Recently the Christian Reformed Church was asked to consider the problem of theater attendance on the part of the young people. A poll had been taken by one of our classes which indicated a rather high participation in movie attendance. This poll also indicated a very remarkable contrast. The percentage of young people engaged in work in the Kingdom other than catechism, young people’s societies, and the like was in an inverse proportion to that of attendance in the theater. Some 701 were fairly regular in movie attendance, while only 15% were active in church work of one kind or another. In view of the results of the poll, the classis suggested that the Christian Reformed Church look into the advisability of promoting a more selective choice of movies by our young people. Since they obviously are attending the theater, we as a Church ought to be on hand to influence their selection.
This very interesting suggestion brings to mind a dangerous feeling that may be creeping into our churches. It seems that we as a Church are engaged in a losing battle against the theater. But instead of increasing our arguments in the fight, we are preparing to capitulate. Since so many of our young people insist on attending the theater despite the warnings from church and youth leaders, the Church is asking them to at least be more selective in their choice of the movies that they see. Instead of advocating a greater interest and participation in Church work, we are urging them to be selective, since we are resigned to their attendance anyway. Certainly such an attitude cannot be conducive to real spiritual growth. For only as the distinctiveness between the world and the Church is maintained can the Church grow spiritually.
EXIT GOD! ENTER THE POLICE!
The facts of life seem to support the scriptural thesis that godlessness and violence are inseparably joined. Where the one prevails, the other seems inevitable. Such was the case with the antedeluvians. We are told that “the earth was corrupt before God, and the earth was filled with violence.” The prophet Nahum calls to Nineveh, ‘“Woe to the bloody city! it is all full of lies and robbery; the prey departeth not.” Obviously people who do not regard divine law will have little respect for human law. This is abundantly illustrated behind iron and bamboo curtains. You buckle before the lash of the taskmaster or else!
But we need not go to the ancients or distant lands to see this truth corroborated. There is enough of it before our eyes. We need not recount the crimes of violence reported in newspapers every night. No, something new has been added. We have exiled God out of our public schools. No prayers, no Bible, everything pertaining to the Christian tradition is considered by some as deadly poison. In some schools the last stanza of America may not be sung. To expose the children of our land to anything that savors of the Christian religion is regarded as more dangerous than syphilis. This, by the way, is increasing at an alarming rate among young people. Above every door in any school we may read, “EXIT GOD!”
Now our troubles are beginning. Every American should hang his head in shame. Has it ever been necessary before to have uniformed police officers supervise school playgrounds, patrol the corridors, and be on hand to protect the teacher in the event of attack? Well, this has come to pass in many of our major cities.
Violence in our public schools is on the increase. In New York City recent1y there were thirteen acts of violence upon teachers in nine days. In one school six attacks in one day. Teachers beaten over the head with chairs, knocked to the floor, their eyes blackened with fists, and as one commentator said, there is reason to believe that teachers do not report all of them for fear of retaliation. Chicago school authorities are pleading with parents to inculcate some respect for authority in the children. Step aside God! Make room for the Police.
In what may be regarded as a Christian and conservative community, a group of citizens recently appeared before the school board. They demanded elimination of prayer and Bible reading and demanded that school dances be introduced. According to a press release, these citizens were defiant and told the Board: If we want you to teach our children morals, we will hire you as ministers. Imagine that! Education which is non-religious and non-moral. Step aside God! Mike room for the Police. And if Paul were living today he would repeat, “Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools.” And no truer words were ever spoken.
PASTOR, PREACHER, WRITER, EDITOR, PROFESSOR
Those of us who are directly connected with this magazine are happy, of course, with the decision of the 1964 General Synod of the Christian Reformed Church to appoint Dr. Peter Y. De Jong to the chair of Practical Theology in its theological seminary (Calvin). Prof. De Jong will begin his duties in this assignment with the Fall semester of this year.
Versatility of ability and interest characterizes Dr. De Jong, and this ought to serve him well as he undertakes the task of instructing our budding clergymen in the various areas of their practical life in the churches. As a preacher Dr. De Jong from the beginning of his career was received by the people of the pew gladly, and as a pastor and church administrator he is recognized by many as among the very best. He has written several published volumes, mostly on subjects quite directly related to the areas of study he must cover as a professor of theology.
The strength of a good school for the training of future pastors does not lie, however, in the talents or experience of the professors. It rests solely in God, and it is ours when we serve Him with devotion and obedience. We wish for Calvin Theological Seminary God’s richest blessings, and we trust that this new faculty appointment will be another occasion for the dispensation of such blessing upon our students and our churches and our world!