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Prof. Engelsma is professor of Dogmatics and Old Testament in the Protestant Reformed Seminary. Previous article in this series: July 2006, p. 420. The Reformed Churches in the Netherlands (“liberated”) The most precipitous and dramatic falling away from the faith of “The Three Forms of Unity” is that of the Gereformeerde Kerken in Nederland (“vrijgemaakt”) (Reformed Churches in the Netherlands [“liberated”]). This is the denomination that separated from the Reformed Churches in the Netherlands (GKN, “synodical” churches) in the early 1940s under the leadership of Dr. K. Schilder. It was the conditional covenant theology of these churches, embraced and preached by...

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Prof. Engelsma is professor of Dogmatics and Old Testament in the Protestant Reformed Seminary. With this article, Prof. Engelsma begins a two-part series on the ecclesiastical scene in the Netherlands. The articles are the fruit of informal presentations given a few months ago to Protestant Reformed ministers in the Grand Rapids area. Prof. Engelsma has made a point of keeping abreast of the rapid deterioration in the Reformed churches in the Netherlands. The editors, convinced that our readers ought to know about the sad state of affairs in the Netherlands, asked Prof. Engelsma to prepare his presentations for printing in...

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Prof. Engelsma is professor of Dogmatics and Old Testament in the Protestant Reformed Seminary. Previous article in this series: April 15, 2008, p. 318.   Graafland on Covenant and Election in Calvin  In his magisterial study of the origin and development of the covenant in Reformed Protestantism, Van Calvijn tot Comrie(English translation: From Calvin to Comrie, 3 vols., Boekencentrum, 1992-1996; all quotations from this work that follow are my translation of the Dutch), the Dutch theologian C. Graafland acknowledges that in Calvin’s theology election governs the covenant of grace. At the outset of his study of Calvin’s doctrine of the covenant, Graafland...

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Prof. Engelsma is professor of Dogmatics and Old Testament in the Protestant Reformed Seminary. Previous article in this series: November 15, 2007, p. 83.   Lillback’s Logic  There are two other considerations that refute Presbyterian theologian Peter A. Lillback’s learned “liberation” of the covenant from election in the theology of John Calvin, in his book The Binding of God: Calvin’s Role in the Development of Covenant Theology (Baker, 2001). There is, first, the implication that Lillback himself draws from Calvin’s supposed doctrine of a covenant of universal, but conditional, grace. The implication is that Calvin, unlike Luther, taught justification by faith and...

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Previous article in this series: May 1, 2011, p. 355. Bearing the Burdened to Christ We are to bear one another’s burdens by restoring the burdened soul to Jesus Christ. He alone can relieve burdened souls of their burden, for it is only His righteousness that answers to their need. Nothing less will satisfy their conscience! The burden-bearer must therefore restore them to Jesus Christ. Not as if our brother has sinned himself out of justification, and Jesus needs us to help him make a choice that will put him back into God’s favor again. No indeed, Jesus declares: “I...

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(Editor’s Note: At our last annual staff meeting it was decided to introduce a new department in our Standard Bearer which would feature worthwhile articles from early volumes of our magazine which are no longer available to most of our readers. It was felt that there were a goodly number of such articles which would also be pertinent today. Besides, many such articles in our early days appeared in the Holland language, which most of our readers are unable to read today.

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