The Hymn Question
I have a few more things to say on the above mentioned subject and, in connection with this, also on Art. 69 of the Church Order. But seeing that I have some contributions on this subject and I do not care to fill the space allotted to me with this particular subject, I hope to continue this in the next number, D.V.
How Can the Schismatics Return?
This is an important question. This question was also discussed, in connection with two protests at the last meeting of Classis East. A committee was appointed to deliberate upon this matter and to bring a report to the next meeting of Classis East, which will be held in a few weeks from now.
It stands to reason that I refrain from entering upon the work of the committee. This must wait until the committee has reported to Classis.
Nevertheless, since the matter has now become public, I can, without my comment, publish the different protests as far as space permits.
And, besides, I can also give an answer to the question that is asked in the title of this editorial: how can the schismatics return?
The answer to this question is briefly: they must make confession of whatsoever sins they committed.
What are these sins? They are enumerated in a letter sent to them by our Synod as follows:
1. You have for the last five years or more, defended and supported those who preached and defended the heretical statements, namely, “God promises to everyone of you that if you believe you will be saved”; and, “Our act of conversion is a prerequisite to enter the Kingdom of Heaven.” These statements are really worse than the Three Points of Kalamazoo. Every one feels at once that a promise of God is greater and warmer than any offer. An offer needs acceptance; but a promise depends on nothing but the faithful Godhead for its realization.
2. Some of your ministers have gone over to the Christian Reformed Church or are in the process of returning.
3. The conferences with the Christian Reformed Church show clearly that your leaders are willing to compromise the truth not only but accept in toto the Three Points of Kalamazoo.
4. Fourth, because of your initiative we are deprived of churches and parsonages which were erected and dedicated to the promulgation of Prot. Ref. truth.
5. Fifth, you have withdrawn your children from the wonderful system of Prot. Ref. Chr. Education; you have cancelled the very Standard Bearer of the truth you loved so much, and you have taken away your support from the Reformed Witness Hour.
6. Sixth, you have repudiated the Declaration of Principles which contains everything we have held dear for decades.
These are the sins they who desire to return to us must confess.
We understand very well that there is difference of degree in their guilt according to various circumstances. But, surely, if anyone should condemn what was done by our Churches in 1953 he or she should not be accepted as member of our Churches.