BLUE BANNER FAITH AND LIFE July–September 3408 7th Avenue, Beaver Falls, PA 15010 $1.50 per year
This is a quarterly “devoted to expounding, defending and applying the system of doctrine set forth in the Word of God and summarized in the standards of the Reformed Presbyterian (Covenanter) Church.” Its editor is well-known to readers of this journal (Rev. Johannes C. Vos). A feature always enjoyable is the inclusion of a number of poems. “The Kingdom of Truth” is an excellent contribution by Editor Vos, based on John 18:37, 38a (“Pilate said unto him, What is truth?”). The three divisions of this article speak volumes: I. Pilate’s Attitude to Truth: Truth for Man’s Sake; II. The Philosopher’s Attitude to Truth: Truth for Truth’s Sake; III. Jesus’ Attitude to Truth: Truth for God’s Sake. “Basic Principles of Covenant Theology” is also written by Prof. Vos. Here is a paragraph from this very thorough study:
The matter of the spiritual unity and continuity of the Church with the Old Testament Israel is of very great theological importance. If this truth be denied, other serious and destructive errors are sure to follow. For example, the question of the organic unity of Scripture is involved, as is also the question of salvation under the Old Testament. The unity and continuity of the Church with Israel is denied chiefly by Dispensationalism, which sets up a radical antithesis between Israel and the Church; it is also denied by modern Liberalism, which regards the Bible as man’s quest for God, not God’s revelation to man, and holds that instead of revealing one consistent divine purpose progressively realized in history, the Bible presents a collection of human strivings, aspirations, viewpoints. insights which are partly truth and partly error, and which often are mutually contradictory. This type of thinking regards the Old Testament, not as God’s gracious revelation, but as Israel’s evolving faith, and the New Testament, including Christ, as humanitarian idealism rather than divine truth. Dr. Albert Schweitzer is a good example of this tendency.
“Religious Terms Defined” is another BBFL feature. A sample: “DEPRAVITY, TOTAL. The truth that the unsaved sinner is corrupted in every part of his personality, including both body and soul, so that apart from the special work of the Holy Spirit he cannot choose to love God, nor do anything spiritually good in God’s sight.” Twenty pages are devoted “Studies in the Epistle to the Ephesians (Lessons 20–32, Eph. 4:1 to 6:24). This too is good, solid material!
THE PRESBYTERIAN GUARDIAN July-August 7401 Old York Rd., Philadelphia, PA 19126, $3.00 per year
“Have you made us monks in a space age?” “Have you made us naive idealists in a world of sordid reality?” “Have you merely left us gullible in a cynical age?” To such questions Rosemary Camilleri, recent graduate from Philadelphia-Montgomery Christian Academy, addresses herself in one of the best commencement addresses we have read in a long time. “The Obligation of Infant Baptism” is a study-committee report to the 33rd General Assembly of the Orthodox Presbyterian Church. It addresses itself to the question, “Does the Constitution of the Orthodox Presbyterian Church permit church sessions to receive into communicant membership those who refuse to present their children for baptism on account of scruples concerning infant baptism?” The majority of the committee (composed of Charles H. Ellis, Laurence N. Vail and Prof. John Murray) simply answers that a communicant member in the OPC must be held responsible for the baptism of the children God may give. One member of the Committee adds “qualifying considerations.” This member argues that under certain circumstances such as cannot in good conscience present Covenant children for baptism may be admitted in the hope that “the ministry of the Word and the blessing of the Spirit will bring him in time to see that his whole family should bear the sign and seal of covenant grace.” This member argues that it is the sole prerogative of the local session to determine each case on its own merits. In this connection an interesting observation is made: “While the Orthodox Presbyterian Church properly insists that its officers subscribe fully to the system of doctrine taught in the Westminster Standards. it has of members required a credible confeSSion of faith in Christ.” This is a distinction which, to my knowledge, has never been recognized quite that way in the Christian Reformed Church. Since the CRC and OPC are working together for organic merger, it would seem that this difference would be of large significance.
