It certainly is an earmark of heretics that they play hocus pocus with the confession of the church.
They do not hesitate to distort the clear language of the confessions in order to make it appear as if these support their false doctrines.
Thus did the Synod of the Christian Reformed Church in 1924 in order to find a basis in the confessions for their false doctrine that there is grace in the preaching of the gospel for the reprobate and that the natural man can do good before God.
And the same is true of De Wolf c.s. when they make it appear as if the confessions teach that the promise of God is for all on condition of faith, and that we must convert ourselves before we can enter into the kingdom of heaven.
To prove this I was quoting from one of the answers to the examination to which De Wolf was subjected when he was still minister of the First Protestant Reformed Church of Grand Rapids.
I will now continue the same quotation. Said he:
“Now I know I am not trying to draw a necessary doctrine from this, but I maintain, Mr. Chairman, that no one else has any right to change this order (repentance, active faith, followed by translation into the kingdom of God, H.H.), unless he can show very plainly that that is the way it should be, and that our fathers are not right in having this order. That is the problem, Mr. Chairman. I am simply trying to present the problem. You can’t just draw a line, and say it’s that way on one side. First you are there. Now you are on the other side of the line, and that settles the matter. That is not so easy to do.”
The reader must know that at a certain consistory meeting I drew a line on the blackboard to indicate the antithesis between light and darkness, between the kingdom of God and the kingdom of the devil, and to show that, not in darkness but only in the light, not in the kingdom of the devil but only in the kingdom of God, can we ever convert ourselves.
Heretics do not like definite lines of demarcation between the truth and the lie.
They draw their own lines, and they draw them at the wrong places.
That is what De Wolf does.
Although he states that he does not want “to draw a necessary doctrine from this,” and although he presents the matter as if it were “a problem”, yet he draws his own lines, draws them in the wrong places, and tells us that “the fathers” (the Canons) draw then there!
The line he draws is between repentance and active faith, on the one hand, the rescuing out of the power of darkness and translation into the kingdom of darkness on the other. All with an appeal to “the fathers.”
Before I continue to quote him and expose his hocus pocus, let me quote the passage of the confessions in question. It is found in Canons III, IV, 10.
There the fathers teach that calling and conversion “must be wholly ascribed to God, who as he has chosen his own from eternity in Christ, so he confers upon them faith and repentance, rescues them from the power of darkness, and translates them into the kingdom of his own Son.”
In this De Wolf introduces the following order of time:
All this, mind you, to make the confession say that our act of conversion is before we enter into the kingdom of God.
And now I continue to quote him:
“Now the question here is: What does this translation consist in, and how does it take place? You have got to face this question. If it refers to regeneration alone, if entering into the kingdom refers to regeneration alone, then it must take place before God confers faith and repentance, because faith and repentance are the fruits of regeneration. But notice that this article says first that God confers faith and repentance, and that then He translates them. You have the opposite order there. The translation, I would say, may refer rather to the act of God which takes place after He has conferred faith and repentance, and which is realized in man’s act of turning, so that it is conversion from the point of view of man’s act, in that conversion as the fruit of the work of God that is referred to here. So that then you would have this idea, while the elect are in the power of darkness, God confers faith and repentance upon them, by which they come to the knowledge of their depravity and bondage in darkness, and by faith trust in Christ, turn from their sins—there you get that conversion and so are rescued out of that power of darkness, and are translated into the kingdom of his Son. And then conversion is a prerequisite to enter into the kingdom.”
But first, dear reader, did De Wolf, as he said afterward, refer only to repeated or continual conversion and entering into the kingdom when he preached his sermon, or did he really refer to the principal and initial entering in and conversion? According to the above, you say with me, only the latter is true.
Secondly, notice how De Wolf plays hocus pocus.
First he tells us that the order of time, according to the fathers, is: 1. faith; 2. repentance; 3. rescuing from the power of darkness; 4. translation into the kingdom. Now at the end, he says that “so”, i.e. by conferring faith and repentance, they “are rescued out of the power of darkness, and translated into the kingdom of his Son.”
First he had told us that translation into the kingdom follows upon being rescued out of the power of darkness and follows upon conferring of faith and repentance. Now, all of a sudden, the conferring of faith and repentance are not followed by but are simultaneous with, in fact, are the same as being rescued out of the power of darkness!
Does De Wolf know what he is talking about? One might get the impression that he does not. But these answers were carefully prepared. All the questions he had in advance, in plenty of time. Hence, it is my conviction that he made a desperate attempt to make the confession teach that our act of conversion is a prerequisite to enter into the kingdom of God.
