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

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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.
 

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.
 

bookslover

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

Seems to me that the former would cancel out the latter.
 

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.
 

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.
 

Pergamum

Ordinary Guy (TM)
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.
They are high supralapserians who deny common grace and the well-meant offer and border on hyper-calvinism.
 

De Jager

Puritan Board Freshman
They are high supralapserians who deny common grace and the well-meant offer and border on hyper-calvinism.
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.
 

Pergamum

Ordinary Guy (TM)
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.
One could also do a lot better.
 

De Jager

Puritan Board Freshman
One could also do a lot better.
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?
 

Pergamum

Ordinary Guy (TM)
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?
Is this a pop quiz?
 

De Jager

Puritan Board Freshman
Is this a pop quiz?
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...
 

B.L.

Puritan Board Freshman
For example, two of their more esteemed teachers are Ron Hanko and David Engelsma.
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?
 

Pergamum

Ordinary Guy (TM)
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...
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.
 

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.
 

B.L.

Puritan Board Freshman
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.
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.
 

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
 

Ed Walsh

Puritan Board Junior
I object to their supralapserianism
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:
My dear brother:

Where did you come up with such a list? One cannot put any pre-Reformers or first generation Reformers on this list (certainly not Martin Luther), as the question of the logical order of the eternal decrees was not one that they explicitly addressed in their writings. It was not explicitly raised until Beza and following. I don't claim that none of these earlier ones on the list might not have affirmed supralapsarianism (or that they didn't hint at such) but not explicitly, as those that we can rightly denominate supralapsarians did.

Warmly,
Alan
This was my answer:
Hi Alan,

The link where I got it is at the top of the list. It was posted at monergism.com
https://www.monergism.com/infralapsarianism-and-supralapsarianism

Oops! I admit that I posted it uncritically. I was in a hurry and just trusted the site. Besides it was such an impressively long and list.:)

Thanks for writing to me privately, but I'm hoping you would copy this paragraph and paste it in response to the thread for others to see as well. Or, give me your permission to do so without mentioning your name if that's what you prefer. If I don't mention your name, I could go on and on about the greatness and authoritative words of the anonymous writer. :)

Thanks again, Alan, really!

Ed
Alan wrote back and gave me permission to post the above.

Ed
 
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De Jager

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?
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.
 

Pergamum

Ordinary Guy (TM)
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)
Supra is included in the reformed tradition, yes, but I believe it is wrong and that the Canons of Dort assume infralapserianism.
 

BayouHuguenot

Puritanboard Amanuensis
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.
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.
 

Afterthought

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