Letters to the Editors…


Dear Editor:

I probably lacked clarity in my attempt to communicate certain ideas about creation and evolution in my article in the January issue. For Rev. Rushdoony makes some grave charges in an answering letter in the April issue. Two of these charges are that I have not discussed the matter honestly and that my method “smacks of modernism.” These are awful sins. Therefore, I would like to have the opportunity to remove doubts by summarizing the issue as I see it. (Rev. Rushdoony opens the discussion by stating I am an A.S.A. member. If one’s affiliations are relevant, it would be more in point to call attention to my membership in Reformed Fellowship.)

(1) The range of belief among Bible·believers concerning creation and evolution extends from something close to Darwinian evolution on the one hand to six 24-hour creation days on the other hand. These are the extreme positions, but nothing bad is implied by designating them as extreme. 1 did not mean to use “extreme” in the same way “extremism” was used in the 1964 election campaign. I am sorry if I gave a wrong impression.

(2) If we decide to accept some position with respect to creation and evolution, we should be willing to accept nil the implications of the position we accept. If Rev. Rushdoony believes that creation took place about ten thousand years ago, he should state clearly—as I suggested in the original article—that the star light argument leads him to conclude the universe might be only one-one hundred billionth of the size postulated by astronomers. If the Bible gives us a creation date of ten thousand years ago, then we cannot know that the universe is larger than this comparatively small size. There is nothing wrong with accepting this “small” universe. It is, however, something we must accept if we accept the late creation date. I am really sorry Rev. Rushdoony did not discuss this point beyond calling it “a manufactured problem.”

(3) Since some conservative scholars hold to 24-hour days, others to long periods, and still others to the idea that the decision cannot be made from a study of Scripture with none of these three groups at all small -it would seem a bit premature for us to say that the matter has been settled once and for all. To me this does flat mean we should therefore turn to extra-Biblical sources unless the question belongs to the adiaphora.

In the matter of the length of the creation days I would like to pose a question which admittedly goes beyond what was discussed in my article. How long is (or was) God’s seventh day of rest? If Scripture teaches that it is a long period, might this not indicate that the six days are also long periods?

(4) I wonder if we really can take a defensible position on this question. I think I agree with a Reformed minister who suggested that everyone would one day be surprised by the Lord when He completes His revelation concerning creation. Are we not in a position in this matter similar to the position we arc in concerning certain Biblical prophecies, prophecies which cannot be completely understood because they have not yet been fulfilled?

My hope and prayer is that I have clarified my views and that I have said nothing contrary to the infallible Word. Sincerely yours,



Dear Editor :

Looking back over the last forty years one surely must admit that our Church has grown tremendously in numbers. Many beautiful parsonages, churches, and schools testify to the fact that we have been blessed in a material way. Graduates of Calvin College and Seminary are found in many parts of the world. And with the expanding faculties the number will increase yearly.

However, has this growth been accompanied by a better understanding and awareness of our Reformed faith? Many articles that have been appearing in this and other magazines seriously doubt it. Let me sketch some of the trends that I have noticed. Expository preaching, as we have known it in the past, is fast disappearing from many pulpits. Instead topics and texts are chosen that present general truths with little depth  of thought. It can all be staled in thirty minutes or less. You’ll find that some of the cardinal truths such as election, reprobation, regeneration, and sanctification arc seldom discussed. No wonder we hear the complaint that our people do not know the doctrines expressed in our creeds. I have heard it expressed in this way when talking about election: “That is too deep for us. We had better leave it alone.” Paul said, “Wherefore I take you to record this day, that I am pure from the blood of an men. For I have not shunned to declare unto you all the counsel of God” (Acts 20:26,27).

Separate Christian organizations in the field of labor are fighting a losing battle today. It used to be that union members were not allowed to be nominated for the positions of elder and deacon. Since our Synod has given its stamp of approval on membership in the so-called neutral (?) labor unions, this no longer holds. We now encourage our men to let their light shine and join these worldly organizations. I wonder how many that write and talk this way have ever tried it.

The decision of Synod of 1956 in regard to divorce and remarriage altered the historic position of our Church. Formerly when a man or woman was divorced on biblical grounds (adultery), the innocent party could remarry and remain a member of the church. The guilty party could only be readmitted into the church by a confession of sin and by breaking the illegal tie of marriage. Today we accept as members into our churches persons who have been divorced on non-biblical grounds. Of course, Synod did state that these persons if they “seek entrance or re-entrance into the Church shall show their sorrow and genuine repentance during an adequate period of probation.” Nevertheless our former position, as stated above, has been changed. As the courts of Our land recognize unbiblical divorces we, as a Church, do the same in principle.

The problem of worldly amusements and all that is involved has been the subject of many debates in the last decade. Fundamentally this is a problem of world-conformity. No synodical decisions will be of much value if our leaders carryon debates as to what was really meant and how these decisions must be interpreted. We today, in this “sports-mad” world of ours, need very much the admonition of Paul: “And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good and acceptable, and perfect, will of God” (Rom. 12:2).

No doubt many of us have noticed the articles that have been written about evolution. Some of the authors try to harmonize their views with the creation story in Genesis and boldly proclaim that they are theistic evolutionists. This view implies that God has brought all things into existence by a gradual development due to natural causes which are still going on today. It surely is evident that some of our leaders, and many of those in The Netherlands, no longer accept the traditional views espoused by my former teachers when I was in high schooL Genesis 1–3 are basic. Are we going to interpret these chapters in the light of modern science?

Finally I would like to mention one more trend. Seemingly we do all we can to avoid controversy, even when important issues are involved. Added to this is the sad fact that many do not care and do not know what the issues are. Just try to mention some of the questions that are now being discussed when you are in a group of friends and notice the reaction. All of us as parents, teachers, and leaders need very much the admonition: “Thus saith the Lord.”

Just over forty years ago the Synod of 1924 said in part: “The consciousness of a spiritual-ethical antithesis becomes increasingly vague in the minds of many to make room for an indefinite notion of a general brotherhood. The preaching of the Word concerns itself largely with the periphery of life and does not penetrate into its spiritual center. The doctrine of particular grace in Christ is more and more pushed to the background. There is a strong tendency to bring theology into harmony with a science that stands in the service of infidelity.”

Have we maintained this spiritual-ethical antithesis? Are we harmonizing theology with modern science?