Hoodwinked (2)


In October 2018, Rev. Koole wrote that if a man would be saved there was that which he must do. (Many of the documents referenced below can be found here.)

Both Revs. Langerak and Lanning wrote letters exposing the false doctrine in these editorials. 

Rev. Koole rebuffed both and insisted on his theology.

(Which was no surprise to me, for the reasons provided in a previous post.)

It was only after two heavyweights in the denomination weighed in that Rev. Koole gave the appearance of backing off.

Prof. Huizinga used strong language to repudiate the theology being espoused by Rev. Koole.

In light of the fact that good works are a doing and faith is not a doing, we must be careful never to confuse faith and works by turning faith into a work we must perform in order to be saved. Salvation is by faith alone. Our experience of salvation as justified believers who know God’s pardoning grace is not by our doings but by faith in Christ. If faith truly is something we must do to be saved, saved in any sense of the word, then faith is no more faith, grace is no more grace, the gospel is no more gospel, and—terrifyingly—salvation is impossible because salvation by works is utterly impossible for all men whether they are indwelt by the Holy Spirit or not. It is one thing to command a man to believe (gospel), but it is another thing to command a man to do (law). When it is time for the gospel to issue its call, the gospel can frame to pronounce the words, “Repent and believe!” but the gospel cannot frame to pronounce the words “Do this and live!” Such a command is the gospel’s Shibboleth. (SB, August 2019)

Prof. Engelsma also spoke to the seriousness of the issue.

What Hoeksema meant, what the statement means, and what I believe and defend is that faith is not a “doing” by the sinner that, as a “doing,” contributes to his righteousness or accomplishes his salvation along with the doing of Jesus Christ. Righteousness is not by faith and by faith’s “doing.” It is not by faith as man’s doing. It is as gravely erroneous to make faith man’s saving “doing,” whether with or without the help of God, as it is to teach justification by faith and by the sinner’s working (“doing”).

In response to the letter from Prof. Engelsma, Rev. Koole seemed willing to make a concession.

Having read the objections and fears of yourself and others, perhaps it is time to cease referring to faith as a “doing” lest it appear we have turned faith into a working. This in the interests of removing this as an issue creating division in our churches and bringing unity again. For my part, I am willing to do that. (SB, 11/15/19)

At least for a year.

Then the whole matter of “doing” reappeared.

Witsius then proceeds to set forth what he is convinced is the Reformed perspective: II. In the matter itself [the controversy set before us] some things are to be approved, others not. III. Scripture teaches that something must be done that we may be saved. (SB, 12/15/20)

Rev. Koole tried to hide behind the words, “Due to space, we cannot in this article give select quotes of Witsius explanation of these propositions. We will let the reader reflect upon what Witsius wrote above and consider how orthodox one finds these statements to be, how Reformed, how scripturally sound.”

But every discerning reader knew he was setting them forth as support for his entire series of articles advocating conditions. (As was mentioned in an earlier post, this was all exposed in an excellent article in Sword & Shield by Dr. Nathan Lanning.)

It is interesting to note who this Witsius fellow is.

“While it is true that Witsius went in the direction of a conditional covenant like many (but not all) of his contemporaries…” (Rev. Koole, SB, 2/1/13).

So now, in the middle of a controversy on the nature of the covenant of grace, the PRC is led to this conditional theologian for help.

Rev. Koole should have turned to Hendrik DeCock’s mother, Frouwe Venema, for help. “At that time it was given to Mother to attain the insight that man’s being saved was not dependent on his willing and working, but that it is a gift of God’s grace; and that faith is not a doing, but faith is a rest that trusts in and that casts oneself on God’s promise in the gospel” (1834, 187).

But what now? The theology is back. And is this not the same theology, that, if true, would mean “faith is no more faith, grace is no more grace” and terribly, “the gospel is no more gospel”?

According to Prof. Huizinga, the issues troubling the PRC had to do with a compromise of justification by faith alone. And we know from other of his writings, that doctrine is “enormously important” (here and here).

Where has he been?

Is this how it works in the ivory tower of academia? No letters to the editor? No protests? Just move on with life as normal? Even though the error is back with a vengeance?

Is that what Huizinga meant by “incessantly and faithfully” combating every new appearance of false doctrine?

