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When you Pass Through the Waters

When you Pass Through the Waters

This meditation was written by Rev. James Slopsema in the February 15, 2000 issue of the Standard Bearer. _____________ But now saith the Lord that created thee, O Jacob, and he that formed thee, O Israel, Fear not: for I have redeemed thee, I have called thee by thy name; thou art mine. When thou passest through the waters, I will be with thee; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow thee: when thou walkest through the fire, thou shalt not be burned; neither shall the flame kindle...

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Bread for His Service

Bread for His Service

This article was written by Rev. John Heys in the April 1, 1964 issue of the Standard Bearer. __________ Here in these climes there are increasing evidences of the return of spring. In our complex life of today this has lost so much of its significance. In our pleasure-mad world the outlook of man is so different from what it was only a few generations ago. We live so far away from the soil today. That all our food is grown in the soil and comes to...

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Interview with Henry Vander Wal: Present-Day Colporteur

This article was written by Prof. David Engelsma in the July 1989 issue of the Standard Bearer. __________ By August 1, [1989], Henry Vander Wal will have turned over the last of his responsibilities on behalf of The Standard Bearer to others. Henry is one of the “unsung heroes” in the story of the spreading of the witness to the truth by the Protestant Reformed Churches. At the time of the Reformation of the church in the sixteen century, one of the important ways in which...

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As to Conditions (11)

As to Conditions (11)

This eleventh and final article in the series 'As to Conditions' was written by Herman Hoeksema in the June 1950 issue of the Standard Bearer. ____________ Once more we meet with the term condition in the Canons of Dordrecht, and again the word is put in the mouth of the Remonstrants. It is found in Chapter 5, Rejection of Errors, 1: ‘The true doctrine having been’ explained, the Synod rejects the errors of those: “Who teach: That the perseverance of the true believers is not a fruit of...

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June 2020 Standard Bearer preview article

June 2020 Standard Bearer preview article

 Click to read pdf as printed in the June 2020 issue. This article is written by Rev. Joseph Holstege and will be published in the June 2020 issue of the Standard Bearer. Mind In days of pestilence and its resulting trouble, warranted is the apostle’s admonition that we “be not soon shaken in mind” (2 Thess. 2:2). When tempted to broadcast our opinions on said pestilence and its effects, the caution of Proverbs 29:11 is also in order: “A fool uttereth all his...

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As to Conditions (9)

We must still call attention to the very last part of Canons III, IV, 12.

There we read: “Whereupon the will thus renewed, is not only actuated and influenced by God, but in consequence of this influence, becomes itself active. Wherefore also, man is himself rightly said to believe and repent, by virtue of that grace received.”

Now the meaning of this is plain.

The article had first emphasized that the grace of regeneration is absolutely sovereign and unconditional. 

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May 15, 2020 Standard Bearer issue is now available!

May 15, 2020 Standard Bearer issue is now available!

Due to printing restrictions related to COVID-19, the RFPA is temporarily unable to print and distribute hard copies of The Standard Bearer. Once these restrictions have been lifted, the RFPA will print and mail out all postponed hard copy issues of the magazine. In the meantime, these issues will be available for free online as they are produced. You can read the May 15, 2020 issue at: https://rfpa.org/pages/the-standard-bearer.  

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As to Conditions (8)

As to Conditions (8)

In our last article under this heading we referred to Canons heads three and four, article 12, which speaks of regeneration. And at the close of that article we had several questions which we now shall discuss.

The first question in whether, if faith is a condition, regeneration must not also be considered as conditional, as something which man must fulfill in order that God may give him the grace of regeneration. That would seem to be almost an impossible conception, but it is also a conception which seems to be implied in what the Rev. Petter writes in Concordia of Feb. 2, 1950. For there he writes that the Spirit of regeneration, the Spirit of salvation, comes after repentance and is related to the latter as a condition.

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As To Conditions (7)

In my last article on this subject (cf. The Standard Bearer of Dec. 15, 1949) I was discussing Canons 2, article 8, an article of our confessions which completely covers the entire truth of our salvation from election to eternal glory. Yet, this article not only fails to speak of conditions but leaves no room for the notion at all.

