Hierdie teologiese joernaal is gratis aanlyn of in harde kopie beskikbaar op aanvraag (ouer uitgawes is ook aanlyn beskikbaar, en daar is ook die volgende goeie nuus: “Kindle Mobi and ePub formats coming soon!)
Hier is die huidige April 2014 uitgawe:
Nie net die feit dat hierdie joernaal gratis is nie, maar ook al die boekresensies maak dit beslis die moeite werd, sonder om met elke detail of artikel/resensie noodwendig in alles saam te stem.
Hier onder is ook die lys van die boekresensies, met hier en daar ‘n aanhaling wat ek bygevoeg het.
Ek wil veral die eerste, derde, sesde, agtste en tiende resensie sterk aanbeveel om te lees, omdat dit sake raak wat ook in ons kerke hier in SA van groot belang is.
Die resensies raak belangrike sake aan soos:
- weerspreek Romeine (Paulus) en Jakobus mekaar oor geloof en werke se verhouding ?
- vir wie het Christus gesterwe, vir alle mense (kop-vir-kop) of slegs vir hulle wat glo, die uitverkorenes ?
- wat is die ‘well-meant offer of die Gospel’, en is dit reg ?
- Die twee Kuypers, die een van soewereine genade en kerkreformasie (waarvan ons min hoor) en die een van algemene genade en politiek en kultuur (waarvan ons baie hoor)
- by die resensie van boek 9 – wat handel oor eskatologie (leer van die einddinge/toekoms/laaste dae) – maak ek ‘n paar opmerkings waar ek met die resent verskil.
Enige reaksie op my opmerkings of op die ander boekresensies, is meer as welkom in die ‘comment’ afdeling. Onthou net asb, soos met alles wat ons lees en bestudeer – lees dit in die lig van Hand.17:11 en gebed):
1. Not of Works: Norman Shepherd and His Critics, by Ralph F. Boersema. Minneapolis, MN: NextStep Resources, 2012. Pp. xxxi + 235. $15 (paper). [Reviewed by David J. Engelsma.]
Oor Paulus (Romeine 3 en 4) wat sogenaamd vir Jakobus (Jak.2) weerspeek,
At the time of the Reformation, the Roman Catholic adversaries of Luther’s, Calvin’s, and the Reformation’s doctrine of justification by faith only made James 2 the decisive passage on (forensic) justification, the chief bulwark with which to withstand the Reformation’s gospel of justification by faith only and the main catapult with which to demolish the Reformation’s gospel of grace.
Shepherd and the Federal Vision do the same, thus showing their colors.
The issue regarding James 2 is simply this: Does James 2 mean by “justification” the same truth as does Paul in Romans 3 and 4? Beyond all doubt and question, Paul speaks of justification as the forensic act of God the judge. That is, justification in Romans 3 and 4 is God’s declaration pronouncing the sinner righteous, changing his legal standing from guilt to innocence. In Romans 4:5, justification is God’s counting, or reckoning, faith for righteousness. According to Romans 4:6, 7, justification is the imputation of righteousness, thus forgiving iniquities. According to Romans 4:8, justification is the non-imputation of sin.
Counting, reckoning, imputing, and forgiving are forensic terms, describing the legal declaration that effects a change in one’s standing before the law and the judge. If James 2 speaks of justification in the same sense, James contradicts Paul, with regard to a fundamental truth of the gospel.
Whereas Paul teaches that justification is by faith only, apart from good works, James now teaches that justification is by faith and by good works, expressly denying that justification is by faith only.
This is impossible.
Two apostles of Christ cannot contradict each other on the pages of inspired Scripture. Scripture does not contradict itself, least of all regarding such a fundamental truth as justification.
There are only two conceivable ways of harmonizing Paul and James. One is that Paul and James have two different kinds of works in mind. James refers to genuine good works. Paul refers to ceremonial works and to works that intend to merit salvation.
According to this way of harmonizing Paul and James, justification—the forensic act—is by faith and by faith’s genuine good works.
This is the explanation of Shepherd, the Federal Vision, and Ralph Boersema.
“Shepherd favors the forensic justification exegesis of James 2” (168).
And, let us not forget, this is the explanation of the Roman Catholic Church, to the overthrow of the sixteenth century Reformation of the church.
The other, and correct, harmonizing of Paul and James is that the two apostles speak of justification in two different senses. “Justification” does not have the same reference in James 2 that it has in Romans 3 and 4. Paul refers to the forensic act of God, beyond dispute. James, in contrast, refers to the demonstration of justification. Or, to say it differently, James refers to justification as it shows itself to be genuine. Just as a faith devoid of good works shows itself to be a dead and false faith, so an alleged justification by such a dead faith is shown to be a spurious justification by the lack of good works as the fruit of justification.
