Book: A Study of the Relation Between the Views of Prof. R. Janssen and Common Grace

Chapter VI: Analysis of the Issues

A complete doctrinal analysis of the issues which arose in the Janssen controversy would be inappropriate for a paper which is primarily designed to be historical in nature. Nevertheless, certain doctrinal ramifications were implicit in the controversy which require brief attention.

That Rev. Hoeksema played a major role in the entire controversy cannot be denied; but his role was larger than opposition to Janssen's position. He and H. Danhof stood apart from the other accusers of Janssen in their opposition to common grace, the one doctrine to which Janssen appealed in support of his views. Differences over common grace among Janssen's opponents led directly to the debate over this doctrine following the Synod of 1922, and led, finally, to the deposition of Hoeksema and Danhof. The result was that the majority of Janssen's opponents finally came to agree with Janssen on the one doctrine to which Janssen had appealed in support of his view of Scripture, while a small minority (Hoeksema and Danhof) opposed Janssen both on his views of Scripture and on common grace.

As we have seen, common grace was a firm foundation for the positions which Janssen took in his doctrine of Scripture. The interesting question is: What did a denial of common grace imply for a doctrine of Scripture?

The influences of the Janssen controversy continued to affect Hoeksema throughout his life. As he himself developed a Reformed theology and expressed himself on the very issues which arose during the Janssen controversy, his fundamental starting point of the particularity of grace (over against a grace which was common) led him to positions diametrically opposed to the views of Janssen with respect to the crucial issues which Janssen had raised.

This must not be interpreted as meaning that Hoeksema diverged from the affirmations of the Synod of 1922 in their criticism of Janssen; he did not. But, remaining committed to those decisions, he developed the implications of them in important respects. His teachings then are illustrative of the fact that, while common grace leads to Janssen's position, a denial of common grace leads in different directions.


As we noticed in the last two chapters, the question of the relation between general and special revelation was really at the heart of the controversy.

Janssen made much of the relation between these two revelations of God in his explanation of the origin of the Scriptures. He did this in several ways.

In the first place, he took the position that the truths which the natural man possessed by virtue of common grace were truths which could be incorporated into Scripture. The people of God to whom was given the revelation of God through Jesus Christ were a people who lived in particular cultural milieus, not isolated from the surrounding people, not unaffected by their life, but living in constant interchange socially, religiously, and politically with them. The truths which had been preserved among these people could be and in fact were incorporated into the thought of the Jewish people; and, more importantly, God, not willing to turn His back on that which He Himself had worked through His common grace in the ungodly, used these elements of truth in His own special revelation. These elements of truth were, so to speak, incorporated into special revelation, became a part of it, and were taken up into, purified, lifted to a higher level, and woven into the warp and woof of divine revelation. And it therefore, the duty of each exegete of Scripture to discover this relationship between these elements of truth from pagan and heathen civilizations and the elements that are unique to special revelation. But in order to do this, one must acquaint himself fully with these civilizations, and understand how they lived, what they taught, and what was the precise nature of their contact with and influence upon the people of God. It was here that the science of Archeology played such a major role.

In the second place, the role that common grace played in Janssen's position must be understood on another level of Biblical studies. There are some assumptions in this connection which Janssen never in fact spelled out, but are deeply imbedded in his thinking. One of these assumptions is that the general revelation of God is so closely related to His special revelation that at certain key points they intertwine. This was especially true of the miracles which Scripture records for us. Janssen protested loudly and vehemently against a separation of general and special revelation in the area of miracles, and blasted those who in his judgment were guilty of this. He charged them with the heresies of Dualism and Anabaptism -- two heresies which made every good Calvinist shudder with alarm. He claimed that such a separation between the natural and the supernatural which was implied in the view of his opponents was a virtual denial of God's sovereignty. He went so far as to say that any who refused to accept his position were no Calvinists at all and denied the long and illustrious tradition of Calvinism which dated back to the Genevan Reformer.1

The close relationship between general and special revelation in the area of miracles meant for Janssen that the ordinary providence of God as a part of general revelation was also evident in the miracles. Whether Janssen actually denied altogether any "supernatural" element in the miracles is not clear. It would seem as if he did not. Yet, he actually explained many of the miracles in such a way that the supernatural element seemed entirely missing. He, e.g., explained the falling of the walls of Jericho as the effects of an earthquake which did nothing more than create a breach in one segment of the wall. He explained the water from the rock in Rephidim as being water already present in the rock, but brought forth the striking of the rock.

