ANSWER TO H. W. KUIPER
I read your answer to my article which appeared in the August-September issue of Beacon Lights and wish to reply as follows.
First, I would make a few preliminary remarks. In the first place, I stated that I appreciated your condemnation of the Three Points of 1924. With these remarks I agree. Secondly, you wrote as you did because you “esteem our youth dearly for His sake”. You may be sure that the same motive prompted me. Thirdly, you are “purported in my writings (writings of H. V.) as being one who holds to the concept that the Christian Reformed Church is wholly false”? Brother, I merely wrote that I feared this. And I must honestly confess that these fears have not been removed. Fourthly, you “refuse to let brother Feenstra or brother Veldman or anyone else poison my pen”. Writing to our “precious” youth, you inform them that I tried to poison your pen. Nothing is farther from the truth. I did not wish to poison your pen; I only wanted to purify it. You “have throughout the years held me dear in the cause of our peculiar truth”? Yet, as soon as I come against you, you tell our young people that I tried to poison your pen. Strange! Perhaps my fears are groundless. But did I try to poison your pen? Should and may the editor for our young people write things of this nature? Fifthly, I quote the following from your article: “But let that be a lesson to the youth from brother Veldman that one should always go to the earth’s end to cite every existent and available source for support, or receive the consequence of open question of your orthodoxy”. What must I say of this advice to our young people? First, it is pure nonsense! And, secondly, it is entirely unworthy of you. What prompted you, brother, to draw this caricature of a brother whom you always esteemed so highly? And this, mind you, because, whereas you cited ONLY ONE article of our Confessions, I called your attention to other parts of our Confessions. AND I GAVE YOU THE REASON WHY I CALLED YOUR ATTENTION TO THESE OTHER PARTS OF OUR CONFESSIONS. You see, brother, years ago I struggled with this question of the true and false church. And I have preached on it. And the fact is that L. D. 21 impressed me as being so important and fundamental to arrive at a correct understanding of this problem. Sixthly, I must refer to your citing of Zechariah 7:10b and 8:17a. For the sake of our young people, I will quote these verses: “And let none of you imagine evil against his brother in your heart…And let none of you imagine evil in your hearts against his neighbor”. Brother, do you think that I harbor evil in my heart against you? That would be a terrible thing!
I write at the beginning of this answer that my fears have not been removed. I realize that you wrote in your articles that you did not speak of everybody in the Christian Reformed Church, head for head. I also called attention to this in my article in the August-September Beacon Lights. This, brother, does not necessarily mean much. In all my dealings with those who maintain the “one-true-church, all-other-churches-false” concept, they never say that there are no people of God in the Christian Reformed Church. But, you also wrote other things. And these other things are the things that bother me. In your February article you call the Chr. Ref. Church a group, not entitled to the name of Christ. And it is evident from your articles that you mean the Chr. Ref. Church. You declare that you are in agreement with our clergy and also in agreement with what your father wrote in the article to which I refer you in my preceding article. But, in that article your father calls attention to the fact that Christ addresses the churches of Rev. 2 and 3 as “Church”; he would never speak of the Chr. Ref. Church simply as a group.
In the April Beacon Lights (page 8), you write: “No, brother Feenstra, I do not believe that the Lord blesses the Christian Reformed Church as INSTITUTE anymore!” Also this statement is a ground for my fear. What do you mean? Do you mean that the Chr. Ref. Church, deteriorating rapidly, will ultimately become wholly corrupt and silence all truth within its midst if it refuse to repent? But, is this the same as declaring that the Lord does not bless the Chr. Ref. Church as INSTITUTE anymore? What is the institute of a church? The institute of a church includes the preaching of the Word, the administration of the sacraments and the exercise of Christian discipline. It also includes all catechetical instruction and family visitation. To say that the Lord never blesses the institute of a church simply means that Christ’s voice is never heard in that church. This voice is heard through the institute. Then His grace and Spirit are never experienced. There is in the Christian Reformed Church no conversion, no faith, no blessing of any nature. This is the reason why I asked you the question: “Can any church be wholly false where the Son of God operates by His Spirit and Word”? And you answered this question in the negative. You claim that the Chr. Ref. Church is not wholly false? So, the Son of God does operate in that Church and this means that He operates there through the institute. But, how, then, can it be true that He never blesses that institute? That is my problem. And this is exactly the thrust of T. Feenstra’s article which you completely ignored.
