The editor of Concordia devoted the greater portion of his editorial space in the. March 11th issue to ridicule the article of the undersigned written in the February 15th issue of the Standard Bearer relative to “Not Hoeksema, But Kok Changed.” In fact, along with another article written by Mr. Gary Byker of Hudsonville, Concordia takes great pleasure in playing up what it considers the mental and moral weaknesses of the undersigned supposedly reflected in the article referred to. We surmise that when the editor received the article of Mr. Byker he thought it was pretty good and since he needed material for an editorial he took the hint from Byker and developed it a little farther. The undersigned is accused of foolishly rushing into print without having first clearly understood the implications of what Dr. Daane wrote.
The undersigned said that “Rev. Daane has hit the nail squarely on the head,” but he really did .not know what he was talking about. If Rev; Schipper had the intellectual capacity of more than a fifth grader, he would not have written as he did.
It is rather revealing, when these men of the opposition write, how they like to talk about mentalities. When they do not know what to say in answer to Rev. Hoeksema, they say he is a man broken in mind and body. And when they write about a younger man and less experienced, they say he doesn’t have the mentality of a fifth grader. It may be that my mental capacity is not what it ought to be, but I do know that my heart is right, and I am wondering if these men of the opposition can say the same thing. I do believe that I know a little bit of our Protestant Reformed doctrine, and by the grace of God I have no intention of forsaking it as those of the opposition have done.
It seems to me, brethren, that it is the height of folly to waste your time writing lengthy articles in criticism of one who is so mentally deficient. And it is a serious reflection on the ability of the editor of Concordia that he allows his paper to utilize so much space to answer such “foolishness.” Personally I think my critics were not a little irked by what I wrote, and this is their way of retaliating. This is plain from the following which Rev. Hofman wrote: “Rev. Schipper would have done his readers a greater service if he had criticized Dr. Daane’s writing rather than to use it to reflect upon Rev. Kok and attempt to support Rev. Hoeksema.”
My critics should have noted the first two paragraphs of my article, then they would have understood why I did not comment on Dr. Daane’s criticism of our Protestant Reformed position, and also why I used Daane’s article to reflect on the position of Rev. Kok. In the first paragraph I told my readers that it was too early to criticize Dr. Daane since he was not yet finished with his criticism of our doctrine. We would wait, therefore, without our criticism. In the second paragraph I informed our readers that we were only quoting that part of Daane’s article that had to do with Rev. Kok. And this we did, I believe in its entirety, commenting in conclusion that not Hoeksema but Kok changed according to Daane and with this we agreed. We said, and we would say it again, Daane hit the nail squarely on the head.
What we will have to say about Daane’s understanding of Protestant Reformed theology and ethics will appear in another article. But this much is clear to this writer that in the article on which I already commented Daane has seen clearly what Kok and now I add also Hofman and Byker, do not see, or do not want to see. What is that? Simply this: If you embrace a conditional theology, you are consistent when you also embrace the First Point of 1924.
Almost one-half of the editorial is introduction. But by way of introduction Rev. Hofman writes: “It is quite evident, for example, that Dr. Daane either does not understand the basic and essential difference between the Protestant Reformed and Christian Ref. position, or else he deliberately minimizes this difference. In the very opening sentence of his article he writes: ‘The first of the Three Points of 1924 teaches that the preaching of the gospel if an offer of salvation to every individual addressed by the gospel.’ Now if that were all that the First Point taught, or if that were even the essence and thrust of the First Point, it could not have been the occasion of division in 1924. That does not state the basic thrust of the First Point nor does it point up the essential objection and discrepancy. The heart of the matter is that the First Point calls this offer grace. Dr. Daane misses the point here.”