Finally, the church must always battle against the deadly heresy of justification by faith and … The apostle Paul marveled that the Galatian churches were so soon removed from the gospel truth of justification by faith alone. Every true church will quickly apostatize from the gospel of justification by faith alone if the sword is not faithfully wielded. Preaching the positive truth of justification by faith alone is not sufficient. The church must incessantly and faithfully combat every new appearance of the heretical and monstrous notion that there is righteousness acceptable to God that is based upon some work, some merit, some obedience, some holiness, or some good in man. Let that doctrine be accursed. The apostle puts it still stronger: let the preacher of it be accursed (Gal. 1:8–9). For the sake of justification by faith alone, keep the sword wielded. (Huizinga, Keeping the Sword Drawn, 25)

“Incessantly and faithfully” means something far different to me than just writing one article in which you call out the error. To me it means pursuing that error relentlessly, whether that error shows up in print or is heard from the pulpit, and pursuing it until that error is routed from the battle field.

If “incessantly and faithfully” means squirreling oneself away in an ivory tower to study dead theologians while the battle is raging below you and faithful office bearers are being cut down one by one, then I reject your noble declaration of “incessantly and faithfully.”

Come down and get your hands dirty. And maybe even be cut down yourself. It is no badge of honor when all men speak well of you.

Simply rolling over and getting along with everyone is hateful to me. If this is what it means to maintain peace or “rest” within the church, then with Hoeksema I decry such rest as the “rest of corruption and death.”

But there are no “neutrals” in wartime. Whether that war is over land or over doctrine, sides must be chosen, and the same is true for Prof. Huizinga. He has the ignominious honor—which apart from his repentance he will carry as the dreaded albatross about his neck his lifelong—of being the man who read the announcements for both Rev. Lanning and Rev. Langerak’s suspensions.

The fact that right doctrine is simply not important to the membership of the PRC can be seen in responses to this same false doctrine after the 2018 synod had ruled on the matter.

In the meditation in the October 15, 2020, issue of the Standard Bearer, Rev. James Slopsema wrote the following:

God’s holy law is good. It is designed to regulate the life of God’s people in their covenant relationship with Him and with each other. In the keeping of this covenant law is great joy. In fact, the more faithful the saints are to God’s law in the grace of Jesus Christ, the more they prosper in the great blessings of the covenant. They prosper in their marriages, in their family life, and in their church life. Above all, they prosper in the enjoyment of God’s covenant fellowship. “Blessed are the undefiled in the way, who walk in the law of the Lord.” (Ps. 119:1)

(Yes, I tried to address these things with Rev. Slopsema directly. My letters are here and here).

This is the same theology as that condemned by Synod 2018. Compare the two:

In fact, the more faithful the saints are to God’s law in the grace of Jesus Christ, the more they prosper in the great blessings of the covenant. They prosper in their marriages, in their family life, and in their church life. Above all, they prosper in the enjoyment of God’s covenant fellowship. (Rev. Slopsema)

The answer really is very simple. Very simple. If we but meet these requirements (obedience—DE) a little bit, by the grace of God, of course, and by God’s grace working them in us—if we meet these requirements but a little, then we will enjoy a little of God’s fellowship. That’s the truth. If we meet these requirements a lot, then we will enjoy much of God’s fellowship.” (Rev. Overway, 2018 Acts of Synod, 65)

It is as if Synod 2018 never happened.

But did you see what happened?

Rev. Koole was still teaching conditional fellowship, but at least he was doing it on the editorial page.

Now, we have the false doctrine moving away from the editorial page of the Standard Bearer to the Meditation section. This is what people read on Sunday morning before they go to church. Or that they take with them and read in the sanctuary prior to the start of the service. Which means the members of the PRC are drinking in poison as their “meditation” prior to engaging in worship. Having been allowed to stand on the editorial page, it only stands to reason it would move elsewhere in the magazine.

Take note that these things are appearing in the SB at all. Of course, each writer is responsible for his own content. But would the editors, who are responsible for what is allowed to appear in the magazine, allow what they believed to be heresy appear in their magazine? Of course not. The fact that none of them have publicly objected to this public teaching is very telling, and that the theology continues to appear tells those who are not asleep that the editors agree with it.

And the preaching? Errors are popping up like mushrooms. A man would have to make it his full-time job to protest and appeal every instance. (This sermon does a fine job of explaining the presence of these “mushrooms”).