It speaks of the sovereign decree of election as the unconditional source of our salvation. It emphasizes that the gift of faith is bestowed by God only upon the elect, so that faith is presented as belonging to salvation itself. Moreover, by this God-given means of faith, the elect are infallibly led unto salvation. And how can a gift possibly be, at the same time, a condition unto that gift?

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May 1, 2020 Standard Bearer special issue is now available!

May 1, 2020 Standard Bearer special issue is now available!

Due to printing restrictions related to COVID-19, the RFPA is temporarily unable to print and distribute hard copies of The Standard Bearer. Once these restrictions have been lifted, the RFPA will print and mail out all postponed hard copy issues of the magazine. In the meantime, these issues will be available for free online as they are produced.

You can read the May 1, 2020 issue at: https://rfpa.org/pages/the-standard-bearer.

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As To Conditions (6)

It was not my purpose originally at this stage of my discussion on the question of conditions to reply to the writing of the Rev. Petter in Concordia. The purpose of my writing is not to carry on a controversy, but rather to give a positive, and more or less systematic, exposition of the whole subject from a Reformed point of view. And it certainly is not conducive to the realization of this purpose to pay too much attention to what others write and especially to the writing of the Rev. A. Petter. The brother will therefore have to have a little patience, and if necessary I will reply to him at the end of my series.

Nevertheless, I can no longer refrain from pointing to a grave error in the Rev. Petter’s method of attacking me in Concordia and especially to his misrepresentation of what I taught in the past on the question of conditions. The brother leaves the impression with his readers that I, too, have changed my mind, and that therefore our churches cannot safely follow so untrustworthy a leadership as I offer them. I therefore want to state here emphatically that I always opposed the standpoint of the Rev. Petter that faith is a condition and that the covenant is conditional.

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As To Conditions (5)

At the close of our last article we were discussing Canons, chapter I, Rejection of Errors, V.

The Arminians, as is plain from that article, presented the entire way of salvation as conditional, and therefore, as depending on something man must do, on conditions which he must fulfill in order to be saved.

They were afraid that the doctrine of unconditional election and unconditional salvation would lead to a denial of the responsibility of man. And the latter they wanted to maintain at all cost, even at the expense of the truth of sovereign and unconditional election and reprobation.

Hence, they spoke of a conditional election, and therefore, of a conditional salvation.

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April 15, 2020 Standard Bearer issue is now available!

April 15, 2020 Standard Bearer issue is now available!
Due to printing restrictions related to COVID-19, the RFPA is temporarily unable to print and distribute hard copies of The Standard Bearer. Once these restrictions have been lifted, the RFPA will print and mail out all postponed hard copy issues of the magazine. In the meantime, these issues will be available for free online as they are produced. You can find the April 15 issue at: https://rfpa.org/pages/the-standard-bearer. Read More

As To Conditions (4)

The Arminians taught an election on the basis of foreseen faith and perseverance. God had chosen those whom he knew would believe and persevere. Faith, therefore, is a condition in the counsel of God, unto salvation. Yet, they understood, too, that man does not have this faith of himself. Scripture teaches too plainly that it is a gift of God. Now, how did they meet or rather circumvent this difficulty by their theory of “common grace,” or of the proper use of the light of nature. By this theory, they could even, if need be speak of an election unto faith! O, the error is made to look so much like the truth! When the Reformed believer speaks of sovereign grace, the Arminian agrees with him wholeheartedly—it is all of God! When the Reformed believer confesses to believe in election, the Arminian has no objection. When the Reformed child of God confesses that we are saved through faith, and that faith is a gift of God, the Arminian agrees with him. And yet their views are opposed to each other as light and darkness. This becomes apparent as soon as you ultimately ask the question: but to whom does God give this saving faith? Then the Reformed believer confesses: God gives the saving faith to whom he will, unconditionally, according to his absolutely free and sovereign and unconditional election! There are absolutely no conditions in the matter of salvation, no condition of faith, neither any conditions unto faith! But the same question the Arminian answers as follows: God bestows the gift of faith upon those that are willing to receive it. There is, after all, a condition attached unto election unto faith, and that condition is that man must use the light of nature aright, that by that light he must walk humbly and in meekness before God, become pious and render himself worthy and fit for eternal life!

Thus the question is always ultimately: is salvation determined by God or by man?

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