Looking back on the last few years, there are things that have shocked me, angered me, amused me, and many things that have bewildered me.
Some have deeply saddened me.
When Rev. Jonathan Langerak was given his farewell toast from Heritage PRC after taking the call to another church in the denomination, one of the things he was thanked for was this: “And then also, helping us navigate through a denominational controversy. Thankfully, it did not have much of an impact here locally, with us, but we know it did impact your families…”
A controversy ripped through the denomination, a controversy that had to do with justification by faith alone and the unconditional covenant, a controversy in which faithful men and women were cut down left and right, and a controversy that separated wives from husbands and sons from fathers.
It was a controversy about Jesus Christ.
Whether Jesus Christ would be central or whether he would be displaced.
But this controversy “did not have much of an impact” in Sioux Falls, South Dakota.
The entire Bible testifies to the effect of the preaching of the word of God. That word is a fire that consumes and a hammer that breaks the rocks in pieces (Jer. 23:29). It is sharper than a sword, and it divides souls and spirits and joints and marrow and reveals the thoughts and intents of men’s hearts (Heb. 4:12). Whatever it is that Rev. Langerak is doing behind the pulpit is not clear, but one thing he is not doing is bringing Jesus Christ. Jesus said that he came to this earth to bring a sword and to make division. But that word never reached Heritage PRC.
The controversy did not have “much of an impact” at Heritage PRC. There the people were not troubled by the controversy. Because they were never troubled by Christ. Such a man as Rev. J. Langerak will have a long, easy, peaceful, and placid career as a minister in the Protestant Reformed Churches. He will move from church to church, receiving gifts and plaudits along the way, and he will retire with a nice emeritus package, and there will never be a hint of trouble at any of the churches he serves. His life in the ministry will be smooth and easy. (And there are many other young ministers just like him).
At best, the testimony at the end of such a man’s ministry will be that it was hay and stubble, good only to be burned (1 Cor. 3:12-15). And that will be the best that can be said about such a man’s ministry.
For the rest, it does not matter what comes off the pulpits in the Protestant Reformed Churches.
That really is shocking.
It simply does not matter what a minister says.
From the farcical to the vacuous to the heretical to the jaw-dropping to the blasphemous to the ridiculous, nothing will arouse the ire of Protestant Reformed members or consistories.
Well, almost nothing.
The members of the PRC don’t do rebukes.
They are good with calls to repentance as long as those calls to repentance are not aimed at themselves.
That in itself is ironic.
For a denomination that makes repenting a prerequisite to their being forgiven, you would think they would welcome calls to repent.
Not so much.
On January 19, 2020, Rev. Andy Lanning preached a sermon on Judges 2:1–5 titled “The Tears of Bochim” (you can listen to the sermon here and read the sermon here). In this sermon, Rev. Lanning explained the sin of the Israelites in tolerating the Canaanites’ altars and the blessed reality of Israel’s repentance upon hearing the rebuke of the Lord. Rev. Lanning then applied that text to the Protestant Reformed Churches when he said the following:
But now what about us specifically here in Byron Center? What is the rebuke that comes to us? What is the apostasy that threatens us? And here it is: the threat to us is that we succumb to the enormous pressure that there is upon us as a church, as well as a denomination, to minimize the error that was exposed in 2018. The threat is that we say, “That was no big deal.” The threat is that we have no holy roar in our throats regarding those errors but an unholy silence, an unholy hush that falls over the church and over the denomination. That’s a real threat to the church of Jesus Christ. That’s a real tolerating of the altars of Baal if the errors of the altars of man are minimized.
It was a beautiful sermon, not because of the man who delivered it or because it was any special bit of oratory, but because it was the word of God applied to Byron Center PRC at a time when she desperately needed to hear that word.
In early 2020 it was becoming increasingly clear that the congregation and the denomination were in no mood to deal with the reality of the monstrous sin that the denomination had committed. It had tolerated and defended false doctrine and, in its lust for that false doctrine, had cut down faithful officebearers. Although it was that proud harlot Hope Protestant Reformed Church that led, the entire denomination had been willing and eager participants in this sin. Instead of ignoring the issue like so many other “sermons” emanating from PR pulpits, this sermon addressed the issue.
But the sermon contained a rebuke.