In a sermon on Exodus 16:1–31 preached November 15, 2020, at Grandville PRC—which sermon was also preached in more than ten congregations in the PRC—Rev. Koole put on Christ’s lips the following:

And in order to live in accordance with God’s word, beloved, we must seek the grace that is available to us. I don’t know how that strikes your ears. Grace available to us? Aren’t we saved by grace? Yeah, you’re saved by grace. But you and I better be seeking the grace that is available to us. I’m talking about not the grace of regeneration, newness of life, which is irresistible. I’m talking about the grace to withstand temptation, beloved, and to walk through the tests and trials of this life without falling into temptation and sinning in the way of temptation. To withstand temptation day by day, you and I need grace. And what does the Catechism say? He will give His grace, that kind of grace, to those only who on a daily basis sincerely ask Him for them, His grace and Holy Spirit.

How does the phrase “available grace” strike my ear? As the Arminian presentation of grace that it is. At least ten consistories heard this corruption of grace preached, and not one of them called for a public apology and repudiation.

This type of preaching and writing calls to mind Paul’s instruction to Timothy in 2 Timothy 1:13: “Hold fast the form of sound words, which thou hast heard of me, in faith and love which is in Christ Jesus.” About this text Calvin writes that Paul is instructing Timothy to “regulate his manner of teaching by the rule which had been laid down; not that we ought to be very scrupulous about words, but because to misrepresent doctrine, even in the smallest degree, is exceedingly injurious.”

And what a doctrine to misrepresent. Grace is one of the most, if not the most fundamental doctrines of the Christian life. And consistory after consistory allowed it to continue.

In a sermon preached on November 29, 2020, entitled “Calling Towards Canaanites,” Rev. VanOverloop taught the following:

God’s sovereignty. Man’s responsibility. God’s gifts and Christ’s merits does not exclude God’s use of means. Does not exclude God’s gift of the use of the means of our obedience.

And yet, God commanded. I performed a duty. Two rails. They go side by side. In the wisdom of God: His sovereignty, our responsibility. And it’s all grace. And nothing but grace.”

Labor to enter into the rest, lest ye fall in unbelief, Hebrews 4 verse 11. And that labor is what we identified in Deuteronomy 10:12: keep his commandments.

The fact that this came from a PR pulpit and was never publicly repudiated is damning.

Or this from Rev. Spronk:

And that’s why we can also say, beloved, that the more you live a life of conversion, the more that you walk in good works, the more you will experience God’s love and fellowship, the more you will experience the blessing of salvation. And that does not mean at all that the more you do good works, the more you earn or make yourself worthy of God’s love and the experience of salvation. Not at all.

It is almost as if Rev. Spronk read a sermon by Rev. Overway and then tried to mimic it as closely as he possibly could. (It needs to be explained to me why David Overway is not still preaching in the PRC today. His preaching was muted compared to the preaching of Spronk, VanOverloop, Slopsema, Koole, and Cammenga).

Examples could be multiplied, and the reader is pointed to the August issue of Sword & Shield, as well as the 40-page summary prepared by officebearers from Wingham for not only additional examples but also an incisive analysis of these teachings.

What do you believe about false doctrine?

I believe this.

“Obstinately holding to a heretical doctrine is nothing short of making an image of God and unrepentantly breaking the Second Commandment.”

You may ask in what issue of Sword & Shield that appeared, but it is not found there at all.

That was in the letter Hope PRC sent to Neil Meyer, which I referenced in an earlier post, which letter excoriated Mr. Meyer for acting faithfully in his office and for working to uphold right doctrine. 

That is what the PRC puts out on paper, and what they will insist they believe, but they do not believe it at all.

But I believed it when it was taught to me.

And now, being in a position where I am called to protect God’s sheep, I insist on it.

According to Luther, “preaching true doctrine overthrows the devil, destroys his kingdom, and wrests out of his hand the law, sin, and death (by which he has subjugated all mankind).” What does that then say about the PRC that consistently has false doctrine preached from her pulpits?

There are two doctrines upon which the PRC was formed and which have made her place in the church world distinctive. The first, the doctrine of the unconditional covenant, is in the process of being overthrown in the PRC through the preaching and writing (if it has not been overthrown already).

The second distinctive of the PRC, marriage, appears to be next.

How important is a church’s stand regarding divorce? “It is here, on the issue of divorce, that the obedience of the church to the truth of marriage is put to the test. By her stand on divorce, the church either maintains or fatally compromises the truth of marriage, both for herself and for future generations” (Prof. Engelsma, Marriage: The Mystery of Christ and the Church, 88).

