This is what Rev. Vermeer calls the split in Redlands, California congregation. Does Vermeer mean to tell us, that they, namely, Vermeer and his followers have separated themselves from the Protestant Reformed Churches, who are become so heretical, that they can no longer go with them?
Is that how a Reformation usually works? Then not two groups have formed, but one, the other simply continues. If Vermeer calls this a Reformation, then Vermeer and his group is not the Protestant Reformed Church of Redlands, California any more but the other who has remained faithful to the Protestant Reformed truth.
How can he still maintain to be the Protestant Reformed Church? He calls this Reformation “a return to Scriptures as the only rule of faith and walk.” Later he contradicts this statement by stating that the truth is preached as it always has been. Further, he states, “In Redlands there has been no departure from our confessions, though our consistory refused to vote for the “Declaration of Principles.” You see that was one of those “pet theological notions of men.”
Also Vermeer writes, “We recognize solely the word of God, as that Word is interpreted, and brought to us thru the generations of the past, in the “Three Forms of Unity.” Of course, not as we understand the “Three Forms of Unity,” but as others, away with all distinctiveness. Let’s be open minded, let’s be tolerant, let’s open the doors for all so-called Reformed groups, regardless of their Arminian conceptions.
“Never a protest brought?” What about the criticisms, why refusing of handshaking, why all this opposition, because the preaching was too distinctively Protestant Reformed?
“But they have finally “split” from us, and have organized themselves into a small congregation, claiming to be the Protestant Reformed Church of Redlands.” Which they are, and Vermeer knows it. If this is not so, what becomes of his Reformation idea.
Then as with a sigh of relief, he exclaims with joy to be free to preach unfettered and unhindered the whole counsel of God. Of course, he has done that always, but now also with all these other glorious things, as responsibility, conditions, pre-requisites, admonitions, exhortations, warnings, and call to repentance. What a great comfort for God’s people to hear their responsibility proclaimed, to hear what they must do, what are the conditions in the plan of salvation, what is required before we can enter into the kingdom of God.
How much more edifying, and uplifting, and encouraging, is that word of God, namely, that all is finished once and forever on the cross. That God is all, man nothing. That out of Him, through Him, and unto Him are all things. That salvation is unconditional. That faith is a unconditional gift of Grace. That before we were born, yea, before the foundations of the world, we were engraved in the palms of God’s hands. That all our works are as filthy rags. And that all is because of God’s eternal good pleasure. Call this “pet theological notions of men!”
Yes, I think others could give more facts of what has been going on in Redlands before this so-called Reformation. It looks to me more like a Deformation. But Vermeer may call it that, if he realizes that he and his group are so reformed (?) that they severed themselves from the Protestant Reformed Churches.
His conclusion is really interesting. They must especially become active in mission work, in all the world, preaching the gospel. And the GOSPEL is “good tidings” of what? Of these great things of which they are so glad to be able to preach? No, not in the first place, what God in Christ has done for a lost sinner, but what that sinner must do, what is first required of him, etc. and not with “a chip on our shoulders” namely distinct Reformed doctrine.
Finally he writes, “Also we should seek contact with any and all Reformed groups, who stand with us on the Three Forms of Unity as basis.” Regardless of how they explain them. “Contend for the faith.” What faith? As a Condition? “More toleration.” With what? Arminianism? “We must reorganize our Theological School.” (we, meaning Vermeer, etc.) “Our professors must be well-rounded and versed in all the Scriptures, as well as in our Reformed doctrine. We have such men in our churches.” What he means with well-rounded he does not say, but we shudder, for the future generations.
But God takes care of His church, and. not Vermeer and not others like him.
—H. De Jong