STANDARD BEARER, June 1 1326 W. Butler, S.E. Grand Rapids, Michigan, $5.00 per year

The Standard Bearer could never be the same without the contributions of its late founder and editor, Rev. Herman Hoeksema, but his successors arc doing their utmost and their efforts are worth noting! Prof. Homer C. Hoeksema (son of “H.H.” and professor of dogmatics and Old Testament theology in the Protestant Reformed Seminary) addresses himself to three aspects of current Christian Reformed discussion. “An O.P.C.-C.R.C. Merger?” Hoeksema’s counsel is caution to the O.P.C. as he asks,

… is the Christian Reformed Church actually faithful to its own confessional and doctrinal position? As much as I know of the O.P.C., they cannot be in agreement with some of the liberal tendencies evidenced in Christian Reformed circles. I refer to matters like the inspiration-infallibility question, the Dekker Case, the World Council matter, etc. I know, too, that there must be some concern about these matters in the O.P.C. (“Orthodox Presbyterian Church,” ed.), judging from the fact that the C.R.C’s fraternal delegate to last year’s General Assembly tried to quiet some of the fears about these issues. A second consideration is this: what will become of the identity of the O.P.C. in such an organic union? The O.P.C. is by far the smaller of the two denominations. Will this proposed merger actually be a merger? Or will it mean that the O.P.C. will simply be swallowed up in the larger C.R.C. and completely losc its historic Presbyterian character in the process? This question certainly should be considered; and the advisability of organic union is closely connected with it. Nor should any such merely practical consideration as a possible hope that the conservative O.P.C. will buoy up the conservative element in the C.R.C. be permitted to obscure this question. A third consideration involves Westminster Seminary. I am well aware of the fact that Westminster is not a denominational school. Nevertheless, the fact remains that the ministers of the O.P.C. for the most part have been trained at Westminster Should a merger be consummated, what will become of Westminster? Calvin Seminary is, of course, the denominational school for the training of C.R.C. ministers. Will Westminster be given equal status with Calvin, even though the former is not a church school? Or will Westminster become a kind of orphan through this proposed union?

“Tensions in the Teaching” is an editorial reflecting on Dr. Henry Stob’s assertions in The Reformed Journal (March, ‘66) concerning future discussion of issues in the area of the church’s doctrine. Rather sharply Hoeksema comments: “If the Journal has its way on all these important issues -and that way has always tended to be the ‘liberal way’—then they will forevermore be pleading for ‘ongoing exploration within a framework of mutual trust and respect.’ The result will be that with respect to issues on which the church has long ago taken a stand and on issues on which the Reformed faith has for years and centuries been ‘settled and binding’ they will discuss and discuss and discuss, until the last vestiges of the Reformed faith in the Christian Reformed Church have been removed.” Editor Hoeksema’s third contribution is entitled, “Study Committee Recommendations in the Dekker Case.” He finds the Study Committee’s recommendations to be seventy pages of “hocus pocus,” in which the (for him) inconsistent positions of the Christian Reformed Church adopted in 1924 (Common Grace controversy) are clumsily and erroneously upheld.

CHRISTIANITY TODAY, June 24 375 West Center Street, Marion, Ohio, $5.00 per year

“In the kind of world we live in today, the preacher should be proclaiming a word from the Lord that might even get him fired.” This is a sentence from John Thompson’s lead article, “Is There a Prophet in the Land.” He is pleading for preachers of the Amos, Jeremiah, John the Baptist, St. Paul stamp so that the pulpits will be manned by men who do “not preach to live but live to preach.” (Amen! Shall we just make a small beginning by discussing the need for church discipline. at least two church services each week, separate Christian enterprise in education, labor, polities, and…or did we already lose you?) Hermann Sasse, now of Immanuel Theological Seminary, Adelaide, Australia, asks “Why Did Churches Become Mosques in the East?” The history of modern Christendom reveals that the Christian churches face this common destiny: “Christianity is losing hold on the Western world.” Defeat and death are possible for historical churches, Sasse points out, and we must not forget that “the mystery of all church history is to be found in him ‘who openeth and no man shutteth, and shutteth and no man openeth.’” This is an arresting study, perhaps reducible to this thesis: “The ancient churches of which we spoke lost their love for Christ when they were no longer able to confess his true divinity, his true humanity, and the unity of his person.” Editorially this issue covers a wide area: current evangelical interest in “a high view of the Word of God and its inspiration,” the Student Foreign Missions Fellowship, orthodoxy, the proposed Institute of Advanced Christian Studies, Billy Graham’s London crusade, inflationary pressures on the American dollar, and the ecumenical movement. The latter subject is treated under the heading, “Evangelicals in the Ecumenical Movement,” and points up the difficulty a sincere evangelical has to take part in a movement as needful and as vague or compromising as the current ecumenism seems to be.