This was the explanation, not only of Luther, but also of Calvin, indeed, of all the reformers.
It is significant that, eager as Shepherd, the Federal Vision, and Boersema are to support their doctrines by selected quotations of Calvin, at this critical point there is no reference to Calvin. The same is true regarding Shepherd’s interpretation of Romans 2:13.” [p.105, 106]
2. Jeroboam’s Wife, The Enduring Contribution of the Old Testament’s Least Known Women. Robin Gallaher Branch. Hendrickson Publishers: Peabody, MA: 2009. Paperback, 250 pp. [Reviewed by Martyn McGeown].
3. Abraham Kuyper: Modern Calvinist, Christian Democrat, by James D. Bratt (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2013). Pp. xxviii + 455. $30 (paper). Reviewed by David J. Engelsma
I frankly confess that the Kuyper of political maneuvers and power and of the forming of worldly culture is little more attractive to me than any other politician or philosopher.
But the Kuyper of Reformed theology, church reformation, and biblical exposition is not only attractive, but also an important part of my (Reformed) tradition.
The profound theoretician of the presumptuous, impossible Christianizing of culture, whether in the small Netherlands or in the vast world, pales in comparison with the writer of the meditation in the Heraut on the occasion of the death of Kuyper’s godly, beloved wife of nearly forty years at the young age of fifty seven.
There you stood with a broken heart by the deathbed. There lay your deceased, lifeless, inanimate, for all the world as if she had been swallowed up by death. Swallowed up—a hard word. Devoured, as if by a beast of prey. All at once, gone: the look of the eye, the sweet words… everything, clean gone…[Yet] God’s Word, without in any way discounting the harshness of that reality, turns it around for you [believers in Jesus Christ]. Totally…[For the faithful, the moment of death means that] what is mortal is swallowed up by life (282).
With the significant exception of his novel theory of common grace, Kuyper powerfully confessed, explained, and defended Reformed orthodoxy on behalf of the Reformed churches in the Netherlands and to the ends of the world. His book on particular grace, rare and controversial in his day, as also in ours, is a clear and compelling blast of the trumpet concerning salvation by sovereign grace to the glory of God.
The book makes plain that the development of Kuyper’s theory of common grace into the doctrine of the well-meant offer by the Christian Reformed Church in the first point of its binding doctrine of common grace in 1924 has no backing in Kuyper. In fact, the teaching that in the gospel God is gracious toward all men, sin all, and in that universal (saving) grace offering salvation to all is not only a fundamental departure from the Kuyper of particular grace, but also a fatal assault on particular grace as confessed by Kuyper.
In the Christian Reformed adoption of the well meant offer, Kuyper’s common grace swallowed up Kuyper’s particular grace, as the ill favored kine of Pharaoh’s dream devoured the well favored kine.
It is a sad commentary on contemporary Reformed theologians, as well as a warning concerning the evil consequences of Kuyper’s invention of a common grace of God, that most Reformed theologians show themselves ignorant, or ignoring, of Kuyper’s work on particular grace, whereas they fall over themselves, and each other, to recommend, praise, use, and further develop his works on common grace.
Kuyper’s book on the covenants, although not without weaknesses, requiring later correction and further development of the doctrine of the covenant, would be profitable reading for Reformed ministers engaged in the contemporary controversy over the Federal Vision.
And the five, thick volumes (five volumes!) of Kuyper’s Dictaten Dogmatiek [English: Dictated Dogmatics, being the lectures that Kuyper gave to his theological students at the FreeUniversity] (Kampen: J. H. Kok; Grand Rapids: J. B. Hulst; Grand Rapids: B. Sevensma, 1910) are a huge gold mine of Reformed truth.
The last volume of the dogmatics includes a thorough treatment of eschatology (Locus de Magistratu, Consummatione Saeculi [English: Locus concerning the Magistracy (and) the Consummation of the Age], 2nd ed., Grand Rapids: B. Sevensma, n.d.). After nearly fifty pages laying the foundation of civil government in a common grace of God, Kuyper devotes four hundred pages to as full a treatment of civil government as one will find in any dogmatics. Then follow more than three hundred pages on the doctrine of the last things.
Some have identified Kuyper as the Reformed theologian who first coined the term “amillennialism” to describe historic Christian and Reformed orthodox teaching concerning the last days against the fancies and fantasies of both premillennialism and postmillennialism.
