These remarks by the board of the RFPA are only for those who appreciate The Standard Bearer as a witness of the Reformed truth.
At the annual meeting of the RFPA, held September, 1945, our editor in a speech gave the following answer to the question: “But what do we mean, when in this connection, we speak of the Reformed truth and of witnessing for it through The Standard Bearer? To be sure, by Reformed truth we mean the truth of Scripture as it is briefly” and officially expressed in the Reformed Standards, particularly in the Three Forms of Unity: the Netherland Confession; the Heidelberg Catechism, and the Canons of Dordrecht. The Standard Bearerintends to be confessionally Reformed. However, this is not to be understood in the sense of a dead orthodoxy, that is perfectly satisfied with what our fathers developed and expressed 6f the truth, and proceeds from the assumption that they have said the last word about it. Such an attitude would be the expression of a conservatism without life and love of the truth such as our Reformed fathers certainly would have condemned. No, we do not intend merely to repeat, and rise in defense of what has been officially laid down in our Standards. But taking our stand on the basis of those Confessions, we make it our aim to continue in the direction plainly indicated by them, to criticize much that is offered as Reformed truth, and is not, and, always endeavoring to maintain the very heart of the Reformed faith as our starting point, to advance to a purer and richer development and expression of the truth as such, and its application to every phase of the life of the believer in this present world.
The Standard Bearer wants to send forth a trumpet blast of no uncertain sound.
It purposes to send forth a testimony that is very specifically Reformed.
With regard to this specifically Reformed truth, we may assert that its very heart is found in the idea of the covenant of God. It is true that, in order to give a truly Reformed testimony, this truth concerning the covenant of God dare not be divorced from the doctrine of sovereign predestination. Election has rightly been called the car ecclesiae, the heart of the church. And yet, fundamental though this truth may be, and though its heartbeat must be discernible in every part of the doctrine proclaimed by one that lays claim to being Reformed, it is not the most peculiar, not the most distinctive of Reformed principles. There are other denominations, besides those of the Reformed persuasion, that adhere to the truth of God’s sovereign predestination. But the doctrine of the covenant of God is a distinctively Reformed heritage. The reason for this fact, that it was in Calvinistic circles alone that the truth concerning God’s covenant was developed and given a central place in the system of doctrine, is that in those circles more than in any other strong emphasis was placed on the glory of God as the sole purpose of all the work of God, both in creation and in re-creation, and that this glory is realized in the highest possible degree in the revelation of God’s covenant. Especially is this true if the very essence of that covenant is found, not in the idea of a pact or agreement, or in a way of salvation, but in the fellowship of God’s friendship, the highest revelation of the covenant life of the triune Himself. When, therefore, we say that it is the purpose of The Standard Bearerto send forth a specifically Reformed testimony, we mean especially that it purposes to witness concerning the covenant of God, as He Himself realizes it through Jesus Christ our Lord, according to His sovereign good pleasure, in the way of sin and grace, and along the antithetical lines of election and reprobation; and that, too, in connection with the organic development of all things. Of this truth The Standard Bearer means to be a witness.”
Who could have foreseen, at the time these words were spoken that the church must needs experience the unrest and upheaval which it did before 10 years had elapsed. We may thank the Lord that The Standard Bearer, throughout this history of heresy and schism remained true to its calling to witness for the Reformed truth.
History teaches us that Geneva in Calvin’s day when it was the stronghold of Reformed truth was also at the same time the hot bed of heresy. This shows that where the truth is faithfully proclaimed, there too, you will find the greatest reaction: it is there that the devil will do his utmost to destroy. It is just there, where the decisive battles of the church are waged.
Now the part that The Standard Bearer has played in keeping its readers informed, with regard to the heresy and schism in our churches and the certain sound which it has trumpeted also in the past ten years certainly cannot be over-emphasized.
Again, let us humbly thank the Lord that it pleased Him to use The Standard Bearer to battle for the truth against all that sought to destroy the truth and the church.
The Reformed Free Publishing Association need not be ashamed of The Standard Bearer’s part in this battle. Neither need any member of our churches be ashamed of the battle, for it is the Lord’s battle. Really this battle is waged continuously and will continue to wage till the, judgment day. And because it is the Lord’s battle therefore lovers of the truth never tire reading accounts of it.
Think of 1924: who does not love to read of that important engagement and the wonderful way God preserved His truth and how the Lord caused to be born our Protestant Reformed churches in order to maintain that truth. To us that is a glorious history. The exponents of common grace would like to skip over this history or forget it if possible, for the Lord put them to shame.
The same can be said of the church’s recent engagement; when the exponents of conditional theology with their heresy and mutiny sought to destroy the truth and the church. The Lord’s wonderful preservation of His truth and church in this recent engagement should again fill us with thanksgiving.
It was the Lord and His truth that again put the adversary to shame. To us a glorious history. A history that schismatics would like to forget or at least minimize. This is very evident from their disinterest in the court records, for example.
This goes to show, whether we like it or not (and we don’t, our flesh militates against it) that the struggle is between the truth and the lie: between the church and that which calls itself and pretends to be church.
The board of the RFPA feels that members of the association and readers of The Standard Bearershould encourage our young people, also more of our young married people to subscribe to The Standard Bearer and to read it.
It is important that our young people are informed as to the issues of the “Battle of the Ages” as it is being fought in our own life time.
The Standard Bearer provides a running account of this never ending struggle.
We urge our readers to preserve each issue by having them bound every year. This the board will do for you at a cost of $3.50 per volume*. God grant that The Standard Bearer may serve as a pillar of remembrance for His wonderful work in preserving the truth of His word.
Finally the board wishes to extend to all members of the RFPA a word of advice and encouragement: the same words which ended the above quoted speech ten years ago. “Let us marvel with a grateful heart that our God gave to so small an organ of so small a group as we are, such a wide place.
And considering what God has done for us in the past let us not grow weary, but continue, advance, and work while it is day ere the night cometh in which no man can work.”
The privilege is yours.
The Board of the RFPA