A change of mind is not necessarily sinful.
It can be sinful.
It can be the casting out of the truth in order to receive and embrace the lie.
But is can also be the casting out of the lie to receive and embrace the truth.
We were, therefore, at first encouraged and hopeful when we began to read the “fine” essay of Rev. Blankespoor which he delivered in Oskaloosa, Iowa and which was published in a recent copy of Concordia.
For he definitely changed his mind about the cause of the “split” in our churches. He changed his mind in the matter of only a few months. And he went from one extreme to the other.
In August he could with emphasis state in theReformed Guardian, Vol. 2, No. 3, that “First of all we must realize that our churches did not “split” on any doctrinal issues, that of conditions or any other point of doctrine, but solely on church political issues.” (The italics are his.)
We told him in a recent Standard Bearer article that he was wrong. We showed with proof from several aspects how wrong he was.
He must have read that article.
And now, realizing that he was wrong and that he can never defend that position, having, undoubtedly also noted that several of his colleagues—thus Rev. Howerzyl in a Concordia article of recent date, Oct. 21, 1954—take another position, he has also changed his mind and agreed with them that it is fundamentally a doctrinal issue.
With a view to their ministers’ conference Rev. Blankespoor drew up a paper in which he takes that opposite position that is fundamentally a doctrinal issue.
And in his title already he makes plain that he has changed his mind. For, in that Reformed Guardianarticle he told us what he thought was the sole issue. Emphatically he said that our churches “split” solely on church political issues.
Now with new light and to correct himself he prepares a paper to tell those who have followed him in this way of error what really happened in our churches. Thus what he wrote in August in that Reformed Guardianwas not really the thing after all.
Plainly he had misled his followers when he convinced them to follow him and his colleagues because our churches “split” solely on a church political issue. Now he must tell them what really happened in our churches.
But he misleads again!
We are not going to duplicate the Rev. Schipper’s article on this “fine” essay of Rev. Blankespoor. We only intend to show, as we wrote before, that the gate is wide open. We did not expect this unsolicited help from Rev. Blankespoor when we began this series of articles. But he surely helps to make it plain to anyone who loves the Protestant Reformed truth that the gate is wide open.
He misleads in this “fine” essay and he confesses no sin in having misled in the past by taking the extremely opposite position that it was solely a church political issue. He deems it sufficient simply to tell his readers that now he is going to tell them what really happened. If they forget that he had said it was solely a church political issue, so much the better. Otherwise he can cover it up with that word “really.”
We are grateful for the growing willingness of those that left us to admit that fundamentally it is a doctrinal issue, that there is a deep doctrinal difference between them and us.
We are grateful to God for this.
We are grateful because we believe that there are many people who still love the Protestant Reformed truth, the doctrinal position which we by God’s grace have continued to maintain faithfully, and that these people have been deceived by all this misleading, distorted propaganda of “solely a church political issue,” of Rev. De Boer’s “a moral issue” and the brazen lie of today that we owe the Christian Reformed Churches an apology for our stand in re the authority of Classis and Synod in the court trial and that we deceived Judge Taylor into believing that our stand today is that which we did not believe in 1924.
We still maintain what we said at that time: Classis and Synod have no authority to exercise the keys of the kingdom. That belongs solely to the local consistory. And in 1924 it was the Classis that deposed and so set itself up to exercise the keys of the kingdom upon the Rev. Hoeksema and his consistory. No such thing happened to Rev. De Wolf and his deposed elders. The consistory suspended and deposed them, not the Classis. And the Classis in October simply recognized the suspension and exercised the authority which we never denied that the Classis possessed, namely the authority to set outside the denomination. Let anyone prove that Classis East did any more than that! And if they try, let them remember that before October comes September. It does! And in September a Classis that had no right to meddle with the case declared the Rev. Hoeksema and the Rev. Hanko and their elders and deacons to be outside the Protestant Reformed Churches. We, they claim, might not do that to Rev. De Wolf, but they had already in a schismatic way done it to the Rev. Hoeksema and the Rev. Hanko. We never denied that Classis and Synod have authority over the denominational life of the churches and that it is called upon to decide whether teachings are heretical or not.
But as we said, gradually now, and of late more rapidly than in the past, the truth comes to the fore, even though grudgingly admitted, that there is a fundamental doctrinal difference between us and those who left us.
Rev. Blankespoor is right that far.
But the doctrinal difference which he presents is so deceptively presented and so utterly wrong that it may not go unchallenged. He admits himself that it is a “tremendous accusation of those who no longer wished to live with us under one ecclesiastical roof.” And he adds, “but that is my conviction, nevertheless.”
What assurance can his followers have that he will not change his position once again? He has thatconviction now. In August he had the very opposite conviction. Will he next month make another about-face? Can you depend upon the judgment and opinion of one who can make such contradictory stands in so short a time? Does he tell his followers this time whatreally happened in our churches?