And PR men were in no mood to hear a rebuke.
Rev. Lanning was scheduled for a classical appointment to Unity PRC on March 29.
(Unity PRC was curiously named, since once the preaching at Byron Center PRC had become a little too pointed for many men and women, they had packed their bags and started a daughter congregation. This was only a few months after an overwhelming majority of the congregation had approved the purchase of new land to expand the church building. After their first act of dividing a congregation, they then named themselves Unity, perhaps revealing a sense of humor.)
On March 3, 2020, Unity’s consistory sent a letter to Rev. Lanning. In this letter they informed him that they did not want Rev. Lanning “to preach the sermon ‘The Tears of Bochim’ based on Judges 2:1–5 in our church, nor any other sermon dealing with the recent controversies in our churches.” Why reject this sermon or any other sermon having to do with the controversy? This was the reason they gave: “The reason we do not want any sermons dealing with the recent controversies is because we do not agree with your application, and not because we disagree with your doctrine.”
Consider that for a moment.
A consistory sends a letter to a minister telling him not to preach on any topic having to do with an ongoing doctrinal controversy, and the reason is that they disagree with his application of a sermon.
There is only one possible response to such a letter.
By God’s grace, Rev. Lanning responded the only way a faithful minister of God’s word could respond: by informing them that he “must preach that text and no other.” His letter can be found here.
In the end, Rev. Lanning did not preach at Unity PRC, and when the matter came to Classis East they buried it in legalities that I don’t have the energy or the interest to revisit.
Unity PRC was not the only consistory that muzzled the word of God in this way.
Hudsonville PRC did the same.
They informed Rev. Lanning that he was not welcome to preach on their pulpit.
I found it objectionable that consistories would close their pulpits to the truth. So I wrote letters to Unity PRC and Hudsonville PRC asking for their minutes and supplements that led to their decisions so I could better understand them and protest them if I disagreed. Unity responded by sending me the material, but Hudsonville, in a glaring example of disorder, never responded. That’s one way to handle a possible protest. Ignore it. Perhaps that is not orderly, but it certainly was effective.
The matter with Hudsonville PRC led to an interesting exchange with an elder from that congregation. He called me, furious that I had sent the letter asking for the material, and especially about the fact that I had used 1 Corinthians 1:10 to describe his consistory’s actions. After he had vented for a bit, I said it was good for us to discuss these issues. I asked him what his consistory had done or was doing about the fact that his (then) minister, Rev. Eriks, had written a doctrinal statement that compromised justification by faith alone and the unconditional covenant. His response went like this: “Doctrinal statement? I don’t know what that is or what you are talking about.” That was pretty much the end of that conversation.
So a Protestant Reformed minister can bring a lengthy discourse on sleeping, but don’t you dare bring a rebuke or a call to repentance.
Actually, I am not being fair to Rev. Guichelaar. He did call for reformation and repentance in that sermon. Clearly and unmistakably. The entire sermon is found here.
(Rev. Guichelaar is in good company when he lectures on the merits of sleeping. In keeping with the sleep theme, Prof. Griess, at a funeral sermon, once favorably compared the man who had died to a good mattress—not too firm and not too soft.)
Or consider Rev. Mahtani, pastor of Hope PRC. It is common knowledge that a large part of his congregation supports and believes the theology taught by (then) Rev. Overway. Judging charitably, let’s say the other half disagrees and believes Overway was in error. That means that the congregation is divided on justification by faith alone. Rev. Mahtani, politician that he is, can preach in such a way that no one is offended. The congregation can coexist with two starkly different views of justification, which truth is the heart of the gospel.
Rev. Mahtani, like Rev. Jonathan Langerak, may be doing many things, but he is not preaching the Christ of the Bible. If he were to preach justification by faith alone and if he were to condemn the lie that compromised justification by faith alone, which lie was nurtured and defended for many years in that church—led by the consistory—he would be driven out like were the Meyers and others who would not settle for anything less than the gospel.
I use the word politician deliberately to describe Rev. Mahtani. It was Mahtani who weaponized repentance, and he did so in a sermon preached at Byron Center PRC soon after Rev. Lanning was suspended. In a sermon titled “Cleansing From Secret Errors,” Rev. Mahtani made a phony and insincere apology for the role he had played in the controversy. His purpose in apologizing was not because of his brokenness over his sin. Instead, he made the apology to challenge Rev. Lanning—although he didn’t name Rev. Lanning—to repent of sins that Mahtani was convinced that Rev. Lanning had committed.
