This is a summary of the Inspiration Address given by Rev. Herman Hoeksema at the P.R.Y.P. Convention, Holland, Michigan by Charles H. Westra
Delegates, friends, and visitors,
“I am very thankful to be here with you. Last year I was with the convention in spirit, and through the facilities of a loud speaker, I tuned in on the first session. But now I am able to be here, and address this P. R. Y. P. Convention,” were the speaker’s opening words.
Rev. Hoeksema went on to state that the theme: “Faith Of Our Fathers’’ is worth our most serious consideration. It refers, not only to the faith which our fathers had in God, but also to that which our fathers believed, confessed, and held to. As in the song, faith of our fathers means the faith of our Reformed fathers, and so we view it tonight.
We live in an age which is very much adverse to the Reformed faith of our fathers. The church of today says: “We must do away with the differences in Creed, Liturgy, etc., and become one!’’ We all cherish this idea of a really united church. We truly do. This one united church would have a united front against the powers of the world. But the unity which is taught today is not a true unity. It would be a unity of concessions, and Christ did not mean anything like that when He said: “Let us be One”. Of this unity we as Protestant Reformed people must have no part! It means the weakening and breaking down of the TRUTH!
The speaker called our attention to the fact that a church is strong, regardless of the number of its members, only if it possesses the true Gospel. Where THE TRUTH is, there is the TRUE CHURCH. Because of this, we have a calling —a calling to “be specific’’. In connection with this we may ask three questions.
I. In what respect must we be specific?
The modern church takes its stand against miracles, inspiration of the Scriptures. Divinity of Christ, Total Depravity of man,
etc. In a word, against the faith of our Reformed Fathers. Over against them we must be specific, and hold fast to the truths of the Reformed doctrine which they deny.
We must be specific, even in the midst of the Orthodox Church, of which there are many shades. For instance the Arminian, which believes in no Sovereign Grace, and the Baptist, which holds to the conviction of no Covenant. And even more, we must be specific in the matter of “Common Grace”. It is astounding that a Reformed Church can teach this doctrine, and not be ashamed. God’s grace is never common like rain, etc. It is particular to His people forever. Does God ever restrain sin in a special internal working in the heart of the ungodly? We say “NO!” Is not the sinner restrained by circumstances, talent, etc., and his sinning used to God’s own purpose? The sinner do good? Remember, ALL THAT IS NOT OF FAITH IS SIN.
II. Why must we be specific?
It is our calling to maintain the Truth, clearly and sharply. We must never say: “The difference will not keep anyone out of heaven”. Remember: Salvation is up to God! It is not our concern! We are here for one purpose, and that is—to glorify God. That IS our concern! We must be faithful to the truth of God! We must proclaim it to His Glory!
For this purpose we were separated in 1924. Study the History of Our Churches, therein you will find our calling. In 1924 the “Three Points”, of false doctrine were formulated. That church showed herself to be the false church, even to the extent of chasing out ministers and persecuting them.
We must never take these things lightly! NEVER! Never may we take the guilt of that church upon ourselves! Many might do that in order to gain a wife or husband! God forbid!
III. How can we accomplish this purpose?
The speaker emphasized that this purpose can be accomplished by the faithful ministry of the Word; by the attendance of the congregation at church services, catechism classes, congregational meetings, and Young People’s Societies, and by instructing our children in “The Faith”. We must work till all Protestant Reformed children are educated in the Protestant Reformed truth.
We must let our light shine in this world of darkness, by being specific in the “Faith of our Fathers”, to the realization of our one great, glorious and all-important goal—the Glory and Honor of our Heavenly Father.