09 Aug GS 1992 art 88
GS 1992 ARTICLE 88 – Appeal of Br. D. Houweling
Committee II presents: Agenda item VIII D3
Letter of br. D. Houweling plus appendices.
Since br. D. Houweling is appealing a decision of Regional Synod West May 28, 1991, which br. Houweling contends to be in conflict with the Word of God, Synod decide to declare this appeal admissible (Art. 31 C.O.).
Regional Synod answered br. Houweling in first instance with an erroneous reply which was superseded by the official reply dated July 5, 1992, acknowledging that an error had been made.
Br. Houweling agrees with the Regional Synod’s analysis of his correspondence with the Consistory and Classis (Observations 1 and 2 and Consideration 1): “The place of the law in the life of the Christian is indeed the focal point of the issue.” Br. Houweling asks: “Since Scripture teaches that believers are under grace and not under law (Rom. 6:14) how is it that the Reformed Confessions and the Reformed Church in general still places God’s people under the law?”
Br. Houweling states that Regional Synod “fails to deal with the issue in light of the Scriptures involved but rather quote exclusively from the exact source with which I take issue – namely the three forms of unity.”
Regional Synod judges:
- that br. Houweling’s interpretation of Scripture in this matter is incorrect.
- that the Consistory has dealt with br. Houweling’s concerns in accordance with Scripture and the Confessions.
- that Classis Pacific correctly supported the church at Lynden.
The clerk of Regional Synod West May 28, 1991, admits error in his reply of July 5, 1991 and submits this letter as Synod’s official reply to br. Houweling’s appeal, thus removing any doubt as to which reply to accept.
In its considerations Regional Synod submits:
- that the following N.T. references, Rom. 7:12, 14, James 1:25, 1 Cor.6:9-11 and Col. 3, support the doctrine of sanctification as confessed in the Three Forms of Unity (Lord’s Day 23, 24; Belgic Confession Art. 22, 23, 24).
- that the Reformed Confessions are a summary of Scripture and that these Three Forms of Unity are not in conflict with Scripture on this point.
- Regional Synod has already submitted Scripture proof, contrary to br. Houweling’s allegation that they did not, and these references answer his question “how is it that the Reformed Confessions and the Reformed Church in general still places God’s people under the law ?” The Scriptures show that br. Houweling is correct in his emphasis that for its sanctification the congregation must be referred to Christ. Yet, br. Houweling must see from the Scriptures as well, that in Christ the law is maintained, for Christ has delivered us “in order that the just requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us who walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.” (Rom. 8:4). Br. Houweling could look for further confirmation of this Reformed doctrine in the epistle of John, e.g. 1 John 2:3,6,7,29; 3:3,22,24; 5:3, to see how the Holy Spirit leads the N.T. believers in the paths of righteousness for Christ’ sake by means of His law (1 John 3:24).
Synod decide to deny the appeal of br. Houweling based on the above considerations.