01 February, 2017


APPENDIX

The Three Points of Common Grace Adopted
by the Synod of the Christian Reformed Church
in 1924 and Herman Hoeksema’s Formulations
of the New Doctrines Taught Therein

Concerning the first point, with regard to the favorable disposition of God toward mankind in general, and not only to the elect, synod declares that according to the Scripture and the confessions it is determined that besides the saving grace of God, shown only to the elect unto eternal life, there is a certain kind of favor or grace of God which He shows to His creatures in general. This is evidenced by the quoted Scripture passages and from the Canons of Dort II:5 and III/IV:8–9, which deals with the general offer of the Gospel; whereas the quoted declarations of Reformed writers from the golden age of Reformed theology also give evidence that our Reformed fathers from of old have advocated these opinions.55

God manifests a certain grace in the preaching of the gospel not only to the elect unto eternal life, but to all without distinction who hear the preaching of the gospel.


With respect to the second point concerning the restraint of sin in the life of individuals and in society, Synod declares that according to Scripture and the confessions there is such a restraint of sin. This is evident from the quoted Scripture passages and from the Belgic Confession Art. 13 and 36, where we are taught that God through the general operation of His Spirit, without renewing the heart, restrains sin in its unbridled expression through which remains possible a societal relationship, while from the quoted declarations of Reformed writers from the golden age of Reformed theology it is evident that our Reformed fathers from of old have advocated these opinions.56

There is a general operation of grace of an ethical nature by the Holy Spirit, by which all men, apart from regeneration, are improved and reformed to such an extent that they do not break out in all manner of sins.


Concerning the third point, in regard to the doing of so-called civil good by the unregenerate, Synod declares that according to Scripture and the confessions, the unregenerate, though unable to do any saving good (Canons of Dort III/IV:3) are able to do civil good. This is evident from the quoted Scriptures, and from the Canons of Dort III/IV:4 and the Belgic Confession Art. 36, where we are taught that God, without renewing the heart, exercises such influence on mankind that it is able to carry out civil good; while from the declarations of Reformed writers from the golden age of Reformed theology it is evident that our fathers from of old advocated this [same] opinion.57

The natural man is able to do good in civil things by virtue of an influence of God upon him that is not regenerative.




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FOOTNOTES:

55. 1924 Acts of Synod, 145–46.


56. Ibid., 146.


57. Ibid., 146–47.

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