Miss Johanna Timmer, A.M., has served as Dean of Women at Calvin College, as a member of the faculty of the Reformed Bible Institute (now the Reformed Bible College) and as a Christian school principal. Since her retirement she has been active as a Bible study leader for women‘s societies. Miss Timmer is in charge of THE OUTLOOK‘S department, Reformed Women Speak. She lives at 78 West 26th St., Holland, Michigan. The words of the title of her article are taken from Ecclesiastes 11:9.
There is judgment to come. Of that we can be sure. Judgments are also here even now. God’s judgments are in the earth (Ps. 105:7). God’s judgments are altogether true and righteous (Ps. 19:9). We can be sure that one day we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ (II Cor. 5:10). It has been appointed for man once to die and after that the judgment (Heb. 9:27). His judgments will be true and righteous.
In Ecclesiastes the young man is told to rejoice in his youth, to let his heart cheer him in the days of his youth, to walk in the ways of his heart and in the sight of his eyes. If we read no further, we would think all this to mean, “Go ahead, enjoy yourselves by doing as you please.” We must read on, however; we may not stop there. When we do read on we discover that the youth is warned to know that for all these things God will bring him into judgment (Eccles. 11:9). I do not thInk that God is here throwing cold water on the joys of youth, but He warns the youth to select his joys conscious of consequences, because judgment is coming. God will bring him to account for his choices, as He will everyone of us, old and young.
“For all these things God will bring you into judgment.” When reading these words again recently, the phrase “for all these things” kept recurring to my mind. It may seem strange to you that this happened to me in connection with my being disturbed by the trend of the AACS (Association for the Advancement of Christian Scholarship). For all thesethings, strange things, un–Reformed things, God will bring you, AACS‘ers, into judgment.
I can hear them say, “For what things, please tell us, will God bring us into judgment?” Please permit me to point out a few things precipitated by the reading of what contemporary scholars have to say about the subject. In doing so, I hope I can make at least a few AACS concepts a bit clearer to us common folk who so badly want to know but often can’t grasp the academic language in which ideas are clothed. The common people who give generous support to church and school have a right to know what is going on. Although this writer is not an authority on matters pertaining to the AACS, she hopes she can, with the help of writers who are authorities on the matter, bring a few things to light to put us women on the alert. Since God will bring us women into judgment for what we believe and support, we should not be indifferent to matters that affect the institutions we support—the home, church, school, etc.
What arc some of the things for which God will bring the AACS’ers into judgment? Although God will bring them into judgment for the good as well as the evil, I am warning my readers against the evil to which they subscribe, believing that it will make of none effect the good they stress.
AACS and Scripture – In the first place, God will bring them into judgment for their concept of Scripture. They speak of three Words—the inscripturated Word (the Bible), the incarnate Word (Jesus Christ), and the creation Word or law-Word (also known as the cosmonic law). They say that in all “societal spheres” except the institutional church, Holy Scripture is only indirectly relevant. It is the law-Word (the cosmonic law) that is directly relevant. This means that the Bible has lost its priority in the other spheres. This greatly conflicts with what we read in Psalm 119:105: “Thy Word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light upon my path.” In the context or the whole of Psalm 119, Scripture is clearly meant by “Thy Word.” This means that God’s Word, Scripture, is a lamp unto the Psalmist wherever his feet lead, and a light upon his pathway in whichever “societal sphere” he moves. The Christian would not know his way through science, through philosophy, through theology, through literature, through history, through church life, home life, school life, community life, etc., if he did not have Scripture as his lamp, his light.
This lamp, this light is the divine Word of God. Yet there are AACS’ers who say it is not divine. Websters tells us that the word “divine” means, “of, relating to, or proceeding directly from deity.” The Scriptures proceed directly from God. How otherwise could they he called the Word of God? “All Scripture is inspired of God and is profitable for doctrine [propositional truth], for reproof [for condemning all disobedience], for correction [overcoming error], for instruction in righteousness [in what is right morally, intellectually, emotionally] that the man of God may be perfect [whether he is a domestic, a school teacher, a minister, a scientist, or philosopher, or whatever] thoroughly furnished unto all good works” (II Tim. 3:16). Scripture that thoroughly furnishes us unto all good works, whether these good works are performed in the organizational church, or in the home, or behind the classroom door, or in the business world, or in government, or in the fulfillment or any mandate God gives us in the Bible. Scripture proceeds “directly from deity”; yes, from the only true God and is therefore divine. To separate His Word from His Person and thus to violate the propositional truth that God “magnifies His Word above His name” is to play havoc with Scripture. God is truth. His Word is truth. We may not separate God’s Word from God Himself. Dear AACS’ers, for limiting the authority of the Scriptures, God will bring you into judgment. You don‘t really think that God will judge this concept of yours favorably, do you?