It was common grace which stood at the basis for approach to miracles. There are several facets to the question, although Janssen did not always spell them out in detail.

In the first place, we noticed in the previous chapter that the natural and special revelations of God were intertwined objectively in the creation by common grace. Janssen complained when his opponents spoke of a purely supernatural character to the miracles, for he insisted that this was a false separation of the natural and the supernatural which resulted in an Anabaptistic dualism. He never expanded on this thesis, and exactly what Janssen meant is not so easily discerned, and perhaps cannot be discerned with certainty. But, if we may make certain conclusions on the basis of the material which Janssen did prepare on this question, we may probably say that God's general revelation, which was God's ordinary way of working in His creation, was the only means God used in the performance of miracles and the only way He worked when He did perform them. Hence, from a purely empirical point of view, it was not possible to distinguish the miracles from the ordinary workings of providence.

However, we have God's special revelation in Scripture. And in Scripture we are told how these ordinary workings of God's providence actually took on a miraculous character. They became miracles either because they took place in connection with specific requests of certain saints (as, e.g., Joshua's prayer that the sun and moon would stand still), or at some particular action on the part of one of God's servants (as, e.g., the water which gushed from the rock at Rephidim when Moses struck it). Hence their miraculous character was acquired from the opportune times at which these events took place and under the particular circumstances in which they took place. Hence, the supernatural element in the miracles, something which Janssen insisted he believed, was not in the event as such; it was rather in the circumstances under which it took place and in the benefit of the miracles for the people of God.

When Janssen spoke of means as being essential to an understanding of miracles, he meant, therefore, that the miracles were mediate because they took place in this present creation under the ordinary workings of providence and in the common way in which God did all things. To hold to anything less was, in Janssen's opinion, an unwarranted separation between the sphere of the natural and the sphere of the supernatural, and an introduction into Scripture of a false dualism. In the second place, common grace enabled men who were unregenerated to discover science and create such scientific disciplines as Geology. But Geology, as well as other sciences, can help us to understand how miracles took place because, after all, they all took place in the sphere of the natural and were themselves natural phenomena. Hence, if we are truly to appreciate God's common grace and avoid the errors of dualism, we must apply the discoveries of science to the study of Scripture and the explanation of miracles. Science is in a position to tell us how miracles took place. The principles and discoveries of science enable us to understand the Scriptures and discover things about miracles which are not evident in the Scriptures themselves. Common grace then becomes the cornerstone of a correct understanding of the miracles and a correct explanation of them.

Understanding Janssen's approach to miracles, it is not difficult to see that the same relation between general and special revelation was at the basis of Janssen's scientific-critical approach to Scripture.2 If it is true, as Janssen insisted, that general revelation plays a major role in special revelation, then it is also true that the approach to Scripture must be a scientific-critical approach. This lies in the nature of the case. If special revelation makes use of general revelation and if general revelation can only be known through scientific study, then scientific study is a legitimate approach to Scripture.

The same ideas were probably intended by Janssen to apply also to the interpretation of the first chapters of Genesis. Janssen did not discuss this material anywhere in his courses according to the evidence of the Student Notes. In fact, the majority of the Investigatory Committee called attention to this rather striking fact.And Janssen did not address this question in his writings during the course of the controversy.4 But it is not illogical to assume that the same principles set forth in his explanation of miracles would also be applicable to his interpretation of creation and the flood, and perhaps the fall. An application of the sciences to the interpretation of creation and the flood would also force Janssen to concede that the natural means of providence were also used in these works of God. And this would lead him inevitably into a theistic evolution and a denial of a universal flood.

