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I hesitate to publicly enter the arguments that have been carried on for some time in our Church papers, however, since we owe everything that we as Protestant Reformed Churches have received by God’s grace to our esteemed leaders, Rev. H. Hoeksema and Rev. G. M. Ophoff, it hurts me to see their writ­ings quoted time and again in support of the condi­tional theology coming out of the Netherlands from the Liberated Churches. Without regard to good logic, whole paragraphs of their writings are dug up, quoted and printed, with the idea of making the public believe that they have taught a conditional theology in the past. And regardless of the circumstances or back­ground under which such articles were written, they are torn out of their historical settings and quoted as reading upon the views originating in the Nether­lands, in the Liberated Churches. This I consider unfair, and unappreciative of the Reformed Doctrine so faithfully defended by our leaders of the Protestant Reformed Churches. May God give them Grace to continue to strive for the further development of this glorious truth. And may others stand by their side, and help them, that in the waning years of their life, they be not overburdened.

Therefore I publicly want to rise to the defense of our Esteemed Professors, when this again took place in the September 11th issue of Concordia over the titled caption, “Doctrinal in the Wrong Sense”.

In this article the author Rev. Kok quotes at great length from an article written by Rev. Ophoff as found in The Standard Bearer, Vol. 12, pp. 415, 416. Pro­fessor Ophoff wrote a beautiful article in that Stan­dard Bearer under the subject, “The Preaching of the Gospel the Keys of the Kingdom”. I would suggest to all our Ministers that they reread this article, for the Professor sets forth an important precept. The Pro­fessor here tells the Ministers how they must preach. How in their preaching they must apply God’s Word to the hearts of the hearers. And the Professor func­tioning in his ordained office as Instructor, it be­hooves all the Ministers to take note and to listen. God requires this from every Minister in our Denomina­tion, and not only to listen but also to follow the good advice given them by the Professor.

I am not a Minister, but after careful study I be­lieve that I am honestly quoting the Professor, and show the key conclusions which Rev. Ophoff is here teaching the Ministers, in the following outline as taken from his work which appears in The Standard Bearer many years ago on June 15, 1936, volume and page as quoted above from Rev. Kok’s article.

I. What is the gospel?

  God’s promise of salvation, made by Him to the seed of the promise.

II. This gospel must be preached, as to its contents.

  1. As objectively fulfilled in Christ as to His per­son, natures, offices and works.

  2. Subjectively, this Church as possessed by His People in all the fullness that dwells in Him bodily.

III. This gospel must be preached, as to its elements.

  1. Present the contents to all men indiscrimin­ately.

  2. Describe and explain the contents from the Scripture.

  3. This gospel, the Word, must be applied or ad­ministered to the flock, to you and to me.

      a. Applying the gospel is an action of deliver­ing the promise, the Word of God direct­ly to the flock, to you and to me. Quotes an example from Lord’s Day 31:

        1. According to the command of Christ, it is declared and publicly testified to all believers, that whenever they receive the promise of the gospel by a true faith, all their sins are really forgiven them of God, for the sake of Christ’s merits.

        2. On the contrary when it is declared and testified to all unbelievers and such as do not sincerely repent that they stand exposed to the wrath of God, and eternal condemnation as long as they and unconverted,

      b. By whom must this gospel this Word be administered to the flock.

        1. The Apostles to the Churches in the Ho­ly Scriptures.

        2. By the Office of Ministers of the gos­pel in our time.

4. Task of the Minister of the gospel.

  a. Not merely in declaring that God saves His People.

  b. But also in declaring that He saves you and me.

      1. If we believe, (Note, this statement is a fact since salvation is objectively ful­filled in Christ, and promised to the seed of the promise, see I & II above, Notation my own.)

      2. in that believing we belong to that peo­ple for whose sins Christ atoned. (Note, subjectively, the seed of the promise possess Christ in all its fullness, and become conscious of it by the preaching of the gospel, Notation my own.)

5. Kindly note the argument that the Professor makes above.

The office of Minister in declaring the gos­pel, the Word of God, to you and to me, is,

  a. That the Believer, the individual Child of God may make his calling and election sure, may know that he belongs to that blessed people for whose sins Christ atoned, by the fact, that he believes, that he is bonded to Christ thru the instrument of faith,

  b. That the unbeliever may know, that he stands exposed to the wrath of God and e­ternal condemnation, as long as he is un­converted.

6. The Professor continues his argument. If any of the elements III, 1, 2, 3, above are lacking, the Word is not being properly preached by the Ministers. If this last ele­ment (see no. 3 above) is lacking the sermon will show no contact with the flock. And of such a sermon, (that has no contact with the flock) it must be said that is “Doctrinal in the wrong sense.”

We hope to continue this in the next issue.

J.H. Kortering