Even the "good" things the wicked do are evil, and the "blessings" the wicked receive are curses.
The theme of this pamphlet will, no doubt, occasion the reader to remark that this time I am dealing in glaring contradictions. The wicked, he will say, certainly is not a well-doer; and the ideas of 'curse' and 'reward' are mutually exclusive and stand in relation of direct contradiction to each other. And this remark is quite to the point. However, the better informed and particularly the Protestant Reformed reader will not find it difficult to surmise the occasion and origin of this theme and the reason for its paradoxical formulation. It must be found in the fact that since 1924 a certain group of churches, professedly Reformed, officially took the stand that the natural man, apart from the regenerating work of the Holy Spirit, is able to perform good works in this world, in the sphere of civil life.
Now it must be remembered that it is and always has been the Reformed confession that the natural man is 'incapable of doing any good and inclined to all wickedness' (Heidelberg Catechism, Q. 8). He is 'wicked, rebellious, and obdurate in heart and will, and impure in all his affections' (Canons of Dordrecht III/IV:1). When, therefore, a Reformed man declares that the natural man performs good works, he asserts that the wicked do well. Thus he actually speaks of a wicked well-doer. And it is just this that was done by the group of churches to which I referred above, when they officially adopted the doctrine that the natural man, without the regenerating grace of the Holy Spirit, is able to do good.
From this apparent contradiction one only has to draw an inference in order to form the second paradoxical term, that of the 'curse-reward.' Surely, the wicked is under the curse; and always the wages of sin is death. But there can be no question of the truth that God rewards the good with good, that also well-doing has its wages. If then, there is such a phenomenon as a 'wicked well-doer,' it follows that there must be a 'curse-reward.' This may serve to explain to the reader the somewhat strange formulation of the theme of this pamphlet.
However, the reader must not receive the impression that the purpose of this pamphlet is purely controversial, and that it is still my intention to offer a criticism of the second and third of the well-known 'Three Points.' Our objection against the doctrine of the 'Three Points' is not really that they speak of a 'wicked well-doer.' It is rather that they explain the well-doing of the wicked from a gracious influence of the Holy Spirit that morally improves the wicked without regenerating him. The second and third of the 'Three Points' are really a denial of the doctrine of total depravity. They teach that the influence of so-called common grace makes the wicked good enough to do good works in this life. They therefore destroy the dilemma implied in the term 'wicked well-doer.' In this pamphlet, however, the apparent contradiction is not destroyed, but maintained. We proceed on the assumption that in a certain sense it is quite possible to speak of the well-doing of the wicked. In fact, Scripture plainly speaks of this. Jehu was, evidently, a wicked man. He did not depart from the sins of Jeroboam. Yet, he did well in executing that which was right in the Lord's eyes (II Kings 10:29-31). He is, therefore, a plain example of a wicked well-doer. Besides, he also received a reward for his well-doing, consisting in this, that his children of the fourth generation should sit on the throne of Israel. Yet, his reward was at the same time a curse, and the blood he was commanded to shed and did shed was visited upon his house (Hos. 1:4).
Here, then, is our problem. How is it possible that the wicked as such, without being first improved by any influence of grace can still do well; and how can the reward they receive for their well-doing at the same time be a curse to them? It is this question we shall try to answer in this pamphlet. We shall ask your attention for three elements into which our subject may naturally be subdivided:
I. The Wicked Well-Doer
II. His Well-Doing
III. His Curse-Reward
The Wicked Well-Doer
In seeking an answer to the question, how the wicked can do well, we must first of all make a little study of the wicked well-doer himself. Only when we rightly understand him in his origin, his nature, his relation to God and to the earthly creation, the effect of the fall upon him, his total depravity, and his natural light, can we explain his well-doing and see it in its proper light. Especially must we find an answer to the questions: 1. What was man's original state, his state before the fall? and 2. What is his state and condition after sin corrupted him?
The wicked well-doer is Man. That is his name. He was formed by a twofold creative act of God: the formation of his physical organism from the dust of the ground, and the breathing into his nostrils of the breath of life. Thus, i.e., by this one but twofold act of creation man was made a living soul. Thus he was formed in distinction from the animals, that were merely called forth from the waters and from the ground. They are also living souls, yet, as their origin plainly indicates, they are of a purely earthly nature; they are physical not spiritual. But man is both physical and spiritual, related to earth and heaven. As a living soul who was formed out of the dust of the ground and whose spirit was breathed into him, he stood related to all the universe, its centre, in whom all the lines of the physical and spiritual creation converged.