This, of course, brings up the question of precisely what Janssen meant by a scientific-critical approach to Scripture. Nowhere does Janssen specifically explain what he means by this. But his actual application of the principle of a scientific-critical approach reveals that Janssen taught an interpretation of Scripture which approaches Scripture as, in some significant respects, a human document. It was formed through human agency and bore the unmistakable imprint of human thought. Its sources were often human documents or teachings; its canonicity had to be decided on criteria derived from scientific studies of its human origin, human authorship and internal content. Canticles could very well, according to Janssen, be nothing but a song which extolled the virtue of natural love. Ecclesiastes could be written by a pessimistic philosopher. The Psalms could include in them thoughts from pagan sources. The Pentateuch could be derived from documents already in existence at the time the Pentateuch received its final redactions. Thus Scripture, in many different aspects, had to be approached as a document which bore unmistakable human traits and characteristics.

From this follow Janssen's views on inspiration. As we noted earlier, Janssen insisted on organic inspiration, which he also interpreted to mean, thought inspiration. Janssen made a great deal of the human element in Scripture. And, from the notion that organic inspiration means thought inspiration, one may conclude that Janssen held to the idea that the human element included: 1) Ideas and beliefs from Israel's surrounding culture; 2) Secular documents which were incorporated into Scripture; 3) Thoughts of Scripture's authors which were not divinely inspired and did not express the truth of God in Christ, or, for that matter, truth at all;5 4) Divine ideas but cast into human form and expressed in ways in which Scripture's authors themselves wanted to express these ideas.

This emphasis on the human element is not surprising in the light of what Janssen said in connection with miracles. In the light of Janssen's views that miracles are natural phenomena and because of Janssen's abhorrence of the natural-supernatural distinction, the inspiration of Scripture would quite naturally reflect the same position. Scripture is the inspired record of special revelation. What was true of special revelation would, quite naturally, be true of the inspiration of its record as well. If special revelation itself was so intertwined with general revelation that the two were, from the empirical point of view, inseparable, the same would be true of the inspiration of that revelation in Scripture. The natural way in which God worked in special revelation would be the natural way in which God would work in the recording of it. Hence the human element played a major role.

This view of Scripture was certainly, as the majority of the Investigatory Committee said, a view which developed among the higher critics of Scripture and which, in effect, denied Scripture as the Word of God. The final Judgment of the Synod of 1922, which adopted the report of the majority of the Investigatory Committee, was certainly justified.


It is not surprising therefore, that when Rev. Hoeksema finally tackled the whole underlying question of common grace that he bent his considerable theological powers to a careful investigation of the teachings of Scripture on the questions which Janssen had raised. He subjected the whole concept of general and special revelation to a new study. He examined the Scriptural data on miracles. And he bent his efforts to a study of the doctrine of inspiration. And, while doing all this, he carefully distinguished between his own position and the erroneous position of the dualism of Anabaptism.

To enter into detail on Hoeksema's views in these fields would carry us away from the subject before us; but brief mention of some aspects of this question will serve to highlight how Hoeksema's denial of common grace led him to diametrically opposite conclusions on these crucial doctrines.

As we earlier intimated, Hoeksema gave close attention to the whole concept of revelation. In general, Hoeksema finally came to the conclusion that Scripture did not even teach a general revelation, at least in the sense in which that term was commonly used in Reformed theology. He agreed with the general trend of Reformed theology that revelation and grace were inseparable; i.e., that revelation is always a manifestation of grace. Hence, because, in Hoeksema's Judgment, Scripture taught that grace was particular, i.e., only to the elect, so also was revelation particular.6

He paid special attention to the exegesis of the key passages in Romans 1 and 2.7 He pointed out that Romans l:18ff. deal with the fundamental question set forth in the first part of verse 18: the revelation of the wrath of God. It was his position that Romans 1 deals with the explanation of this fundamental concept.

Hoeksema never denied that the creation is the means which God uses to make known His power and Godhead to those who live outside the sphere of special revelation. Nor did he deny that this resulted in a certain knowledge of God and of basic ideas of morality which all men possessed. But he did deny: 1) That this was the fruit of common grace -- of which no mention is made in this passage; 2) That this leads to a development of certain elements of the truth of God which can be found in heathen writings. He rather insisted that the passage points out: 1) That the wicked suppress all this knowledge of God in unrighteousness; 2) That God's purpose in giving it to them is in order that they may be without excuse; 3) That in suppressing all this knowledge, they change the glory of the incorruptible God into an image made like unto corruptible man.

