It is the purpose of the undersigned to write a few articles of an exegetical nature on some passages quoted by “Classis West” in their missive to Classis East, which must serve as a basis and proof of their “testimony” that the Statements condemned by Classis East are not per se heretical. These passages are “like statements in Scripture” which prove that, although these “statements” are not a concise statement of doctrine, they are not what Classis East said they were, to wit; per se heretical! 

There is a challenge in this enunciation of “Classis West.” 

This challenge we will meet here in these articles. It is far from the writer of this rubric to have delight in engaging in and prolonging a debate. Our purpose, however, is not simply to be polemical, but rather to continue to build up the church in the most holy faith. But shall this be done then our calling is to “reject all errors that militate against this doctrine and particularly those which were condemned by the above mentioned Synod (National Synod of Dordrecht, 1618-19) but that we are disposed to refute and contradict these, and to exert ourselves in keeping the Church free from such errors.” And this we are to do since “we promise therefore diligently to teach and faithfully to defend the aforesaid doctrine, without either directly or indirectlycontradicting the same; by our public preaching or writing.” (italics of us] Formula of Subscription. Compare Articles 53, 54 and 55 of the Church Order. In the latter Article we read, “to ward off false doctrines and errors that multiply exceedingly through heretical writings, the ministers and elders shall use the means of teaching, of refutation, or warning, and of admonition, as well in the ministry of the Word as in Christian teaching and family-visiting.” 

Such is our God-appointed mandate! 

Thus we have vowed before the face of God we would conduct ourselves in this holy ministry of the Word. 

We are called upon to diligently and accurately preach the Word of God. Woe to the preacher, writer, be he minister or elder, who is derelict in this sacred matter of preaching the holy gospel. 

Meeting the challenge of the “enunciation” of “Classis West” can, therefore, be very simply stated. It is:obedience of an ambassador to his sender! One takes the shoes from his feet here. Here the faithful witnesses say: Here I stand, I cannot do ought else, so help me God! 

That makes an obedient preacher breathe easily. 

Here is the strength of meekness; in this strength the undersigned stands running the race with patience. Looking neither to the right or to the left we begin this study. We will rather give heed unto the more sure Word of God, which shines as a light in a dark place? until the day dawn and the daystar arise in our hearts. For is not the Word of God: to the law and the prophets else there will be no dawn? Isaiah 8:20.

Since I daily come into contact with those, who subscribe to the “testimony” of “Classis West,” as issued on their March 1954 gathering, I am constrained by the love of Christ, which knows no one after the flesh, to know it my duty to be a faithful watchman on the walls of Zion to warn God’s children of the untenable and unscriptural and unconfessional position (chosen in this “testimony” of “Classis West.” I ask of no one to bow before me, neither do I desire “to push this down a brother’s throat.” But I do demand in the Name of the King, who called me to this holy office, that everyone submit his every thought to Christ. This means that he crucify his flesh and all evil sins of false prejudice, and be as the “noble” Bereans, who searched the Scriptures whether these things were true. 

Merely saying, “I have made up my mind” is no virtue. That the wicked in hell will also have to say, to their regret and everlasting consternation and anguish of heart, where the worm does not die. I am fully aware that this is a two-edged statement of God’s justice. And I bow before it. It makes no difference whether the undersigned has made up his puny mind when God speaks, does it. Come, then, and let us bow together before the Scriptures. Then we will not be “victims” of our own stubborn disobedience, our clinging to doctrinally positions that bring us to Church Political impasses! On the contrary we will dare to speak with conviction. We will then not speak in the veiled language of those who mutter and peep, but we will show from the Scriptures things which “are most surely believed amongst us!” We then don’t speak of “likestatements” but we shall have the courage to say: as is clearly and uncontradictably taught in the following passages! 

Unless I can say the latter the ink will dry in my pen and my preaching will not emit a clear sound and I shall have to stand on the pulpit and tell the congregation rather apologetically what I do not believe. When we say clearly what we believe and interpret the Scriptures according to sound rules of exegesis, which is void of all human philosophy and interpolation, we will not need to defend ourselves and try to convince our flock that “are not so bad after all.” 

I once stood at those crossroads. That was when I defended Statement II. The Lord was merciful to me that I did not fall headlong into the pitfall of having to speak the language of those, who must convince their congregation that they are “not so bad,” that they really mean and intend their instruction in the right sense. The Lord counted me worthy; he was merciful to me. I take no credit for my present happy position of being able to breathe freely in the “straitjacket” of Reformed truth as based upon sound and correct exegesis of Scripture. He has caused the lines to fall unto me in pleasant places and has set me in a broad place. 

I am fully aware that this is a digression from my subject. I shall come to it presently. But may all those, who read these lines, know that I am happy that I am not in need of that, imaginary defense of “well-meaning” brethren, who benignly (?) say: he means it in a good sense. I desire neither their sympathy nor their support. What will it profit me in that day when the Lord shall judge me to find me a faithful servant, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, if mere men have judged me faithful. Rather will I give all diligence to rightly divide the Word. Then I know that I wield the sword of the Spirit, standing in the ministry which is not one of cowardly weakness, seeking the approval of man, but in such a ministry which is one of power and real sobriety!

“Classis West” cited various passages of Scripture, which they alleged supported their contention that the “Statements” condemned by Classis East were not per se heretical. We now make a beginning of studying these Scripture passages. 

We call attention John 3:14-16

This passage, which is well-known, reads as follows:“And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up; that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him, should not perish but have everlasting life.” 

We will notice the various exegetical considerations here in the text and in the contexts and try to ascertain the exact teaching of Christ here. If such a study of this text leads us to the conclusion of “Classis West” then I shall not only concede the point, but will insist that they are wholly  Eph. 1:11. And in this good pleasure God has appointed a certain “time” for everything. There was a “time” for everything. There was a “time” for Abraham to live as a pilgrim in a strange land. And, again, there was a “time” set for Moses to deliver Israel out of the land of Egypt. Thus also there is a “time” for the Son of God to be born, to labor, suffer and die for His people, and to be raised the third day and to ascend up on high. This “time” element is definitely underscored by John, the evangelist. 

a. It was the “time” when the Word, the Son of God, was made flesh and dwelt among us, so that we might see His glory, glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of ,grace and truth. John 1:14

b. It was the “time” when the Son of God came unto His own things in Israel, His own types and shadows, and the law-giving, as they all testified of Him, even as the shadow speaks of the body and reality. Hence, he came to the temple and cleansed it from evil-doers, giving them the “sign” of the breaking down of the temple of His flesh, and the rending of the veil, and of His building the same in three days. John 2:13-22. And in so doing He gives them a sign of the great Passover Lamb, of the liberation of His people from sin and shame into the glory of heaven. 

c. It was the “time” when there would be a “sign” that is contradicted and when the thoughts of many hearts are being revealed, for a falling and rising again of many in Israel. Men would believe in Him because of the signs which He was doing, but cease believing when they saw no more “signs.” John 2:23-25

d. It was a “time” when the remnant according to election would come to Jesus, believe upon Him, even though they were “teachers in Israel,” as was Nicodemus, who came to Jesus by night, because he had sensed in Him the Prophet which was foretold already by Moses. Deut. 18:15. It is the “time” when the “chief prophet” who reveals unto His church the “secret counsel and will of God concerning our redemption will teach a “leader in Israel.” 

Well may we, therefore, put the shoes from our feet as did Moses, and come near and say: speak Lord, Jesus, for Thy servant heareth!