I know that Mahtani’s apology was insincere and phony not only because when you truly repent, you never then challenge someone else to repent. That is what abusers do. But Rev. Mahtani was exposed as a fraud because of what occurred only a few weeks later, at the meeting of Classis East. If you are truly sorrowful for your role in a controversy that saw a denomination compromise justification by faith alone, you do not then cut down and depose the minister who was warning and rebuking the denomination regarding that sin.
Why give examples from the younger ministers of the denomination, which examples could be multiplied? Because these are the men that Prof. Huizinga pointed to in his speech to the RFPA, who he said will be used by God for the “for the good of the PRC.”
Rev. McGeown is a younger minister and one whom the denomination would point to as being used for the good of the PRC. Look at how much he is writing! He is on the forefront of the PRC, carrying the PRC banner into battle.
He is also a hypocrite.
In May of this year Rev. McGeown sent out an email that was distributed widely. In this email he made judgments about the condition of First RPC’s church building, as well as about the consistory’s decision to depose a man from the office of elder. A few hours after reading it, I sent Rev. McGeown three emails. The first one is found here, the second one included the reports that the council had commissioned about the condition of the building, and the third was the material that the deposed elder had distributed to the congregation.
My immediate reaction to reading Rev. McGeown’s email was surprise. Rev. McGeown had recently written a three-part series on the RFPA blog titled “Avoiding All Lies and Deceit.” Those articles can be found here. In those articles he wrote things like, “Sometimes we think that lies are harmless, but lies are very damaging.” And “First, the Ninth Commandment forbids ‘that I bear false witness against no man.’ To bear false witness is to speak something untrue about another person. Truth is something that is in accordance with reality. Falsehood is something that is not in accordance with reality.” And, “The word for ‘slanderer’ in the Greek is diabolos, which means devil. That is why the Heidelberg Catechism calls all lies and deceit ‘the proper works of the devil.’”
Reading that, you would think, “Rev. McGeown must really be quite the truth teller!”
Yet Rev. McGeown lied publicly in his email about First Reformed Protestant Church when he wrote what he did about the building and when he wrote that “many members” cannot worship in the building for health reasons.
It was also surprising that Rev. McGeown felt qualified to render a judgment at all about the building or the deposition. By his own admission he had not read the material (“I do not have that email”).
When commenting on the Heidelberg Catechism Lord’s Day 43, Rev. McGeown wrote this in his blog about judging rashly: “But how easy it is to be guilty of this! It takes effort to examine a case properly; how easy to jump to rash, unwarranted, even prejudiced, conclusions. There is a very significant Proverb, which we should all take to heart: ‘He that is first in his own cause seemeth just, but his neighbor cometh and searcheth him’ (Prov. 18:17). Do not believe an evil report against someone without strong evidence. Do not spread an evil report about someone, and especially not without strong evidence.”
One would think that “strong evidence” would include reading the material.
Rev. McGeown did exactly that which he warned the people against. This is the definition of hypocrisy according to Merriam Webster: “A feigning to be what one is not or to believe what one does not: behavior that contradicts what one claims to believe or feel. Especially: the false assumption of an appearance of virtue or religion.” Perhaps you prefer the biblical definition. That can be found in Matthew 23:3, “All therefore whatsoever they bid you observe, that observe and do; but do ye not after their works: for they say, and do not.”
Rev. McGeown responded to my emails by apologizing for a portion of what he had written.
What should I do about that?
In the last few years I have accepted two apologies, one from a consistory and one from a leader in the denomination, both of which I now know were completely phony. The men made the apologies because they were political, not because they were sorry. Is Rev. McGeown sorry? I would say probably not. If you lie publicly and make rash judgments publicly, you don’t repent of such by making a private apology.
So when I read Rev. McGeown carrying on in the Standard Bearer or the RFPA blog, I don’t pay any attention to it. And neither should you. He has lectured us against lying and later against making rash judgments. He then went on to lie and make rash judgments. And he has never repented of either. I prefer men that practice repentance over men that only lecture me about it.
