THE LONG WEEKEND?
The Christian Labor Herald (February, 1967) presented an interesting report entitled “Holidays On Monday.” It stated that the members of the Chamber of Commerce of the United States were polled as to whether or nGt they would favor the observance of Memorial Day, Thanksgiving, Independence Day, Veteran’s Day and Washington’s birthday on Monday. The purpose of such a change would be to increase the number of three·day weekends, giving workers more time for recreation and relaxation.
Of those who responded, 85% were in favor of the idea. They felt the three-day weekend would improve the morale of the workers, increase production, and stimulate the sale of goods and services. Those who opposed the change did so out of sentiment for the traditional dates and concern for the possible increase of highway accidents.
Hopefully the Church and the Christian Labor Association will join with the minority (though for different reasons) in opposing this change. There is a very good reason for such opposition—concern for the observance of the Lord’s Day.
Every pastor and consistory is well aware of what long weekends do to Sunday worship services. Large segments of the congregation are seen departing for resorts and recreational areas, leaving many pews empty.
Indeed, we should be concerned about the welfare of the worker. No one denies that he needs time for relaxation. But this need does not justify changes which would detract from Sabbath observance. It is time to stop talking about weekends, whether long or short, in order that we may concentrate on ways in which Sunday can be preserved as “Day of all the week the best.”
JOHN B. HULST
In Japan, where there are liberal laws, the abortion rate exceeds the birth rate. Last year there were two million abortions and 1.6 million births. In the United States, with a birth rate of close to four million and where strict abortion laws still prevail, the illegal abortions are close to one million and the legal abortions are only about eight thousand. This disproportion is one of the reasons that nine state legislatures (Arizona, California, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania) are considering the liberalization of such laws.
Some of the proposed conditions for legalized abortion are pregnancy that is a substantial risk to the mother’s or future infant’s physical or mental health; pregnancy resulting from rape or incest; and pregnancy that occurred while the woman was unwed and under age 15 or while she was a mentally ill person or a mental defective.
At present, many states permit therapeutic abortion when the mother’s life is in danger. Such abortion is in accord with Biblical, ethical principles.
But it is dubious if the same could be said for the broader laws that arc envisioned. The crux of the issue is: When does a human person begin? In recent legislative debates some medical authorities have argued for the liberal legislation Dn the basis that a fetus is a non-person, an undeveloped organism, bits of tissue that have no legal rights. If that is so, undoubtedly they are right in their legislative attempts. But if life begins at conception, then it would seem that the sixth commandment is involved. It would be interesting to learn from the “non-person, tissue” theorists when they believe a person is formed. At birth? One day before? Three or six months before? The only satisfying. and non-artificial answer is at conception. Medical authorities affirm that the embryo begins life at conception; that sex is determined immediately; and that the heart beats in four weeks. If it is unbiblical to practice infanticide (killing a newborn infant), it would seem indefensible to kill the same person one day before birth or a month before or any time after conception.
EDWIN H . PALMER
CEF AND THE CHAMBER OF COMMERCE
One of the stranger, persistent and erroneous opinions about the principles of Citizens for Educational Freedom (CEF) is that government aid to all children in all schools would foster socialism. In the opinion of a Task Force of the Chamber of Commerce (CC) which recently published its report, the exact opposite would be the case. The conservative Chamber of Commerce is noted for its advocacy of free enterprise and freedom from unwarranted governmental interference into private affairs. In accord with these principles, a task force of 100 prominent business executives, headed by Dr. Edwin Canham, editor of the Christian Science Monitor, recently made a recommendation for which CEF has long been pleading. It recommends “that the government consider continuing to finance education for all children—but that it offer them, as an alternative to public education, financial support for private education up to the amount of the average expenditures per pupil in local public schools.” “The plan we suggest for introducing private competition into the school system is relatively simple. It involves offering the parents of all pupils the option of sending the children to public schools or accepting vouchers which would be redeemable for tuition at approved schools.”
Note its reasons. It by-passes the traditional arguments of Christians, such as: 1) It is unfair to make some citizens pay twice for education, whereas the secular humanist of the public schools does not pay once; and 2) it is “sinful and tyrannical” (to use Jefferson’s terms) to force believers to pay for a religion they conscientiously oppose, namely, the religion of secular humanism in the public schools.
Instead, this Chamber of Commerce report—as might be expected—approaches education from a businessman’s standpoint. It appeals, first of all, to “that most stimulating of elixers—private competition.” “Where market discipline—the knowledge that if the job is not done as well as it can be, someone else who can do it better will get to do it—is absent, both complacency and timidity will develop.” With a typical Chamber of Commerce economic philosophy, this report opposes the present “nationalization” of the education industry with its monopoly on publicly financed schooling. It believes that, if the public schools were willing to compete in an open education market with the independent schools, the quality of education in the public schools would be enhanced.
A second reason for the conclusion of the Task Force report is the virtue of diversity. “It is our conviction that no single collection of men, however competent and however dedicated, can exhaust the worthwhile possibilities in a given subject matter…We take diversity for granted in scholarship, in politics, and in the abundance and variety of the commercial marketplace. Why should we settle for a single choice in education?”