And notice how even in this attempt he utterly failed.
As long as he dared maintain that the confession teaches the order: faith, repentance, rescuing out of the power of darkness, translation into the kingdom, he could maintain his heresy. But as soon as he turned around and makes the confession say (as it does, indeed!) that the conferring of faith and repentance is the rescuing out of the power of darkness and translation into the kingdom, conversion and entering in are simultaneous and the PRErequisite falls away.
A child can understand this.
Hence, the Canons in 3, 4:10 certainly do not teach the De Wolfian time order, but teach that God sovereignly confers faith and repentance upon His elect and by doing so rescues them from the power of darkness and translates them into the kingdom of His Son.
Our act of conversion, therefore takes place in the kingdom of God, and it is no PRErequisite to enter.
De Wolf still continues to play hocus pocus with the confession to maintain his heresy. Says he:
“Besides, Mr. Chairman, you have the problem here of entering, and entering is active. That does not mean being dragged in, pushed in, rolled in, or anything else. It means entering, consciously entering in. There is an activity there that you cannot ignore, and if you are going to say that regeneration alone is the prerequisite to enter into the kingdom of heaven, as it has been said here, you simply ignore all these things. I have no objection to saying that regeneration is prerequisite to entering the kingdom, but I deny, Mr. Chairman, that regeneration ever stands alone. God’s work is complete, with regeneration always comes conversion, always. Its the very counterside of regeneration. It is the result of regeneration, and if you say that regeneration is prerequisite to entering into the kingdom of heaven, you must also say that conversion is prerequisite to entering the kingdom of heaven.”
O, indeed, entering is active. But before we perform the act of entering in (PRErequisite) we must, indeed, be “dragged in, pushed in, rolled in.” I do not like this crude language. I suppose that when De Wolf uses such language many ignorant people like it, and receive the impression that they must do something, that we are no “stocks and blocks” and that our act of conversion is, indeed, a prerequisite to enter the kingdom of heaven. But the Bible does not use such language, although the language of Scripture is much stronger than this. No, the Bible does not say that we are “dragged in, pushed, in, rolled in”, but it does say that we must be rescued from the power of darkness, that we must be translated, we must be born from above, that we must be born of water and of the Spirit, before we can ever perform the act of entering in.
Our act of conversion is no PRErequisite.
To maintain this is a most fundamental heresy.
Notice, too, how De Wolf plays hocus pocus with the terms regeneration and conversion.
Says he: “if you are going to say that regeneration alone is a prerequisite to enter the kingdom”….
No one ever said that, surely not in the sense in which De Wolf uses the term. For him the term denotes an act of man that is required of him before he can enter into the kingdom of God. I never used the term in that sense at all.
It is true that in my mimeographed sermon onI used the term in respect to God, and, therefore, improperly or loosely. But anyone can understand that I used it thus. Strictly speaking, one cannot speak of anything that is required of God beforehand. I quote the passage: “It is impossible for the natural man to fulfill any prerequisites to enter into the kingdom of heaven. There is only one prerequisite. And that is not our act of conversion, but God’s grace and the application of that grace by His regenerating Spirit. And that is not our prerequisite but God’s, and His alone.”
When, therefore, De Wolf suggests that I taught simply that regeneration is a prerequisite to enter into the kingdom of heaven, he does not speak the truth. More about this next time, D.V.
The Consistory of the First Protestant Reformed Church of Grand Rapids was finally compelled to appeal to the secular court in order to obtain justice over against those that meant to rob them of their very name.
By doing this, they acted according to the Church Order, Art. 28:
“The consistory shall take care, that the churches, for the possession of their property, and the peace and order of their meetings, can claim the protection of the authorities; it should be well understood, however, that for the sake of peace and material possession they may never suffer the royal government of Christ over His church to be in the least infringed upon.”
At first, they were of the opinion that was applicable to their case. There we read, in part:
“Dare any of you, having a matter against another, go to law before the unjust, and not before the saints? …If then ye have judgments of things pertaining to this life, set them to judge who are least esteemed in the church. I speak to your shame. Is it so that there is not a wise man among you? no one that shall be able to judge between his brethren? But brother goeth to law against brother, and that before unbelievers. Now therefore there is utterly a fault among you, because ye go to law one with another. Why do ye not rather take wrong? Why do ye not rather suffer yourselves to be defrauded? Nay, ye do wrong and defraud, and that your brethren.”
