name as are the schismatics, but in truth; and to those that, under the influence of their leaders, were deceived and now are sorry that they ever left us.
I happen to know that there are such. To them, and to them only, this letter is addressed.
The purpose of this letter is not to gain a few members. In the first place, remember that I always maintained and still do that the Church of Christ in the world is not dependent on large numbers but solely on the keeping of the truth of the Word of God. And, secondly, we have quite a flourishing and complete church-life and we are in no need of more members. But the purpose of this letter is solely your own spiritual and ecclesiastical well-being. It intended to be an encouragement and even a brotherly invitation to return to us.
I could mention incentives for you to take this step as soon as possible. Everybody knows that, not the schismatics, but we are the Protestant Reformed Churches. Everybody knows, too, that the schismatics that use our name sail under a false flag. Besides, what is the present trend and condition of the schismatic churches today? In one word, as is evident from all that they reveal of themselves: they are confused, they are at a loss, they know not what to do. Many of them, even their leaders, are anxious to join the Christian Reformed Church, if the latter is willing to take them. They are willing also to sign the “Three Points” of 1924 which is the only reason why the Protestant Reformed Churches were established for we rejected them and were cast out. Besides, they rejected that thoroughly Protestant Reformed document “The Declaration of Principles:”
Are you willing to follow your leaders in all this?
Then consider that this letter is not addressed to you.
But if you are not and if you are still Protestant Reformed in the true sense of the word, I address once more this earnest and urgent invitation to you to return in the proper way to the churches of which you used to be members and which you left in a time of confusion and deception.
Evolution, Long Periods, or Days
To me there is very little difference and, principally, none at all, between the theory of evolution and the theory of long periods of billions of years during which the world was formed.
Both deny the verbal inspiration of Gen. 1-3. And the moment this is done one must repudiate the inspiration of the entire Bible. I propose to prove this presently.
Both deny the distinctiveness of the several species which God created on the successive days mentioned in Gen. 1.
Both maintain that the several species evolved from one another during a long period of evolution, whether they suppose that the first beginning of this long process was a principle of the universe that then evolved under the providence of God, or whether they confess their ignorance in regard to this beginning.
That those who believe in long periods of billions of years cannot believe in the verbal inspiration of Gen. 1-3ought to be evident to anyone that reads those chapters. Let us study the narrative of creation in Gen. 1a little more in detail.
In Gen. 1:1, 2 we read: “In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth. And the earth was without form and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.”
What is it to create? The original word seems to mean to cut, to divide, to separate, and then also to bring into existence something that never was before. We may say, therefore, that to create is that act of the omnipotent God whereby He called into existence the things that are not as if they were or whereby He calls things out of nothing or out of wholly unfit material. He does this by His Word, which refers, first of all to the Son of God and then also the almighty creative Word of God. For thus we read in John 1:1-3: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him; and without him was not anything made that was made.” Moreover, He creates all things through His Spirit, for already in Gen. 1:2 we read: “And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.” We may say, that to create is that act of the triune God whereby He called into existence the whole universe, giving it separate existence apart from His own Being and that, too, according to His eternal counsel. Thus we can understand that tine term to create in the sense of to divide or to separate may be applied, not only to the separate acts of creation on each of the six days as, for instance, on the second day God divided the waters, but also to the original act of creation whereby God called the universe out of nothing. For then to create means that God, according to His eternal counsel, cut or separated the world from Himself.
The question has been asked: how must we understand the words: “In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth”? Must these words be applied to the entire chapter as a general heading or to the creation of the chaos that is mentioned in vs. 2. We will not go into this question here. Certain it is that the chaos is mentioned in vs. 2: “and the earth was without form and void; and darkness upon the face of the deep.” Some have thought that there was a long period of time between the creation of this chaos and the rest of creation and that in this way they might be able to defend the theory of long periods on the basis of Scripture. But this is, evidently, erroneous. In the first place, the so-called chaos, mentioned in vs. 2, was called into existence immediately by the Word of God. And why would God leave the world in a chaotic state for millions of years without finishing it? In the second place, we read that the Spirit moved or brooded upon the face of the waters, evidently for the purpose of engendering life and movement in the chaotic waters. And, in close connection with this brooding of the Spirit God created the light. We prefer therefore to explain that also the creation of the chaos belongs to the first day. Besides, even if we should imagine a long period between the creation of the chaos and the first day, this could not possibly support the theory of long periods for the latter refer exactly to the six days of creation. They are invented, not on the basis of Scripture, but to cater to evolutionistic science.
There is, therefore, to say the least, certainly no Scriptural support for the theory of long periods of days in Gen. 1:1, 2. But the rest of the creation narrative emphatically contradicts this theory.
