To the Editor-in-chief of Beacon Lights
In regard to the Beacon Lights of Feb. 1964 in the editorial written by Mr. H. Kuiper, entitled: “The Need for Protestant Reformed High Schools”, I have many questions. I would like to ask Mr. Kuiper a few questions in regard to some of the statements made in his article.
I would like to ask Brother Kuiper first of all: what proof do you have for the statements you made in the editorial, that the group that maintains the Christian High Schools, in which there are many things we cannot condone, does not know Christ?
Secondly, what proof do you have that they deny Him confessionally? Mark you, your statement is not that in some respects they deny Christ by their confessions, but confessionally they deny Him. That statement means that in all their confessions they deny Him. Remember, Mr. Kuiper, that you are instructing the youth of God’s Church in your Beacon Lights article. You must prove to them and also to me that this group has no confessions but the one that denies Christ. And that they are, therefore, worse than the Roman Catholic Church that still confesses some of the cardinal truths of Scripture: as the virgin birth, the divinity of Christ, the triune existence of God. Can you prove to our young people that this group confesses the anti-Christ and denies the virgin birth and the divinity of Christ? Do they deny the power of the cross? Do they deny the truth of free justification through the grace of God in Christ Jesus? Do they deny the power of His resurrection? Remember, Mr. H. Kuiper, that you wrote in your article that they do not know Him, the Christ.
And if that be true, why is it that our Churches accept the baptism performed in this group? And how can our Churches accept their confessions if they confessionally deny Him? And tell me, when our ministers pray also for other churches that are in the world, do they in their prayers exclude the Christian Reformed Church? And why then does our Synod still call them brethren if they do not know Christ?
And, Mr. Kuiper, why do you not write that we cannot condone anything in their schools? Do you not by your own statement, “of many”, rather than “all”, deny your charge that they do not know Christ confessionally?
Did you know (read Rev. chaps. 1-4) that churches who do hold to some heretical teaching are by Christ Himself confessed as knowing Him? And that Christ through John blessed them, Rev. 1:4-5a: “John to the seven churches which are in Asia, Grace be unto you and peace, from him who is and who was and who is to come and from the seven spirits which are before his throne and from Jesus Christ.” This blessing is given to the Church throughout all the ages. Thus this blessing also includes the Christian Reformed Church of today, does it not? If so, Mr. Kuiper, then they know Him and Christ knows them, then they know Him confessionally also.
Think it over and let me hear from you in the Beacon Lights. And by all means prove to the youth you are instruction that this group has no confession but the one that denies Christ.
Thys Feenstra, Redlands, California
Reply to Mr. Thys Feenstra
Dear Mr. Feenstra,
Greetings in the Lord, brother. The editor forwarded to me for answer your letter concerning my editorial, “The Need for Protestant Reformed High Schools”, as it appeared in the February, 1964 issue of Beacon Lights. Your letter, in addition to setting forth various questions concerning a few of my statements in the editorial, evidences your clear understanding that the youth of the Church of Christ is being instructed continually and that we do well to remember that fact always; in this case, specifically, as they are readers of our periodical, the Beacon Lights. Therefore we are of one mind on that matter. I am happy for that, for it will undoubtedly serve (1) to underscore and emphasize, unmistakably, the main thrust of the whole editorial concerning which your questions arise, and (2) to help us to continue in that realization as these matters of your questions are discussed in the reading of our youth.
For the sake of the reader, brother Feenstra, let me at the outset agree with you in your identification of the “group” which maintains the existing “Christian” high school and concerning whose confessions we write, namely, the confessions of the Christian Reformed Church.
Concerning my words “confessionally they deny Him” you say that such means “in ALL their confessions they deny Him” (capitals mine, HWK). And by the way, since you appear to be warning me concerning what I wrote for our Protestant Reformed youth and because you insist that proof be given for these things which I wrote, I take it for granted, brother Feenstra, that you do not believe that this group confessionally denies Christ. Thus I have given my stand on the matter and you by your letter have evidenced yours. Now we know where we are.
In the abstract, brother, your difficulty is not with me, but with the structure of the English language. You notice that I do not say that all specific portions of their confessions, e.g., any one of the Three Forms of Unity, constitute in themselves a denial of the Christ. Of course not! Not per se. To do so would be to repudiate those things which we ourselves, as Protestant Reformed cherish and have cherished and maintained through the years, and through heresy and apostasy, too! Further, you should understand that the adverb “confessionally” here means that I am not speaking about the views or notions, perhaps, of one or a group of individuals in their camp that have been expressed which most certainly deny the Christ of Scripture’s God. One finds a lot of that too, of course, but such is not what is meant by the term used.
“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. And we do not need more proof for THAT, do we? And you do not believe, do you, that one or a group can tamper with the Word in some seemingly insignificant manner and not thereby affect THE CHRIST Himself, Who IS that Word? Thus it means that in or by their confessions, which are a single entire entity, they deny Him and it does not mean, does not say, nor even connote, that therefore each constituent part of that confession is, per se, a denial of Christ.