A. Kuyper, in his view of common grace, a position on which Janssen leaned heavily, held that the natural man, by virtue of common grace, was able to do good. That this view was the foundation for Janssen's position is clear from all we have discovered of what Janssen taught. The products of unregenerated men were of such good quality that they could be incorporated into Scripture. It was possible for Scripture to make use of the writings and beliefs of other peoples only because these other peoples were enabled to do that kind of good which benefited and enhanced special revelation and the record of it in God's Word.

Hoeksema diverged sharply from this position as well. He believed that Scripture taught the ability of the natural man to understand the great truth that Cod alone must be served in all that he does; but he insisted that nevertheless, what man does is always sin. This is not to say that the natural man does not have some regard for virtue and for good order in society -- as Canons III & IV, Article 4 teach, but he pointed out that this same article teaches that the natural man "is incapable of using it (natural light) aright even in things natural and civil" -- part of the article which the Synod of 1924 failed to quote when it quoted the first part of this article in its proof of the third point of common grace.

He thus insisted that the depravity of the natural man was so complete that he was incapable of doing any good and inclined to all evil.

This position of Hoeksema had several implications.

In the first place, Hoeksema did not believe that the fall of Adam and Eve and its effects upon the human race would have resulted in the loss of man's humanity if common grace had not intervened to restrain these effects. He claimed that he did not find any such teaching in Scripture. The fall was the fall of a human person, and the fail did not change this human person in any essential way. He was human before he fell; he fell as a human, and he remained a human after the fail. Common grace was not required to rescue him from some consequent and inevitable bestiality.8 The effects of sin were moral and ethical. Man became totally depraved so that he became incapable of doing any good in God's sight. All he did was evil.

In the second place, Hoeksema refused to speak of the good which the unregenerate man is supposedly capable of doing. He repudiated the notion that common grace enabled the natural man, apart from grace, to do that which was pleasing in the sight of God. He thus refused to adopt a distinction between total depravity and absolute depravity according to which distinction man is depraved in all parts of his nature, but not every part of the nature is totally depraved.9

In the third place, as this relates to general revelation, Hoeksema maintained that what God makes known of Himself in creation, though understood by the natural man, is nevertheless suppressed in unrighteousness. The result is that wicked man always changes the glory of God into an image made like unto corruptible man and four-footed beasts and creeping things.10 Thus general revelation is never productive of any good, neither of any elements of truth nor of good deeds. Hence, it is impossible that any product of the unregenerate man has that moral and ethical quality which can be incorporated into and used by God in special revelation.

Finally, while Hoeksema himself did not enter into the doctrine of creation in any detail in his public is clear that he wished to apply the same ideas to this doctrine. I.e., so-called general revelation give us, through the natural sciences, information by means of which we can discover the method which God used in the work of creation. This is true for two reasons: 1) The creation itself, after the fall, came under the curse so that what knowledge of God may be known through the things that are made is limited. 2) Man was so affected by the fall that he is incapable of discovering truth but rather always turns the truth into the lie.11

It was undoubtedly under the impetus given by the introduction of common grace into the Janssen controversy and because of Hoeksema's denial of common grace that he developed this whole view of revelation.


Janssen's attack on the nature of the miracles also led Hoeksema to give close attention to the whole concept of the miraculous as found in Scripture.

It might be that Hoeksema even felt somewhat the sting of Janssen's criticisms of the position of his accusers. Janssen had charged his accusers with making a distinction (to the point of a dualism) between the natural and the supernatural. He had further insisted that because the miracles involved the natural and were performed by God through the instrumentality of natural providence, these miracles could be explained (at least in part) by a study of the natural sciences which gave information on God's ordinary and natural workings in providence.

In their criticism of Janssen's position on miracles, the opponents of Janssen had appealed to the Scriptures and held before the Synod of 1922 the Scriptural data concerning the miracles. They had made clear that the miracles were not to be explained in terms of ordinary providence, even though God sometimes used means, for this explanation of miracles did not do justice to the data of Scripture.

