Occasionally voices are heard from among our Christian School supporters mildly suggesting the possibility of having the students, especially the girls, wear uniforms. These voices are seldom bold or authoritative, rather they set forth their opinion timidly, even apologetically. Perhaps to some the word “uniform” sounds too rigid, too militaristic. Perhaps their attitude stems from fear of the children involved. Perhaps they hesitate to express an unpopular opinion on an indifferent matter. Perhaps their hesitancy is due to the fact that whether or not our children wear uniforms is not after all one of the basic issues at stake in the church today. But whatever the reason, only an infrequent whisper is heard on the subject.

This whisper made the rounds in our area last fall, just before school began. It elicited various reactions. Some were vigorously opposed to the idea, some were totally indifferent, some were wholeheartedly in favor. It made me pause and think of what advantages and disadvantages of school uniforms there would be. I could think of six advantages and no disadvantages. (Maybe I have a closed mind on the subject.)

Permit me to list what I consider the advantages of uniformity of dress to be. 1. It would remove competition in dress. School is competitive in many areas (e.g., grades, sports, etc.), with achievement depending upon individual ability and effort. Why compete in the area of clothes? The willingness or ability of parents to furnish their child with an expensive wardrobe should not determine who is “in.” Let each child be “in” or “out{ on his own merit and not according to the label in his sweater. 2. It would tend to deemphasize the importance of clothes. This placing an undue importance on clothes is a form of materialism that we women are succumbing to increasingly. Wearing the right thing at the right time—and never two days in a row—is not of as much consequence as we suppose. 3. It would eliminate the problem of improper dress. We would no longer see skirts too tight, or blouses that are too low. And the party dress and dangling earrings could be worn to the party rather than to the classroom. 4. It would give an outlet to the student’s own desire to conform. Even though they might rebel against uniforms, they do want to be like their peers. “Wanting to be like” is the positive way of saying what every school child has said negatively, “Nobody else does.” 5. It would be more economical. Outfitting a child for school would no longer be a major expenditure. 6. It would be more convenient. I hesitate to add this advantage, even though I think it is one. It seems to be too “mother-centered.” But how simple to see to it that each daughter has a clean supply of blouses and jumpers for the week! Instead of being “clothes-care specialists” as we mothers are now, we could do “general practice” laundry.

For these reasons, I would like to see our Christian School children, both in elementary and high school, wear uniform dress.


Mrs. Louise M. Hulst is the wife of Rev. John Hulst, pastor of the Twelfth Ave. Christian Reformed Church of Jenison, Michigan.


The concept “religion” goes shrouded in fog today. In Reformed circles it fares little better. Some examples will point out the confusion around the word “religion.”

In our discussions about the relationship of Christian schools to government and society the remark once appeared in one of our periodicals: “If tax-benefits be allowed to non-public schools, Lutherans, Baptists, Seventh Day Adventists and other religions all would set up their own schools…” Here the word “religion” is erroneously used to express particular cultic faiths. By doing so it is implied that the public school is not “religious,” which is one of the most tragic mistakes of today.

Another example.

Many labor unions have banned “sectarian teachings” from their union meetings. However, does the Christian believer justify his union membership on the assumption that unionism is neutral toward “religion”? This, too, is tragically untrue.

The concept “religion” can only be understood when we grasp the biblical idea of God’s covenant with man. The covenant is more than God’s arrangement of salvation in Christ. It is deeper and broader. The covenant is a love-relationship between God and man. It encompasses—much as in Paradise -all man’s experiences and every area of his concerns.

God never abrogated the Paradisaic covenant. In fact he gave Christ to restore us to this wondrous covenant living. True religion consists of committing, from the depth of one’s heart, the whole spectrum of living unto God in Christ. Thus it is religion when the Christian directs his toil God-ward, when he traces the hand of God in the educational process, and when he dedicates his commercial and trade organizations to God.

It should, furthermore, be clear that the unbeliever cannot help but act religiously as well, dedicating all his life’s ways to idols. Romans 1:25 tells us that the unbeliever changed the truth of God into a lie and worshipped and served the creature rather than the Creator. His Babylonian ways stem from his Babylonian heart!

This is a disconcerting thought, because it calls Christians to spell out the name of the Master in their colors: in personal living, in all relationships, in all their institutions. It also implies that school taxes and union dues -paid under compulsion. support the God-defying religion of secular humanism.


Rev. Louis M. Tamminga is the pastor of the Bethel Christian Reformed Church of Sioux Center, Iowa.



Evidence of the correctness of the Reformed understanding of the structure in creation can come from unexpected sources.

Consider the radical change in the teaching of chemistry during the last fifteen years. In both high school and college there has been a sharp increase in the amount of theoretical chemistry taught. Theory is being emphasized because scientists are becoming actively aware of the inter-related structure of creation.

