On Sunday, July 1, 2018, Prof. Russell Dykstra preached a sermon at Hope Protestant Reformed Church titled “Made Free by the Truth.”

This sermon was preached ten days after Synod 2018 had adjourned.

Synod 2018 declared that Classis East had “failed to deal with doctrinal error contained in sermons Mrs. Meyer protested to Hope’s consistory” (2018 Acts of Synod, 61). Those sermons were preached at Hope PRC. Further, synod had declared that this doctrinal error “compromises the gospel of Jesus Christ, for when our good works are given a place and function they do not have, the perfect work of Jesus Christ is displaced” (70). Synod went on to conclude that “Necessarily then, the doctrines of the unconditional covenant (fellowship with God) and justification by faith alone are compromised by this error” (70). 

Further, synod had passed a motion that would require a Formula of Subscription examination of the minister of Hope PRC who had taught these doctrinal errors. That examination was to take place two months later, in late August.

What did Professor Russell Dykstra have to say about what was being taught from the pulpit of Hope Protestant Reformed Church?

This: “The truth is preached here. I know it is. The truth of sovereign particular grace that God saves his people through Jesus Christ. The truth is preached here. Even if there have to be some corrections made, the truth is preached here. That’s why our covenant youth must stay here and embrace that truth.”

Synod 2018 had just said that the truth was not spoken from the pulpit of Hope Protestant Reformed Church. It had said the lie was being preached from the pulpit of that congregation. It was the lie that compromised justification by faith alone.

What Professor Dykstra did was to call evil good, and good evil. There is a word of God for Professor Dykstra. “Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!” (Isa. 5:20).

What Professor Dykstra did was to militate against a settled and binding decision of an assembly of his denomination. Before the ink was even dry on the minutes, he militated against that assembly meeting. Where the assembly said “false,” Professor Dykstra said, “true.”

Synod did not say “corrections” needed to be made. It said the gospel was compromised. It said the man who taught that error was worthy of a Formula of Subscription exam. When was the last time a Formula of Subscription exam was required in the PRC—70 years?

Here is something you need to know about Professor Dykstra.

He is a hypocrite.

In late 2020, Professor Dykstra, along with Professor Gritters, wrote an article defending his view of Article 31 of the Church Order. In this article, Professor Dykstra wrote that if a man is opposed to a decision of an ecclesiastical body, he “must not publicly write or speak against a decision.”

Professor Dykstra tells his people to do one thing, but he himself does not do that thing (Matt. 23:3).

And no one in the PRC will care or do a thing about it.

For a very long time I labored under the conviction that things in the PRC mattered—that the truth mattered, that men’s words mattered, that men’s actions mattered, and that the word of God mattered. I thought that if men were exposed as hypocrites, or Christless in their theology, or profane in their actions, that the church of Jesus Christ would take notice.

That they would not be able to tolerate it, not even for a second.

The joke was on me.

In this blog, I thought if I could just lay things out for the reader about what went on at Byron Center PRC and later in the denomination as a whole, then there would be a great hue and cry demanding justice. Surely justice should be a cornerstone of the bride of Jesus Christ?

What I did not realize was that none of this really mattered.

Membership in this particular institute was the end in itself.

Like what a church historian said about Rome also goes for the PRC, “Whatever its problems, it was the only church there was, or could be” (Still Protesting: Why the Reformation Matters, Hart, 69).

It doesn’t matter what goes on there; just stay there.

Think of it like “playing church.”

As a member of the PRC, I was given latitude to play church as much or as little as I wanted. This right was given to each of the members. For some, they did not see a reason to play church all that much. Those members never attended a Bible study, they were inconsistent in their church attendance, and they paid no attention to what was going on in their congregation or their denomination.

Others took a different approach. They loved playing church. Those members would read the minutes from the assembly meetings, they were faithful in their attendance at Bible studies and the weekly worship services, and they read many books.

Either approach was permissible.

I chose the latter route, and played the game very well.

I knew the rules and had no objection to them.

It became clear over time what worked in the PRC and what did not work. Playing church was the way to advancement. Play your game correctly, and you would be up for deacon or school board member or, maybe someday, even the vaunted position of elder.

But a line from the book by Donald Whitney on spiritual disciplines always stuck with me. In speaking about hypocritical leaders in the church, he wrote, “They may desire the recognition of applause, public acknowledgement, appreciation via social media, assured results, honor for their example, or most subtle of all, development of a reputation as holy, sacrificial, or exceptionally spiritual” (Whitney, Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian Life, 149).

That was me.

Especially the last part about wanting to be viewed as “exceptionally spiritual.” (If reading that makes you think less of me, then good, you ought to.)

But at some point, God had had enough.

He took a pompous Pharisee, and he put the love of Jesus Christ in his heart.

I don’t know exactly how to characterize what happened in my life and, more importantly, what took place in my soul. I would need a theologian to help me put the right terms to it.

All I knew is that I wanted to feed on Jesus Christ.

I have laid out in previous posts how that then manifested itself.

And things developed so rapidly in the PRC that I wrote this blog about developments in the denomination as a whole.

I was convinced that no one would be able to abide those developments.

Turns out, the people have no problem abiding them.

The fact that so many in the PRC can read what took place and be unmoved says something significant.

It says that almost everyone was in on the joke.

But what else does it say?  

Let me answer that this way.

Imagine, for whatever reason, you have to spend a few weeks in a new city. You’ve never been there, and you don’t know anyone who lives there.

Your path crosses with someone, and you talk to him about your faith and the anguish of your heart in not being able to attend worship services at the church where you are a member. His response, eager evangelist that he is, is to invite you to his church this coming Sunday. “You should come to my church! We are a small, conservative Reformed denomination that holds traditional worship services and reads from the KJV, and we even sing from the Psalter!”

Thinking this might work, you ask him about what the church believes. “Tell me about the doctrines that are taught in your denomination.”

And this is what he says.

We believe that if you want to be saved, you have to do something. That ties in closely with the truth we teach that Jesus, Himself personally, did not accomplish every aspect of the work of your salvation. That’s what makes him a controversial Savior! In fact, we believe that it is not enough for salvation that God sent his Son, Jesus Christ, into the world. It is not enough that there is a Jesus. Man has to do something in order to be saved. In order to appropriate salvation, in order to appropriate justification, a man must do something. You could put it this way: when it comes to the gospel, the choice is man’s in the end.

When a man does good works, it is not Christ who is doing the good in him. It is man who does the good, who lives in obedience to God’s law, because man is no longer totally depraved.

God has many good gifts, but in order to get those things, man must do something first, and then God will do something. That is important to understand. For example, there is a vitally important sense in which, in our salvation, our drawing nigh to God precedes God’s drawing nigh to us. You could put it this way: God waits to give you something until you do something first.

In order to be forgiven, you first have to repent, and you first have to show forgiveness to others.

If you want to enjoy more and more of God’s love and fellowship, then you need to perform more good works. Think of it like this: the more a child hugs his mother, the more the mother will then hug the child. Right? So the more good works you perform, the more love and fellowship you will get from God. If you want to prosper in the enjoyment of God’s love, not just “get along” but really prosper, then you need to obey God’s law more. Put differently: by how much one is more holy, by so much more he is pleasing to God.

We believe there are two rails leading to heaven, and those two rails are God’s sovereignty and man’s responsibility.

If you want to obey God’s word to get all of these things, then we have to talk about grace, because all of this is by grace. We call it available grace, and we put the question to our people: how are you going about getting that available grace?

