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Here follows the letter which those that caused a schism in our churches sent to the synod of the Christian Reformed Church. I am not sure that it is, in all respects, the same as the letter that was actually sent for in a caption above the letter I now have it is stated that it is the letter “as drafted by the committee.” I understand that the synod acted favorably upon this letter. This we can readily understand, for the letter abundantly suggests that the schismatics probably misunderstood and misinterpreted “The Three Points” and that they are willing to listen when the right interpretation is offered them. I also understand that the same synod acted unfavorably on the letter that our churches sent them and refused to enter into a discussion with us. This we can also well understand however unreasonable it is even to refuse a discussion, for there is no doubt in our mind that, not only “The Three Points” are unreformed, but also the action of the Classis East and West of Grand Rapids in 1924-25 whereby they cast out faithful and Reformed ministers was thoroughly corrupt. 

Here, then, follows the letter: 

“To the Synod of the Christian Reformed Church, etc. 

Dear Brethren: 

Realizing anew, as churches, that Christ is one and that the calling of believers is always to seek the unity of the Spirit in the gospel of peace, we address this missive to you. 

We realize that God’s church finds herself in the midst of the ages, under oath of God’s covenant to preach the true gospel at home and abroad, and that she is committed to the great task of teaching, preaching and warning all men until the Lord return. Moreover, the church finds herself vehemently attacked by the powers of Antichrist. By means of seduction, persecution, apostasy and false doctrine he seeks the overthrow of the church. Against his murderous ambitions we have one supreme weapon and that is the sword of the Spirit, the witness of faith, the Word of God. 

In view of this calling to unity and witness, the question must arise whether the cause of the Lord is best promoted and defended by you and us going our separate ways or whether it is possible better to promote anti defend this cause by a mutual drawing closer together in submission to God’s Word. We believe that unity does not demand that all agree and think alike on all matters of doctrine and life. For us the basis of unity is the scripture and the Three Forms of Unity, which we cherish. Within the boundaries of scripture and the Three Forms of Unity, however, there must be room for freedom and for healthy differences of opinion. Therefore nuances, current opinions, personalities, and traditions may not be reasons before God for living and laboring separately, especially not in these end times. 

We have led a separate existence since 1924 and are willing and ready to continue to do so if witnessing to the Reformed faith so requires. You and we both believe, do we not, that the welfare and unity of the church is promoted only by being true to the witness of the holy scriptures? The issue is whether our witness, that is, yours and ours, is similar. 

Our separation took place in 1924 when your church established the Three Points and maintained them in subsequent ecclesiastical assemblies. Ever since that time we have maintained positions that differed and have found ourselves drifting farther and farther apart. We are grateful for that which the Lord has given us as Protestant Reformed Churches and this is at the same time a challenge to seek the unity of the church of Jesus Christ, to span separations and seek contacts. 

This separation was a process following from the fact that we were interpreting and applying the Three Points. We admit this interpretation may have been one-sided since you have little or no interpretation or application. You, brethren; can understand that we would interpret these points, we could scarcely do otherwise. To our mind they have been elevated to church dogma. They became, as it were, the boundary line between church and sect inasmuch as officebearers were tested and are still being tested for their orthodoxy by the things drawn from them. The action against officebearers who refused to sign the Three Points as well as subsequent utterances of your Synods regarding the necessity of subscription to 1924 by those entering the ministry from outside your churches, certainly bears this out. And so the process went on. In this process of interpreting, criticizing and in general evaluating these points the possibility exists that we have misinterpreted your position. If this is pointed out to us we assure you that we will correct it. Moreover, the recent schism in our churches has alerted us to the danger of interpreting statements without consideration of their context, or of giving them interpretation they do not necessarily and contextually need. 

You are undoubtedly aware of the fears and objections that we, and possibly some of you also, have concerning the Three Points of Common Grace. These fears and objections have become public, spread out over many writings. But lest we should seem to deal in vague generalities, may we cite briefly those aspects of the truth we fear lost or endangered by the Three Points? They are: 

1. In Point I, concerning the favorable attitude of God toward elect and non-elect, we, according to our understanding of Point I, see the doctrine of God’s elective decrees and the doctrine of irresistible grace jeopardized. 