Despite his fatal compromising of the truth by his theory of common grace, Kuyper made the antithesis a reality in the thinking and life of Reformed Christians in a time of unholy ecumenicity, ungodly friendship with unbelievers both in the church and in society, and the promotion of a false national and ecclesiastical oneness with everyone. With good right, another recent biographer of Kuyper has approvingly quoted the description of Kuyper as the “Incarnation of the Antithesis” (James E. McGoldrick, Abraham Kuyper: God’s Renaissance Man, Darlington, England: Evangelical Press, 2000, 213).
An older biographer wrote that “the secret of the power of Dr. Kuyper is found exactly in that which the world condemns the most in him. He proposes the antithesis, and lets it penetrate…” (W. F. A. Winckel, Leven en Arbeid van Dr. A. Kuyper [English: Life and Work of Dr. A. Kuyper], Amsterdam: W. Ten Have, 1919, 312; the book is not translated; the translation of the Dutch is mine).
Bratt does justice to Kuyper’s emphasis on the antithesis.
Kuyper virtually introduced the concept into the thinking and practice of the Dutch Reformed churches and believers in his day. It is ironic then that, in the judgment of a Roman Catholic observer, it was exactly Kuyper’s doctrine of the antithesis that cost Kuyper re-election as prime minister in 1905. Kuyper had made the antithesis the theme of his and his party’s campaign.
He spoke on the hustings of the “one great contrast…between the Christian and the modern life-conception”—an “enormous antithesis.” He called the modern life-conception “pagan.” The result was an “uproar” on the part of the nominal Christians in the Netherlands, who had supported Kuyper in 1901. “However numerous the Netherlands’ nominal Christians, they were allergic to being called heathen in any respect” (321, 322). [117-119]
… Even though the Protestant Reformed Churches reject Kuyper’s theory of common grace, root and branch, these churches are deeply indebted to Abraham Kuyper. This, I am convinced, is due both to the powerful influence of Kuyper on the circles, church and other, in which Herman Hoeksema was born and raised in the Netherlands and in which he moved during his education in North America, and to his own deliberate embrace of many, though not all, of Kuyper’s doctrines. … It is one of the ironies of church history that the Christian Reformed Church is permitted by the Reformed community of churches to present itself as the outstanding representative of the theology of Abraham Kuyper, as Kuyperian, despite its rejection of almost everything Kuyper taught concerning the theology of the Reformed faith, simply because it champions the one Kuyperian doctrine of common grace, which for Kuyper was not so much ecclesiastical as political and cultural.
The Protestant Reformed Churches, on the other hand, are despised and rejected by the Reformed community of churches as non-Kuyperian (the preferred slander is “hyper-Calvinist”) simply because they reject Kuyper’s cultural doctrine of common grace, despite the fact that the Protestant Reformed zealously maintain and boldly confess
virtually all of Kuyper’s theology as sound, Reformed doctrine.
As the current slang would put the matter: “Go figure!”
Because of Kuyper’s strong influence on us Protestant Reformed, we ought to be thoroughly conversant with Kuyper’s theology.
This requires wide, and penetrating, reading in Kuyper— critical reading, but reading that is deeply appreciative of Kuyper’s zeal for the glory of God in His sovereignty, especially in salvation.
The main reason why Abraham Kuyper the theologian is widely scorned by Reformed theologians and churches today, both in the Netherlands and in North America (and all the praise of Kuyper, and attention paid to him, today in prominent Reformed and Presbyterian circles must not blind us to the reality that these same circles detest the Reformed theology of Kuyper), is his confession of the sovereignty of the grace of God, originating in the double decree of predestination.
As a renowned Dutch theologian in what was then the GKN—Kuyper’s churches—superciliously remarked to me about Hoeksema at a conference in Chicago years ago, “een beetje te decretal” [English: “a little too decretal,” by which was meant, in fact: “much too decretal, simply because it is decretal at all”].
The dismissive Dutch theologian was oblivious, apparently, to the fact that his criticism of Herman Hoeksema fell also on “father Abraham [Kuyper].”
It would be a mistake for the Protestant Reformed Churches simply to write Kuyper off, because of our rejection of his theory of common grace.