Grace is given by the gospel, and grace is given by the law. Although Luther in his commentary on Galatians wrote that anyone who mixes the law with the gospel is a perverter of the gospel and an apostle of the devil, we do teach that the preaching of the commandments is a means of grace to you. You are saved by the sovereign grace of God through the gospel of Jesus Christ, and God continues to add grace to you in your life through the preaching of the commandments. That’s why at one point our assembly taught that properly done, the preaching of the law is the preaching of the gospel, and the preaching of the gospel is the power of God unto salvation. Although we overturned that to appease some cranks in our denomination, the leaders in the denomination never stopped teaching it.

As regards faith, we identify faith as a condition, since faith is necessary. The other thing to know about faith is that faith is not God’s act, but faith is your act. Although some in the Reformed community have identified the abiding in Christ found in John 15:4 as faith, we teach that abiding in Christ involves both faith and works.

As to assurance of our salvation, God does not just drop that out of sky on us so that now we have it forever, and it can never be taken away from us, and we never have to worry about the matter of the assurance of our faith. No, in order for us not to worry and to be sure that it will never be taken away from us, we have to obey the ten commandments.

Regarding marriage, divorce, and remarriage, we believe that there are two grounds for divorce: adultery and desertion.

And when it comes to the preaching of the gospel, we set the gospel offer before all who hear the preaching. We believe that Christ is graciously set before all men.

“Well, will I see you on Sunday?”

The answer, of course, would be no.

And you would walk away in disbelief that there is a denomination of Reformed churches that blasphemes the name of Jesus Christ in that way.

What an absolute corruption of the simple gospel.

What a glorification of man and a despising of God.

If the man would ask you about their doctrine, you would reply, “You have a weak and pathetic god, and I want nothing to do with him.”

You will notice that in the above example I did not say one word about the corruption or the abuse that is rampant in the PRC. Those things are symptoms. The root problem is their theology.

The theology of the Protestant Reformed Churches is perfectly encapsulated by this phrase: It is not enough that there is a Jesus.

When a man in the PRC taught that, he was soon chosen to be the professor of dogmatics.

If Jesus is not enough, that means the void has to be filled by something else.

For the PRC, that void is filled by man.

What must you do if Jesus is not enough?

You will rely on yourself.

Whether that reliance is on your faith or on your obedience, you will rely on yourself.

The Belgic Confession, Article 23, tells us that “if we should appear before God, relying on ourselves or on any other creature, though ever so little, we should, alas! be consumed.”

Anyone who believes the theology taught in the PRC will be consumed.

How is it that members of a denomination can be indifferent to the corruption and wickedness and lies about God that have characterized the last seven years of this controversy? How can they continue to live in such a denomination?

Some love the doctrine of man. They would never put it that way, but they love to quickly acknowledge God’s role in salvation and then immediately go to what man must do to be saved. They believe the lie from hell that will condemn them. And just as the serpent beguiled Eve with his subtilty, so the ministers and professors beguile and deceive their members with their subtilty, which is the subtilty of the devil (2 Cor. 11:3).

As for the rest, I would say many, if not most, of the members of the denomination are completely indifferent to the false doctrine and corruption that characterize their denomination. Church for them is just a social club. Like someone might belong to a golf club, so they belong to a church. Their friends and family are there, their work is closely tied to their church membership, and life is good. Whereas a good golf club might cost tens of thousands of dollars, their church only costs them $50/week.

In that light, then, the only person who is not welcome is someone who disrupts the peace. That person needs to be kicked out, and quickly. Truth? What does truth matter when the high school team is on the brink of winning the championship? This explains the elder who became furiously angry at my letter to his consistory but was completely ignorant of his minister’s penning a document that displaced Christ.

His minister only taught false doctrine.

I was disrupting his peace.

That’s why the false doctrine and corruption are no big deal. There is nothing a minister could say or do that would cause them to rise up and reform their church or form the church anew.

The church for them is not the pillar and ground of the truth.

The church is the pillar and ground of a nice, easy, and smooth life. 

I was right there with them.

God used the controversy to shake me awake.

My synod told me this was about justification by faith alone.

Yet the doctrine taught after that synod was the same as the false doctrine condemned by that synod.

Well, what are you going to do about it?

For the vast majority of the denomination, the answer was this: “Nothing. We aren’t going to do a thing about it. The social club that is my church is working quite well for me, thank you very much.”

I see that now.

Nothing will persuade or convince them that they are in grave danger, that their church is false and is the object of the judgment of God. They would not be persuaded even if one rose from the dead.

They are indifferent to the fact that wolves have entered the sheepfold—as Paul promised they would—men who speak perverse things against God and his word (Acts 20:29–30).

I certainly cannot convince them. That has become clear.

Neither will the ministers in the PRC convince them.

They are busy putting any remaining members who might have questions back to sleep.

That work started immediately after the split.

Listen to Rev. Garry Eriks in the Q&A session sponsored by Unity PRC soon after the Act of Separation was distributed (full lecture can be found here).

Not one person will ever repent of their sins that they committed during the controversy when you have a man like Rev. Eriks speaking like this.

Some hear a man’s voice.

I hear the hiss of the serpent in his response.

Rev. Eriks put his name to a doctrinal statement that compromised justification by faith alone. Justification by faith alone is the heart of the gospel. Corrupt that doctrine, and you have no gospel. Men go to hell with a compromised confession of justification by faith alone on their lips.

The synod of the PRC said that Rev. Eriks’ document compromised justification by faith alone.

Rev. Eriks had a chance to confess his sin for leading his sheep astray.

He had a chance to tell his sheep how deceitful, how wicked, and, yes, how subtle false doctrine truly is. He could have used himself as an example: how he was led astray so that it actually took place that he, Rev. Garry Eriks, put his name to a document that displaced Christ. He could have pointed out Paul’s instruction that there will be false teachers among them who would be so subtle, so convincing, that even the elect would be led astray, if that were possible (2 Pet. 2:1, Mark 13:22).

He could have quoted 2 Corinthians 11:3 and told his flock that just as the serpent beguiled Eve through subtilty, so too he was beguiled through the subtilty of this false doctrine.

But he didn’t.

He mocked the fact that the error had been identified as subtle.

He made sure that not one person in his congregation will ever repent and turn from their sin.

He flung the doors of Unity PRC wide open for the devil and his hosts to spread the lie without any fear of resistance.

Imagine one day there is a visitor in attendance at Unity PRC, and he hears false doctrine preached. So he brings it to the consistory. “Men, I heard false doctrine. It was subtle, but I heard it.”

The response will be, “You heard the lie? And it was subtle? Maybe it was so subtle that it wasn’t even there.”

What about the next generation? What are they being taught?

Here is an article on polemics that was published in the September 2021 issue of Beacon Lights, the magazine for the young people of the denomination.

Reading this description of polemics makes one think of a picnic at the park. You pack a basket with some cheese and crackers, perhaps a submarine sandwich, and something nice to drink; and then you sit down across from the one who is teaching the lie, and you say, “Okay, I am now ready to engage in some polemics with you.”

“These are brothers and sisters in the church, and thus, the manner in which a writer composes his polemic matters enormously.”

That position set forth by the editor of Beacon Lights—which is the position of the denomination—is in large part why the Protestant Reformed Churches have been consumed by the lie.

Where the editor turned to Brad Littlejohn, he should have turned to Martin Luther.

I will tell you what will happen to the young people of the denomination when they take that article with them into battle.