In the May 1, 2021, issue of the Standard Bearer, Rev. Eriks wrote the following (emphasis mine):

Third, one of the greatest dangers the church faces today is the sin of sexual immorality. This is especially true because of the danger of pornography in our day. Our culture is saturated with sexual immorality, which can affect the way the church views sex. One danger is that a church that loves Christ and His truth and loves the members of the church begins to depart from what the Bible says about sexuality and marriage. This begins with the acceptance of divorce for reasons other than adultery and desertion. The next step down this road is that the church reexamines its stance on homosexuality.

Just like that, slipped in without comment, is a declaration that there are two grounds for divorce, adultery and desertion.

I was always taught there was one ground for divorce.

“When Jesus forbids divorce, “saving for the cause of fornication,” he teaches that there is only one ground for divorce. Only adultery breaks the marriage bond to the degree that the husband and the wife may be apart, loosed from one life in one home, at one table, and in one bed. Nothing else is ground for divorce, nothing else whatever” (Engelsma, 99).

“By her stand on divorce, the church either maintains or fatally compromises the truth of marriage, both for herself and for future generations.” Does the PRC really believe that, or is this just another instance of a secret that no one shared with me?

What will it take for the members of the PRC to see that their ministers hold to false doctrine? Do ministers have to be so brazen as to draft a document that teaches error, put their names to it, and then later insist that they believe it and will continue to teach it?

No, that won’t do it either.

Only in the PRC could four of the leading ministers write a doctrinal statement in which they defend and promote false doctrine and then have nothing come of it.

(Yes, I tried to address this in an email to Rev. Haak and earlier in a private meeting with Rev. Slopsema in 2019).

Now you see it, now you don’t!

What is important for the members of the PRC is not that these men believe the theology that was condemned by their synod as a compromise of justification by faith alone. What is paramount is how much we love these men, how many years they have given to the churches, and how well respected they are.

To preserve their names, we must all just go on acting as though we had not seen their embrace of the lie.

Nothing to see here. 

Man looms large in the PRC.

As for Jesus, he was displaced and continues to be displaced.

And the denomination does not care. 

The great charade continues.

Look outward, but never apply the rebukes and the criticisms inward.

Nothing to see here.

Aren’t the emperor’s clothes beautiful?

15 thoughts on “Hoodwinked (2)