If one of our younger men ever has the opportunity to obtain a doctorate, perhaps in connection with his appointment to the seminary, my advice concerning his dissertation would be the theology of Abraham Kuyper, or some prominent aspect of Kuyper’s theology (emphatically, other than the doctrine of common grace).” [p.125, 127-129]
4. Getting the Old Testament, What It Meant to Them, What It Means for Us. Steven L. Bridge. Hendrickson Publishers: Peabody, MA: 2009. Paperback, 218 pp. [Reviewed by Martyn McGeown].
5. Reformed and Charismatic Issues and Resolutions. Ean Carlin. Scholar’s Heart Press: St. George, UT: n.d. Paperback, 109 pp. [Reviewed by Martyn McGeown].
6. From Heaven He Came and Sought Her: Definite Atonement in Historical, Biblical, Theological, and Pastoral Perspective, ed. David Gibson & Jonathan Gibson, foreword by J. I. Packer. Wheaton, Illinois: Crossway, 2013. Pp. 703 ($50). [Reviewed by David J. Engelsma.]
This huge, heavy and handsome tome is not for the faint of heart. In size (700 pages), heft, meticulous exegesis, thorough examination of church history, and profound theology, to say nothing of the price, the book is daunting.
The worth of the volume, however, amply repays the purchase, the reading, and the labor of thinking into the book’s contents, not only to the theologian, but also to the pastor, indeed, to the Reformed layman who is willing to exert himself.
The book is a collection of essays explaining, defending, and applying the doctrine that Jesus Christ died for the elect alone, not for all humans without exception.
The book contends that this doctrine should be known as “definite atonement,” rather than as “limited atonement,” regardless of the havoc this naming of the middle truth of the five points of Calvinism wreaks on the mnemonic TULIP (15, 16). [p.134]
Die resent beveel die volgende skrywers se bydraes sterk aan in die boek:
5. Blaming Beza: The Development of Definite Atonement in the Reformed Tradition (Raymond A. Blacketer)
10. “Stricken for the Transgression of My People”: The Atoning Work of Isaiah’s Suffering Servant (J. Alec Motyer)
12. For Whom Did Christ Die? Particularism and Universalism in the Pauline Epistles (Jonathan Gibson)
13. The Glorious, Indivisible, Trinitarian Work of God in Christ: Definite Atonement in Paul’s Theology of Salvation (Jonathan Gibson)
15. Definite Atonement and the Divine Decree (Donald Macleod)
16. The Triune God, Incarnation, and Definite Atonement (Robert Letham)
17. The Definite Intent of Penal Substitutionary Atonement (Garry J. Williams)
18. Punishment God Cannot Twice Inflict: The Double Payment Argument Redivivus (Garry J. Williams)
Die volgende bydraes beskou die resent as “dubious defenders of the faith”:
14. “Problematic Texts” for Definite Atonement in the Pastoral and General Epistles (Thomas R. Schreiner)
20. Jesus Christ the Man: Toward a Theology of Definite Atonement (Henri A. G. Blocher)
23. “My Glory I Will Not Give to Another”: Preaching the Fullness of Definite Atonement to the Glory of God (John Piper)
Hier is die resent se kritiek saamgevat teen laasgenoemde skrywers asook die swak plek van die boek, ongeag sy algemene waardering daarvoor:
“Running through the entire volume like a discordant note in an otherwise beautiful symphony, for which disharmony almost all the contributors are responsible, is a fundamental weakness. The weakness consists of a fatal concession to the advocates of universal atonement. The concession is the acknowledgment of a “well-meant offer of salvation” on the part of God in Jesus Christ to all humans without exception.
This concession is not simply an error.
It is an Achilles heel in the otherwise impervious defense of the cardinal truth of definite atonement against the heresy of universal atonement.
Again and again, one after another, the would-be defenders of the faith of the atonement concede to the enemy a “well-meant offer of salvation” by God Himself to all humans who hear the gospel.
What is meant by the “wellmeant offer” is not a universal call to all to repent and believe, with the promise that all who heed the call will be saved and will be assured that Christ died for them. This is not a “well-meant offer,” but an unfeigned call, a true declaration of what pleases God, a serious command. This is biblical and Reformed orthodoxy
(Matt. 22:1-14; Canons of Dordt, II, 5; III/IV, 8).
But most of the contributors concede, and even vigorously defend, that God loves all humans with the love that sent Christ to the cross; that God desires the salvation of all without exception—a salvation based on the death of Christ; and that God in the gospel well-meaningly, graciously, offers salvation to all hearers on the basis of the atonement of the cross.
This doctrine of a “well-meant offer” has led to the adoption of universal atonement by Reformed and Presbyterian theologians and churches, as all the learned contributors know very well. All know of the open advocacy of universal atonement by the Christian Reformed theologian, Harold Dekker, and of the approval of his doctrine of universal atonement by the Christian Reformed Church in the 1960s on the basis of the “well-meant offer.”