I could list many more examples of the folly and vanity of the younger ministers, but that is not necessary.
All you need to know about the younger ministers is that they are willing to tolerate, and live in a denomination that allows Prof. Cammenga to teach this: “Jesus Christ did not personally accomplish all of your salvation.”
Men that will tolerate such and will live peacefully in such a denomination are worthless to the church.
The PRC will look to their younger ministers in vain for help.
Young or old, the ministers in the PRC are all “foxes in the desert,” prophets who “have not gone up into the gaps, neither made up the hedge for the house of Israel to stand in the battle in the day of the Lord” (Ezekiel 13:4-5).
Nothing is off limits from PR pulpits except for calls to repentance and rebukes.
Having rejected sound doctrine, the PRC now heaps to itself teachers who turn away their ears from the truth and turn them unto fables (2 Tim. 4:3-4).
Prof. Gritters recently gave a speech at Grace PRC on forgiveness (transcript here). A few years ago, Grace PRC was going to sponsor a similar lecture on repentance and forgiveness. It was to be given by (then) Rev. VanOverloop. The reason the elders gave for cancelling the speech was due to how long synod had lasted. If there are any members of Grace PRC left who love truth, they should ask the men who were elders at that time if that indeed was the reason the speech was canceled. That would then give those elders a wonderful opportunity to repent and practice what they, apparently, love to hear preached.
Prof. Gritters in that speech turned the people to fables.
A fable can be defined as a fictitious narrative or statement.
One problem the PRC has with their view of repentance is what do you do about children who die in their infancy? Those children never had a chance to repent, so how can they be forgiven?
Recognizing the difficulty, Prof. Gritters should have turned to the creeds for the answer. The problem is that he had already determined that he would not spend much time using the creeds (“I’m not going to quote the creeds tonight very often.”). (That is understandable, since the creeds do not teach what Prof. Gritters was teaching). In fact, the creeds do answer the question, “What about infants who die in their infancy?” The response of the creeds and therefore of the Reformed faith is simple and is found in Lord’s Day 26, Q&A 70 in answer to the question, “What is it to be washed with the blood and Spirit of Christ?” This: “It is to receive of God the remission of sins freely, for the sake of Christ’s blood, which He shed for us by His sacrifice upon the cross.” The answer is also found in the prayer of thanksgiving at the end of the baptism form. “Almighty God and merciful Father, we thank and praise Thee that Thou hast forgiven us and our children all our sins through the blood of Thy beloved Son Jesus Christ.”
Those children have their sins forgiven because Jesus Christ hung on a cross at Calvary and bore on himself the eternal wrath and judgment of Jehovah against sin, so that that sin is not required at the hand of the infant. The child is forgiven through the blood of Jesus Christ.
Instead, Prof. Gritters made something up.
He made up a fictitious narrative, an imaginative story, a fable, which story has no basis in the word of God or the creeds.
He said that after a child enters heaven, that child will be given a voice so that he can then repent of his original sin.
That’s why it’s possible for a baby who dies in infancy, who’s never committed one actual sin, to go to heaven. He’s not been forgiven in the sense that he never heard consciously God say to him, “I don’t hold that sin against you.” He’s an infant; he died in his mother’s womb maybe. But Christ died for his sins; God determined to take him to heaven, and he went to heaven though he didn’t hear in his ear and embrace with his believing heart that declaration of God.
But as I was thinking about that today, I thought hmmm. Maybe that needs to be clarified a little bit in this way. When that little infant, who never spoke one word and never thought any thought, gets to heaven, he is able to speak. And this is what he is going to say: “God, forgive me of my sinful nature. Forgive me of my connection to Adam.” And then God is going to speak to him and declare, “I don’t hold that against you because I put that responsibility on my Son, and he’s forgiven.”—if we may imagine that. That’s when he would hear God say it to him.
Prof. Gritters, and the PRC with him, are being carried away by what John Calvin, in his commentary on 2 Timothy 4:4, called “new inventions.”
(This is to say nothing of the horror of Prof. Gritters going to Grace PRC of all places and using as one of his analogies a daughter who is raped 490 times by a neighbor).
Byron Center PRC is another clear example of judgment being visited upon them.