  1. These views are the views of some of us and are held dear, and have been upheld over the centuries. As for being blind to the fact that there have been significant shifts in thinking within the PRC, in particular the abandonment of the conditional covenant of grace (which some people seem to think is synonymous with unconditional election), then I must respectfully say that you have made a basic mistake. The Church of God never has believed this. Please read the following two quotes (I am aware of the third quote, but am quoting the first two because of their importance, and because they give a good summary of the thinking of Reformed theologians on the conditional covenant) from the The Westminster Confession: “The only condition of man’s justification by the free grace of God in Christ Jesus is faith; and this faith must be unto salvation, working by love, unto every one that is given to him. Now, therefore, all who have been given to Christ, his body by believing the Gospel, are justified freely by his grace through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus: Who being offered once to bear the sins of many, died instead of them: by the which offering he hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified.” “The Lord Christ hath fully satisfied the justice due to all men, and hath fulfilled all righteousness by his own perfect and sufficient oblations, offered for the salvation of all who believe. This satisfaction is so far forth rendered perfect, that every one of all the benefits of Christ is accepted with everlasting faith and obedience.” “…The true way of salvation in the Gospel, is such as hath Christ for the chief end of it, the making a full redemption, both of the sins that we have committed, and also the sins that we have committed. In this redemption it is said, that Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: but, the law hath not redeemed us from the curse of the law, but from the curse of sin, being a ransom to redemption. And in this redemption, the only condition of man’s justification by the free grace of God in Christ Jesus is faith; and this faith must be unto salvation, working by love, unto every one that is given to him. Now, therefore, all who have been given to Christ, his body by believing the Gospel, are justified freely by his grace through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus: Who being offered once to bear the sins of many, died instead of them: by the which offering he hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified.” “The Lord Christ hath fully satisfied the justice due to all men, and hath fulfilled all righteousness by his own perfect and sufficient oblations, offered for the salvation of all who believe. This satisfaction is so far forth rendered perfect, that every one of all the benefits of Christ is accepted with and appropriated to all believers. As, therefore, the blood of Christ has appeased the just and impartial judgment of God towards the believing sinner, as to all the penalties of his sins, so has his sufferings, as well as his merits, brought to the knowledge of all his enemies a clear acquittal and release from all offences committed against God, by any of them. And we are declared righteous by the application of this truth unto us by the Holy Ghost. So that we are justified, as we are made the righteousness of God in Christ, through faith in Jesus Christ, unto every one born of God, through faith in the truth of his person, his redemption, and his blood, for the whole. So, as he himself hath also said, that Christ hath made him holy, unto a work of righteousness, which God in Christ shall make unto all, to the praise of his glory. But because we are not now, as yet, freed from sin, nor justified; the righteousness of God in Christ is not yet made to us: it is only our condemnation and our acquittal. Forasmuch then as God hath been pleased to acquit our guiltiness by Christ, and to accept our merciful intentions towards him by faith; and hath also made the righteousness of God in him to be made to us, and applied to us, for the remission of our sin, as also in him to do all things for us; and hath therefore, as he always doth, freely promised to give us eternal life, that so we may always be kept by the power of God unto salvation; and that the love of God in us may be manifested in all godliness, and patience, and long-suffering with them that know him, for the glorious manifestation of his mercy towards us; for this he hath also given us, that as Christ hath abundantly satisfied the justice due to all men, and hath fully satisfied the justice due to all men, and hath reconciled to God all that are in the whole world, and reconciled to God all that are in the whole world, so he may freely make us whole, and forgive all that is in the whole world. And, therefore, though we still have condemnation, we have also, and infinitely more, God’s free grace. For that he promised it, we see; though yet that he promised it in the flesh, he did not grant it to us, seeing we could not then keep it, until he would have given it to us; but by the gospel, which is a gift, he promises it. For our sake, he made peace with God, and in us, and reconciled to him all things in the whole world, and in us, and reconciled to him all things in the whole world. Forasmuch then as Christ hath already abundantly satisfied the debt of all, and is now, by his death, making full satisfaction, and that he may be able to pardon us, freely pardoning all, without money, and to make us whole, both in his own favor, and in the favor of God, we obtain the grace of God; but yet we need to give this thanks to him also, and be thankful for the riches and benefits which he hath wrought to us; and the debt of the things that remaineth of condemnation, and the debt of the things that remaineth of punishment, let us also freely give to God, that he may be able to pardon it all!

  2. I apologize for my late response… Seems the video can not be found but I’ll search as well. Thank you all for your response.

  3. Hello, I am not aware of any members of the RPC who have cut off fellowship with members of the PRC. I am not saying that it has not happened, just that I am not aware of it. I am aware, however, and painfully aware at that, of many members of the PRC who have cut off fellowship with their family members (and friends) who have joined the Reformed Protestant church.
    My stance is that I cannot attend a worship service of the PRC where I would be called upon to endorse or support in any way the preaching of the PRC. This is really not that strange, though. Christ is displaced in the PRC. Who would want to endorse that?

  4. Hi Jason, thank you for sharing this link. Hearing a proper understanding of the 28th and the 29th Article of the Belgic Confession has been refreshing. I too recommend that people listen to that speech. I found this one helpful as well: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d0fZMAUloBY
    This sermon too is well worth listening to: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IHofCrukeV8
    I find it remarkable that the members of the PRC cannot find it within themselves to rouse up anger or indignation about false doctrine or the exercise of Christian discipline against the righteous, but when they are rightly identified as to what they are spiritually as a denomination, people start coming out of the woodwork. Christ is displaced? Yawn. The PRC’s name and reputation are called into question? Fiery anger.

  5. I did locate the video and Jason Elzinga is correct that it makes it pretty clear what the RPC’ s leader expects of his members. If the feeling is this strong and this concerning then they should want to be kept far from us and our schools at all levels, lest we attack them like vipers and woo them with our fair words and speeches.

  6. Where is the video that was posted by Jason Elzinga in response to JVD’s question on fellowship with those outside of the FRP or PRC.?

  7. Dewey, I thank you for your continued witness to the cause of Christ. With your support I would welcome any refutation of any blog you have posted. Where is the refutation? Will our adversaries comfort themselves with the the lie that the majority vote determines truth and therefore no refutation is required? God forbid! That is not loving your neighbor as yourself. The silence is deafening!

