Reformed Protestant Church {New Denomination}

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Taylor

Puritan Board Graduate
I'm with Bavinck on this one. How can one be regenerated without an initial effectual call? It's the call that, by the power of the Spirit, breathes new spiritual life into us... at least that's how I've understood it.
WCF 10.1, WLC 67, and WSC 31 seem to teach that effectual calling is regeneration.
 

cmiersma

Puritan Board Freshman
As far as regeneration and calling is concerned, the issue is that in Canons Head 3/4 Art. 11, which describes the works of grace in detail, regeneration is essentially bracketed between external and internal calling. Preaching, illumination, actuation, and strengthening all belong to calling, where as circumcision, and the principle of new life belong to regeneration. When I read Voetius, one of the authors of the Canons, he explicitly describes calling as a process. The figure in the Canons is really that of a pregnancy, with conception being aligned with immediate regeneration and birth with conversion. Preaching doesn't infuse new qualities. That's like imagining that a husband can beget children by merely speaking to his wife. A husband speaking to his pregnant wife, can stir a child in the womb into activity.

Also, the Conclusions of Utrecht are really helpful on this point: (https://rscottclark.org/2012/09/the-conclusions-of-synod-utrecht-1905/).

The issue with the order of salvation in the RPC is that, in their opposition to conditions, they have included the concept of A before B in their definition of a condition. This has led to a denial that faith in a sense precedes conversion in our experience in time. The confessional answer is that actuating precedes strengthening, and therefore believing does precede some benefit of salvation. The issue in regard to the order of salvation can be characterized as a failure to understand effectual calling and/or a failure to properly distinguish faith and conversion. I don't think it's really a denial of the order regeneration, calling, etc. The issue occurs further down the line.
 

Irenaeus

Puritan Board Freshman
Regeneration is the new birth. How can a dead man answer the call of Him who is Life unless the man is first given life. I go back and forth on this one in my mind too and in a way both views make sense. Doesn't their have to be some life first before we can effectually be called?
The effectual call is life-giving. God speaks, and the dry bones are raised and enfleshed.
 

Reformedforever

Puritan Board Freshman


Quote from this sermon.
“To those who say, you must believe, you must must repent. The word that we say back is, no, you mustn’t! No, you mustn’t believe, no you mustn’t repent. YOU mustn’t believe, YOU mustn’t repent. I know, I know what the call of the gospel is and I know what it means. The call of the gospel certainly is you must believe. The call of the gospel certainly is you must repent. But the call of the gospel is never you, you, you must! That’s the law! The call of the gospel is this: the Lord Jesus Christ. The Lord Jesus Christ who has come for the salvation of sinners, the Lord Jesus Christ who has accomplished it all and who has said about everything that must be done for the salvation of His people, it is finished! And the Lord Jesus Christ who came as the foreordained Lamb who was from the foundation of the world so that on the eternal counsel of God, the salvation of His people was accomplished and complete. THAT’S the gospel! And the call of the gospel then, believe in Him and repent of your sins, does not mean anything about you…it doesn’t! It’s not the law that’s laid on your shoulders. But the whole meaning of that call, repent and believe, the whole meaning of it is Jesus Christ and what He has accomplished-that’s the gospel.” AL
 

Irenaeus

Puritan Board Freshman


Quote from this sermon.
“To those who say, you must believe, you must must repent. The word that we say back is, no, you mustn’t! No, you mustn’t believe, no you mustn’t repent. YOU mustn’t believe, YOU mustn’t repent. I know, I know what the call of the gospel is and I know what it means. The call of the gospel certainly is you must believe. The call of the gospel certainly is you must repent. But the call of the gospel is never you, you, you must! That’s the law! The call of the gospel is this: the Lord Jesus Christ. The Lord Jesus Christ who has come for the salvation of sinners, the Lord Jesus Christ who has accomplished it all and who has said about everything that must be done for the salvation of His people, it is finished! And the Lord Jesus Christ who came as the foreordained Lamb who was from the foundation of the world so that on the eternal counsel of God, the salvation of His people was accomplished and complete. THAT’S the gospel! And the call of the gospel then, believe in Him and repent of your sins, does not mean anything about you…it doesn’t! It’s not the law that’s laid on your shoulders. But the whole meaning of that call, repent and believe, the whole meaning of it is Jesus Christ and what He has accomplished-that’s the gospel.” AL
I'll have to look at the rest of the sermon. Out of context, that quote is problematic. It mischaracterizes law by conflating the distinction between works as a way of salvation and works as a fruit of salvation. The former is not found in Scripture. The latter is. This appears to be the antinomian error of including sanctification in justification.

The call of the gospel is not "the Lord Jesus Christ". That empties his name of meaning and degrades it. The call of the gospel is to believe with the heart and confess with the mouth that Christ is Lord. It is a call to human action. The error lies in attributing any of the credit or source of salvation to human effort rather than seeing the human effort as a response to a wholly gracious saving work; but that human action is a required response is, I think, clearly shown in Scripture.
 

Contra_Mundum

Pilgrim, Alien, Stranger
Staff member
Repeating Moderation from way back in post #28: "people to think before they post, and to make sure they know whereof they speak."

