An Inspiring Lecture (1946)

The theology just referred to is also far removed from the ideas which its leading proponent once entertained concerning our task as a church of Reformed persuasion.

We have before us a printed copy of a beautiful lecture which Dr. Boer delivered on April 23, 1946, in the Ninth Street Christian Reformed Church of Holland, Michigan, under the auspices of the Holland League of Reformed Men’s Societies. The title of this lecture is: Hold Fast That Thou Hast.

In the first part of this lecture the speaker praised our founding fathers for their intensive religious life and commended their isolation in view of their necessary preoccupation with the internal development of their church life. Then he proceeded to enlarge on our present responsibilities as a church. What is that responsibility? Not to “exert our influence on the broad American world of thought and action,” or to “ally ourselves more closely with other evangelical bodies,” or to “press the claim of missions at home and abroad,” important as these things may be. What then is our task? “To hold fast what we have, to understand, love, practise, and develop the distinctively Reformed heritage that has been entrusted to our stewardship (italics mine–K). By this means and by this means alone can the home base remain secure.”

“What does it really mean to be Reformed?…not a particular doctrine or practice but the serious, the radically serious belief in the ‘allness’ of God’s action in the achieving of our salvation and in the establishing of his eternal Kingdom…The famous so-called and ill-called Five Points of Calvinism—Total Depravity, Unconditional Election, Limited Atonement, Irresistible Grace, and Perseverance of the Saints are but reflections of this fundamental doctrine touching specific points of the faith controverted by Arminius…

“A second and indispensable element in the Reformed life is the perpetuation of this belief. Not to transmit this truth is to betray lack of seriousness in believing it.” (italics mine–K).

We are tempted to quote at greater length from this inspiring lecture but lack of space forbids. We close with the following quotation from the same source:

“Having said all that I have said this evening, I would not be understood as urging upon you a policy of ‘watchful waiting,’ to sit with a false complacency, like the French, behind the Maginot line of our Confessional fortifications, There must be an aggressive policy outward. I have not placed this on the foreground, however; and I have not done this because missions at home and abroad, fellowship wit h other Christian bodies, the leavening of community and national life are of secondary importance, but simply because they come second in the order of discharge. God will hold us forever responsible for carrying with us into the world the torch of Reformed Confession; He will still more hold us accountable for keeping that torch a burning light.” (italics mine–K).

Yes, indeed, God will hold us responsible for carrying that torch of our Reformed Confession into the whole world, including our Nigerian mission field!

What a far cry from that impassioned plea of brother Boer to his present views on ecumenicity and the Theological College of Northern Nigeria! The change saddens our heart.