An Open Letter to Rev. A. H. Bratt

The Rev. A. H. Bratt,

Manhattan, Montana.

Esteemed Brother:

For the cause of God and truth I hereby come to you with the following simple yet important question;

How dare you, in the light of the fact that you so frequently emphasize the absolute sovereignty of God Whose purposes never fail, subscribe to the following statement of the Professor Berkhof in his pamphlet on the ‘Three Points,’ as you did before me and your consistory. “[DUTCH REMOVED]” pp. 27, 28. If this is not a denial of God’s Sovereignty then I can not understand plain Holland language, and yet you stated that you could wholeheartedly subscribe to this statement.

Time and again you assured me and others that you heartily agree with Dr. Greydanus’ article in re “Vragen in Verband met de Algemeene Genade.” In these articles I find the following paragraph: Reformatie Vol. 18, No. 13, pp. 140, “[DUTCH REMOVED].” (Onderstreeping van ons). In unmistakable language this is just the opposite from the teaching of Professor Berkhof. Here you must choose one or the other. The latter is reformed and has always been maintained by us. The former is a denial of God’s sovereignty and teaches us that God’s purposes are sometimes frustrated by puny man. I deny that you can agree with both as you would have me and your consistory believe. I wish you would make this inconsistency clear to us. If not, I will expose this inconsistency in an open letter in the Standard Bearer.

I also read an interesting paragraph in a late issue of ‘De Reformatie’ Aug. 26, under the caption ‘Kerkelijk Leven’ edited by the Dr. K. Schilder. It reads as follows: “[DUTCH REMOVED].”

I am willing, at any time, to show that our labors in your midst “de toets van Gods Woord kunnen door staan,” by challenging you to publicly debate on the following issues:

You defending the doctrine contained in the ‘Three Points’:

  1. That God’s grace, goodness, mercy or love is common.
  2. That the preaching of the gospel is a well meant offer of salvation and that it is grace to all that hear.
  3. That apart from regeneration there is an operation of God’s Spirit whereby the carnal man is somewhat improved.
  4. That natural man, without regeneration, is able to do good in the sight of God.

And I will defend the Reformed doctrines:

  1. That God’s grace, goodness, mercy and love is always particular, namely over those that fear Him.
  2. That the preaching of the gospel is a savor of life unto life, and a savor of death unto death.
  3. That apart from regeneration the natural man is totally depraved.
  4. That the natural man is unable to do good before God even in things natural and civil.

Your consistory can be the judges. I make this challenge, not in a spirit of malice but in love to the cause of God and truth. I will await your answer before making this challenge public in order to give you time to consider it.

Your’s for the cause of God and truth.

B. Kok