Rev. Lanning was taken from the pulpit and finally deposed for one reason: he rebuked the members of Byron Center PRC and the denomination and called them to repentance. I know the church visitors (which included, strangely enough, Rev. Clay Spronk), Rev. Bill Langerak and Trinity PRC, and Classis East all spun themselves into knots trying to find something wrong with the sermon. Still, like everyone who plays Twister, they only succeeded in making themselves look foolish.
The sermon was the very word of God to the congregation, and the church killed the minister for it. The PRC needs—and will not receive—a decade’s worth of Jeremiah sermons. Listen to it again—the heart of the elect child of God will again be broken by his own sin in this controversy, and the carnal will gnash his teeth on it.
God promises he will judge the church that rejects his word.
His judgment was swift.
Four weeks after taking Rev. Lanning from their pulpit, the consistory and membership of Byron Center PRC were judged by having to hear a man sing a campfire song from their pulpit, making himself look foolish and making a mockery of the pulpit.
You don’t want the gospel, elders of Byron Center PRC? Then you will get a clown show.
But now they have Prof. Dykstra, a professor from the seminary.
Within six months of his being there, he had two sermons he had to either apologize for or “clarify.”
The first time was after he preached this (full sermon here).
Apparently, Prof. Dykstra was not aware of the Apostle Paul’s confession in Romans 7:19 when he said, “The evil which I would not, that I do.”
Someone must have objected, because a Sunday or two after that sermon, Prof. Dykstra was going to give a clarification. But before he did that, he instructed the sound technician to turn off the livestream.
Do you know how shameful that is? A former professor in the seminary preaches false doctrine, but when he says he is going to clarify it, he turns off the livestream. Why? Afraid you might receive some criticism? If you are going to give a clarification, wouldn’t you want the world to hear it, especially since the original sermon went out publicly on SermonAudio? Doesn’t the truth matter even a little, so that the desire of your heart is that the truth is proclaimed?
Here is the truth of the matter. Prof. Dykstra meant exactly what he said in that sermon, and he isn’t sorry at all that he said it. He believed what he preached. If he were truly sorry, he wouldn’t have tried to hide his explanation.
As to the members of Byron Center PRC, they just take it. Whatever shenanigans or games or songs or chicanery takes place from their pulpit, they tolerate it. They just take it.
And they don’t just take it, they love it.
They eat it right up.
Just as they were told they would.
“You might have a church left. You might. But you won’t have the word of the Lord there. You’ll have a perversion of it. And you’ll love it. You’ll think it tastes good. You’ll eat it up. And you’ll choke to death on it, and your children and your grandchildren will choke to death on it” (Rev. A. Lanning, Jeremiah 23:4, 14 sermon, delivered on November 15, 2020 to Byron Center PRC).
14 thoughts on “Foxes in the Desert”
God don’t need anything to give His people grace. He is usually pleased to use the preaching of the gospel in public congregational worship to give His people grace. God can and does use other means.
I wasn’t justifying anything. Lying is wrong. And each and everyday, I sin. 1 sin is sinning against all the commandments. By Gods grace, I am repentant and strive to live a godly life of gratitude. I was only trying to show that Elder Andringa was not sinning the unpardonable sin against the Holy Ghost (which I wrongly understood you to be saying).
I didn’t say he sinned against the Holy Spirit (Matt. 12:31). He can repent of his lie. I pray that he does.
You are really justifying it by saying that we are all guilty of lying to God’s face everyday? If you are doing that everyday I suggest you stop doing it.
I was in the room when the work regarding Sovereign was done. It was not rushed. Darrell’s comments never came up but I wish they had. I for one never considered them, and I’m not sure I read them when they had been published a year or two earlier. Regardless, the burden is on the man to decline the nomination when he can’t affirm the authoratative nature of the creeds and therefore cannot sign the FoS.
I don’t remember not posting any other comments of yours, but perhaps you made accusations? People who remain anonymous shouldn’t make accusations.
The most important line of your entire comment is when you write (critically), “God needs the church institute to give His people grace.” I would recommend that you read the Heidelberg Catechism LD 25, Question 65. This sermon may be helpful to you as you (http://www.prca.org/sermons/ld25.html). God can work however he chooses to work. He has chosen the preaching of the gospel and the sacraments to give grace to his people. Those things are done in an instituted church.