In Gen. 1:3-5 we read: “And God said, Let there be light: and there was light. And God saw the light, that it was good: and God divided the light from the darkness. And God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And the evening and the morning were the first day.” We understand, of course, that on the first day God created the light in all its implications, and that, too, in connection with the brooding of the Spirit. Material light is the life of matter. Without light there is nothing but absolute darkness. There is no movement, no communication. By the brooding of the Spirit life is engendered into that dead and motionless matter, and by the Word of God a certain substance is separated from the rest and this very thin substance so moves, waves and vibrates that it is light. And this light implies many things such as heat which is again the condition of all other life and movement, fire, electricity, magnetism, etc. Light is also the means of communication. With the dazzling speed of 156,000 miles per second it moves against objects in the universe, moves back and is reflected, is caught by the eye of animal and man and reveals the objects in picture form. Movement, color, form, life,—it is all conditioned by the light.
All this God created on the first day.
Now, I ask: Was all this created in a moment of time, or was light in all its implications gradually and very slowly developed from the chaos during a long period of billions of years?
The latter is the case according to those that maintain the theory of long periods. The former is the plain language of the Bible. Hence, I maintain that those that uphold the theory of long periods cannot maintain the inspiration of Gen. 1.
Just consider. Vs. 3 states: “And God said, Let there be light: and there was light.” I ask you: was the light there as soon as God had spoken or was it not? Can the text possibly mean that God created a principle of light and that it took billions of years for that principle to develop? Every one knows better. Besides, if the principle of light developed under the power of the providence of God, it was not created for providence is no creation. But the text states very definitely that the moment God had spoken there was light. Or may we, perhaps, infer that God continued to speak His creative Word concerning the light for a billion of years? We understand that this is utterly absurd. Besides, what are we to do with the last part of vs. 5: “And the evening and the morning were the first day.” Can the evening and the morning limit a period of billions years? We know better. Hence, I insist that the first day of creation was a day as we know it. And those that maintain the long period theory ought, at least, be honest enough to confess that they do not believe the literal inspiration of Gen. 1. Let them cater to the science of evolution, but let them not attempt to twist the clear testimony of Scripture into harmony with their own theory.
More about this next time, D.V.
As has been said, the Rev. Klooster does not consider all the passages quoted by the Synod of .1924 in proof of the “First Point” equally valid. And he is of the opinion that “one of the strongest passages” is the text in Luke 6:35, 36 in the light of Matt. 5:44, 45.
Now, in the first place, these passages: suppose that they can serve as proof texts for the Kuiperian theory of “common grace,” they certainly have nothing to do with the Arminian conception of general grace which is also implied in the “First Point.” For although that first of the “Three Points” speaks of a grace or favor of God which He shows to His creatures in general, it certainly falls into the Arminian error of general grace when it speaks of the general offer of the gospel as a proof of the grace of God to all men without distinction. To be sure, the gospel deals with saving grace and to maintain that the preaching of the gospel is a manifestation of grace to all, without exception, certainly implies that God, on His part is willing to save all. Besides, that this is true is also evident from the passages that quoted from the Confessions as well as from the last three texts from Scripture that are supposed to prove the “First Point.”
But about this we will write later.
Now we will, first of all consider the passages from Scripture which the Rev. Klooster considers the most valid proof texts for the “First Point,” namely, Luke 6:35, 36and Matthew 5:44, 45. It is to be regretted that the Rev. Klooster does not offer an explanation of these passages. If he had, it appears to me that he would have discovered that these texts do not prove the Synod’s contention at all.
Synod also offered no explanation. But if it had, it is evident that its explanation would have been as follows:
1. We must love all our enemies, and also the enemies of God as they become manifest as such in this world.
2. If we do, we will be children of the Most High and we will reflect His love, for He also loves all men even His enemies.
3. This love of God to the wicked and enemies of God as well as to the righteous is revealed in the rain and sunshine on all men without distinction.
This interpretation, however, is contrary to Scripture. For throughout the whole Bible we find the plain testimony that God does not love His enemies but hates them and purposes to destroy them. What we read, for instance, in Proverbs 3:31-35 is the plain teaching of all of Scripture. There we read: “Envy not thou the oppressor, and choose none of his ways. For the froward is an abomination to the Lord: but his secret is with the righteous. The curse of the Lord is in the house of the wicked: but he blesseth the habitation of the just. Surely he scorneth the scorners; but he giveth grace unto the lowly. The wise shall inherit glory; but shame shall be the promotion of fools.” How then can the texts quoted from Matthew and Luke possibly teach that God loves and gives grace to all that hate him? Did Christ, perhaps, love the hypocritical Pharisees and Scribes as such, on whom in Matt. 23 he pronounces an eight-fold woe? To be sure, He loves His enemies, but not as such, but only those whom the Father gave Him and for whom He shed His lifeblood on the accursed tree.
But this interpretation is also impossible.
It is contrary to fact and leads to absurdity.
But about this next time D.V.