Letters to the Editor


I wish to express my comments on the article by Edwin H. Palmer entitled The Underground Church. To say that Mr. Palmer hit the proverbial nail on the head would be a gross understatement in my opinion. His consistent theme of emphasizing the Word of God is extremely refreshing in view of the constant chant nowadays of, “Change, change!” Many of our churches are devoid of life and meaning, but that is the direct result of their services having been watered down by preachers who consider themselves consolers and not conveyors of the Word of God.

For centuries the Roman Catholic church has had all sorts of ritualistic trappings and mystical movements, not to mention candles. statues and Gregorian chants. The only resultant effect of this has not been more “meaningful worship,” but instead an uprising by the laity for, “more meaningful worship” and a greater amount of preaching by the priests. Also, the removal of the mysticism, the candles and the Gregorian chants has almost been completely effected in the United States. And the United States is considered the last conservative holdout in the world by most Catholic theologians! Now these same priests, who previously filled in the gaps in their services by reading the bishop’s latest letter verbally, must learn to preach to their people and preach meaningfuly. But the Reformed Faith with its Calvins and Kuypers has an endless treasure of knowledge and experience from which to draw, not to mention centuries of living and hearing the Word of God. Let us learn from the experience of others that the only thing that survives the test of men and time is the Word of God.

People will get out of church exactly what they put into it and nothing more. If they wan t to be entertained or razzle-dazzled let them seek that form of religious show business elsewhere, not in the Christian Reformed church. One area where the window could be opened for some fresh air is the ministry of music. You might want to use some songs that are in line with modern day Christian songs, but they should not be used unless they vocally give praise to the Glory of God. Implied meanings in music are not acceptable, a song must come right out and say what it means with words.

Our church does not need to go through a state of change to make worship services meaningful. What can be more meaningful and thought provoking than a well prepared sermon in Light of the Word of God? We need sermons that tell us of God’s law and how to keep that law in our hearts everyday of the week, not just Sundays. We need sermons that describe God’s wrath but also his endless grace. We need sermons that show that the way to salvation is narrow but paint out what faith is and how to keep it. Ministers who believe more can be accomplished by having group readings, flashing lights or folk singers had better go back to the Scriptures and recall the fact that the only enduring thing in this fast moving world is the Word of God and its proclamation. We do not need formalism, hut we do need and must keep alive the formal worship of the Living God and the preaching of his endless Word.


P.S. I know whereof I speak having been a Roman Catholic for 23 years before coming to the Reformed faith two years ago. Believe me, the Reformed side of the coin is the best side.


It is several months ago now that Rev. John Gritter had an article in the TORCH AND TRUMPET, admonishing our laymen not to fight and cause dissension. Although I am not authorized to speak for our Christian Reformed Laymen, as a responsible member of that body I should like to answer Rev. Gritter in public, because an attitude of “peace at all costs” is prevalent today.

Such admonition is certainly timely in the face of widespread dissension in and outside of the church, and the Bible is emphatic in its warning against unnecessary dissension in the church. As a departing father, bidding farewell to his loved ones, Paul admonishes the Ephesian church against grievous wolves, who would enter the fold after he was no longer present. This warning is valid, since we hear of many who deny the plain teaching of Scripture, especially those who are equipped and appointed as leaders in the church of Christ.

On another occasion Paul declared “I have fought the good fight, and am expecting the crown.” Although Paul suffered much at the hands of the Romans, it was largely the bitter antagonism of the Jewish leaders that aroused Paul to fight within the established church of Christ those who departed from the truth, which he affirmed had been delivered unto him. And Paul was very emphatic in defense of the truth as he pronounced a curse upon such as preach “another gospel,” and he would be equally forceful in his denunciation of those who present a false gospel today.

In this connection I sometimes wonder whether our leaders in gatherings at classis and synod are aware of the possibility that they may suddenly be called to appear before the Chief Shepherd. Our Lord, with eyes of flaming fire, who will then judge them, was also very severe in his denunciation of the leaders who twisted the truth, and he pronounced them to be children of the devil. In the light of and continuing the solemn warning of verse 33 of Matthew 10, our Lord specifics his position in the world as a directive for his followers. This is not a contradiction of Romans 12, verse 18, but a restriction to “as much as in you Beth, be at peace with all men,” and the reason is not self-defense but defense of the Truth with which he is identified.

I am astounded to hear that many trained men, called as undershepherds in the church, were silent and even applauded when the veracity of God’s revelation was undermined. Church history has recorded for us many heroes of faith, such as Martin Luther and others, besides those listed in the Bible. But I am certain that if we should examine their acceptance by contemporaries, we would find that many were rejected, as we realize in Paul’s defense of his apostleship. Jesus himself warned that “the disciple is no more exempt from scorn than His Master.” So I would remind myself and others who might be seeking praise of men to consider Jesus’ warning that “they have their reward.”

The direction our church is going reveals that many of us are willing to pay any price for peace, and who finally will be ashamed before our Lord’s appearing with scars of thorns on his forehead. So, as long as we are with the militant church, we must be willing to endure contempt and shame for our Lord in exposing evil.

We appreciate the articles that appeared in the last issue or the TORCH AND TRUMPET, especially when they speak out plainly on the issues.



P.S. No, we as laymen do not ignore the admonition of Paul in I Timothy 5 verse 7, but when our leaders, like Nicodemus, do not understand basic truths, how dare we as prophets be silent—but still we are listening for those who speak out.