Dear Mr. H. W. Kuiper:
In answer to your last letter to me, I wish to submit the following.
First, concerning my objection to your use of the term, “group”, you write: “What you say here is very inaccurate. The fact is that I spoke of group, not as identical with the Christian Reformed Church, but particularly the group that maintains the present day Christian High Schools (see my first answer to Mr. Thys Feenstra, wherein this very identification is made as such!—April issue, p. 6-7)”.
However, I cannot harmonize this with your writings. In the February issue of Beacon Lights, Page 1, you speak of “group” as referring to the Christian Reformed Church. It is true that you begin that paragraph with a reference to the present day Christian high school (please note that you place the word “Christian” in quotation marks; do you mean that these schools are not Christian? I cannot endorse this position). But, later in the paragraph you speak of churches as a group, and you are referring to the Christian Reformed Church. Immediately upon that statement you speak of a group which claims the title of one whom they don’t know, even Christ. And it seems to me that our readers have every right to assume that you are referring to the Christian Reformed Church when you use the term, “group” here. In the April issue of Beacon Lights, in your answer to T. Feenstra, you write, and I quote: “Confessionally here means that the group referred to has, officially as an institute, expressed in and as its credo, i.e. its confessions, doctrines which are contrary to the Word of God”. Brother, this group which has adopted doctrines that are contrary to the Word of God, must be the Christian Reformed Church. It is that “group” that has adopted these heresies. Hence, I cannot see any inaccuracy on my part. If you did not mean the Christian Reformed Church but particularly the group that maintains the present day Christian High Schools, then you certainly did not express yourself very clearly. Or, do you mean that we may not expect too much from the group that maintains the present day Christian High Schools because that group is the Christian Reformed Church?
Secondly, you endorse my definition of “institute”. May I conclude this from what you write, and I quote: “I follow your definition of the institute and the five-fold manifestation. But, where does the consideration of its confession enter? The ministry of the word and its official confession are not identical, are they?” Do you believe that Christ is blessing His people in the Christian Reformed Church through this institute, which includes the preaching of the Word? You speak of sheep in that church and write that they are fed within the institute. This must mean that they are fed, within the institute, through the preaching. So, Christ is blessing His sheep in the Christian Reformed Church through the preaching of the Word. It is for this reason that we cannot call the Christian Reformed Church the false church and it is also for this reason why we may not deny that church the title to the name of Christ.
Thirdly, however, you write consistently in your writings that Christ does not bless the INSTITUTE of the Christian Reformed Church. I have capitalized the word “institute” because you have done so. Now, brother, I have attempted to understand your position. I believe it is your position that Christ does bless His sheep within the institute (He is surely blessing them when He feeds them), but He does not bless that INSTITUTE. I assume that you mean that the Christian Reformed Church, having adopted the heresy of the Three Points, if it repents not, is doomed to extinction as a church of our Lord Jesus Christ. And the history of the Church teaches us that churches do not repent. That is and always has been my position. Does this mean, however, that the Christian Reformed Church, as institute and confessionally, is a group not entitled to the name of Christ and that it is therefore wholly false? This position is impossible. You write, and I quote: “For you evidently believe that the possibility exists for the Christian Reformed Church to utterly deny Christ in their “Three Points” and yet confess Him in truth elsewhere in their doctrine”. Indeed, that is exactly my position. And I wish that it were or be also your position. Institutionally and confessionally, the Christian Reformed Church maintains the Three Points plus the Reformed Confessions. That is simply their stand. O, I know, and we all agree, that the Three Points are a denial of the entire truth of the Word of God. Those Three Points surely affect every phase of the truth of Scripture. None among us denies that. None among us maintains that the Christian Reformed Church is confessionally pure. To teach that salvation is wholly of God and then to teach that the Lord offers His salvation to all is, strictly speaking, impossible. Of course it is! And, ultimately, the Christian Reformed Church will never continue to maintain both. And this for the simple reason that the one excludes the other. But it is simply a fact that both are maintained today in that church. They have, as yet, a “double-track-theology”. Historically, this is always the case. When a church departs from the truth, such departure is always vital. But does this mean that such a church becomes, institutionally and confessionally, immediately false? This goes through a process of time. For a while they seek to maintain both tracks. But this attempt is doomed to failure and this for the simple reason that the Lord will not be mocked. That is my position and I do not hesitate to say that that is generally the position of our churches.
Fourthly, in your letter you write that I consider it strange that you, always having held me in high esteem, expose my writing for what it is. I do not understand how you dared to write this. Brother, you may criticize me at will. But this I consider strange that you, always having held me in high esteem, should immediately, upon my first letter to you, accuse me of poisoning your pen and that you draw a mock caricature of me, advising our young people that, when dealing with me, they must not fail to go to earth’s end.
And this brings me to my final remark. Brother, do you believe that I tried to poison your pen? I earnestly tried to purify it (opposite of “poison”) or, to correct it. I do not care to have our young people believe that the Christian Reformed Church is, as institute and confessionally, not entitled to the name of Christ. And, do you believe that I am such a person that our young people, when dealing with me, must not fail to go to earth’s end? It may very well be that the staff of Beacon Lights may decide that this discussion has gone far enough. But, as long as you maintain these charges against me, I assure you that these are my concluding remarks as far as this discussion is concerned. And, incidentally, where have I accused you of heresy?