Finally, the Task Force says: “A strong bias in favor of free choice and maximum satisfaction of individual preferences underlies our conclusion. As an intrinsic matter, we think it desirable that parents should have a choice of schools for their children.”
How refreshing it is to hear this independent. conservative voice that has traditionally opposed CEF’s principles support what many Christians have long believed is Biblical and for the welfare and freedom of the nation and the individual!
EDWIN H. PALMER
NEEDED: AN ANTIDOTE TO FALSE THEOLOGY
In a recent article in Christianity Today, Dr. Carl Henry critically discussed the concept of evangelism as that is found in the National Council of Churches (cf. “Will the NCC Discover Evangelism?,” Jan. 6, 1967). Among others, Dr. Henry mentioned Colin Williams, a prominent leader both in the N. and W.C.C. This name sounded familiar, and indeed it was. We had used two small booklets authored by him (What in the World? and Where in the World?) in our course, in evangelism in Calvin Seminary. That in itself is not so bad. (The fact that a third book, The Congregation in Mission, by Webber, also W.C.C. oriented, was used too, with no Reformed textbook alongside these, is less excusable). We must be fully aware of what leading churchmen arc saying about evangelism today. But the disconcerting thing about it is that we did not receive anything that resembled a thorough-going critique of the kind of evangelism (theory and practice) that is propagated in these books. There was instead a rather general, sometimes even enthusiastic, reception of what was written in these books. Students were left with an overall favorable impression of these books. And that is not only sad; it is tragic. For these same students are going out into the churches to give leadership. And that spells ill for the church.
Anyone who is at all acquainted with the mission theology of the W.C.C. will soon realize that it is in need, not of a little patchwork here and there, but of a fundamental and thorough-going critique, a critique of the type given by Dr. S. U. Zuidema in his excellent book: De Christus der Schriften en Oecumenische Theologie. (Cf. also Prof. Clowney’s review of a book by D. T. Niles in the Westminster Theological Journal of Nov. ‘63.) This was sadly lacking in our course in evangelism in the Seminary. Once mare I say: this is tragic and inexplicable. When leading men in the W.C.C. (including Colin Williams) pervert the gospel of Jesus Christ in such a way as to render it “another gospel,” (and this can be shown very easily from the writings of these men, cf. e.g. The Theology of the Christian Mission, ed. by Anderson—Zuidema devotes a chapter in his book to a review of this book ), then we had better not hesitate to say with Paul: Let him be anathema! For the heart of the gospel is at stake here.
I have felt right along that the whole “love of God” issue is rather intimately connected with the pervasive influence of the W.C.C. mission theology so prevalent today. We arc willy-nilly being influenced by such an environment, more than we care to admit. The reading of a section of a chapter in Zuidema’s book, entitled: “Een Christus Pro Omnibus,” leaves no doubt in my mind concerning this matter. This kind of thing does not happen all of a sudden. It does not appear “out of the blue.” And the more we realize this, the better it will be. We cannot afford to shut our eyes to the tremendous impact that the W.C.C., neo-orthodox mission theology is having upon the church today, ours included. To be forewarned is to be forearmed. A good way to begin would be to introduce Zuidema’s book as one of the textbooks in mission courses in the Seminary.
A CALL TO EVERY CHRISTIAN REFORMED MEMBER
Some time ago a large ad appeared in several newspapers throughout the country under the title “A Call To Every United Presbyterian.” The ad was sponsored by a group calling themselves the Presbyterian Lay Committee, Inc. Their purpose was to alert the membership of that church to the Confession of 1967, the proposed revision of the Westminster Confession. The basis for their concern lay in the doctrinal changes that were proposed, and the fact that so few people were aware of these changes. They therefore urged the membership of the United Presbyterian Church to become involved in this serious issue by making it a point to become informed 00 the ramifications of the proposed confession. What the results of this concern have been are, at this time, unknown. But it is certain that a well-informed church is bound to be better qualified to decide the matter presently before it.
All of which brings up the matter of the decision which the Christian Reformed Church must make this year in terms of the Doctrinal Committee’s Report. It is a sad fact that throughout our denomination, there are many people who arc not informed as to the great importance of this decision. There are consistory members who have not read the Report, and who seem to have little interest in what the issue is all about. When the future of the Christian Reformed Church may well be determined by what Synod does, it becomes the duty of every member to become involved in this serious issue. Certainly the very least that one can do is to read this Report. Study the Scriptural and doctrinal evidence that the Committee marshals on the subject of the atonement. Make it your business to be concerned about what Synod will do. Discuss this matter in Societies, conSistories, and in visiting with one another. Then pray that God will direct Synod to a decision that will honor his Word and preserve the distinctiveness of the Reformed faith.
