When we speak of the gospel, we regard it as the good news. And this it is for those who have learned to know their lost condition because of their sins and have found in Jesus Christ complete redemption and assurance of eternal life. What is often forgotten is that good news for one is often bad news for another. Most of the time we forget that the gospel is a declaration of war.

The origin of the gospel is in God. He has had thoughts of peace from before the foundation of the world. When God comes to man fallen in sin and under the curse with the proclamation of his gospel he says: “I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her seed; he shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise his heel.” And so it has been throughout the entire course of history. We see this struggle in the killing of Abel by his brother Cain. We behold it in the flood in which but a single family survives. The struggle between Egypt and the chosen nation of Israel is but another battle in the war between the seed of the woman and the seed of the serpent. This was recognized by the psalmist when he writes: “Why do the nations conspire and the peoples plot in vain? The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the Lord and his anointed, saying, Let us burst their bonds asunder, and cast their cords from us. He who sits in the heavens laughs; the Lord has them in derision. Then he will speak to them in his wrath, and terrify them in his fury, saying: I have set my king on Zion, my holy hill.” God, who declared war between the seed of the woman and the seed of the serpent, maintains this enmity. The Holy Spirit inspired the psalmist to declare: “Do I not hate them that hate thee, O Lord? and do I not loathe them that rise up against thee? I hate them with perfect hatred; I count them my enemies.”

At the time our Lord Jesus Christ was presented to God, Simeon declared: “Behold, this child is set for the fall and rising of many in Israel, and for a sign that is spoken against.” And when Jesus the Christ charges his church just before he ascended into heaven, he sends his messengers in the world to proclaim him as the one who has received all power both in heaven and upon earth.

This is the gospel, the good news for all who acknowledge him as King of kings and Lord of lords. In this lies the defeat of the prince of this world and the victory of him who rides upon the white horse conquering and to conquer. But it is bad news for all who oppose him. The Church must present him to the world as the one in whose hands have been given the reins of government and must teach the nations to observe all he has commanded. Those who in faith accept and obey him will be saved; those who refuse to bow before him will be damned.

This is the gospel, and we may neither add to nor detract from this message. It is the message which will be a savor of life unto life for those whom the Father has chosen unto eternal life, but a savor of death unto death unto those who refuse to acknowledge him as Lord of lords and King of kings. This message is an offense to the world, for the world loves darkness rather than the Light. Woe unto us if we in any way modify it to make it more palatable to the world. This message will arouse bitter opposition, but we have the assurance that it will never be void. It will accomplish that for which God sends it.



The crispness of autumn has brought a hush to cities tom by summer’s angry men. In Its trail the noisy, long summer leaves behind it visible evidence of destruction. Those who really care stand in the midst of burned-out blocks and acres of emptiness where once life’s business was transacted or viewing it from afar are sick at heart. Such utter foolishness it all was; such folly! In recognition that a problem exists in this widespread destruction, a committee of well-known men has been appointed to study the matter. But will they arrive at the answer that can really serve as an antidote for our sickness and disgust? Is the answer to be found in a better environment for minority groups, improved education, a broadening of social services and a greater number of jobs made available?

Most likely the real cause of all these troubles will remain largely hidden. At their root is that very unpopular reality called sin. It is not environment that breeds a need for ADC and other welfare programs -and we arc told that in the ghettos there is a crying need for these. Instead, it is a horrible misuse of the body rooted in sin. Education and social services can not really change this condition. The riots may be blamed on certain social inequities (which ought to be corrected, in so far as such inequities really exist) but the real reason must never be glossed over.

The reason is clearly seen in the anarchy that prevailed. Everyone did that which was right in his own eyes. Why did men and women, boys and girls think that the suits in display cases or the food on grocers’ shelves or the dishwashers in the windows belonged to them? Why was the silence of curfew broken by gun shots? Why was the darkness of night painted red with flames set by human hands? Because those who participated—whether they were influenced by a King or a Brown or only by mob spirit—believed that law and order as we know them are little more than a farce. Their very actions betrayed their heart. At the root of anarchy is sin, for general terror is never a means by which man seeks to glorify God.

All of this being said, however, leaves something unsaid. Men are responsible for their ungodly acts and trembling they shall have to give account in the last day before the holy God. These events we have witnessed are part of the progress of history as it moves toward that time which shall end time. These riots are not isolated events. They are part of history. We know that in the last days men will manifest more and more disobedience. Through the centuries this has been witnessed, but are not today’s civil disturbances more evidence of this? As yet the Church has not experienced great persecution, but some day the wrath of Satan seen only in a limited way in these disturbances will be vented on those who believe and obey God. But blessed be God—he is still on the throne, and there he shall remain!



With the wanderlust that has seized us, each summer we see more and more of this continent of ours. Aside from the mountains, forests, rivers, villages and teeming urban areas, however, what have we seen? Have we returned home more thankful for the spiritual blessings we have been given? Have we returned home pricked in conscience because we have failed to be as diligent for Christ as we ought?

Perhaps we visited some small western town or historic eastern village where either there was no place of worship or the meeting house was boarded up showing signs of decay or disuse. Perhaps we saw neat white churches, their steeples standing as silent sentinels among the trees about the village green, locked tight until the summer vacation would be past. Maybe we said to ourselves or one another, “I’m surely glad that I don’t have to be here on the Lord’s Day.” But as we walked those streets or passed through on the way to our destination, did we learn something there? What about that mission zeal we say that we have? Too often we have begun at Jerusalem—and have stopped there, too. Somehow it gives liS a sense of pride and usefulness to know that only a few blocks away from where we worship we have a preaching station or a chapel. Too often we are happy to pour all out energies and dollars into such a project because when we begin in “Jerusalem” everyone can be so active. But what of the “Samarias”? Would that our congregations could see the need of raising their eyes to places fifty or one hundred and fifty miles away. No movies, prayer chapel or roving evangelist will suffice. There must be the lively preaching of the Word of God. Did we learn that we must stop playing at evangelism and become serious about it?

Perhaps we attended a church bearing a name familiar in Reformed circles. One day that denomination stood for the historic Christian faith and we were not aware of any change. But ours was a rude awakening! The message was on a psychological topic or a lecture on some burning social issue. Perhaps it was a talk on the fine art of getting along with people. Of course, the congregation didn’t sing much because the soloist had to entertain and the organist had to play in concert, while everything had to be over in forty-five minutes to an hour. Then when the congregation was supposed to raise its voice prayerfully in song, we felt like we were singing a solo. How tragic the whole hour of worship was! But what did we learn while we were there? Did we see the importance of the lively proclamation of God’s Word? Have we thanked God for a pastor who regularly and systematically leads us in the blessed teachings found in the depths of God’s Word rather than the cute and the different?

Possibly we found ourselves in a place where there was no church of Reformed persuasion. Instead we had to seek out an evangelical church of some other theological stripe. Perhaps there was a prevailing freedom in worship that seemed to be a departure from the Scriptural mandate that all things be done decently and in order. Knowing what God’s Word leaches, we may have been aware that we were asked to sing songs that robbed Cod of his rightful honor. Even the preaching may have been less nourishing than we desired. But amidst the entertainment and the overwhelming weaknesses, what did we learn? Did we sense there a zeal for Christ, even though in some ways it may have been misdirected? Do we have even a part of this? Would that we had a zeal which is governed by the supreme desire to serve the King in all of life.

Have we learned anything?