But perhaps Hoeksema felt a certain lack in this approach, not so much because it was incorrect, but more because no positive statement of miracles had been set forth. Were miracles simply divine intrusions into ordinary providence? Did God suspend the "laws" of nature to work in other and different ways? Is it proper to make a distinction between the natural and the supernatural in the realm of miracles when God is the Author of both? Can study of the natural sciences help us to understand how God worked miracles? These and other questions were left unanswered.

To these questions Hoeksema addressed himself in his preaching and writings. While not mentioning the doctrinal controversy with Janssen specifically, obvious references to Janssen's position are found in his writings. For example, in a sermon preached in the early thirties on Exodus 7:19-25, 8:1-19, we find the following in his Introduction:

As we are about to treat the ten plagues or "strokes," a few introductory remarks concerning all of them in general may not be out of place.
1. And first of all regarding the time: a. According to most interpreters, the beginning must be conceived as in June or July. (1) Then, they say, took place the rising of the Nile - (2) Accompanied by a changing in the color of the water - the greenish (?) here changing into a deep red . . . . b. Rather object to this: (1) Am afraid that it is rather occasioned by a desire to explain the signs by natural causes. (Underscoring is mine, H.H.)12

In the first point entitled, "Their Reality," Hoeksema says,

A. No common phenomena.
1. Attempt has been made to explain these signs as common: a. Question was raised as to whether these strokes were natural or supernatural phenomena. (Underscoring in the sermon, H.H.) b. It was found that they all took place in nature - c. And concluded that they were natural phenomena -- only peculiar. (1) In that they were greatly increased in intensity and power. (2) That they came and went at the bidding of Moses. d. Thus: (1) River often was red, through a certain sediment carried along from the upper country. (2) Frogs were often abounding when the river receded. (3) And gnats and flies were no strange pest.
2. Must certainly be rejected: a. I am not interested in the natural or supernatural question. (1) To me all the works in nature are God's works. (2) And whether He makes one frog or a million is all the same to me. b. But certainly, (1) In all these strokes there is the operation of Jehovah as the God of salvation to deliver His people. (2) They were not common, but very striking and strange: wonders. (3) And only in that way did they draw the attention and prove that Jehovah was present in them.13

In a sermon on Exodus 8:24, 9:6.10, the following is included in Rev. Hoeksema's Introduction:

1. Review. With regard to the ten plagues or strokes in general we remarked: 1) That they were not mere natural phenomena, neither had their basis in anything natural. That the question is not whether they were natural or supernatural at all. But that they were signs: clear manifestations of the operation of Jehovah in the land working mightily for the salvation of His people Israel and for the destruction of the oppressor.14

In a sermon on Exodus 10:21-24, Hoeksema writes in his first point:

A. Its nature.
1. A sandstorm? a. Thus practically all commentators. b. A certain wind will blow in Egypt at the time of the year this ninth plague took place. (l) The air seems electrified. (2) Sucks up particles. (3) Till it is so filled with it, that the sun is hid and vision is obscured worse than in the densest fog. c. This must have taken place at this ninth plague, only in a worse form than ever before.
2. Objections: a. Of course, we do not claim that this could not have been the case. b. Only: the explanation is based on very dubious grounds. (l) The other plagues were aggravated natural phenomena, hence this must have been. (2) And this ground we do not accept. (a) They had their place in nature. (b) But were not natural phenomena themselves. c. And these are very grave objections: (l) In the first place: nodarkness. Even the densest fog, though it acts like a blanket and obscures the vision is not darkness. Yet the text speaks of darkness - not a sandstorm. (a) A thick darkness "A very dark darkness." (b) A darkness which may be felt. Not the sand was felt, but the darkness. And this no mere figurative expression. Just as we feel intense light, so the cutting off of light must be felt. Light is life, movement, vibration, waving. The cutting off of it is darkness. (2) In the second place: they saw not one-another - in the peculiar form of the Hebrew: a man did not see his brother. (3) Thirdly: no man rose from his place. If all had been struck with blindness it could not have been worse. (4) Fourthly: the children of Israel had light in their dwellings. (a) This is not to be changed: in the land of Goshen. (b) Neither does it mean: artificial light. (c) But God-given light, shining in their homes, and from their homes as centers out into the darkness without. (d) Which implies that the Egyptians had no light of any kind in their dwellings, neither could they create any artificial light. (5) Fifthly, not very likely that Pharaoh would have been so thoroughly frightened as he evidently was when he called Moses.
3. Hence: an actual suspension of light. a. The Lord created the light on the first day. b. And He concentrated it in the heavenly bodies on the fourth. c. But He can suspend its operation, and cut any area off from its effect. d. This was done, not the slightest ray of light penetrated Egypt; it was darker than the darkest night.15

