LUTHERANS DEBATE BIBLICAL AUTHORITY
Also this article appears in the Banner of May 7, 1976, and we quote:
The faculty of controversial “Seminex” (seminary in exile) has recently authorized the ordination of woman to the ministry. Faculty members of “Seminex” use as the basis for their argument the contention that the Bible is time-and-culture oriented. Therefore, it is possible to reinterpret the passages in the Bible which the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod has repeatedly used to forbid the ordination of woman to the ministry. . . .
Dr. Martin Scharlemann of Concordia Seminary, St. Louis, said the following at a 1972 convention: “The major problem in this divergence between the two church bodies is not so much the matter of ordaining women as that of the nature of Biblical authority. That is where the real division is between them and us. . . .”
Yes, we, too, are of the conviction that the major problem concerns the nature of Biblical authority. To maintain that the Bible is time-and-culture oriented must lead to and implies the destruction of the Word of God. People refuse to listen to what the Lord has to say unto them. Man would place himself above these divine scriptures, determine what must be embraced and what must be rejected. This is hopeless. And, this is also a clear indication that “Seminex” has departed from the inspired scriptures.
THE CHURCH’S ABORTION BUSINESS
This article appears in the PRESBYTERIAN JOURNAL of April 14, 1976, page 12. We quote the following:
A little item in the report of the treasurer to the General Executive Board of the Presbyterian Church US caught our eye and revived memories.
The item: $10,000 received for COTA.
Another contribution to the Committee on Therapeutic Abortions (COTA) to keep the Church in the wholesale business.
That word “Therapeutic” represents an all too familiar type of hypocrisy. The hundreds upon hundreds of abortions paid for by the Presbyterian Church US, for the most part are “therapeutic” only in the sense that it is therapeutic to a teenager or a college girl that her parents not know the result of her indiscretion.
Just how much money has been spent by the Church for abortions, just how many have been performed under the Church’s benevolence and who has “benefited” is one of the most closely guarded secrets in the denomination’s program.
Nobody is talking and no figures are ever released.
How sad! we agree with the concluding paragraph: “This program is one of the sadder aspects of the life of the PCUS (Presbyterian Church, U.S.). It is a business for which no Christian in the PCUS has an excuse before God.
THE BASIC ISSUE AT THE CRC SYNOD
The editor of The Outlook refers to this basic issue in the June, 1976, issue of that magazine. He writes, page 2, and we quote:
The 1976 Agenda for Synod (CRC Synod meeting June 8 to 18) is a volume of 541 pages. It may seem presumptuous of me to attempt to say what the basic issue at this Synod will be—but I feel conscience bound to take that risk and to attempt to do so. The basic issue at this Synod will be the issue of the Bible.
Beyond a doubt, it is becoming increasingly apparent among us that the matter of the inspiration, the infallibility, the inerrancy, and the authority of the Bible remains a piece of unfinished business. Notwithstanding the adoption of Report 44 in 1972, it is or should be obvious that we are not of one mind.
Let no one doubt the seriousness of this.
With this we can certainly agree. It is certainly true that the Christian Reformed Church is faced with this problem.
And is it not appalling that a reformed synod must debate this issue! How wonderful it would be if the CRC synod would maintain the infallibility and inerrancy of the divine scriptures, that they are the infallible and unerring Word of God from Genesis to Revelation! Is it not appalling that the matter of the inspiration, the infallibility, the inerrancy, and the authority of the Bible remains a piece of unfinished business, that they are not of one mind in that church. The difficulty is that it is not merely a matter of unfinished business. The tragedy is that the CRC has erred in the past, has made some very bad decisions, is tolerating among its leaders men who have erred as far as these divine scriptures are concerned. That church must not only maintain that the Scriptures are, in their entirety, the Word of God, but it must repent of these evils, repudiate these bad decisions, and return to the living God and His infallible Word. And when has a church ever returned from an evil course? This is the appalling situation in the Christian Reformed Church today. Of course, we would rejoice were this to happen. But we are afraid that the situation is hopeless.
REV. PETER DE JONG’S ANSWER TO E. WIERENGA.