But after further consideration of the case, also it the light of the above named passage, the Consistory became convinced that the above mentioned passage is not applicable to their case. For this they have the following reasons:
If a thief enters your house and claims it to be his own, you surely do not properly provide for your own family but are worse than an infidel (), if you leave him there. The same is true of a consistory in relation to their congregation.
This article assigns all the property to those members that are united under the Confession and Church Order, that, therefore, recognize the legal Consistory according to the decision of Classis East. Hence, the schismatic rebels have no right to the property.
Art. 7 of the above Articles of Association reads as follows: “All matters and questions regarding the use, control and right to possession of the real property of said church, shall, at all times, be determined only by a majority vote of the members of the Congregation of said church.”
By “the members of the congregation of said church” are meant the same as those mentioned in article 4, quoted above, i.e. those members that recognize the Consistory declared to be the legal Consistory by Classis East. That is the only Consistory that can call a congregational meeting. Only under direction of that consistory can the congregation, by majority vote, decide upon the question regarding the property.
Under the leadership of the schismatic rebels many
of the congregation have severed their connection with the legal Protestant Reformed Church before the question regarding the property was determined. They certainly no longer worship “according to the discipline, rules and usages of the Protestant Reformed Churches in the United States of America as from time to time authorized and declared by the Classis of said churches.” They have no voice in the matter.
I conclude, therefore, that, in the present case we do not violate the injunction of Scripture in.
Rather would I apply that other injunction of
Scripture that is found in: “For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to the evil. Wilt thou then not be afraid of the power? do that which is good, and thou shalt have praise of the same: For he is a minister of God to thee for good.”
Even Paul appealed to Caesar.
I Cor. 6:1-8 is not to be generalized into an open injunction against all appeal to the secular court.
Calvin writing on this passage, is of the same opinion. Writes he:
“I acknowledge, then, that a Christian man is altogether prohibited from revenge, so that he must not exercise it, either by himself, or by means of the magistrate, nor even desire it. If, therefore, a Christian man wishes to prosecute his rights at law, so as not to offend God, he must, above all things take heed that he does not bring into court any desire of revenge, any corrupt affection of the mind or anger, or in fine any other poison. In this matter love will be the best regulation.”
And then he continues to give four reasons why it is not evil in itself to bring anything before the secular court.
If, therefore no overtures for arbitration are presented to the legal consistory, we shall be obliged to litigate if necessary even to the supreme court.
These two are inseparably connected.
Depart from the truth, and you are bound to leave the straight path of God’s precepts. Then you disregard all law and order, you no longer speak the truth in love, you soon care not how you lie or slander by word of mouth, by letter, or in print.
Of this I could quote many glaring examples on the part of those that still call themselves by the name of Protestant Reformed Church, but are neither Protestant Reformed nor a church, but simply a schismatic sect.
But this is not my purpose in this brief editorial.
My attention was called to a couple of announcements that appeared in the bulletin of the schismatic remnant of the Second Protestant Reformed Church of Grand Rapids, Michigan.
The first concerned with the needs of the Hope Protestant Reformed School.
In the bulletin of Nov. 22, 1958, the following announcement occurred:
“The special collection this morning will be for the Hope School.”
Notice especially two items in this announcement.
This is especially striking in view of the following announcement that occurred in the same bulletin and, in fact, in the same paragraph as that about the school in Hope:
“Next Sunday the special collection will be for the Reformed Guardian, a little paper which in our opinion is worthy of our whole-hearted support.”
Striking, don’t you think?
In the next bulletin of the same schismatic group another announcement occurred about the same Hope Protestant Reformed School as follows:
“The Hope School (sic!) will have a financial drive on this coming Wednesday evening. This drive will be for the building fund, a payment being due, and for the operating fund.”
Again: “Hope School.”
Again no word of recommendation. And this inspite of the fact that the board of Hope Protestant Reformed School sent in an announcement which evidently was arbitrarily mutilated and apocopated by
Blankespoor (who, I surmise, composes this bulletin) The complete announcement ran as follows:
“The Hope School Board must conduct a financial drive which will be done the evening of Dec. 2. $1,000 or more must be paid on the money we loaned. Also we have expensive bus repairs, which has sadly depleted our school operating fund. We trust you will receive those who call on you Dec. 2 and help for this needy cause.”
But Blankespoor and his group evidently do not consider Protestant Reformed education a worthy cause.
