Rev. Bruinsma is pastor of Kalamazoo Protestant Reformed Church in Kalamazoo, Michigan.
A Sure Standard.
Now we face a new millen-
nium. What must our call-
ing be as we step over the threshold of the old and into the new? Are we called to join hands with the apostatizing church world and lighten up a bit? Should we quit warring and simply learn to get along? Soldiers of Christ, we are fighting a warfare and we may not give in to unbelief and the lie! Our calling at this point in the history of the world is to bear up the standard! That we must do as we enter the year 2000. We must bear the standard! What standard? Why, the Word of God! That is the only standard of truth. God has entrusted into the care of His church His Word, and we must hold that Word before us as the one sure standard of life.
The Scriptures are the standard of what is right and wrong. They are the objective rule according to which we judge all things — whether doctrine or walk. The Bible contains the truth in its entirety, and that exactly because it is the Word of our almighty God. God is truth. He is that in Himself. Since He is the highest and only good, He Himself is the standard of righteousness. All that is in harmony with Him and His perfect will is right, and that which stands opposed to Him is wrong. God as the Creator sets that standard. No creature may or can. God determines for us what we must believe about Him, His Son, man, and the creation about us. God sets the rule according to which we must govern our life and walk. And the rule that God has set is the Scriptures. So it is the Scriptures that are the standard we carry into the new millennium.
To do this we as churches are called by God to instruct our members in that Word. We may not let it be said of us what was said of Israel, “my people are destroyed for lack of knowledge” (Hosea 4:6). We must teach the Word. The Word must be preached and it must be taught in the catechism class. Our churches must hold before its members in highest esteem the Scriptures. From the pulpit, in the catechism and society rooms, in the homes of our saints the virtues of God’s Word must be extolled. Our children and youth must learn Bible history and doctrine. A knowledge of these must be insisted on when they make confession of their faith.
The preaching must teach God’s people systematically the great and marvelous truths of God’s Word. The truth must be taught and that sharply and distinctly over against the lie. Never must we be afraid to apply the standard of God’s Word over against the teachings of men. Especially, we must make a bold stand against Arminianism — even though that stand may some day cost us our lives.
That means, too, that we must apply the objective standard of God’s Word to our walk of life in this world. We must not be afraid to call sin sin. We must not be afraid to say something is wrong in a person’s life (including our own) when it stands opposed to God’s Word. That is the calling of the church in this new millennium.
This has everything to do with the Reformed Free Publishing Association. This association was originally organized “to witness to the truth contained in the Word of God and expressed in the creeds of the Reformed faith.” That tells me that the basis of the books published by this association and the basis for its periodical, the Standard Bearer, is the Word of God. The RFPA has held high the standard of God’s Word from this association’s commencement to the present. The Standard Bearer has been a faithful witness through the years to the testimony God has set before us in His Word. The writers of the Standard Bearer have been staunch defenders of the truth who have stood unashamed against those who would oppose that truth.
For 75 years the RFPA has stood for the powerful truths of particular grace, the sovereignty of God, double predestination, and God’s unconditional covenant. It has fought valiantly the errors of Arminianism, common grace, and a covenant conditioned on the will of man. Even now it stands boldly against the errors of millennialism and maintains the truth of amillennialism. All this is reflected in its publications — especially that of the Standard Bearer. The editors of the past were and our editor today is yet committed to the Reformed faith. The writers continue to develop that truth and apply it to areas of the Christian life. We have much to be thankful for as we enter the new millennium! What a blessing the publications of this association have been in the lives of many! What a blessing they have been to the Protestant Reformed Churches!
But what about the future? What is the calling of this association in the new millennium? The same as it has always been. We are not looking for something new and innovative from the RFPA. I know that many of the periodicals and books of today have catered to the whims and wishes of popular opinion. Like the worship of the modern church, these publications wish to be more entertaining and flashy. We are not asking that of you. We are not looking for change. This is what we want of this association: maintain the standard of God’s Word! Continue to hold high the banner of the Reformed truth of Scripture! Make people to see both in the Protestant Reformed Churches and outside of them that the Scriptures are held in high esteem.
God’s people need a solid mooring in the new millennium. We need that as God’s people who live in a church world that simply does not care anymore. Give the Word of God to us in your books and in your periodical. Only God’s Word will give us purpose and direction as God’s people in years to come. We need the objective rule of God in our lives! May the infallible, unchangeable, simple, authoritative, trustworthy standard of God’s Word remain the ground and foundation of all the work the RFPA does in this new millennium.
A Real Urgency.
It is urgent that you maintain this standard. The end of the millennium is upon us. When I say this now, I do not refer to the end of these past 1000 years. I am referring to the fact that the end of the ages is upon us. The end of the 1000 years of Revelation 20 is upon us. Christ comes and He comes quickly. We have obeyed His command to watch and be sober. We have been watching the signs around us. Those signs reveal to us that we live in the last times.
Christ is coming soon. The sign of ignorance in the church tells us that. The sign of apostasy in the church tells us that. The sign of the love of many waxing cold in the church indicates that. These, among the other signs taking place in the nations and in the creation, loudly cry out: the King is coming!
The true church of Christ must be solidly anchored as she does battle in these last times! The RFPA must stand against evil men and seducers. The Standard Bearer must sound the trumpet to God’s saints. Prepare God’s people for the fray. That is the urgency that must motivate the men and the women of the RFPA.
We pray that God might use our feeble efforts powerfully in the gathering of His church with a view to Christ’s return, and that when Christ returns He will find us faithful. God keep us in this new millennium! God keep us faithful in our generations!