Herman Hoeksema: A Theological Biography
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Summary In the Christian Reformed Church in America in 1924, one of its ministers, Rev. Herman Hoeksema, resisted the adoption of the 'doctrine' of common grace and its being given confessional status within the church. The 'doctrine' maintained that God has a favorable attitude towards to all humanity, particularly in a free offer of the Gospel to all. Common grace also allows good works in the civic and cultural realms to be attributed to non-believers; works which God finds acceptable and is pleased with. Closely connected with the latter, common grace also designates one of the functions of the Holy Spirit as working in the hearts of unbelievers to restrain sin. Hoeksema resisted these 'innovations' as detrimental to both the Reformed Church and its heritage. As a result of his stance, Hoeksema was expelled from the ministry of the Christian Reformed Church. Together with two other ministers of like mind and a small faction from his church, Hoeksema founded the Protestant Reformed Churches in 1924. Herman Hoeksema was an interesting man to say the least. In many ways, he was a study in contradictions. He was both insightful and innovative, some would say brilliant, he was logical to a fault, and he had an inordinate love of fighting. In this thesis both the man and his theology are examined, especially from the standpoint of common grace.