But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you. John 14:26
But the anointing which ye have received of him abideth in you, and ye need not that any man teach you: but as the same anointing teacheth you of all things, and is truth, and is no lie, and even as it hath taught you, ye shall abide in him. 1 John 2:27
But why are thou called a Christian?
Because I am a member of Christ by faith, and thus am partaker of His anointing; that so I may confess His name, and present myself a living sacrifice of thankfulness to Him; and also that with a free and good conscience I may fight against sin and Satan in this life, and afterwards reign with Him eternally over all creatures (HC, LD12, QA32)
The office of believer was silenced in the PRC.
Put differently, the leadership in the PRC made every effort to stifle and suppress the voice of the office of believer. This came out in many ways. From Rev. Bruinsma ridiculing the visitors at the January 2021 meeting of Classis East, saying they were just there because the assemblies had become a “spectator sport,” to Prof. Cammenga saying at Synod 2021 that he hoped that a certain protestant would “go away” so that the denomination would never have to hear from that protestant again—and so that no one would misunderstand him, Prof. Cammenga added, “and I mean that”—the office of believer was silenced.
And not just silenced.
The office of believer was despised.
Prof. Cammenga simply said what the denomination thinks about the office of believer. Go away. We don’t want to hear from you.
One man who is a perpetual elder in the PRC and who sits at the top of the food chain in the denomination once told me that the best synod he was ever delegated to was the one when there were no visitors allowed. I listened in amazement. It became clear he didn’t even know what he was saying. He was describing Rome. Let the people stand from afar and wait for the smoke signals to appear to indicate what decisions have been made.
I was a delegate to one meeting of Classis East. I loathed it. I knew from the minute I walked in that I did not belong there. I wanted to be with those who had gathered in the back of the room as visitors. Those men and women knew the hard looks and mockery they would have to endure but gathered nonetheless, because they wanted to see what their beloved church would do with Christ at that particular meeting. To their grief, they soon found out that Christ’s name was not to reign at that meeting of classis either, but the name and reputation of men was to again be victorious. This was driven home to me at the end of the meeting, after the classis had labored to protect the name of the minister who had again compromised the gospel in his preaching. There were precious few delegates who were at all interested in defending God’s name, but Rev. Haak, after closed session had been declared, delivered a lengthy speech consoling the errorist and expressing solidarity with him. Kudos to Rev. Haak. He expressed well the sentiment of the entire assembly.
This contempt for the office of believer comes out in the writing as well. Prof. Cammenga, writing in the April 2020 issue of the Protestant Reformed Theological Journal about the importance of teaching the original languages to seminary students, wrote this about reading a translation of the Bible, as opposed to reading the Bible in the original Greek or Hebrew: “Reading a translation of Scripture is better than nothing.” I remember reading that article and coming to a complete standstill. Better than nothing? I, like many others, was exerting myself to read the Bible and did not find it to be only “better than nothing.” But was this all it was? Better than nothing? I now know that what that means is, unless you can read the original, you really are not doing much at all. In fact, you can only consider it, “better than nothing.” Prof. Cammenga should have taken that statement to its logical conclusion and added, “Leave the Bible reading to the leadership as they can read the original.”
You can understand now why the leaders in the PRC views the members the way they do. The members are good to have around when it comes time to pay the bills, but for the rest, just leave that up to the leadership.
And the members of the PRC love to have it so.
The facts I have written above will not bother anyone in the PRC.
They hardly need to be told anymore to keep their mouths shut.
That is why when a member protested or raised a voice of objection to some piece of writing or to some sermon, the other members of the congregation immediately viewed that member with suspicion. And if that member pursued his protest, there was a smear and slander campaign started against that member, which was incredibly effective in cutting that member down.
Neither will any members of the PRC ever repent of their sins against those members of the denomination who were so hated for so long.
The leadership is seeing to it.
In the May 15, 2022, issue of the Standard Bearer, you have Rev. Josh Engelsma writing this: “The past years have shown that the assemblies of the PRCA are not broken. A broken system of church government is one in which the voice of the members is silenced, where protests and appeals are not heard. None may honestly allege this to be the case in the PRCA.”
Not only is the system not broken; in fact, the system is working better than ever! “I venture to guess that in no other time in the history of the PRCA has the voice of the members been heard more than in recent years” (Engelsma, 5/15/22, SB).
