SOBER DISCERNMENT, INDEED!
Undersigned has given his answer1,2 stating his reasons for having made various affirmation in an editorial3 which have come under attack.4,5,6 This reasoning dealt with those affirmations and it was not sidetracked one whit by those who would introduce another subject for debate. The editorial made no reference to the false church concept or anything of that nature. The point at hand, then and now, concerns the official confession of an institute! And it does not concern the view which brother Veldman “fears” that I am trying to inculcate into the minds of our youth. Let us stay with the topic, because I refuse to let brother Feenstra or brother Veldman or anyone else poison my pen! And I realize full well that I am and have been writing for the precious youth of our churches. Let our thanks arise because we may yet instruct them in the manner that is afforded us in the Beacon Lights!
Brother Veldman writes contrary to my writings in his contribution and entitles it Sober Discernment! And I reply to brother Veldman, to our whole readership and before God: Sober discernment, indeed! First of all, concerning that matter of the “false church” concept, since its introduction into this discussion is so doggedly demanded, our readers should recall undersigned’s statements: (1) “we do not call her the ‘false church’, do we?”1; (2) “Yes, I believe that the candlestick may still be there for the sake of his lingering saints there, but the candlestick’s witness is opposed to the confession of the institute. I am convinced that God does not bless an institute that fosters God-dishonoring heresies.”1; and (3) “The specious reasoning employed to put into the editorial the accusation of false church is obvious.”2 Thus it is evident that brother Veldman’s fears came in the face of an almost literal denial on my part of the concept that the Christian Reformed Church is the false church. And although it may seem to be the proper technique in his estimation to at once air in print that which he himself characterizes as fears concerning a brother, our readers themselves may judge the propriety of the matter. Attacking my writing is one thing, but attacking my orthodoxy on the basis of fear is quite another.
Secondly, in connection with the latter, where is the attack on the answer which I have submitted for my stand, namely; since the three points of 1924 are a denial of Christ and since one cannot truly confess two Gods, therefore the god of the Christian Reformed in their three points must necessarily be superimposed upon the heritage given to our fathers, the Three Forms of Unity and thereby render them corrupt? That is the reason which I gave for having made the statements previously. Brother Veldman limits their denial of Christ only to the three points, which I feel to be completely impossible. For God is not mocked!
Now, you as the youth of the Protestant Reformed Church must know from all that I have written previously that I esteem you, as the youth of God’s covenant, dearly for His sake. And yet, I am subject to error, and apart from the grace of God cannot discern with you the Truth. So, if need be, let my name be as dung and let God’s truth remain forever immutable in our midst! But before that former comes and before my writings be discredited further in your eyes, let my writings and my reasoning be shown to be in conflict with God’s Word!
You see my stand above, which you have also read in another issue. True it is, fallible man can and, apart from God’s grace, does arrive at corrupt stands. But where is the attack? And where is the instruction in the truth that should accompany such an attack on your brother’s orthodoxy? The method should be very simple, it seems to me. Thus: contradict my stand above by (1) showing that my logic used therein is faulty; or (2) showing that it is possible for them to deny Christ in one part of their confession and yet confess Him in another. It’s as simple as that, or isn’t it?
Notice further, brother Veldman agrees with brother Feenstra in that the Voice of Christ is heard in that church and that therefore the church cannot be viewed as wholly false. I, too, agree with these brethren on that. But the issue was not the false church!
Brother Veldman says that he would not care to endorse the position that when we agree that the three points are a denial of the Christ, it must follow that there is no knowledge of Christ in that church in connection with and through the preaching of the Word. This position I likewise am loathe to endorse at this time. But here arrives the significant point. He speaks of “the preaching of the WORD” “in the Christian Reformed Church.” (italics mine, HWK). Quite naturally, if and where the WORD is preached, there is the knowledge of God. Yes, IN the Christian Reformed Churches, too! I have had no difficulty with that whatever. This is in line with what I have quoted from before. But this matter too is entirely aside. This does not speak of the confession of the institute, as anyone can see.
