All Articles For Huizinga, Brian

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Christ the Head The peace of the church is found in her Head Jesus Christ. When brethren dwell in sweet accord in the church, the good and pleasant unity that they enjoy does not find its basis and expression in all kinds of external, earthly realities that might otherwise give men a sense of close affinity. Rather, the peace and unity of the church, like any other elements of the church’s nature and life, are to be found in Christ who is “…the head over all things to the church, which is his body, the fullness of him that all...

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Peace in the church is fragile and precious. Threats to peace in the church are many and mighty. The call to peace in the church is urgent and necessary. When we speak of the church, we are not referring to the mystical body of all the elect, but to the church institute as the visible congregation where we have our membership. Think of Jerusalem of old where the Israelites gathered for temple worship, or think of the congregation gathered in Corinth during the apostolic era, or think of your own congregation (and denomination). Concerning God’s church may we all sincerely...

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Where were you in 1987? That was the last time the  Standard Bearer devoted an entire issue—the special  Reformation issue—to the doctrine of justification by  faith alone. It is high time we do it again, especially  since the PRCA has endured a schism in which the  doctrine was and is contended.  Having recently commemorated God’s grace in the  sixteenth-century Reformation, our writers take up  many of the important aspects of this doctrine regarded  by the Reformers as the heart of the gospel and the  main hinge on which religion turns, a phrase that you  will find repeated in this issue....

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Introduction At the forefront of the recovery of biblical doctrine in the Reformation of the sixteenth century was the doctrine of justification. In fierce opposition to the Roman Catholic doctrine of justification by faith and works, with all of its accompanying practices, such as the buying and selling of indulgences and the doing of penance, the Reformation restored and advanced the gospel truth of justification by faith alone. What must strike every son and daughter of the Reformation as an extraordinary display of God’s faithfulness is the fact that the Reformers spoke with one voice on both the importance and...

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A summary  With this article I conclude my treatment of the doctrine  of repentance. I have used the Scriptures to explain and  elaborate upon the decisions of our recent synods. The  synods responded to protests expressing opposition to  the doctrinal teaching that “we repent and in the way of  repentance experience the mercy of God.” What follows  are a handful of positively stated biblical propositions  for a simple summary of the whole series of articles: Repentance is a sorrowful turn from sin unto God  in seeking forgiveness. Repentance is commanded by God; you must repent. Repentance is the God-ordained way...

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Remission in the way of repentance As I promised last time, I will now explain what we mean when we relate repentance and remission with the phrase “in the way of.” As the title to the series indicates, this gets to the heart of the issue. First, when we say that we receive the remission (forgiveness, pardon) of our sins in the way of repentance we are not teaching that repentance is a work of man that merits or earns forgiveness with God, or that repentance is the condition for, basis of, ground of, or procuring cause of pardon. In...

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Repentance and remission: The issue Having thoroughly explained repentance and God’s sovereign grace in bringing us to repentance, we come to the heart of the issue in the disputed matter that came to the PRC synods. Is there a God-worked activity of the believer that precedes a certain, specific manifestation of God’s mercy? In this case, the God-worked activity of the believer is repentance. The certain, specific manifestation of God’s mercy is remission. Is it permissible to teach that repentance precedes remission? Or, would that necessarily be false doctrine, some kind of conditional theology? The issue is order, mere order....

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Let’s go up to 35,000 feet to see the lay of the land. There are really two issues in the dispute over repentance. One: what is repentance? Two: how does it relate to remission? Is it permissible to teach that repentance precedes remission or does that put man before God, so that the pardoning God must wait upon the penitent sinner? The second issue is the main issue of dispute. Protests to synod said: repentance cannot be prior to remission, because repentance is a good work and good works always come after blessings of salvation. Synod rejected the protests because...

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Last time, (Dec. 15), I defined repentance as the believer’s sorrowful turn from sin unto God in the seeking of remission. Now I want to go to the Scriptures to elaborate. A right understanding First of all, genuine repentance begins in the renewed mind as the seat of true spiritual knowledge and understanding. This is evident from one of the key biblical words for repentance (metanoia) which, as you might recall, means, “change of mind.” The turning of repentance commences when the spiritually enlightened mind apprehends both the awful reality of sin and the wonder of God’s mercy in Christ....

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A definition I am not aware of any carefully and comprehensively constructed exposition of the biblical concept of repentance produced in the history of the PRC. From one point of view, the absence of such a work is not entirely surprising because repentance is one of the elementary principles of the doctrine of Christ, the renewed instruction in which the writer to the Hebrews deems unnecessary (Heb. 6:1). Yet sometimes we must revisit and sharpen, and perhaps even correct, our understanding of the elementary principles. Surely one of the good and praiseworthy purposes of our faithful God in laying His...

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