Pointed Paragraphs


It does not look as if our federal government would ever agree to or even consider subsidizing non-public schools or that our States would ever refund tax money to these schools. Any proposal in that direction would evoke a veritable hurricane of protests. Any movement of this sort, regardless of the source, would precipitate a bitter nation-wide controversy which in the end might lead to determined efforts to outlaw our schools. And even if we knew this would not be the case, we should still be opposed to government subsidy because it would inevitably result in government control.

The experience which Christians in other countries have had in the matter confirms our statement. The following excerpt from a letter which came recently from Rev. Roger Greenway, now serving in Ceylon, offers such confirmation. “An issue of grave concern to all Christians is the intended take-over by government of 3,300 Christian schools. This includes our seven Dutch Reformed Church schools. It will be done simultaneously, maybe next week, or next month, but certainly by the end of the year. Besides the religious implications, this presents many practical difficulties since, with only one exception, our schools are on church grounds, school playgrounds are used as parking lots on Sunday, church meetings are held in the schoolrooms, and in some instances the only entrance to the school property is through the churchyard. Consequently there is great excitement and alarm in the churches today…Several years ago the Christian schools began accepting government subsidy. At that time Rev. John O. Schuring and many others warned against it, but the offer seemed so tempting. What government subsidy leads to is now evident. Furthermore, Hindu and Buddhist teachers have been allowed to teach in the Christian schools. This may seem shocking to us, but it reflects the religious condition of the people in the churches.”

We may imagine that such a thing could never happen in our schools and in our country. Of course, no Hindu or Buddhist teachers, even if they were available, would be hired to teach in our Christian schools. But let’s not be complacent. Are we sure, for example, that no teacher will ever be hired who believes in theistic evolution? Are we sure that there is not one such teacher in our Christian schools? We are not. As regards government subsidy or tax refunds, we doubt if anyone believes that this would not lead to considerable interference with the curricula and the management of our schools. Christian schools must be free schools. Above all, they must be truly Christian, in teaching, management, discipline, and spirit.



As all our readers may know, Dr. Fred Klooster, of Calvin Seminary, spent the 1959–1960 school year in Switzerland to study with Karl Barth. He was engaged by the Reformed Fellowship Inc., the publisher of this magazine, to give a series of lectures on the theology of Barth upon his return. These lectures, three in number, were given successively in Calvin College chapel on the last two Thursdays of September and the first Thursday of October. Considering the nature of the subject, the attendance was very encouraging, several hundred being present at each of the lectures. We are confident of voicing the sentiment of many others who were present when we say that Dr. Klooster presented three unusually lucid as well as thorough papers on a difficult subject. We are certain that those in the audience who were not theologically oriented received some clear and definite impressions of what Barth really believes, in contradistinction to Modernism on the one hand and Reformed theology on the other. The first lecture dealt with the significance of Barth’s theology, the second with his view of election, and the third with his construction of the doctrine of reconciliation. The Reformed Fellowship Inc. plans to publish these lectures in the not-too-distant future. No minister, seminary student, or layman interested in theology should fail to avail himself of the opportunity to read them. We have learned much from hearing them and look forward to reading them after they are published.



One of the most significant signs of the times is that many mission fields are being closed to the preaching of the gospel. This phenomenon seems to point to an early end of the thousand years of Revelation 20 and the nearness of the period in which “Satan…must be loosed for a little time” to persecute the Church of God. The island of Ceylon, for example, is now in the throes of official opposition to Christianity. Cuba will doubtless be next. Until now, if we may believe reports, Protestants in that island still enjoy considerable immunity from interference, but let no one imagine that if Castro succeeds in solidifying his control the Protestant churches and missions will continue to remain unmolested. Communism would no longer be Communism if it were content to refrain from hampering religious worship and activity and from seeking to brainwash the leaders of the Church.