Brother Veldman now speaks of “in the Christian Reformed,” and a given situation in which the WORD is preached! How far afield he has gone from the point of my pen! Naturally, God does not send His Word where His saints are not; and so, by force of resistless logic, I must and do agree that at least one saint in such a circumstance hears and knows Christ; the Christ of the Scriptures, of course. BUT, such a saint still does not know his Christ through his ecclesiastical confession which he makes in the world, which confession is a denial of that Christ. He then lies to his affiliatory confession in order to know Christ.
Nor does that minister who so preaches in that fold (as per this “given” situation) preach according to the confession which he makes by affiliation in a Christ-denying institute as a matter of his choice. If the Christian Reformed minister preaches the truth of the Scriptures, he denies the confession which he willfully makes in the institute of his choice. If, on the other hand, he preaches according to the confessions of his institute, he most certainly denies the Christ of the Word. But, this dichotomy does not touch the topic under discussion.
The topic stays with the confession of the institute. Recognize it and attack me from what I have written concerning this, for the sake of our youth and show me, that is, instruct me that my position is heretical and I will repent. Otherwise, let us consult Zechariah 7:10b or 8:17a, and rather give evidence to our youth the love of God and the brother for His sake.
I cited Art. 29 of the Confession, because I thought it would apply to some of the things that the brother was attempting to drag into the discussion. The fact that I did so does not give brother Veldman the right to infer a slighting of Articles 27 and 28, nor that I “never refer to Lord’s Day 21.” I, too, agree with all of them. But let that be a lesson to the youth from brother Veldman that one should always go the earth’s end to cite every existent and available source for support, or receive the consequence of open question of your orthodoxy.
Concerning his questions put, I would attempt to answer thus: The Church is that grand assemblage of all the elect of God, of all ages, redeemed in Christ, their head. This is answered more at length in L.D. 21 and Art. 27. The Church of Christ is gathered by the Son of God, through His Spirit and Word (see L.D. 21).
Concerning the question: Can any church (institute, I take it? HWK) be wholly false and yet constitute a part of this Church? Any church as institute never becomes part of the Church. Christ’s Church are the redeemed saints, the elect. That last question I would also answer in the negative.
Concerning the final paragraph: Here, since his contribution is directed solely against my writings, I am purported as being one who, contrary to the beliefs of all our clergy and those of my late father, holds to the concepts that the Christian Reformed Church is wholly false. And it is further suggested that the youth of God in the Protestant Reformed Churches had better be instructed contrary to the writing of H. W. Kuiper, associate editor of the Beacon Lights. I respond: I do not know of any of our clergy that hold to that concept either. I also am aware of the stand which the late Rev. H. H. Kuiper took on this matter, for we discussed it in a time when other men were in the process of changing their position on the question. And I agree with what he wrote on that matter, too.
But by these tactics of questionable inference, I refuse to be intimidated by anyone, even by brother Veldman, whom I have throughout the years held dear in the cause of our peculiar truth.
Kuiper, H. W., 1964.
1Open Forum: Reply to Mr. Thys Feenstra, Beacon Lights, Vol. 24, No. 3 pp.6-8.
2Open Forum: Reply to Mr. Thys Feenstra, Beacon Lights, Vol. 24, No. 5 pp. 13-14.
3Editorial: The Need For Protestant Reformed High Schools, Beacon Lights, Vol. 24, No. 1 pp. 1-2.
Feenstra, Thys, 1964.
4Open Forum: Letter to the Editor, Beacon Lights, Vol. 24 No. 3, p. 6.
6Open Forum: Letter to the Editor, Beacon Lights, Vol. 24, No. 5, pp. 12-13
Lubbers, Mrs. Mary Beth, 1964.
5Open Forum: Letter to the Editor, Beacon Lights, Vol. 24, No. 3, pp. 4-5.