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In the August 2020 editorial, I pressed home the Reformed conviction that decisions of ecclesiastical assemblies are “settled and binding.” What a consistory, classis, or synod decides is the end of the matter; unless, of course, someone brings good objections to the decision in an orderly way. Otherwise, the matter is finished and is binding upon all church members. The importance of that can hardly be overstated. It is the decency and order required by Scripture and our Church Order. Ignoring it is indecency and the disorder of chaos and schism. ‘Deliberative’ How these settled and binding decisions are made...

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We can truly say about our good Christian schools, “The Lord hath done great things for us; whereof we are glad!” (Ps. 126:3). The more I think about what God has given us, I want to say this. Even the heathen, if they would look at our schools carefully and judge honestly, would say, “The Lord hath done great things for them” (Ps. 126:2). We have twenty good Christian schools, in which communities of like-minded parents and supporters are banded together to teach the covenant youth the world and life view they embrace, teach all the subjects of the curriculum...

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This editorial must be received by the reader, not as an attempt at expert economic advice, but as the reflections of a common man on the existing social and economic conditions and difficulties. The Standard Bearer usually does not pretend to offer advice in political and economic affairs as such, still less conceives it as belonging to its task to solve economic problems. In the first place, its chief purpose is to discuss questions that belong to the domain of theology, and to enlighten our people with regard to the Reformed truth in distinction from many deviations and aberrations from...

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Is there no way out of our present economic difficulties? Can a mere layman, who cannot boast of being an expert in the department of economy, see no possible solution? Let us, first, consider a few more undeniable facts. First of all, let us take note of the fact that the general level of living today is much higher than, say, about three decades ago. Time was, and this “time” is still a matter of memory for all that do not fall below the ages of two score and five, when with the general mass of people, the working people,...

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After each meeting of synod, faithful members of the churches are interested in the decisions synod took. Although some decisions may be what we label routine, others are of great magnitude. Considered routine may be approval of a budget for the mission field, or a decision to print more catechism books. Of great magnitude are synod’s call of a new seminary professor; synod’s answers to protests and appeals; or synod’s decision to establish sister-church relations, to open a new mission field, or to declare a man candidate for the ministry of the Word. These are weighty matters. These decisions determine...

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The first “news” about the synod is that there was a PRCA synod in the year 2020. The Board of Trustees and the calling church (Trinity PRC) together examined the executive orders of the state of Michigan and concluded that it would be possible to hold the sessions of synod in Trinity PRC, provided that certain regulations were followed. The consistory of Trinity and delegates of synod and their wives scattered throughout the sanctuary for the pre-synodical service on Monday evening, June 8. Shortly after officially convening on Tuesday, synod adopted the regulations proposed by the Board of Trustees. Attendance...

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Pandemic and pandemonium One month ago when I last wrote (mid-May), American churches were about nine weeks into enduring the government’s orders against public gatherings. Now (mid-June), most states in the U.S. and some provinces in Canada have relaxed the restrictions, although others in Canada have not. Many people of God have not attended public worship for months. We have ecclesiastical friends in Europe, Asia, and elsewhere, where tight restrictions remain for public gatherings and travel is limited or simply cut off. We have suffered under this heavy hand of God in the world. That’s the pandemic. Since then, pandemonium...

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In the almost 100 years of the PRCA’s existence we have endured trials, but none quite like the present pandemic and the consequences. For nine weeks now (May 15), churches have been unable to assemble for public worship. The initial shock has worn off, giving way to discouragement for some, frustration and sometimes anger for others. The pandemic has forced consistories to face difficult questions, not the least of which is whether this is a question of obeying God (“Assemble for worship on my Lord’s Day”) rather than man (“Stay home!”). God leads us on very unusual paths. We may...

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For the past sixteen years, it has been my responsibility, but also my privilege, to serve the members of the Protes­tant Reformed Churches as editor of the Standard Bearer. In some small way, I may hope, a much wider audience has benefited. Nearly half the present subscrip­tions to the magazine go outside the Protestant Reformed Churches. Responses, public and private, have indicated appreciation, as well as vigorous opposition, from without. Although the Standard Bearer exists primarily for the building up of the members of the Protestant Reformed Churches in the truth, it is also a voice, sometimes friendly, at other...

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The one who gives assur­ance to the believing child of God, we saw last time, is the Spirit of Christ. There is nothing surprising about this, since He is the one who gives certainty about everything. The Spirit gives the church cer­tainty that the Bible is the inspired Word of God. We believe “with­out any doubt all things contained in them [the sixty-six books of the Bible], not so much because the church receives and approves them as such, but more especially be­cause the Holy Ghost witnesses in our hearts that they are from God” (Belgic Confession, Art. 5). The...

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