This Man was made in God's likeness and after His image. In general this means that in a creaturely sense and measure he resembled God, was related to Him. The divine virtues of knowledge, righteousness, and holiness were imparted to him and were reflected in his nature. No doubt, this is the Scriptural teaching of the image of God. It is a spiritual-ethical likeness of God that is meant. In dogmatical works, a distinction is frequently made between the image of God in a narrower and in a wider sense. The distinction is somewhat forced and mechanical. And it is not without danger with a view to a true conception of man's condition after the fall. For, usually it is further suggested that through the fall man lost the image of God in a narrower sense, but retained that image in its wider sense. This leads to the view that man did not wholly lose the image of God, that he retained it in part, and that, by virtue of those remnants of God's image in his nature he is still able to do good. After all, together with this image of God in a wider sense, some remnant of his original righteousness is attributed to him.
I would prefer to speak of the image of God in a formal and in a material sense. By the former is meant that man's nature is a rational-moral nature, and as such is adapted to bear God's image. A dog is no rational-moral being; therefore, his very nature could never bear the image of God. But man is and always shall remain a being with mind and will, a rational-moral nature. And in this he is capable of bearing God's image, though because of this very nature of his he also is able to turn into the very opposite and reflect the image of the devil.
And by the image of God in the material sense we refer to the proper spiritual-ethical operation of this rational-moral nature with relation to God, usually distinguished on the basis of Scripture as true knowledge, righteousness, and holiness. Now man was created after the image of God. He was not merely a rational moral being, but he stood in true knowledge of God, the knowledge of fellowship and love; in true righteousness, so that it was his delight to will and to do the will of God; and in perfect holiness, so that, negatively, his nature was without spot or blemish, and, positively, he was wholly consecrated to the living God.
Thus this Man's relation to God was a covenant-relation. By 'covenant' we do not understand a certain contract or agreement between God and man. This is, indeed, the underlying notion in many treatises and discussions on the covenant. It is also the basic idea of what is known as 'the covenant of works.' According to that so-called covenant of works between God and Adam, man could attain to the end of eternal life through and as a reward of obedience: he could merit eternal life. And in that covenant he could also make himself worthy of death through disobedience. This 'covenant of works' implied, so the dogma is further developed, a condition (not to eat of the forbidden tree), a promise (eternal life), and a penalty (death).
This conception lies open to criticism almost on every side. In the first place, let it be observed that the Bible knows nothing of any such transaction, contract, or agreement between God and man. It does, indeed, speak of the probationary command, forbidding Adam to eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil on penalty of death. But a command is no covenant, no contract, no agreement between two parties. It certainly does not speak of the promise of 'eternal life,' of the higher and heavenly state of perfect liberty and glory, as something that could be attained by Adam. The contention that he could have 'merited' eternal life in this so-called covenant of works is certainly quite contrary to the fundamental teaching of Holy Writ. Man can never merit anything with God. He owes all he is and has continuously to God. He cannot offer God anything. He has nothing for sale to God. If he serves God without fail, with all his heart and mind and soul and strength, he is still just an unworthy servant that has merited exactly nothing. And, therefore, the teaching that Adam could merit eternal life by his obedience is corrupt.
But even the suggestion that Adam could attain at all to eternal life is purely philosophical, not biblical. If we must answer the question, what could have become of Adam in case he had not fallen but remained obedient, all we can say on the basis of Scripture is that he could not have died, that he would have retained the life he had. But never would he have attained to that higher 'eternal life,' which can be had only through Jesus Christ our Lord. This notion, therefore, of a covenant in the sense of an agreement between God and Adam as two parties, in which Adam could attain to eternal life if he obeyed, we reject as unscriptural.
