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The readers will recall that in an earlier number of the “Concordia” (Dec. 7, 1951) Rev. Petter appeared in print with a statement to the effect that synod in no sense heeded the request of the Mission Committee for the kind of Formula that it had in mind. Here are Rev. Petter’s own words (“Concordia” Dec. 7): “It is not true in any sense that Synod heeded the request (the Mission Committee’s request for the kind of “Formula” that it had in mind—O.) One gets the impression that Synod completely forgot the request of the (Mission) committee and began to work at something altogether different.”

As the readers will recall, I replied to this charge of Rev. Petter. I exposed it for what it is—thoroughly false. But Rev. Petter makes no attempt to overturn my argument. He ignores it completely and simply repeats his charge in his later article (“Concordia” for Dec. 1). He writes: “The Synod violated the Church Order when it abandoned this request of the Mission Committee (for a Formula—O.) and brought forth an altogether different document.”

I shall now reply to Rev. Petter’s Charge anew. I shall again confront him with the steps in the process of reasoning by which I arrived at the conclusion that his charge is false. And I shall ask him squarely to face my argument at each of its steps and to declare at each step whether or not it is true.

The first step is Rev. Petter’s own statements. I quote the following from his pen, “And when (synod’s.) committee of pre-advice which was well acquainted with the work and problems of the Mission Committee, came with its pre-advice, they proposed to adopt the following expression as one which should appear in each request for organization” etc. (See below for the rest of this advice).

Having quoted point a) of this advice, Rev. Petter concludes, and I quote, “Thus far point a) of (synod’s) advisory committee. Thus it is quite plain what kind of a statement or Formula the mission committee had in mind.” (italics—O.) Let now Rev. Petter take notice of what these italicized statements from his pen assert. Is it not this: that Synod’s committee of pre-advice was well acquainted with the work and problems of the Mission Committee; and also that it is quite (mark you, quite, that is, perfectly, altogether—O.) plain from Synod’s committee of pre-advice what kind of statement or formula the Mission Committee had in mind? Is not this what these statements from Rev. Petter’s pen assert? Let Rev. Petter give answer.

B. The second step in my process of reasoning. It is this: if, as Rev! Petter says, the “Formula” that was proposed to synod by its committee of pre-advice is precisely what the Mission Committee had in mind and had requested, then it must follow that the “Declaration” is precisely what the Mission Committee had in mind and had requested. And why? Simply because the “Declaration” is—mark you, is—the very Formula proposed to Synod by its committee of preadvice clarified, improved and founded upon the Confession.

A comparison of the two will fully bear out whether or not this statement of mine is true. Let us then compare the two (the “Formula” and the “Declaration”).

   a. Both the “Formula” and the “Declaration” declare that the Protestant Reformed Churches stand on the basis of the Scriptures as the infallible Word of God and of the Three Forms of Unity.

Is this true? Let us see.

The Declaration sets out as follows, “The Protestant Reformed Churches stand on the basis of the Scriptures as the infallible Word of God and of the Three Forms of Unity.

The Formula contains this statement, “Your Committee of pre-advice advises: in re point II of the report, dealing with the matter of an adopted Form for requests for organization: to adopt . . . profession of adherence to the Three Forms of Unity and professing the Scriptures to be the infallible Word of God.”

Is it true or is it not true that both the “Declaration” and the “Formula” place the Protestant Reformed Churches on the basis of the Scriptures and of the Three Forms of Unity? Let Rev. Petter say.

   b. Both the “Declaration” and the “Formula” repudiate common grace and the Three Points of 1924.

Is this true? Let us see.

I find in the Declaration this statement, “On the basis of this Word of God and these Confessions they (the Protestant Reformed Churches) repudiate the errors of the Three Points adopted by the Synod of the Christian Reformed Churches, 1924″.

The Formula contains this statement, “Your committee of pre-advice advises to adopt . . . the denial of common grace and the Three Points of 1924.”

Is it true or is it not true that both the “Declaration” and the “Formula” repudiate common grace and the Three Points of 1924? Let Rev. Petter answer.

   c. Both the “Declaration” and the “Formula” set forth the Protestant Reformed Churches as a communion of congregations federally united in Classis and Synod on the basis of the Church Order of Dordt.

Is this true or not true? Let us see. The “Declaration” contains this statement as its close:

“Besides, the Protestant Reformed Churches:

 A. Cannot condone the action of the Reformed Churches of the Netherlands whereby:

  1. They imposed certain doctrinal decisions upon the churches synodically, making these decisions binding upon the churches before they had time to protest.
  2. And whereby they deposed many local officebearers.
  3. And they believe and maintain the autonomy of the local church.

Here the “Declaration” certainly lets it be known that the Protestant Reformed Churches are a communion of congregations federally united in Classis and Synod on the basis of the Church Order.

The “Formula” contains this statement, “Your committee of pre-advice advises (synod) to adopt . . . profession . . . of the Church Order of Dordrecht.

Is it true or is it not true that both the “Declaration” and the “Formula” profess adhesion to the Church Order of Dordrecht? Let Rev. Petter answer.

   d. Both the “Declaration” and the “Formula” declare that the promise of the Gospel includes not all the baptized but the elect baptized only, that it thus bequeaths salvation on and assures it only to them; and that therefore it is of necessity unconditional and unfailing.