The development of doctrine is plain.
The argument is conclusive.
If God loves and desires Jesus as the sacrifice for all. A love of God for all and a desire (will) of God to save all demand universal atonement.
The doctrine of a “well-meant offer” does not only inevitably lead to the denial of definite atonement. It is the denial of definite atonement. The saving love of God and the sincere desire for the salvation of sinners are revealed in the cross of Christ. If God’s love is universal and if His desire is the salvation of all, Christ died for all.
That the doctrine of a “well-meant offer” is, in fact, the denial of definite atonement and that the “well-meant offer” will, inevitably, lead to the open confession of universal atonement are evident from the appeal by the advocates of the “well-meant offer,” in support of this doctrine, to John 3:16.
The love of God of John 3:16 and the will of God for the salvation of sinners of John 3:16 are expressed in the giving of the only begotten Son to the death of the cross:
“God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son.”
If the love of God of the text and the desire of God for the salvation of sinners in the text are universal, so also is the atonement of the cross universal.
The editors of the book themselves introduce into the book this fatal weakness, this Achilles heel, in their introductory essay.
They deny that the love of God in John 3:16 “refers to his love for the elect.”
Explaining the love of God in John 3:16 in the light of their own notion of “the universal offer of Christ to all,” they necessarily open the way to viewing the giving of the Son in John 3:16 as a giving for the salvation of all, that is, as universal atonement (40). [p.140, 141] …
“The main reason for Piper’s compromising, if not outright denial, of definite atonement is Piper’s whole-hearted attachment to the “well-meant offer,” particularly as proposed by the Orthodox Presbyterian theologian John Murray (656ff.).
Responding to critics of the Reformed doctrine of definite atonement, who criticize the doctrine as weakening “the free, sincere offer of the gospel,” Piper appeals to John Murray’s doctrine of the offer.
According to Murray, “many benefits accrue to the non-elect from the redemptive work of Christ,” and chief among the benefits is “the free offer of the gospel.”
That is, Christ died for all in certain respects, including God’s making to all humans an offer of salvation that is grounded in His saving love for all; that expresses a sincere desire of God for the salvation of all; that may announce to all that Christ died for them all; and that unmistakably leaves the impression with all that the efficacy of the cross with regard to their salvation depends upon their decision to accept the offer (657).
The day I am deceived into believing this outrageous theology (outrageous in part because, sailing under the flag of the Reformed faith, it pretends that the Canons of Dordt do not exist), on that day I become one of the most fervent advocates of universal atonement the world of theology has ever seen.
And, with universal atonement, universal salvation, for the cross of Christ cannot fail of achieving the loving purpose of God and of His Christ. By virtue of the saving love of God, the almighty will of God, and the very nature of the cross, this is certainty, absolute certainty: the cross of Christ cannot fail. Every one on whose behalf God gave His Son to the cross, every one for whom Christ died, will certainly be saved. For even one to perish in whose stead Christ died, in the loving will of God, would be the “ungodding” of God, the exposure of Jesus Christ as a fraud and failure, and the shaming of the cross.
In reality, Piper’s tortured account of God’s love—the love of John 3:16!—makes a mockery of that love. In His love for all, God offers salvation to all, desiring to save all. But at the same time, God decrees not to save all, so that His universal love actually increases the punishment of many.
Also, His love, and the giving of the Son to the death of the cross in this love, fail to save. The loving offer, which is Piper’s corruption of the call of the gospel, proves impotent (661ff.).
A ray of light in this darkness of the affirmation of a universal love of God and a universal desire of salvation manifested in the death of Christ, in a book devoted to the defense of definite atonement, is the article by Raymond A. Blacketer, “Blaming Beza: The Development of Definite Atonement in the Reformed Tradition” (121ff.). Although the piece is historical, examining the thought of Calvin and Beza on the atonement, it takes issue with the notion that it is historically Reformed to believe and confess that God wills the salvation of all (with one of His two wills), that grace is universal, and that, therefore, “human choice is pivotal” in the salvation of sinners (139). [p.144,145]
Nota: deur die jare het kritici van die PRCA al baiemaal verkeerdelik hul aangekla dat die PRCA “glo die evangelie moet net aan uitverkorenes verkondig word” of die PRCA glo nie aan ‘sending en evangelisasie’ nie, en die heel bekendste valse aantuiging: “hiper-calviniste” ! … wat dit ook alles kan beteken.
