On January 20 the Americans witnessed a modern miracle, the legal and orderly transfer of party-government, a feat which totalitarian systems cannot equal. On this momentous day a partisan politician also became the people’s president and a world leader.

The central theme of President Nixon’s message was peace at home and abroad. To the oath to uphold and defend the American Constitution, the President said, “I now add this sacred commitment: I shall consecrate my office, my energies and all the wisdom I can summon to the cause of peace among nations.” “For the first time, because the people of the world want peace and the leaders of the world are afraid of war, the times are on the side of peace.” It is doubtful that our decade is on the side of peace, let alone for the first time. World leaders before have wanted peace and people the world over have been afraid of war, but the last two decades have been on the side of war -wars of independence, liberation, and survival. The question is what kind of peace does mankind seek. President Nixon’s search is positive and purposeful. Let us hope that he will find an honorable peace.

At home the President seeks domestic tranquility and decent order. Despite economic prosperity and political progress, we are confronted with cultural pessimism and a crisis of pluralism. What can the people and their government do? According to President Nixon, “we are approaching the limits of what government alone can do…What has to be done has to be done by government and people together or it will not be done at all…with the people we can do everything.” Here the President expresses his belief in two traditional principles, not Christian, but conservative: sovereignty of the people and limited government. Committed citizens ought to be concerned about civil disorder and individual race prejudices. “The laws have caught up with our conscience. What remains is to give life to what is in the law: to insure at last that as all are born equal in dignity before God, all are born equal in dignity before man.” But, is it true that “with the people we can do everything”? Is it true that we have approached the “limits of what government alone can do”? If the American people would let their government do more within its proper, public, and legal competence, the promise of pluralism would be promoted, unity and diversity would be protected, in particular in the area of free and equal education.

“To a crisis of the spirit, we need an answer of the spirit.” So true, but a belief in the “American spirit” may be the cause of the crisis of confidence. Even though many Americans are aware of a crisis, they are not sufficiently aware of its depth. In Nixon’s message, too, there is a lack of awareness of the sinfulness of the American spirit and society. “I know the heart of Americans is good,” he says. If we really look within ourselves and our nation, we know that it is not true. Some Americans, in particular Black power leaders, say that most Americans need a new heart. Out of a man’s heart are the issues of life and politics. Man’s heart also directs the goals he seeks; peace, prosperity, and progress. But as President, Nixon speaks from a heart that is primarily man-centered; consequently he may reach only as high as his aspirations, namely, (1) “to make the world safe for mankind,” (2) to embark on a “high adventure one as rich as humanity itself,” (3) “The essence of freedom is that each of us shares in the shaping of his own destiny,” (4) inviting our adversaries to peaceful competition to “enrich the life of man,” (5) belief that man’s “technical triumph” makes us see “‘ourselves as riders on the earth together.’” Technology is elevated to a new theology of humanism. The “new Nixon” approaches politics as civil engineering.

“We have endured a long night of the American spirit…Let us gather the light.” This is merely another way of Johnson saying “Let us Reason together.” We are called to gather the Light of man’s Reason. John Winthrop in 1630 prophesied that Americans would seek to be a “City upon a Hill.” The question Americans must face is: on what kind of hill (rock or sand) do we want to build our cities? What type of city docs the Nixon Administration envision: a civitas terrena? Is it true that “our destiny lies…but on earth itself, in our own hands, in our own hearts”? As Christians we can never be satisfied with a man-centered “model city.” There is another perspective with which Christians should live in and view politics, namely, the civitas dei. The rise or fall of America as a civilization will depend upon the choice between these two cities.



Our Reformed Christian community must have been shocked by Governor Romney’s blast at Christian education in his “barbed farewell.” Many had high hopes that his Dutch kitchen-cabinet would persuade the Governor to aid Christian-public schools. Some, who had an inkling about Romney’s true political beliefs, were not too surprised by his speech.

