W. W. Gasque has made a very valid point. Writing in “The Evangelical Quarterly” Vol. XLI, No.2, he has presented an excellent review of what critical students of the book of Acts have written. He points out that: 1) the opinions regarding the historical character of Acts are very much divided; 2) the scholarly efforts and conclusions of the more orthodox students have been ignored and! or lightly discounted; and 3) the result of critical scholarship is “much darkness on the subject” now, and it could be “that we shall soon know nothing at all.”

Why does critical scholarship on the book of Acts lead to darkness and possibly to total ignorance? Gasque has very correctly pointed out that the “recent views” (which cause increasing darkness) “have been used much more on a tradition of criticism than on a careful study of the text of Acts itself in the context of the historical setting of the Graeco-Roman world.” He then made the valid point: “It is a well known fact” that those who studied the book of Acts itself in its Biblically indicated perspective, have “almost to a man, been convinced of the essential reliability of Acts as a source of early Christian history.”

“So it is!”

And my point of view is that jf Biblical scholars, preachers and professors, teachers and leaders, yes, every reader, would spend more time reading Genesis itself in its Biblical setting, rather than what the hosts of writers have written and arc writing about Genesis, there would be more light on, more certainty about and positive teaching concerning God the Creator and his work of creation.

Let us get back to the Book itself. It is high time the Lord speaks to all of us directly again.


Rev. Van Groningen is professor of Theology at Geelong Theological Seminary, Victoria, Australia.


That Jesus Christ is presented in the Scriptures as the Saviour and Redeemer of sinful men who repent of and confess their sins and who accept and trust Christ, is a fact known to Bible readers and accepted by many of them. But the Biblical teaching that Jesus Christ is Creator of all things, that as well as Redeeming the fallen world, He rules over it as Sovereign Lord, is not acknowledged by many so called Bible believing Christians. The “Fundamentalists” are usually regarded as stressing the fact that Christ saves the individual sinner. Of late, due to the influences of the scientific studies, the intent and authority of the Scriptures have been increasingly limited to the personal saving work of Christ. It is said that the intent of Scripture is to present Christ as Redeemer-Saviour and then it is sometimes added that this has implications for all of life. However, the Scriptures reveal and obviously intend to present, that Christ the Redeemer is also Creator and Lord of all. In addition. the Scriptures clearly intend to and do reveal Christ as our great teacher. It is only through Christ’s Word and Spirit that we receive true knowledge and wisdom concerning salvation and also concerning Christ as Creator, Sovereign Lord of this world and as the only reliable Teacher.

The message preached by the Church, as a rule. emphasizes Christ as Saviour. The Cross, repentance and forgiveness and God’s justifying acts are proclaimed. The Lordship of Christ over the cosmos, history and individual lives does not receive the attention that it should. If it did, the doctrines of sanctification and good works would be preached more consistently and in proper perspective. Too often sanctification is preached by those Christians who are inclined to be sectarian. They separate the doctrine of sanctification from the Lordship of Christ. But if Christ is not properly recognized as Sovereign Creator and Lord, is it a wonder that the doctrine of sanctification and the Holy Spirit’s presence in the lives of believers is not seen and preached in its proper Biblical setting and perspective?

Others, selecting only the theme of Christ as Saviour-Redeemer as the main intent of Scripture, stress Christian duty. But they limit Christian duty to evangelistic activities. Great stress is laid on making a decision for Christ, dedicating one’s life to Christ and personal witnessing. These are real aspects of the gospel, but they are only a part of it. And if these parts are taken and separated from the Biblical teachings that Christ is also Creator and Sovereign Lord, these doctrines so intimately related to evangelism, are not placed in proper context. Instead of being oriented to Christ and his Spirit, as the Bible teaches, they are placed in a humanistic setting in which Christ is also somehow involved.

Still others, sensing that evangelistic preaching and the limiting of the intent of Scripture to Christ’s saving work is not really proper, have placed much stress on Christian action. Some people do this according to the Biblical teaching of Christ as Saviour, Lord and Teacher. However, others do not properly relate Christian action to the Sovereign Christ. Some ignore or deny that Christ is the Saviour of lost sinners. Those who do this really proclaim Christ as Lord but who has unsaved servants working for (or is it against?) him. Jesus Christ is not really recognized as the Sovereign King over man by these people, who, though they say they are Christians, are nevertheless not saved by Christ. In them sin still reigns as the dominant force in their lives.

