About me

 

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Part 1 – My view of me (more personal)

Greetings!  I am Bill Hornbeck.  I grew up in the Christian Reformed Church denomination in Muskegon, Michigan.  I learned about Reformed Doctrine at home, in church, and in Christian schools, all of which were part of the Christian Reformed Church.

In 1977, I moved to Florida to go to law school, and I stayed here in Florida.  I attended and was a member, even a lay leader, in a large range of churches from Assembly of God to Baptist to Calvary Chapel to United Methodist to nondenominational churches and small fellowships.  At first, I thought Reformed Doctrine would be preached in all Protestant churches.  When I heard some strange preaching or teaching, I first thought that the problem was just with that particular minister or teacher.  And eventually, when I spoke about what I encountered, a childhood friend, who now lives in Grand Rapids, Michigan, asked me if I remembered “TULIP” which is also known as the Five Points of Calvinism and the Reformed Doctrine of salvation.

“TULIP” is an acronym for “Total Depravity”, “Unconditional Election”, “Limited Atonement”, “Irresistible Grace”, and “Preservation of the Saints” (also known as “Perseverance of the Saints”), the “U”, “L”, “I”, and “P” of “TULIP”.  “TULIP” is a nutshell summary of what is more fully taught in the Reformed Confession called Canons of Dordt.

I studied the differences between Calvinism and Arminianism.  That study made me aware that often what bothered me was not just bad preaching or teaching, but rather the problem was caused by bad doctrine (Arminianism) that broadly and deeply affected a certain Protestant church and its denomination which at some time of its history strayed away from Reformed Doctrine rediscovered in the Reformation.  In contrast to this bad doctrine which I encountered, I began to appreciate more the truth, logic, beauty, and simplicity of “TULIP” which is my heritage.  Though the years, when I would go back to Michigan, it was like a breath of fresh air when I would hear it in a Christian Reformed Church.

I am now passionate about proclaiming “TULIP”, because it is the sound doctrine of salvation and because most Protestant Churches do not teach it or at least emphasize it enough.  Even in a Christian Reformed Church in Florida, I remember an Elder coming to me after a Sunday School class that I taught on “TULIP”, and he said with wonder and appreciation that he had not heard it taught before.

My web sites has various links to Reformed Doctrine, including the Canons of Dordt.  I also write daily devotions on my meditations on Scripture as I read it in its order.  See the “Daily Devotions” link in the right column of “Links”.   

On a personal note, I am an attorney, married with three sons.  Although I do my best to present true teachings, these are my teachings as a layman.  (I am an attorney, not a minister).  And, although I have been taught by and otherwise influenced by certain Reformed denominations through the years from a very early age to date, my teachings are not necessarily the teachings of the Christian Reformed Church, Presbyterian churches, the Protestant Reformed Churches, nor any other denomination.  The reader is advised to follow the example set forth in Acts 17:11:  “Now these were more noble-minded than those in Thessalonica, for they received the word with great eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see whether these things were so.”

Part 2 – God’s view of me (more in the language of Scripture)

God used the July 29, 2018 devotion titled “He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.” and other Scripture to give me insight into God’s view of me (and other Christians).

In briefest summary of “Part 1 My view” above, I often viewed myself only like a lost sheep going from one church to another church, from one preacher to another preacher.

After reading this devotion, the Holy Spirit made me realize that I was put too much trust in man, trying to find the perfect church and preacher, and that I was putting too little trust in the Holy Spirit.  Although it was good and right for me to seek out a true church, see Belgic Confession below, I should not place my trust only in my ability to find a true church.

“For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body, whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free, and we were all made to drink of one Spirit.” 1 Corinthians 12:13.

In other words, I realized that I needed to trust and focus more on the Holy Spirit baptizing me “into one body” (Christ’s body, the one true invisible church).

The July 29, 2018 devotion also contained the following Scripture.

“But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I said to you.” John 14:16.

“But when He, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into all the truth;  for He will not speak on His own initiative, but whatever He hears, He will speak;  and He will disclose to you what is to come. He will glorify Me, for He will take of Mine and will disclose it to you.”  John 16:13-15.

In other words, the Holy Spirit was the One Who was teaching me (including Reformed Doctrine, especially “TULIP”, the Reformed Doctrine of Salvation).  And, the Holy Spirit was disclosing to me God’s work in me including how He was using me in my travels between churches.  Too often, I was discontent viewing myself as a lost sheep, trying to find the perfect church and preacher.  But, the Holy Spirit disclosed and encouraged me that He views me as salt and light, spreading the salt and light of “TULIP”, the Reformed Doctrine of Salvation.

“You are the salt of the earth;  but if the salt has become tasteless, how can it be made salty again?  It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled under foot by men.

“You are the light of the world.  A city set on a hill cannot be hidden;  nor does anyone light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on the lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house.  Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven.  Matthew 5:13-16.

Salt is sprinkled here and there and penetrates and preserves and gives flavor.  We do not keep salt in one container.

We also do not put light under one basket, but on a lampstand, so the light may go far and wide and penetrate darkness.

As an important side note, throughout all the years, although I moved from one church to another church, I still attended some local church (whether it be an old church established a long time or be a new church plant), and I continue to do so, just about every Sunday.