You are wrong about what the sin against the Holy Spirit is. It is calling what is clearly the work of God, the work of the devil. For example, casting out a devil out of a person is clearly the work of God. But a man who calls that the work of a devil, would be guilt of the sin against the Holy Spirit.
We all are guilt of lying to God’s face which happens each and everyday. This is not the sin against the Holy Spirit.
And no one is saying Elder Andringa was right to lie. I don’t even know of anyone who says that Sovereign’s elders were good elders. This will be on First’s head. First RPC rushed the formation of Sovereign because they believe that God needs the church institute to give His people grace (just listen to Rev. Lanning’s sermon(s)). The group of people in IA came from 5 different churches and the people didn’t know each other enough to properly nominate elders and deacons. First RPC was in charge of Sovereign’s nomination process. They should have bought up concerns of Elder Darrell’s comments about the Confessions during this process. These comments were public.
Even if you don’t post this like my other comments, I am glad you read it.
Dear Stuart Pastine,
What I wrote was not rash judging.
Not only did I give the testimony of another, I sat under the man’s ministry for 15 years and then witnessed his behavior in the consistory room when he came in as a church visitor and executed his wicked deeds.
Out of his heart have flowed all manner of wicked deeds so it is not rash for me to write what I did (Prov. 4:23). A bush that produces brambles is a bramble bush. It is not rash to make that judgment, it is biblical (Luke 6:44).
The sentiment that you express about judging is dead wrong (“Having reminded you that God’s Word teaches we may not judge one another”).
Your sentiment represents well the spirit of the wicked age in which we live. I contend that it is our duty before God to judge whether a man’s actions are right or wrong (1 Cor. 5). I won’t defend that position here because I simply cannot believe that it would need to be defended among Reformed men.
While I am replying to this post, let me take care of your other comments.
You continue to submit comments and continue to wonder why I am not posting them.
The answer is not because your questions are hard to answer. They are not. But the comments section of my blog is not the place for you to try and defend yourself or the group that you have assembled together. I have been more than generous in posting your comments. I even published a sermon of yours! I have no interest in endless debates about every other issue under the sun that might strike your fancy.
When the RPC separated from the PRC, we did not then begin barraging the RPFA blog comments section with innumerable questions and statements and sermons that tried to justify our separate existence. No, Sword & Shield was started to explain why the RPC was formed. I started a blog simply to unburden myself of what I had seen, and I did so out of love for the PRC.
I understand you want to defend the separate existence of some from the RPC. So start a magazine or a blog and write about it. You can start a blog for free at wordpress.com. You can use this as your sub-title, “Dewey Engelsma is a wicked sinner and liar and hypocrite and wouldn’t respond to endless comments, so we had to start this blog, oh, and the RPC is a cult.” And then you can go about proving your case.
You keep pressing me about Deacon Altena and whether he lied and why we need to condemn it and so on and so forth. I have already explained that.
The fact that you keep pressing me about lying is incredible.
You do know that the two men in your fellowship that were formerly office bearers in the RPC lied when they signed the Formula of Subscription? They don’t believe the creeds are authoritative and they even mock the creeds, comparing them to a nerf gun, or, in another place, as a toy rubber band gun. Wooden rubber band guns and Nerf guns are toys. Children use them as part of their games. It should turn your blood cold to hear a man talk like this about the Reformed confessions that teach nothing less than the doctrines of Scripture. (Not that this is new. As I read recently, “Christian history is littered with Protestant groups who have pitted the Bible against man-made creeds”).
You do also know that one of your men lied on the floor of classis, which is to lie to the Holy Ghost?
Your judgment should start with lying in your own midst.
You pressing others about lying is like the President of Venezuala lecturing the rest of the world about corruption in government.
In one of your other comments, you ask if I judge that anyone who doesn’t believe Classis’ interpretation of LD 38 is an unbeliever and as one who never loved the gospel of Jesus Christ. That may be the case, but generally, I would say the answer to that is no, there is a time of learning and instruction. I certainly needed that time of instruction about a lot more than just LD 38! I needed it about the gospel itself.