Lees gerus die volgende artikel in hierdie April 2014-uitgawe van die PRTJ om presies te weet wat die PRCA leer, voordat ‘n mens hul kritiseer. Dit is een ding om broederlik te verskil, dit is nie goed om strooipoppe te skep en valse getuienis af te lê: Hyper-Calvinism, the Well-Meant Offer, and Matthew Barrett, by prof. David J. Engelsma
7. A Concise New Testament Theology, I. Howard Marshall. Inter Varsity Press, USA: Downers Grove, IL: 2008. Paperback, 310 pp. [Reviewed by Martyn McGeown].
8. Ancient Word, Changing Worlds: The Doctrine of Scripture in a Modern Age, by Stephen J. Nichols and Eric T. Brandt. Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books, 2009. 176 pages. Paperback. $15.99. [Reviewed by Douglas Kuiper.]
Chapter five (interpretation) contends that postmodernism has undermined a proper interpretation of Scripture by positing that words have no objective meaning, but mean what we want them to mean.
Early in the chapter, the authors set forth the three fixed principles which should govern our interpretation of Scripture, as Charles Hodge set them forth in his Systematic Theology:
Scripture is to be interpreted in its “plain and historical sense,” “Scripture cannot contradict Scripture,” and Scripture must “be interpreted under the guidance of the Holy Spirit” (113).
None of these come as a surprise to graduates of the Protestant Reformed Theological School, or to those who sit under their preaching.
Rudolph Bultmann, however, asserted that if the Bible will be relevant for today, we cannot take it literally.
9. Kingdom Come: The Amillennial Alternative, Sam Storms, (Rosshire, Scotland, UK: Christian Focus Publications, 2013). 589 pages. $29.99 (cloth). [Reviewed by David J. Engelsma.]
The subtitle of this weighty volume on eschatology is “The Amillennial Alternative.” Despite its virtues, the book fails to fulfill the promise of the subtitle. The reason is the weakness of Storms’ defense of amillennialism against postmillennialism.
Storms’ condemnation of the false doctrine concerning the last times of dispensational premillennialism is strong and uncompromising.
But the confession of amillennialism specifically in opposition to postmillennialism is hesitating and concessive. This is a serious, if not fatal, flaw in a book on the end times.
Eie opmerkings (slc): ek dink ek staan wat hierdie resensie betref meer aan die kant van die skrywer van die boek (Sam Storms), as by die resesent.
Die resent wil nie net dispensational premillenialisme (DP) as ongereformeerd totaal verwerp nie (waarmee ek natuurlik saamstem), maar ook enige vorme van postmillenialisme (PM), waarmee ek nie saamstem nie. Vir die resent is Amillenialisme (AM) die enigste gereformeerde opsie.
Die resent meen PM is ‘n ‘false teaching … grave false doctrine’ en dat PM gereformeerdes soek ‘earthly pleasures and treasures of the carnal kingdom of postmillenialism’. Hy is verder van mening dat daar geen begronding is van enige vorme van PM by Calvyn of die gereformeerde belydenisskrifte nie. Hy skryf samevattend:
Postmillennialism is not merely the “more optimistic version” of amillennialism (374). It is a radically different eschatology than amillennialism. Postmillennialism is grave doctrinal error with regard to the truth of the last things and the Christian hope. And the Reformed confessions condemn it (Heid. Cat., Q. 52; Belgic Confession, Art. 37).
Nou deel ek nie hierdie totale verwerping van PM opsigself nie, ten minste nie die PM weergawe wat ek vir so 10 jaar bestudeer het nie (1990’s tot omtrent 2000). Maar as, let wel ‘as’ PM is wat prof. Engelsma beskryf dit is, en ek PM dus verkeerd verstaan het, dan verwerp ek ook so ‘carnal kingdom’ idee.
Om die anderkant van die saak te stel:
Ek deel nie die bekende PM skrywer, dr. RJ Rushdoony se totale verwerping van AM opsigself nie (“Postmillennialism versus Impotent Religion,” Journal of Christian Reconstruction, pp. 126, 127, soos aangehaal in A Defense of Reformed Ammillenialism, David J. Engelsma), ten minste nie die weergawe wat ek die afgelope 10 en meer jare gelees het nie (2000- tot op hede, meestal deur die skrywers van die PRCA). Maar as, let wel as AM is wat dr. Rushdoony beskryf dit is (pessimistiese wêreldmyding/ontvlugting/roepingversaking), dan verwerp ek ook so ‘anabaptistiese-ontvlugtings’ idee.
