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Prof. Barrett Gritters, professor of Practical Theology in the Protestant Reformed Theological Seminary and member of Hudsonville PRC There exists among some a misunderstanding about the application of Matthew 18 to cases of sexual abuse so serious that it may be fatal. There, Jesus instructs one who has been sinned against to “tell him (the sinner) his fault between thee and him alone.” It is a wrong, dangerous, and maybe fatal application of Matthew 18 to require one who has been abused sexually to confront the abuser privately before reporting the sin to anyone else, if at all. To address...

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Church divisions may not be caused by a failure to define terms, but church troubles certainly can be hastened and aggravated by it. In recent years I have noticed, with great pain at times, that if two divided parties had clarified what they meant when they used a certain word, or had admitted that they were using the same word in a different way, they would have found that they were closer than they actually thought. I have heard and read, also with great pain, the grossest misrepresentations of churches or preachers because of a failure to recognize that some...

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The Standard Bearer exists for Christ’s church. Our writers labor for the magazine because they love the church too. You read our magazine most likely because you also love the church. Exactly 99 years ago (October 1, 1924), the men of the Reformed Free Publishing Association (RFPA) began production of the Standard Bearer, because they loved the church, which they saw in mortal danger. Love drove them to organize the association—in the service of, but ‘free’ from official oversight of, the church. The magazine would be written for no other reason than the well-being of their church. Love for the...

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Prof. Barrett Gritters, professor of Practical Theology in the Protestant Reformed Theological Seminary and member of Hudsonville PRC And if ye shall despise my statutes, or if your soul abhor my judgments, so that ye will not do all my commandments, but that ye break my covenant… and…will walk contrary unto me; then will I also walk contrary unto you, and will punish you yet seven times for your sins. Leviticus 26:15, 23, 24 God’s heavy hand has fallen upon the PRCA in recent years. First was the schism of 2021 and all that precipitated it and follows it. Doctrinal...

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*Prof. Cory Griess, professor of Practical Theology in the Protestant Reformed Theological Seminary and member of First PRC Answer not a fool according to his folly, lest thou also be like unto him. Answer a fool according to his folly, lest he be wise in his own conceit. Proverbs 26:4-5 “All is fair in love and war.” And in church battles? But the phrase is not true. All is not fair in love and war. Jehovah still thunders His ninth commandment from Sinai, overcoming the whir of the grinder’s wheel and the clanging of the swords below.1 When a husband...

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Rev. Joshua Engelsma, pastor of the Crete Protestant Reformed Church in Crete, Illinois The synod of the Protestant Reformed Churches in America met from July 14-17, 2022, in the facilities of Zion PRC (Jenison, MI). In addition to the twenty delegates representing Classis East and Classis West and the .ve professor-advisors, there were two foreign delegates from our sister churches present. As one present at the meeting, I am glad to report that all the proceedings were carried out in a .ne spirit of brotherly love and mutual trust, even when the delegates may have had differing views on certain...

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Rev. Joshua Engelsma, pastor of the Crete Protestant Reformed Church in Crete, Illinois The first three editorials in this series spelled out the biblical and Reformed view of the distinction between the true church and the false church. The previous (fourth) editorial began making some application of the distinction to the Protestant Reformed Churches in America (PRCA). Specifically, that editorial made the case (humbly, I pray) that the PRCA are true, faithful churches where Christ is present. At the close of that editorial I indicated that I wanted to give two warnings to the denomination. I take up those warnings...

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Rev. Joshua Engelsma, pastor of the Crete Protestant Reformed Church in Crete, Illinois In the previous three editorials in this series, I set forth generally the distinction between the true church and the false church. The first editorial established the proper view of the distinction from the Belgic Confession and the Scriptures. The second editorial surveyed the history of Reformed churches generally and of the Protestant Reformed Churches (PRCA) specifically to show that this view of the distinction was maintained in Reformed orthodoxy. The third editorial drew out some of the serious implications of a wrong view of the distinction...

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Rev. Joshua Engelsma, pastor of the Crete Protestant Reformed Church in Crete, Illinois This special issue on the subject of sexual abuse was not planned in the realm of the abstract and theoretical. It was occasioned by a number of concrete cases of sexual abuse reported in the Protestant Reformed Churches (PRCA). Victims have stepped forward to reveal the vile sins committed against them. Real perpetrators have been exposed.1 Consistories have devoted, and continue to devote, a great deal of time to administering discipline to abusers and comfort to the abused. What has especially served to bring this subject to...

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Rev. Joshua Engelsma, pastor of the Crete Protestant Reformed Church in Crete, Illinois In this brief series of editorials, I have been setting forth the distinction between the true church and the false church. I have argued especially that one must allow for varying degrees of purity within true churches, and that one must distinguish between an apostatizing church and an apostate church. In my first editorial I examined how this view of the distinction is the teaching of the Belgic Confession in Article 29 as well as the teaching of Scripture. In the second editorial, I walked through the...

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