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All Articles For Editorial

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Last time, (Dec. 15), I defined repentance as the believer’s sorrowful turn from sin unto God in the seeking of remission. Now I want to go to the Scriptures to elaborate. A right understanding First of all, genuine repentance begins in the renewed mind as the seat of true spiritual knowledge and understanding. This is evident from one of the key biblical words for repentance (metanoia) which, as you might recall, means, “change of mind.” The turning of repentance commences when the spiritually enlightened mind apprehends both the awful reality of sin and the wonder of God’s mercy in Christ....

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A definition I am not aware of any carefully and comprehensively constructed exposition of the biblical concept of repentance produced in the history of the PRC. From one point of view, the absence of such a work is not entirely surprising because repentance is one of the elementary principles of the doctrine of Christ, the renewed instruction in which the writer to the Hebrews deems unnecessary (Heb. 6:1). Yet sometimes we must revisit and sharpen, and perhaps even correct, our understanding of the elementary principles. Surely one of the good and praiseworthy purposes of our faithful God in laying His...

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Distinguishing repentance and good works Before I explain the concept of repentance, I want to demonstrate that repentance and good works of obedience should be distinguished as stated in one part of the decision of Synod 2021. I also want to show that this distinction is important in light of the connection that Scripture makes between repentance and remission. In treating a protest against the decisions of Synod 2020, Synod 2021 demonstrated that the protest contained doctrinal misunderstandings, one of which was: 2) __________ fails to distinguish repentance and good works of obedience. a) The Bible distinguishes between repentance and...

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The purpose of this editorial and those that follow is to  provide theological instruction on the disputed issue of  the doctrine of repentance as it was treated by Synods  2020 and 2021 of the PRC. The origin of the dispute  was the protest of a minister’s sermon on Proverbs  28:13. Before I lay out the background to the case as it  appeared at consecutive synods, a couple of comments  are in order by way of introduction. Introduction  First, one of the lessons we have learned in recent years  is that it is necessary for the church through her teaching  ministry...

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[With this editorial, we bid farewell to Rev. Koole. As he says toward the end of this article: “As I take my leave as an editor of the Standard Bearer, I can state forthrightly it is this truth, ‘The fear of the Lord,’ that has governed this magazine (and those who have written in it) as a motto since its inception.”] We are all familiar with the phrase “the fear of the Lord.” And well we should be. It is a phrase, along with its parallel, “the fear of God,” that runs like a thread through the Scriptures, especially the...

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Honor. Respect. Esteem. Three words. Synonyms. In fact, so much so, that to define any one of them is difficult to do so without using the other two. And yet, though they overlap in meaning, each has a different connotation. As my term as an editor draws to a close, we will use these words to reflect on important issues that face us as believers in our present lawless society, and then along with that, what must be true of ourselves as members of the Protestant Reformed Churches looking forward. That is, if we are to remain in unity of...

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Please note that, although Prof. Dykstra resigned as editor, he agreed to help in a limited way to the end of the volume year. This is the last of his editorials. Then Samuel took a stone, and set it between Mizpeh and Shen, and called the name of it Ebenezer, saying, Hitherto hath the Lord helped us. I Samuel 7:12 The church of Jesus Christ is a miracle. Her very existence is a wonder of grace. The church is part of the believer’s confession of faith: “I believe an holy, catholic church.” The Heidelberg Catechism explains that article of faith...

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In the past five years, our churches have struggled mightily to combat and root out error that gave to good works a place “out of harmony with the Reformed confessions.” In the process of that struggle, some have warned against antinomianism as an error that must also be avoided. My editorial about the “two thieves” showed that there is always error on both sides of the gospel of the cross, both on the left and on the right. The error of giving credit to good works is an error, perhaps referred to as error on the ‘left.’ But there is...

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Five editorials have appeared, thus far, on the unrighteous and painful schism in the PRCA. The first editorial simply lamented. Next, we recognized that the schism is a great threat to us and our children. The reality of this threat has been confirmed by more recent actions and writings. The horror of this threat is evidenced in broken marriages, parents divided from their still-athome children, and young people leaving the spectacle in disgust. One man described it as “ripping the entire denomination apart in every way—congregations, mission fields, colleagues, friends, families, parents, children, and marriages, causing destruction and unspeakable grief.”...

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On Thursday, June 17, after nine days of committee meetings and open sessions, the 2021 Synod completed its works on the largest agenda in the eighty-two-year history of Protestant Reformed synods. It was a good synod, from many points of view. The blessed harmony of brothers in Christ was manifest through all the meetings and meals. This was not a feigned harmony, but genuine, based on the unity in the truth of Scripture and cemented by brotherly love. That it was a unity based squarely on truth was immediately manifest in the solemn ceremony—no empty ritual—of the reading of the...

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