So wat probeer ek sê ?
Dit wat ek baiemaal lees van kritici na beide kante toe, is wat in engels genoem word, die aanval van ‘worst case scenario’s’, die moontlike slegste sondige idees van beide groepe. Daarom verwerp ek saam met albei hierdie skrywers (van wie ek baie geleer het) die valse stellings en doelwitte wat baie PM’s en AM’s in die praktyk dalk maak, of kompromeer ‘ter wille’ van hul eskatologiese sienings.
As ek mag veralgemeen: as PM se swakpunt of verleiding is ‘n ‘carnal kingdom’ idee, dat, omdat ons ‘moet wen aan die einde’ want die Skrifte profeteer dit … daarom kompromeer ons die ‘antitese’ en God se Woord en die Evangelie, as dit wel dit beteken, dan verwerp ek en ek glo elke gereformeerde so standpunt ten sterkste, so glo ek ook gereformeerde teonomistiese PM.
Geen PM vir my sonder die soewereine antitese van Gen.3:15 en verder in die Skrif nie !
Maar om eerlik te wees, dit is nie hoe ek gereformeerde PM skrywers nog altyd gelees en verstaan het nie, en daar waar daar dalk wel sulkes is in teorie en/of praktyk, verwerp ek hul standpunte as in stryd met historiese gereformeerde PM.
Soos ek PM nog altyd verstaan, is dit dat hul glo die Koninkryk van God is in sy wese geestelik, dit is Christus deur sy Woord en Gees alleen. Nie die politiek en kultuur of een volk is die ‘Koninkryk van God nie’, Christus alleen is die Koninkryk wat gekom het, en die Kerk van is sy liggaam. Maar, belangrik, daardie Koninkryk dra vrugte (Jakobus 2!), soos die Evangelie mense se lewens van harte deur wedergeboorte verander, so pas hul God se wet toe in hul hele lewe in dankbaarheid, ook in gesinne, gemeentes, gemeenskappe en volke wat se lewens dan verander.
Sien HK Sondag 48.
Is dit verkeerd of onbybels, help my reg as ek verkeerd is of iets mis ?
Aan die anderkant, as AM se swakpunt of verleiding is, ‘wêreldmyding en ontvlugting’, dat omdat die Skrifte profeteer dit gaan al slegter gaan en die Antichris is oppad … daarom onttrek ons en kruip weg vir die wêreld en probeer net oorleef, en is nie ‘n sout en lig hier op aarde nie (kontra Matt.5:13-16), as dit dit beteken, dan verwerp ek dit ook van harte en so glo ek ook sal elke gereformeerde dit doen, Kuyper en die PRCA ingesluit.
Ons moet fokus op wat ons roeping is as Kerk van Christus: Matt.28:18-20, vir ons totale lewens (Christus het vir beide gees én liggaam gesterwe, HK Sondag 1), ongeag wat die toekoms (eskatologie) vir ons inhou, vervolging of seëninge (sien HK Sondag 9 en 10).
Ek moet daarom eerlik wees dat baie verklarings van beide PM en AM (preteristies en nie-preteristies van aard) klink vir my bybels en gereformeerd verantwoordbaar. Ek is oop vir verdere oortuiging. Ek kan nie kom by die punt om te sê die beste van of AM of PM is ‘heresy’ of ‘blasphemy’ of ‘n ‘grave doctrinal error’ nie.
Ja, as ek gedruk word, is ek dan seker ‘n optimistiese AM … of pessimistiese PM, dalk is die veiligste om ‘n NM te wees … ‘n ‘nie-millenialis’ !
Prof. Engelsma skryf dan ook:
Calvin was not an optimistic postmillennialist. He was a hopeful amillennialist. There is a difference—a fundamental difference. [p.153]
Dalk is ek dan ook ‘n ‘hopeful amillenialist’, ‘hopeful’ dat my gereformeerde PM broers saam met ons die Evangelie van Christus alleen sal uitdra, ongeag die tye wat voorlê.
Ek wil ook nie die deeglike eksegese van belangrike eskatologiese tekste negeer nie, en erken daarom dat ek lanklaas in diepte gefokus het op eskatologie. Dit is wel belangrik, in die sin van dat dit sal bepaal wat jou siening is van:
a. die Koninkryk van God
b. wat die taak van die Kerk van Christus is (en nie is nie!)