Commenting critically on anything before making a full and thorough acquaintance with both substance and context is unwise. There is too much speculation by trying to form one's opinion in a public forum, getting and giving of ideas and impressions from snippets of sermons, etc., by folks who are not invested in the shepherding controversy itself. Natural curiosity is leading to interpretive evaluations that are tenuous and tendentious.

Men have risked their livelihoods and reputations, while congregations and church have imposed censures on those they believe are in the wrong. This is serious business, and offering up impressions and half-formed judgments (even salted with caveats and admissions) is unwise.

Post your data, or just read the first hand evidence; and pray for the people, the families, the congregations involved. Please do not post an evaluation without thoroughly clearing yourselves of a charge of ignorance, Prv.18:13.
 

cmiersma

Puritan Board Freshman
I have been involved in observing the split since before it began, and I know quite a few of those who have joined the RPC. My assessment, first of all, over and above everything else, is that the RPC is not unified internally.
 

py3ak

Unshaven and anonymous
Staff member
The issue with the order of salvation in the RPC is that, in their opposition to conditions, they have included the concept of A before B in their definition of a condition. This has led to a denial that faith in a sense precedes conversion in our experience in time.

That seems like a succinct way of expressing things. If one can't have A ordinarily preceding and conducing to B, then means cease to have any value.
 

cmiersma

Puritan Board Freshman
That seems like a succinct way of expressing things. If one can't have A ordinarily preceding and conducing to B, then means cease to have any value.
More than that, religion per se ceases to have any value. Assuming that we do actually believe the wonder of the resurrection in time, and then it actually happens, then A necessarily precedes B (I. Thess 4:14). In the PRCA this reality would be explained using the order of salvation. I would described believing as a sign to us and an organic necessity rather than a condition or even a means, since properly speaking the bond/gift/quality of faith is the means, and the external aspect of the use of the means of grace stirs faith into activity (Phil 1:6; Rom. 10:9; 2 Pet. 3:1). As you can see, that is all biblical language.
 

Irenaeus

Puritan Board Freshman
More than that, religion per se ceases to have any value. Assuming that we do actually believe the wonder of the resurrection in time, and then it actually happens, then A necessarily precedes B (I. Thess 4:14). In the PRCA this reality would be explained using the order of salvation. I would described believing as a sign to us and an organic necessity rather than a condition or even a means, since properly speaking the bond/gift/quality of faith is the means, and the external aspect of the use of the means of grace stirs faith into activity (Phil 1:6; Rom. 10:9; 2 Pet. 3:1). As you can see, that is all biblical language.
Have you seen any indication in the PRCA that this in practice turns into legalism or a sense of conditionality as a part of the requirements for being saved?
 

BertMulder

Puritan Board Junior
I have been involved in observing the split since before it began, and I know quite a few of those who have joined the RPC. My assessment, first of all, over and above everything else, is that the RPC is not unified internally.
Thank you for your explanation Christopher. However, the ordo salutis is a logical order, and you seem to be implying that it is an order in time. As such, in the history of the reformation, there has been many different ways and terms to describe the ordo salutis, Read Hoeksema on this matter, and as such I would hesitate to say that they mean something different by their different expression, as also Hoeksema reiterates.

I must say, also, that I am somewhat confused by the history:
 
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cmiersma

Puritan Board Freshman
Thank you for your explanation Christopher. However, the ordo salutis is a logical order, and you seem to be implying that it is an order in time. As such, in the history of the reformation, there has been many different ways and terms to describe the ordo salutis, Read Hoeksema on this matter, and as such I would hesitate to say that they mean something different by their different expression, as also Hoeksema reiterates.

I must say, also, that I am somewhat confused by the history:
Read the article by Homer Hoeksema that I linked. He makes the order of salvation I mentioned both a temporal and logical order. Some of the decisions of Synod recognize that temporal element.

As far as the history is concerned, I think you have some details wrong. I don't have the time at the moment to go into all the details, but I would say that you have a twisted version of events.
 
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cmiersma

Puritan Board Freshman
Have you seen any indication in the PRCA that this in practice turns into legalism or a sense of conditionality as a part of the requirements for being saved?
Most of the decisions and articles that I've read carefully distinguish between meeting requirements and those elements that involve a temporal aspect in the order of God's working. There are always legalists present in any denomination, but, in general, I would say that this helps to counter legalism.
 

Irenaeus

Puritan Board Freshman
Most of the decisions and articles that I've read carefully distinguish between meeting requirements and those elements that involve a temporal aspect in the order of God's working. There are always legalists present in any denomination, but, in general, I would say that this helps to counter legalism.
Thank you. That is helpful.
 

Irenaeus

Puritan Board Freshman
Gentlemen, is it possible that this part of the conversation - regarding personal involvement and allegations of inconsistent behavior - might be best carried out privately, one on one?
 

MrOtter

Puritan Board Freshman
I live about 10 minutes away from one of the two or three PRC churches in Canada. This small church, of about 80 people, who was already a relative outpost with basically no Ecclesiastical fellowship in our whole Country, just split over this issue. The minister was Martin Vanderwal. I don't know much about it, all I know is that I find it very sad.
It is sad, Rev Vanderwall was my pastor in the church in california…
 
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