All Articles For Gritters, Barry

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Rev. Steven Key, pastor of our Loveland, CO, PRC, set the right tone at Monday evening’s pre-synodical worship service at Hudsonville, MI, PRC when he preached an edifying sermon on the familiar Psalm 133. While the sermon called the delegates to unity of mind and activity, it also pointed out the great blessedness of unity, one of the great themes of Psalm 133. We experienced that blessedness for the duration of the short week that synod took to do its work. Rev. VanOverloop, synod’s experienced president, promoted unity by his good leadership, and the delegates (10 from Classis East and...

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At bottom, the Reformation of 1857 that gave birth to the Christian Reformed Church was doctrinal. The reason our spiritual fathers formed a new denomination rather than remaining in the Reformed Church of America was doctrine: the truth of God’s Word, theology. Separation for non-doctrinal reasons is hardly justifiable, to understate the matter. The unity of the body of Christ is too important. Denial of the truth of God and of God’s Word—that justifies secession and re-formation of the church. To say that the separation of 1857 was on account of doctrine is a somewhat bold claim because it is...

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Previous article in this series: September 1, 2012, p. 461. Polemics will bring results. Both proper and improper, biblical and unspiritual, polemics, by the power of God, will have effects. Those who have lived in the church very long have wit­nessed this. Godly polemics will have good (that’s not to say “pleas­ant”) effect, because polemics is the use of God’s Word to battle error, and God’s Word never returns to Him “void” (Is. 55:11). Unbiblical polemics will also have consequenc­es. The effect, according to the sovereign judgments of God, will be damage to the very cause the battle purports to protect—the...

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Previous article in this series: August 2012, p. 437. The last three editorials (June, July, and August) were written to call us to our duty to fight for the cause of God and truth. In these days when doctrinal purity takes the backseat to unity (see my editorial #2, July 2012, p. 413), the biblical call to combat error is vital for Reformed and Presbyterian churches. The first two editorials presented Scrip­ture’s mandate, the third issued the caution to do polemics properly. It would not be surprising if some were to cheer for the first two but sneer at the caution; or,...

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Previous article in this series: July 2012, p. 413. Now, the more difficult, but just-as-necessary call to engage in polemics properly. As necessary as it is to call the church to do polemics, it is as imperative to remind ourselves to do it in a godly manner. For some, in fact, whose nature and nurture may predispose them to fight, the warning to fight properly is urgent. There is a right way and a wrong way to use fighting words. Showing this will take care and wisdom. The previous two editorials ex­plained that polemics is necessary. Until Christ returns, the...

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Previous article in this series: June 2012, p. 388. If our churches lose the will to fight, we truly have given up our ability to survive. The church must know that the enemies of God’s truth are like the Middle Eastern terrorist organizations today: patiently waiting, always observing, ever planning another way to slaughter. Unless we are vigilant, we will fall to the enemy, lose the truth, and become a false church, the synagogue of Satan (Rev. 2:9; Rev. 3:9). We must engage in polemics—oppose the lie with “fighting words.” The true church protects herself by combating error with fighting...

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In our position as seminary professors, it is our responsi­bility to read as many of the church magazines and seminary journals as possible. We take that responsibility seriously, subscribing to (or having exchange relationships with) nearly one hundred differ­ent publications. The churches have mandated us to “expound to (the students) the mysteries of the faith; caution them in regard to the errors and heresies of the old, but especially of the new day . . .” (Form for the Installation of Professor of Theology; emphasis mine). So we read as much as we can. The lack of militancy—fighting words—in these...

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When I did the unusual recently and paid for my gas inside the ser­vice station instead of at the pump, the young lady who took my money was reading a book entitled Heaven is for Real. I took the opportunity to ask her what she thought about the book. Heaven is for Real is one of the recent New York Times best-sellers. The part-time pastor who wrote the book, and Thomas Nel­son the publisher, have made a great deal of money on the story. In 2011 it broke all of Nelson’s sales records with 3.4 million copies in print. The...

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The constant need for good Christian school teachers was the subject of my last editorial. Our Christian schools cannot exist without teachers. And without good school teachers there is no purpose in having separate, Protestant Reformed Christian schools. Last time I issued a sum­mons to young men and women to consider training to become teachers in our schools, to stand in the place of us parents (in loco parentis). What amplifies this summons is retirements, some women teach­ers turning to motherly duties if they marry and bear children, the gradually enlarging population of our churches, and the encouraging expansion of...

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