This, too, appears in The Outlook of June, 1976, pages 30-31. A certain E. Wierenga of Neerlandia, Alberta TOG IRD, had commented on an article “Calling, and Reprobation,” written by Dr. M. J. Amtzen and translated by Rev. Peter De Jong. In his answer Wierenga comments on the exegesis given of the texts, I Timothy 2:4 and II Peter 3:9. The brother writes that, in his opinion, these texts refer exclusively to the people of God and not to everybody. He also refers to what we read in Rtimans 9:11-13, and then he also calls attention to Calvin’s Institutes. Of Calvin he writes that the reformer is very plain on these texts in hisInstitutes, and that he (Calvin) does not see any indication in the Bible that God wants all men, that is head for head, to be saved. And now the Rev. Peter De Jong replies to this article of E. Wierenga.
In his reply, first of all, Rev. De Jong maintains that II Peter 3:9 refers, not to the elect, but to everybody, head for head, and he also declares that Calvin, in his explanation of Ezekiel 33:11, applies this to all men, head for head. How sad that Rev. De Jong should interpret II Peter 3:9 as referring to all men! Rev. De Jong is a conservative, maintains that the Bible is infallible and without error in its entirety. How sad that he should offer this interpretation of a text such as II Peter 3:9, which so obviously and clearly refers exclusively to the elect. How sad that he explains this text in such a way as to make impossible the coming of the Lord. O, I do not say that De Jong does not believe in the coming of the Lord; but his interpretation of the text makes that coming impossible. Fact is, Peter is speaking of the coming of the Lord, and that He can come only when all men shall have been brought to repentance. So, if Christ can return only if all men have been brought to repentance, He will never come, because all men will never repent. Unless Rev. De Jong believes that Christ will finally come in spite of the fact that all men did not repent, inasmuch as God at least tried to bring them to repentance. Scripture knows nothing of such a God. E. Wierenga is surely correct in his interpretation of I Timothy 2:4 and II Peter 3:9.
As far as De Jong’s reference to Calvin is concerned, for that reformer’s explanation of Ezekiel 33:11, I advise this E. Wierenga to obtain Calvin’s Calvinism, published on January 1, 1552 (Calvin was born in 1509). In this book Calvin writes on two subjects: Eternal Predestination of God and The Secret Providence of God. This book is full of the reformer’s repudiation of a general, well meaning offer of the gospel. In this book Calvin also calls attention to Ezekiel 33:11.
There is one more matter in this reply of Rev. De Jong to which I would call attention. On page 30, middle column, he writes, and we quote:
We too encounter people who fear that they are not elect and that therefore the gospel call and promise are not really intended for them. Such misunderstandings are not helped when some who are deeply concerned about maintaining the biblical doctrine of election, because of that concern, hesitate to say that God through His gospel sincerely calls all kinds of people (whether elect or not) to repent and turn to Him. Yet we find the Bible again and again extending such a call and commanding us to do the same. The Apostle Paul, for example, when speaking to the Athenian philosophers, some of whom turn away mocking, told them that God “commandeth men that they should all everywhere repent”
Rev. De Jong, are you referring in these words to our Protestant Reformed Churches? If so, you have not written the truth. Then you have misrepresented our churches, and I dare say that you have misrepresented us deliberately. You are a well-informed man, and you certainly know that you have drawn a caricature of us. Rev. De Jong, we believe in the general proclamation of a particular gospel. This has been stated by us countless times, and this is also proclaimed in all our pulpits every Lord’s Day. We deny Acts 17:30? We deny that the Lord sincerely calls all kinds of people to repent and turn to Him? If you, Rev. De Jong, referred to us, shame on you. What you should do is apologize in The Outlook and inform your readers that you have misrepresented us. This would be yo~rr Christian duty. Yes, our churches maintain the biblical doctrine of election, and we also maintain the biblical doctrine of reprobation. You know that we do this. Do your churches today maintain the biblical doctrine of double predestination? The Rev. Tuinenga does not believe that the doctrine of reprobation need be preached. And now you inform your readers and also E. Wierenga that our churches hesitate to say that God through His gospel sincerely calls all kinds of people to repent and turn to Him? I assure brother E. Wierenga that this is not true of our Protestant Reformed Churches.