Rev. Blankespoor we hope and pray that you will tell the whole world what really happened. We hope and pray that you will make one more about-face and that this time it is the correct one. In the mercy of Christ which constrains us in the love of God, the love of His church, the love of His truth and of His children we plead with you to consider what we write and not to harden yourself in a stand which can never receive God’s blessing no matter—as Rev. Lubbers so beautifully put it—though you may have at the moment a “seeming success.” Numbers and a following does not necessarily mean God’s blessing. You must prove to the all-seeing and all-knowing God that this is true of us and not to man. You can never convince Him of that.
The awful indictment is: “On our part (He means their part) it was and is a sincere attempt to live out of and according to the whole word of God, as explained in our Three Forms of Unity.” The italics are Rev. Blankespoor’s.
The implication of this is that we do not sincerely try to live out of and according to the whole word of God. If you please, we do not even try! And there is part of the word of God as explained in the Three Forms of Unity that we deliberately—because we do not sincerely attempt it—set aside and refuse to treat. What a “fine” essay that turned out to be. And Rev. Howerzyl is to be complimented on being able to attach that label of “fine” on a piece that attributes so much devilishness to us!
But let us examine the matter once. We do not sincerely attempt to live out of and according to thewhole word of God? Let us ask once, what did we reject and what do they reject? We adopted the Declaration of Principles. They adopted the heresy of Rev. De Wolf. We rejected that heresy. They rejected the truth of the Declaration. To live out of and according to the whole word of God, they say, you must preach Rev. De Wolf’s statements. We say, you must preach according to the Declaration of Principles. We always maintained that the Declaration was an explanation of what the whole word of God and the Three Forms of Unity declare concerning the covenant promises. Rev. Blankespoor says that the statements of Rev. De Wolf are the word of God as explained in our Three Forms of Unity.
Rev. Blankespoor I’ll never exchange with you those insults to the living God which Rev. De Wolf deliberately prepared in his opposition to the Declaration, I’ll never by God’s grace exchange our beautiful Declaration of Principles for them!
You see how wide the gate is!
To strive to live out of and according to the whole word of God as explained in the. Three Forms of Unity you have to use Liberated terminology. You have to have a promise to everyone on the condition of faith; you have to have our works as prerequisites to the enjoying of God’s works. O, we were in Chatham and in Hamilton! And there you heard that same strange sound. The walls of our denomination must not be so high that they keep out that heresy, for ii belongs to an attempt to live out of and according to the whole word of God!
And I hear a refrain coming back and back, echoing out of the past. Listen! It sounds like the voice of Rev. Petter: “A full orbed gospel! Conditions are needed, faith as a condition is needed for a full orbed gospel.”
An attempt, a sincere attempt to live out of and according to the whole word of God? Listen, Rev. Blankespoor! You tell us what there is in the word of God that we do not and cannot and will not preach. I’ll tell you what you cannot and do not preach and that shows that therefore you do not preach the whole word of God!
Get on the pulpit Sunday. Tell your people that there is no promise to the reprobate; that God neither offers nor promises salvation to them, neither conditionally nor unconditionally. Tell them that Prof. Veenhof is heretical in his teachings when he speaks of a promise to every baptized child and that you will maintain with the whole word of God that God’s promises are for the elect only. Tell them, if you dare, and you have to in order to preach the whole word of God, that Rev. De Wolf’s first statement is literally heretical. If you do not do that YOU are not even attempting to live out of and according to the wholeword of God as explained in the Three Forms of Unity.
Let us not have awful indictments without proof!
Tell us and prove it from all our writings and preaching that we are not sincerely attempting to live out of and according to the whole word of God.
Rev. Blankespoor, shall I publish a document you composed in regard to our calling to send our children to Protestant Reformed Christian Schools? YOU cannot publish that anymore. For you are not attempting to live out of and according to the wholeword of God as explained in the Three Forms of Unity. You wrote that document and sent, it to the members of your congregation at a time when you were sincerely attempting to live out of and according to that wholeword of God. Would to God you had not changed and could publish that document yourself without blushing and without excuses.
Now you tell us what there is in the word of God that we cannot and deliberately refuse to preach and maintain. Sustain what you yourself call a “tremendous accusation.
Sustain it so that you can stand before God and assure Him that you are declaring what reallyhappened in our churches.
P.S. It is sinful for a church to go to the civil courts to get justice done, that is, it is sinful to go to a lower civil court. But it is not sinful for a church that the lower civil court has accused of unjust dealings to appeal to a higher court. Another example of the deceptive and misleading propaganda the engineers of the schism of 1953 present and then abandon without an apology or explanation.
How long will truly Protestant Reformed people let them pull the wool over their eyes?