AACS and Christian Education – In the second place, Cod will bring the AACS’ers into judgment for turning us away from the Scriptures and to the creation Word (the cosmonic law) for understanding Christian education. In this connection they speak of creation ordinances instead of speaking of Biblical principles.
For thus minimizing—the importance of the Bible in understanding Christian education, Cod will bring the AACS‘ers into judgment. Dear AACS’ers, do you think God will judge this concept of yours favorably? “Be not deceived, God is not mocked.”
AACS and Moral Standards – In the third place, God will bring the AACS’ers into judgment for asserting that the “Bible does not teach us how to be good and how to be bad” (De Graaff). De Graaff seems to maintain that the Old Testament Hebrew culture, in the milieu in which the Bible was written, determined what was good and what was evil only within that culture. What is good or bad for us, on the other hand, depends on the present day culture in which we are living rather than on the Biblical standards. Commenting on De Graaff’s view, Prof. John M. Frame of Westminster Seminary says, “Thus for De Graaff as well as for the situationist. there are no ‘rules’ by which we can determine beforehand what is right and what is wrong.”
Of this view Frame is very critical. He says, “The Reformed Christian will not need much help from us to see how unscriptural this view is. Scripture is not a mere application of Cod‘s law to a particular situation, Scripture is the law of God . . . It is not addressed to only one culture: the culture of Abraham’s day was very different from that of David’s, or Jesus’, or Paul’s. Yet Jesus said of the whole Old Testament that “the Scripture cannot be broken” (John 10:35).
Prof. Gordon H. Clark of Butler University equally strongly rejects the AACS concept of morality when he says: “Imagine! It is impossible 10 follow or apply the command. ‘Thou shalt not steal: because we live in a different culture. ‘Thou shalt not commit adultery’ cannot he literally obeyed today because God commanded it in 1500 B.C. This line of argument is incredible.” Dear readers, where do we get our standards of morality, where do we find out what is good and what is had, if not in God‘s own infallible and authoritative Word, the Scriptures? Jesus Himself said, “If ye love me, keep My commandments.” These commandments are God’s standards for right living. Oh, AACS‘ers, for apostatizing from these Biblical injunctions God will bring you into judgment!
What will happen to the morals of our youth if they fall for the AACS‘s concern of morality? God forbid that they should seek for the principles of Christian morality apart from the Holy Scriptures! Dr. R. Rudolph of the Reformed Episcopal Seminary in Philadelphia designates as “false teachers,” the advocates of AACS teaching wanting to rob our youth of the need to obey God’s law and God’s Word in the Bible.
Dear readers, keep on heeding the Word of God Who said. “Hear, O Israel, Jehovah our God is one Jehovah: and thou shalt love Jehovah thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might. And these words. which I command thee this day, shall be upon thy heart; and thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thy house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up” (Deut. 6:4–7).
That commandment is as relevant as it ever was. “I the Lord change not.” His moral law applies throughout the generations. To ignore it, to look elsewhere for standards of morality is gross apostasy. For such God will bring the defectors into judgment. Says Dr. R. K. Rudolph, “Reformed Episcopalians believe in the Bible as the only place where God speaks. We reject such an heretical denial of God’s Holy Word and such license to evade God‘s commands, as impossible for a follower of the Lord Jesus Christ.”
AACS and the Creeds – In the fourth place, God will bring the AACS into judgment for narrowing down the authority of the institutional church by promoting the adoption of an educational creed for the Christian schools. (This seems to be only the initial step in the direction of adopting a number of creeds, one for every “societal sphere,” such as a political creed, a labor creed, an economic creed.)
Innocent and even favorable as this may sound. it is freighted with danger. The creeds of the church apply to God‘s people in the totality of life, in whichever sphere or spheres a Christian operates. By adopting a specific creed for every sphere of life the AACS limits the authority of our church creeds to the institutional church. The institutional church thus loses her authority and power over its constituency as soon as the members leave the church doors. This is in violation of the promise we made at the time we made public profession, namely, that we would “submit to the government of the church and also, if we should become delinquent either in doctrine or in life, to submit to its admonition and discipline.”