Is this true? Let us see.

The “Declaration” declares and I quote, “that the promise of the Gospel is not a gracious offer of salvation on the part of God to all men, nor an unconditional offer to all that are born in the historical dispensation of the covenant, that is, to all that are baptized, but an oath of God that He will infallibly lead all the elect unto salvation and eternal glory through faith,” and further, “that the promise is unconditionally for the elect only and that it bestows the objective right of salvation not upon all the children that are born under the historical dispensation of the covenant, that is, not upon all that are baptized, but only upon the spiritual seed.” This is the essence of the teaching of the Declaration throughout.

The “Formula” contains this statement, “The promise of the Gospel, both as to the will of God to save His people and the execution of His will to save them, is not general, that is, it does not include all the baptized children of the church, but is particular, that is, it pertains only to the elect of God.”

It stands to reason that if, as the above statement declares, the promise includes only the elect baptized, it necessarily bequeaths salvation upon and assures it to the elect only and must therefore be unconditional and unfailing, an oath of God that He will infallibly lead all the elect unto salvation and eternal glory through faith.

I ask therefore, is it true or is it not true that both the “Declaration” and the “Formula” declare that the promise of the Gospel includes only the elect baptized and thus bequeaths salvation and assures it only to them and that, accordingly, it is an oath of God infallibly leading the elect unto salvation and glory through faith unconditionally? Let Rev. Petter answer.

In fine, is it true or is it not true that, as to the nature and character of their teaching, the “Declaration” is the Formula, and the Formula is the “Declaration” ? Let Rev. Petter answer. And let not only Rev. Petter give answer but likewise those in our midst who hold with Rev. Petter that such is not the case. Let them squarely face this comparison—all the statements quoted—and answer in “The ‘Standard Bearer”, or in the “Concordia”.

I maintain that from my comparison it is as plain as anything can be plain that the “Declaration” is—mark you, is—the “Formula” and that therefore, since the “Formula” is precisely what the Mission Committee had in mind, the “Declaration” is precisely what the Mission Committee had in mind; and that therefore the Missioii Committee received from Synod exactly what it had asked for; nay more, what it received from Synod is the “Formula” clarified, improved, and founded on the Confessions. For that is the “Declaration.” Let now Rev. Petter and all those who have been repeating his charges squarely face my whole argument in all its parts together with all my quotations, to be sure, and overturn it, if they can. But they cannot. Rev. Petter cannot. I anew challenge him to do so.

The sentence, “Is it true or is it not true? Let Rev. Petter answer,”—this sentence appears several times in my two articles. Let Rev. Petter face this question each time anew, and give answer. Then we will get somewhere, but not if he ignores my argument and simply repeats his charges. In a word, let us have truth and not falsehood.

I maintain that with the truth of my argument bearing down on Rev. Fetter’s charges, they fall by the board, every one of them. Let Rev. Petter disprove this statement of mine.

I just again made the statement that the “Declaration” is the “Formula” clarified, improved, and founded on our Confessions. Allow me to show how true this is,

   a. Both the “Formula” and the “Declaration” repudiate the Three Points of 1924. But in addition the “Declaration” cites these Points. This is an improvement.

   b. Both the “Formula” and the “Declaration” set forth the Protestant Reformed Churches as a communion of congregations federally united in Classis and Synod on the basis of the Church Order of Dordt. But in distinction from the “Formula” the “Declaration” clearly brings out that the Protestant Reformed Churches do not place the hierarchical construction on the Church Order, and that thus our churches also in their system of church government are truly Reformed. This certainly is a great improvement.

   c. Both the “Formula” and the “Declaration” include in the promise only the elect. But the statement contained in the “Formula”, though clear, is bungling. The “Declaration” on the other hand sets forth the matter of the character of the promise by means of sentences that possess all the virtues of a good style. This is an improvement certainly. And I now have reference not merely to the quotations from the Confessions—these certainly are clear, being, as they are, extracts from our Confessions—but to the statements affixed to these quotations as well. The “Declaration” from beginning to end and in all its parts is an excellent composition. It sets forth in unambiguous language what we as Protestant Reformed Churches believe to be the truth of our Confessions. Rev. Petter and Prof. Schilder notwithstanding. I shall make good this statement of mine in subsequent articles.

   d. Finally, the “Declaration” is largely a concatenation of quotations from the Confessions. That is its peculiar excellence. The added propositions simply recapitulate the points in the quotations.

This is the document that Synod gave to the churches for study and adoption on the coming Synod. Is the membership of our churches grateful? Not the whole of it, sad to say. Judging from their writings and oral commitments, the sole ambition of some of the clergy seems to be to induce the churches to reject the document on the coming Synod. But if these brethren succeed, we are done for as a communion of Protestant Reformed Churches.

I have need of once more repeating to Rev. Petter my question. Is Rev. Petter justified in telling his readers that Synod (1950) in no sense heeded the request of the Mission Committee for the kind of Formula that it had in mind? That Synod completely forgot the request of the Mission Committee and began to work at something altogether different? Is Rev. Petter justified in repeating this charge in his latest article? The facts being what they are, to my mind he is not justified. To my mind, these statements from his pen are amazing. Is this contention of mine true or is it not true? Let Rev. Petter face my whole argument and give answer.