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REV. TUININGA ON REPROBATION ACCORDING T0 THE CANONS OF DORDT. 

The subject of reprobation received considerable attention in The Outlook of June, 1976. In an article, entitled: The Canons of Dordt on Reprobation, Rev. Jelle Tuininga, writes, among other things, the following (page 29):

As far as the silence of the pulpits in regard to reprobation is concerned, I don’t think we have to “preach reprobation.” We have to preach the saving love of God in Jesus Christ, even as Christ came not into the world to condemn it, but to save it. At the same time we must solemnly warn people that if they do not repent and believe, the wrath of God abides on them, and if they persist in their unbelief, they will be damned. It seems to me that is the only Biblical way we may present reprobation from the pulpit. It undergirds the utmost urgency of the gospel: reprobation is a real possibility if you do not believe. And if that kind of preaching is absent from our pulpits, if the warning about the dire consequences of rejecting the gospel is not presented, then God have mercy on us. But that is not the fault then of the Canons of Dordt, and the way it talks about reprobation.

I do not intend to discuss at this time the subject of reprobation at length. I understand that the editor of our Standard Bearer intends to do this. 

I do wish to comment on this writer’s contention that the subject of reprobation need not be preached. It is true that the words, preach reprobation, appear in quotation marks. However, what the writer means, it seems to me, is clear from what he writes: “It seems to me that is the only biblical way we may present reprobation from the pulpit.” 

Will this paragraph be permitted to stand in The Outlook? This comes very close to a conditional reprobation. Any Arminian will subscribe to this. But no Arminian will subscribe to the subject of reprobation as set forth in the Canons of Dordt. Reprobation .must not be preached? I assume that Rev. Tuininga does not preach on this subject. Of course, then he does not preach on election either. And then he does not agree with what the apostle Paul says in Acts 20:27: “For I have not shunned to declare unto you all the counsel of God.” 

The only reprobation preaching Rev. Tuininga wants is to proclaim to the wicked that the wrath of God abides on them if they do not repent and believe. The fathers, however, speak of the decree of reprobation according to which the Lord sovereignly withholds from sinners this faith and repentance. That Rev. Tuininga wants this is easily understood. One simply cannot believe that God loves all men, would save all men (the Three Points of 1924) and that He does not love all men. To say the one thing simply means that one denies the other. So, believing in the Three Points, one must be silent about God’s decree of reprobation and present a proclamation of the gospel to which no Arminian can possibly object. Rev. Tuininga writes: “And if that kind of preaching is absent from our pulpits, then God have mercy upon us.” To Rev. Tuininga I would say: “If this be the kind of preaching which prevails in your church, may God have mercy upon you.” The Formula of Subscription certainly requires of you that you maintain the Reformed Creeds, and this includes the divine decree of reprobation. 

QUEEN ELIZABETH’S COUP D’ETAT 

In CHRISTIAN BEACON of Thursday, July 15, 1976, Vol. XLI, Number 23, page 1, the following article appears under the above heading, and we quote:

Queen Elizabeth II representing the British people has negotiated a coup d’etat of the greatest historical significance. The tragedy of the Bicentennial is that the Bible verse inseparably attached to the Liberty Bell has been removed from the new Liberty Bell which is to perform the functions of the old. Coming for the main purpose of presenting the new bell, she offers in the glamour of pomp and ceremony an emasculated gift, one that separates God and His Word from the faith of the nation and the struggle of those who won the independence. She then proceeds to be honored in the White House as she dances with the successor of George Washington the next day.

A God-fearing people cannot accept this. The speed with which she accomplished her coup, the shock tremors which now shake the nation, call for a placement upon that bell of the words of

Leviticus 25:10:

“Proclaim liberty throughout all the land unto all the inhabitants thereof.” Out battle cry echoing from Valley Forge is “No Bible; no bell!” “No God; No Liberty.”

I do not wish to comment upon this so-called Coup d’Etat of Queen Elizabeth. I do not know whether this was deliberate on the part of the queen of England. I do wish to make a few remarks about the statement: “A God-fearing people cannot accept this.” And, also on page 1 of this issue of Christian Beacon Dr. Carl McIntire writes, and I quote: “The whole independence struggle was built upon the truth of God and the liberty He offers.” This I cannot accept. 

First of all, our fathers, who engaged in the struggle for independence, stated among other things, that all men, have the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. This is surely contrary to the teachings of the Word of God. Man has right to nothing. All men are under divine condemnation. The right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness is the possession solely of the people of God and only for the sake of the atoning suffering and death of Jesus Christ, our Lord. 

Secondly, is our country a God-fearing people? It seems to me that the most optimistic would dispute this. Apart from the terrible scandals which rock our country time and again, one fact stands out among many: our country is characterized by a terrible desecration of the sabbath day. This does not only apply to the common people; it is also characteristic of those who sit in the high places of authority. And they all seem to use the Name of the Lord in vain. 

Thirdly, in connection with that quotation from Leviticus 25, only part of that verse appeared upon the old liberty bell. The text also speaks of the fiftieth year, which would be a jubilee unto Israel. I do not believe that they who inscribed this text, or a part of it, upon the old liberty bell understood this text from Leviticus 25. And I also fear that the Christian Beacon understands this liberty in the national sense of the word. This, however is not the meaning of liberty as according to the scriptures. The Word of God knows only one liberty or freedom, and that is the freedom wherewith we are made free by the Son of God. This is liberty, the, freedom of the service of the living God, to serve the only God unhampered and unmolested. (Incidentally, we recommend to our readers the article of Harry Langerak in our Beacon Lights of June-July, 1976.) 

