Dear Prof. Hoeksema:
You quote Rev. Kuyvenhoven in the Standard Bearer of Nov. 15, 1981 as having said in the Banner editorial of Oct. 26, 1981: “The views of the Reformers are no longer ours. And the kind of thinking about the church that is recorded in the Belgic Confession is no longer functional in the Christian Reformed Church.” Further, you quote Kuyvenhoven that “the church had an artificial unity before” the time of the Reformation, but that “it has suffered a genuine disunity ever since.”
Now really, after all these years of apostasy in the CRC is it any wonder and isn’t it very clear what is taking place? After all, when Kuyvenhoven tells us that Articles 27-29 are no longer functional for him and his church, it ought to be as plain as the sun in the heavens that they are fast losing the marks of the true church. The CRC has for 58 years been in the process of losing those marks that identify the true church. It is exactly what our fathers said would happen because of 1924.
The splintering and the suffering of genuine disunity of the true church is not true. To prove that this is correct, we have the very articles of the Confession which Kuyvenhoven says are no longer functional for his church. Article 27 says that “this holy church. . .is joined and united with heart and will, by the power of faith, in one spirit.” Article 28 says “that all men are in duty bound to join and unite themselves with it; maintaining the unity of the church.” The true church is certainly not genuinely disunited. Those splinters Kuyvenhoven is looking at and calls “disadvantaged” are the splinters of reformation that are left behind when the church reforms and when those splinters finally realize that the confessions are no longer functional and relevant. I believe that Articles 27-29 of the Confession are functional for God’s people; and Kuyvenhoven ought to take the instruction to heart and look where he may find those marks of the church. There is no unity where the pure preaching is not maintained, the sacraments are not administered as appointed by Christ, and discipline is not exercised. Kuyvenhoven, as Prof. Hoeksema quotes him, is talking about the Confession, Art. 27-29. He takes these Articles and reduces them to “views” and “thinking” of the Reformers. The Confessions are not merely views and thinkings about the true and false church. They are the Confessions that have been loved and held by God’s people to be true on the basis of God’s Word. Kuyvenhoven does not have the “right” to call them “views” and “thinking.” On the basis of these Confessions the people of God not only can distinguish, but these two churches “must be distinguished.” (Art. 29) They are binding and correct. If this is “absolutist thinking,” we have these Confessions, nevertheless, as the expression of our faith.
Your brother in Christ,
As is plain from my editorial of 11/15/’81, I am in agreement with the thrust of this letter. Nevertheless, I must caution that my statement stands: “The views and statements of the Reformers are not necessarily correct in every instance; and they certainly do not constitute binding doctrine in any Reformed church.” The Confessions are binding, not the statements of any Reformer. The latter are binding only when they coincide with Scripture and the Confessions.