Reformed Protestant Church {New Denomination}

Reformedforever

Puritan Board Freshman
Has anyone heard about the split from the Protestant Reformed Church this year and the resulting formation of the Reformed Protestant Denomination by Andy Lanning?
 

Edward

Puritanboard Commissioner
Thank you for that link @Romans922 . While the letter talks around the issue, I think I could figure out the origins of the controversy.
 

Reformed Covenanter

Cancelled Commissioner
@Edward I am currently reading this document, which appears to suggest it was something to do with justification (see the reference to Article 22 of the Belgic Confession). On page two, it states, "So this is emphatically doctrine, so that the doctrine of a further reformation theologian [Witsius] is what reigns in the editorial pages of the Standard Bearer, and those who want to set forth the truth of the gospel have to form their own magazine."
 

Reformed Covenanter

Cancelled Commissioner
They are accusing the PRC of preaching a conditional covenant

From the above document that I cited, the precise issue is that of conditional fellowship. Here is what it says on pages 9-10:

15. What are the doctrinal differences between the First Reformed Protestant Church and the Protestant Reformed denomination?

Rev. L: The main doctrinal difference is that the Protestant Reformed Churches have taught, tolerated, and defended conditional fellowship with God. Conditional fellowship is the heart of the doctrinal difference.

First Reformed Protestant Church maintains unconditional fellowship with God. That doctrine of conditional fellowship with God was brought to light in a sermon on John 14:6, where Jesus says, “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” The sermon taught that our obedience is part of the way to the Father. And the sermon made clear that it was dealing with the experience of being with Father, the experience of covenant fellowship with God. And part of the way to that experience of fellowship is our obedience.

That doctrine of conditional fellowship has given rise to other false doctrines, such as conditional assurance instead of the assurance of faith. It is currently giving rise to corruption of the truth of total depravity. It is also giving rise to the teaching that if a man would be saved, there is that which he must do, so that the salvation and fellowship of God’s people is preached to them as man and man’s doings.

That is the doctrinal issue: conditional fellowship.

The doctrinal issue does not go by that name in the Protestant Reformed Churches. It goes by this name: fellowship in the way of obedience. That is how you will hear it in the Protestant Reformed Churches.

I do not object to the phrase “in the way of obedience” as Herman Hoeksema taught that. I do not object to that phrase as it has been used in the past by Protestant Reformed ministers, but that phrase has been corrupted. That phrase has been taken over by conditional theology in the Protestant Reformed Churches.

The sermon that taught that our obedience is part of the way to the Father was defended by a consistory—Hope’s consistory—by Classis East, and by Synod 2016. In every case the defense of that false statement—our obedience is part of the way to the Father—was done by the phrase “in the way of.” All that the sermon means, these assemblies said, is that we enjoy fellowship “in the way of” our obedience. What the assemblies got wrong was that that
was not what the sermon taught—not at all what the sermon taught. The sermon displaced Christ. The sermon made something other than faith the means of obtaining Christ and all his benefits. The sermon taught rank heresy, sheer conditionalism, though it was careful enough never to use the word condition.

Conditional fellowship is the doctrinal difference.

That shows up in the preaching. And it shows up in the preaching this way: When some fellowship or some blessing of God is held back from God’s people until first their works have been preached to them. And once their works have been preached to them, they are told, “‘In the way of’ you will now have this fellowship.” That is false doctrine. That is conditional fellowship. It is conditional covenant at its heart.
 

Romans922

Puritan Board Professor
They deny the well-meant offer. They affirm the free offer with enthusiasm. See David Engelsma's Hyper-Calvinism and the Call of the Gospel, specifically chapter one.
Let me be more specific and say they deny common grace.
 

Taylor

Puritan Board Graduate
Let me be more specific and say they deny common grace.
Even then, it seems to me their concern is really with the term “grace.” They certainly believe in the “common operations of the Spirit,” they just object to calling it grace. While we may disagree with this, it is hardly heresy or hyper-Calvinism:

“The idea of common grace is a theologoumenon (theological opinion) and does not have confessional status.”​
—Robert Letham, Systematic Theology (Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 2019), 650; italics original.​

Note: As far as I know, Letham himself affirms common grace.
 
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Reformedforever

Puritan Board Freshman
What is the difference between the well meant offer and what the PRC teaches? Do most of the Reformed world believe in the well meant offer?
 