Yet, the first Man, Adam, stood in covenant relation to God, not accidentally, not by virtue of any special agreement or contract, but by virtue of his creation after the image of God. Man was created in the covenant-relation. The very fact that he was so created that in a creaturely way he resembled God, so that he knew Him, could understand His revelation, could speak with Him as a friend with his friend, could love Him, enter into His secret and most intimate fellowship, could serve Him and consecrate himself and all things to Him in the obedience of love—this very fact made him a covenant-creature, and placed him in that covenant-relation the moment he stood in paradise as a conscious creature. In this covenant-relation he was God's friend-servant; and God was his Sovereign-Friend. In that relation God would bless him with his favour and fellowship, and man was called to serve God freely. He was no slave to serve the Lord in fear; nor was he a wage-earner to serve God for the sake of a reward. But freely, in love, he was to serve the Most High with all his soul and mind and power, and with all things. He was God's office-bearer, His prophet to know Him, speak for Him, and glorify His name; His priest to love Him and consecrate himself and all things to Him; His king, to represent Him in all the earthly creation and reign over all things in the name of his Lord.
And this already describes his relation to the world in the midst of which he was placed: the earthly creation. He was king. It cannot be said that he was king of the universe, for still he was made a little lower than the angels, and the heavenly world lay outside of his dominion. But in the earthly creation he was king. God gave him dominion. This is not merely a phrase, but an actual relation. For, all creatures were very really to serve him, that with them all he might serve his God. He was king, but under God. He was king-servant. He was God's superintendent in the world. It is well to remember this. The things of this present life, which man receives and uses, are not to be regarded as so many presents of God to him, which he may use for his own carnal enjoyment and pleasure, but they are the capital, God's capital, entrusted to him in order that with them he might freely serve and glorify the Most High.
Thus stood man, fully equipped to serve as God's representative, His superintendent in the world.
King he was in relation to all created things on the earth.
Servant in relation to God.
And now the question is: what became of this king-servant, this superintendent of God, this office-bearer, with the right and authority, the power and the privilege, the will and the ability to serve his God? What changes were brought about by the Fall, by sin and death? We must remember that sin is of a spiritual-ethical nature. Man was not annihilated. Neither was he changed into a different creature. He remained man, a rational-moral creature. Nor is it sufficient to say that he lost the image of God. Thus the matter is most generally presented. Man lost God's image, more particularly that image in the 'narrower' sense of the word. And, to be sure, he retained nothing of his original knowledge, righteousness, and holiness. But one does not say enough by stating that man lost that image. For, the fact is, that the operation of his nature, the spiritual-ethical direction of that operation, was radically turned about, was put into reverse. What a man loses is gone; he cannot do anything with it. But with the sinner the case is different. He did not merely lose his true knowledge of God, but his knowledge was changed into the lie, his light became darkness. It is not sufficient to say that man lost his righteousness, for his righteousness changed into perversity and obduracy. Nor was his holiness merely lost, but it was changed into corruption. He violated God's covenant, and became very really a servant of the devil, with all his heart and mind and soul and strength. Instead of a friend of God he became His enemy.
We must remember, however, that the essential relationship of man to the earthly creation was not changed. Still all creatures serve man, and still man has dominion and is king. To be sure, his own powers are seriously curtailed also from a natural viewpoint. He has only a few remains of his natural powers. And he is subjected to death. The sentence of death was very really executed upon him 'the day' he ate of the tree. Death works in his members and limits him on every side. And his dominion, the earthly creation, is under the curse. It is subjected to vanity. It cannot reach its purpose. Yet, even so, man is still standing in relation of a king to the earthly creation. Only, having violated the covenant, and having subjected himself to the service of Satan, he employs all things in the service of the flesh and iniquity. He works, indeed! He must needs work! With body and soul, with mind and will and all his powers he works. And he works with God's powers, God's gifts, God's means. But he refuses to work in God's service. He cannot, he will not, and he cannot will to serve God. He even forfeited the privilege of God's service. He is like a superintendent in a factory, who rebels against his employer, but still remains in the factory and works with the machinery and power that belong to his employer for his own enrichment. Man is God's fallen and rebellious superintendent, serving the devil in enmity against God.
Such is the nature and the position of the wicked well-doer of which this pamphlet treats.
Now the question is: in what sense of the word and how can this fallen and depraved and rebellious man do well?
We may remark in the first place that we are not now thinking of the fact that even the wicked can never do anything else than serve God's counsel and purpose, in spite of themselves, and in that sense of the word might be said to do well. This is, of course, perfectly true. God has His own program of all things. He eternally determined just what should be the end of all things, their destiny and culmination, and the course of events leading to that end. And every creature, brute or rational, willingly or unwillingly, must certainly serve in the realization of that counsel. The powers of darkness may rage and set themselves against Him, the devil and his host may imagine that they can bring to nought the counsel of the Almighty, but in reality they can only serve in the realization of it. Without curiously inquiring into what surpasses our human understanding, we confess with the thirteenth article of our Belgic Confession 'that nothing can befall us by chance, but by the direction of our most gracious heavenly Father; who watches over us with a paternal care, keeping all creatures so under his power, that not a hair of our head (for they are all numbered), nor a sparrow can fall to the ground, without the will of our Father, in whom we do entirely trust; being persuaded that he so restrains the devil and all our enemies, that without his will and permission they cannot hurt us.'
