The Office of Believer

(updated 8/2/22)

But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you. John 14:26

But the anointing which ye have received of him abideth in you, and ye need not that any man teach you: but as the same anointing teacheth you of all things, and is truth, and is no lie, and even as it hath taught you, ye shall abide in him. 1 John 2:27

          But why are thou called a Christian?

Because I am a member of Christ by faith, and thus am partaker of His anointing; that so I may confess His name, and present myself a living sacrifice of thankfulness to Him; and also that with a free and good conscience I may fight against sin and Satan in this life, and afterwards reign with Him eternally over all creatures (HC, LD12, QA32)

The office of believer was silenced in the PRC.

Put differently, the leadership in the PRC made every effort to stifle and suppress the voice of the office of believer. This came out in many ways. From Rev. Bruinsma ridiculing the visitors at the January 2021 meeting of Classis East, saying they were just there because the assemblies had become a “spectator sport,” to Prof. Cammenga saying at Synod 2021 that he hoped that a certain protestant would “go away” so that the denomination would never have to hear from that protestant again—and so that no one would misunderstand him, Prof. Cammenga added, “and I mean that”—the office of believer was silenced.

And not just silenced.

The office of believer was despised.

Prof. Cammenga simply said what the denomination thinks about the office of believer. Go away. We don’t want to hear from you.

One man who is a perpetual elder in the PRC and who sits at the top of the food chain in the denomination once told me that the best synod he was ever delegated to was the one when there were no visitors allowed. I listened in amazement. It became clear he didn’t even know what he was saying. He was describing Rome. Let the people stand from afar and wait for the smoke signals to appear to indicate what decisions have been made.

I was a delegate to one meeting of Classis East. I loathed it. I knew from the minute I walked in that I did not belong there. I wanted to be with those who had gathered in the back of the room as visitors. Those men and women knew the hard looks and mockery they would have to endure but gathered nonetheless, because they wanted to see what their beloved church would do with Christ at that particular meeting. To their grief, they soon found out that Christ’s name was not to reign at that meeting of classis either, but the name and reputation of men was to again be victorious. This was driven home to me at the end of the meeting, after the classis had labored to protect the name of the minister who had again compromised the gospel in his preaching. There were precious few delegates who were at all interested in defending God’s name, but Rev. Haak, after closed session had been declared, delivered a lengthy speech consoling the errorist and expressing solidarity with him. Kudos to Rev. Haak. He expressed well the sentiment of the entire assembly.

This contempt for the office of believer comes out in the writing as well. Prof. Cammenga, writing in the April 2020 issue of the Protestant Reformed Theological Journal about the importance of teaching the original languages to seminary students, wrote this about reading a translation of the Bible, as opposed to reading the Bible in the original Greek or Hebrew: “Reading a translation of Scripture is better than nothing.” I remember reading that article and coming to a complete standstill. Better than nothing? I, like many others, was exerting myself to read the Bible and did not find it to be only “better than nothing.” But was this all it was? Better than nothing? I now know that what that means is, unless you can read the original, you really are not doing much at all. In fact, you can only consider it, “better than nothing.” Prof. Cammenga should have taken that statement to its logical conclusion and added, “Leave the Bible reading to the leadership as they can read the original.”

You can understand now why the leaders in the PRC views the members the way they do. The members are good to have around when it comes time to pay the bills, but for the rest, just leave that up to the leadership.

And the members of the PRC love to have it so.

The facts I have written above will not bother anyone in the PRC.

They hardly need to be told anymore to keep their mouths shut.

That is why when a member protested or raised a voice of objection to some piece of writing or to some sermon, the other members of the congregation immediately viewed that member with suspicion. And if that member pursued his protest, there was a smear and slander campaign started against that member, which was incredibly effective in cutting that member down.

Neither will any members of the PRC ever repent of their sins against those members of the denomination who were so hated for so long.

The leadership is seeing to it.

In the May 15, 2022, issue of the Standard Bearer, you have Rev. Josh Engelsma writing this: “The past years have shown that the assemblies of the PRCA are not broken. A broken system of church government is one in which the voice of the members is silenced, where protests and appeals are not heard. None may honestly allege this to be the case in the PRCA.”

Not only is the system not broken; in fact, the system is working better than ever! “I venture to guess that in no other time in the history of the PRCA has the voice of the members been heard more than in recent years” (Engelsma, 5/15/22, SB).

