Afraid of the Gospel (10)
Reformed Free Publishing Association
This article was written by Rev. John Heys in the January 15, 1954 issue of the Standard Bearer.
Conditional theology is an insult to God!
Thus we wrote in a former article. And we would have you note that we say that conditional theology is an insult to God. We do not say that every use of the conditional form is to be condemned. To use what, in grammar, is called the conditional form does not necessarily mean that you are presenting conditional theology and are making statements that are insults to God.
Those who formerly belonged to the Protestant Reformed Churches, at least belonged in name, but left to be free to teach and propagate conditional theology would like to deceive you into thinking that because scripture uses the conditional form, it teaches conditional theology. But that is not so!
Just because a verse in scripture begins with an “if,” an “except,” an “unless,” or any such expression it does not necessarily follow that a condition is being presented. It never means that in scripture. We will not take the time nor the space now to show how often and in how many ways we, in our everyday language, make use of such words without introducing a condition.
We will not take the time now because more important things must appear in these columns at present. And as long as men continue to defend those literally heretical statements of Rev. De Wolf they must not say that they do not believe in Arminian conditions! And a man who does not believe or teach the Arminianism, implied not only, but also literally stated, in those two statements will condemn them and declare that they must be condemned.
What we want to share with you now is the spiritual, ethical, moral reason why Rev. De Wolf cannot see the insult to God in his statements and why his followers likewise cannot see it. We mean that! Spiritually they cannot see it. We pleaded with him; others pleaded with him; Classis spent seven days in the love of Christ laboring to get him to see it. And he could not and still does not.
Now we understand why. And we have been vindicated in regard to our recent writings and that at an earlier date than we dared to expect. We said that, having left the straight line of the truth, one must needs come back all the way or else go still further into error. A further error, an awful error, a clear and plain error has now been published to all the world!
Of course we mean that cross-bill filed in Superior Court by Rev. De Wolf. It explains everything! The short quotation that appeared in the last Standard Bearer revealed plenty. And we will not repeat it or what it shows. We would add just this thought to that editorial: Are we now going to be flooded with propaganda to the effect that also these statements, to which he swore before God and man, have a different meaning than their literal form and that he meant something entirely different? And this time he had the assistance of attorneys to make such an unfortunate statement????!!!! Even with the help of a lawyer does he still make statements that are not clear and do not express what he really means?
But here is the thing that you must see now. The apostle Peter explains to us why Rev. De Wolf cannot see the error in those statements. To him and to us Peter writes, “Wherefore laying aside all malice, and all guile, hypocrisies and envies, and all evil speaking, as newborn babes desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby” 1 Peter 2:1–2. Rev. De Wolf’s heart and that of his supporters is so full of malice and envies and evil speakings that they cannot desire the sincere milk of the word. He cannot desire to cast from him those insults to God! Only in the way of putting these aside will he and his followers ever desire and hold on to the pure, unadulterated Protestant Reformed truth. Otherwise he will only continue to desire the impure, man-exalting, God-insulting conditional theology he now defends.
We are too harsh?
Conscientious reader, read the following things to which Rev. De Wolf swore before God and man as representative for his whole consistory and which appears in his crossbill:
“15. Defendants further show that said Herman Hoeksema, commencing early in his life, has been a domineering character whose word is law and who would not tolerate any opposition to his conclusions or pronouncements, and that in organizing the First Protestant Reformed Church of Grand Rapids, Michigan, he assumed to be the head thereof and to dictate its policies, and would not tolerate any opposition to his own ideas or wishes, became very intolerant, and as time went on he created a feeling of dissension and opposition to him in this church.”
“33. These defendants show that 24 churches have been organized known as the Protestant Reformed Churches, and that cross defendant Herman Hoeksema, actually, not in name, has assumed to be the head of said churches and in fact has sought to control the actions of said churches, their policies, etc. and has by his conduct at times controlled the vote and proceedings of the Classis and attempted to control the matters that came before the Synod.”