Hoeksema, in latter writings, subjected the whole concept of the miraculous to careful scrutiny in a systematic way.16 In this analysis of the Biblical teaching on miracles Hoeksema made the following points. 1) From the viewpoint of God's own work, God's providence is essentially no different in miracles than in His ordinary way of working in the creation. 2) Miracles are simply a different way in which God works from the ordinary way. 3) He does so because He wishes to attract attention to what He does. 4) The purpose in attracting attention is to give to His people a sign, i.e., an earthly event which signifies a heavenly truth. 5) All miracles are always signs of the one central miracle which God performs in and through Jesus Christ in the work of salvation.

It was in this way that Hoeksema maintained the view of miracles defended by the majority of the Investigatory Committee, while at the same time avoiding the pitfalls of Janssen's application of common grace to the whole concept of miracles.


Finally, we must say a word or two question of inspiration.

It is rather striking that nowhere about the in Hoeksema's writings do we find a systematic development of the concept of inspiration.17 What one does find are scattered articles dealing with the question. The closest to a systematic development is a series of articles in criticism of Dr Ubbink's view of Scripture.18 Nevertheless, Hoeksema's exegetical writings especially give abundant evidence of the fact that he believed in verbal and plenary inspiration. The position which he took as a member of the majority of the Investigatory Committee remained his position throughout his life.

In some later writings of men who were taught by him in Seminary one can find the ideas of organic inspiration which, at least in some measure, Hoeksema maintained. These ideas of organic inspiration were not those to which Janssen held: that organic inspiration is thought inspiration. They are rather ideas which include in them what Gordon Clark calls the application of the truth of predestination and providence to the doctrine of the inspiration of Scripture.19 Clark points out that the current debate presents to one holding an infallible Bible a false dilemma: either one must believe in verbal inspiration and then fall into the error of a dictation theory of inspiration, or one must hold to organic inspiration and then abandon the notion of verbal inspiration. When inspiration is, according to Clark, considered in the context of providence and predestination, this false dilemma falls away. This is also, generally speaking, the view to which Hoeksema held and the view since ennunciated in various Protestant Reformed writings.20

The conclusions of the matter are: 1) The differences which arose over the doctrine of common grace were indeed differences which touched on vital points of doctrine; 2) Hoeksema, in his subsequent theological development, brought out the implications of a denial of common grace for the basic issues to which Janssen had addressed himself.

 

 

1 See many places in Janssen's writings which are referred to in earlier chapters, but especially, Voortzetting Van Den Strijd, pp. 68-69, De Crisis in de Christelijke Gereformeerde Kerk in Amerika, p. 12. Return

2 We discussed earlier how this question was related to the question of encyclopedia and the difference in viewpoint between Janssen, a follower of Kuyper, and Ten Hoor. This question of encyclopedia is an added dimension to the controversy. Return

3 Reports and Decisions in the Case of Dr. R. Janssen, pp. 111-112. Return

4 One can only wonder about this omission. In the light of his virtual denial of the supernatural in the miracles, it is possible that Janssen saw that the application of his principles to creation and the flood would carry him too far away from the position on creation and the flood as then held in the Christian Reformed Church. Return

5 As, e.g., in the case of the pessimism of the writer of Ecclesiastes. Return

6 It is interesting to read Hoeksema's writings on this subject in chronological order. One will find reference to general revelation in his earlier writings; after a period of time, one finds that the term "general revelation" begins to appear in quotes in his writings; then the term disappears altogether. Return

7 While we offer here only a summary of Hoeksema's teachings, a detailed exegesis of these passages can be found in his dictated class exegesis on Romans, published in mimeographed form by the Protestant Reformed Theological Seminary. Return

