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The Three Points of Common Grace (CRC - 1924)

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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 II:5 and 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.

Scriptural proof: Psalm 145:9; Matt. 5:44, 45; Luke 6:35-36; Acts 14:16-17; I Tim. 4:10; Rom. 2:4;Ezekiel 33:11; Ezekiel 18:23." [See response]

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 36, 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.

Scriptural proof: Ps. 81:11-12; Gen. 6:3; Acts 7:42; Rom. 1:24; Rom. 1:26, 28; II Thess. 2:6-7." [See response]

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.

Scriptural proof: II Kings 10:29-30; II Kings 12:2;14:3; Luke 6:33; Rom. 2:14. " [See response]

See also: Grace Uncommon by Rev. Barry Gritters

For published materials on Common Grace, please click here

Last modified on 24 January 2015
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