  8. Dewey,
    Let me begin by saying that I have greatly appreciated the content of this blog. I believe that contrary to popular opinion A Straight Betwixt Two is a witness to Elder Engelsma’s love of the PRC and her members. My comment is occasioned by your criticism of Professor Huizinga for “squirreling himself away in an ivory tower to study dead theologians while the battle is raging below and faithful office bearers are being cut down one by one.” This criticism came to mind tonight when a dear friend recounted the true story of Staff Sergeant Clinton Romesha. Romesha and his platoon are in the midst of battle against overwhelming odds when Romesha came upon his corporal reading a book. Romesha initially assumed the Corporal must be reading to mentally shield himself from the horror of their situation. However after questioning the man Romesha discovered that the Corporal was actually trying to put into motion a last ditch air strike that could save them all. My prayer is that Prof. Huizinga is that Corporal, and though it seems that he has “squirreled” himself away in his ivory tower while the battle rages. My hope is that we discover that he is busy delving into the doctrine of the unconditional covenant. May his study of “dead theologians” lead him to the precious truth that in the giving of covenantal blessings God does not cooperate with man but gives those blessings only according to His own good pleasure. May he see throughout church history that when the devil came to rend the church with heresy those long dead watchers on the walls of Zion did not wait a few months or years to sound the trumpet. They did not require the permission of any man or assembly of men to unsheathe their swords and do battle in the name of the Lord. Have we forgotten Martin Luther? Prof. Huizinga the cost will be high. The cost is nothing when compared to the treasures laid in store for us in Glory. Let us live thankfully. Let the church be united in the truth and in the condemnation of the lie. Fear not, our victory is sure.

    Your Brother in Christ
    Luke Kamps the Stubborn Optimist

  9. I realize this post may not be the appropriate place as far as comments, but I have to ask, if I may. I have heard many things, from both PR and RPC. I have loved ones on both sides. I am no longer a part of PR but was for over 30 years and have been “following” due to my upbringing, my love of the church and love for my family on both sides. It was told to me a while ago that both sides have been “telling/suggesting” their members to not fellowship with those from the RPC or PR. My question is, what is your stance? Is having a fellowship (family gatherings, baptisms, weddings, etc) ok with your family members of the “opposite side” ok and right to do? Do you ministers suggest to not do this, or advise not to do this? I’d also love to ask the PR side if this is suggested to them. Thank you.

  10. Mary Beth,
    Thanks for your support of Dewey, a gifted brother in Christ.
    In our Belgic Confession we read in Art. 29 “…As for the false Church, she ascribes more power and authority to herself and her ordinances than to the Word of God, and will not submit herself to the yoke of Christ. Neither does she administer the sacraments as appointed by Christ in his Word, but adds to and takes from them, as she thinks proper; she relieth more upon men than upon Christ; and persecutes those, who live holily according to the Word of God, and rebuke her for her errors, covetousness, and idolatry. These two Churches are easily known and distinguished from each other.”
    Do you deny that some ministers in the PRC have preached and taught man centered doctrines and are not truly disciplined?
    If your minister was faithful to his Lord and the “authorities” suspended and deposed him would you, for the sake of that institute, remain in it?
    Sadly, we, who left in love for our Lord, Who is the truth (John 14:6), are viewed as schismatic, church wreckers, family destroyers, etc.
    Thankfully, it is the truth (Jesus) that actually unites and sets us free (John 8:32).
    May Christ so rule in us that we to “press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 3:14). In Christ’s love,
    BTW, I still miss the days of fellowship we had in God’s Word back in SH but thankful our God always remains faithful.

  11. Dear Dewey,

    God is teaching me that you cannot put hope in man. I sought help again and again from men (some in lofty positions with ability to help) in the church. They maybe helped in words…but, when it came time to actually give up their name for the sake of Christ and His truth and stand with me, they turned away and let me be reproached.

    Isaiah 3:26 and all of Isaiah 4 have meant more and more to me. To ever keep before me that in all this Christ has given me His name. I deserve to be reproached by the living God, for without Christ I am desolate in my sins. The wonder is…He gave us His name! That Branch. And, for the Reformed Protestant Churches….He didn’t leave us desolate, but made us see our reproach and cry out! We had displaced our only Hope and put it on man. God delivered us… Washed us and keeps us in His Name alone. Christ. He alone is our hope. May we seek Him alone, and not man.
    Luke 21:17
    “And ye shall be hated of all men for my name’s sake.”
    Given His name – eternal life. To not have His name – eternal damnation. Is there any reproach more beautiful?

