In a Synodical meeting of the Christian Reformed Church (CRC)
which began on June 18, 1924 in Kalamazoo, Michigan, after long
controversy, the CRC adopted what came to be known as the "Three
Points of Common Grace." Because certain ministers within
the CRC refused to subscribe to those "Three Points,"
they (with the majority of their consistories) were either suspended
or deposed from office. This was the beginning of the Protestant
Reformed Churches in America. These ministers, and others after
them, wrote responses to the decision
that was taken.
At that time, and ever since, the Protestant Reformed Churches
have warned that these "Three Points" were not only
contrary to Scripture and the
Reformed Confessions but
also served as a bridge into the world and would give excuse to
introduce worldliness into the church.
We quote the three points literally:
I. The First Point:
"Relative to the first point which concerns the favorable
attitude of God towards humanity in general and not only towards
the elect, Synod declares it to be established according to Scripture
and the Confessions that, apart from the saving grace of God shown
only to those that are elect unto eternal life, there is also
a certain favor or grace of God which He shows to His creatures
in general. This is evident from the Scriptural passages quoted
and from the Canons of Dordrecht
III-IV:8,9, which deal
with the general offer of the Gospel, while it also appears from
the citations made from Reformed writers of the most flourishing
period of Reformed Theology that our Reformed writers from the
past favored this view.
Psalm 145:9; Matt. 5:44, 45;
I Tim. 4:10;
II. The Second Point:
"Relative to the second point, which is concerned with the
restraint of sin in the life of the individual man and in the
community, the Synod declares that there is such a restraint of
sin according to Scripture and the Confession. This is evident
from the citations from Scripture and from the Netherlands Confession,
Arts. 13 and
which teach that God by the general operations
of His Spirit, without renewing the heart of man, restrains the
unimpeded breaking out of sin, by which human life in society
remains possible; while it is also evident from the quotations
from Reformed writers of the most flourishing period of Reformed
Theology, that from ancient times our Reformed fathers were of
the same opinion.
Ps. 81:11-12; Gen. 6:3; Acts 7:42;
Rom. 1:26, 28;
II Thess. 2:6-7."
III. The Third Point:
"Relative to the third point, which is concerned with the
question of civil righteousness as performed by the unregenerate,
Synod declares that according to Scripture and the Confessions
the unregenerate, though incapable of doing any saving good, can
do civil good. This is evident from the quotations from Scripture
and from the Canons of Dordrecht,
III-IV:4, and from the Netherlands
Confession, Art. 36,
which teach that God, without renewing the
heart, so influences man that he is able to perform civil good;
while it also appears from the citations from Reformed writers
of the most flourishing period of Reformed Theology that our Reformed
fathers from ancient times were of the same opinion.
II Kings 10:29-30;
II Kings 12:2;14:3; Luke 6:33;
" [See response]
See also: Grace Uncommon by Rev. Barry Gritters
published materials on Common Grace, please click here
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Last modified, 17-Oct-1998