Prof Decker is professor of Practical Theology in the Protestant Reformed Seminary.
Conference on Holy Scripture
As most of our readers know, the Protestant Reformed Seminary sponsored a conference on the Reformed Doctrine of Holy Scripture. The conference was convened on October 30 and adjourned Friday, November 1. It was held at the Southwest Protestant Reformed Church, which is located just to the north of the seminary. The sanctuary was full, or nearly so, for all of the lectures and discussions. Prof. Decker gave an introductory lecture on “The Reformed Doctrine of the Inspiration of Holy Scripture”; Prof. Hanko spoke on “A Reformed Hermeneutic”; Dr. Nelson Kloosterman (Professor of Ethics at Mid-America Reformed Seminary) lectured on “Holy Scripture and Ethics”; and Prof Engelsma concluded with a lecture on “Genesis 1-11: Myth or History.” Various denominations were represented. Ministers and lay people came from the Orthodox Presbyterian Church, the Presbyterian Church in America, the Christian Reformed Church, the Reformed Church in America, the Canadian Reformed Churches, and the Protestant Reformed Churches. Attenders came from as far away as Georgia, Missouri, New York, Colorado, Mississippi, Iowa, and Washington.
The response to the conference was overwhelmingly positive. Some of those in attendance are urging the Seminar to sponsor such a conference annually.
CRC Losing Churches
At its annual synod in June of 1990 the Christian Reformed Church in North America, which numbers some 900 congregations with a total membership of some 315,000 in the U.S. and Canada, decided to open all offices of the church to women. This decision came after some twenty years of studying the issue. The decision will be implemented in 1992, assuming that the CRC synod ratifies its decision of 1990 and makes the necessary changes in the Church Order. The synod of 1991 voted by a sizable majority to maintain its decision of 1990, in spite of the fact that it was faced with numerous overtures objecting to this decision.
The CR synod of 1991 also adopted a study committee report on the creation/science issue which exonerates the Calvin College professors whose teachings and writings precipitated the study.
These two decisions have caused no small stir among the membership of the CRC. Several sizable congregations have decided to sever relations with the CRC and exist, at least for the time being, as independent congregations. Among these are First CRC (Pastor, Rev. Jelle Tuininga) in Lethbridge, Alberta and Trinity CRC in St. Catharines, Ontario. Each of these churches numbers some 150 families. Earlier 17 families from Calvary CRC in Flamborough and from Calvin CRC in Dundas, Ontario withdrew from these congregations and formed an independent Reformed Church. This congregation called Rev. Jerome Julien to be their pastor. Julien accepted the call and left the CRC (Flamborough). The congregation now has some forty families. There are other congregations who have publicly stated that if and when the decision on women is ratified in 1992 they will leave the CRC.
Within the CRC some of the conservative ministers and consistories have formed the Christian Reformed Alliance in an attempt to foster unity among themselves and to combat the liberalism in their denomination. Will another Reformed denomination be formed? How many will actually follow those who have already left the denomination? Only the Lord knows. We shall have to wait and see.
From the Protestant Reformed Churches’ perspective, we do not glory in the troubles experienced by the mother church and by our concerned brothers and sisters in that denomination. Our fervent prayer is that God will yet work a miracle, causing the CRC to re-examine the history of 1924-1926 when three ministers and their consistories were unjustly suspended and deposed (expelled from the CRC) because they in the interest of maintaining the particular character of God’s sovereign grace in Christ for the elect and the doctrine of the antithesis refused to be silent on the issue of common grace. The fact is these men – Herman Hoeksema, Henry Danhof, and George M. Ophoff – were cast out of the church even though according to the synod’s own testimony they were “reformed in the fundamentals, but with a tendency to one-sidedness.”
Hunger and Starvation
Did you know that:
* Thirty million Africans are fating starvation this year?
* Eleven million people starve to death each year?
* Thirty-four million U.S. adults are overweight?
* Americans spent $52 billion eating out in 1980; $236 billion in 1990? North Americans consume an average of 3,500 calories daily; Africans consume 2,100?
* Nineteen percent of American adults are currently on diets? Those who are constantly hungry in Ethiopia, 20%; in Sudan, 20%; and in Mozambique, 30-40% of the population?
* Five and one half million children under 12 years of age in the U.S. are regularly hungry?
In the light of the above statistics we ought to be profoundly grateful to God who provides us with work so that we have more, much more than the “bread for today” for which Jesus taught us to pray. More than this, are we concerned about the hungry and starving peoples of this world. Are we laboring with our hands in order not only to receive our daily bread, but also that we “may have to give to him that needeth”? (Eph. 4:28).
Paul K. Jewett
Dr. Jewett, professor of systematic theology at Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena, California since 1955, died on September 10 at the age of seventy-one.
A native of Johnson City, New York, Jewett was a graduate of Wheaton College and Westminster Theological Seminary (Philadelphia). He received the Ph.D. from Harvard University.
When Jewett went to Fuller he took a strong stand on the doctrine of Holy Scripture. Rejecting the suggestion that the Bible contained imperfections, Jewett wrote, “Jesus appeals to Scripture, to each part of Scripture, and to each element of Scripture as to an unimpeachable authority.”
Later in his career his views changed radically. Jewett, in fact, was influential in the shift of Fuller Seminary from an exclusively evangelical position to a neo-evangelical position which denies the inerrancy of Scripture. At the time of his death Jewett was a member of the liberal dominated San Gabriel Presbytery of the Presbyterian Church (USA).