All Articles For Gritters, Barry

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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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Tired ministers are not useful ministers. Weary, they will not do the good work we have asked them to do, Christ requires them to do, and they themselves want to do. Pastors become weary because of many factors, some they can control and others beyond their control. And often they do not get enough rest. Our churches, with consistories at the lead, may ex­amine how they give rest to their pastors. In Reformed churches like the PRCA and our sisters, pastors have colossal pressures put on them. Ministers have always been given substantial workloads, but these days, with generally larger...

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Training of elders is necessary. The well-being of the PRCA and other true churches depends on a qualified, well trained eldership. The training is not, for the most part, formal and specialized training. It comes chiefly through the extended and sanctifying work of the Holy Spirit, who often uses a good Christian upbringing in a stable home, and who always works in answer to fervent prayer and by the regular means of grace. That was the subject of the first editorial on this topic in the January 15 issue. The February 1 editorial showed that faithful elders will want to...

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By God’s grace, the Protestant Reformed Churches are determined to train our ministers well—our prophets and teachers. With equal determination we must train our elders well, for the watchmen on Zion’s walls must have the wherewithal to watch properly, her gatekeepers must be skilled in the use of the gate’s keys, and her overseers must have wisdom to make proper judgments about the faith and life of the members and about the instruction from the church’s prophet. I wrote last time that our churches do train our el­ders. It is not the same kind of specialized training that the churches...

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Newly installed elders are just opening their eyes to the task the Lord gives them, and it is not an easy one. You who have never served before are likely more than a little awestruck by the responsibility. To rule Christ’s church?! It is beyond your abilities. Even you who sat in the elders’ bench before are awed, because experience taught you actually how weighty the work is—far beyond any natural abilities you have. Am I qualified for this work? That is the question that follows you to the elders’ pew to supervise the preaching, that goes with you on...

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After long deliberation, the Great Synod officially adopted both the Canons themselves and a Conclusion. Although the Conclusion is not a part of our Reformed creed, it is very helpful to understand what the fathers said in it, and why. The Conclusion is instructive, not only for students interested in history. It has important application for Reformed believers today. We can learn from it. But who has read it? To spur on the reader to read the Conclusion itself, I present my own somewhat loose paraphrase of it. I trust even teenagers will understand my paraphrase, who might not make...

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The seminary salutes all our readers of the Standard Bearer! Your regular prayers sustain us. We hear of them. Your financial support—through weekly offerings—makes it possible for us to do our work without thinking about daily bread. Thank you. Your extraordinary gifts make possible the growth of the library, attendance at conferences otherwise not feasible, and building additions and improvements not imagined a generation ago. We are humbled by this generosity in the name of Christ. Most importantly, some of your sons are here to study. Currently, there are four men studying pre-seminary Greek. Soon, God willing, these men will...

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Greetings from your seminary—your “medical school” that trains physicians of souls; your “military academy” that equips mighty warriors for the army of Jesus Christ; your “music conservatory” that prepares men to give a clear sound on the gospel-trumpet; your “greenhouse” where seedlings are nurtured up to be strong plantings of the Lord, able to withstand the hot sun and strong winds of persecution and error; and there are other images that are useful to describe the work we do here on your behalf. Greetings from your seminary. Prof. Douglas Kuiper In my last report from the seminary (September 15, 2017...

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No, not the Grand River in Grand Rapids, Michigan, where some of our spiritual relatives gathered after immigrating from the Netherlands in order to establish Reformed churches.1 But the Tiber River in Rome, Italy, where some of our ecclesiastical relatives are gathering today, there to destroy Reformed churches. They are there, ready to forsake Reformed tradition and join the Roman Catholic Church. “Crossing the Tiber” is an old expression describing what a Protestant does when he leaves the Reformation faith for the Roman Catholic fold. The Tiber River ran alongside old Rome; to get to Rome, one crossed it. Thus,...

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