As the Rev. John Mitchell. editor of the Presbyterian Guardian (whose children go to a National Union school) writes: “The Bible knows of no ‘institutional church’ restricted to one ‘life-zone’ . . . Olthuis and Zylstra have seriously delimited the creeds of ‘the institutional church: It is simply not so that ‘the creeds of the institutional church were not intended to be . . . school creeds.’ Quite the contrary! The creeds were meant to be confessions of what the people believed in and for all areas of life, schools not excluded” ( Presbytertian Guardian, Aug.-Sept., 1972, p. 107).
The AACS idea is that Christian schools should not be based on the historic Church creeds, but on creeds that are based on creation. What pertains to this area of life is not governed by Scripture but by the Word of God in creation, which must in creedal form become the basis of Christian schools. Thus our Reformed creeds rooted in the Holy Scriptures are displaced by an educational creed rooted in creation. This manifestly does violence to the fact that the Holy Scriptures are the only infallible rule “for faith and for all of life.” Only when our Christian schools base their teachings on the infallible Scriptures upon which our Reformed creeds are based, will we have Biblically “normed” and therefore truly Christian schools. Dear AACS’ers, don’t you realize that by thus reducing the authority of the Scriptures in your educational creeds, God will bring you into judgment? You don’t really believe that God will judge such a move favorably, do you?
AACS and Parental Authority – In the fifth place, God will bring the AACS into judgment for wanting to take away from parents a measure of God-given authority which the parents may not relinquish. The AACS concept of authority is that the authority in one “societal sphere” is independent of the authority in any other “societal sphere,” thus robbing the church of some of its authority, and the parents of some of theirs, confining the authority in the classroom entirely to the teacher “behind the classroom door.” This clearly means that the teacher has sole authority over the child while in school, the parent has none.
To show how this new view is a marked departure from the view that our Christian schools are parental schools, let me quote at length from an essay written by a Christian school educator of Langley, B.C. who has made an extensive study of this subject. He writes:
“With the Holy Scriptures as its basis, under the supreme authority of the written Word, the Christian school has always been an extension of the Christian home and the indispensible link in the home–church· school chain. Thus the authority over the Christian school, derived from the Bible, becomes manifest in the control by parents and in their insistence that methods, curriculum, moral standards, student co;,duct and other related activities are in agreement with the teachings of the Scriptures.
“It is my contention, therefore, that when (in dealing with the Christian school) we speak of authority, we mean, firstly, the authoritative sovereignty of the Scriptures as the reason for establishing and maintaining Christian schools, and, secondly, the authoritative control by parents as the vehicle for permanence of educational activity on the basis of Scriptural sovereignty” (G. Bonekamp).
Speaking at an educational convention years ago, the late Professor Louis Berkhof emphasized that “teachers must be like-minded with the parents in the essentials of education,” and that “the parents have a right to demand, and insist on a certain quantity and quality of educational work and the teachers have no right to disregard those requirements. He is responsible to the parents that employ him.”
Dear AACS’ers, how can you believe that God will judge favorably such a twist in the philosophy of Christian education as you desire? You admit, don‘t you, that your teachings are rooted in Dooyeweerd? Therefore you are called Dooyeweerdians. “The Dooyeweerdians freely admit that what they are teaching cannot be traced back any further than Dooyeweerd or Kuyper” (R. A. Morrey).
You see, readers, if their teachings do not go back any further than Dooyeweerd or Kuyper, they manifestly do not go back to the Bible. This leads Morey to ask the same question he says Dr. C. Van Til asks: “How can they call their philosophy ‘Biblical’ when they admit that they do not derive any content from the Bible for their philosophy?” Morey rightly remarks, “The term ‘Biblical philosophy’ is meaningless if nothing theoretical is derived from the Bible . . . . By abandoning the theoretical use of the Scriptures Dooyeweerdianism abandons its right to be called ‘Christian’ or ‘Biblical’” (The Dooyeweerdian Concept of the Word, pp. 15–16).
For doing such violence to the place of the Scriptures in Christian education, God will bring them into judgment. Dear AACS’ers, why will ye apostatize from the truth?
We have mentioned enough areas in which the AACS is departing from the Scriptures to urge you women to be on the alert against the infiltration of their views into your home, church, school, and any “societal sphere.” For all these things mentioned God will not only bring the AACS into judgment, but for our ignorance of all these things God will also bring us into judgment. Watch, then, with eagle eyes the direction in which your Christian school-elementary, secondary, higher—is moving! Also watch with eagle eyes the direction in which your home and your church are moving. Pray much that your sons and daughters may not go over into this strange new way of thinking. Dear Lord, “Lead me in Thy truth and teach me, for Thou art the God of my salvation.”