All Articles For Gritters, Barry

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You have in your hands a special issue on the church’s long-treasured practice of singing psalms in public worship. Although our Psalter’s anniversary was not in view when we planned the issue, 2014 does mark 100 years since our fathers adopted the 1912 Psalter for use in the churches. God’s faithfulness explains our continuing in psalm-singing. The logic of the articles should not be missed. First, Rev. James Slopsema, one of our long-time writers of meditations, helps us reflect on God’s Word in the psalms. The editorial encourages us in the use of this songbook called “the Psalms” and the...

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Although I would be heck­led off the podium at most Christian universities and even Reformed colleges if I began a speech with such a line, I still confess with all the conviction my heart can muster: “Heaven is still my hope. Heaven is still my home.” As the year of our Lord 2014 begins, my prayer for you, readers of the Standard Bearer, is that you still hope for heaven, too. We look to the future and em­brace what our hearts are set on: heaven. As the world becomes increasingly wicked, we await with joyful anticipation our life in the...

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Previous article in this series: December 1, 2013, p. 101. The terrible failure of many churches to exercise dis­cipline is putting them on the path to becoming the false church. Scarce are the churches today that are willing to engage in this “disagreeable necessity”1 of Christian discipline for the honor of God. The few who do carry out this biblical calling are criticized as unloving and harsh. As with most matters of obe­dience to God, the obedience of carrying out discipline is costly. Besides the slander, the cost also often involves the heartbreaking putting out of members who may be...

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“Rare as a white crow” is Abraham Kuyper’s description of how scarce discipline was in the church of his day. It was as rare as a white crow. I have seen a lot of crows in my life. We used to hunt crows once in a while in the orange groves outside of town. Waves of crows—“murders” of them, as they say—flew out of the foothills in the evenings to scavenge in the landfills at night. Never saw a white crow. And that was Kuyper’s point. In the Netherlands of his day (1837-1920), Kuyper claimed, discipline was that rare. In...

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Previous article in this series: October 15, 2013, p. 29. The October 15 edito­rial made a beginning in answering the question, somewhat controversial, “whose is the work of missions?” Does mission work belong to the local congregation or to the denomina­tion? After the editorial urged us to unite behind the work of missions for the cause of God, it pointed out the official stance of the PRC. The constitution for missions is clear: “…mission work is the call­ing of the local church.” And “some mission work may also become the work of the churches in common” (emphasis added). The important...

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There is another Frederick in the story of the HC. His name among us ought to be as infamous as Frederick III’s is famous. This other Frederick is the Italian Isaac Frederici (pron: Freh-deh-REE-chee). Among those who love the HC, the name Isaac Frederici ought to be as black as the name Jakob Harmen, aka Jacobus Arminius. Among readers of the SB the name Arminius likely is a dirty word. I was reminded of that—and both encouraged and slightly amused—by what happened recently on a high school class trip to Chicago. One of the young students spotted an Armenian restaurant...

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If there are questions about de­nominational unity in worship (see the last two editorials), there are as many questions and difficulties regarding the denomina­tion’s unity in missions. Two divergent views of missions and their relationship to the de­nomination exist in the Protestant Reformed Churches, views that reflect two minds that existed even before the formation of the PRC. One of these views is right, the other wrong. The question is: Whose is the work of missions? Is it the local congregation’s, or is it the denomi­nation’s? To focus the question: may a local congregation ever do mission work without the...

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Previous article in this series: September 15, 2014, p. 484. The Protestant Reformed Churches are united. In confession (doctrine). In discipline (church government). And, for the most part, we are united in worship (liturgy). It is the latter, unity in worship, that is the focus of our attention here. There is no question regarding how tight our unity is in doctrine—the confessions we hold spell that out very precisely. Nor is there question about our unity in church government—every PRC holds the Church Order as regulative and binding for her life. But how united are we in the mat­ter of...

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When the seminary professors first license students to speak a word of edification in the churches, we make sure they understand what is required of them to lead a congregation in worship. We talk about things like how early to ar­rive at the consistory room, where to shake hands with the elders after the service, how to announce songs, what to do with announcements the consistory asks to be made, etc. The professors have a little “Manual” that gives advice for the students. Included in the manual is the head­ing: “Determine the liturgical de­tails.” That is, be aware of the...

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When God delivers over to sexual sin, He inflicts a terrible judgment. God sometimes judges individuals by giving them over to sexual sin. Other times His judg­ment falls on churches. Today God is giving over churches—some of our ecclesiastical relatives—to ter­rible sexual sins. The readers of the Standard Bearer ought to know about these horrible developments and respond to them in a biblical way, including the loving warning of family or friends in these churches to flee like Lot from the judgments that are falling, lest they and their children also fall under them. The June 2013 issue of the...

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