Ek meen wel ons moet daarom fokus op ons roeping om Christus te dien en orals die Evangelie te verkondig, oproep tot geloof en bekering en dan ons hele lewe in dankbaarheid deur sy Gees in te rig, nie net volgens sommige nie, maar al sy gebooie (sien HK v/a 114). En dit kan beteken dat daar nou en in die toekoms meer Christen onderwysers, regters, advokate, dokters en selfs politici gaan wees wat God se Woord orals uitdra in hul onderskeie lewensterreine, en dit kan wees dat dit ‘n groter impak sal maak in ons wêreld.
Die resultate laat ons aan die Here oor, en ons loof sy Naam in tye van voorspoed en teëspoed, albei, soos ons bely in HK Sondag 9 en 10.
Om dit nog anders te stel met verwysing na prof. Engelsma se goeie resensie oor Abraham Kuyper (sien hierbo in die April 2014 PRTJ), die ‘optimistiese AM’ !:
Ons kan die goeie van Kuyper behou, die Kuyper van die soewereine genade behou terwyl ons die algemene genade Kuyper eenkant laat.
Ons kan PM behou sonder ‘carnal kingdom’ idees, d.w.s. ‘n antitetiese PM wat getrou wil bly aan Christus en sy Woord, sonder om te kompromeer ter wille van ‘oorwinning’.
Ons kan sekere uitwasse, ekstreme standpunte en sekere verkeerde toepassings van beide PM en AM verwerp, maar onderliggend aan albei is die bybels gereformeerde geloof van ons belydenis en kerkgeskiedenis.
Ek weet nie (of hoop nie) dat die totale verwerping van PM as ‘n dwaling amptelik deur die PRCA geleer word nie, en dat jy daarom nie leraar en lidmaat kan wees as jy PM is nie, en of dit net prof. Engelsma se eie sterk oortuiging is nie, maar dit sal werklik jammer en tragies wees as gereformeerde broeders mekaar oor hierdie saak heeltemal verloor.
Let wel, daarmee sê ek nie dat die foute in beide AM en PM oorgesien moet word nie, maar ek dink wel dit mag nie ‘n vereiste vir kerklidmaatskap wees nie.
Ek sien ook nie iets in ons belydenis wat AM of PM verwerp as eskatologiese leerstukke nie, wel wat die premillenialisme behels (NGB artikel 37).
Vir die leser wat nog nie veel oor die verskillende eskatologiese terme gelees het nie, hier is ‘n kort artikel wat die verskillende terme uiteensit:
“In my eie lees van beide nederlandse en amerikaanse gereformeerde teoloë oor die saak, is daar groter aanvaarding van beide die amill en postmill standpunte as binne die gereformeerde tradisie (alhoewel daar heelwat onderlinge en sterk kritiek teen mekaar is). Teen die premill standpunt is daar sterker kritiek (alhoewel erken word dat daar nog altyd in die kerk deur die eeue hierdie lyn ook teenwoordig is).
Die felste kritiek is teen dispensationialisme (bedelings-premill), en word dit baiemaal as ‘kettery’ en erge dwaling beskou. Daar word algemeen aanvaar dat hierdie laasgenoemde eskatologie eers ontstaan het vanuit die 1890’s (Darby), en radikaal arminiaans, anabaptisties en anti-verbondsmatig is. Hierdie siening leef veral sterk onder charismatiese pentakostalistiese groepe, wat baie daarvan maak dat die Here ‘n nogsteeds ‘n besonder plan het met Israel as volk, langs die kerk. Die tempel en offers gaan weer herstel word, ens.”
10. How Jesus Runs the Church. Guy Prentiss Waters. P&R Publishing: Phillipsburg, NJ : 2011. Paperback, 168 pp. [Reviewed by Martyn McGeown].
Good books about ecclesiology are rare. Good books about ecclesiastical government are even rarer. Waters has written a very interesting and informative guide to church government and a defence of Presbyterian / Reformed church polity in particular.
This would be a worthwhile addition to the church polity section of one’s library. The book consists of five chapters on the nature, government, power, offices and courts of the church, a conclusion and an annotated bibliography on
Encouraging features of this book include (1) a defense of the church’s catholicity against Dispensationalism; (2) a defense of the necessity of church membership against Christian isolationism; (3) a defense of Presbyterian / Reformed church polity against Brethrenism; and (4) a defense of male only officebearers against feminism.
Waters writes for a broad evangelical audience, many of whom have never considered the Bible’s teaching on church government and the decency and order such government promotes.
Such a book is necessary and useful, because many evangelicals are ignorant of (and even suspicious of) church government. [p.158]