2. In Points II and III, according to our understanding of these points, we see the doctrine of the antithesis endangered. We realize that the last word has not been said about the antithesis or about the relation between the believer and the unbeliever in this world, but by endangering the antithesis we damage its presentation and its manifestation in this world. 

We are aware, brethren, that even among yourselves there are different interpretations of common grace and different conclusions also. We cannot help but feel, however, that when statements are raised to the level of church dogma they should be so clear in purpose and content that they cannot be misunderstood. To us the Three Points are not a clear and definite setting forth of the Reformed faith. 

If our fears and misgivings concerning that which you posited in 1924 are unfounded, how shall these fears be removed except by your kind assistance in interpreting that which you have declared? And if our fears are found to be correct do we not do you a service by calling this to your attention? 

We feel that it is essential that we thoroughly understand each other. Let us not say that it is futile to approach one another for that is to deny the calling of our Lord to strive toward the unity of the church. Rather let us trust that where the Spirit is and where brotherly love in submission to the scripture is present, there is also the possibility of a united witness in the same Spirit. To approach such understanding of each other, we, on our part, assure you that if any misunderstanding or error becomes evident that we will confess and forsake the same, while we trust that you on your part will do likewise. 

So, brethren, may we propose to you to consider prayerfully the following propositions: 

1. Will you kindly favor us with an answer to this missive so that we may feel a corresponding desire to seek the welfare and the unity of the church of Christ? 

2. Will you, kindly consider the fears we have expressed concerning the Three Points of 1924 and consider the possibility of delivering an interpretive statement, which will allay these fears and show that these Three Points are and are intended to be a clear setting forth of reformed faith. 

3. For this purpose or for broader contact will you kindly consider the appointment of a broad committee whose duty it shall be to meet with a like committee from our churches, both committees empowered to discuss freely the differences and the similarities which are found to exist and to report back to their respective churches? 

4. If your Synod should consider some other way of seeking the contact proposed in this letter, will you please inform us of it? 

Hoping you will grant our requests and praying the Lord’s blessing upon His Church, 

Yours in His service, (etc).” 

After the remarks I made on this letter in the lastStandard Bearer I have very little to add. Just a few remarks. 

First of all, you may notice that the letter seems to maintain that only the Protestant Reformed leaders interpreted the “Three Points.” This is a mistake. And it is simply amazing that the composers of the letter can write such untruths. They certainly cannot be ignorant of the elaborate interpretation of those points given by the late Prof. Berkhof, nor the interpretation by Rev. H.J. Kuiper. No doubt, if they ever gain their objective, which, evidently is to unite with the Christian Reformed Church, it means that they have adopted the “Three Points” as interpreted by these men. But even then we would not be surprised. In the light of recent history, I would expect almost anything from those that departed from us and from the truth. They grant the possibility that they may have misinterpreted the “Three Points” and if this is made clear to them they certainly will correct their error! This they express repeatedly. Their “fears and misgivings” concerning the “Three Points” and their interpretations may be unfounded, but “how shall these fears be removed except by your kind assistance?” 

And, secondly, I like to call attention that their representation of the “Three Points” and, especially, of the first point, is very weak and practically meaningless. According to their understanding of the first point, they “see the doctrine of God’s elective decrees and the doctrine of God’s irresistible grace jeopardized.” How vague and meaningless! I feel confident that the committee appointed by the synod of the Christian Reformed Church to contact them will soon remove their fears in this respect. They will assure them, no doubt, that they certainly believe in the doctrine of election and reprobation. But they will point out to them that the doctrine of election does not alter the fact that the gospel is a gracious and well-meaning offer to all that hear, although this may be a mystery which we can never fathom. And this is exactly what the first point teaches, a doctrine which is supported by scripture and the confessions. This will, no doubt, remove their fears, and they will readily accept the first point of common grace. The same method will be followed with regard to the second and third points of doctrine adopted by the synod of 1924. 

The trouble is, of course, that, after departing from the sound basis of the Protestant Reformed truth, they are lost and have no ground to stand on. But we will watch. 

H.H.