The Synod has just passed the Declaration, and now again we hear that there will be protests against it in 1953. That could lead to separation or ruin.
It certainly is a bad thing that the combined consistories of 1927 did not adopt a declaration of principles at that time, before our first students became ministers. Now you see the result of that mistake.
The only thing that we as true members can do to save our beautiful Protestant Reformed truth, is to go back to the truth of 1925—not laying a new foundation, but reenforcing our first foundation, and fasten it on black and white, so that it will be legal. Then we can get somewhere and the great confusion would be over.
It would be the duty of every one of our ministers to preach the Protestant Reformed truth wherein they have been instructed in our school, and stand on the foundation on which we stood in 1925.
But how shall the church demand of their ministers to preach only that truth, if we have no declaration of that truth? The church must certainly have that on black and white, so that they can point out that truth to them. And they have no right to preach anything else, nor write, nor contradict this doctrine. Otherwise, we as Protestant Reformed Churches can not be bound together as one, nor prevent any one of our ministers from departing from that truth. For all our churches have been organized on that truth, and they should and must be able to keep it. Therefore, we should have a declaration of all the points of the doctrine of our confessions.
Yes, we have the Three Forms of Unity—so do the other churches. But they interpret them in their own way, as they please. And they all say, “This is the truth,” or “This is the meaning of the confessions,” even though they contradict each other.
Therefore, this brings us to another question. When we made confession of faith in our churches, we also answered “yes”, on the first and second question that was asked of us,—if we have “resolved by the grace of God to adhere to this doctrine, to reject all heresies repugnant thereto, and to lead a new and godly life.” Now if we do not have this doctrine of our Protestant Reformed truth on black and white, how shall we reject all heresies repugnant thereto? Because of the many wrong interpretations of the confessions and Scripture, we must have our declaration of it.
Now, how shall I do my duty to fulfill my answer to the three questions that was asked of me, when I made confession of faith, if I have no right to perform it? Is it also not getting high time for the men to bow down before the living God (not before the women), and give the woman the right to perform her duty? For the woman is just as responsible before God as the man to fulfill her duty, since she answered “yes” on those three questions. And yet, she cannot vote, nor say ‘yes’ or ‘no* to God in the things pertaining to the church and for the welfare of her own soul, and for the welfare of her children, in case of a widow, or if her husband is an unbeliever. And she cannot even choose those that shall be her overseers and pastors to teach her in the truth that is “taught here in this Christian church.”
We are all responsible before the living God, what we vote for and what we do in the things pertaining to the church. Think of Ananias and his wife. Each was called apart to answer yes or no to God about what they had done about money matters, (or their budget) if they had been true to God in those things too. Ananias was not held responsible for his wife, but she also had to cast her vote and answer yes or no, for it concerned her own soul.
In Acts we read that when a congregational meeting was called, there came a multitude of people. And the apostles would tell them what should be done, also in calling men to teach and work in the church. “And the saying pleased the whole multitude: and they chose Stephen, a man full of faith and of the Holy Spirit.”—Acts 6:5.
That there also were women among those multitudes is clear from Acts 1:14, 15: “They all continued with one accord in prayer and supplication, with the women and Mary, the mother of Jesus, and with his brethren.” And in Acts 5:14 we read: “And the believers were the more added to the Lord, multitudes both of men and women.” Don’t you think that is the same multitude that chose Stephen and the other men, in Acts 6:2-4? Did the women also not receive the Holy Spirit, so that they were one with the men, in the Lord?
Those were real and beautiful congregational meetings which were also used to instruct the people in the truth. That would mean that all the members of our church, men and women should come to the congregational meeting. Whatever the consistory had, that they wanted to bring before the meeting, could be voted on by all, or be discussed, also the names of men for ministers, elders or deacons. Women also should vote.
But that does not mean at all, that women should have the right to rule. Nor that they should partake in any discussion, nor teach, or try to use any power over any man in the church. “Let all things be done decently and in order.”
If I may have a little space again in the next SB. I would like to say more about this, and some more proofs.
The men certainly do not gain anything at all by forbidding the women to vote.
We should all be of one accord, for there is no joy and love in division among ourselves, but only in unity through the Holy Spirit. That we be “likeminded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind.”—Phil. 2:2.
For, “There is neither Jew or Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus.”—Gal. 3:28.
“If ye know these things, happy are ye, if ye do them.”—John 13:17.
Yours in the Lord,
Dorothy De Vries