Soliciting Thoughts on PRCA Theologians (H. Hoeksema & D. Engelsma)

Discussion in 'General discussions' started by BLM, Oct 29, 2019.

  1. BLM

    BLM Puritan Board Freshman

    Over the weekend I stumbled upon the Reformed Free Publishing Association (RFPA) and in turn the Protestant Reformed Churches in America (PRCA) and I was curious to learn what folks think about the writings of Herman Hoeksema and David Engelsma. I read a little bit about the history of the denomination and was curious if there are any books that stand out as being worthy of shelf space in one's library. Thoughts?

    Have a joyful evening friends!
     
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  2. Reformed Covenanter

    Reformed Covenanter Puritanboard Commissioner

    Their material is generally interesting but is problematic in certain respects. It is a mixed back so be discerning. They remind us that there is a place in the Reformed tradition for rejecting things like the well-meant offer and modern theories of common grace. They have also been very good at reaffirming the confessional position that only the elect are properly in the covenant of grace.

    Regretfully, they tend to be obsessed with certain subjects to the point that if they were writing about Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, they would still find a way to talk about their distinctive opinions. Although to be fair, that observation is less true of Herman Hoeksema and his son Homer than with later Hoeksemite writers.

    On several issues, they are out of accord with the Reformed confession. They tend not to see the covenant as an act of providence, but as being ad intra to God. Flowing from this error, they deny the covenant of works with Adam. They also tend to see a univocal likeness between the covenant of grace and the covenant of marriage - rather than viewing the latter as a covenant of duty, which is analogous to Christ's marriage covenant with the church. Hence, they also reject the Westminster Confession's teaching on divorce and remarriage. They also dissent from the original Belgic Confession on the civil magistrate.

    To end on a positive note, Herman Hoeksema is one of the best devotional writers that the Reformed faith produced in the 20th century.
     
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  3. py3ak

    py3ak They're stalling and plotting against me Staff Member

    There are certain idiosyncrasies, and I think it's pretty clear that none of their other writers really hold a candle to Herman Hoeksema in terms of ability, though Engelsma is able to make his points clearly. Hoeksema's sermons on the Heidelberg Catechism (The Triple Knowledge) are quite exciting and will certainly make you think. I wouldn't trust him as an authoritative guide or a reliable source, but there is a distinctive brilliance in what he does that is well worth engaging.
     
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  4. bookslover

    bookslover Puritan Board Doctor

    In other words, he's wrong, but he writes well.

    Seems to me that the former would cancel out the latter.
     
  5. Reformed Covenanter

    Reformed Covenanter Puritanboard Commissioner

    One particularly good book by a PRCA author is Herman Hanko's When You Pray. Their works on practical subjects do tend to be very useful.
     
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  6. Contra_Mundum

    Contra_Mundum Pilgrim, Alien, Stranger Staff Member

    There are a few honorable participants of the PB who are members in good standing of faithful PRC congregations. They do not need to apologize for their distinctives, even if they disagree with those having permission to disagree with them.

    PRC do not believe their views are contrary to what specifically their churches confess in the 3FU (no exceptions or scruples), even if they do not stand with certain majoritarian historical interpretations of various doctrines. The PB is a place where both sides may openly and freely debate, only with mutual respect.
     
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  7. Nate

    Nate Puritan Board Junior

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  8. Minh

    Minh Puritan Board Freshman

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  9. BLM

    BLM Puritan Board Freshman

    Thanks all. I appreciate the feedback on this.

    Have a joyful Wednesday in the Lord!
     
  10. PaulCLawton

    PaulCLawton Puritan Board Freshman

    Has anyone here read Engelsma's commentary on the Belgic Confession and is willing to provide a review? I picked up a copy of Vols 1 and 2 and have referred to it occasionally, but I am probably not sharp enough to pick up on any idiosyncrasies.
     
  11. Pergamum

    Pergamum Ordinary Guy (TM)

    Avoid them all.
     
  12. BLM

    BLM Puritan Board Freshman

    Can you provide some reasons for why you offer this counsel? Which works have you read and what did you find particularly troubling about them?

    Thank you.
     
  13. Pergamum

    Pergamum Ordinary Guy (TM)

    They are high supralapserians who deny common grace and the well-meant offer and border on hyper-calvinism.
     
  14. De Jager

    De Jager Puritan Board Freshman

    That explains why they have missionairies, then...

    They also aren't the only reformed people to deny the well-meant offer, and common grace.

    I wouldn't be afraid to read anything by our PRC brothers. Just read with a discerning eye. One can do much worse than the PRCA, in my opinion.
     
  15. Pergamum

    Pergamum Ordinary Guy (TM)

    One could also do a lot better.
     
  16. De Jager

    De Jager Puritan Board Freshman

    Can you, without doing a google search, name 3 of their active ministers? And perhaps some of the teachings you have found suspect, and who the proponents are?

    For example, two of their more esteemed teachers are Ron Hanko and David Engelsma. What have they said that you have objected to?
     
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  17. Pergamum

    Pergamum Ordinary Guy (TM)

    Is this a pop quiz?
     
  18. De Jager

    De Jager Puritan Board Freshman

    I just figured that if you would be willing to tell a person to avoid an entire denomination, you should have something to back up the claim beyond what appears to be anecdotal evidence....it just seems rather uncharitable otherwise...
     
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  19. BLM

    BLM Puritan Board Freshman

    Ron Hanko. This is a new name for me. Thank you. I read the earlier comment by Daniel that referenced Herman Hanko. Relatives, I presume?

    What contribution is Ron Hanko most noted for? Any particular work you have appreciated?
     