PRESBYTERIAN JOURNAL, May 18, 25 Weaverville, NC, $3.00 per year

Both issues reflect consternation and disappointment in connection with the decision of the most recent General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church US (usually called “Southern Presbyterian Church”) to send an official delegation to COCU (“Consultation on Church Union,” the “Blake-Pike” plan ). This has been a shocking (although not really unexpected) experience for the kind of people whose views are reflected in this journal. Here is a sample of the kind of reaction the editor reflects:

Recent dramatic developments brought about by actions of the General Assembly raise a number of interesting questions. Just what should a Christian do, who wants to be a Presbyterian, if the Church continues in the ways it has plotted for itself? What if this Presbyterian wants a Church functioning under Presbyterian government and not Episcopal government? What if he wants Reformed theology and not Arminian theology? What if he wants to associate with Christians who stand for the full implications of divine sovereignty and election; of man’s awful depravity; of a real salvation from eternal death; of assurance of grace? Shall he consider himself bound to dismiss all these precious aspects of the Reformed faith simply because his denomination has decided to dismiss them? And what if it is a concerned congregation and not just a concerned individual?

“The Christian in Military Service” is a timely article (May 18) by Gen. William K. Harrison. “The Holy Spirit’s Baptism” by Rev. James Hudson Taylor Sr., missionary to Taiwan, discusses the indispensable role of the Spirit in the Christian’s life.

THE BANNER OF TRUTH, April 3229 Four Mile Rd., N.W., Grand Rapids, Michigan, $3.00 per year

“An Apostolic Call to Remembrance” is the principal contribution, written by the editor, Rev. William C. Lamain, pastor of the Grand Rapids Netherlands He· formed Congregation. It is an exposition of II Tim. 2:8, “Remember that Jesus Christ of the seed of David was raised from the dead according to my gospel.” The three strands of the Heidelberg Catechism, knowledge of sin, knowledge of redemption, and knowledge of gratitude are evident in this homily. Here is a sample paragraph:

Oh, that each one would examine his soul as before the face of the Lord. The Lord desires truth in the inward parts. Only one of two things can be true: either we have knowledge of these things or we stand outside. Christ did not die for all men, but only for his people. He arose from the dead only for the elect. Their spiritual resurrection as well as that of the body are assured by the resurrection of Christ. Paul knew the power of that resurrection and Timothy was no stranger to it.

IN HOLY ARRAY, April, May Box 774, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada, $3.00 per year

In “The Meaning of the Covenant in Our Daily Life” A. B. Roukema asserts that the Covenant “is the most important thing in life.” It determines our relation to God (“Being in the Covenant is…a privilege, but at the same time it is a calling. It summons us to make a choice; we cannot be neutral. We should not be satisfied with only the name ‘children of God.’ We should accept it in faith…”). It determines as well our relation to the Church, “for, by God’s electing love, we belong to the Covenant people.” And it determines our relation to the world. This means:

We are called out of the world to be the people of God. It means a dividing line between Church and World. One who is born in the Covenant does not belong to the world. Certainly he has to live in the world, but he has to show that he does not belong to it. In his life he has to show a special style, the style of the city of God…

In the May issue Rev. F. Kouwenhoven offers a brief essay on Karl Barth. His conclusion:

Now the sad thing is that the man who initially presented himself as the declared foe of all subjectivism in the end was taken captive by the same subjectivism. For though to Barth the Bible has authority from God, the authentication of that authority depends on the awakening of faith in us. God’s revelation will not become the Word until I recognize it as such. Thus it is possible to say that Barth believes the Bible is the Word of God and at the same time that he believes the Bible becomes the Word of God. The most we can say of the Bible, however, is that it is a witness to revelation and a human witness at that, and for that reason never infallible.