That “One-Man Denomination” Charge

We have heard the above charge hurled against the Protestant Reformed Churches in America so often that perhaps we ought to take a second look at it. We have no right, of course, to disregard all that is said contrary to our convictions without providing basic refutation to the allegations that are lodged against us. This, however, is a far cry from affirming that the charges which are so often heaped upon the Church of God are themselves worthy of an answer. Such are often encountered when those that oppose you in any given variance discover that it is virtually impossible to do so upon a sound basis, and therefore resort instead to waging an attack on your person or on a view which they at once identify as being yours, but erroneously so. Obviously, in such a case we might consider that the charge warrants no answer, because of the evident ill-motivation. As a general rule, however, it is well to “consider and refute”, and in all instances where possible, as we affirmed in our March editorial according to I Peter 3:15, “be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear.”

We notice that the charge here is not against any doctrine. That is rather important. Its specific doctrines characterize the church denomination. They are its distinguishing banners. That is why it is so fundamentally important for you as youth to know Protestant Reformed doctrine; the point being that if you are to confess the doctrine, it is obviously pivotal that you know and understand that which you confess. That for two important reasons: 1) Your confession virtually ceases to be a confession in the instance in which you are ignorant of, its contents, that is, as far as its being a living confession is concerned, and 2) You are called upon in life to defend that confession which you believe and affirm that the Lord has committed upon you, and it goes without saying that we cannot defend those things of which he has little or no knowledge. In that connection, is it your desire and purpose to study and learn our doctrines so that you may become firm and unshakable in them in the days of tribulation that lie ahead? But the fact is that here, that is, contained in the above charge is no attack on the doctrine. Not directly that is.

What have we then? Do we see the evidence, in this charge, of a pained and unrelenting conscience that will allow no forgetting of a banished band, who under a leadership provided by God continues steadfastly in the line of the Calvin Reformation, as thoroughly substantiated doctrines, because they are supported by the infallible Word of God itself? You know. That tiny, narrow-minded church that was given an Ophoff and a Hoeksema for its leadership, among others. We profess that these men were given and equipped by God Himself for the work which He had set before them within the sphere of the Protestant Reformed Church. Such is certainly evident, also, in that which they were given to perform in that sphere. Is the charge brought forth, then, because of their inability to single out a doctrinal flaw according to the Word, by suggesting that we all blindly follow the “say so” of one man?

We ought to have an answer to that questionable charge. And it ought to be a good one. We have an answer, Protestant Reformed youth! And it is a good one. Our characterization of our answer in that way is not the epitome of conceit. Rather, it is a humble confession. The reason for that is: God Himself gave us the answer.

A one-man church? Indeed! We will give different content to the charge as it is according to truth…and then let the charge stand! It is a fact that our doctrines embrace that one Man among men, as He is revealed unto us in the Scriptures, the Son of the Living God. In those doctrines is nurtured an unqualified assent to what-ever He declares. That one Man is the Christ, Who, having come to do the will of His Father and accomplished it all, is now exalted at the right hand of God. He is that Son of God who came to gather all the sheep that Father gave Him, and effectually He gathers them, everyone! That is who He is. He is not the beggar of varying hues, who is so loudly heralded by so many other churches today. He is not the “loves all—hates none” man who is palmed off as being the Son of God. He is not the helpless “almighty” that is frustrated by the freewill of mighty carnal man. He is rather the efficacious one. The one in whose hands the keys of the Kingdom eternally rest.

THAT Man has the pre-eminence!

No, we are not super-Reformed. Neither are we hyper-Calvinists. Rather, we believe that the concept of the Sovereignty of God is an attribute which permeates His entire being, so that His justice shines forth as He, without consulting the puny minds of men, sends the Savior Who also bears the sword!

THAT Man we love. He is the very Son of God who redeems the elect Church. And alone by the grace of God do we have the assurance that we are and forever shall remain living members of that glorious body.

That is our answer to such a charge.