December 15, 2019 Standard Bearer preview article

There are various legitimate means evangelism committees and mission committees use to spread the gospel. One such means already faithfully used by the PRC Mission Committee was that of the printed page. During the years that war was being waged in Europe and the south Pacific, various churches, especially First PRC in Grand Rapids, published pamphlets addressing diverse doctrinal and practical issues—many of them written by Rev. Herman Hoeksema. In the twenty-fifth anniversary booklet of the Protestant Reformed Churches the author writes:

There are the pamphlets of the Sunday School Society of the First Prot. Ref. Church in Grand Rapids, and I assure you they are worthy of mention, of honorable mention. Thousands upon thousands of these pamphlets have seen the light on many and diverse biblical and Reformed subjects, and they have been spread far and wide. And their influence can hardly be underestimated.1

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Afraid of the Gospel (8)

Conditional theology!

Christless sermons!

These go hand in hand. Hand in hand they must go. For conditional theology wants us to believe that there are works of men that precede the works of God and for which God waits, either before saving us or before he can and will give us the next installment of salvation. We must believe, so the particular phase of conditional theology which was smuggled into the Protestant Reformed churches declares, before the promise of God to save us will go into effect. God promises salvation to everyone who hears the gospel on the condition that they believe. They must, then, first believe, and then the promise is for them. Before that it is not for them. And so, this particular brand of conditional theology maintains, it is also for man after he has been brought by God into the kingdom by his act of believing. Then his receiving and enjoying of the blessings of that kingdom still depend upon his doing something before God will give the next installment. He must convert himself before God will send to him that blessing of the kingdom, namely, the joyful experience of being in it, the comfort, the peace of mind of being a citizen of it. Man’s work is prerequisite to God’s work! Let them not say that they do not mean that! Let them rather convert themselves and become like little children and confess that the word prerequisite does not fit in Reformed theology when we are speaking of the good works to which God calls us.

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Afraid of the Gospel (7)

Christ or conditions.

That is the issue! Either Christ and his work is the prerequisite for my entrance into the kingdom of heaven or else my act of converting myself is the prerequisite. Either Christ and his atonement is the basis for my salvation or else I am saved on the condi­tion of faith, and perhaps on the condition of a few other things demanded of me.

Christ and conditions?

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December 1, 2019 Standard Bearer preview article

Chairman Graham, Senator Blumenthal, and members of the Committee, thank you for allowing all of us to speak today. I cannot think of a more noble cause for all of us to be spending our time on today than the safety and protection of our children. I began Protect Young Eyes five years ago because the internet is complex and even diligent parents are overwhelmed by the digital choices their children are facing. Through thousands of hours of research, hundreds of presentations at schools around the country, and dozens of articles examining digital trends, we have witnessed both the wonderful potential and the troubling and pervasive darkness that exists in the pockets of millions of young people today. I’m certain that in the course of today’s discussion, we will hear difficult stories. I wish they were uncommon.1

The above is the opening statement of Mr. Chris McKenna before the Senate Judiciary Committee on July 9, 2019.

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Afraid of the Gospel (6)

In response to our publishing of his statements that “Many people also speak this way about accept the terms of the covenant. We do indeed believe in covenant obligations and privileges, but never as con­ditions,” the Rev. Gritters objected by personal letter and declared that we could not find in any of his cur­rent writings that he now embraces conditional elec­tion.

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Afraid of the Gospel (5)

God cannot be mocked.

He may not be mocked; but he cannot be mocked either.

And when one departs from the straight line of the truth, he must come back to the point of depar­ture or else continue still further away from the truth.

That is not only a fundamental principle taught us in the scriptures, it is also the testimony of church history and even of our everyday life.

It makes no difference how little the departure may be, one must come back from it all the way, or else he will go still further in his way of error and of a sinful walk.

 

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November 15, 2019 Standard Bearer preview article

Right receiving of the word preached

“These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so.” Acts 17:11

God is pleased to use the preaching of His Word to work faith (Rom. 10:17).

God is pleased to use weak, sinful men to preach, which calls the hearers to focus on the voice of their Shepherd and not so much on the Shepherd’s instrument, the preacher.

God declares that the preaching of Christ crucified is the power and the wisdom of God (I Cor. 1:23, 24).

The great importance of the preaching of the gospel requires a proper attitude when receiving this preaching. Acts 17:11 describes this correct attitude of receiving the preaching of the gospel.

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Afraid of the Gospel (4)

In the article just preceding this one we stated that the seeds of conditional theology were planted into our churches from foreign soil.

That conditional theology was not here even dur­ing those days when our leaders used the word “condition” without having fully before their consciousness the implication of that word. Today, however, fully conscious of the use of that word among members of the Liberated Churches of the Netherlands who desire to become members of our congregation while still holding on to their conditional theology, fully con­scious of its implications because of thorough and ex­haustive discussions on the floor of Synod and Classis, there are those who still want that which manifestly they did not want and did not know only a few years ago.

There was a time when there was none in our churches who was afraid to preach the gospel. We like to show that at this time. We quote again from the work of the Rev. M. Gritters, “The Testimony of Dordt.”

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Afraid of the Gospel (3)

Seeds germinate.

Such is the process of life.

And if you do not root up or choke that which sprouts forth from the seed, the plant will soon come to that degree of growth that you can distinguish the plant from other types of plants.

You plant your flower seeds, and they grow. But in the soil are also the seeds of several obnoxious plants, the seeds of weeds. They also germinate. And as both that which your flower seeds send forth grows and that which these seeds of the not-wanted plants send forth grows, you are for a brief period of time at a loss to decide which must be uprooted.

So it is with the seed of the truth and the seed of the lie.

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November 1, 2019 Standard Bearer preview article

The reformation of the church is God’s work. God loves His church with an everlasting, unquenchable love. God’s eternal counsel with regard to His church includes not only the selection of every member, but also the entire history of the church through time and eternity. That earthly history includes times of reformation in His church. In His perfect wisdom, God determines a process of apostasy, that is, that the church that once maintained the teaching and practices of the Bible, over a period of time, departs from biblical standards. Such departure always involves doctrinal apostasy, setting aside the truth for the lie. It spreads into worship, defiling the worship with idolatrous practices. The corruption spreads to the church’s government, which often takes on the form of a hierarchy that oppresses those who criticize the church for her errors and godless living. And finally, the apostasy manifests itself in the lives of the members, who learn to transgress with the approval of the church.

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