Sober Discernment

In the February issue of our Beacon Lights, the associate editor of this magazine, H. W. Kuiper, wrote an editorial entitled: The Need for Protestant Reformed High Schools. This article had been criticized in subsequent issues of our Beacon Lights. And that part of the editorial which has been the principle target of this criticism reads as follows: “But there is one treacherous difference: that group yet wants to claim the title of one whom they don’t know, even Christ. Oh, I am not speaking head for head, but confessionally they deny Him…how then can they know Him?”

I fear that the associate editor would maintain the one-church-true and all-other-churches-false view. As associate editor he occupies a very responsible position. This is especially true in the light of the fact that he writes to the youth of our churches. And I fear that it is this view which he wishes to inculcate into the minds of our youth.

I base this fear, first of all, upon that statement in his editorial of the February Beacon Lights. I realize that he writes: “Oh, I am not speaking head for head.” But he also writes that that group does not know Christ, that it confessionally denies Him and therefore cannot know Him. I believe I may say that he is also speaking of the Christian Reformed Church. Christ, then, they do not know. Mind you, that Church is not even entitled to the name of God or of Christ. And I base this fear, in the second place, upon the June-July issue of Beacon Lights. In this latter issue we have an article by Thys Feenstra and an answer to it by H. W. Kuiper. If the associate editor does not believe in the one-church-true, all-other-churches-false view, the article of T. Feenstra surely gave him a splendid opportunity to make this plain. Fact is, however, that H. W. Kuiper completely ignores the article of T. Feenstra as far as its main and fundamental argumentation is concerned. I refer to the reasoning that the Voice of Christ is heard in the Christian Reformed Church and that, therefore, that church cannot be viewed as wholly false. With this argument of T. Feenstra I agree completely.

I do wish to observe that I appreciate the associate editor’s condemnation of the Three Points of 1924. These Three Points certainly are a denial of the Christ. And I certainly believe that we must never weary of emphasizing this as we instruct our youth. On this point, however, we are all agreed. That the Christian Reformed Church, in those Three Points, denies the Christ we must understand. However, does this mean that there is no knowledge of Christ in the Christian Reformed Church in connection with and through the preaching of the Word? This position I would never care to endorse. Does this mean that it then makes no difference whether I belong to the Christian Reformed Church or not? Of course not! The departure of that Church from the truth makes it impossible for us to belong to it. We must confess the truth as we know it to be in Christ Jesus and according to the Scriptures.

There are people of God, sheep in the Christian Reformed Church. Brother Kuiper affirms this. They surely hear the Voice of their Shepherd. If not, they would never know themselves to be sheep. And they must receive food. Otherwise, they could never live. However, this hearing of the Voice of their Shepherd surely takes place through His Spirit and Word. The associate editor of Beacon Lights must answer this argumentation. He does not even touch upon it in his answer to T. Feenstra in the June-July Beacon Lights.

Brother Kuiper refers his readers to Art. 29 of our Confession of Faith. I also endorse this article. I also endorse Articles 27 and 28 of the same Confession. And, I would also call the attention of brother Kuiper to Lord’s Day 21, Question and Answer 54 of our Heidelberg Catechism. It is the experience of the undersigned that the advocates of a one-church-true, all-other-churches-false view never refer to Lord’s Day 21. Several pertinent questions can be asked. What is the Church, according to our Confessions? Who constitute the Church? How is that church gathered? Can any church be wholly false and yet constitute a part of this Church? Can any church be wholly false where the Son of God operates by His Spirit and Word?

I write this for the sake of our youth. I want them to be sober in their view. I do not know of any minister in our churches who believes that the Christian Reformed Church is wholly false. The father of H. W. Kuiper, the late Rev. H. H. Kuiper, did not believe this either, as is evident from his article in Vol. 34 of the Standard Bearer, pages 261-264. We must always be careful, especially when we instruct the youth.