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All Articles For Editorial

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The theology of God’s eternal covenant of grace is a uniquely Reformed doctrine, that is, a product of the Reformation. It is true that theologians prior to the Reformation referred to the covenant, even as early as Augustine in the early 400s. From that time to the Reformation the covenant was incidentally included in discussions on salvation or man’s relationship to God. But the significant development of the doctrine began with the Reformation. Swiss theologians Ulrich Zwingli and Heinrich Bullinger, faced with the serious errors of the Anabaptists, began developing the doctrine of the covenant to explain the place of...

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As all our regular readers know, 2018-19 marks the 400th anniversary of the great Synod of Dordrecht. This Synod was a momentous gathering of theologians from many different regions of Switzerland, Germany, England, and Scotland, as well as all the seven provinces of the “United Netherlands.” The importance of the Synod cannot be overstated. The Reformation, not even one hundred years old, was experiencing its most severe threat since the days of Luther and Calvin. The churches of the Netherlands were facing the question— Will the churches be Reformed—in doctrine, church polity, confession, and worship? The doctrine of salvation defended in...

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The Synod of the Protestant Reformed Churches met from June 11-17, completing all the work in its agenda in five days. This report on the decisions of synod can be brief, due to the reality that a rather complete preview was given in the June 1 SB and that reports on the actions of Synod 2019 are available on the website prca.org under the “current/news” tab. When thinking of the highlights, one might quickly overlook the pre-synodical service. That would be a mistake. Rev. R. VanOverloop, president of the synod in 2018, led the service, preaching from Revelation 3 on...

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As is the case every year since 1940, the annual synod of the Protestant Reformed Churches will convene in June. Last year’s synod appointed First PRC in Grand Rapids as the calling church for the Synod of 2019. The last time that First hosted the meetings of synod was 2001. (In 2010, Southeast PRC hosted synod in First’s church building.) At the Synod in 2001, a certain Mr. Angus Stewart, student of the Covenant Protestant Reformed Church of Northern Ireland, was examined. His examination was a kind of hybrid—synodical and classical combined. Two elders from the Covenant PRCNI were present....

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Previous article in this series: April 15, 2019, p. 321. The recent editorials about Protestants making Rome their ‘home’ have had one primary purpose, and it has not been to show that matters are so serious in much of Protestantism that they are fixing their spiritual GPS on the Romish church. Matters are that serious, as the articles have attempted to demonstrate, but that has not been their chief end. Rather, their primary purpose is to have you ask whether you, who read these editorials and are committed to confessing the Reformed faith, could go to Rome, whether you or...

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Previous article in this series: April 1, 2019, p. 298. How could some Evangelicals imagine Rome as their church home someday (or wish to cozy up to Rome)? Because they have given up most of what made them Evangelicals in the first place; and because Rome dissembles. That is, Evangelicals have actually changed, and Rome pretends to have changed. Evangelicals (gospel-oriented Protestants) have gradually given up their Reformation church polity, their Reformation worship, and their Reformation doctrines. And the false church of Rome gussies up as the “strange woman” of Proverbs 7, “flattereth with her words,” and with subtle heart...

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Previous article in this series: March 15, 2019, p. 273. Evangelical Protestants who can see their way clear to return to Roman Catholicism have let go of Protestantism. Although they identify as Evangelicals—gospel churches—they embrace theology that distances itself from being gospel and come closer to Rome. The ‘protest’ in Protestant first diminished to a whimper, then shifted to an apology for leaving Rome in the first place. From the other side of the River Tiber (see the last editorial), Rome signals openness to unity talks. One hundred years ago Rome pulled up the drawbridge and closed the gates to...

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One year ago, I reported that many Protestants are ready to “cross the Tiber” into Roman Catholicism. The expression “crossing the Tiber” refers to fording the river that runs alongside Rome, symbolic of the barrier between Rome and Protestants. With grief, I had to report that even leaders in our mother church are talking about making the crossing.1 Some church leaders are sending not-so-subtle messages to members: It is permissible, and probably time, to unite with the Catholic Church. One Calvin Seminary faculty member wrote that Protestants and Catholics are “pilgrims on the same journey, serving one Lord with one...

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Tired ministers are not useful ministers. Weary, they will not do the good work we have asked them to do, Christ requires them to do, and they themselves want to do. Pastors become weary because of many factors, some they can control and others beyond their control. And often they do not get enough rest. Our churches, with consistories at the lead, may ex­amine how they give rest to their pastors. In Reformed churches like the PRCA and our sisters, pastors have colossal pressures put on them. Ministers have always been given substantial workloads, but these days, with generally larger...

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Training of elders is necessary. The well-being of the PRCA and other true churches depends on a qualified, well trained eldership. The training is not, for the most part, formal and specialized training. It comes chiefly through the extended and sanctifying work of the Holy Spirit, who often uses a good Christian upbringing in a stable home, and who always works in answer to fervent prayer and by the regular means of grace. That was the subject of the first editorial on this topic in the January 15 issue. The February 1 editorial showed that faithful elders will want to...

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