Last time, because we did not have at our command the documents of the Classical sessions from April through October, we quoted from memory the thrust of the protests of the Rev. Hoeksema and the Rev. Ophoff.
Then we made the claim that these protests clearly reveal that they were not protesting to Classis against Rev. De Wolf but against that faction of the consistory which supported him in his heretical statements.
Now that we are home again and have before us the protest of the Rev. Hoeksema, we like to quote from it to substantiate by documentary proof our claim that it was a protest against the consistory. Although we put the substance of the protest in a different form, the quotation that follows clearly reveals that we were entirely correct in our presentation of the matter. In fact, it gives the correct answer to more things that have been erroneously presented to Protestant Reformed membership. We quote from the first page of the document handed in to the April session of Classis last year. And, if you please, we quote then from that part which was addressed to the consistory informing it of the protestant’s intention to take the matter to Classis. Therefore we said last time that these men knew that it was a protest against them.
The quotation we have in mind is as follows:
1. Against the above mentioned action of the consistory on the grounds which will become evident in the accompanying protests
2. Against the action of the consistory whereby they rode roughshod over former decisions, without proving that these decisions were contrary to the word of God or the Church Order, without even rescinding them. These decision which are still settled and binding are:
a. The sermon of the Rev. De Wolf, preached April 1951 is condemned.
b. The same is true of the sermon preached by him September 1952.
c. The Rev. De Wolf is asked to retract and apologize.”
Does anyone now dare to deny that the elders were involved in the case of Rev. De Wolf? And do Rev. De Wolf and his elders dare under oath before God and man on the witness stand in court dare to deny that it was the case of the elders as well as that of Rev. De Wolf? Dare they take, under oath before God, the stand that these elders might vote in their own case? Let them not philosophize. Let them with documentary evidence show that these men were not personally involved and had the right to vote and hold their offices as elders in good standing.
But, before we go on, let us notice also what the action was against which the Rev. Hoeksema protested, according to point one which we quoted above. We quote him again in the paragraph just above the one we already quoted:
“Last Monday you made, principally, your final decision in the matter when, by a vote of 9 to 8 (I being absent), you decided to approve of the answers of the Rev. De Wolf to the questions proposed to him by the consistory. This implies that you approve of the heresy taught publicly by the Rev. De Wolf that “God promises every one of you that, if you believe, you shall be saved”; and that “our act of conversion is a prerequisite to enter into the kingdom of God.”
Here, again, you have the answer to a repeated misrepresentation which was designed to deceive and lead undiscerning souls into the camp of false doctrine. It has been stated repeatedly that in all his ministry in Fuller Ave. only two little statements of Rev. De Wolf could be found as a basis to try to get him out. Anyone who will deal honestly with this protest of the Rev. Hoeksema, whether he agrees with its contents or not, will have to conclude that he protested also against the answers which Rev. De Wolf gave in the examination which became necessary because he would not retract and condemn his heretical statements. Of course, even apart from that, it can be proven from the very minutes of the Fuller Ave. Consistory that there was far more than just those two statements. On September 24, 1952 the consistory, according to the sets of minutes handed out to the delegates of Classis, passed the following motion: “Art. 8. Motion is made that this consistory maintains that the sermon of Rev. H. De Wolf delivered Sunday evening, Sept. 14, 1952, is partially heretical and not Reformed as expressed in the grounds presented in the protest of Rev. H. Hoeksema and this consistory condemns the sermon as such.” Art. 9 tells us that a substitute motion was made to ask Rev. De Wolf “to answer in writing a reply to the contents of Rev. Hoeksema.” The meaning is, no doubt, to reply to Rev. Hoeksema’s protest. Art. 10 tells us that the substitute motion is defeated. And Art. 14 informs us that the original motion, that is, the one of Art. 8, is put to vote and carried.
Let no man say again before God or man that it was simply two little statements in all his ministry, and then statements that could be interpreted correctly! Why was the whole sermon once condemned by the consistory? Why did Rev. De Wolf not give a good account of himself in his examination? Why did he out of one corner of his mouth say that he should not have used that word “promise” in his first statement because of its implications; and why did he out of that same corner of his mouth say that he frankly admits that, in the second statement, he said more than he meant to say; and then why did he out of the other corner of his mouth say that even then he would not admit that he had preached false doctrine in that statement? See pages 4 and 23 of his answers in the examination.
