In our closing remarks last time we raised the interesting and important question as to what moral right those who left us have to refuse the congregations of Chatham and Hamilton, Ontario to join them again as sister congregations in their denomination. They have no moral right to do so.
What is more, they are no able to refuse such a reunion. Instead they are obligated to contact them and seek the realization of such a reunion.
Why they are not able and why it is their solemn obligation, we will show in a later issue of the Standard Bearer.
It is now time to look back at the history through which we have gone with these things in mind.
We stand today far enough away from many of these events to be able to evaluate them properly now. And we ought to do that too.
Many of our people have been so busy looking simply at the De Wolf case and at the Schismatic Classis West case that they did not look beyond it to any great extent to see how the events of the last five or six years form one continuous line.
It must be borne in mind that although the last chapter has not yet been written, it is all one story, one event. And a relationship between the chapters and incidents in this one event can be clearly seen by anyone who will set himself honestly before them.
Every step of the way, it is now plain, the gate was being opened in our churches for the Liberated to come into these churches with their Arminian conception of the covenant promises of baptism. That gate was being opened not simply to let individuals with these heretical conceptions of God’s promise enter into our congregations, but to let groups of them organize under our name while they clung to their corrupt doctrine.
Did Rev. Kok himself not say repeatedly in his effort to have the Declaration defeated that we must not “build our denominational walls” so high?
The blustering and carnal boast made in the undersigned’s home by one of Rev. Kok’s colleagues is simply an overtone (undertone?) of this desire to lower the walls, or as we put it: to open the gate. The unspiritual and purely carnal boast was that they were not going to let the Rev. Hoeksema “knock in the head” this wonderful opportunity for our churches to grow in number and be something in this world by having the Declaration adopted. This all was a climax to the evil claim that when we had (?) a good opportunity to grow in number by contact with the Sovereign Grace Union in England, the Rev. Hoeksema “knocked it in the head.” A little later, so the evil claim continued, another opportunity presented itself when we had conferences with the German Reformed brethren, and then the Revs. Hoeksema and Ophoff “knocked that in the head.”
Indeed, the Declaration would close the gate to the Liberated. It would “knock in the head” such a carnal ambition to grow merely in numbers at the expense of the truth. It would build the denominational walls too high for the Liberated to enter with their heretical view of the covenant promise.
And to this you can also add Rev. Petter’s attempt in the Vol. 1, No. 9 copy of the Reformed Guardian to ridicule our desire to remain distinct.
These are all the chapters in one book. And the last chapter has not yet been written! But unless the next chapter is that these statements of Rev. De Wolf are condemned as literally heretical, it is not hard to predict with certainty what the last chapter shall reveal.
Denominational walls are too high?
Do people inside ever complain about that unless they want people inside who at the moment have no right to be inside?
O, they are brethren and sisters in the Lord, these Liberated. So what? Paul considered Peter to be a brother in Christ, but he rebuked him to his face. The Christian Reformed people are brothers and sisters in eh Lord. Shall we lower the fence, the denominational walls, enough to let them in with their doctrine of “common grace”?
Why must we with the Liberated who have the heresy of a promise to every baptized child?
Do we love God when men, whom we are ready to concede are also his children, spread and defend heresies and we allowed them to come into our denomination with these things to poison the minds of our own children?
Some talk so glibly of love, love, love. (Though they write in hatred and malice to us.) But does opening the gate and lowering the walls so that our own children and our own people are endangered by these poisonous theories of men manifest love to God?
Let those who would doubt the veracity of our claims turn to the official documents such as the Acts of Synod 1950. On page 52 you have part of the report of the Mission Committee in regard to that which lead to the adoption of the Declaration of Principles.
The Mission Committee had a problem which, because of the very nature of that problem, it could not and might not try to solve for itself. And so it properly sought the decision of the Synod.
The problem was this: what answer should the Mission Committee give to those members of the Liberated churches who desire to join one of our churches but refuse to give up their Arminian view of the covenant promises and of baptism, and to those groups of Liberated which desired to organize into Protestant Reformed congregations while still maintain their heretical view of the promise and of baptism?
We will quote from the Acts of Synod of 1950.
You have first of all a letter sent to the Mission Committee by one of these Liberated members. It is presented by the Mission Committee as “quite typical of repeated requests that we have received from various groups in Canada.”
We will translate freely and quote only the last paragraph, for that contains the purpose of the letter. We read this:
“It is therefore because of what I wrote above, that I comes to you and ask you for advice, information and perhaps also if possibly for help in our position. Gladly, and also as one of the most important points, would I receive clarification as to whether you would insist that those aforementioned Liberated Reformed people, who are received as confessing members of a Prot. Ref. Church, hold to your view of the covenant and of baptism, or whether they need expect no binding by you in regard to these things.”
