We noted last time that it was stated at the recent Christian Reformed synod that all should appreciate the concern of Dr. Boer who had requested the synod to furnish scriptural proof for the doctrine of Reprobation as set forth in our Canons of Dordt. One may well ask: Dr. Boer’s concern about what? Are not the Canons full of scriptural proof for the doctrine of double predestination, election and reprobation? What is his concern? Is he concerned about this doctrine because it is his desire that this doctrine be emphasized, preached and taught? This question is surely pertinent.
However, the News Bulletin of the Association of Christian Reformed Laymen, July, 1975, page 7, also quotes the Rev. J. Postman, Classis Toronto, who spoke at that synod, and we quote:
I want to support this Motion (this refers to a new motion to “accede” to the Boer request—H.V.). We are a confessing church not a church of confessions. And I submit, Mr. Chairinan, that presently we are not confessing reprobation. It’s not a living matter amongst us. It does not flow issue from our pulpits in a dynamic Word-directed way. We all circumvent it, we all avoid it, yet we somehow hold on td our confessions as a relic . . .
So, there you have it. I do not know whether anyone at the synod objected to this remark of Rev. Postman. Anyone with any love for the truth of the Word of God certainly could not permit this remark to go unchallenged. But, the truth of Reprobation is a relic, is not a living matter in that church, is circumvented and avoided by all. This means, of course, that the doctrine of Election is also circumvented and avoided by all. I refer, we understand, to the doctrine of Election as set forth by the Canons, the truth of divine and sovereign election. The truths of election and reprobation either stand or fall together. One cannot maintain the one without maintaining the other. What a sad state of affairs in the Christian Reformed Church today!
National Manifesto Against Abortion
In The Hague In the Kerk Bode of June 14, 1975 the following article appeared (we translate):
The Netherlands Youth-group for Life (NJAL) organizes on next Saturday, June 21, (in cooperation with the Netherlands Committee SAVE THE UNBORN CHILD), at the “Malieveld” in The Hague a great national demonstration against “abortus provocatus” (abortion induced).
The gathering begins in the morning at 10 o’clock with three addresses: of Prof. Dr. W.H. Velema, Prof. Dr. Jac. van Essen and father Leopold Verhagen. In the afternoon at 1 o’clock a quiet march will be held to the “Binnenhof,” where a petition will be presented to M. vn Agt, minister of Justice. In this petition it will be urged to maintain and execute the existing abortion law and the actual defense of the defenseless unborn from the moment of conception with effective help and honest guidance to the expectant mother with the saving of the life of the child.
The Netherlands Committee SAVE THE UNBORN CHILD is a resort in which nine antiabortion orgtinizations are cooperating. This committee is carrying on a great established signature action against the intended legalizing of the abortus provocatus. Until now the action has delivered the great number of more than a half million signatures, and many will follow. Are the people awakening?
We consider this a very interesting news item. According to this article there is a movement on foot to prevent the legalizing of this terrible sin. In our country this terrible sin has already been legalized. We consider it striking that this action purposes to defend the defenseless unborn child from the moment of conception. This assumes that the child exists already at the moment of conception. With this I agree. I am sure that we are aware also of activities in our country to counteract this sin of abortion. However, we do well to understand that, fighting this crime of abortion, we should do so upon sound and scriptural grounds. Today we hear much of the movement to save the unborn child upon the ground that such a child has the right to live. This ground we must reject. The “right to live” is certainly not a scriptural principle. The sinner has a right to nothing. It is surely better to oppose abortion because it is a transgression of the law of God, and specifically of the sixth commandment: Thou shalt not kill.
Christian Reformed Synod Approves
In the Banner of June. 27, 1975, appear, on page 27, items approved by the synod.
—Reformation Sunday, 1975, as day for pulpit exchange or joint worship with Reformed Church of America, subject to local option and arrangements.
This exchange of pulpits between the Christian Reformed Church and the Reformed Church of America is subject to local option and arrangement. Churches, therefore, can also refuse to go along in this. This, we understand, has already been going on between these churches. But now the synod has approved.
We assume that this means that whenever these pulpit exchanges occur, the various ministers place themselves under the consistories of the churches they are serving during that service. This is serious. This does not merely mean that these ministers recognize these consistories (we, too, recognize the Christian Reformed Church, and the Reformed Church of America as churches), but it means that one submits himself to the jurisdiction of that particular consistory. If the undersigned were to lead a Christian Reformed worship service, this would imply that he would lead that service as it is conducted by the Christian Reformed Church and according to the doctrines of that church.
We know that there has been talk of a merger between the Christian Reformed and Reformed Church of America. If one consider the grounds for their separation in 1857 (I believe this was the year), and judging these churches in the light of today, one wonders why this separation should continue.
A House Divided Against Itself
In Waarheid en Eenheid (Truth and Unity), a paper in the Netherlands of the “Verontrusten” (the disturbed or ill-at-ease because of conditions in the Reformed Church in the Netherlands), appears the following article, May 17, 1975, page 1, and we quote it in part (we translate):
Who would not consider it a strange matter that the synod of Maastricht has also invited or permitted Prof. Kuitert as advisor? Strange, inasmuch as also the church surely asks an advisor because he shall serve the Reformed churches in wisdom, with a sense of responsibility and with inner oneness of spirit. And is it not exactly Prof. Kuitert who, because of his denial of the historicity of the fall into sin, continues to stand under the judicial declaration of the synod of Sneek, namely that what the confession declares in Lord’s Days 3 and 4 concerning the origin of sin and the results of the fall are of essential importance for the proclamation of the Gospel and that it should be maintained as authoritative? Prof. Kuitert does not confess this and does not maintain this. And now becomes a pre-advisor regardless? In the world about us it happens that they play with the truth and with reality, but. . . . . in the church of Christ?
Yes, this does happen in the church of Christ. Of course, this is a “house divided against itself.” A professor teaches things that have been condemned synodically and then is asked by a synod to serve it as its advisor? Well may these people of Waarheid en Eenheid be alarmed! But, what is to be done about it? It is indeed true that these things occur within the church of Christ. And when they happen within the church of Christ, then it is far worse than when it happens in the midst of the world. To play with the truth and with reality in the world is bad. Of course! But it is far worse when it happens in the midst of the church of God and of Christ. And this is true because, when it happens in the midst of the church, the truth is willfully and consciously despised and rejected.
In a small magazine, published in the Netherlands, and called IN DE RECHTE STRAAT, which, translated, would mean, “In The Straight Street,” appeared a very short article, in its June number and on page 23. We quote (we translate):
In this time, when Satan is increasingly revealing his power, it is for every Christian of the greatest importance, that he or she becomes conscious of what the Holy Scriptures teach us concerning this figure. For he is not fiction, but a hard, absolute reality.
The original majesty and sinless state of Satan—
His dramatic rebellion against God—
His present kingdom—
His part in the fall of the first people—
His present restless and dark activity—
The final lot of those who follow him—
The final lot of Satan—
A Menacing admonition to all believers—
Yet, for the believers there is “No fear” because—
I believe that we can take this short article to heart. It is well for us to be aware of the presence and power of the devil. He is very real. It is well for us to take to heart the admonition of the apostle as recorded in Eph. 6:11, 12: “Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.”