8 See Van Til, The Calvinist Concept of Culture, p. 57 for a similar view as that of Hoeksema with respect to the effect of sin upon human nature. On p. 118, Van Til refers to Kuyper as teaching that without common grace the world would have been destroyed. See also H. Hoeksema, Reformed Dogmatics (Grand Rapids: Reformed Free Publishing Association, 1966), pp. 267-280. In this passage Hoeksema quotes from A. Kuyper's Gemeene Gratie to demonstrate that only common grace kept man from actually dying after the fall. Also in this section Hoeksema develops his own view of depravity as the effect of sin. See also, H. Hoeksema,The Reunion of the Christian Reformed and Protestant Reformed Churches: Is It Demanded, Possible, Desired? This essay was read at a Conference of some Christian Reformed and Protestant Reformed ministers, held in the Pantlind Hotel at which conference Dr. K. Schilder was also present. It was translated by Rev. H. Veldman from the Dutch and published by the Reformed Free Publishing Association. No date is included, but it was published shortly after the Conference in 1939. See especially pp. 35-40. Return

9 Hoeksema, Reformed Dogmatics. Those who hold to the position that through common grace the unregenerated man is capable of doing some good make a distinction between saving good and good which is not saving. It is only in the latter sense that common grace enables a man to do good. See Hoeksema's description of Kuyper's view pp. 267-268; Van Til, The Calvinist Concept of Culture, pp. 117-136; H. Meeter,Calvinism: An Interpretation of Its Basic Ideas (Grand Rapids: Zondervan Publishing House, no date), pp. 72-73. Return

10 Hoeksema, Dictated Exegesis on RomansReturn

11 See Hoeksema, Reformed Dogmatics, pp. 178-195, where the doctrine of creation is treated; pp. 245-284, where the doctrine of sin and its consequences is treated. Return

12 From handwritten sermons in the private files of Prof. H.C. Hoeksema. Return

13 Ibid. Return

14 Ibid. Return

15 Ibid. Return

16 Hoeksema, Reformed Dogmatics, pp. 236-244. In this section, under the treatment of God's providence, Hoeksema discusses the idea of miracles both from the viewpoint of the conceptions held by others (including A. Kuyper) and from the positive viewpoint of Biblical teaching. He makes the following remark: "The distinction, therefore, between the natural and the supernatural is neither Reformed nor Scriptural. Everything is both natural and supernatural because everything is the work of God's sustaining and governing hand," 242. He then goes on to criticize the distinction between the mediate and immediate character of God's works, pp. 242-243.Return

17 The reason for this cannot perhaps be discovered with certainty, but it is possible that in that period during which Hoeksema's major writings were prepared, the controversy over the doctrine of inspiration was not on the agenda of the ecclesiastical world. It was not, therefore, a current issue. Return

18 Hoeksema, "Dr. Ubbink's Proeve Eener Nieuwe Belijdenis." The Standard Bearer (February 1, 1932): pp. 196-198; Hoeksema, "De Nieuwe Belijdenis Aangaande Schrift en Kerk." The Standard Bearer (February 15, 1932): 220-223, (March 1, 19B2): 244-247, (June 15, 1932): 412-415, (July 1, 1932): 436-440, (July 15, 1932): 460-463, (August 1, 1932): 484-487, (September 15, 1932): 540-543. See also various other articles which deal with various aspects of the question. In the articles against Ubbink we find the most detailed development of Hoeksema's position on organic inspiration. Return

19 Gordon Clark, God's Hammer: The Bible and Its Critics (Jefferson, Maryland: Trinity Foundation, 1987). pp. 42-44. Return

20 H. C. Hoeksema, As To The doctrine Of Holy Scripture." Protestant Reformed Theological Journal (November, 1969): pp. 22-36, (April, 1970): 19-36; 4 (October, 1970): 20-38; (April, 1971): pp. 24-31; 5 (October, 1971): 17-35. Return

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  • Reading Sermon Library
  • Taped Sermon Library

Synodical Officers

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Synodical Committees

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  • Emeritus Committee
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Contact/Missions

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Classical Officers

Classis East
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Classis West
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