When I say it exposed men who never loved the gospel, I have in mind men who within days of classis adjourning had pulled their papers. I have in mind men who fled the classis meeting itself and deserted their office days later. I have in mind men who lied to the Holy Ghost and who lied when they signed the Formula of Subscription because it became clear they never loved the creeds or believed they were authoritative in the life of the child of God. I have in mind men who have scattered themselves and their families to the four winds, men who cannot explain why or what they are doing, but men who have allowed themselves to become disciples of the false prophets that arose in their midst.
Sure, there was a time when I thought I was one with them. Just as Paul thought about Demas (Philemon 1:24, Colossians 4:14, 2 Timothy 4:10).
I base my judgments on what men say, and on what they do. This is not rash. This is not wicked. This is our duty.
The September meeting of Classis was glorious deliverance by our God – deliverance of Sovereign RPC and deliverance of the Reformed Protestant Churches.
You should stop railing against it and give thanks to God for it.
And if you will permit me to point out behavior on your part that is hypocritical, you condemn me for judging others, and yet you have not stopped judging me, and others.
In Christ’s service,
Scott, I post those that I believe would be edifying to the reader. Hence, I haven’t posted any from you.
Lol. If only Dewey would.post all the comments that have been submitted to him except those he picks and chooses then that would be the truth. I’ll forward them to you again through FB messenger Mary Lou. 🙂
In response to my previous comment someone sent this to me:
“Why no desire to listen to or read what is written by those in the RPC (both of which I and others have done)? Not because we “fear the truth” as you intimate. But, because those in the RPC seem to be unable to write or preach what they believe to be the truth without vilifying the PRC and its membership. This is evident in the comments of the articles written by H. Kamps and B. Mingerink.”
It seems there are many who have similar thoughts, so I post my reply here as well.
Truth is the all important thing for all of God’s people. Their own personal feelings will always be crucified and come SECOND to God’s truth and the truth of what happened in the church they belong to. This is because they will always let God be true and man be a liar. Also, our calling as God’s people is to shine forth the light of God’s truth as it is antithetically set over against the background of the darkness of all lies and corruption. This is part of the vows that all office bearers in God’s Church take when they are ordained into office and part of the vows we take when we stand before the church and make confession of faith. We all MUST do this or we are not true to our vows. In short, if we do not defend truth over against all lies, we become lyers before God in respect to those vows.
So…because of these facts. I do not understand why it would stop anyone in the PRC from defending their church against what Dewey writes…that is…if it is indeed possible.
Besides all of this, please understand that we wouldn’t have left the PRC if we did not believe that what they did and what they were defending was so very wrong according to God’s word and the Reformed Creeds. Therefore when we write and preach about the truth of what happened, it is incumbent upon us to set forth the lies and the corruption that we were fighting against when the controversy was raging. Now that it’s over, the truth of God’s Covenant promises according to election are once again shining out against the blackness of man’s condition without God’s mercy! In response all of God people will exclaim “Oh what a glorious salvation we have been given!”
For the sake of our covenant children, we must preserve and teach the truth of what happened as opposed to false narratives and partial facts that the PRC institute reported as truth to its members.
Dewey, thanks for expounding the truth over against the lie, the truth we have from the (old paths). I thank God that he gives to his church watchmen on the walls of Zion.
Still a bit flabbergasted you can continue to find fodder to complain about. So others focused.
Moving forward in positivity requires for you to find new material (“new truth”) —not an “anti-church” church.
I read this aloud to Bob. Thankyou for your thoughts. What is so intriguing to us is that no one in the PRC is able (or willing?) to refute the truth of what you have written in this blog over the years. Some will read it and simply get angry. I suppose many are indifferent to the truth and don’t really care what happened behind the scenes in their denomination, or what is being preached. Others, with steadfast loyalty to their mother church, refuse to read anything written by our men or listen to their sermons and lectures. I suspect fear of truth as the true reason for this. But the God of all truth has his own eternal purposes for directing the hearts of men…for his own Glory and for the good of his Church.
May God give us the serenity to rest in his care and eternal purposes.
He does all things well. Always.
Always. In everything. God is good.