There was a day when I would have said, “Well, Rev. Engelsma was in Classis West for most of his ministry, so maybe he is not aware of what went on,” but I am finished making excuses for these men. Does Rev. Engelsma really think that the only way a system of church government becomes broken is when an assembly passes a decision saying, “We no longer will allow protests and appeals to be heard”? Of course not. Your system is broken when you hate the members protesting and when entire assembly meetings are nothing more than exercises in saving the reputations of men. The members of the PRC know this to be the case. One member of the denomination, who is in no way friendly to the RPC, captured the spirit of the day perfectly when they said that to protest a decision of the PR assemblies is to commit “ecclesiastical suicide.”

But Rev. Engelsma is serving a very important purpose right now in the PRC. That purpose is to speak a word to the people so that none turn from their wickedness. “They say still unto them that despise me, The Lord hath said, Ye shall have peace; and they say unto every one that walketh after the imagination of his own heart, No evil shall come upon you” (Jer. 23:17).

His entire series in the Standard Bearer on the distinction between the true and false church can be summarized as this word to the Protestant Reformed Churches: “No evil shall come upon you.”

What follows in this post is the voice of the office of believer. That voice is the voice of Jesus Christ, out of whom the office of believer flows. It is good that these voices are heard now, and for generations to come, so that they stand as a living testimony to the treachery and wickedness of the Protestant Reformed Churches.

That denomination has sinned against the living God, and they did so against knowledge.

So let the members of Byron Center PRC read and hear the voices of two mothers in Israel who never to that point in their lives had written letters to their consistories, but in whose letters is found a damning indictment of the lying and treacherous spirit that was in the heart of the consistory. From now and for generations to come, the members of Byron Center PRC will know this: Your elders lied to you in the motion set forth to remove Rev. Lanning as editor of Sword & Shield, and they lied in the days and months that followed. And they are not sorry for it.

Let the members of the PRC read and hear the voices that were raised in opposition to sermons that displaced Jesus Christ from his throne but which protests were either denied, turned away as illegal, or slow-walked until the member bringing the protest was forced to leave the denomination so that the consistory could pitch the protest in the trash. And what was the instruction of the church visitors regarding the protests that Byron’s consistory would receive? Ignore them. Do not receive them or answer them until the deposition was complete. If you don’t believe me, then ask Rev. Haak who raised his voice to make the point or ask any of the elders from Byron’s consistory who were in the room. This, Rev. Engelsma, is what a church looks like where the assemblies are completely broken.

Let the members of Crete PRC see the flip flopping of their consistory as that consistory went from supporting their minister writing in Sword & Shield in July 2020 to requiring him to resign in February of 2021. Of course they had to make up some grounds to support their decision, so they settled on the fact that Rev. Langerak was working together with a deposed minister who was living in the sin of schism. (The second ground, that Rev. Langerak’s participation was causing unrest and division in the congregation is laughable, since that would be grounds for removing every faithful minister of God’s word. The word, faithfully preached, is a sword that divides and cuts and causes division by exposing the carnal members of the congregation who react angrily to any rebuke or word of admonition). To see the folly of it, ask an elder of Southwest PRC if they are going to take up Crete’s ground and require Prof. Cammenga to resign from the board of the Dutch Reformed Translation Society since he labors alongside a divorced and remarried man. (Hint: Don’t hold your breath for that to happen). We know now that Crete’s consistory flipped the way it did because of the new elders who joined in January 2021. Given the spiritual nature of the elder bench at Crete, it took only two months for them to carry out their carnal agenda and flip the consistory to change their mind regarding their minister writing in Sword & Shield.

Let the members of the PRC read the letters of those who knew what their duty was regarding church membership, and when the marks of their church were clearly those of an apostatizing church, they removed themselves from such.

This list is by no means comprehensive, in fact it barely scratches the surface. The minutes of the assembly meetings of the PRC over the last five years are filled with the protests and appeals of members who fought bravely for Christ’s name over against a hierarchy that hated them. Many documents have been linked in previous posts or published in Sword & Shield or in other blogs. I also plan to add to this list as I become aware of additional material.

So let the voice of the office of believer be heard here, not to move the hearts of the members or leaders of the Protestant Reformed Churches, but to stand as a living testimony against them, and to be used, should God will, as proof of their treachery and whoredom against the living God of heaven and earth.