Why should he not have used the word “promise”, if some of its implications were good? Indeed, he says that the word did not necessarily need to have an evil implication. But if it does have a good implication, why should he not have used it? You see, there is a whole lot more to it than that. He told the consistory, in his defense, and he told the Classis in his defense that he meant “declare” by the word “promise”. Apparently in his mind the wrong implication of the word “promise” in his statement was that it could (?) mean “promise”. He meant “declare” by the word “promise” and was sure that he could use the word “promise” to express the idea. Those, however, who said that “promise” means “promise” were really stretching a point too far. The word “promise” does not necessarily imply “promise.” Well now, that is nice. But there is more.
In his answer to the questions put at his examination he says, “As I explained before, by ‘God promises’ I meant the same as God declares to you, or God assures you that if you believe you shall be saved. That was really my meaning.” Along these lines he tried also to defend himself before Classis while insisting on keeping the word “promise” in the statement. He would not call the statement in its literal form heretical.
But at a later date, after he had in error walked out of the Protestant Reformed Churches with his deposed elders, he cast even that aside and with a grateful look to Rev. Petter for giving him a thought that he never had for his defense, either on the floor of Classis or in the consistory room, he reversed himself and said that it was after all a promise to all who hear. In the Reformed Guardian, no. 3, page 4 he refers to us to Rev. Petter’s article in the precedingReformed Guardian and whole-heartedly subscribes to his distinction between a promise and the promise. But note that now his statement does not mean “God declares unto every one of you . . . .” but now it stands literally “God promises every one of you . . . .”
And it was Rev. Blankespoor who, more than anyone else, at that Classical session, showed Classis that he conditional faction wanted something more than “God declares unto every one of you that if you believe you will be saved.” For when we were discussing the point as to whether it were proper to speak of God promising everyone, he, in defense of such an idea, asked us what we must do then with a text like the one to reprobate Jeroboam in I Kings 11:30-39. The Rev. Vos gave him an answer, and he expressed himself as not being satisfied with it. Then the Rev. Ophoff gave him an answer, and that answer was that God ha the promise declared in the hearing of the reprobate but does not promise it to them. We can remember his words as though they were spoken yesterday. He called our attention to the word of God in Deuteronomy, where Moses speaks of the blessings that come upon the obedient and of the curses that shall come upon those who walk in error. And then he called our attention to the fact instead of reading after all these blessings were mentioned as coming upon the faithful, “Behold, I have promised you “life, joy, peace and the rest, we read, “See, I have set before you this day life and good, and death and evil,” Deut. 30:15. Now, if Rev. De Wolf and Rev. Blankespoor are sincere in that by the word “promise” they mean no more than “declare” or that “God has the promise proclaimed to the reprobate” why is it that after the Rev. Ophoff said the very same thing by showing that Scripture says that God sets the promise before all who hear, Rev. Blankespoor reminded us for three days that he was not satisfied with that answer of the Rev. Ophoff? What more did he want? What more do they want? The delegates to Classis and many of the visitors will remember that repeatedly in his remarks Rev. Blankespoor said, “I had a question yesterday, too, that still has not been answered.” And he knows that it was that question about the “promise” to reprobate Jeroboam. If it becomes necessary we can show that plainly. And more! But is it not plain that they want the word “promise,” in that first statement, in its meaning of “promise?”
And why must Rev. De Wolf admit that he said more in his second statement than he should have said, if that “more” was sound Reformed truth? Why frankly admit that you said more, if it was all good and literally true? Do not admit such a thing as a thing for which you are not pleading (see page 23 of his examination). Be thankful to God that He caused you to say a more wonderful truth than you even realized at the time!
And, now, having defended Rev. De Wolf in all his corruption of the truth and having been judged by the Classis as walking in error by such a defense, Rev. De Wolf and his supports committed error upon error, and in a schismatic way they left the Protestant Reformed Churches. Of that we wish, the Lord willing, to write next time.
However, we wish to add just a few lines to this writing in anticipation of the next issue’s contribution as well as in answer to a recent Reformed Guardiancorruption and perversion again of truth and justice.
Does Rev. Kok actually believe that our Church Order is such a ridiculous piece of conflicting laws and regulations that when a minister of the gospel and elders in the church of Christ are according to Articles 79 and 80 suspended and deposed from their office, that they may appeal to Art. 31 and continue to hold their offices in that denomination because in their minds the decision of the denomination wherein they were suspended and deposed is contrary to the Scriptures and the Church Order? Does he actually believe that when such men violate Art. 31 by refusing to appeal to a higher body, they may yet appeal to the article they violate in order to make null and void their suspension and deposition? And does he think that even if suspended and deposed ministers and elders DO appeal to a higher body they may, on the basis of Art. 31, still function in their offices in that denomination because in their minds the decision to suspend and depose is contrary to the word of God and to the Church Order? What kind of order, or rather, disorder, do you then have? But we are sure that the Rev. Ophoff can defend himself on this point.