But, even though it is true that this article is frequently quoted in proof of the contention that there is a gracious restraining influence of the Holy Spirit, whereby even the wicked do well in this world, it does not refer at all to the question we are discussing. Our question is not how God uses even the wicked devices of the devil and all the wicked to His own good purpose, but in what sense the wicked themselves, consciously and by the choice of their own will, are able to do good.
And, then, we may call attention first of all to the fact that the natural man, by virtue of his natural light and his relation to the earthly creation, is able to discover the ordinances of God in creation, that is, the common and regular way in which God works and governs the universe; is able to accommodate himself to them and to observe and keep them, so that he works accordingly. In other words, he discovers and observes the natural laws of the universe in which he lives and labors. He must needs do this in order to live and work. After all, man, even the wicked, exists and works in God's creation, where all things run according to God's ordinances and government.
To these ordinances man must accommodate himself. The husbandman must observe the seasons, the nature of the soil, the kind of seed he sows, and the laws of agriculture in general. These laws are not of his own invention. They are God's ordinances. And if he observes and keeps them, he does well. Thus there are ordinances of God everywhere, which the wicked as well as the righteous must needs observe. There are laws of gravity and gravitation, laws of steam and electricity, laws of light and sound. And whether man builds a house or constructs a steam-engine, whether he travels on land or sea or through the air, whether he eats or drinks, he must observe and act according to these ordinances of the Most High. According as he succeeds in doing so, he does well. If a husbandman ploughs a straight furrow he does well; if a contractor builds a good house, he does well; if a mechanic constructs a good and smoothly running automobile, he does well; if a surgeon performs a skilful operation he does well.
The examples could be multiplied without end. No one would deny that, in this natural sense, in this sense of almost perfect skill, even the wicked can do good. It is also evident that in this well-doing there is as such no ethical goodness whatever. One may do well in this sense of the word and at the same time sin. For, if he does not do all these things from the love of God and according to His moral law and to His glory, but on the contrary performs all these works in the service of the flesh and in enmity against God, he commits iniquity while doing well. He is a wicked well-doer.
Nor is it difficult to see that in this sense of the word the wicked may do well without any influence of grace upon him. The mere fact that he remained a rational moral being, that he still has natural light, and that essentially his relation to the earthly creation was not and could not be changed by sin, is quite sufficient to explain his well-doing in this sense of the word. Sin does not have to be restrained, and man's moral nature does not have to be improved, in order to make him a successful farmer, a good mechanic, a skilful surgeon.
But there is more. We may even proceed a step further and claim that the wicked is able to know and, to an extent, to observe and accommodate himself in his external behaviour to the moral precepts of Jehovah, and also in this sense of the word do well. There are various considerations and motives arising from the heart of natural man, that explain this 'regard for virtue' (Canons III/IV:4) in his external deportment. Sometimes it is a desire to keep a good reputation among men, the seeking of the honour of men, or a sense of shame that motivates the wicked in his attempt to accommodate himself in his external deportment to the moral law of God. Then again it is filthy lucre or the desire for advancement in the world, or the strong instinct of self-preservation (either an individual or a social instinct) that warns him not to indulge too freely in the pleasures of sin. For, the fact is that the law of God is good for man, while the wages of sin is always death. And the wicked, by his natural light discerning the difference between good and evil, and perceiving very well that it is beneficial for him, individually and socially, to keep the moral precepts of God, and that to depart from them means sure destruction, makes a serious attempt to observe those precepts to a certain extent in his outward walk. In as far as he succeeds in this attempt he does well.
