Probably not many readers of Christian Renewalread the Standard Bearer, and so I had second thoughts about replying to the articles of Engelsma in the February 1 and February 15 issues of the SB. But for the sake of those readers who get both magazines, I believe a brief reply might be helpful, especially since Engelsma goes to great lengths in trying to refute something I wrote in the December 26 issue of CR. I will try to be brief.
1.I wrote that the “PR churches informed the Alliance that for them to attend as fraternal delegates they would have to ‘lecture us’ on common grace and other matters that divide us.” Note that although I did not say it in so many words, this presupposes that the Alliance had asked them to attend. That’s the way any unbiased reader will understand it. I see very little difference between this and the decision of the PR synod which Engelsma quotes: “That synod authorize the Contact Committee to send observers to the ARC provided that the ARC gives our observers the time to address the real issues between the ARC and the PRC.” To me they are one and the same.
2. “Fraternal delegates” (my words, JT) or “observers” (Engelsma). Again, what really is the difference? In the CRC they were called fraternal delegates; at the Alliance I guess we call them “observers.” Nothing to get hot and bothered about.
3.”Lecture us.” Yes, those are my words, and I purposely used them, and the two articles by Engelsma clearly showed the correctness of that designation. I know my PR brothers longer than yesterday. I have written letters to the SB more than once, even in the day when H.H. (Herman Hoeksema) was editor. And I pretty well know what to expect in response. That’s why I used this designation and the response was true to form. No doubt there will be more of the same in response to what I am now writing inCR. And it’s not that I mind that so much; I’m just saying that “lecture us” is the proper terminology.
4.Engelsma himself admits that the invitation from ARC “involved some desire for ‘ecumenical relations,’ if not for ‘federation.'” That’s exactly why I wrote that we can forget about federative relations with the PR’s under present conditions. That does not necessarily preclude other forms of contact and cooperation.
(Rev.) Jelle Tuininga
Lethbridge, Alberta, Canada
The Rev. Jelle Tuininga writes: “. . . we can forget about federative relations with the PR’s under present conditions.”
Not: “we can forget about federative relations with the PR’s until we sit down to discuss our doctrinal differences.”
Not even: “we can forget about federative relations with the PR’s because of doctrinal differences.”
But: “… under present conditions.”
Whatever might he mean?
“Under present conditions“!
I dissent with your editorials, “Jelle in Wonderland” (Standard Bearer, Feb. 1 and 15, 1995). I recognize the, errors in the statements made by Rev. Tuininga about the Protestant Reformed Churches, and believe they must be addressed. It is the way in which your article does this that I disagree.
The Bible gives explicit instruction on how we must respond to those who have wronged us. I Thessalonians 5:15states: “See that none render evil for evil unto any man; but ever follow that which is good, both among yourselves; and to all men.” I do not believe that the spirit of your editorial was one of humility that the Bible commands of us. I saw little, if anything, in the article that affirmed Rev. Tuininga as a brother in Christ (which at least he will acknowledge of us). The article disparaged him using a cynical and disrespectful attitude toward him, which is not necessary to point out his errors.
I believe the attempt to make your article humorous by belittling Rev. Tuininga will discredit the substance the article did have for some that read it. Being correct does not give us the license to flaunt it by ridiculing those who have erroneous beliefs. We must “bear witness to the truth,” while remembering that our disagreements with others may only be done in the spirit of humility.