“And the Lord hath sent unto you all his servants the prophets, rising early and sending them; but ye have not hearkened, nor inclined your ear to hear. They said, Turn ye again now every one from his evil way, and from the evil of your doings, and dwell in the land that the Lord hath given unto you and to your fathers for ever and ever: And go not after other gods to serve them, and to worship them, and provoke me not to anger with the works of your hands; and I will do you no hurt. Yet ye have not hearkened unto me, saith the Lord; that ye might provoke me to anger with the works of your hands to your own hurt.” Jeremiah 25:4–7

Protests:

Bomers’ protest to SW PRC

Jim & Sara Geerlings’ protest to Hudsonville PRC

Response sent from Hudsonville PRC

Keith Gritters protest to Byron Center PRC

Letter/Speech given when protest was delivered to the consistory

Jeremy Langerak protest to Grace PRC

Transcript of “The Conquest of Ai” (Rev. Van Overlooop)

Transcript of “Calling Towards the Canaanites” (Rev. Van Overloop)

“Responsibility toward the Remaining Canaanites,” RWH, 1986, Rev. Van Overloop

Stephanie Lanning protest to Byron Center PRC

Aaron Lim protest to Covenant Evangelical Reformed Church (CERC) in Singapore

Stephanie Medema protest to Classis East

Transcript of “The Walls of Jericho Fell Flat” by Rev. Van Overloop

Medema protest to Crete PRC

Rev. Lanning protest to Synod 2017

Letters:

Andy Birkett

Letter to Crete PRC

Letter to his family

Aaron Cleveland letter to Byron Center PRC

Dawn Engelsma letter to Byron Center PRC

Edgar Bansale letter to Provident Protestant Reformed Church in Marikina City

Provident PRC response

Aaron Lim letter to the Session of CERC

Marcus Andringa

Letter to the consistory of Hull PRC

Letter to the consistory of Hull PRC (1/26/21)

Letter to the consistory of Hull PRC (6/29/21)

Matt Hanko letter to SWPRC

Matt Overway

Letter to the consistory of Byron Center PRC (11/20/20)

Letter of request to BCPRC dated 12/14/20

BCPRC response to M. Overway dated 12/15/20

Email to the BCPRC consistory dated 11/26/20

Letter to the BCPRC consistory dated 3/10/21

Ryan Schipper

Letter regarding the Crete PRC summary

Crete PRC summary

Explanation and stance on the present controversy

Letter to the Standard Bearer (and response)

Request for papers from Southwest PRC

Notes prepared for visit with elder committee from Southwest PRC

Bob Vermeer

Crete PRC announcement regarding the Act of Separation

Letter to Crete PRC dated 2/9/21 regarding the announcement

Response from Crete PRC dated 2/12/21

Letter to Crete PRC dated 3/5/21

Crete PRC announcement regarding suspension of Rev. Langerak

Crete Act of Separation and Reformation

12 thoughts on “The Office of Believer

  1. Marvin Kamps “1834”: “Today in the Reformed community of churches no discipline is exercised against those who repudiate the confession of the church, but the man who exposes their errors is ostracized and rejected. Where are the saints who should be emulating the believers of 1834, who publicly rejected their false preachers? Where today are the spiritual sons and daughters of the Secession saints? Today if one is indifferent to sound doctrine or condones the preaching of works-righteousness…does one not see his own sin?” Having read and wept over the protests found at the end of this blog post, I truly am honored to be in the company of such spiritual sons and daughters of the Secession saints. Praise and thanks be to God for raising them up.

  2. How can one know if a church has become false? Herman Hoeksema gives some insight: “Her ministers preach for Antichrist. The officebearers work for Antichrist. Publicly she displays all the signs of Antichrist, and all her members she educates to work for the dragon and his kingdom. She enjoys the favor and the good will of the world, of the great and the mighty and the strong and the rich in the world. And they bless and deck her with all kinds of precious jewels and gold. She becomes great and powerful. And the more she labors in the interest of the antichristian kingdom, the more she will enjoy the favor of the dragon: for she is nothing but his harlot, and allows herself to be the instrument of Antichrist” (“Behold He Cometh”, first edition, p. 561). Please explain how this quote applies to the PRC today.