The time may not be far distant when all or nearly all our foreign mission ficlds will have to be abandoned. What does this mean for the mission policy of the Churches? For one thing, of course, to preach the gospel in other lands as well and as long as we can. But we should at the same time turn our thoughts ami efforts to the evangelization of America. The call of the hour is the call to home mission work. Thousands of communities in our land are without the true gospel. Abandoned churches are familiar sights. As a Church, we are placing more emphasis on this phase of our mission task than in former years, but it is only a small beginning. True, the Back to God Hour does a great work but we suspect that it reaches comparatively few unsaved persons. As far as our denominational home mission program is concerned, much of its work is still designed to organize new Christian Reformed churches in areas to which its members move. Very necessary, to be sure. But we still do not reach a large number of non·Christians. Do many of us realize that America is a vast potential mission field and a very promising one? There is less antagonism here to religion and to Christianity than in many so-called Christian lands in Europe. Thousands, perhaps millions, are too ignorant of the gospel to be gospel-hardened. But let no one imagine that we shall ever be able to make an impact on America commensurate with our strength unless we send out hundreds of laymen into this field as well as some ordained men, especially a there is even a shortage of the latter for our own pulpits. The laymen for this field as well as the ministers must be properly trained and the training now available, particularly in the Reformed Bible Institute, must be expanded. More over, much intensive work must be done to find the most be done to find the most fruitful areas in this great potential mission field America



When a congregation of the Lord Jesus Christ assembles for formal worship on the Lord’s Day, it is important that the Minister of the Word who stands before them shall be convinced that if God sends the minister to the people, he likewise sends the people to the minister. It is as easy for God to create a longing for the truth in the hearts of his people as it is to create a longing to declare the truth in the hearts of his ministers. If the minister has the conviction that he is where he is by the call of God, he should have the same confidence that the people to whom and for whom he speaks are where they are also by the call of God. Awareness of this fact will encourage the pastor to preach with the assurance that the truth he brings is not merely to be put “on exhibit” but is to be transmitted, and indeed will be transmitted.



The sine qua non* of scholarship is objectivity. Anyone who evaluates other writers or school of thought, or, worse still, refuses to judge them at all, according to his subjective reactions, has by that very token forfeited the right of being considered a scholar. Every presentation of an opponent’s position, or quotations from his writings must be completely objective or you do him an injustice. And the same holds when we are called upon to pass judgment upon individuals. It would seem that with this scarcely anyone would care to disagree.

But is the sense of objectivity becoming a lost art among us? This writer was a delegate to last year’s synod. He observed that certain speakers were completely ignored. This is not to say that merely what was said was dis· counted from the outset; the very attitude was offensive and discourteous to the extent that observers in the audience could not fail to notice it. Further, we have it on unimpeachable authority that one of the departmental editors of one of our denominational weeklies failed of reappointment because he is active in journalism in another periodical. Again, at our 1960 Synod a name was presented of a man to serve on a synodical committee which would have a difficult assignment. But he was disqualified because he is a regular contributor of Bible outlines to a certain magazine. Once again, sometime ago someone expressed amazement to this writer that he is a subscriber to a certain periodical that is circulated among us. Finally, a couple men were discussing book reviews. In the course of the conversation it came to light that the signature of the reviewer determines whether the review is worth reading or not. How small can we get!

We hear about parties in our church. Parties are condemned. We do not want to believe there are parties. But one must be blind not to see that there are two trends in our church. They are not easily described. To the one our Reformed heritage and tradition seems to be but lightly esteemed. To the other that heritage is the most precious treasure the church possesses and must be preserved at all costs. And now here lies our danger. Let not the latter call the former liberals. But neither let the former brand the latter as traditionalists, isolationists, who act as though we are still an immigrant church blissfully oblivious to the needs of the day. Not only is this most unkind, it is sheer nonsense. We can depend upon this that if the espousers of these two views refuse to take note of each other’s writings and views, then we will have parties and the party spirit. Then there are rough seas ahead. And let those who preach tolerance please remember that this often means simply this: We tolerate those who agree with us! Our subjectivism leads to chaos. It is unworthy of any man, but it is most inexcusable in ecclesiastical circles or assemblies of any nature. Shame on us.