Here is part of the letter sent to this family by the Mission Committee through its corresponding secretary: (it appears on page 53)
“. . . . we greatly appreciate the confidence shown in our churches in the fact that you express the desire to affiliate yourself with one of our churches. We are convinces that the Prot. Ref. Churches are the historical continuation of the Reformed Churches her in American. We also realize that the Prot. Ref. Churches are not identified to the Liberated Churches in the Netherlands. There are differences of historical background, and also of dogmatical emphasis, etc.
“Secondly, in answer to your question, what is binding in our Churches, the Mission Committee answers that although we do not feel that it lies within our jurisdiction to give answer to this question, we do not hesitate to express that the word of God and the Three Forms of Unity, as interpreted by us over against the theory of ‘common grace’ and also the theory of ‘general grace’, as expressed in the ‘Three Points of 1924’, are binding in our Churches.”
That letter was composed by Rev. Kok, the corresponding secretary. And the italics are ours.
It is plain then that those who rejected the Declaration on the excuse that it was not necessary chose to tell these people that we are not going to demand anything more of them when they join than that which this letter already tell them. We are not going to tell them what interpretation of the word of God and of the Three Forms of Unity in re the promise and baptism they must maintain as members of one of our churches. They can come with their own conception, if they think that it is the right one, if only they will condemn “common grace” and “general grace.”
None of the opponents of the Declaration told the Mission Committee that it was in its jurisdiction to decide for all our churches what is binding concerning those matters. No, this same Rev. Kok said time and again, “We must not make those denominational walls so high” that we keep out brothers and sisters in Christ.
But let us go on.
The Mission Committee came to the Synod with this request (found on page 54):
“This same question as to what is “bindend” in the Prot. Ref. Churches is raised by those who seek organization. Now it is true, that our missionaries (how innocent we were at that time and free from distrust! And how evil and silly the accusation that we composed the Declaration to get rid of some of our own men. More of this later.) labor among them and instruct them in the specific doctrines God has entrusted to us as Prot. Ref. Churches, but we would appreciate having something uniform and definite to present to these groups, particularly when they request organization. Therefore, your committee requests Synod to draw up a form that may be used by those families requesting organization into a Prot. Ref. congregation. We believe that this would serve to remove all misunderstanding and aid toward unity.”
Now the undersigned is willing to reveal before all who read these lines that this request of the Mission Committee meetings to ask Synod to express itself in regard to these matters. And it all came about exactly because of letters like the one referred to above, and because we received a letter from the group at Chatham asking for organization while they held on to their views and conceded that discussion of these matters might be carried on after organization. The Committee refused such a request. Some months later we received another request leaving off all mention of these doctrinal differences. And we organized them.
The document they sent later to our Classis to seek the defeat of the Declaration reveals that they never intended to give up their heretical view of the promise. The letter of Prof. Holwerda likewise reveals that they were advised not to let it go but instead to disseminate this “wealth” of dogmatical truth in our churches as a fifth column. How wide they wanted the gate to be!
At that time neither the undersigned, nor any of the Mission Committee had anyone of our ministers in mind, as was so frequently claimed in order that the Declaration be condemned. We had only these requests in mind, and the desire to keep our churches pure in doctrine.
We did not at that time know that Rev. De Wolf would make plain the Liberated heresy, that the promise is for all those who hear the gospel on the condition of faith, was already inside our denominational walls. We did not know then that he would show us that we did need the Declaration for our own people.
We did not know at that time that more than half of our ministers would defend that heresy inside our walls rather than to work with us to cast it out. We did not realize that their opposition to the Declaration would proceed that far.
But now we can understand Rev. Kok’s repeated phrase that we must not make our denomination walls so high. The corruption was inside in the hearts of these men. And therefore the Liberated belonged inside with Rev. Kok, Rev. De Wolf et al. But not with us! How else will you harmonize this statement of Rev. Kok about not making the walls higher with the defense of the statements of Rev. De Wolf. Those who can feel at home with Rev. De Wolf’s statements and will not call them literally heretical will also feel at home with the Liberated preaching and say that it is not heretical.
And the truth is so unyielding!
If you want some interesting reading, get out your Acts of Synod, 1951. We are already far enough away from 1951 to see the folly of the whole schismatic movement, Read all the protests against the Declaration that appear in that record of the Synod of 1951. Read especially those that contend that the Declaration is unnecessary and illegal because no local congregation has wrestled with this problem and felt the need to bring it to Synod.
Rev. De Wolf, unwittingly you have done the true Protestant Reformed Churches a great deal of good. You opened our eyes before the matter had gone too far.
Indeed, the truth is so unyielding!
Read those protests now in the light of the history we have made.
They look pretty sick! But there they are printed for future generations to read and from which to profit.