I certainly am not inferring that it is acceptable for someone to give up and not attend any church.  God forbid!  Moreover, we have the duty to seek out the true church.  Consider what the Belgic Confession states:

Article 28:  That every one is bound to join himself to the true Church.
We believe, since this holy congregation is an assembly of those who are saved, and that out of it there is no salvation, that no person of whatsoever state or condition he may be, ought to withdraw himself, to live in a separate state from it;  but that all men are in duty bound to join and unite themselves with it;  maintaining the unity of the Church; submitting themselves to the doctrine and discipline thereof;  bowing their necks under the yoke of Jesus Christ;  and as mutual members of the same body, serving to the edification of the brethren, according to the talents God has given them.  …

Article 29:  Of the marks of the true Church, and wherein she differs from the false Church.
We believe, that we ought diligently and circumspectly to discern from the Word of God which is the true Church, since all sects which are in the world assume to themselves the name of the Church.  But we speak not here of hypocrites, who are mixed in the Church with the good, yet are not of the Church, though externally in it;  but we say that the body and communion of the true Church must be distinguished from all sects, who call themselves the Church.  The marks, by which the true Church is known, are these:  if the pure doctrine of the gospel is preached therein;  if she maintains the pure administration of the sacraments as instituted by Christ;  if church discipline is exercised in punishing of sin:  in short, if all things are managed according to the pure Word of God, all things contrary thereto rejected, and Jesus Christ acknowledged as the only Head of the Church.  Hereby the true Church may certainly be known, from which no man has a right to separate himself.  …

Finally, going back to God’s view, God reminded me that we are in Christ.

“In those days Jesus came from Nazareth in Galilee and was baptized by John in the Jordan.  Immediately coming up out of the water, He saw the heavens opening, and the Spirit like a dove descending upon Him;  and a voice came out of the heavens:  “You are My beloved Son, in You I am well-pleased.”  Mark 1:9-11.

God is well-pleased in Christ.  And, God is well-pleased that we are in Christ.

Scripture often refers to Christians as “in Christ”.  And, it should make sense from this Scripture that because God is well-pleased in Christ, He is also well-pleased that we are in Christ.

Other doctrine clings to man’s alleged free-will and independence.  But, Reformed Doctrine clings to God’s Will that we are in Christ and our dependence on Christ.

Here are a few Scriptures in Ephesians chapters 1 and 2 about our being in Christ and our blessings resulting therefrom.

“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ,”  Ephesians 1:3.

“In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of His grace which He lavished on us.  …”  Ephesians 1:7-8.

“…  In Him also we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to His purpose who works all things after the counsel of His will,”  Ephesians 1:10-11.

“In Him, you also, after listening to the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation—having also believed, you were sealed in Him with the Holy Spirit of promise, who is given as a pledge of our inheritance, with a view to the redemption of God’s own possession, to the praise of His glory.”  Ephesians 1:13-14.

“But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up with Him, and seated us with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the ages to come He might show the surpassing riches of His grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.”  Ephesians 2:4-7.

“For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.”  Ephesians 2:10.

“remember that you were at that time separate from Christ, excluded from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world.  But now in Christ Jesus you who formerly were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ.”  Ephesians 2:12-13.

In conclusion, too often, we only view ourselves in one church or another church.  God views us “in Christ”.  The lesson for all of us is that when God moves us around different churches, as He has done with me, we can still trust God and His work.  We can trust the Holy Spirit to guide us into all the truth and to place us in His body exactly were He wants to do so.  We can remember that we are “in Christ”.  We can remember that we are part of one body, Christ’s body, the one true invisible church.  We can remember that we are used by God as salt and light which moves and penetrates and enlightens and preserves and gives the flavor of Christ.  In summary, we can experience great joy and peace in remembering God’s view of us.

Responses

  1. Mr. Hornbeck

    Rev. Kleyn informed me about your website. Beautiful design and great links..
    Your other website wouldn’t load so I concluded you must have been working on it.
    Have you had much response to your sites? In what ways do you promote them?
    All the best
    Jeff Wambolt

  2. Nice blog site Bill!

  3. Thanks Jeff and Rick! I appreciate your encouragement which helps me continue this work.

  4. I haven’t had the chance to view the site entirely, but just reading the about me page I can both appreciate your courage and relate from personal experience and having been raised in the pentecostal church which is arminian to the core, but most of the people I know are just ignorant of the truth and have wholeheartedly embraced the teaching and tradition as truth and question anyone who questions. It’s staggering to live among them especially after knowing the truth from the PRC.

  5. Thank you Renay!

    I think our experiences make us appreciate Reformed doctrine a/k/a Calvinism more and motivates us to share this truth. Thanks for the encouragement. God bless you!

  6. Thank you for what you wrote in the “About God”section. It give me great confidence in God.

    • Thanks Brian! You made my day by your comment.

  7. I just had a chance to see ‘about you’ after having commented on a post earlier this morning. We share some of the same experiences regarding church attendance, but I was raised and catechized as a Luthern, and am ever thankful for having been taught the great doctrines of the attributes of God that have made Reformed doctrine so grand. It was John 6:44 that the Holy Spirit used to began this journey, about three months after the decision to come home I thought was all my own. 🙂

  8. Hi, Bill I enjoy your web site and blog, I am also a member of Christ the King, My Ministry is to procure bibles and distribute them to individuals God has put in my path, to His Glory. LW

    • Thanks Larry!

  9. Wow – somebody who has something good to say about the Protestant Reformed Churches!
    The well-meant offer and common grace really are fundamental issues to the Reformed faith – yet we are almost always either slandered or ignored for our stand, sadly. Thank you for being willing to stand up for the truth, in these last days of rapidly increasing apostasy.

    • Thank you. The Protestant Reformed Churches have been a blessing to me and others. They have maintained their salt of Reformed Doctrine in a day and age when many other Reformed denominations prefer to appear like everyone else and obscure or minimize the distictive points of Reformed Doctrine. It is an honor for me to commend the PRC and promote them and share links to their resources.


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