    1. AJ, that is a fine description of the false church. Another theologian to quote in this regard would be Prof. Hanko, who wrote, “Why does the article use such absolute terms? Well, it uses such absolute terms simply because of the fact that when a denomination begins to lose the marks of the true church, even though it has lost them only in part, that church has principally, essentially, become the false church.” The whole speech is worth reading.
      What Prof. Hanko is referring to is the Belgic Confession, Articles 28 and 29. And what I was taught for as long as I can remember is that I must use those marks and apply them to my own church. What marks does she exhibit? And when I looked at the PR church and applied those marks, she carried the marks of the false church. She corrupted true doctrine with her preaching, she corrupted the sacraments so that members could not partake, and she only disciplined those who tried to defend the truth of God’s word. In other words, she persecuted those who rebuked her for her errors. Those are the marks of a false church. So, I did as I was taught, and came out of her. And yes, when the PRC exhibits these marks, she is no longer working for Jesus Christ. So although we will see that continue to develop in the PRC, what Hoeksema wrote applies principally to the PRC today.

      1. I believe you miss Prof. Hanko’s point. His point is that when a denomination officially adopts a false doctrine or officially approves a position contrary to Scripture, they have set their feet on a road from which there is rarely, if ever, a turning back. But that does not mean that the moment they set their feet on that road that they have become the whore of Babylon. Apostasy is a process, and a church officially becomes false when she reaches the end of that road, not when she first sets foot on it. It seems to me that Prof. Hanko would have joined your church by now if he actually taught in that quote what you say he did.

        What Hoeksema wrote concerning the false church does not apply “principally” to the PRC. Indeed, it does not apply at all. The PRC is the antithesis of everything the false church stands for. The false church promotes a false ecumenicity, insisting that not only all Christians, but that also all religions must unite. Today, it promotes the LGBTQ+ agenda and curries the favor of such reprehensibly wicked organizations as Black Lives Matter. The false church is virtually indistinguishable from the world. That is not the PRC. Please stop calling the PRC what she clearly is not. God does not deal lightly with those who hurl invective at His precious bride.

      2. I don’t believe that I have missed Prof. Hanko’s point at all. He gives the example of a man sick with terminal cancer and how that corresponds to a church that is false. It bears all of the outward appearance of a healthy church, but is so desperately sick inside that it is to be considered as false.

        But Hoeksema and Hanko aside, I am bound by the Belgic Confession. The 29th article is clear. It has been the burden of this blog to show that the PRC manifests the marks of a false church. And does so clearly.

        You accuse me of hurling invective at the PRC. I deny that charge. To point out evidence to prove my charge is not to hurl invective. It is to use evidence to prove my charge. I find the members of the PRC, including those in leadership, have very thin skins. They are perfectly comfortable pointing out the flaws in others, but are absolutely incensed (and offended) when their own flaws are pointed out.

        Last, I know it is easy to say, well the PRC is false but there is also a road to apostasy and the PRC is not very far down that road. I deny that. I think the PRC is much further down the road than many think. I believe the members of the PRC overwhelmingly are carnal and only interested in earthly things. That is why you simply cannot debate the issues with the vast majority of members. They have no idea what is going on and they are perfectly comfortable in their ignorance. They are the “natural man” spoken of in 1 Corinthians 2:14. The leadership of the PRC spreads lies with absolutely no fear of being called out on it. That tells me that the elders are carnal as well, and are only interested in protecting the institution. The PRC, either as an institution or as made up of its members, do not have the ability to repent. Any expressions of sorrow for sin are politically calculated to achieve a goal. You simply do not see, and will not see, true repentance any longer in the PRC. So when you read in Ezekiel 36:31 that God’s people “shall lothe yourselves in your own sight for your iniquities and for your abominations” you will never again see that in the PRC. Which I find interesting. The one thing they make a condition for justification they never actually perform.

        But what happens when a minister actually calls the denomination to repent? They cast him out of their company. They kill the prophets that bring a rebuke. So, I believe the PRC is much further down the road to apostasy than any of us care to consider. The PRC is right now multiplying her whoredoms by casting off her doctrinal heritage, including her doctrine of marriage, her doctrine of the unconditional covenant, and even the doctrine of justification by faith alone. And the people? They love to have it so. As long as their lives are not interrupted they will tolerate and go along with anything.