It seems incredible that he should dare to suggest “to leave secular education to the state,” with the churches confining their efforts to religious and moral instruction. Were his advisors not able to give him a better understanding of the place of Christian schools in society? In the light of the Governor’s farewell address, the language in the bill for parochiaid, such as reference to “secular subjects,” is not so innocent as it seems. Dr. C. Dc Boer, President of NUCS, has to be given credit for forewarning our people not to minimize such terminology, because it reflects a theory of education (“Cry, My Beloved Schools,” The Banner, May 17, 1968).

What is so astonishing is that Mr. Romney, a conservative, considers it desirable to leave education to the government. What does he envision: total state monopoly in education? His suggestion that members of the State Board of Education should be appointed by the Governor rather than elected by the people makes education of our children even more politically controlled. The recent deadlock for the presidency of the State Board of Education shows how detrimental partisan politics can be for public education.

Mr. Romney considers it the “greatest duty of a statesman” to promote education, but did not consider it his greatest responsibility to protect the freedom and equality of education for all Citizens. The Governor should remember the words he quoted from Lincoln last March in Birmingham: “Those who deny freedom to others deserve it not themselves; and, under a just God, cannot long retain it.” The state government of Michigan is constitutionally bound to promote education. It should aid all public schools, Christian and non-Christian. Only then can our government be truly considered a constitutional democracy.

On the other hand, Mr. Romney’s message contains a word of warning. Christian parents and teachers should leave secular education to non-Christian schools. Churches should leave secular education to other colleges. At the present time our Christian educational programs, in theory and practice, generally result in a secular education liberally sprinkled w1th a Reformed theology. As has been suggested before, the parents should reevaluate our present educational philosophy and especially that of Ca1vin College, where most of our teachers are trained. Is Calvin’s privileged financial position justified in relation to our other colleges and the people who wish to support them more fully?

Mr. Romney’s final message should not have been a shock or a surprise to our Christian citizens. It should be a challenge to reexamine our whole concept of Christian education.


Ph. C. Bom is professor of political science, Dubuque University, Dubuque, Iowa.


Crisis is the word! No milder term can serve to evaluate the results of what Winthrop S. Hudson, in his American Protestantism, calls “theological erosion.” Under a teaching and preaching that is less and less inclined to retain the resources of historic Christianity one church after another is repudiating its heritage. From one point of view it seems that the capitulation was long in coming. The erosion was a creeping thing, often stealthy, concealing itself under the terminology of orthodoxy, but always moving in the general direction of discontinuity with Biblical Christianity. From another point of view it seems to have come upon us quite suddenly, as recently, perhaps, as the appearance of Bishop Robinson’s Honest to God and the more professionally theological work by Dr. Paul van Buren, The Secular Meaning of the Gospel. Whichever way you see it, these are perilous days for the Christian Church. The Reformed Churches with their precious Calvinistic heritage cannot afford to minimize the extreme peril of the current theological situation. They are not being by-passed by the radicals and the revolutionaries. Indeed, there is alarming evidence that the walls of the Reformed Churches have been breached at a dozen points and within sight and hearing of complacent church members who continue to say, “It can’t happen to us.” Let us give heed to faithful monitors who warn us that it can happen and, indeed, has happened.


Rev. Greenway is pastor of the 9th Street Christian Reformed Church of Holland, Michigan.


The Rev. Dr. D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones, until recently pastor of the Westminster Chapel, London, England, has accepted an invitation to be present at Westminster Theological Seminary, Chestnut Hill, Philadelphia, Pa. 19118, during the third quarter of the academic year 1968–1969, as Special Lecturer in Practical Theology. Dr. Lloyd-Jones will offer an undergraduate elective on the subject of preaching and biblical exposition and will present a series of Thursday evening lectures at the Seminary which will be open to the general public.

Dr. Lloyd-Jones will also bring the address at the commencement exercises on June 11, 1969. These exercises will climax the Seminary’s fortieth year of service in training men for the Christian ministry and upholding biblical Christianity as set forth in the Westminster Confession of Faith and Catechisms.



Sometime ago Dr. George Stob, in an article in the Reformed Journal, aired his doubts about our financial stewardship in the matter of church buildings. He suggested that the church in general spends too much money on buildings and structures, money which could better be used for the actual work of the church’s healing ministry in society. 1 believe he made a good point. How much money don’t we spend on erecting new church edifices and remodeling old ones? Just look at the requests for aid in the back of The Banner sometime. And that goes on the whole year through.