They are going to be overrun.

The grievous wolves who arise in their congregations will eat them alive (Acts 20:29).

Here is what the young people of a Reformed denomination need to hear about polemics.

Love God. Love his truth. Love him so much that you hate and damn the lie. Love him so much that a zeal for his house and for his truth consumes you—like it did for Jesus Christ, who has saved such an unworthy worm as you—and you find it intolerable to hear anything false about God.

Love your neighbor. Love your neighbor so much that you are willing to rebuke him for his errors. Love him enough to not couch your rebuke in uncertain terms. Love him so much that you rebuke him even though he casts out your name as a wicked thing and removes you from his fellowship for the rest of your life.  

Read. Start with Luther’s commentary on Galatians. Follow Luther’s example when he writes, “So whatever doctrine teaches anything other than that we are all sinners and are justified only by faith in Christ must be false, wicked, blasphemous, accursed, and devilish; and so are those who either teach it or accept it.”

Pray. Pray that God would teach your hands to war and your fingers to fight. Pray that God would remove your cowardly heart that is so utterly deceitful that you can’t even begin to fathom the depths of its wickedness. Pray that God would preserve you so that you do not turn back in the day of battle like the craven children of Ephraim.

Trust. In all these things know that you are not capable of even one parry of your sword except God do it in you. Trust in him and in him alone to work all these things in your life.

Give thanks. Give thanks that the curse that should fall on you for continually keeping back your sword from blood fell on one who never kept back his sword from blood. Out of thankfulness then for that one, contend earnestly for the faith.

There is only one thing that will wake up the members of the PRC, and that is the work of the Holy Spirit through the preaching of the word.

It is the power of God unto salvation. It is how God saves.

God comes in his word and rebukes his people and makes them nothing. God comes in that same word and fills his people with Christ so that they turn to Christ for all of their salvation.

But the members of the PRC will not hear that word.

They heard it for a very brief period of time, and they hated it.

They damned it as an evil thing and cast out the men who preached it.

The preaching that remains in the PRC is powerless.

Why was it that for 40 years of my life I never heard the call to repent and believe? Why was it that for 40 years I was never rebuked for the wickedness in my life and for the unbelief in my heart? Why was it that for 40 years I never heard the law preached to me as something that exposed my sin and misery and as something that I could not perform, so that when I heard the law say, “Do this and live!” my soul would respond, “But I cannot!”? Why was it that after I should have heard the law’s condemnation of me—Sinai thundering so my conscience would quail within me—I was not then taught the gospel that would say to me, “You cannot keep the law, but there is one who did”?

Why was I only ever affirmed in the preaching?


Don’t you know that the preaching I heard turned me into the most wicked, proud Pharisee that ever lived?

And that for others, their souls were crushed and destroyed by it?

I am no longer bewildered.

When the bewilderment stops, then the blog born of bewilderment must also stop.

I have not lied to you in this blog. I have not misled you. I have written what I have out of love.

But my approach has never been to please men.

I read a quote in a religious periodical that struck me, and that has informed my own writing in this blog. My paraphrase of it goes like this: I will receive praise with thanksgiving and criticism with humility, but at the end of the day, I write for a readership of One. God is my tower. Bring on the whirlwind (CT, Editorial, 12/22/19).

Things are clear for me now.

I don’t want anything to do with the doctrine of the PRC or that which passes for preaching in the PRC. I don’t want it for me or my family.  

There is one thing I desire, and that is for us to be fed on Jesus Christ.

The PRC points me to my works.

About that I, along with John Calvin, confess, “For what will a person find in his own works except matter for doubting and at last despairing?”

I want Jesus Christ and him crucified.

I want my pastor to know nothing among me and my family other than Jesus Christ and him crucified.

We have that now.

We lie down in green pastures and are led beside still waters.

Our souls are restored.

“Blessed be the Lord God of Israel from everlasting, and to everlasting. Amen, and Amen” (Ps. 41:13).

Running Through a Troop

“For by thee I have run through a troop; and by my God have I leaped over a wall.”             Psalm 18:29

I said in my last post that there were things that have amused me in the last few years.

One of those times stands out in my mind.

Rev. Lanning had been suspended from office, and Trinity PRC had been called in to give advice.

Elder Bryan VanBaren and I had been relieved of our duties.

Since we were no longer privy to any communications from the consistory, we would keep each other informed of developments, mostly by text message.

Living right next door to church, Rev. Lanning could keep us informed as he and his family watched the parade of cars coming and going as the men went about their evil deeds.

One evening in early December 2020, the parking lot at church was full of cars, and we took that to mean that Byron Center PRC’s consistory and Trinity PRC’s consistory were meeting.

Which led to us receiving a rather cryptic text from Bryan: “Heading that way. Passage about running through a troop…”


Heading what way?

Running through a troop?

What was he planning on doing, breaking into the meeting at church?

So a few messages were sent, asking him, “Bryan, are you going into the meeting?”


More messages were sent, telling him that it was not a good idea to break into the meeting, that even if the men on the consistory were acting disorderly, we must not.

More silence.

Was he actually doing it? Was he driving to church to let the men have it for their wicked deeds?

No, not Bryan; surely he is much too mild-mannered for that…right?

The messages to Bryan increased in frequency and urgency, telling him that breaking into the meeting was not the right thing to do and that he should reconsider that course of action.

Finally, fourteen minutes after the last text, Bryan responded: “Thanks for that good advice!”

It turned out that Bryan was busy caring for his aging father and did not have his phone with him. He had no intention of rushing into a meeting uninvited.

Bryan was quick to forgive our rush to judgment, and we had a good laugh about it then, and a few times since then.

It was a moment of levity in the midst of a very trying time.

That reflected who Bryan was, however: a man who was always eager to forgive.

I did not know Bryan before we were elected elders together at Byron Center PRC. I can only remember one conversation with him before that time, and that was standing next to a ball field at Grandville Little League watching our sons play baseball.

Although I did not know him before 2019, I got to know him very well after that.

One thing that stands out to me about Bryan is his sense of compassion. The man is simply filled with compassion for others. As we worked together and I could see him in very trying times, times that reveal the character of a man, I would think, “Has this man ever had a selfish thought?”

His compassion extended not just to those of his flock who would have no quarrel with him. His compassion extended even to those who treated him cruelly and spoke evilly of him. He simply did not care about his reputation and name. He is a servant of servants.

This would come out even after it became clear that the other elders of Byron Center had made up their minds that they had to remove Rev. Lanning in order to restore peace in their marriages, in their families, and among their friends. Even then, Bryan would say to me, “Dewey, we have to help them understand!”

Help them understand?

These men refused to understand. Bryan had seen time and time again that these men would not hear the word of God, would not be governed by the word of God, but were insistent on following their own wicked earthly wisdom.

And still he says, “We have to help them understand”?

Are you kidding me?!

He was sincere.

He was genuine.

What he was saying in his patient, long-suffering way, was this: “Yes, Dewey, after even all of this, we must not give up on them, but we have to help them understand.”

This came out in vivid fashion after we had been relieved of our duties, grounds for which action is probably found in Article 87 of the Church Order.

I received a message from Bryan one Monday morning that he wanted to come over and meet with me at my house. He also emailed me a document that he wanted me to read.

He had asked for a meeting with the consistory of Byron Center PRC for the two of us to appear before them that Monday night. He wanted to discuss that meeting with me.