Rev McGeown’s public email mentioned “Andy used his bully pulpit to argue against the Courtneys’ position while their protest was still being treated (he did not name them, of course, but on Jan 9, 2022 he preached this:….”, and then Rev McGeown mentioned that he happen to “agree that Andy makes a good point, but his manner is wrong”. How can Rev McGeown criticised the church’s preaching of the truth as a man’s bully pulpit? This would be blasphemy against the preaching of the Word. My understanding of preaching is if the Truth is proclaimed from the pulpit, then it’s no longer a man’s word or pulpit. I gather this from the definition of Preaching in HH’s Reformed Dogmatics book on “The Preaching of the Word”, which I copy below:
Preaching is the authoritative proclamation of the gospel by the church in the service of the Word of God through Christ. In this definition we could call attention especially to four elements:
(1) Preaching is authoritative proclamation.
(2) It is the proclamation of the gospel, that is, the whole Word of God, as revealed in the Scriptures. [lw: including issues that are being protested]
(3) Preaching is proclamation of the gospel by the church: for only the church is able to send the preacher.
(4) Preaching stands in the service of the Word of God through Christ: for only Christ, through the Spirit, can make the preaching of the Word powerful and efficacious as a means of grace.
I can’t thank God enough for delivering me from that wretched gospel and that false church. Matt Medema
Dear brother and Elder Elgersma,
It is very painful for me to write the following, but according to Leviticus 5:1, I must. Before September 15 we considered selling our home and moving to Michigan so that we could request membership in First RPC. Sadly, classis September 15th removed any interest we had in First RPC. Subsequently, your writings in defense of that classis and currently concerning Rev. Koole have confirmed my worst fears as I previously wrote to you concerning cultism – which letter you did not publish nor answer my charges.
Therefore, I repeat my accusations, pleading with you to defend your intrigrity as an elder and member of the consistory of First RPC – correct me if I am wrong.
Deuteronomy 17:6 teaches, “at the mouth of two, or three witnesses, shall he that is worthy” be convicted. Deuteronomy 19:15 confirms that testimony: “One witness shall not rise up against a man for any iniquity or for any sin…at the mouth of two witnesses, or at the mouth of three witnesses, shall the matter be established.” Matthew 18:16 also confirms that principle.
Having reminded you that God’s Word teaches we may not judge one another (Rom.14:13). That Jeremiah 17:9 says only God knows the heart and that our Heidelberg Catechism, Lord’s Day 37, Q/A 102, teaches the same, that God is “the only One who knows the heart…” Nonetheless in your latest writing – Wasteland – you persist in your unchristian judging the heart of those who disagree with you.
Contradicting God’s Word and the Confession you have sworn to uphold, you have now given two public statements judging the heart of others! Your statement about elders Andringa and DeVries was this: they have “hearts that never loved the Reformed faith and the gospel of Jesus Christ.”
Now, for the second time, in your latest writing, Wasteland, of December 9, you say, “Rev. Koole was a known quantity – an unspiritual man who did not have Jesus Christ in his heart…”
In those words for the second time you claim to see and know what is in a person’s heart and you also pass judgement on the person. Your words say that person does not have Jesus Christ the only savior in his heart and the Scripture says those who do not have Christ as Savior are condemned. That is passing judgement. Your words amount to rash judgement, because you cannot not see into Rev. Koole’s heart, therefore it is blind judgement that you confer on Rev. Koole and that certainly is rash judgement.
How do you know what is in Rev. Koole’s heart? Can’t you see that by your own words you are claiming you can see what is in a person’s heart? But you cannot! God told you that! He clearly said He alone sees the heart (Jer. 17:9). Do you contradict God? Our Confession told you God alone sees the heart! Do you contradict the very Confession you swore to uphold?
Brother Engelsma, as of now, elders Andringa and DeVries, with Rev. Koole – three witnesses – will stand up against you and testify at the last judgement when Jesus Christ comes to judge the living and the dead – unless you repent and retract your rash judgement – that you are guilty of sin against the 9th Commandment. They will testify that you judged and condemned them rashly, that you said they did not have Jesus Christ in their hearts, when you could not see what any man has in his heart!
Beloved brother, may God help you to see how tragic and how rash things have become by trying to defend the corruption that occurred at classis on September 15, 2022. By God’s grace may you turn from this folly.
Yours in Christ our Savior,
Stuart Pastine December 23, 2022
Any one of these things would have been a good gif, but a bundle this size makes for an intimidating present under the tree.
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