Rev. H. Veldman
Dear Reverend Veldman:
Your reply to undersigned’s “As To Confessions” (Dec. 1964 issue) has been received and should appear earlier in this issue. It is made manifest in this answer why you differ with me on the matter at hand. I believe that the crux of this variance is found in your affirmations found in your third point to which I will address myself presently.
Concerning your first section, however, your statement that I referred to the Christian Reformed Church as a group in itself may not be inaccurate. Allow me to yield the point. That was not, however, your thrust. Your thrust was that I spoke of them “simply as a group” and that in distinction from “as Church”. The point is, then, that I have never maintained that we must call them a “group” and not “Church”. That is plainly foreign to all that I have written. I ask again: to what purpose, to establish what, would this be done? I have never raised the point. And I have repeatedly referred to them as “Church”. I do not follow your objection.
Concerning your second section, I point out that in the quote of my writing which you set forth here, there is a question concerning the confession of the institute. That, after all, is the pivotal point of this whole discussion and we will come to that in your third point. Yes, you may conclude that I endorse your definition of institute, in this case the Christian Reformed Churches. And concerning your following remarks in this section, you understand well enough that I have agreed that whenever and wherever God’s people are fed, it is accomplished by or through the preaching of the Word. Such can be accomplished in no other way, while it is the privilege of the saint to have these things unhindered. But you will not now stay with my point. In the sphere of the Christian Reformed Church, it takes a minister who acts as a renegade to the Christian Reformed confessions to preach the gospel of salvation in truth! You may not like this, nor believe it, but I invite you to disprove it. And why you then continue to write, using the above truth as basis (i.e. God feeds His sheep through the preaching of the Word), that therefore we cannot call the Christian Reformed Church the “false church” is utterly beyond my comprehension. You are set to prove something to me, remember! And so now I shall challenge you to show where, even in one instance, I have so denominated them. Away with your inferences!
Concerning your third section, I mentioned earlier that I believed that the crux of variance in this discussion is touched. Had I known that your position as set forth in this section of your answer was as it is, this discussion could have ended much earlier. I have long since given mine and you have commented against it. Allow me to reflect on yours.
First, I certainly agree with you that it is the stand of the Christian Reformed Church that they maintain both the three points and the Three Forms. That is a subjective claim which they have made from 1924 to the present.
Secondly, I certainly do agree with the following of your remarks:
1. “O, I know, and we all agree, that the Three Points are a denial of the entire truth of the Word of God.”
2. “Those Three Points surely affect every phase of the truth of Scripture.”
3. “To teach that salvation is wholly of God and then to teach that the Lord offers His salvation to all is, strictly speaking, impossible.”
4. Further, you say that the “one excludes the other.”
Thirdly, I am unable to comprehend your statement which follows the above. Here you do not say that “it is their stand that they maintain…”; rather, you state: “But it is simply a fact that both are maintained today in that church.” Do you really mean this? Let me say that I disagree vehemently with what you assert here! Claiming to maintain and actually maintaining are two entirely different matters. And I do not believe that the Christian Reformed Church maintains the Three Forms! I believe, as I stated previously, that they have rather corrupted and polluted them by imposing a god as set forth in the Three Points upon them. Do not believe, Reverend, that God can look at the banner of the Christian Reformed Church and consider that it confesses Him when that very banner proclaims to the whole world that man, not God, is God!
Further, I do not believe that it is true that your position, as you stated, “is generally the position of our churches”.
Brother Veldman, I maintain no charges against you. You know well enough how I used the phrase “poison the pen”, namely that of injecting into my writings concepts foreign to what they carried in themselves. The matter of going to “earth’s end” appeared to me as a consequence of my blunder of only giving one source. I maintain no charges, but I heart and soul disagree with your last expressed concept of the maintaining of their confession by the Christian Reformed Churches.
I used the term “heresy” as synonymous with error and interchangeably with it. Or, as Webster has it: “an unorthodox doctrine or opinion, especially in religion”. I believe that it was generally so taken that you thus characterized my position.
In conclusion, allow me to say that many of your remarks which I have quoted here and with which I agree concerning their confession, are in reality so many fundamental underscorings to the command which we have received of God to teach our youth, also our High School-aged youth, in accord with His Word; which is what I was emphasizing from the beginning.
Fraternally in the Lord,
H. W. Kuiper
…all true religion is God-centered. And this is true only of that religion that has its ultimate source in God’s election. For it alone confesses that God is all and that man is absolutely nothing. There remains nothing for man to boast. All his own goodness, goodwill, works, religion and piety is cast into the dust as having no value before God. For we are saved according as we are chosen. And we are chosen, not because of any goodness or willingness on our part, but solely because it pleased God to distinguish us and only by grace. God is all! We bring nothing to Him, He gives all to us. We have nothing to boast. Let him that glorieth, glory in the Lord!
Rev. H. Hoeksema