“41. These defendants further show that the history of Herman Hoeksema shows a disposition of intolerance and that of absolute boss and a person whose mentality is such that he is incapable of tolerating any person or persons who might disagree with his own ideas; that he is always right and that the person who disagrees with him is always wrong, and that he intends to rule or ruin, and he and his followers are following a course of conduct which is intended to and does wreck this denomination, causing dissension in its churches, and that no court should place its stamp of approval upon the actions of these cross defendants.”
To all that Rev. De Wolf swore before God and did so as declaring that he was authorized to do that for his whole consistory.
He and his consistory are to be pitied. And yet because they intended to hold on to those statements which in their literal form are heretical and to continue in their schismatic way, it had to come to something like this. How they could ever deceive themselves into thinking that these things were so true that before God they would swear to it is to be explained only in the light of 1 Peter 2:1–2 and similar passages of holy writ. And why do they bring a thing like that to a worldly court when as fellow consistory members with Rev. Hoeksema they never once even started to discipline a man so evil that even Korah, Dathan and Abiram would be shocked to see such playing with holy things and such a craving to rule or ruin.
Do these men think that they are going to cause anyone outside of their own circle to believe such things?
What a wonderful opportunity for the Reformed Guardian now really to come to the defense of truth and justice! Let the Reformed Guardian hasten to assure “Protestant Reformed Membership” that it is not going to defend that article quoted last time which by implication declared that Rev. Hoeksema should have submitted to the Three Points of ‘24. Let it defend justice and hasten to assure “Protestant Reformed Membership” that Rev. Hoeksema is a child of God and not an enemy of his church and show that when God removed him from the scene for a time by sickness, there was no sighing of relief from such awful tyranny nor a quick readjustment of all things, lest at his recovery it would be too late to get justice and freedom from his awful, devil-inspired, unregenerated, and unsanctified actions. Let it defend justice and remind Rev. De Wolf et al that Rev. Hoeksema always argued from the word and the confessions and that these ruled in our churches all these years because God gave us a man so amazingly versed in them, and that even in their original languages.
At various times lately, the leadership of Rev. Hoeksema, was questioned and declared to be untrustworthy. We were told not to follow it any more. But are these men now going to advise their friends and relatives, and those whom they have deceived, to follow such awful leadership as Rev. De Wolf has displayed as he leads them back to 1924 and says that they must start over because ‘24 was a schismatic action and that those decrees and pronouncements on “Common Grace” should be recognized? Groups rushed out of the Protestant Reformed Churches, a whole Classis did, to stand next to Rev. De Wolf after he left the Protestant Reformed Churches. They could not even wait to appeal to the coming Synod. Now will they rush after him the rest of the way back to 1924?
Are consistories in what was formerly Classis West going to come to their March session with instructions to recognize also this new act of Rev. De Wolf and to advise all the congregations that are in their fellowship to declare that the decrees and pronouncements of the Christian Reformed Churches in 1924 must be acknowledged?
And those of you who were deceived and went along simply because your sympathy was aroused; and you who were deceived into thinking that Rev. De Wolf never got a fair deal in that consistory nor at the hands of Classis East, is this in your judgment a fair deal? Is this being honest with the facts?
Why did this Rev. De Wolf ever want to sit under the instruction of such a man who began so evilly so early in life? How could he even, knowing all these things, want to become an associate pastor in the same congregation with such a man! Why has he not as a pastor in that congregation ever demanded of the consistory that this evil man be disciplined? How did he and his consistory ever get it across their consciences not to call Rev. Hoeksema’s attention to his evil way whenever his consistory exercised Christian censure before each celebration of the Lord’s Supper as Article 81 of the Church Order demands?
Rev. De Wolf, you swore before God that all this is true!
In his fear put all this away, and you will see what the sincere milk of the word is, and as a newborn babe, you will desire it and not conditional theology.