By the grace of God, my wife, daughter and I, as well as two friends from Ohio, were able to attend the recent conference celebrating the 400th anniversary of the Synod of Dordt, with its focus on the Canons of Dordt. We cannot begin to express our deep thankfulness to all parties that were involved in this event.
I cannot say enough as to how well the conference was done, how hard the host church worked for the conference, how excellent the presentations were and how much work went into those talks. I was even impressed by the youth orchestra!
Two items are of special note: first, it was an excellent idea to invite the foreign pastors. Our family has prayed for many of these men for years. But it was truly edifying for us (and for those who attended!!) to be able to speak with these men, to hear from them of their concerns and prayer requests, and to put a face to a name. It also gave us opportunity to tell them in person that we are praying for them, and that they have (and will have) the support of the church.
Second, this conference gave us the opportunity to link arms, as it were, with those Reformed men of the Synod, who stood for truth 400 years ago. I must confess that I cannot remember which PRC Seminary professor made the following statement to me Thursday night: “This is probably the most important conference we have done.” At the time, I didn’t realize how important this conference was. But upon reflection over the next few days, I came to see that he was absolutely correct. This is not to say that the earlier conferences were not important or appreciated. Not at all. But this conference was important, not only for what it was celebrating, but because in our remembrance, we, like our spiritual fathers so many years ago, are standing up against heresy today, just as they did 400 years ago. This conference provided the opportunity for us, in the twenty-first century, to declare to the world, “Here we stand. As they stood 400 years ago, may we also stand by the grace of God.”
The speakers did an excellent job of reminding us of the issues with which the Canons were concerned. But they also reminded us that this conflict is still alive and well, even within the present-day Reformed community as a whole. There needs to be a vibrant witness to the Canons today. And that is why it was important to be at this conference at this time. By the grace of God, we were a testimony to all, to present-day Arminians, to those who are nominally Reformed, to those Reformed who still hold to common grace. And if I may be so bold, we were a testimony even to the heavens, that we, like our fathers before us, value these doctrines, that we stand for the these doctrines, and that we, if need be, will die for these doctrines—doctrines which are nothing more than “the explanation of some points” of the gospel of Jesus Christ.
I cannot put into words how special the PRC is to me and my family. God has greatly blessed the PRC. I genuinely hope that the people of the PRC understand that. The blessings that God has bestowed on the PRC have gone far beyond its initial influence. Again, I am deeply grateful that we were able to attend.
May the Lord continue to prosper the godly work of the Protestant Reformed Churches.
Respectfully, in Christ,
Lee Carl Finley
East Sparta, Ohio