        So I reject your argument, which really is no argument. You just state something as fact, which is not supported by the facts.

  3. If you are so convinced that the PRC is a false church, maybe you should make some posts in which you refute Rev. J. Engelsma’s series of articles in the SB. I personally found his arguments very convincing. Please demonstrate how his view deviates from the biblical and Reformed position of what constitutes a true/false church.

    You may deny the charge of hurling invective all you want, but you falsely accuse the PRC of being a whore and slander faithful ministers and officebearers, including ones who stood and continued to stand behind the decisions of Synod 2018. Your assessment that the vast majority of the PRC are carnal and only interested in earthly things is also false. Even if it were true, this would not be enough to prove that the denomination is false. The conduct of a church’s members is not one of the marks of the church.

    Article 29 says that the true and false church can be EASILY known and distinguished from one another. If someone is looking for a Reformed church to join, they are not going to be able to easily distinguish between the RPC and the PRC and determine that one is false. However, if they were to compare the PRC with the PCUSA for example, it would not be difficult to determine which of these bodies was true and which was false.

    The PRC still has the marks of the true church. May God preserve her in faithfulness until the end of time.

    1. “If” I am so convinced? I would not have come out of the PRC if I were not so convinced. I have no interest in refuting Rev. Engelsma’s series of articles in the SB. A man who writes, presumably with a straight face, that the assemblies are working perhaps better than they ever have, is either so naive or so corrupt himself that it is folly to engage with him. I witnessed the assemblies first hand for the last several years, culminating in five church visitors (five? seems like more than the two than are appointed by classis) tromping into the consistory room running roughshod over a cowardly bunch of elders. I was relieved of duties (relieved of duties, AJ, can you point out to me where that is found in the Church Order?) while Trinity PRC came in and did their wicked deed. All of this has been pointed out in detail, supported by the facts. What facts does Rev. Engelsma use? Oh, that’s right, that the assemblies haven’t forbidden people from bringing protests. Even though Prof. Cammenga says he never wants to see a certain protestant again. Try to get beneath the surface of things, AJ, try to discern the truth of things.

      I find that your arguments are quite shallow. What offends you? Homosexuality and Black Lives Matter. “For the punishment of the iniquity of the daughter of my people is greater than the punishment of the sin of Sodom, that was overthrown as in a moment, and no hands stayed on her” (Lam. 4:6). God is jealous for his name, and for his glory, and for the glory of Jesus Christ. So while you are making sure the PRC doesn’t have any homosexuals in it or is safe from the latest social fad, your church is corrupting justification by faith alone and displacing Christ. But all is well because you don’t have any homosexual ministers.

      As to your statement, that the conduct of a church’s members is not one of the marks, who ever said it was? From the beginning I have insisted that the marks as found in the BC are what we need to use. It is certainly the case that a false church will be made up of carnal members, but that is not the mark. My position on this has not changed: https://beaconlights.org/sermons-category/dewey-engelsma/).

      To your point, that the BC uses the word, “easily,” to that point I say a hearty Yes! Easily. I hope to say more about this in the future, but for now what I will say is this, based on the public behavior of the PRC over the last number of years, it is easy to discern that the PRC is a false church. Not easy for the eye of flesh, certainly. From that perspective, the PRC is thriving. Look at her beautiful institutions! From the eye of flesh, all is well. But through the lens of the scripture and the eye of faith, the PRC is a false church, corrupting the true gospel, the sacraments and Christian discipline.

