For full reports and exact statements of the CRCNA position on a particular issue, see references provided below.
In 1924 the CRC articulated its position regarding God's general favor to all creatures. This common favor is referred to as "common grace" to distinguish it from God's "special (saving) grace." The essence of the position is contained in the following points:
- In addition to the saving grace of God, shown only to those who are elected to eternal life, there is also a certain favor, or grace, of God shown to his creatures in general.
- Since the fall, human life in society remains possible because God, through his Spirit, restrains the power of sin.
- God, without renewing the heart, so influences human beings that, though incapable of doing any saving good, they are able to do civil good.
These three points regarding common grace were adopted by the CRC in 1924. Controversy on this subject led to the formation of the Protestant Reformed Church in 1924. In 1959, when asked to set aside these points by a group from that denomination desiring to rejoin the CRC (the De Wolf group), synod refused. These points, therefore, still stand as the position of the CRC. Synod 1924 also warned against an over-emphasis on the doctrine of common grace, deciding that there was more danger of conformity to the world than of flight from the world.
References to Agendas and Acts of Synod
Acts of Synod 1924, pp. 113-50
Acts of Synod 1926, pp. 108-31
Acts of Synod 1959, pp. 23, 110-16, 417-24
Acts of Synod 1960, pp. 113-15
Acts of Synod 1961, pp. 68-70, 561