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Shall the Churches Observe Christmas? In regards to the December 15 1994 Standard Bearer I appreciated “The Reformation and Family Worship” and look forward to the remainder of it. On the same topic, are there any plans to review K. Pracek’s Family Worship: Biblical Truth, Historical Reality, Practical Necessity, as recently published by Greenville Presbyterian Theological Seminary? As for the article entitled, “Grieve Not,” in reference to the Heidelberg Catechism, Q & A 2, 86, 87, does the Holy Spirit “often” or “always” sanctify through consciousness of gratitude? Also, how do we harmonize the “Observance of Christmas” with: 1. The emphasis of Scripture...

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Observance of Christmas I wish to thank you for your October 15, 1994 issue on “The Reformation and Worship.” I found it a blessing and a challenge and have already made one change in our approach to worship because of it. Thanks! But, I am also writing to ask two questions. I recently received a mailing from the Presbyterian Heritage Publications of Dallas, Texas. In it they list a booklet, “Christmas: A Biblical Critique,” by Michael Schneider and Kevin Reed. This booklet begins with Pastor Schneider’s sermon, “Is Christmas Christian?” in which he challenges hearers to consider the unbiblical nature...

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Public Confession of Sin Recently in Adult Sunday School the following question was raised: “When a public sin has been committed, does the church have the biblical right to demand a public confession?” Although the question did not get answered, the discussion seemed to favor that a public confession should be voluntary in order to have real meaning. Please comment. Herman Vander Vos Bozeman, MT Response: The article of the Church Order of the Protestant Reformed Churches which speaks to your question is Article 75, “The reconciliation of all such sins as are of their nature of a public character, or have...

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Unadulterated Calvinism Thank you so much for your continued excellent witness, exposition, and defense of historic, unadulterated Calvinism in the pages of the Standard Bearer. Speaking as an orthodox Calvinist (but still in the PCUSA), the SB is the only witness that I know of today that examines with clear, biblical exegesis, and discerns the precise issues of, the doctrinally muddy thinking in today’s ecclesiastical-theological events. Would you please send me a copy of the issue of the SB dealing with the prediction by Harold Camping of Christ’s coming in 1994, referred to in the September 1, 1994 issue of the...

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The Sum of Christian Doctrine Is it really true that the Heidelberg Catechism contains “the sum of Christian doctrine” as stated in the October 15, 1994 Standard Bearer, “The Good Practice of Two Services, One Given to Catechism Preaching,” by Rev. Dale Kuiper, and so often affirmed in our circles? I can think of several important doctrines not covered by the Catechism. The obvious one, of course, is the doctrine of the last times. Much of the Bible is devoted to this important subject since it is an integral part of His coming into this world. Yet the Catechism chooses to...

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“Common Grace” and Difficult Texts I have subscribed to the Standard Bearer for about two years, and have found the articles edifying and thought-provoking. I would like your comments on two verses in light of the Protestant Reformed Churches’ position on common grace. As I understand it, your position is that God has no gracious purposes with regard to the non-elect, either in providentially providing them with material benefits, or in permitting them to come under the preaching of the gospel.This position helps to explain many verses that would otherwise be difficult to interpret, e.g., Matthew. 13:10-15. However, two verses mentioned below seem...

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Curious Missive from Wonderland Probably not many readers of Christian Renewalread the Standard Bearer, and so I had second thoughts about replying to the articles of Engelsma in the February 1 and February 15 issues of the SB. But for the sake of those readers who get both magazines, I believe a brief reply might be helpful, especially since Engelsma goes to great lengths in trying to refute something I wrote in the December 26 issue of CR. I will try to be brief. 1.I wrote that the “PR churches informed the Alliance that for them to attend as fraternal delegates they would have...

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Appearance of Evil I always look forward to reading the Standard Bearer. And I do mean, “look forward.” I’m always behind on my reading! Thanks to Rev. Bruinsma in the September 15, 1994 issue urging us to walk a godly path in life. I like his quote highlighted on page 489. However, I’d ask that he take a second look at the word “appearance” (eidos) in I Thessalonians 5:22. I was reading in Strong’s, Vine’s, and BAGD. The passage actually exhorts us to abstain from true forms of evil, not, as Rev. Bruinsma seems to be saying if I understand him correctly,...

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Pelted with Questions We have been receiving the Standard Bearer for only two or three months (plus extra copies sent to us by the Evangelism Committee of the South Holland Protestant Reformed Church). We eagerly anticipate the arrival of each month’s issue; for we are learning a great deal from them. Your magazine has very encouraging, inspiring articles that cause us to think deeply about the Word of God. Thank you! My husband and I are new to the Reformed faith. After we had studied the “5 points of Calvinism” for maybe two years, God introduced us to the full plan this...

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God’s Patience with Theologians First, let me tell you how much I’m enjoying my subscription to the Standard Bearer. To one who has newly revived his interest in the Reformed faith, your journal is a constant source of encouragement and help. I am puzzled by the editorial in the April 1, 1995 issue, “A Defense of (Reformed) Amillennialism,” and I have a few questions. First, although I understand the distinction between the various millennialisms, I’m not sure I now understand the amillennial position on the millennium itself. One paragraph states, “Coming is a ‘golden age.’ It will last at least for...

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