These things, brother, are serious to me. I repeat: I have struggled with this question. To say that the Chr. Ref. Church, Confessionally and as Institute, is wholly false, is, in my opinion, untenable. Proper and sober discernment is, indeed, requisite.
Reply to Rev. H. Veldman
AS TO CONFESSIONS
Dear Reverend Veldman:
Your “fears” are playing a rather prominent role in this attack which you proceed to carry against what I have written. I would now suggest once again that you abandon such tactics of stating simply your fears and determine the matter in your mind so that you do not have to talk of fears, but rather will be able to show that a particular affirmation by this writer is heretical. I have invited you to do this before. I have also yielded to your insistence that an “introduced” topic be discussed and have made, in my last reply, some comment on that topic, viz., the possibility of maintaining both the concept that there are “sheep” in the sphere of the Christian Reformed Church and the concept that the confession of that institute denies Christ. Why you do not take hold of those affirmations and proceed to show the error resident therein escapes me. Once more, I invite you to do so or else withdraw from the lists as one who has no interest in the matters at hand.
Now in your second contribution, I notice six points of preliminary remarks, upon which I will comment according to the order listed and begin by expressing satisfaction with your first two points.
Concerning your third point: Do you deny that in your writings I am purported as being one who holds to the “one-church-true, all-other-churches-false” view, simply by now stating “I merely wrote that I feared this” (underscoring mine, HWK)? Brother, I used purport as verb transitive passive here, as you well know and as defined: “to have the appearance, often specious, of being or intending”, which in the passive means not “to have the appearance of intending” but rather “To be given the appearance of intending”. You may notice my underscoring and so be advised that I deny with all at my command your inferences and am compelled to brand your fears as groundless, which, by the way, you yourself suggest in this article!
Concerning your fourth point: I suppose that I could resort to the technique which you employed above and respond to your question here that I did not say that you tried to poison my pen, but rather that I refuse to let you or anyone else do so. But I will not do that. I will take your own words, show them for what they actually say and quit the field without further opposition on this point! And though I have held you dear in the cause of our truth, do not say that it is “Strange!” that I expose your writing for what it is. The high esteem in which I hold anyone does not preclude my duty or right to point up his error. Discussion is one thing, Reverend; but your tactics are another.
Notice then your words: “I did not wish to poison your pen; I only wanted to purify it”. What have we here? The accusation of corruption or the attempt to purify that which is pure? You no longer just “fear”, but you affirm corruption is present. Yet you do not specify. And this you do, blindly brushing aside every renouncement which I have made concerning the inferences made. I am trying to determine just what your objective is, brother.
Yes, Reverend Veldman, it is evident that you attempt, also in this last contribution, to put words, words to which I have denied any allegiance, into my pen. And I categorically deny you that privilege! The question is not whether I may write thus in reply to such things for our young people; not at all. The question is whether you have the ethical right to question the orthodoxy of your brother in print solely on the basis of your fears and without definite instruction contrary to his alleged error! When such appears, I both may and should answer as I did.
Concerning your “fifthly”: You continue, brother, in your writings, to identify what I have said or done with what it has been your experience that the advocates of the “One-church-true, all-other-churches-false” view say or do. What is your thrust here? Why don’t you come out and make your case so that the readers and I will know your purpose? Showing me some references as such signifies nothing; but your lesson (not my advice) came when you continue with your identifying statement which followed. You may say what you want of the lesson which you set before them, but your self-indicting “pure nonsense” suffices for me!
Concerning your sixth point: I will answer your question! The citing of these texts followed in a statement prefaced with the word “otherwise”. Did you see that? That statement was preceded by one in which I invite you to recognize the topic under discussion, attack what I had written on that topic and then instruct me as to how you judge my position to be heretical, with the promise that when that is established I would promise that I would repent. That still stands today. But if you cannot or will not do that in the process of discrediting my writings in public print, the answer to the question which you raise is, unequivocally, affirmative; in the other instance, negative. And I agree with you that the former would be a terrible thing!