Reformed Covenanter

Cancelled Commissioner
The real "issue" with the PRCA, from a confessional standpoint, is their denial of the covenant of works and their raising of the covenant of grace to the ontological realm. At a practical level, their inordinate devotion to the doctrine of one recent theologian (Herman Hoeksema) and comparative lack of interest in what the Reformed orthodox have taught leads to a lot of problems.
 

py3ak

Unshaven and anonymous
Staff member
What is the difference between the well meant offer and what the PRC teaches? Do most of the Reformed world believe in the well meant offer?
There are a couple of differences.

There is genuine hyper-Calvinism, where people deny that there is any obligation for those who are reprobate to believe the Gospel.

At least some in the PRC might object to the term offer.

There is the position (articulated by the Westminster Standards) that Christ is freely offered.

And then there is the position, which I think took its rise with John Howe and has since been inculcated by R.L. Dabney and John Murray among others, that the free offer of the Gospel indicates that God has a sincere desire to save everyone (even though it turns out he can't because of other considerations). That position can be nuanced to some degree, but it's not clear to me that any of its defenders have convincingly avoided the problem articulated by Herman Witsius: "it is unworthy of the divine majesty, to imagine that there is an incomplete, unresolved, and ineffectual volition in God." (Herman Witsius, The Economy of the Covenants, I:259)

One of the argumentative methods deployed by certain defenders of the well-meant offer is to assume that their view is the Westminsterian view and to accuse anyone who distinguishes of hyper-Calvinism. Given the spectrum, though, that's historically underinformed or disingenuous.
 

NaphtaliPress

Administrator
Staff member
Anyone contending the WMO is the Reformed confessional position needs to read Daniel's review of Waldron's book on the free offer in v16 of The Confessional Presbyterian. Waldron makes these kind of sweeping claims which just don't stand up to examination.
There are a couple of differences.

There is genuine hyper-Calvinism, where people deny that there is any obligation for those who are reprobate to believe the Gospel.

At least some in the PRC might object to the term offer.

There is the position (articulated by the Westminster Standards) that Christ is freely offered.

And then there is the position, which I think took its rise with John Howe and has since been inculcated by R.L. Dabney and John Murray among others, that the free offer of the Gospel indicates that God has a sincere desire to save everyone (even though it turns out he can't because of other considerations). That position can be nuanced to some degree, but it's not clear to me that any of its defenders have convincingly avoided the problem articulated by Herman Witsius: "it is unworthy of the divine majesty, to imagine that there is an incomplete, unresolved, and ineffectual volition in God." (Herman Witsius, The Economy of the Covenants, I:259)

One of the argumentative methods deployed by certain defenders of the well-meant offer is to assume that their view is the Westminsterian view and to accuse anyone who distinguishes of hyper-Calvinism. Given the spectrum, though, that's historically underinformed or disingenuous.
The real "issue" with the PRCA, from a confessional standpoint, is their denial of the covenant of works and their raising of the covenant of grace to the ontological realm. At a practical level, their inordinate devotion to the doctrine of one recent theologian (Herman Hoeksema) and comparative lack of interest in what the Reformed orthodox have taught leads to a lot of problems.
 

kodos

Puritan Board Junior
My few acquaintances (on social media mostly) in the PRCA do bristle at the Westminster Standards use of "freely offered".

WCF 7.3 - "...the Lord was pleased to make a second, commonly called the Covenant of Grace: whereby he freely offereth unto sinners life and salvation by Jesus Christ..."

WSC Q. 31. What is effectual calling?​
A. Effectual calling is the work of God’s Spirit, whereby, convincing us of our sin and misery, enlightening our minds in the knowledge of Christ, and renewing our wills, he doth persuade and enable us to embrace Jesus Christ, freely offered to us in the gospel.​

But then again, my sample set of PRCA acquaintances is pretty low, and maybe they are confusing freely offered with the well-meant offer.
 

Taylor

Puritan Board Graduate
My few acquaintances (on social media mostly) in the PRCA do bristle at the Westminster Standards use of "freely offered".