  20. Pergamum

    Pergamum Ordinary Guy (TM)

    I object to their supralapserianism, their denial of common grace, and their denial of the well-meant offer of the Gospel. I think they tend towards rationalism.
     
  21. BayouHuguenot

    BayouHuguenot Puritanboard Amanuensis

    I like some of their stuff and Rev Engelsma has been gracious to me in emails. I think their analysis of Kuyper is spot on. I just get weary of seeing how their views on marriage/divorce are made explicit in every. single. theological. conversation. regardless. of. topic.
     
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  22. BLM

    BLM Puritan Board Freshman

    Presuming you have first-hand exposure to the distinctives of the PRCA you are the first Baptist I have met who is familiar with this group.

    I appreciate those who drink wide and are unafraid to wade into Protestant traditions that are different from their own for the sake of learning. In my view this is one of the ways we can better know what we believe and why we believe it...a sort of iron sharpening if that makes sense.

    I have grown increasingly interested in better understanding the heritage of our Dutch Reformed brethren and hope to learn more about the various groups out there, etc.
     
  23. yeutter

    yeutter Puritan Board Senior

    Another Protestant Reformed pastor is Rev. Angus Stuart, who is pastor of a parish in Ulster. His parish website has a relatively comprehensive collection of the three Oecumenical Creeds, and the Three Forms of Unity in vernacular languages. www.cprf.co.uk/languages.htm
     
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  24. Ed Walsh

    Ed Walsh Puritan Board Junior

    What is so bad about supralapsarianism? Is it heretical? Has it been denied by all Reformed Theologians or Confessions? You may not like the view or think it is Scriptual, but you stand pretty much alone in a blanket denunciation the works by supra. adherents.

    List of Supralapsarians
    Alphabetical by last name –

    William Ames (1576-1633)
    Louis Berkof desired to hold to both views (cf. Systematic Theology, pp.124-25).
    Theodore Beza (1519-1605)
    Johannes Bogerman (1576-1637) , Synod of Dort president
    Thomas Bradwardine (1290 – 1349)
    Johannes Braun (1628-1708)
    Martin Bucer (1491 – 1551)
    John Calvin (1509-1564)
    Gordon Clark (1902-1985)
    Isaac Chauncy (1632-1712)
    Vincent Cheung
    Johannes Cocceius (1603-1669)
    Alexander Comrie (1706–1774)
    Tobias Crisp (1600-1643)
    Giovanni Diodati (1576-1649)
    Andreas Essenius (1618-1677)
    David Engelsma
    Francis Gomarus (1563-1641)
    Thomas Goodwin (1600-1680)
    Gottschalk of Orbais (808 – 867)
    Gregory of Rimini (c. 1330-58)
    Herman Hoeksema (1886-1965)
    G.H. Kersten
    John Knox (1505-1572)
    Abraham Kuyper (1837-1920)
    Martin Luther (1483-1546)
    Johannes Maccovius (1588–1644)
    Wolfgang Musculus (1497-1563)
    Mathias Nethenus (1618-1686)
    William Perkins (1558-1602)
    Arthur Walkington Pink ( 1886 – 1952)
    Amandus Polanus (1561-1610)
    Peter Ramus (1515-1572)
    Robert Reymond (1932 – 2013) considered having a modified form
    John W. Robbins (1949-2008)
    Robert Rollock (1555-1598)
    Samuel Rutherford (1600-1661)
    John Collett Ryland (1723 – 1792)
    Daniel Tilenus (1563 – 1633)
    Robert Traill (1642-1716)
    Augustus M. Toplady (1740–1778)
    Robert Traill (1642-1716)
    Theodore Tronchin (1582-1687) Beza’s son-in-law
    Benedict Turretin (1588-1631) Francis Turretin’s Dad
    William Twisse, (1578-1646)
    Peter Martyr Vermigli (1499-1562)
    Gisbertus Voetius (1589-1676)
    Gerhardus Vos (1862-1949)
    Antonius Walaeus (1573-1639)
    William Whitaker (1548-1595)
    Jerome Zanchius (1516-1590)
    Huldreich Zwingli (1484-1531)

    EDIT: I thought this exchange should be added to this post

    My friend @Alan D. Strange wrote the following to me privately:
    This was my answer:
    Alan wrote back and gave me permission to post the above.

    Ed
     
    Last edited: Nov 1, 2019
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  25. De Jager

    De Jager Puritan Board Freshman

    I have listened to a debate between him and David Silversides regarding common grace and was impressed. I also have listened to a sermon by him on Psalm singing. I thought it was helpful.

    For those who are interested, there is a sermon on Sermon Audio entitled "The Gospel to Unbelievers" by a PRC mijister, Rev. Brian Huizenga. Perhaps that may make clear their stance on the offer of the gospel.
     
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  26. Pergamum

    Pergamum Ordinary Guy (TM)

    Supra is included in the reformed tradition, yes, but I believe it is wrong and that the Canons of Dort assume infralapserianism.
     
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  27. BayouHuguenot

    BayouHuguenot Puritanboard Amanuensis

    While I have leaned towards supra in the past, it does have its problems. It's a valid position but it implies that creation was merely the means by which God could damn some people. The only way damnation could be pulled off is for God to create the world. That's Letham's critique.
     
  28. Minh

    Minh Puritan Board Freshman

    Just a question. Does supralapsarianism implies fatalism? I believe in it but I need a good argument against the charge of fatalism.
     
  29. JimmyH

    JimmyH Puritan Board Junior

  30. Afterthought

    Afterthought Puritan Board Junior

    No. The lapsarian debate is about the teleolgical relationship between the decrees. The execution of the decree is the same on both schemes, so men freely choose the destiny God assigned them on both schemes.
     
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