A key word used in political campaigns is program. In the most recent presidential campaign both Mr. Nixon and Mr. Kennedy did all in their power to convince voters not only of their capabilities, but also of their knowledgeability with respect to that which a president ought to carry out.

Program is also n key word in the Reformed tradition. A major work by perhaps the most inspiring leader the Calvinist forces have enjoyed within the last century is entitled, Ons Program (“Our Program”). And this is recognized by various departments of Church and Kingdom effort, although the word program seems often to be re· placed by the term, “Long Range Planning.”

Is it possibly true, however, that in our immediate circle this planning is almost exclusively limited to such things as new buildings, new congregations, and other similarly “practical” matters?

We do not suggest that a thing is of second rate importance if it is concrete and practical, but rather that programs and projects are truly “practical” only if they are founded on a clear understanding of Biblical principle. And this kind of understanding will never come except through determined recognition of the importance of truth, and intense effort to phrase it properly and apply it in all areas of today’s life!

Here we offer another suggestion—and we do so hesitatingly and carefully. Our suggestion is that if program development is so important to the welfare of the forces of the living God in their struggles of today, then we ought not to be afraid of groups of people banding together in order to try their hand at this extremely necessary service. We are not so much afraid of “parties in the Church” as of indifference to the need for an ever-growing and ever-improving program upon which all candidates in the Kingdom of God can stand firmly, loyally, and comfortably!



Modernism, Higher Criticism, Evolutionism, Rationalism, Humanism and all other forms of misbelief are of one piece. All have their deepest root in the natural unbelief of the unregenerate heart. One wonders sometimes how such dangerous theories, or systems of thought, can gain a foothold in the Church, even in a truly orthodox denomination. The answer is that while orthodoxy is a characteristic of the spiritual man, heterodoxy is native to the natural man. There are natural men, non·believers, as well as spiritual men, believers, in every church and denomination. Potentially every unconverted person, also an unconverted covenant child, is a Modernist, a Higher Critic, an Evolutionist, a Rationalist, and/or Deist. Tradition is strong and may prevent the crystallization and the expression of these forms of unbelief in those who were born of devout parents and reared in orthodox churches. But tradition may fade under the impact of godless living or education or of the influence of unbelieving friends. For that reason no denomination, however pure in the faith, can prevent the eruption of unscriptural views and contentions among its members.

But this is not all. The seeds of unbelief and misbelief are still present in our hearts even though we are born· again men or women. The “old man” in us is still strong. Even true Christians can be carried away by false teachings for a time or hold to certain false, unscriptural doctrines as long as they live. They may even be moved to defend and propagate their erroneous views. It is therefore no cause for surprise that heretical teachings are bound to make their appearance in every denomination, sooner or later. Paul had good reason for warning even the solid church of Ephesus against being “tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, with the sleight of men.” How true it is that we all have the seeds of unbelief in our hearts; that the remnants of the old leaven of error are still present. It is the bounden duty of every child of God to purge out also this old leaven, to lead all his thoughts into captivity unto the obedience of Christ, and to let the new leaven of the true faith permeate all his thoughts and views.

The faith of the Christian is also of one piece. By this we mean that every aspect or phase of that faith—for example, in the Bible as God’s infallible Word, in the triune God, in Christ as the eternal Son of God, in the Holy Spirit as a divine person, in the virgin birth, in the resurrection of Christ, in the second coming of our Lord, in the eternal counsel of God—hangs together in unbreakable unity with every other phase of that faith. They are all of one piece. They are indispensable ingredients of real, supernatural Christianity. All are rooted in the divine Word. If we doubt one or more and believe the others we are inconsistent. Logic will compel us to extend the principle of unbelief to the other teachings or to retrace our steps and accept the doctrines of the Christian faith in their totality and purity. He who takes the first step on the path of Modernism or Humanism or Rationalism (they are essentially one path) has already in principle surrendered the Christian faith.