WCF 7.3 - "...the Lord was pleased to make a second, commonly called the Covenant of Grace: whereby he freely offereth unto sinners life and salvation by Jesus Christ..."​
WSC Q. 31. What is effectual calling?​
A. Effectual calling is the work of God’s Spirit, whereby, convincing us of our sin and misery, enlightening our minds in the knowledge of Christ, and renewing our wills, he doth persuade and enable us to embrace Jesus Christ, freely offered to us in the gospel.​

But then again, my sample set of PRCA acquaintances is pretty low, and maybe they are confusing freely offered with the well-meant offer.
I’ve also wondered, does Westminster use “offer” in the same sense we often do? Does “offer” for Westminster mean “attempt to give” or “hold before”? Both are within the semantic range, yet have clearly different connotations.
 

Reformedforever

Puritan Board Freshman
I’m wondering this as well. PRCA says that offer meant something different back then in the Latin. Or does it mean the exact same as we use the word now?
 

VictorBravo

Administrator
Staff member
"Offer", in law, and in the commercial world from at least the 15th century, meant simply to hold something out for acceptance or rejection.

I think that sense of offer is shown in Isaiah 55:1 and Revelation 22:17. Here is water...come and take it.
 

Irenaeus

Puritan Board Freshman
Anyone contending the WMO is the Reformed confessional position needs to read Daniel's review of Waldron's book on the free offer in v16 of The Confessional Presbyterian. Waldron makes these kind of sweeping claims which just don't stand up to examination.
WMO?
 

Reformed Covenanter

Cancelled Commissioner
My few acquaintances (on social media mostly) in the PRCA do bristle at the Westminster Standards use of "freely offered".

WCF 7.3 - "...the Lord was pleased to make a second, commonly called the Covenant of Grace: whereby he freely offereth unto sinners life and salvation by Jesus Christ..."​
WSC Q. 31. What is effectual calling?​
A. Effectual calling is the work of God’s Spirit, whereby, convincing us of our sin and misery, enlightening our minds in the knowledge of Christ, and renewing our wills, he doth persuade and enable us to embrace Jesus Christ, freely offered to us in the gospel.​

But then again, my sample set of PRCA acquaintances is pretty low, and maybe they are confusing freely offered with the well-meant offer.

Ironically, various PRCA people make exactly the same mistake as the WMO advocates do in thinking that the phrase freely offered can only mean the WMO. David Engelsma, however, has recognised that the term free offer does not always refer to the WMO.
 

yeutter

Puritan Board Senior
The distinction between what is taught by the Protestant Reformed Churches and the new denomination the Reformed Protestant Churches is hard to pin down.
The Reformed Protestant Churches [RPC] leadership, Pastor Andrew Lanning, and Rev. Nathan Langerak believe that conditional theology is being tolerated in the Protestant Reformed Churches. In writing and speeches, the RPC leaders are adamant that there is no sense in which man's action precedes a blessing from God. Looking at the other side of the equation, I am left with a question, is there any sense in which the believer's sin precedes a chastisement from God? When the believer repents and turns from his sin, is God's cessation of chastisement for sin a blessing?
I have enclosed a link to the Crete Protestant Reformed Church announcement of the suspension of Rev. Langerak.
 

Contra_Mundum

Pilgrim, Alien, Stranger
Staff member
The PB has PRC members, and possibly RPC members. So let us be wise in airing controversy, that we not engender needless offenses. There is no problem with this thread. I'm merely asking for people to think before they post, and to make sure they know whereof they speak.
 

yeutter

Puritan Board Senior
Has anyone heard about the split from the Protestant Reformed Church this year and the resulting formation of the Reformed Protestant Denomination by Andy Lanning?
Leah: I note that you are a member of Loveland Protestant Reformed Church.
What additional light can you shed on this schism?
 

yeutter

Puritan Board Senior
"We do not, of course, bring our works into our justification, but the faith by which we are justified is not passive. It is not a dead faith, but a living, active faith. It is not a working faith, for faith does not work, least of all for justification, but it is (to risk stating a redundancy) a believing faith, a faith that receives, embraces, appropriates, etc. That living, active faith is the God-worked, graciously-given instrument by which we embrace Jesus Christ and all his benefits, and the means by which God graciously imputes to us the perfect righteousness of Christ. It does not belong to our righteousness before God, and, therefore, it is not the ground/basis of our justification, but it is the instrument by which we lay hold of the righteousness of our Savior. It is not a passive instrument, for how could faith, “the hand and mouth of our soul” (Belgic Confession, Article 35) be passive, inert, inactive?" Rev. Martyn McGeown
 
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