At the same time it is readily understood that his 'well-doing' is sinful and very corrupt. It is wicked well-doing. For, it is not motivated by the love of God but always by the love of self; it does not aim at the glory of God but always at the glory and well-being of mere man. To one who does not close his eyes to reality it will also be plain that this attempt, though it meets with success to a certain extent, always largely fails. Selfishness and greed, adultery and corruption, hatred and envy, are not sins that remain hid in the heart of man, but they come to hideous manifestation in the history of the world and the daily life of mankind. And, finally, it will also be evident that no influence of the Holy Spirit or an operation of grace is necessary to explain the phenomenon of this wicked well-doing. In no wise does this well-doing of the wicked alter or detract from the truth that the natural man is wholly incapable of doing any good and inclined to all wickedness, and that all the imaginations of his heart are only evil continually.
The truth of all this is plainly illustrated in what is told us in the Scripture of Jehu. In II Kings 10:30 we read: 'And the Lord said unto Jehu, Because thou hast done well in executing that which is right in mine eyes, and hast done unto the house of Ahab according to all that was in mine heart, thy children of the fourth generation shall sit on the throne of Israel.' It must not escape our attention that this statement is both preceded and followed by a note that reminds us of Jehu's wickedness. In verse 29 it is stated: 'Howbeit from the sins of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, who made Israel to sin, Jehu departed not from after them, to wit the golden calves that were in Bethel, and that were in Dan.' And again in verse 31 we read: 'But Jehu took no heed to walk in the law of the Lord God with all his heart, for he departed not from the sins of Jeroboam which made Israel to sin.'
How, then, are these apparently contradictory statements to be explained and harmonized with each other? How could Jehu do what was right in the eyes of the Lord, while his heart was not with the Lord his God, and he walked in the sins of Jeroboam? Is there any need of the theory of 'common grace' to interpret Jehu's well-doing? Or can his execution of all that was in Jehovah's heart be fully explained from Jehu's wicked heart?
The latter is, no doubt, the case. The fact is that Jehu received a command of the Lord. He was called to smite the house of Ahab his master, that the blood of the prophets and of all the servants of the Lord, that had been shed by that wicked king, might be avenged. He was to be God's instrument for the destruction of the entire house of Ahab, so that not a member of it was left and it was made utterly like the house of Jeroboam and the house of Baasha (II Kings 9:7-10). Now, Jehu, was an able captain. He was a man who was capable of executing this command. He was possessed of quick and keen discernment, of military skill and physical courage. When a commission was entrusted to him he executed it speedily and completely. He was, therefore, entirely fit for the job. And he proved his ability in executing all that was in the Lord's heart concerning the house of Ahab. He proved himself very zealous. He even took Jehonadab the son of Rechab with him to Samaria to see his 'zeal for the Lord.' Quickly and utterly he destroyed every last one of Ahab's house. He did really well!
Does this mean, however, that Jehu did well in the spiritual-ethical sense of the word? Was his work a 'good work,' the fruit of grace? Not at all. If we would adopt this view of the matter, we would not be able to explain how he himself walked in the sins of Jeroboam who made Israel to sin. Had the zeal for Jehovah and His covenant motivated him, he certainly would not have maintained the golden calves in Bethel and in Dan. From his following after Jeroboam's sins it is evident that the fear of the Lord was not in his heart, that he did not care about the covenant of God and the honour of His name, that the love of God was not impelling him to destroy the house of Ahab. On the contrary, his own sinful ambition urged him on. In the command of the Lord he saw a means, a way to satisfy his ambition and to become king of Israel instead of Ahab's family. And with this end in view he became very zealous and thoroughly executed all that was in Jehovah's heart. He is a clear example of the wicked well-doer!
Now, this well-doing of the wicked has its reward. It is the reward that is known in the world as 'success,' i.e., the advancement and progress a man makes in the world, when he does well in the sense defined above. All other circumstances and conditions being equal, the surgeon who works skilfully, performs successful operations, saves the lives of his patients, soon makes himself a name and builds up a reputation and acquires an extensive practice. He is a successful doctor. The baker who bakes good bread and knows how to put it on the market will find many customers and soon will have to enlarge his place of business. The manufacturer that produces the best automobiles at the most reasonable price will be successful in finding a market for its products. The man who is able to perform brilliant feats, in whatever department of life it may be, soon makes himself a name. He who lives moderately, does not waste his life in immoral practice and dissipation, will preserve his health and strength and enjoy a longer life in the world than he who is a slave of his lusts. The honest businessman will gain the confidence of his patrons. The skilful mechanic will find a position and keep it. The able politician will gain the majority of votes and attain to the position he seeks.
