Settled and Binding…

The synodical decisions of Reformed churches, especially on matters of faith and life, are of unusual significance. Here under the guidance of the Holy Spirit the churches declare officially what they deem God’s Word plainly teaches. Matters so decided, therefore, are regarded by the membership as “…settled and binding.”

Many of these decisions are not easily available, since only a limited number of copies of Acts and Proceedings of such major assemblies are in circulation. As a service to all our readers, this magazine will present regularly some of the outstanding decisions taken in the family of Reformed churches.

“a. The doctrine of inspiration (to which the Christian Reformed Church holds) is to the effect that Holy Scripture alone and Holy Scripture in its entirety is the Word of God written, given by inspiration of God to be the rule of faith and practice, an inspiration of an organic nature which extends not only to the ideas but also to the words of Holy Scripture, and is so unique in its effect that Holy Scripture alone is the Word of God.

“b. This doctrine of inspiration, while holding that the human authors of Scripture were moved by the Holy Spirit, so as to insure that what they wrote communicated infallibly God’s self-revelation, also maintains that the Holy Spirit did not suppress their personalities, but rather that he sovereignly prepared, controlled and directed. them in such a way that he utilized their endowments and experience, their research and reflection, their language and style. This human aspect of Scripture does not, however, allow for the inference that Scripture may be regarded as a fallible human witness to divine revelation, for such an evaluation constitutes an attack upon the glorious sovereign work of the Holy Spirit in inspiration.

“c. This estimate of Scripture is the demand arising from the witness which Scripture itself bears to its divine origin, character and authority. More particularly it is demanded by the witness of our Lord and his apostles, and to entertain a different estimate is to reject the testimony of Christ and of the apostles.

“d. This doctrine of Scripture must not be regarded as a dispensable addendum, far less as a merely human accretion, to our Christian faith. Holy Scripture is the only extant form of redemptive revelation. Faith in Scripture as God-breathed revelatory Word is implicit in our faith in the divine character of redemption itself.

“e. These considerations that Scripture persuasively witnesses to its own God-breathed origin and character and that as redemptive revelation it is necessarily characterized by the divinity which belongs to redemption are the explanation of the sustained faith of the historic Christian church that Scripture in its whole extent and in all its parts is the infallible and inerrant Word of God.

“f. To this faith as it is clearly expressed in the creeds of the Reformed Churches the Christian Reformed Church bears witness and on the basis of this doctrine of Scripture seeks to testify to the whole counsel of God in the unity of the Spirit and in the bond of peace.”

Acts of Synod 1959, p. 59, of the Christian Reformed Church