Meanwhile millions are dying of starvation and disease in Biafra, Korea, China, India and elsewhere. Most of them die without the gospel also. In Palestine more than one million Arab refugees live subsistence lives. Our C.R.W.R.C. does not have enough funds to do all the work that needs to be clone. Even in Canada and the U.S. there are thousands living in abject poverty, particularly among the Indians and Negroes.

What is more (and closer at home for most of us), many worthy kingdom causes are short of money, some desperately so. I mention only the Back To God Hour, the C.L. A.C. and A.A.C.S. You can add to the list. Here we have causes whose reformational importance for God’s kingdom is hard to overestimate, and they go begging for lack of funds. Why? Of course, many reasons could be cited. But perhaps we could save some of those thousands spent on elaborate church buildings. I know of instances where the cause of Christian education suffers badly from lack of funds, sometimes to the extent that a Christian school is deemed impossible. Yet the congregation can afford to put up a large, beautiful church building. Is that responsible? I believe a remark of Dr. Hart in his The Challenge of our Age can bear repeating. He writes that “the construction of an expensive church building in a congregation which allows many Kingdom causes to suffer in ‘poverty’ is reminiscent of golden-calfworship.”

No, don’t get me wrong. I’m not against having a nice church in which to worship. And when we build, we must build wisely and for the future. But we must seriously consider our stewardship in the light of today’s needs. In which way can we best build God’s kingdom? Where will our financial investments bring about the greatest contribution to God’s kingdom? That is the question we ought to ask always, also when planning a building program.

Perhaps this is also the place to express an opinion regarding ministers’ salaries in the Chr. Ref. Church. As a member of the profession, I believe it is safe for me to do this.

I am, of course, fully aware of the fact that ‘the laborer is worthy of his hire and that ministers are entitled to a good salary. But the question is, what is a good salary or an adequate salary? How does one arrive at such a figure? Do we assess the average salary of the professional man with comparable years of education and experience, and apply that to ministers of the gospel? According to that standard the average Chr. Ref. minister surely does not earn a big salary. But is that the standard by which we ought to measure? That seems to be the opinion of some. They look at men in the medical or law profession, and on the basis of that conclude that the minister is poorly paid. Not so long ago, in a letter I received, someone again wrote disparagingly about “ministerial wages.” I don’t quite understand such a remark or such an attitude.

No, I’m not saying that the average Chr. Ref. minister is getting rich. But he doesn’t have to either. And compared to most other denominations, the cm. Ref. church pays its ministers well. But the point I want to get at is this: As far as I can judge (from my admittedly limited experience), the average Chr. Ref. minister is making more money than his average parishioner. And judged by that standard, which I believe to be the right one, Chr. Ref. ministers have a good salary. After all, why should the minister live way above his people? He is there as minister, as servant. And that means living on a level with his people as much as possible, also in financial status. So that if he serves a well-to-do congregation, his salary should reflect that. If he serves a not-so-well-to-do congregation, or perhaps a congregation struggling with many debts, his salary should also be determined accordingly. For this reason I was not happy with recommendation “B” of the overture of Classis Chicago South to the 1968 synod. Not only is the suggested minimum salary with yearly increases too high for some churches, but I do not like the idea of uniformity in this matter. The situation is different in every church, and local circumstances should always be taken into consideration.

In the congregation I serve, I am quite sure that I have a better income than 90% of the members of the congregation. Many people here and elsewhere would, I believe, consider themselves to be “sitting pretty” if they had the income of the minister. (By “income” I mean the basic salary plus child and car allowance. What the minister saves on house payments and utilities, he needs to buy a house at retirement.) And my salary is only average. There are many that are a good deal higher. When that is the situation, I fail to see why there should be any complaints or dissatisfaction with respect to ministers’ salaries in the Chr. Ref. Church. He that would be greatest among you, let him be servant of all—also in this regard.


Rev. Tuininga is pastor of the Grande Prairie Christian Reformed Church, La Glace, Alberta.