Jehu also had his reward. For, the Lord anointed him king and promised him that his children would sit on the throne of Israel even unto the fourth generation. The reward was, also in his case, quite in line with the nature of his well-doing. He was successful in realizing his ambition. And this also was of the Lord. For, though in the very complex relations of the sinful world we may not always be able to see this, the Lord rewards every man according to his work.
But it is very essential that we clearly distinguish between 'success' and 'blessing.'
Not infrequently the two are confused, and what is mere 'success' is considered blessing. When a man prospers in the world, when he enlarges his place, gains in influence and power, increases his substance and possesses many temporal things, it is by no means uncommon that men call him blessed, or that he even considers himself blessed. Yet, if nothing else can be said of such a man, he is merely successful. If with all his success he is a wicked man, he does, indeed, have a reward, but his reward is, nevertheless, no blessing, but a curse to him. Blessing is the word of God's favour and grace upon us and to us; success is no proof of the grace of God at all, may consist of slippery places upon which He places us in order to cast us down into destruction. God's blessing is upon His people; it is never upon the wicked, however successful and prosperous they may be. God's blessing is based upon the righteousness which is in Christ Jesus our Lord; success has no ground of righteousness and leaves a man under the wrath and curse of God. Blessing means that God causes all things to work together for our eternal good, that we may obtain the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ; success is limited to the things of this present time and hemmed in on all sides by death and destruction.
That is why we speak of a curse-reward.
As long as we consider the things of this present life, the success and progress, the advancement and the prosperity of the wicked well-doer, as blessings of God upon him, gifts of His grace which the Most High bestows upon him in order that he should enjoy them for a time; as long as we separate the things of this present time from their eternal purpose and end, we shall never understand that even the reward of the wicked well-doer is a curse. But as soon as we see all things in their true light and relation, this becomes very clear. For, when the wicked well-doer is successful, increases his wealth, enlarges his place, gains in power and influence, he merely enhances his obligation to serve God. For, the things of this present time are God's capital, entrusted to us, placing us under the obligation to serve and glorify the Most High with it all. But the wicked cannot and will not employ all things in His service. To him the things of this present time are means to satisfy the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, the pride of life. And, therefore, the more he increases his substance and position, the greater sinner he becomes, the more he aggravates his judgment, the severer will be his eternal punishment.
Jehu was successful and ascended the throne of Israel. And on that throne his obligation was increased. Yet, he walked in the sins of Jeroboam. His sin and damnation became greater than it ever could have been had he remained a mere captain. And the blood of Jezreel was avenged upon the house of Jehu, though he had shed it in harmony with God's command! His was the reward of a wicked well-doer. And it was a curse-reward!
But the blessing of the Lord is upon the righteous. And they receive the reward of grace. For Christ merited all for them, and bestows all on them. By grace they are saved. By grace they are justified and have the forgiveness of sin and the right to eternal life. By grace they have the right and the privilege to do those good works which God has ordained for them from before the foundation of the world. And so, when they receive the reward of glory in the way of good works, their reward is a reward of grace.
Thanks be to God for His unspeakable gift!
Herman Hoeksema (1886-1965) was born in Groningen, the Netherlands on March 13, 1886 and passed away in Grand Rapids, MI on September 2, 1965. He attended the Theological School of the Christian Reformed Church and was ordained into the minitry in September of 1915.
"H.H." is considered one of the founding "fathers" of the Protestant Reformed Churches in America. He and his consistory (Eastern Ave. Christian Reformed Church in Grand Rapids, MI) were suspended and deposed from their offices in 1924-1925 because of their opposition to the "Three Points of Common Grace" adopted by the Christian Reformed Church in the Synod of Kalamazoo, MI in 1924. He, together with Rev. George M. Ophoff, Rev. H. Danhof and their consistories continued in office in the "Protesting Christian Reformed Church" which shortly thereafter were named the "Protestant Reformed Churches in America."
Herman Hoeksema served as pastor in the 14th Street Christian Reformed Church in Holland, MI (1915-1920), Eastern Ave. Christian Reformed Church in Grand Rapids, MI (1920-1924), and First Protestant Reformed Church in Grand Rapids, MI (1924-1964), He taught in the Seminary of the Protestant Reformed Churches from its founding and retired in 1964.
For an enlarged biography, see: Herman Hoeksema: Theologian and Reformer
Notes: You may also find many sermons of "H.H." at the RFPA website. And you may find copies in print of an entire set of "H.H.'s" catechism sermons here.