HENRY VANDEN HEUVEL
THE GOSPEL OF REVOLUTION
I have just finished reading an analysis from an economist’s point of view of the documents released by the 1966 Conference on Church and Society, a puppet study conference, of the World Council of Churches. The analysis, which appeared first in the December 9, 1966, issue of U.S.A. and has since been re-published on the front page of the January 9, 1967, issue of Barron’s National Business and Financial Weekly makes my blood run cold with horror as it sets in clear relief the literally devilish designs of the ecumenical monster.
Most chilling of all is the Conference’s first and main document: “Economic Development in a World Perspective.” According to the economist’s analysis, the document: …Calls for measures that beggar the imagination in trying to conceive of the resulting injustice, suffering and horror, all amounting to a hell paved with good intentions. Obviously believing that a desired end justifies any means, the Conference report proposes: “the deliberate transfer of non-capital and non-technical intensive industries to countries with insufficient capital but abundant manpower, and the acceptance of the problems involved in the fundamental restructuring of economics in the developed countries which that entails…The fundamental restructuring of the world economy necessarily implies temporary dislocation and possible suffering for a large number of people.”
The analysis proceeds: …It is hardly an exaggeration to say that nuclear war could not inflict greater suffering on people than the mass restructuring of the world economy, with mass transport of populations and mass transfer of non-capital and nontechnical industries from the developed nations to the backward nations with insufficient capital and over-population.
Evidently the World Council of Churches -professing to be Christian—has adopted the cold-blooded, blood-curdling cynicism of “humanitarian” Swedish socialist Gunnar Myrdal, who called for redistribution of land (land reform) in India and other underdeveloped nations even though “It will almost always reduce temporarily the marketable surplus of agriculture, and it is easy to imagine cases where sheer starvation in the towns may be the result.” (“An International Economy,” page 183.)
How many millions of people would be dislocated, ruined, enslaved, tortured and murdered under a World Council of Churches’ plan to restructure the world economy, and to redistribute wealth among nations by arbitrarily allocating the right to engage in this or that kind of industrial manufacture? Will it be as many millions as those who perished in the Bolshevik collectivization of agriculture in Russia or in the establishment of the Red Chinese communes? Was any past crime committed in the name of Christianity during the darkest ages of history of greater magnitude than that contemplated in the World Council of Churches’ “Christian” document? Does the organization really believe that millions of employed workers in developed countries will supinely accept abandonment of their industries in favor of poverty-stricken peoples in backward lands?
How could the Church “prepare” people in advanced nations for such suffering? The world Council of Churches’ document envisages preparation for such enslavement as establishment of “an ethic of altruism and justice which will make these measures intelligible.” The document goes on to state, “In the developed countries this would involve active support by the churches of such specific measures as severance pay, industrial retraining, higher unemployment benefits and mobility subsidies.”
Can one really believe that a Swiss worker in an embroidery factory, a Belgian worker in a lace factory, a New England worker in a cotton textile factory, or a French or Italian worker in a vineyard could be persuaded by the Church to forfeit his means of livelihood so that it could be taken over by an African worker in Somalia, a Latin worker in Guatemala, an Arab worker in Algeria, a Bantu worker in South Africa, a Buddhist worker in Laos?
To effect such redistribution and restructuring of the advanced nations’ economies in favor of the backward ones, there would be only one possible way—total enslavement of populations in advanced and backward nations. For this there would be required a world dictatorship, and the reality was recognized by the World Council of Churches which called for a “World Economic Plan” for “the ultimate aim: an international division of labor…”
Can the so-called “conservative” or “evangelical” or “Reformed” apologists for the World Council of Churches defend the ecumenical Beast against the charge implicit in this analysis that it has willfully embraced Satan’s own bloody scheme for the economic enslavement of humanity?
NORMAN VANDER VEEN
CALVIN’S INSTITUTES IN SPANISH
In 1597 Cipriano De Valera published his translation into Spanish of Calvin’s Institutes. Cipriano de Valera was a monk, living and studying in the monastery of San Isidro del Campo, near Sevilla. He and many fellow-monks had to Bee in 1557 in order to escape the Inquisition, and thus he came to Geneva.
In 1602 he published the Bible in Spanish, in Amsterdam, basing his work mainly on the translation of Casiodoro de Reina whose translation had been published in 1569 in Bale.
In 1597 his translation of the Institutes was printed in London or in Antwerp. His work was based on the Latin edition of 1559, although he often made use of the French edition. In 1858–‘59 Don Luis de Usoz y Rio reprinted Valera’s translation in one big volume of over 1000 pages.
One of the (Free) Reformed churches in the Netherlands, involved in work of support to the Protestant churches in Spain, has taken the initiative to re-edit Valera’s work, but this time in modern Spanish, and a small group of Protestant Spaniards now have accomplished the work of re-editing and the order has been given to publish the Institutes in two volumes of approximately 750 pages each. It is expected that this work will be available in the course of the second half of 1967.
All those who are acquainted with the work of spreading the Gospel in Spain and in Spanish speaking countries, will understand the joy that fills the heart of everyone who was connected with this work of re-editing and preparation for printing.
May the Lord bless this work and may He use it as one of His instruments for the coming of His Kingdom.
J. JERRY POTT