All Articles For Gritters, Barry

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After each meeting of synod, faithful members of the churches are interested in the decisions synod took. Although some decisions may be what we label routine, others are of great magnitude. Considered routine may be approval of a budget for the mission field, or a decision to print more catechism books. Of great magnitude are synod’s call of a new seminary professor; synod’s answers to protests and appeals; or synod’s decision to establish sister-church relations, to open a new mission field, or to declare a man candidate for the ministry of the Word. These are weighty matters. These decisions determine...

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Pandemic and pandemonium One month ago when I last wrote (mid-May), American churches were about nine weeks into enduring the government’s orders against public gatherings. Now (mid-June), most states in the U.S. and some provinces in Canada have relaxed the restrictions, although others in Canada have not. Many people of God have not attended public worship for months. We have ecclesiastical friends in Europe, Asia, and elsewhere, where tight restrictions remain for public gatherings and travel is limited or simply cut off. We have suffered under this heavy hand of God in the world. That’s the pandemic. Since then, pandemonium...

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In the almost 100 years of the PRCA’s existence we have endured trials, but none quite like the present pandemic and the consequences. For nine weeks now (May 15), churches have been unable to assemble for public worship. The initial shock has worn off, giving way to discouragement for some, frustration and sometimes anger for others. The pandemic has forced consistories to face difficult questions, not the least of which is whether this is a question of obeying God (“Assemble for worship on my Lord’s Day”) rather than man (“Stay home!”). God leads us on very unusual paths. We may...

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It is probably not too strong to say that a Christian ceremony for burial at the cemetery is as significant as a Christian funeral at the church. But there are less Christians attending funerals today than in the past (the funeral directors I have contact with indicate that), and there are probably even fewer who go to the graveside for burial. In the past it was different. Long funeral processions from the church to the cemetery were common. When my best friend died suddenly during a high school soccer game, the line of cars from the church stretched what seemed...

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In May of 2017, the editorial reviewing Synod 2017 was entitled, “The Pain and Profit of Protests.” I called attention to the reality that although protests and appeals are very painful, their presence and proper treatment are indications “that the churches are healthy and well.” Members who believe to have been wronged by a decision of an assembly have the right to object to the decision. Believers who are aggrieved by an action of a consistory, classis, or synod, have the right to show that the action ought to be discontinued or declared improper. The office of believer gives all...

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Dear friends of the Seminary, The 2019 school year has begun well. Pray that we may finish well too, since the Lord calls us always to “endure to the end.” The labors are a joy as we do them in Christ’s name and for His church. But the devil always assaults, too, so please keep the seminary in your personal, family, and congregational prayers. This school year is different from others in several ways. New professors First, Rev. Brian Huizinga is now Professor Huizin­ga. On September 4, at a full sanctuary of Grandville (MI) PRC where he and his family...

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Previous article in this series: April 15, 2019, p. 321. The recent editorials about Protestants making Rome their ‘home’ have had one primary purpose, and it has not been to show that matters are so serious in much of Protestantism that they are fixing their spiritual GPS on the Romish church. Matters are that serious, as the articles have attempted to demonstrate, but that has not been their chief end. Rather, their primary purpose is to have you ask whether you, who read these editorials and are committed to confessing the Reformed faith, could go to Rome, whether you or...

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Previous article in this series: April 1, 2019, p. 298. How could some Evangelicals imagine Rome as their church home someday (or wish to cozy up to Rome)? Because they have given up most of what made them Evangelicals in the first place; and because Rome dissembles. That is, Evangelicals have actually changed, and Rome pretends to have changed. Evangelicals (gospel-oriented Protestants) have gradually given up their Reformation church polity, their Reformation worship, and their Reformation doctrines. And the false church of Rome gussies up as the “strange woman” of Proverbs 7, “flattereth with her words,” and with subtle heart...

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Previous article in this series: March 15, 2019, p. 273. Evangelical Protestants who can see their way clear to return to Roman Catholicism have let go of Protestantism. Although they identify as Evangelicals—gospel churches—they embrace theology that distances itself from being gospel and come closer to Rome. The ‘protest’ in Protestant first diminished to a whimper, then shifted to an apology for leaving Rome in the first place. From the other side of the River Tiber (see the last editorial), Rome signals openness to unity talks. One hundred years ago Rome pulled up the drawbridge and closed the gates to...

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One year ago, I reported that many Protestants are ready to “cross the Tiber” into Roman Catholicism. The expression “crossing the Tiber” refers to fording the river that runs alongside Rome, symbolic of the barrier between Rome and Protestants. With grief, I had to report that even leaders in our mother church are talking about making the crossing.1 Some church leaders are sending not-so-subtle messages to members: It is permissible, and probably time, to unite with the Catholic Church. One Calvin Seminary faculty member wrote that Protestants and Catholics are “pilgrims on the same journey, serving one Lord with one...

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