(Note: This is the third installment of a translation of a series of articles by the late Rev. Herman Hoeksema on the subject, “Voortgaande Reformatie,” written thirty-seven years ago.) Reformation of the Churches always has two sides, should always manifest those two aspects in order that it may really be Reformation in the full and good sense of the word. It has a positive and a negative side.
We have now reached the point at which we can fruitfully discuss the question how we ought to view the seed of believers. Or, to put the question in another form: are, then, all children who are born in the generations of the covenant also essentially in God’s covenant? Are all elect? We have seen that God establishes His covenant in the line of continued generations. This is perfectly clear from the entire history of that covenant as it is portrayed for us in Holy Writ. And besides, this truth is clear from many pronouncements of Holy Scripture.
(This is a continuation of the translation of a series of articles by the late Rev. Herman Hoeksema on the subject “Voortgaande Reformatie.”) In our last article on the above subject we observed that the Reformation of the Churches takes place through Secession as soon as it has appeared impossible to reform the Church within the Church.
(Note: This is the last in a series of translated articles from the pen of the late Rev. Herman Hoeksema. These articles first appeared in the Holland language in Volumes 6 and 7 of theStandard Bearer. HCH) Church reformation can, take place, thus we have seen, through secession and departure out of a certain church communion.
A second presentation of the seed of believers, as they are, along with believers, included in the covenant and church of God, has in recent times again come to the fore especiallyr through the labors of Dr. A. Kuyper, and perhaps still more through the many who so eagerly desire to commend themselves as disciples of this great man.
FOREWORD In that part of the Form for the Administration of Baptism to Infants of Believers in which a word of admonition is directed to the parents who present their children for baptism in the midst of the congregation it is said that “baptism is an ordinance of God, to seal unto us and to our seed His covenant.” Moreover, it is emphasized that baptism “must be used for that end, and not out of custom or superstition.”
Right here we must immediately remark that there has never been any unanimity about this subject among Reformed people. In fact, it cannot even be said that there is a single covenant conception which has won for itself the exclusive name of Reformed in distinction from all other views. In the first place, there is wide difference of opinion with respect to the idea of the covenant itself, apart now from the question concerning the place of the children of believers in the covenant.
Now it is at this juncture that Kuyper discovers his baptismal grace. That grace does not indeed consist in this, that by it one is initially ingrafted into the body of Christ. Even Kuyper realizes that all this is bestowed in regeneration. No, but now our personal faith must also function thus that presently it can with full consciousness live in the fellowship of that body of Christ and can seek and desire that fellowship.
(Note: The following is a continuation of Chapter I of “Believers And Their Seed.” Through a serious printer’s error in the last issue, and contrary to your editor’s instructions, the last installment was broken off not only in the middle of a paragraph, but in the middle of a sentence. We hope our readers will understand it is not the Standard Bearer’s policy to hold you in suspense for a half month. For your convenience, the present installment begins at the beginning of the paragraph which was mutilated in the previous issue. HCH)
(Editor’s Note: Again a printer’s mistake crept into the previous installment of this translation of “De Geloovigen en Hun Zaad.” The beginning of a new chapter was not indicated at the bottom of the first column on page 403. This should have been entitled: “Chapter II, Arminianism Injected Into The Covenant.” This chapter is now continued. HCH) This is no less the case with Question 74 of the Heidelberg Catechism, which is also cited by Prof. Heyns in support of his view. There we read: “Are infants also to be baptized?