CHURCH AND NATION July 5 10 Golfdown Dr., Rexdale, Ontario, Canada, $3.00 per year
“The Synod of Pella (1966)” is the lead article written by Dr. Louis Praamsma. Praamsma regards this broadest gathering of the Christian Reformed Church to have been an intermezzo-synod, a synod-between-acts, a synod of postponed decisions. “As far as it is characteristic of Dutchmen not to go over ice of one night, it was a real Dutch synod.” A short editorial by Rev. Jack Quartel offers this criticism of certain kinds of demonstration-type activity in behalf of civil rights for the Negro. We quote:
The struggle for the recognition of the rights of the minority must be fought. We fight one ourselves. But there are other and better methods than disobedience, a method which is roundly condemned in Romans 13.
No nation that has tolerated lawlessness, disregard for its laws, let alone encouraged it, has ever survived.
Will our Western civilization survive in its struggle with a rigidly disciplined communism when it allows the erosion of her justice?
THE GUIDE May June–July 1058A Albion Rd., Rexdale, Ontario, Canada, $2.00 per year
This is “the official organ of the Christian Labour Association of Canada.” Gerald Vandezande is editor-in-chief. Especially those who feel that the cause of “separate action” in labour and civil affairs is suffering from wide-spread misunderstanding and indifference will find this periodical a source of encouragement! Hendrik Hart asks, “Can Canada Afford to Ignore the CLAC?” (Hart will soon go to work for the Association of Reformed Scientific Studies in Canada). The article proceeds from this viewpoint:
In order to understand the issues involved (in modern society, especially in labour-management relations, JHP) it is necessary to consider the lack of religious unity in human life and its implication for the concept of neutrality. The term neutrality is here taken to mean: indifferent with respect to the basic commitment of an individual or a community. By the term religious is meant the relationship of man to the ground and origin of existence, determining the direction of all of life, through the basic commitment in faith to this original ground, as it permeates into the fulness of all of human activity.
From this analysis Hart argues for full recognition of the CLAC as something which Canada must promote rather than ignore!—Key-note speaker at the annual convention of the CLAC (April 23, Toronto) was Dr. Joel Nederhood of the Christian Reformed Back to Cod radio broadcast. Nederhood is quoted as having said:
…we should encourage one another therefore by reminding ourselves of the absolute necessity of carrying our Christianity into the world of work. When the battle becomes difficult and the opposition particularly intense, it is only natural to ask whether it is really necessary to apply Christian prinCiples to labour problems. Unfortunately there will be some well meaning Christians who will suggest that it is not necessary for you to do so. They will suggest that it is sufficient to be a Christian on Sunday. For the rest, we should recognize the essential neutrality of the rest of life…
BIBLE·SCIENCE NEWSLETTER August 15 Caldwell, Idaho, $1.00 per year
This is a monthly publication “dedicated to special creation, literal or natural interpretation of the Bible, divine design and purpose in nature, a young earth, a universal Noachian flood, Christ as God and man, only Savior, research of the highest and most productive quality.” The format is simple, the contents taken up quite exclusively with matters relating to evolutionism. The position is one of strong commitment to creationism as found in the Scriptures.
THE REFORMED JOURNAL July–August 231 Jefferson Ave., S.E., Grand Rapids, MI 49502, $3.00 per year
“Black Power” is an editorial by Lewis B. Smedes containing this significant sentence, “We may never budge an inch from the conviction that the cause of justice for the Negro or anyone must be gained through the legal processes of our society.” James Daane tells us that the Synod of Pella was “more realistic and honest than most.” In this connection he says these disturbing things:
The old leadership (in the Christian Reformed Church, JHP) is now dead, or largely muted in retirement. Today, when the CRC is going through fast changes, and new and long suppressed problems are emerging, there is a vacuum of leadership. No man today, in the pew or in the pulpit, commands the confidence and the trust of the whole denomination. We have small and conflicting leaders with small and conflicting followers, but none of sufficient stature to command the respect of the denomination as a whole…
William La Fleur and John Timmer, Christian Reformed missionaries in Japan, say under “Second Isaiah and the Copyright Law,”
Isaiah the prophet, in keeping with the prevalent customs and institutions of the time, can be assumed to have gathered a group of disciples about him (Isaiah 8:16ff); the school probably continued for a couple of centUries. These writings which are referred to as Second Isaiah are very probably the contribution of one or more of these disciples of the Exilic and Post-exilic periods, to which periods they offer a re-application of the tradition in keeping with their calling as stewards of the prophetic convention of Isaiah.