When he arrived at my house it was evident that he had not gotten much sleep. The reason for that soon became clear. He had been up all night writing a letter that he wanted to read to the consistory. All through the night he had been writing and rewriting this letter that he hoped and prayed would be used by God to correct the rebellious children that occupied the office of elder at Byron Center PRC.

The meeting went as you might imagine.

By now the elders were fully set in their ways, and there was nothing that would move them, not even the word of God that Bryan brought to them in that meeting.

Even to ask for the meeting was a testimony to Bryan’s long-suffering and patience. Lesser men than Bryan would have said about those elders, “A plague on all your houses!,” but not Bryan.

I remember a time after a service early in our time as a new congregation when I expressed doubt about one aspect of a sermon. His response was immediate. “What are you saying? That was the word of God.” The look on his face and the words that he immediately spoke showed me my folly and the error of what I had said. God used his rebuke—faithful wound of a friend—to work repentance in my heart for my unbelief.

The other thing that stands out to me about Bryan is that he loves the truth. Like very few others, he loves the worship of God where that truth is taught. Although Bryan has sacrificed a great deal, he never flinched from leading the people in that truth.

Loving truth, Bryan abhorred the lie. He simply cannot abide evil, in any form. That is why he chose to walk out of the meeting with the church visitors rather than pray with the men who had performed such a wicked deed. (The picture at the top of this post was taken by a member of the Lanning family. They were, no doubt, glued to their living room window as they watched men come and go, all working toward the wicked removal of their husband and father. One member of the family captured this picture of Bryan praying in the parking lot after the two elders had left the meeting, refusing to pray with the workers of iniquity inside the consistory room.)

To speak personally, looking back, my confession is that I have only gained.

One of the most precious things I have gained is a brother.

Bryan was willing to rebuke me because he loved me.

And he loved me because he is my brother.

And knowing what I do about him, I can tell you that Bryan doesn’t much appreciate this post.

I can hear him: “Dewey, what are you doing?!”

“Stop it!”

Bryan detests hearing praise of himself.

He won’t hear it, and if you try to bring it, he will deflect it and redirect it.

The man is humble.

I can hear him. “God be praised, Dewey, not man!”

But I don’t apologize for this post at all, Bryan.

I don’t take back a word of it, and I won’t accept your rebuke regarding it.

Because now, Bryan, it is time for me to help you understand.

I haven’t been talking about you at all.

This entire post has been about Christ who lives in you.

“I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me” (Galatians 2:20).

Foxes in the Desert

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…”

How tragic.

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).


The session of Covenant Evangelical Reformed Church (CERC) has recently sent a letter to its congregation about the speeches that will be given by Rev. Lanning in Singapore.

In that letter they strongly admonish their congregation not to attend the lectures being given by Rev. Lanning.

These are not just empty words, either. The session of CERC has placed members of their congregation under discipline for starting a Bible study to study the controversy.

The session has recently sent out another letter in which they warn their congregation that the “schismatic group has been targeting our women, children and those vulnerable in our church.” That sounds scary. To what exactly are they referring when they speak of “targeting”?

They are referring to emails sent to women of CERC by Stephanie Lanning, Rev. Lanning’s wife. Stephanie’s letters and the session’s response are attached. The letters from Stephanie are beautiful and exactly the kind of letters that are sent by one who understands the Scripture’s definition of love. To call it targeting of women, children, and the vulnerable is slander and is nothing more than fear-mongering. 

Of what is the session afraid?  

The members of CERC ought to examine these letters in the light of God’s word.

The session says they are “sounding the trumpet.” Yet, splashed across the tops of both pages are the words, “This letter is for members of CERC only and may not be circulated.” The whole point of a trumpet blast is that the sound travels far and wide. When you muzzle your trumpet blast and deliberately restrict its reach, it tells all of the hearers that your purpose is something altogether different than sounding a trumpet.

What is the session’s goal?

Its purpose in these letters is to intimidate their members into not attending the lectures given by Rev. Lanning.

Is the office of believer dead at Covenant Evangelical Reformed Church?

Do the members of CERC not have the ability to identify truth and error?

Have they no ability to try the spirits to see whether they be of God?

The letters are also confusing and confused.

With one side of their mouth, the session forbids its members from visiting and fellowshipping with the visitors from the Reformed Protestant Churches. With the other side of their mouth, they say the congregation’s calling—“true love, according to the Word of God”—is to call these “erring” members to repentance. How will the rebuke, which they are so insistent is necessary, ever reach the ears of Rev. Lanning and those with him if they don’t meet with them to deliver it? I for one would welcome a visit with anyone from CERC, including members of the session, to discuss these matters. If you bring me a rebuke, I will listen to it. We can discuss it, and then you can then judge whether my cause is righteous or not. Feel free to submit a comment indicating that you would like to meet, and we will make those arrangements. At the very least, you can bring the rebuke that your session says is so necessary and in fact represents “true love.”

The CERC makes reference to an “inflammatory blog” which “propogates lies.” I would assume that to be the blog of Berean Reformed Protestant Church. But the blog of Berean RPC has been at great pains to prove the truth of the charges that they make. The minister of CERC is teaching the lie of conditions. Instead of criticizing the blog for pointing that out, the Session of CERC ought to be instructed by it and thankful for it.

The members of CERC should find chilling what their session writes in their letter. Session writes about “quotes uncharitably taken out of context.” That is exactly the language used by men and consistories in the PRC over the last seven years to justify and excuse those who taught heresy and false doctrine. Hope PRC wore out the word “context” in its defense of Rev. Overway and his theology. CERC, what exactly is your minister teaching you?

Here is the truth, and not the truth according to any man or according to any group of men.

“And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved. But he that doeth truth cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God.” (John 3:19-21)

Is your session behaving as those who wish their deeds to be brought into the light, or are they trying to hide their deeds in darkness?

Why all of the angst about a visit from Rev. Lanning?

If you are standing on the truth of God’s word, then the gates of hell cannot prevail against you, much less one man.

Yet the fear emanating from the session is for good reason.

They have every reason to be fearful of Rev. Lanning’s visit.

And that reason has nothing to do with the person of Rev. Lanning.

The session of CERC is not standing on the gospel. They are standing on the foundation of Man, which is no foundation. They find that ground shifting under their feet, so they have to rely on intimidation and secrecy. It is a terrible place to be, and it ought to cause them great fear.

The session knows that if her members hear Rev. Lanning lecture and preach, they will hear the gospel. They will hear the truth confessed and the lie condemned—the lie that the session harbors in her bosom like Achan harbored the spoils of Jericho.

This position of fear also causes the session to lie.

They write, “Our attendance in person would be a show of support to their cause.” Since when has that been the case? In fact, it is not true. Has anyone ever believed that attending a public lecture is a show of support for that lecture?

My word to you, which is not my word at all, is found in 1 John 4:1–3:

Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world. Hereby know ye the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesseth that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is of God: And every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God: and this is that spirit of antichrist, whereof ye have heard that it should come; and even now already is it in the world.

Those who occupy the office of believer have the ability—no, the calling—to try the spirits.

So here is my counsel, which counsel is good, not because of the man giving it (he is a worm and less than nothing) but because the counsel is founded upon the word of God.

Attend the lectures and see if what you hear is the word of God or the word of Man.

If you hear error, then condemn it and rebuke those who teach it.

If you hear truth and the voice of the good Shepherd, then confess and follow him.



black bird perched on bare tree

My family spent 15 years in a wasteland.

Those were the years we spent sitting under the ministry of Rev. Koole.

