Esteemed Editor:

It is not with pleasure that I again feel constrained to lift up my pen. I sincerely regret that it is necessary and the more so because it concerns your own material. And, strangely enough, I hope that I am entirely wrong and that you are entirely justified in that which I must comment upon.

And now to the subject. I refer specifically to your latest editorial entitled “Another Reason”, wherein you publish a letter from a Mr. A. van Dischoven together with your comments and a public note of advice to Chatham’s consistory.

I believe that there is one element which you either completely ignored or of which you were not aware and which our readers should know. (1) I refer to the fact that this brother joined our church at Chatham after they were organized. Surely that fact should not have been overlooked or neglected. I would not like to believe that you deliberately kept this from our readers. (2) Surely even the most simple should understand that I do not mean that we mete with two measures—one for those who are charter members and another for those who join us later. Of course, not, but I believe that we should use discretion and a judgment of love.

Would it not have been far more charitable and more in keeping with mature discretion to not publish such a letter but rather have given the brother a personal reply and perhaps privately advise the consistory that they have a brother in their midst who does not quite understand the implications of becoming a member of the Protestant Reformed Church? Is such a manner of dealing considered to be a promoting of our brother’s welfare? I believe that we should reserve our sledge on anvil blows for the outright and unrepentant workers of iniquity. But, for our brethren may we be anything but tender and full of lovingkindness? (3)

And although my communication was specifically directed at the above editorial, I would like to say just a few words on the manner of dealing with a brother IJtsma a few issues ago. Since when have we, when one disagrees with us, instead of praying for and pleading for his repentance or that his eyes may be opened to the truth as we understand it, we take the easiest possible method and invite him to join another church!? Again, is that a love for the brother? Is that Christian charity? Not in my book! (4)

I can well recall a time when I argued rather vehemently against the doctrine of election. And I used the very arguments of the fool who argues with St. Paul in the Romans. And perhaps many of us can recall similar or related differences due to a lack of knowledge or even perhaps of a sanctified walk. And should to each of these be shown the door rather than an instruction in love?

And, just how would we react if we were placed in similar circumstances? Suppose we were placed in the Netherlands and felt that our best church home was found in the Liberated Church. And should we have the courage (and we should) to disagree, would we consider it an earmark of Christian charity if their clergy or editors would treat us in other than a gentle Christian manner? Would we expect them to ever win us by any other means than by that of instructing us in love?

That is not compromising or opening our doors to all manner of heresy. (5) I do not believe that there is one sincere member of our churches either among the clergy or laity who will compromise. And further, it is an insult to the integrity and sincerity of all our people that we are in danger of being tossed to and fro with every wind of doctrine. We are not children in that respect. And neither can we be panicked by name-calling of those who disagree with us.

If a declaration must be adopted simply because a few relatively new members are not ready to say “Ja Dominee, Ja Dominee” or even because one congregation withdraws itself from our communion (6) for reasons which we are asked to judge from one side only (7), we surely stand on weak ground.

And, in conclusion, I certainly hope we hear no more of that talk of the very foundations being shaken. That borders on blasphemy. Since we were children, we were taught to sing: The church’s one foundation, is Jesus Christ her lord”. Since when—forgive me the expression—has the tail started wagging the dog! (8)


George Ten Elshof

(1)  Was not aware. Brother Van D. did not leave that impression. See his article.

(2)  Evil insinuations. Enough said.

(3)  I am not in the habit of refusing contributions.

Otherwise I would probably have advised brother T.E. to keep his article in the pen.

(4)  Mistaken love. Would that the brother give some of that love to me. It is certainly love of the right kind, when I advise a brother to join a church to which he belongs, rather than to agitate against the doctrine of a church to which he belongs but should not.

(5)  I think it is.

(6)  Who says so?

(7)  An untruth. Nothing one-sided about it.

(8)   Yes, I will forgive the expression. It is blasphemy nevertheless.