Correspondence And Reply

The editor of our Standard Bearer forwarded to the undersigned the following letter from a Rev. Peter Vander Weide of First Jenison Christian Reformed church, and I quote: 

Dear Prof. Hoeksema: 

Permit me to register a vigorous protest to a statement made by Rev. H. Veldman in the Oct. 15 Standard Bearer (p. 536). In commenting on the matter of reprobation ignored in the CRC he makes this statement: “But, the truth of Reprobation is a relic, is not a living matter in that church, is circumvented and avoided by all. This means, of course, that the doctrine of election is also circumvented and avoided by all.” 

It certainly is not circumvented and avoided by me, and I am sure many others in the CRC. To say that all in the CRC do this because some do is unchristian and unworthy of one who claims the Spirit of Christ., Since his information was admittedly incomplete, he should have in the interest of fair reporting, made an effort to find out that not all the delegates at that Synod voted for the motion referred to, and that there were delegates there who did not share the sentiments expressed by Rev. Postman and said so. For one man in one denomination to state categorically that all in another denomination ignore and circumvent these issues is presumptuous. How can he know what all these men teach and preach in their respective churches? 

I had expected better things from representatives of your denomination. It lacks Christian charity, to say nothing of intellectual honesty and integrity. I do not deem it a Christian prerogative to demand an apology, but I am convinced you owe such an apology to many in the CRC. 


W.S. Peter Vander Weide 

Here is the article or that part of the article against which the Rev. Vander Weide registers such a vigorous protest:

However, the News Bulletin of the Association of Christian Reformed Laymen, July, 1975, page 7, also quotes the Rev. J. Postman, Classis Toronto, who spoke at that synod, and we quote: 

I want to support this Motion (this refers to a new motion to “accede” to the Boer request—H.V.). We are a confessing church not a church of confessions. And I submit, Mr. Chairman, that presently we are not confessing reprobation. It’s not a living matter amongst us. It does not flow, issue from our pulpits in a dynamic Word-directed way. We all circumvent it, we all avoid it, yet we somehow hold on to our confessions as a relic. . . 

So, here you have it. I do not know whether anyone at the synod objected to this remark of Rev. Postman. Anyone with any love for the truth of the Word of God certainly could not permit this remark to go unchallenged. But, the truth of reprobation is a relic, is not a living matter in that church, is circumvented and avoided by all. This means, of course, that the doctrine of Election is also circumvented and avoided by all. I refer, we understand, to the doctrine of Election as set forth by the Canons, the truth of divine and sovereign election. . .

I reply to the Rev. P. Vander Weide as follows: 

When Rev. Vander Weide writes that my information was incomplete he, I suppose, means that the quotation as it appears in that Bulletin of the ACRL was incomplete. However, how does that in any way affect what had been said by Rev. Postman upon the floor of the CRC synod last June? 

Secondly, an apology is owed to many in the CRC? I did not know that there were delegates at that synod who objected to the sentiments as expressed by the Rev. Postman. I simply quoted from a public bulletin of the Christian Reformed laymen. Neither am I aware of any sentiments expressed against this sentiment of Rev. Postman after this CRC synod. I wish that I had known that there were such sentiments expressed against what Rev. Postman said upon the floor of the synod. I am glad that such opposition was expressed. If this be true, then the ACRL did some false reporting. They owe an apology. 

Thirdly, it is simply a fact, Rev. Vander Weide that your church has officially denied the truth of reprobation and, therefore, also the truth of election. Point One of the Three Points of 1924 declares that God is favorably inclined to all who hear the preaching of the gospel, that this preaching of the gospel is an offer, that God would therefore have all men be saved. According to the official teaching of the CRC the Lord would bestow faith and salvation upon all men. However, the Canons of Dordrecht declare in Art. 15 of the first head, and I quote:

What peculiarly tends to illustrate ma recommend to us the eternal and unmerited grace of election, is the express testimony of sacred Scripture, that not all, but some only are elected, while others are passed by in the eternal decree; whom God, out of his sovereign, most just, irreprehensible and unchangeable good pleasure, bath decreed to leave in the common misery into which they have willfully plunged themselves, and not to bestow upon them saving faith and the grace of conversion. . .

There you have it, Rev. Vander Weide. These Canons declare that God has decreed NOT TO BESTOW UPON THEM SAVING FAITH AND THE GRACE OF CONVERSION. This is the very opposite of Point One. No man can believe and confess both. The one denies the other. And this denial of the truth of reprobation and that God loves only His own elect has appeared in writings in the past of leaders in the CRC. 

Finally, Rev. Vander Weide, you write that the truth of reprobation is not circumvented and avoided by you. Do you believe in and preach and teach the truth of divine reprobation as set forth by the Canons? Remember, our fathers here are repudiating the Arminian presentation of a conditional predestination. But now I have a question to ask of you. You know that there are those in the CRC who deny this truth of sovereign predestination, and this includes the truth of election as well as that of reprobation. What are you doing about this? Are you protesting against those in your church (CRC) who deny this truth? Do you leave them alone? What are you doing about this terrible condition in the CRC? May I suggest to you that you also register vigorous protest against those within the CRC who teach this heresy and other heresies?