We vexed our souls in that place.

It is no exaggeration to say that for the last five years in that church, we were in almost continual anguish.

The reason we were not in anguish for the first ten years is because carnal creatures have eyes that do not see and ears that do not hear.

The anguish was not because of the people.

They were nice people.

Some of the nicest you’ll ever meet.

It was because of the preaching.

At some point, God took the scales from our eyes and unstopped our ears.

We labored to know what it was that was causing our anguish.

It did not take long to realize that when a Christian is deprived of Christ, his soul suffers.

We tried to do something about it. With God as my witness, for the last five years before we left, before a man finally told me it was time for us to leave—because nothing was going to change—we tried to do something about it.

My wife was right there next to me.

I know some men just cut and run, even though they knew how terrible the preaching was.

But I couldn’t do that.

I wish I could say it was because of some noble virtue in me, but I can’t say that.

The reason I couldn’t just pack my bags and leave was because of my naivete.

I was stupidly and inexcusably naïve.

I thought, if I just go to Rev. Koole and pour out my heart to him (which I did), he will change (which he didn’t). He will hear what I am saying and either tell me I am wrong (which he didn’t), or he will work on correcting it (which he didn’t).

Well, Rev. Koole disabused me of my naivete.

I went to Rev. Koole. I told him something was wrong. Was it just me and my wife? Perhaps. Was it his preaching? I was beginning to think so. We talked for an hour or so, and I left.

Over the course of the next year, however, I read everything I could get my hands on about preaching. It did not take long to realize what was missing from the preaching of Rev. Koole.

Jesus Christ was missing.

So I drafted a letter to send to the consistory. I took counsel of my father, who said I should go back to Rev. Koole—even though I had gone to him once, and I was not obligated to go to him again—and just give him another chance. So, hat and letter in hand, I went back to Rev. Koole.

We met, he read the letter and stated how serious it was, and then he asked me not to send the letter to the consistory. He said he would work on things. He said to give him the summer, and he would ask me at the end of the summer if I thought things had improved. I agreed to that and did not send the letter.

Two years went by, and I never heard from him.

So I sent a different letter to the consistory.

After having been disabused of my naivete about preachers in the PRC, it was then that I learned a valuable lesson about elders in the PRC.

They are double-tongued.

They would tell me in private that they agreed with me, but then in the consistory room and in the correspondence they would send, they would say something entirely different.

But through all of this I was becoming frantic.

I was a young man trying to lead his family. Seeing my wife weeping most Sunday nights after church showed me how deadly serious all of this was.

But was I the only one who thought this about the preaching? Was I imagining it? Was there another reason for the anguish of our souls?

I didn’t know what else to do, so I went to Rev. Kortering.

I picked Rev. Kortering for three reasons.

First, as a minister of the word, he would be able to tell me if the preaching we were hearing at Grandville was good preaching. Who would know preaching at Grandville better than an emeritus minister? Second, I had never had a conversation with him. The extent of our interactions was an occasional “Hello” or “Goodbye.” In other words, there was no personal relationship, so he could not be construed to be “on my side.” Third, and most importantly, if anything, not only would he not be favorably disposed to me, but there was also a possibility that he would be ill-disposed to me. I couldn’t formulate that into words exactly, but I had the impression that he and my father were on opposite sides regarding the matters that had transpired in Singapore, and as Prof. Engelsma’s son, perhaps Rev. Kortering would carry some animosity towards me. That’s a stretch, I know, but my entire point was to go to someone who would have no bias toward me at all. What I wanted, which I had not to that point received, was someone to rebuke me, to tell me I was dead wrong, that the preaching was exactly as it should be; or if not that, then at least that it was acceptable, and I should just shut up and be fed.

 I told Rev. Kortering I wanted to meet with him.

I am sure he was curious why this young man of the congregation with whom he had never had a conversation wanted to meet with him, but he was kind enough not to ask, and we simply set up a meeting at his home.

You can imagine my trepidation in walking up to his door and into his living room.

If you think about the reason I was there, it was because I was looking for a rebuke from a man who I thought might be more than willing to provide it.

Why would he be any different than any other member of the congregation who seemed to think, as far as I could tell, that nothing was wrong with the preaching at Grandville PRC?

He was different.

He was honorable.

He received me graciously and listened patiently as I told him how deeply troubled I was by Rev. Koole’s preaching. I poured out my soul to him, a man to whom I had never before spoken.

When I had finished laying it all out for him, I finally stopped.

It was now his turn to speak.

And it was time for me to be rebuked.

But the chastisement never came.

He confirmed for me my worst fears.

The preaching at Grandville PRC was as bad as I had thought it was.

In fact, he went further than I did (and rightfully so) in condemning the preaching.

He called into question the state of Rev. Koole’s soul as an explanation for how any man could preach the way that Rev. Koole preached.

He said, if it were not for Sermon Audio, he did not know what he and his wife would do.

Rev. Kortering gave me good advice on how to proceed, which advice I followed.

I thanked him and his wife, who had received me and comforted me.

I don’t have my notes from those meetings, but I will never forget his closing prayer.

As a token of my gratitude, I gave Rev. and Mrs. Kortering a book as a gift, with this note.

Rev. Kortering was not the only one who knew that the condition of the preaching at Grandville was abysmal.

I was also blessed to share church membership with Mrs. Lois Kregel. Mrs. Kregel showed herself to be a Berean in her hearing of the preaching. She was able to identify bad preaching and was not so cowardly as to sit by and doing nothing about it.

When Rev. Koole preached a sermon on the dimensions of the temple where 95% of the sermon (no exaggeration) was comparing the dimensions of the temple to the dimensions of the Grandville PRC church building, Mrs. Kregel objected. She was rebuffed, of course, but she objected.

At one point she must have seen the anguish on my face, or perhaps she knew that I was being tortured by the preaching, because one day she caught me in the narthex and said—as a means of encouragement—“Dewey, you will hear other preaching in your lifetime, but this will be the only preaching that I hear for the rest of my life.”

It was indeed encouragement for me, but my heart broke for her.

My thought was, “Where are her elders?”

Mrs. Kregel died in 2016, fulfilling her prophecy that she would never hear any other preaching than that of Rev. Kenneth Koole.

There are members of Grandville PRC who have accused me—not to my face, but behind my back—of being a liar. “Everything Dewey is writing is lies!”

They slander me when they say that.

I have not lied, not even once, in any of the posts or in any of the thousands of words I have written.

But because those members will take issue with me writing about Grandville PRC and accuse me of more lies, then I point them to a man to verify this. They should go ask Leon Kamps. He was my elder at Grandville. He was the one elder in the many years we had family visitation who finally, at the end of my stay at Grandville, asked me about the preaching. I told him that if he wanted me to answer that question, I would have to first have my children leave the room. He said he did want me to answer, the kids went to the basement, we closed the door, and I told him what I thought about the preaching. I sent Leon this letter when Dawn and I finally made the decision to leave.

His response to those who ask to verify what I say regarding the preaching at Grandville PRC will say much about his character and whether my praise of him was warranted.

(Re-reading the letters I sent shows me just how spiritually sick I was. Looking back at our time at Grandville PRC and considering what has taken place since, again shows me how foolish I was to place my trust in any man).

The preaching at Grandville PRC was garbage.

More precisely, it was like a landfill.

Most of it was trash, but you could pick away at it and occasionally find a morsel to eat.

There will be howls of outrage at that, of course.

“How dare you?!”