    Stephanie Medema

  12. Dewey is probably about to cancel me from his blog… lol. I’ve sent posts in only to later tell him “please delete”. After reading “Unfollow- a Memoir of Loving and Leaving Extremism”, I realize why. We have been so cultured in the PRC/RPC to always have an immediate response of “is this right or wrong? I have to tell this person they are wrong” We have not learned how to dialogue well. I’m all behind exposing error, spiritual abuse and church hierarchy but for those of us who truly want the truth with love, we need to relearn how to dialogue with less polarization. It involves honesty, warmth, humor and openness. It also involves knowing that in the office of believer YOU each have something to say. You have the Holy Spirit in YOU. What you have to say matters just as much as a pastor or elder. God grows us through people and experiences not just his Word, doctrine, and preaching.

    Anyway, back to the original post that a few of you asked about.

    How People Grow (Cloud and Townsend) gives a more complete message of the gospel. In all this controversy, the Person missing is the Holy Spirit. We can only hear “It’s all of Grace, man is nothing” before we start to wonder … well, what next? Where does this leave me now?

    “The three most common forms of the “law” in Christian circles fail miserably with those caught up in something they can’t stop.
    1) harsh, angry preaching against sin with the injunction to repent
    2) legalistic rules to keep people in line
    3) telling people (even lovingly) that the way out is to make better choices”

    “While all of these contain some truth, none of them work. If we are going to help people, we have to do better than tell them they are wrong and they should do what is right. This is what the law does and it’s ineffective in changing or growing people.”

    “To compound the problem more, these interventions produce in people the law of the emotions as well. When people are caught up in the law, they will have three very predictable responses: guilt(shame and condemnation), anger (rebellion), and fear. The law produces these emotions and the Bible talks about our need to be free from them. So we can see that if we tell people to do right but don’t give them the whole gospel, we reap failure and bad feelings.”

    What’s the answer? Jesus replaces living by the law (or our versions of it) with living by the Spirit. (Galatians 5:18) There is where the freedom is! But this is also scary because we will be living by the Holy Spirit’s guidance and not by what a pastor, elder is telling us … or by trying to find assurance and security in correct doctrine answers. (No worries, I’m not saying good understanding of God and His Word isn’t important.) What it means is we are fully dependent on the Holy Spirit inside of us as individuals, it’s a complete reliance that He is working on our behalf. “To live according to the Spirit means to live by a RELATIONSHIP and a PROCESS that empowers us.” So there we are again, back to dependence on God.

    He is working on our behalf. We understand Christ did the work, it’s all of grace, and now we can rest and enjoy what’s he’s done for us because He’s promised us all of this through the Holy Spirit. Look what he’s doing! This is what the Holy Spirit inside of YOU is doing:

    To make known that He is always with us, he’s abiding in us
    To search hearts and show us what we need to change
    To give us abilities to do what we need to do when we are unable
    To lead and guide us in life
    To show us and teach us
    To counsel and help us
    To help us live the life we need
    To fill us and control us
    To complete us
    To correct and convict us (not shame!)
    To change us
    To give us gifts to help each other and put the Body together around us
    To heal us through himself and others as they use His gifts
    (Page 300 has scripture references)

    Go live out of that assurance!

  13. Dear Dewey,
    For almost five years now, I have been trying to understand the issues at stake in the controversy in the PR Churches by reading EVERYTHING available to me. I have read all your blogs since their inception; some, two times; several, three times. How I wish you had stayed in the PR denomination to officially protest the many questionable events in this lamentable history since, obviously, you would have been well-qualified to do so, and I am convinced with measurable backing from the pew had that happened.
    Nevertheless, I believe you are telling accurate history from your perspective. Otherwise, why would you detail these events in such a public forum where any untruths could instantly be considered libelous?!
    Here is my problem: If, as your detractors claim, you are telling half-truths, vicious lies, and are just plain angry to boot (even though these same folk insist they never read your blog), why does not a “Shepherd” (even an elderly one) in our denomination take on this “Goliath” who continues to spew out presumed perfidy?
    Since, according to some, you are misguided in your postings, I’m looking for one of our leaders to come out of his tent, pick up a smooth stone, and put your blogs to rout. But, so far, I’m not seeing any well-aimed refutations of your postings to prove you wrong. Until that happens, I will continue to read and learn from your blog.

    Aunt Mary Beth

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