  4. I, for one, have been waiting for a long time to hear a response to the issue raised in Mrs. Engelsma’s letter, the matter of BCPRC consistory giving a lying announcement to their congregation through the mouth of Prof. Huizinga. This same issue was raised in the post “Relief of duties” from March 30, 2021, but no one seemed to reckon with it much at that time either.
    Some months ago, I pursued this very question with a member of the PRC. Below, I include my question as I put it to them at that time. I never received a response.
    “What are your thoughts on the announcement read by Prof. Huizinga on the morning of Sunday, Nov. 29, 2020? “The consistory informs the congregation that we have relieved Rev. Lanning of his ministerial duties to have sufficient time to consider the material and recommendations from the church visitors.” This, despite the decisions taken by Byron Center’s consistory the night before, on Nov. 28:
    “Motion to adopt the 1st recommendation in the advice of the church visitors. Recommendation reads: Byron Center consistory immediately to suspend its pastor, Rev Lanning, according to Articles 79 and 80 of the Church Order for the sin of public schism committed in his sermon on Jeremiah 23:4&14 preached on November 15, 2020. CARRIES”
    “Motion to adopt the 2nd recommendation. Recommendation reads: Byron Center consistory to meet as soon as possible with a neighboring consistory in the Grand Rapids area to pass judgment on our decision to suspend Rev. Lanning. CARRIES”
    “Motion to adopt the 3rd recommendation. Recommendation reads: Byron Center consistory to relieve Rev. Lanning from his ministerial duties while the judgment of a neighboring consistory is sought. CARRIES”
    Byron Center consistory sent Prof. Huizinga up to the pulpit to tell their congregation that they were taking “sufficient time to consider the material and recommendations from the church visitors” when, in fact, the night before, they had already adopted the advice of the church visitors to, 1. Immediately suspend Rev. Lanning, 2. Meet ASAP with a neighboring consistory for concurrence with that decision, and 3. Relieve Rev. Lanning of his ministerial duties in the interim. What was left for the consistory to consider? Everything was already on the books, recorded in the minutes. If they were still considering it, they wouldn’t have already adopted the recommendations!
    So my question is, do agree that that announcement that Byron Center consistory gave Prof. Huizinga to read was in fact a blatant lie? They had already adopted the decision to suspend Rev. Lanning, and then didn’t inform the congregation of this, but instead told them they were taking sufficient time to consider the advice, when, in fact, there was nothing left to consider since they had already adopted the advice.
    Honestly. Was that anything other than a dirty, stinking lie? How do you feel about that having taken place in your churches?”

    For all the many issues and points of disagreement from the controversy which could be debated endlessly without either side moving an inch, I feel that this stands out as one that ought to give people pause. This is a slam dunk, black-on-white, case closed, not-up-for-debate, do not pass Go kind of issue. THEY LIED.
    Are people actually OK with this? Can someone explain why this isn’t an issue for them?
    I stand ready to hear someone out on this. I’ll listen to what you have to say. But the deafening silence that has surrounded the baldest lie of the entire controversy is ridiculous.

  5. Hi Ryan
    I do not know all the facts, but from what I have read I guess I do not see it as a blatant lie. At the time of that announcement Rev. Lanning was not suspended. The consistory did not have the authority to suspend until they received a concurring judgement from a neighboring consistory. In such a meeting with a neighboring consistory, if that consistory did not concur, they would have to consider such reasoning as why they did not support such a decision. I see what you are saying, but I would hope that the reasoning the words used in the announcement were such is along that way of thinking and not to deceive. They do actually have to make that decision at a consistory meeting before they go to a neighboring consistory for their judgment, correct? Should such a decision be announced if the neighboring consistory does not agree and convinces them that to suspend would be in error?
    This is my understanding, but I use question marks to better understand your point of view.

    Respectfully,
    KC

    1. KC,
      Your effort to defend the lies of the BC consistory is, to speak cordially and with the proper tone, a failure.
      The consistory said they needed sufficient time to consider the material of the church visitors. No, they didn’t. They made a decision already. I don’t think it supports the PR cause to defend such blatant untruths.
      It is probably worth pointing out, as it had been pointed out to the elders of BC consistory, that they were walking in lies (Jer. 23:14) so when they made their announcement it had to be more lies. Another example of deceit – when the clerk sent the material on to classis, specifically the November 28, 2020 minutes, he conveniently left out the minutes where two elders had recorded their negative votes, where two elders had left the meeting, and where a decision was later taken to relieve those two elders of their duties.
      Shocking, really.

    2. Hi KC,

      I’ve spent some time reviewing the agenda for the January 2021 meeting of Classis East. The information related below can be found from pages 125-180. I will give page references where pertinent.

      To begin, I believe I see the logic of what you say. You are saying that although BC consistory had taken the decision to suspend Rev. Lanning, they were still awaiting the concurring judgment of the neighboring consistory. Since it was theoretically possible that the neighboring consistory would not concur, and perhaps subsequently BC consistory could be convinced that their decision to suspend was in error, you raise the question of whether a suspension should be announced to the congregation prior to the concurrence of the neighboring consistory.

