Sept. 2, 1950
Having heard about the Declaration of Principles of the Protestant Reformed Churches drawn up by our last Synod and later read them, several questions arose in my mind. Especially so since they appeared in print without any explanation regarding their origin, purpose, etc. Now I personally have received some information about them, but there certainly must be many of our people who know next to nothing about their appearance. However, with the information I have I still have several questions. Since Synod formulated these principles that body would logically be the one to approach, but this being impossible I am asking these questions of the delegates to Synod, hoping that someone can give me some light on the matter. Possibly one of the members of the committee who proposed this declaration to Synod can answer them.
- I am informed that the Mission Committee requested Synod to draw up a form regarding our principles for those (especially in Canada) who request organization. On the basis of this Synod drew up this declaration. Now my question is this: Is it church-politically correct to make such a declaration on the basis of a request of a committee? Doesn’t this violate the rule of Reformed Church Polity that all matters must come to Synod via Consistory, Classis, etc.?
- Is this declaration exclusively for those outside of our denomination, or also for our own people?
- It seems to me that the declaration is mainly directed at the Liberated Churches. Only a small portion is given to the repudiation of the common grace theory, church hierarchy, etc., while a large portion directly and indirectly is devoted to the repudiation of the Liberated views of the covenant and baptism. Am I correct in drawing this conclusion?
- I gather that these principles are meant to be an explanation of the Confessions, not another confession. Does this imply that our Confessions are ambiguous on these points so that these truths cannot be clearly proven from the Confessions without this declaration of principles? Does this then also imply that our missionaries, ministers and people are not able to state the same without them?
- What is the difference between a declaration and a form? I’ve heard a few people call this a fourth form. What technically is a form or confession? What historically are the conditions that necessitated the formulation of confessions? Have the Reformed Churches ever set a precedent in making declaration of the Confessions? If so, in what conditions did they do so?
Will someone kindly give me an answer to these questions. As Consistories we must bring an answer to our next Synod. Therefore we need as much light as we possibly can receive. Now I realize that Synod only can interpret its own actions. I don’t expect the Acts of Synod to answer these questions either. But surely someone can shed some light on the matter.
Yours in the cause of His Church,
Note of Editor:
Reply in next issue of the Standard Bearer, D.V.