Now we come to the discussion proper again. You do not counter what I have written to establish that the confession of the institute of the Christian Reformed denies the Christ. Didn’t I invite you to do that? Then the case is yours, you see, for I stand on that ground. Take that away and I am vanquished in this discussion, the day is all yours and I will be led and instructed in the truth. The foregoing all deals with the nature of the confession of that denomination.
But: we can really go no further now. For you evidently believe that the possibility exists for the Christian Reformed to utterly deny Christ in their “Three points” and yet confess Him in truth elsewhere in their doctrines. I do not believe that this possibility exists whatever. The god of the “Three Points” of 1924 was maintained as their God at the expense of the unity of the church, wasn’t it? Why do you not show how they can maintain that god of their heretical innovation without, per force, superimposing that concept of God over the whole of their confessions? This, mind you, only as it bears upon evaluation of their confession and not upon his saints being fed there. The latter is a separate consideration, as I purpose to show.
Your two new objections, after neglecting to refute my former answer, are: I) That I call the CRC a group, and 2) That I stated my belief that God does not bless the Christian reformed AS INSTITUTE anymore.
Concerning your objection to use of the term “group”: 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). Who wants to call the Christian Reformed Church a group, or to what purpose? But I certainly hope that you do not object when I call a group a group! And the group whereof I wrote has, for the most part, taken an affiliatory confession of the Christian Reformed Church. And I told brother Feenstra that I was speaking of the confessions of the Christian Reformed CHURCH! So now who is simply calling them a group? I don’t fathom your direction here, brother. Your own words in your first contribution make for me and against yourself, so that your asseveration goes for nought: notice—you spoke of my statement of the group and then say “I believe I may say that he is also speaking of the Christian Reformed Church” (underscoring mine, HWK).
Concerning your objection to my statement concerning the institute: Your “to say that the Lord never blesses the institute of a church simply means that Christ’s voice is never heard in that church” is hardly the way to dispute my statement that their confession is a Christ-denying one or, for that matter, that He does not bless the institute which embraces such a confession. Was the church of Laodicea devoid of any of the saints? Not according to the words of Christ, for He does not send His Word where His saints are not. Were they fed? We both affirm that God sees to the needs of His saints always, lest they die. So He did work in that institute while His saints were there, but the call to them was that they should come out! Did God bless the institute of the church at Laodicea? The contrary is obvious!
I believe that if the Christian Reformed Church today possessed sufficient strength of discipline to maintain her confessions as she ought that there could be no proclamation of the gospel in her midst. But the fact that she lacks that does not make for your point of view. Why is it that there can be ANY voice heard in opposition of Prof. Dekker’s teaching without censure in their midst today? I ask that because I am convinced that he teaches fundamental Christian Reformed doctrine, according to the confession of his institute. That question has already been decided by their Synod, 40 years ago. But it is therefore obvious that not all within the camp of the Christian Reformed Church are in agreement with that which they at the same time confess by willfully remaining members in that institute. This is undoubtedly true for certain of the laity as well as some of its clergy. THUS, as I told you before, it is quite possible for some of the saints to be found there and to be fed also. But I will still maintain that they are fed within that institute with that which is in direct conflict with the confession of that institute. From what you have written, you do not agree to this.
If God blesses the institute, is that blessing by God not evident in spiritual prosperity and growth in and development of the truth? Or, how does God bless an institute? You will not claim that His use of it is to be identified with His blessing of it, will you? If God blesses the institute that doctrinally goes wayward, why may we not remain in the sphere of the blessing of God? No, the call is, rather, to come out simply because God is not pleased to bless an institute which denies Him…the while feeding and keeping His saints that linger there and admonishing them to come out.
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 matters, are they?
So you have taken the readers far afield from the beginning point of the editorial. And I have expressed myself on this matter, too, although by your insistence only. That I ignored anyone’s remarks is a rankly fallacious assertion. If one is unable to stay with the topic under discussion, he does not have the right to infer that this is also the case with others.
Reverend Veldman, this is my stand. If it is incorrect, refute my stand, as that of one who sincerely desires to be of one mind with you on this matter.
Fraternally in the Lord,
H. W. Kuiper