Compare this with the following announcement on the same bulletin:
“The Chr. High School Campaign is as yet considerably short of its goal. Many of our members have neglected to return their pledge cards. We urge every one to make work of this promptly. Surely, this cause is worthy of the support of everyone.”
You see which way the wind blows, dear reader. The worthy causes recommended by the schismatics are the so-called Reformed Guardian, which, evidently, thinks that it must “guard” the truth by means of all kinds of untruths; and the Christian High School, which is also supported by our Protestant Reformed people, but is nevertheless, not a specifically Protestant Reformed institution.
But the cause of Protestant Reformed education does not belong to those worthy causes.
I am not surprised.
One of the causes of the split in the First Protestant Reformed Church of Grand Rapids was the cause of Protestant Reformed Education. The majority of the congregation always was opposed to this cause. We finally succeeded to establish a school of our own in spite of the opposition. When parents asked for baptism blanks, the consistory even always asked them whether they would promise to send their children to our own Protestant Reformed School. But the opposition remained.
Why? How can any person that calls himself Protestant Reformed be opposed to specific Protestant Reformed Education?
The answer is: they never were Protestant Reformed.
I vividly remember how the Rev. B. Kok once delivered a speech before the Auxiliary, a ladies society
that faithfully labored for the cause of Protestant Reformed Education when no school of our own as yet existed. In that speech Kok vehemently opposed the cause of a school of our own.
Why? The answer is the same: he never loved the Protestant Reformed truth.
When I consider the names of the men that, at the last meeting of the schismatic remnant of the First Protestant Reformed Church of Grand Rapids, were elected to presume the role as elders, I am convinced that the decision of the consistory to ask the parents that wish to present their children for baptism whether they will send their children to our own school will not be maintained.
Those elders never evinced any love for our Protestant Reformed Education.
The answer is the same: they never were Protestant Reformed.
Life is inseparable from doctrine.
To one more striking item on the bulletin of the schismatic remnant of the Second Protestant Reformed Church of Grand Rapids, I must call your attention.
It, too, reveals that those who depart from the truth in doctrine also depart from that same truth in life.
In Reformed churches it has always been the established rule that the table of communion be accessible only to the members of the congregation that are sound in doctrine and upright in walk. If outsiders are to be admitted for certain reasons, they must make special application to the consistory.
And what a sound rule that is!
The preaching of the Word as a means of grace is inseparable from the administration of the sacraments.
Where the one is kept pure the other is too; where the one is corrupted the other is corrupted.
But realizing, evidently, that it is no longer a church but merely a crowd, and motivated, evidently, by the desire to make that crowd as large as possible, the schismatic group above mentioned, principally, adopted “open communion.”
Just read the following announcement:
“The Consistory also invites all communicant members from Hope and Hudsonville who worship with us regularly and intend to join in the near future to the table of the Lord.”
Do they know whether the invited communicants are sound in doctrine and upright in walk?
No, they don’t.
Fact is that they are by no means.
All this is characteristic of schismatics. They are no longer under any rule or jurisdiction of a larger gathering. They can do as they please. There is no longer any law or order.
Doctrine and life!
True doctrine and a life in the fear of the Lord!
Corrupt doctrine and a corrupt life!
They are inseparable!
 The attitude of the consistory at the time as well as the attitude of the schismatics may be gather from the following letter:
Beloved Congregation: When the enclosed letter was written your consistory planned to occupy their usual rightful place on the pulpit of First Church. Notice was given to the disciplined officebearers of our intention in order to avoid confusion and discord in the divine worship next Sunday. We had hoped that some peaceful settlement might be made until proper disposition of the property is made. However, to our request we received the following reply:
“We cannot possibly recognize your schismatic action and your illegal suspension and deposition of office bearers and therefore cannot concede you the right to bold meetings in our midst. We therefore notify you that we will occupy the buildings until the proper disposition of the building is made.” (w.s.) Cons. 1st Prot. Ref. Church.
Since it is very evident from the above reply that we are defiantly end illegally cast out of our own place of worship it world be necessary for us to resort to the law to occupy the building next Sunday. But rather than to do that, we would heed the word of the apostle Paul in: “Dare any of you, having a matter against another, go to law before the unjust and not before the saints?…Why do ye not rather take wrong? Why do ye not rather suffer yourselves to be defrauded?”
Usual services will be held in the G.R. Christian High School Auditorium at their regular time of 9:30 A.M., 2:00 P.M. and 7:00 P.M. Please take your Psalters with you.
The Cons. First Prot. Ref, Church G. Stadt, Clerk