Rev. H.C. Hoeksema Editor of The Standard Bearer
Dear Brother in Christ:
As a true Calvinist committed to our Reformed faith, I am deeply disturbed by what happened at the 1968 Synod of the Christian Reformed Church meeting at Grand Rapids, Michigan this June. Its decisions were characterized by (1) increased compromise on doctrinal defection; and (2) increased ecumenical and social involvement.
In the area of doctrinal defection there was a refusal to make doctrinal pronouncements and the following overtures were denied:
a. Appoint a committee to study in the light of Scripture and the creeds the teachings made publicly by some professors and instructors in the Gereformeerde Kerken van Nederland, such as the denial of infallibility of Scripture by Drs. Ridderbos and Berkouwer and, the 1967 Lunteren Synod repudiation of the 1926 Synod of Assen, which upheld the historicity of the Genesis record.
b. Clarify the Church’s teaching on limited atonement by referring the churches to the Compendium of Christian Religion (approved by the Synod of 1957), Question and Answer 41, which reads, “For whom did Christ die? Christ died for all those whom God in sovereign grace has chosen to be His people.” Instead Synod’s compromising 1967 decision in the case of Professor Harold Dekker was reaffirmed.
c. Discipline a Calvin College instructor of theology and religion, who in a sermon on Matthew 25:31-46 stated that the basis for our judgment and salvation is determined by our works (Social welfare) and that faith, orthodoxy, piety and obedience are not essential. This man was white-washed and reappointed as instructor.
d. All those who are teaching at Calvin College and Seminary be forbidden from all teaching contrary to Holy Scripture, such as present day tendencies regarding infallibility of Scripture and a form of theistic evolution which will destroy our historically established Reformed faith and doctrine.
Two significant decisions were made by Synod on ecumenical and social involvement:
(1) Denial of a request by the Tiv Church of Nigeria, Africa (scene of CRC mission) for a Reformed missionary seminary for the training of their ministers. Instead Synod chose to support the ecumenical existing Theological College of Northern Nigeria. This action could ruin the Reformed witness of the flourishing Tiv Church. Which together with sending observers to the World Council general assembly at Uppsala, Sweden is a definite step by the CRC to increased ecumenical involvement.
(2) Social involvement on the race issue. Synod made seven strong deliverances on racism with the proviso that those found guilty of racist practices be dealt with “according to the provisions of the Church Order regarding Admonition and Discipline.” In other words, penalties are to be invoked for infractions of the social gospel, but not for the true gospel. The Orthodox Presbyterian fraternal delegate to the CRC 1968 Synod assured them we need the CRC’s heritage of the past, but warned of the dangerous ecumenical encroachments on the world scene. One thing is sure. We do not need the foregoing type trends so sadly evident in the CRC.
Yours ever valiant for truth,
William A. De Jonge,
Montclair, New Jersey