Further Hofman writes: “The same is true when Dr. Daane writes: ‘Rev. Kok should either repudiate conditions and make common cause with Hoeksema, or he ought to allow the leaven of conditions to lead him to accept the Christian Reformed conception of the gospel as an offer to any who hear the gospel, and return to the Christian Reformed Church.’ Again if that were all there were to it, perhaps, Dr. Daane would be right and one should return. Or rather, if that were the only point of difference, the split in 1924 would never have occurred on that issue. Once again, Dr. Daane here minimizes the difference and misses the point. ‘Het puntje van het eerste punt’ concerns the ‘gunstige gezindheid’ which Dr. Daane fails to mention here again.
“And finally to quote no more, Dr. Daane bases all this on an assumption which he does not prove, when he writes: ‘He (Kok) denies common grace, but he holds to a conception of conditional gospel-address which bespeaks an offer of the gospel to all who hear, and therefore of a grace which is common.’ (Italics mine, W.H.) Now, in the first place, I doubt whether Kok would agree to have his position circumscribed as ‘an offer of the gospel to all who hear,’ but that again misses the essential point of difference and debate between us and the Christian Reformed Church. And the basic weakness of that statement by Dr. Daane is the conclusion which we underscored above: ‘And therefore of a grace that is common.’ That certainly is not the only and necessary conclusion, even to the premise of Dr. Daane. It is simply an unproven assumption with which one can certainly disagree; nor does it necessarily follow from the foregoing.
“So much by way of introduction. Rev. Kok will, undoubtedly, answer Dr. Daane himself. It seems, however, that in his eagerness to find support the Rev. Schipper did not see these very obvious discrepancies. Perhaps Rev. Schipper has never really understood this very basic and essential point. For Rev. Schipper has only high regard for Dr. Daane as a critic and judge of what is Protestant Reformed so that Schipper can boast: ‘Rev. Daane has hit the nail squarely on the head.’ Dr. Daane, according to Schipper, knows what is what and can correctly evaluate and characterize Rev. Kok’s position.”
Now it seems to me that not Daane but Hofman has missed the point. Does Rev. Hofman actually think that Dr. Daane is that ignorant that he does not know what is the basic thrust of the First Point? Or is Rev. Hofman just prating? Hofman knows better for he himself quotes Daane as saying: “He (Kok) denies common grace, but he holds to a conception of conditional gospel-address which bespeaks an offer of the gospel to all who hear, and therefore of a grace which is common.” Proof enough that Daane knows full well what the thrust of the First Point is. But Daane isn’t talking about this. He is simply talking about the addressability of the gospel. He is talking about the similarity of conditional theology and the doctrine of the offer of salvation in the preaching of the gospel. I say, therefore that when Daane writes: “He (Kok) denies common grace, but he holds to a conception of conditional gospel-address which bespeaks an offer of the gospel to all who hear, and therefore of a grace which is common,” he has hit the nail squarely on the head. Hofman, and those who agree with him, may not like this charge. They may try to camouflage the business by informing the public that they do not believe in common grace and that they are Protestant Reformed, but if they are honest and consistent they will submit to Daane’s criticism. Rev. Kok and his followers have sustained the two statements of Rev. De Wolf. The first of these is: “God promises every one of you that if you believe you will be saved.” They have been told more than once that to say this is worse than the First Point of 1924. The Christian Reformed Churches say: “God offers salvation to all on condition that they believe.” Those who have left the Protestant Reformed Churches say: “God promises salvation to all on condition that they believe.” Even one with the mentality of a fifth grader can see that that is worse. But the point of Dr. Daane is that those who maintain such gospel-address, if they are consistent, should return to the Christian Reformed Churches, or repudiate their stand on conditions. With this I agree. And this is all I meant by Daane’s hitting the nail on the head. Rev. Hofman wants his readers and Rev. Schipper to understand that because Dr. Daane does not understand our Protestant Reformed position re the Three Points nor the condition-controversy which has made separation among us, he is unable to see this point and to give any judgment respecting Rev. Kok et al. This does not sink in with me. Rev. Hofman has more to say, but this next time.