We always knew in principle that mathematics does not depend upon physics. Rather, physics in a beautiful way depends upon mathematics. We also knew in principle that chemistry depends upon physics, and biology upon chemistry. In recent years the interdependence of mathematics, physics, chemish-y, and biology, named in order of increasing complexity, has been developed. The turn towards theory in chemistry has actually been a turn toward bridging the gap between chemistry and physics. Similarly, as “molecular biology” has become more important, there has been a bridging between biology and the less complex science of chemistry. There has thus been an attempt to explain the phenomena of each science in terms of the next less-complex science in the hierarchy of complexities. Unfortunately, many persons assume the universe consists only of mathematics, physics, chemistry, and biology. They do not understand there are disciplines or spheres beyond biology, and that biology is more than chemistry.

The structure of creation is the structure God has ordained. To the extent the Christian perceives this structure, he knows of God’s work in creation. When the Christian understands and develops the concept of the inter-relatedness of the sciences, he testifies that our Creator-God is a God of harmony, a God who made an unbelievably beautiful universe. The natural man, of course, uses the unifying principles of Science to vanquish the god of whom the speaks, the god of the ever-diminishing region of the unknown. Thus the Christian cannot learn from the world the basic reason the gaps between the disciplines are being bridged.

Thercfore, it is good to emphasize theory in sclence education in Christian high schools and colleges. As the Christian instructor becomes more aware of the subtle structure in creation, the facts he teaches are not isolated facts, as they appeared to be in the older, fact-cluttered textbooks. The Christian student then sees the picture instead of the paint.


Dr. Russell Maatman is Professor of Chemistry at Dordt College, Sioux Center, Iowa.


“For he’s a jolly good fellow.” So sang hundreds of New York City public school teachers as Albert Shanker, the president of the United Federation of Teachers, went to jail.

Last September, in contempt of two court orders, Shanker led an illegal strike against the government. For three weeks approximately 47,500 teachers out of 59,500 refused to obey the court orders to stay on the job, thus disrupting the education of nearly a million public school children.

Such action is irresponsible and is a partial cause of the increased anarchy that is being fomented by civil disobedience leaders. This case is especially grievous since by their example (which is much more effective than their oral instruction) these 50,000 teachers instruct their nearly one million students that it is morally good and desirable to rebel against the government. Add to this their gleeful chanting of “He’s A Jolly Good Fellow” as Shanker goes to jail for being found guilty of criminal contempt and it is no wonder that students reason: If our teachers rebel, why shouldn’t we? Such irresponsible action creates the perfect soil for disorders, riots and anarchy, such as the United States has experienced for the past four summers.

Beyond this pragmatic consideration, there is a far more serious and important one. These teachers have defied God. For “he who resists the authorities resists the ordinance of God” (Rom. 13:2).

But, of course, it would not do to remind them of the demands of God, for this would be introducing “religion” into the area of the government, and would be violating the principle of separation of church and state. Humbug!



Just recently we received a copy of Wind and Chaff, a journal of the University Christian Movement. One of the features was “Focus on Dialogue.” Included was a list of dialogue tapes and available books. Readers were urged to use them, reflect upon them, and register their comments. What particularly caught our attention was the following statement from the preface:

None of the dialogue books or tapes assumes any final authority, but if one serves to stimulate you to agree or disagree, redefine and reformulate, it will have served its purpose. Each day new elements are added to our thinking, and we change; the debate also changes and the dialogue material must reflect the shifting emphases. It is the responsibility of those who care about the public apprehension of important issues to see that the dialogue material does its task. When you hear the tapes and read the books, we shall appreciate your comments.

One can gather from this the stature which “dialogue” has reached in our day. More significantly, the meaning of dialogue and the value expected from it are disturbingly revealed. Obviously, dialogue (discussion, communication) must be reckoned with as an effective instrument in the context of our times for the achievement of progress. However, if it minimizes the prime importance of basic normative principles which must be systematically taught and thoroughly grasped, it can degenerate into a wasteful expending of energies, surrendering to a hopeless relativism and the exaltation of human reason (argumentation ).

Christians do well to heed the words of Jesus to the disciples when they answered affirmatively to the question of Jesus, “Have ye understood all these things?” (e.g., the principles which he taught them). Those words are: “Therefore every scribe which is instructed unto [who hath been made a disciple] the kingdom of heaven is like unto a man that is an householder, which bringeth forth out of his treasure things new and old” (Matthew 13:52). Jesus challenges the disciples to a vital, living, progressive application of these principles to a changing world. Yet this would be utterly impossible without a clear perception of these principles. The new can never stand in its own right. It must always evidence its intrinsic relationship to the old and thus the old remains in a basic sense ever new—up to date—having universal validity. Of course, the Holy Spirit does lead men to a better understanding of the old when struggling with contemporary problems.

Our day suffers from an unwillingness to do the truly difficult but indispensable task of learning and responding obediently to the guiding principles laid down in God’s Word. No doubt the use of dialogue in learning these principles should serve as the training ground for the exercise of dialogue in the further application of these normative guide lines to our changing society.


Rev. B.J. Haan is President of Dordt College, Sioux Center, Iowa.