Well, is Christ Jesus truly Sovereign King? Indeed he is. His Kingship as such is not dependent on man’s acknowledgment or denial of it. However, man’s welfare and blessedness are certainly involved in the acknowledgement and acceptance of Christ as Sovereign King. Man cannot and will not be able to dethrone Christ as the Sovereign Lord of individuals, history and the cosmos. He is in actual fact the Sovereign reigning Lord. We know this is so. The Bible tells us this clearly and pointedly.

The question is: are we acknowledging the Scriptural teachings concerning Christ as Sovereign Lord? We are not if we limit our preaching to certain aspects of the gospel. We are not if we consider the task of evangelism to be of lesser importance than other Christian duties. But we are if we truly accept all that the Scriptures reveal, and intend to reveal concerning Christ as Creator, Redeemer, Sovereign Lord and Teacher!

In this context I’d like to call attention to the endeavours of some Christians to place proper stress on the Lordship of Christ over all of life. In Canada, two organizations are doing this: The Christian Labour Association of Canada and the Association for Christian Scientific Studies. In the U.S. there are also two such organizations: The Christian Labour Association and Christian Action Foundation. One need not go to North America to become involved in a study of issues directly related to the Biblical doctrine of Christ’s Lordship over all of life. A young, small organization is striving to meet this man· date in Australia. It is the Association for Christian Scientific Studies, A.C.S.S. It has branches in various Australian states. If you want more information, the Secretary of the Victorian Branch will send you information. You can subscribe to the Newsletter, $1.00 per year. Write to Mr. B. Ham, 199 Cashmere St., Ascot Vale, Vict. 3032.

May I commend these organizations to you for your attention, support and participation? It may prove to be the Lord’s means to introduce you to a fuller, richer sphere of Christian truth and service. But, if you do become an enthusiastic member of it, do not neglect, or push to the side other equally important aspects of the Gospel and Christian life.



One of our Reformed brethren recently observed that our churches are becoming hierarchical. That criticism cannot be just brushed aside (though it might be wise to prompt the counter-question whether theirs are not becoming congregational). It is a fact that the fundamental and, we believe, biblical assumption upon which our whole system of church government is based, that God’s Word has entrusted authority in the church to elders and that all such authority is consistorial, is rapidly being lost from sight. This trend has gone so far that when one occasionally calls attention to it he is sometimes regarded with amazement as almost suggesting a heresy!

Fourteen years ago Hev. R. De Ridder wrote a thesis on the “development of the mission order” of our churches. In it he traced among other items the shift of authority over our mission work from the local churches (’10–’20) to the Synod (by 1939), to the Board (by 1944), to the Executive Committee (by 1952). That movement toward centralized control of various activities is obviously continuing. (One who watches this process over the relatively few years in our churches’ history, can the more readily understand the development of the Roman Catholic hierarchy over many centuries.)

This undeniable movement toward central control makes it the more urgent that the principle of the God-given authority of elders and consistories be emphasized throughout our church life.

One observes a tendency within our denominational boards and on the part of board members to regard many matters as the proper domain of the boards and as not properly to be passed on to the classes as information. Although there may occasionally be matters which are wisely handled with as little publicity as possible (just as such things arise in families or churches), it ought to be observed that these should always be the exceptions rather than the rule. The trend of thought that regards board members as owing their first loyalty and responsibility to the boards is an outright contradiction of the basic principle of our churches’ government. Board members are not responsible first to their boards but to the churches which elected them and which they represent. It is their duty to help the churches serve Christ in the activities which they share in common, not to persuade the churches to serve and support the boards! To accept the latter idea is nothing but a return to the kind of hierarchy which the Reformation rejected as a usurpation of the authority of Christ. Board members represent the churches and the more fully they can keep the churches informed of what is taking place in the areas of their common activities—both the good news and the bad—the more faithfully they are performing their duty. If this principle is forgotten our whole board system may readily become an instrument of tyranny or a cover-up of iniquity instead of the means of helping the churches serve their Lord which it was intended to be.


Dutton, Mich.