TORIES AND LOYALISTS 

Attention is called to this subject in CHRISTIANITY TODAY of July 2, 1976, page 6. In our country we call these people who did not support the American Revolution Tories. Elsewhere, as in England and in Canada, they are called Loyalists because they remained loyal to the king of England. This is an interesting article. We quote only a small part of it:

Colonial Americans who remained loyal to Great Britain during the Revolution have only recently become a subject of serious study. For a very long time, writers on American history perceived the Revolution much as the original patriots did. So long as the virtue of the patriot cause and the magnitude of British evil were accepted without question, the historian could look upon colonial Tories only as sadly deluded, stubbornly obnoxious, and crassly self-serving lackeys of the Bristish tyrants. And from a religious perspective, belief in the manifest righteousness of the patriot effort prevented later Americans from being able to understand how a colonist could be both a genuine believer and a Tory.

There were, however, Christian roots to the Loyalist point of view. The political commitments of the Christian Loyalists may have to be rejected, but a study of their religious perspective can enlighten American Christians who are concerned about sorting our loyalties to God, church, and country.

We will not comment on the question whether the political commitments of these Christian Loyalists may have to be rejected. But we do well to hesitate in our condemnation of people who acted as they did because they were loyal to the king of England. The scriptures surely justify obedience to the authorities, as in Romans 13, and they do not support revolution. I believe it is proper that we, in our history courses, try to understand these Loyalists during the American Revolution. 

THE DUTTON APPEAL 

This DUTTON APPEAL was treated by the recent Christian Reformed Synod. The Rev. Peter De Jong discusses this decision of the synod in The Outlook of July, 1976, beginning on page 2 of this issue. We will now quote from this article.

The Dutton Appeal—Whether the denomination will permit its officers to question or deny events recorded in the Bible, and therefore deny the Bible’s claims to its own inerrancy, came out even more plainly in the Synod’s treatment of the Dutton appeal.

That church appealed against a Classis Grand Rapids East decision to approve the ordaining of a candidate after he had said under examination that he did not believe that the serpent spoke to Eve as reported in

Genesis 3

and that the earthquake reported in

Matthew 28

should be understood as an eschatological symbol and not necessarily as a fact. The grounds for the appeal of Dutton were as follows:

We will not quote these grounds at this time. The Dutton Appeal presented five grounds. These grounds are potent. They cannot be refuted. We now continue with our quotation.

The Dutton church, following proper procedure, appealed to Synod, not against a man, but against a decision of the Classis it believed was wrong. Synod had to decide whether the decision of the Classis was right or wrong. Synod, made aware of the seriousness of the matter by the clearly worded appeal and many speeches of its delegates, rejected the appeal and thereby, in fact, said that the Classis decision was right. Even though it deliberately rejected the several proposed grounds which said the candidate’s views were orthodox, it sustained the decision to ordain him. 

This has developed into a test case. Even the Grand Rapids Press sensed the importance of the decision, it headlined its report, “Dutton Appeal Provides the Drama As Curtain Falls on CRC Synod.” What does the Synod’s decision tell the church and the world? (1) It says that the Christian Reformed Church will permit a man to enter its ministry even when in his examination he denied facts reported in the Bible. (2) It says (as the grounds of the appeal intimated) that one entering our ministry may interpret his confession (Belgic Confession, Art. V) that he believes “without any doubt all things contained in” the Holy Scriptures to mean that he need not believe all things contained in them. (3) It means that the warnings the 1972 Synod issued even in the controversial and at some points ambiguous “Report 44” “against the use of any method of biblical interpretation which excludes or calls into question . . . the event character . . . of biblical history, thus compromising the full authority of Scripture as the Word of God” (Acts 1972, p. 69, Art. 52, 3e) is not maintained by the Christian Reformed Synod today. (4) It means that our churches in officially permitting men who deny or question matters taught in the Bible to enter office, therefore have no valid ground on which to deny to others the right to hold or teach further departures from Bible teachings. (5) It means that we are well on the way toward catching up with our increasingly liberal mother churches in the Netherlands, perhaps where they were in 1967. 

One delegate, Rev. Stuart Pastine, after the decisive vote had been taken, proposed a motion that Synod declare that the event-character of the serpent in

Genesis 3

and the earthquake in

Matthew 28

must be regarded as facts.

The chairman, somewhat arbitrarily, it appeared, ruled this out of order. How sad! This is surely what this decision of the CRC Synod tells the church and the world. This is exactly what one might expect after that Synod adopted Report 44. Unless these, churches repent, they will only continue to develop in the way of heresy and departure from the Word of God. 

DR. PREUS TRANSFERS TIETJEN HERESY CASE

In Christian News, Monday, July 19, page 1, the following article appears:

“Dr. Preus transfers Tietjen heresy case” is the title of a story in the July 15 St. Louis Globe Democrat. The paper reported: “A decision on the heresy case against the. Rev. John H. Tietjen, who was suspended in 1973 as president of Concordia Seminary in Clayton, has been referred to another officer by the Rev. Dr. Jacob A. O. Preus, conservative president of the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod. 

“Dr. Preus said he took the action ‘because it is a well-known fact that I have been publicly identified as one who has been in disagreement. with Dr. Tietjen throughout the controversy in the synod. I have come to the conclusion that any further action ought not to be decided upon by myself.’ 

“THE CASE has now been turned over to Dr. Theodore Nickel, third vice president of the Synod.” 

According to the Globe, “Dr. Nickel, who has been a vice president of the synod since 1962, said he plans to meet with all individuals involved in the case before he reaches a decision.”