I wish I could take credit for that phraseology, but like every other good turn of phrase I may have ever used, I borrowed it from someone else. The description of some preaching as a landfill comes from the book Why Johnny Can’t Preach by T. David Gordon. There he writes, “As starving children in Manila sift through the landfill for food, Christians in many churches today have never experienced genuinely soul-nourishing preaching, and so they just pick away at what is available to them, trying to find a morsel of spiritual sustenance or helpful counsel here or there” (17). 

But what made Rev. Koole’s preaching so abominable? Was it that it was impossible to follow? Or that it became painfully evident within minutes of the start of every sermon that he had put almost no time into preparing for the sermon? For a long time I thought those were the reasons. I thought that if only Koole would exert himself, or if he could be (re)taught how to write a sermon, all would be well. My use of the quote from James Daane in one of the letters illustrates that.

I was wrong.

Rev. Koole’s preaching was garbage because it did not have Christ. Rev. Koole fed his congregation a steady and constant dose of Man. He preached and taught the lie about God, about Christ, and about salvation. He continues to do that to this day. That made, and makes, his preaching worse than garbage. It makes it dung.

There is no one who can honestly say that Rev. Koole desired to know nothing among his congregation save Christ and him crucified.

He didn’t preach Christ.

And I cannot think of a more damning indictment of a man’s ministry than that.

So what’s the point?

Why bring this all back up again?

Maybe I am just bitter and have a bone to pick with Rev. Koole and Grandville PRC. Maybe I have secretly harbored a spirit of bitterness and malice for many years and now finally—finally!—I have a chance to vent my spleen.

Although that might make for a nice narrative, it’s not true.

I don’t have a shred of bitterness or anger in me about those years. I can see now that God led me and my family through that wilderness so that when we finally heard the gospel, when we finally heard Christ, we would cling to him with everything we had.

The real question here is, “What does the PRC do with a man like Rev. Koole?”

Rev. Koole was a known quantity—an unspiritual man who did not have Jesus Christ in his heart, so that he could never find Jesus Christ in the text.

Although the unfaithful elders and unspiritual members of Grandville PRC were able to tolerate this wickedness, what about the denomination as a whole?

What do the Protestant Reformed Churches do with such a man?

What do they they think of such a man?

The PRC considered Rev. Koole to be one of their most “competent” ministers. We know that because they made him a church visitor.

The PRC nominated and then called such a man to be the professor of dogmatics so he could train the next generation of preachers.

It made him the editor of the church magazine.

It allows him to keep preaching his false doctrine all over the denomination.

Ask yourself, what does that say about a denomination that will place Rev. Koole in all of those positions of authority and instruction?

This is what it says.

The PRC is a dead letter.

It is spiritually bankrupt.

It doesn’t matter what a man teaches.

After he has put in his time, it is time for a promotion.

So much so, that when Rev. Koole declined the nomination for professor, the PRC nominated Prof. Cammenga. Prof. Cammenga too was a known quantity, as a man who didn’t understand the gospel from the very beginning of his ministry.

A man who could actually frame to say the words, “It is not enough that there is a Jesus.”

But Grandville PRC was no aberration.

It fairly represented the condition of the denomination.


Post Script

And now Rev. Koole has something to say about the “delegation” from the RPC that is going to Singapore. You can find his remarks here and the entire sermon here.

(As an aside, it should be noted that there is no “delegation” from the RPC going to Singapore. Rev. Lanning is in Singapore to preach and give lectures in Singapore at the request of Berean Reformed Protestant Church. Three members of his congregation at their own behest are accompanying him on this trip.)

Rev. Koole’s judgment is that the group is going to Singapore to “stir up mischief.”

Of course that is his judgment.

Rev. Lanning is going to Singapore to preach the gospel.

That is not something Rev. Koole would understand.

But what should the members of CERC make of this visit?

My answer is much different than that given by their Session.


An Open Letter

Attached here is information about the lecture tonight sponsored by the Evangelism Committee of First Reformed Protestant Church.

After I posted the notice about the upcoming lectures in the United States and Singapore, I was emailed an open letter that Bernard Kok had published about ten years after the split in 1924. Although Kok would later apostatize in the 1950s, his letter written in 1938 is worth reading:


to the Theological Professors and Leading Ministers of the Christian Reformed Churches 

Esteemed and Worthy Brethren: 

Whereas you in your synodical assembly of 1924 have accepted three points of doctrine, which were not only extra-confessional, but contra confessional and anti-scriptural, 

And whereas you have thrown out of your churches those that maintained the Reformed truth of sovereign and particular grace, over against those that advocated common and general grace, those that maintained the Reformed truth of total depravity, over against them that would ascribe to the natural man the ability to do good, 

And whereas the Rev. H. Hoeksema will be at Edgerton, Minnesota, from Wednesday, April 6 to Wednesday, April 13 to inform all the lovers of the Reformed truth in this community about these greatly to be regretted facts, both in speech and personal contact, 

And whereas we are accused of misleading and misinforming the people in regards to these things, 

Therefore the best able among you are hereby urgently requested to be present on any of these dates and openly to refute in public debate the truth of these charges.

Respectfully submitted, 

Bernard Kok

In response to my question about whether an updated and adapted open letter was appropriate for our circumstances, the reader, Mr. Luke Bomers, put together what I thought was a fine paraphrase of that letter for us today.


An Open Letter to all the leading Ministers and also Theological Professors of the Protestant Reformed Churches.

Esteemed and Worthy Brethren:

Whereas you in your Classis East assembly of January 2021, together with the consensus of the synodical deputies from Classis West, officially condemned the rebuke of the Lord Jesus Christ for maintaining and defending false doctrine within your denomination, which rebuke was preached in a sermon on Jeremiah 23:4 & 14 at Byron Center Protestant Reformed Church in November 2020,

And whereas you have thrown out of your churches those that maintained the Reformed truth of sovereign and particular and irresistible grace over against those that advocated for available grace, those that maintained the Reformed truth of total depravity over against those that would ascribe to man that which he must do if he would be saved,

And whereas Rev. A. Lanning will be at the Pinnacle Center in Hudsonville, Michigan, on Thursday, December 1, at 7:30 p.m. EST, and at the Seletar Park Residence in Singapore on Saturday, December 10, at 10:00 a.m. SGT, to inform the people of Reformed persuasion about these greatly to be regretted facts, both in speech and in personal contact,

And whereas we are accused of misleading the simple and trusting souls of your churches concerning these facts,

Therefore, the ablest one among you is hereby urgently requested to be present on either of these dates and openly to refute in public debate the truth of these charges.

Yours for the cause of truth and justice,

Seminarian Luke Bomers

It would be fitting if a Protestant Reformed theologian could make an appearance this evening and if Rev. Josiah Tan, the minister of CERC, could appear on Saturday, December 10, to “refute in public debate the truth of these charges.”

I thank Mr. Bomers for his submission.

Upcoming Lectures (updated)

black and gray microphone

Readers of this blog will be interested in some lectures that are scheduled for December of this year.

First RPC is sponsoring a lecture on Thursday, December 1 on the topic, “Why Reformed Protestant?” The speech will be held at the Pinnacle Center in Hudsonville, MI (3330 Highland Dr., Hudsonville, MI 49426) and will begin at 7:30pm EST. The lecture will be live-streamed on the First Reformed Protestant Church YouTube channel and on Sermon Audio. Following the lecture, there will be a Q&A period, and time for fellowship and refreshments. The lecture and Q&A will be recorded and available for viewing after the event on YouTube and Sermon Audio. These details can be found at the website as well.

