False doctrine is like cancer; left untreated, it will spread.
It has now spread with a vengeance to Singapore.
As sisters, the PRC and the CERC in Singapore failed each other in spectacular fashion.
Early on in the controversy, the session (consistory) of CERC had an opportunity to protest a wrong decision of the PRC’s broadest assembly. After being mollified with smooth words by the Contact Committee of the PRCA, the session of CERC declined to address the cancer that was starting to ravage the PRC. Instead, they allowed their pastor, Rev. Lanning, to go it alone. The session of CERC was like the doctor who reviewed a biopsy that showed that the cancer was spreading and quickly closed the file, smiled blandly at his patient, and said, “All is well.”
But all was not well.
And that was where the PRC failed her sister in Singapore. The PRC knew that she had a dread disease in her body. The assemblies would ignore it, but time and again it was shown that the false doctrine was present, and present at the highest levels of the denomination.
Instead of taking swift action to stop the spread of the cancer, the PRC exerted herself to kill those who were warning them.
CERC of Singapore has learned the lesson of her sister well.
With a violence that no doubt makes her sister proud (and which was no doubt encouraged by leaders of the PRC), the session of CERC has driven out, through (un)Christian discipline wickedly applied, members whose only desire was to study the controversy that had ravaged the Protestant Reformed Churches in America.
It is striking how closely these sisters resemble one another.
CERC has a twin sister in Hope PRC.
The officebearers of Hope PRC, who for years had worked diligently to convince the rest of the denomination that they were the keepers of orthodoxy, were shown to not even understand justification by faith alone. Waving around the phrase “in the way of” as if that were the heritage and legacy of the PRC (instead of being a phrase used to replace the Pelagian word “condition”), they displaced Christ and compromised the truth of the unconditional covenant.
What they lacked in orthodoxy, they made up for in violence.
Men and women will never be the same this side of the Jordan for how they were treated by the “shepherds” who occupied the elders’ bench at Hope Protestant Reformed Church.
Should CERC disdain being known as a twin sister of Hope PRC, all she needs to do is travel west to find another sister whom she can claim as a twin.
Hull Protestant Reformed Church has the record for how quickly she visited her (cruel) tender mercies on Christ’s sheep.
Hull PRC had one officebearer who was determined to fulfill the calling of his office.
Deacon Marcus Andringa asked repeatedly that Hull PRC engage in the controversy and take the side of Christ. He was ignored.
Until finally the wicked majority determined to rid themselves of this man they viewed as a troublemaker.
So they laid a snare for him.
Beware of men, indeed (Matt. 10:17).
They asked him to do something they refused to do themselves: put something in writing. They asked him on Monday to explain where he stood. Without guile and trusting the men who had been called by God to serve as fellow watchmen on the walls, he did. He gave them his letter on Tuesday. By Wednesday, he was summoned to meet with the consistory.
After a 20-minute meeting Deacon Andringa was excused. There was probably much that was said, but what they failed to tell him was that the consistory of Calvary PRC was waiting nearby. Shortly after Deacon Andringa left the meeting, the elders of Calvary PRC joined and the decision was made to depose Marcus, using as part of their grounds one sentence plucked from the letter they had instructed him to prepare. Together, these two consistories consented to the murder of Deacon Andringa.
By Thursday he was brought back before a committee of the elders and informed that he was deposed.
And Calvary PRC never once gave him a hearing.
Let us never again hear from the mouth of a Protestant Reformed officebearer the importance of “good order” or the “church orderly way.”
Within three days this Christ-appointed deacon had his office torn from him.
But he was a first-term deacon, so this would not cause much of a stir in the PRC. He was not old enough yet to have a name and reputation, which in the PRC is paramount. And the consistories of Hull and Calvary knew it. There would be no ramifications, no consequences.
So the men on these consistories just rearranged their sheepskins and went back to playing elder.
But take heart, Brother Andringa; although your bones are scattered at the grave’s mouth, put your eyes upon your God, who will not leave your soul destitute (Ps. 141:7-8).
You bear in your body the blessed marks of your Lord: not plaudits but scars, not approval but hatred.
As your God promised (Matt. 10:22).
The wicked, unbelieving, God-hating world would not deal in such a way with their opponents. And yet in the PRC this is what passes for good order.
There were those who saw this for what it was, here and here. But there is none so blind as he who will not see, so the consistories ignored them and the people went back to sleep, if they had even bothered to open their eyes at all.
Throughout the controversy, the denomination provided no succor. Instead of repudiating the lie, the ministers and elder delegates of Classis East coddled the teachers and supporters of false doctrine, and bared their own fangs at the members who fought for truth and right.
The PRC has an interesting take on sister-church relationships. Their idea of “mutual care” involves many things, but it does not involve addressing the presence of false doctrine. The reason for this is simple: it’s not possible to address false doctrine and still protect the reputations of men, so doctrine is left begging.
CERC has added a bit of dark humor, however.
After having shut down the members of the Bible study through discipline, and intimidating those into silence who perhaps at one time desired to be a part of the Bible study, the session of CERC has had the epiphany that what is needed most right now is…a Bible study.
Do they know how ridiculous this is? You discipline members out of the church for having a Bible study to study the controversy, and then, once they are gone, you start a Bible study to study the controversy.
Adding to the absurdity of it, Rev. Tan, at the beginning of their first so-called Bible study, explained how necessary it was to have the Bible study and defended it against those who might object to its necessity.
Thankfully, the members who were driven out of CERC are continuing their Bible study and are willing to include others and make the tremendous fruit of their labor available to everyone. Their next Bible study session is scheduled for Saturday, March 5, and starts at 7:00 a.m. (EST). A link for the Bible study, which will study the connection between recent events and the split of 1953, can be found on their most recent blog post.
I highly recommend that you subscribe to their YouTube channel and their blog. (The most convenient way to follow their blog and to make sure you don’t miss a post is to download the WordPress app, search for “Berean Reformed,” and click on the “Follow” button.)
Brothers and sisters in Singapore, continue your important work.
Many will ignore your blog, and others will slander it. It is likely that the members of CERC, like their brothers and sisters in the PRC, will turn a blind eye to the wickedness of their church. Life is just so much easier if you don’t ask any questions and if you don’t exert yourself to understand the issues.
But the stink of death is in the Protestant Reformed Churches.
And that stink is now pouring out of the consistory room of the Covenant Evangelical Reformed Church in Singapore.
I praise and thank God for delivering the members that he did from Singapore. My prayer is that God would use the work of the Berean Reformed Protestant Fellowship to open the eyes of his people who are right now in the process of being led to destruction by the session of CERC (Isa. 9:16).
Do not be discouraged.
The battle is not yours but God’s (2 Chron. 20:15).