      Perhaps you will be happy to learn that BC consistory agrees with your cautious approach to making such announcements. Article 7 from the minutes of the 12/5/2020 consistory meeting reads, “Now that a neighboring consistory has agreed, Motion to announce to the congregation the suspension of Rev Lanning, December 6, 2020 during the morning service. CARRIES” (p.132). So yes, the ordering of events was that the congregation would be informed of Rev. Lanning’s suspension only after BC consistory received the concurrence of the neighboring consistory. All well and good. No lie on that front, just a matter of procedure.

      Nevertheless, I maintain there was a lie, and if you will agree with me on one basic premise then I think you will have to join me in this. Simply put: If BC consistory had already taken a decision on the advice of the church visitors, then to say that they were still considering their advice (“to have sufficient time to consider…”) would be a lie. So let us examine that.

      On pages 127-133 of the agenda, BC consistory provides a timeline of events and meeting minutes pertinent to the deposition case.

      On Tuesday, December 1, 2020, BC consistory met with the consistory of Trinity. Article 7 of the minutes of that meeting reads, “Adopted advice (Church Visitors) of the BCPRC consistory read along with the article attached labeled ‘The proper understanding of Article 31 of the Church Order” by Profs. Dykstra and Gritters.” (p. 131)

      Note that. “Adopted advice (Church Visitors) of the BCPRC consistory.” At that December 1st meeting, BC consistory presented its adopted advice, or, if you will, the “material and recommendations of the church visitors” which they had adopted.

      My understanding is that when a decision has been “adopted” it is no longer being “considered.” BC consistory presented that advice to the December 1st meeting, not as something it was taking “sufficient time to consider,” but as its adopted position. The advice was no longer being “considered.” It was adopted. It was being carried out.

      Question: When was this advice of the church visitors adopted by BC consistory?

      Was it on Monday, November 30? No, because there was no consistory meeting that day.

      Was it on Sunday, November 29 (the day of the announcement)? No, because the summary of that “brief” consistory meeting reads as follows: “The consistory met briefly on Sunday 11/29/20 to assign a committee to gather and organize material for the consistory to approve and then send on to Trinity PRC.” And the minute of Article 1 reads, “Discussion is had regarding the overall content of the Church Visitor’s [sic] advice. Vice President to call church visitors about proper method to edit/add content with additional items since the Jeremiah sermon” (p. 130). Not a word about adopting the advice.

      That leaves us with Saturday, November 28. Did anything notable happen at that meeting? (p. 130)

      Article 1. e. “Motion to adopt the 1st recommendation in the advice of the church visitors. Recommendation reads: Byron Center consistory immediately to suspend its pastor, Rev Lanning, according to Articles 79 and 80 of the Church Order for the sin of public schism committed in his sermon on Jeremiah 23:4&14 preached on November 15, 2020. CARRIES”

      Article 1. f. “Motion to adopt the 2nd recommendation. Recommendation reads: Byron Center consistory to meet as soon as possible with a neighboring consistory in the Grand Rapids area to pass judgment on our decision to suspend Rev. Lanning. CARRIES”

      Article 1. h. “Motion to adopt the 3rd recommendation. Recommendation reads: Byron Center consistory to relieve Rev. Lanning from his ministerial duties while the judgment of a neighboring consistory is sought. CARRIES”

      Article 2. “Motion to approve letter to congregation. Supplement #2 CARRIES” (This letter to the congregation was, essentially, the adoption of recommendation 4 of the church visitors which read “Should Rev. Lanning be suspended we advise the Byron Center consistory to make the following announcement from the pulpit once a neighboring consistory has concurred with your decision to suspend Rev. Lanning.” [announcement follows] (p. 147-148))

      When were the “material and recommendations of the church visitors” adopted? November 28th. When did the recommendations of the church visitors cease to be a matter of ongoing consideration? November 28th. When did the recommendations become the moved, supported, carried, and recorded decisions of the consistory? November 28th.

      The announcement on November 29th made as if the consistory was still considering them.

      That was a lie.

      “Mine eyes shall be upon the faithful of the land, that they may dwell with me: he that walketh in a perfect way, he shall serve me. He that worketh deceit shall not dwell within my house: he that telleth lies shall not tarry in my sight. I will early destroy all the wicked of the land; that I may cut off all wicked doers from the city of the LORD.” Psalm 101: 6-8

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