(Recording of the lecture can be found here)

Berean RPC in Singapore will be sponsoring two lectures in December, also to be given by Rev. Lanning. Those details are as follows:

Speech 1: Doctrinal Developments in CERC

Date and time: 10 Dec (Sat), 10 am [Friday, 9 pm EST]

Venue: Seletar Park Residence (function room)

(Recording of this lecture can be found here)

Speech 2: The Christian School in Singapore

Date and time: 17 Dec (Sat), 10 am [Friday, 9 pm EST]

Venue: Seletar Park Residence (dining room)

Speech 3: A Response to CERC’s Charge of Schism and Deposition

(Recording of this lecture can be found here)

They will be posting details regarding the livestream on their blog, which you can find here. They ask that if you will be attending in person, that you let them know by December 4.

All are cordially invited to attend each of the lectures.


The gospel of Jesus Christ exposes the hearts of men.

There is a time when you can only judge men by their confessions. If they make strong confessions of the truth, quote HH enough times, and continually tell everyone how valiant they are for the truth, you believe them.

And then the gospel comes.

That happened at Byron Center PRC and Crete PRC.

Consistories that fancied themselves to be something, and members with a reputation for orthodoxy and courage, were exposed when the gospel came.

Men were exposed as cowards or quislings or as unbelievers.

Their heretofore strong confessions died on their lips as they realized they had lives to save. Talking about Christ and his gospel was one thing. But to lose something for it? Losing a spouse or a child or your school or your friend or your job? That is entirely something else.

The gospel is not finished exposing men.

That work of the Holy Spirit to expose men’s hearts continued at the September meeting of the classis of the Reformed Protestant Churches.

What was exposed?

Hearts that never loved the Reformed faith and the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Hearts that did not love the covenant of grace that God establishes with believers and their seed.

What was decided at classis was not something novel.

No new thing was created.

What was decided at classis was that the Christian schools are a demand of the covenant as taught by Lord’s Day 38 of the Heidelberg Catechism, and the creeds are authoritative and teach the pure doctrine of scripture. Two Formula of Subscription exams were administered, and advice was given to a consistory about how it should proceed.

In response to this, some walk around with long faces and wring their hands.

Others have left the denomination, and more will leave.

It is not my intention in this post to convince men to stay. Just like I would never try to cajole someone to come to the RPC, I would never try to persuade you to stay.

You don’t need convincing.

You need a rebuke.

What happened at classis was the work of the Holy Spirit.

Such developments as took place there could never be the work of men.

Therefore, for men to declare that classis was rogue is to blaspheme the work of the Holy Spirit.

Men say that proper church polity was violated.

Those men grasp at straws.

What was violated was our deeply ingrained Protestant Reformed sense of what church polity should look like.

We may have come out of the PRC, but we are clinging very tightly to what it means to be PR.

The main issues that are brought up to prove that church polity was violated are the fact that two sets of credentials were brought to classis, the fact that delegates from the same congregation answered the questions of Article 41 differently, and the fact that two Formula of Subscription examinations were administered.

These things are not hard to explain. 

The foundations of Sovereign RPC were shaken.

There was a question of whether the walls would continue to stand.

That is what happens, after all, when wolves enter the sheepfold.

Deacon Altena, laboring to be faithful to his calling as a watchman, brought another set of credentials.

He saw what it took classis and the rest of us some time to realize: there was only one faithful officebearer at Sovereign RPC. So he acted accordingly.

Classis judged that his action was in error and did not accept the second set of credentials.

I do not blame Deacon Altena for his actions. I have some sense of what he was going through. When I was at Byron Center PRC and after the decisions to suspend Rev. Lanning and relieve Elder Van Baren and me of our duties, I made a call that Saturday night. I called a man and told him that because of how wickedly our consistory was behaving, I wanted to take a decision to depose the entire consistory and declare myself and Elder Van Baren the only rightful remaining elders. I was going to do so based on what I thought was a similar action taken in 1953. (An extreme measure, no doubt, but you consider such things when the foundations are destroyed.) I asked for his advice. That man—a man for whom I have the utmost respect and a man whom the PRC has long slandered as being a man who has always wanted a split—told me I was wrong, told me I had my history wrong, and told me that I ought not to pursue such a course. (Odd advice from a man who has always wanted a split.) I took his advice. So I understand and empathize with Deacon Altena for taking such a drastic measure. The man’s church was being torn apart, and his flock was being savaged.

Things like multiple credentials coming to a meeting of classis have happened before in church history. Rev. VanderWal made mention of this in his blog “Reformed Polity–Classis (2).” It is beyond odd, then, that he takes such umbrage that there were two sets of credentials brought to this session of classis. (Rev. VanderWal has written much since classis. I tried to respond to his first post, here, but he declined to approve it).

Things like this happen in times of reformation. Don’t wring your hands about it. Give thanks to God that he is pleased to work reformation at all in our midst.

Deacon Altena also answered the questions of Article 41 of the Church Order differently than the other two delegates from his congregation.

That has upset some people.

But this, too, is easy to explain.

Deacon Altena was determined not to lie. Knowing he would answer to God for his answers, he was determined to answer them truthfully.

The two elders lied when they gave the answers that they did.

The consistory of Sovereign was not seeing to it that the schools were cared for, and they did need the help of classis. In fact, the two elders were doing everything in their power to prevent a school, up to and including savaging members of their flock over the issue. Deacon Altena saw this and could not in good conscience say other than what he did.

Would you criticize him for this?

Classis heard and saw all of this.

They responded appropriately.  

They assigned a committee to bring advice and responded carefully and deliberately.

Although the RPC do not yet have church visitors, the Church Order article that speaks to church visitors says some beautiful things about the care congregations within the denomination are to have for one another. Article 44 of the Church Order speaks of by “advice and assistance” helping to “direct all things unto the peace, upbuilding, and greatest profit of the churches.” Just because the Reformed Protestant Churches do not have church visitors does not mean that this principle of mutual care and oversight is to be discarded.

The September meeting of classis exhibited love and care on a scale that I have never before witnessed at a broader assembly.

It is not love for a congregation, a denomination, or its members to drag matters on for months and years, nor is it necessary. When the matters are clear, and when a church and her members are shown to be in great danger, classis must act, and it must act decisively.

Classis acted in such a manner when it administered Formula of Subscription exams to two of the officebearers of Sovereign RPC.

Some members of the denomination are upset about that.  

Again, having come out of the PRC, some of us are clinging as tightly as we possibly can to what it means to be PR.

All we know is the PRC that no longer has a Formula of Subscription. Sure, they have a document that they call the Formula of Subscription that (unqualified) men will continue to sign, but it is an empty, toothless document for them.

What has the PRC done with the Formula of Subscription exam that is called for when there is suspicion of a man’s doctrine?


Four ministers in the PRC drafted a document that, in the words of their own synod, compromised justification by faith alone and the unconditional covenant and displaced Christ. The document that they drafted taught the same false doctrine that the churches “struggled” with for many years. None of those men ever wrote against or repudiated the false doctrine they had taught. On the contrary, one of them, Rev. Haak, said publicly on the floor of synod that not only did he believe that doctrine but that he was going to continue to teach that doctrine. Rev. Slopsema was similarly convicted, as he did continue to teach that doctrine, and on the pages of the Standard Bearer, no less. (You have to admire the sheer hubris of these men. To shove it right in the face of the denomination with absolutely no fear is quite something.) If ever (ever!) there was a need for a Formula of Subscription exam, it was in a situation like this. The Formula of Subscription and its calling for an exam were written for precisely a time like this. And yet, the denomination declines to administer it. And we all know why. Men must be protected. The reputations of men are above all.