In that connection, I trust that you do not have to receive proof from me that the heresies adopted by the Christian Reformed in 1924 are indeed confessions which they have officially adopted and also officially maintain yet today. If so, especially for the very youthful readers who have an interest in this particular aspect of the matter and have not studied it before, consult, among other references (1) Rev. H. Hoeksema: The Protestant Reformed Churches in America, specifically those chapters which treat of the insistence of their classis and synod with respect to compliance and agreement with the Three Points, and (2) Prof. H. C. Hoeksema: The Three Points Still Binding!, “The Standard Bearer” Vol. XXXVIII, No. 18, pp. 414-415. Just a brief perusal of these two sources alone (and there are more!) will substantiate the statement that the heretical Three Points are an integral and inseparable part of their confession. The skeptical reader from the Christian Reformed camp need not accept the views of the two aforementioned authors, but may desire instead to glean the identical material essentially from the Acts of his own church, as it applies to this matter.
Presently I will return to your statement that my editorial states that in all their confession they deny Christ. At this point, however, I will reflect on a few of the questions that bear directly on the question. Most of them you may take and submit for discussion in your Men’s Society, etc., in view of the truth of my statements. Certainly it would prove to be edifying, but understandably it is impossible that they would all be covered in this answer to your main objection. And, too, in another sense, they are all directly answered in my concluding remarks.
Concerning our ministers praying for “other churches that are in the world”, I can only say that I have never heard of that before, in just that way. I have heard that they pray for that whole CHURCH MILITANT as it exists over the length and breadth of the earth. With the latter, I agree; with the former, I do not agree. Unless you mean that the only possible prayer that should be and is uttered for “mother church” is that, if it please God, she be given grace to repent from the apostasy of her heretical path. That there is a vast difference between the two is obvious.
Concerning the Roman Catholic Church, I would be extremely careful as to what esteem I give her, even that she confesses some of the cardinal truth of Scriptures. And by the way, brother Feenstra, who said that the Christian Reformed Church was worse, but YOU? I certainly did not; rather, I affirm that they both confessionally deny the Christ. But that distinction is yours, not mine.
Concerning your question as to why I did not write that we cannot condone anything in these schools, it ought to be evident that there may be nothing wrong, perhaps, with some of the courses which they decide to place in their curricula, that is the scope of the subject matter of a given course in history, for example. My objection to complacently sending my child to their school is that they have (primarily) employed teachers that are in total agreement with the heresies of 1924 (and the inevitable attendant decay) and if possible I desire that my child be instructed by one who confesses the truth of the Word, and not man’s distortion of it!
Concerning the reference to the churches in Asia, although Christ obviously had his elect in place and to that end as yet had the candlestick there, I am convinced that God through Christ did not bless the efforts of that church that were based on those heresies. So then He does not confess that a heretical confession knows Him, but rather confesses that His elect that are still in that sphere still may know Him…and they are called to come out!
No, brother Feenstra, I do not believe that the Lord blesses the Christian Reformed Church AS INSTITUTE anymore! Use it? 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 witness of the confessions of the institute. I am convinced that God does not bless an institute that fosters God-dishonoring heresies.
Now concerning your interpretation that my statement means that in all their confessions they deny Him, I have said that grammatically this is not true, but now affirm that spiritually such is most certainly true. I affirm that though they allege to hold to the Three Forms of Unity (we do not call her the “false church”, do we?), they, nonetheless, by their official addenda to these forms deny the Sovereign God of the Scriptures, they deny and do not proclaim the good tidings of Scripture’s Christ, but rather a miserable synthetic “gospel”. Thus when they apply their confession’s concepts of God and His Christ to the Three Forms, they simply do not have the same Three Forms that we have, brother. With those addenda, they have thoroughly corrupted what it had pleased God to give as a heritage to our fathers and their generations. And when they maintain those heretical doctrines within their bosoms, they AS INSTITUTE DENY THE CHRIST IN ALL THEIR CONFESSIONS AND THUS CANNOT KNOW HIM!
Mark you well, mention is made in the editorial that this is not a condemnation head for head, or of individuals or groups of individuals within that camp. The editorial attacks, as you understood very well in your letter the CONFESSION of the INSTITUTE. And it proceeded from the truth that as institute they had gone wayward, not only, but that in the process of time (and forty years has been ample time to demonstrate the truth of this affirmation) these doctrines have become increasingly so corrupt, that when its members walk according to that confession, it is virtually impossible to delineate between it and the world!
I repeat, I think it is high time that we have begun to move in the direction of our own high schools; I am thankful for it, because it is impossible for those who uphold heresies, ecclesiastically, to teach our children the TRUTH in school; and I have the assurance in my soul that we will experience His choicest blessings on our labors, as we labor in His strength, steadfastly and unashamedly defending our heritage against all its adversaries. I trust from the lack of comment on these points that you are in agreement with me.
I hope that this has explained to you my stand and the reasons for having written it for our youth as well.
Fraternally in the Lord,
H. W. Kuiper