There was a day when I would have said, “Well, Rev. Engelsma was in Classis West for most of his ministry, so maybe he is not aware of what went on,” but I am finished making excuses for these men. Does Rev. Engelsma really think that the only way a system of church government becomes broken is when an assembly passes a decision saying, “We no longer will allow protests and appeals to be heard”? Of course not. Your system is broken when you hate the members protesting and when entire assembly meetings are nothing more than exercises in saving the reputations of men. The members of the PRC know this to be the case. One member of the denomination, who is in no way friendly to the RPC, captured the spirit of the day perfectly when they said that to protest a decision of the PR assemblies is to commit “ecclesiastical suicide.”
But Rev. Engelsma is serving a very important purpose right now in the PRC. That purpose is to speak a word to the people so that none turn from their wickedness. “They say still unto them that despise me, The Lord hath said, Ye shall have peace; and they say unto every one that walketh after the imagination of his own heart, No evil shall come upon you” (Jer. 23:17).
His entire series in the Standard Bearer on the distinction between the true and false church can be summarized as this word to the Protestant Reformed Churches: “No evil shall come upon you.”
What follows in this post is the voice of the office of believer. That voice is the voice of Jesus Christ, out of whom the office of believer flows. It is good that these voices are heard now, and for generations to come, so that they stand as a living testimony to the treachery and wickedness of the Protestant Reformed Churches.
That denomination has sinned against the living God, and they did so against knowledge.
So let the members of Byron Center PRC read and hear the voices of two mothers in Israel who never to that point in their lives had written letters to their consistories, but in whose letters is found a damning indictment of the lying and treacherous spirit that was in the heart of the consistory. From now and for generations to come, the members of Byron Center PRC will know this: Your elders lied to you in the motion set forth to remove Rev. Lanning as editor of Sword & Shield, and they lied in the days and months that followed. And they are not sorry for it.
Let the members of the PRC read and hear the voices that were raised in opposition to sermons that displaced Jesus Christ from his throne but which protests were either denied, turned away as illegal, or slow-walked until the member bringing the protest was forced to leave the denomination so that the consistory could pitch the protest in the trash. And what was the instruction of the church visitors regarding the protests that Byron’s consistory would receive? Ignore them. Do not receive them or answer them until the deposition was complete. If you don’t believe me, then ask Rev. Haak who raised his voice to make the point or ask any of the elders from Byron’s consistory who were in the room. This, Rev. Engelsma, is what a church looks like where the assemblies are completely broken.
Let the members of Crete PRC see the flip flopping of their consistory as that consistory went from supporting their minister writing in Sword & Shield in July 2020 to requiring him to resign in February of 2021. Of course they had to make up some grounds to support their decision, so they settled on the fact that Rev. Langerak was working together with a deposed minister who was living in the sin of schism. (The second ground, that Rev. Langerak’s participation was causing unrest and division in the congregation is laughable, since that would be grounds for removing every faithful minister of God’s word. The word, faithfully preached, is a sword that divides and cuts and causes division by exposing the carnal members of the congregation who react angrily to any rebuke or word of admonition). To see the folly of it, ask an elder of Southwest PRC if they are going to take up Crete’s ground and require Prof. Cammenga to resign from the board of the Dutch Reformed Translation Society since he labors alongside a divorced and remarried man. (Hint: Don’t hold your breath for that to happen). We know now that Crete’s consistory flipped the way it did because of the new elders who joined in January 2021. Given the spiritual nature of the elder bench at Crete, it took only two months for them to carry out their carnal agenda and flip the consistory to change their mind regarding their minister writing in Sword & Shield.
Let the members of the PRC read the letters of those who knew what their duty was regarding church membership, and when the marks of their church were clearly those of an apostatizing church, they removed themselves from such.
This list is by no means comprehensive, in fact it barely scratches the surface. The minutes of the assembly meetings of the PRC over the last five years are filled with the protests and appeals of members who fought bravely for Christ’s name over against a hierarchy that hated them. Many documents have been linked in previous posts or published in Sword & Shield or in other blogs. I also plan to add to this list as I become aware of additional material.
So let the voice of the office of believer be heard here, not to move the hearts of the members or leaders of the Protestant Reformed Churches, but to stand as a living testimony against them, and to be used, should God will, as proof of their treachery and whoredom against the living God of heaven and earth.
“And the Lord hath sent unto you all his servants the prophets, rising early and sending them; but ye have not hearkened, nor inclined your ear to hear. They said, Turn ye again now every one from his evil way, and from the evil of your doings, and dwell in the land that the Lord hath given unto you and to your fathers for ever and ever: And go not after other gods to serve them, and to worship them, and provoke me not to anger with the works of your hands; and I will do you no hurt. Yet ye have not hearkened unto me, saith the Lord; that ye might provoke me to anger with the works of your hands to your own hurt.” Jeremiah 25:4–7