Or this.

When a Formula of Subscription exam was at one point administered in the PRC, it was an absolute farce. And one of the advisors to the synod knew it would be a farce, as he had to admonish the visitors before the session started that no one was allowed even to take personal notes of the proceedings. Larry, Moe, and Curly have more respectability than the delegates at that session of synod, especially considering the outcome.

Read the Formula of Subscription: “And further, if at any time the…classis…upon sufficient grounds of suspicion and to preserve the uniformity and purity of doctrine, may deem it proper to require of us a further explanation of our sentiments…”

Classis acted appropriately when it administered the exams.

Having been delivered from such a morass as we were in in the PRC, let us not now protest and gripe when the Formula of Subscription is appropriately used.

Those exams exposed more than just the men who were examined.

Although it did just that.

If there was any doubt about conducting the Formula of Subscription exams at that time, that doubt was erased after the exams were concluded. One man dodged and evaded and refused to be clear about what he believed. The other man lied. And then fled.

Those who say the exams or the decisions taken after the exams were hasty should read Acts 5:1–11.

Continuing his work of exposing men’s hearts and purging hypocrites from the church, the Holy Spirit’s work was again made clear. What did some men and women do when they saw their champions cut down? They behaved just like their spiritual forefathers did before them. They fled (1 Sam. 17:51).

Some have charged hierarchy. Rev. VanderWal went so far as to characterize the meeting of classis as “hierarchical tyranny.”

I get that the charge is a convenient one to make, and the word itself carries a certain amount of weight. But when you hear the arguments, it becomes clear that the only thing the people making the charge are looking for is for their opinion to come out of your mouth. If their will is not done, then the charge of hierarchy will soon follow.

As appealing as it is to be tossed about by emotion and as appealing as it is to our flesh to throw out rash charges, we should not conduct ourselves in that way.

A church is hierarchical when it insists on the will of man being done, and not the will of God as revealed in his word. For a church to demand (yes, demand) that something be done as that thing accords with God’s will, that is not hierarchy.

It is not hierarchical for a church to demand that officebearers view the Christian school as a demand of the covenant. It is not hierarchical that a Reformed church insists that officebearers hold the creeds as authoritative.

Neither is it hierarchical for a church to do something about the officebearers who refuse. That is not hierarchy. That is obedience to God.

Some are upset that classis declared that the Christian school is a demand of the covenant. Or that classis declared that Lord’s Day 38 speaks of schools when it says schools.

None of this is new.

That has been taught to us for years in preaching and teaching and more preaching and more teaching and even more teaching. (The full sermons and articles can be found here, and here, and here, and here).

Some, shockingly, have said that to say that there are demands in God’s covenant is to say there are conditions in God’s covenant.

This has recently been taught by Stuart Pastine. “Think about this. If there is a ‘must,’ that is a condition. Sword and Shield has labored mightily to prove that ‘must’ is a condition. Now, the classis has created a condition that believer’s must obey to remain in the covenant. All members must fulfill that condition to remain in the covenant community” (Pastine, “New Legalism”).

And there are those who embrace that teaching.

Is that where we are as churches?

To receive a demand from God that you do something is not God introducing conditions. I would say that this is the ABCs of the Reformed faith, but that would be to insult kindergartners.

You don’t obey a demand to get something from God.

You obey a demand from God because you love God.

That’s how simple this is.

Perhaps what was so shocking was that the RPC treated a demand as a demand.

When you spend your entire life in a denomination that calls something a demand but treats it like an option, you experience a shock to your system when a church deals with it correctly and consistently.

Others say that classis was not orderly.

Classis was firm and direct and decisive, and classis was also orderly.

It functioned exactly the way that classis should have functioned.

There were attempts at disorder, as when a delegate (who is no longer in the RPC) approached me twice before the meeting of classis to try and privately discuss matters that were shortly going to appear before classis. The second time I told him that we ought to wait until classis was convened and we could make righteous judgments about whatever it was that came before us.

There has been disorder after the meeting of classis.

As when members who are dissatisfied with the results go from family to family and from town to town—whether physically or electronically—and form groups and spread the bitterness that troubles them and that defiles the congregations (Heb. 12:15). They exhibit behavior that reveals the unrighteousness of their hearts.

But that is not how conviction works. Compare that to the behavior of Neil and Connie Meyer. Hope PRC spiritually abused them for years, but the Meyers never traveled from city to city, either physically or electronically, to try and gain others to their side. In fact, they did not even tell their own children. Instead, they fought courageously and suffered silently. That is the example that we are to follow (1 Pet. 2:20–23).

A man could be discouraged when he considers the folly and weakness that is being exposed in the Reformed Protestant Churches.

God delivered to us the truth of justification by faith alone and the unconditional covenant, and now that he has restored to us the truth of the Christian school as a demand of the covenant, we murmur and complain?

And members would even leave?

To leave the pure preaching of the gospel of Jesus Christ because the church teaches and insists upon the truth that the Christian school is a demand of the covenant reveals that you never loved the gospel of Jesus Christ to begin with.

It would have been better for those members had they never left the PRC.

Not only were some men exposed by classis, but the entire denomination was also exposed.

We are not strong.

We are a weak people.

There is nothing about us that is strong.

We prided ourselves on being strong.

We had fought a battle for justification by faith alone!

A false church cut us down!

Behold us in all our strength!

Behold us now as children cast about by every wind of doctrine, and behold us tricked and fooled by the sleight and cunning craftiness of men.

There is something desperately wrong with us.

The cure for which can only be found outside of ourselves.

There is only one hope for the Reformed Protestant Churches.

That hope is not found in any of the men of the denomination, and it is certainly not found in the institution itself. We are the “nothing” spoken of in Article 27 of the Belgic Confession.

The striking thing is that to this point, the RPC has faced only footmen (Jer. 12:5).

And the footmen have wearied us.

If we stumble on these things that have recently come before us, what will we do when the horses come? Or when the Jordan swells?

There is one hope for the Reformed Protestant Churches and one hope alone.

That hope is Jesus Christ.

That hope is his gospel, which has carried us and will continue to carry the true church of Jesus Christ to the end of the world.

May God be merciful to us sinners, and may he strengthen us so that we are no longer children but men and acquit ourselves as such.

Reformed Believers Publishing Annual Association Meeting – 10/20/22

black and white photo of microphone

The annual meeting of Reformed Believers Publishing will be held on
Thursday, October 20, at 7:30 PM EDT at Wonderland Tire, 1 84th St. SW,
Byron Center, MI 49315. Rev. VanderWal will deliver the keynote speech on
the topic “The Office of Believer: 1953 and Today.” The agenda can be found here and the link for the livestream will be available at their website,

Public Lecture – The Command and Necessity of the Christian School – October 14, 2022

Sovereign Reformed Protestant Church wishes to extend an invitation to anyone who wishes to gather for a lecture on the command and necessity of the Christian school. It will be held at Boyden Hull High School (801 1st St, Hull, IA 51239) starting at 7:00 PM.  Rev. Nathan Langerak will be the speaker, with a Q & A session to follow.  Any questions that you wish to have answered in the Q & A session can be handed in at the lecture or emailed to Vern Oostra at (