1924 Still Binding in the Chr. Ref. Churches.

Oftentimes among well-meaning (?) and sympathetic Christian Reformed individuals the statement is made repeatedly that there is actually not too much difference between the Christian Reformed and the Protestant Reformed Churches and that the differences are not sufficient to separate them. This is often accompanied by the flat statement that the Christian Reformed Churches do not demand agreement with the Three Points either of their members or ministers.

That this is not the view of the churches officially and that this should also be practiced is pointed out by the Rev. Martin Monsma in “De Wachter” of Jan. 30, 1951. In his rubric “Church Order and Church Polity” he was treating the subject, “Who may administer the Word in our Churches” (Chr. Ref. Churches—JH). In answer to this question, which according to the article is raised by the fact that in recent years ministers outside the Chr. Ref. Churches have been invited to occupy such pulpits with increasing frequency, the author gleans the various decisions of the Synods of the Chr. Ref. Churches in order to determine who may and who may not be invited to preach in those churches.

In the first place it is pointed out that ministers who belong to sister churches of the Chr. Ref. Churches (in this case the Reformed Churches of the Netherlands “Synodical”, and the Reformed Churches of South Africa), can of course be invited to administer the Word. He then continues to point out that outside of these Sister Churches Synod has pointed the way as follows: That one may not be allowed to administer the Word in the Christian Reformed Churches unless the consistory is convinced that he is sound in the Reformed truth—this according to the Synod of 1904. And in 1882 it was decided that only those who were sound in doctrine, in church polity and who agreed with the stand over against the secret organizations might preach the Word.

Then the author goes on to say that there are other synodical decisions which limit the right of administering the word such as the matter of hallowing the Sabbath day. No one may be allowed on our pulpits, he says, who deviate from the Biblical truth concerning the Sabbath.

Then the Author continues and we translate and quote: “Then I think also in this connection of the Three Points of 1924 concerning the doctrine of common grace. They who are invited to administer the word among us must also be able to profess their agreement with these propositions.”

There is therefore, if the author’s advice is followed, no possibility of a Protestant Reformed minister administering the word in a Christian Ref. Church. In this I think the author also takes the proper and necessary stand. But would it not be consistent to point out that what is binding upon a minister must also be upon officebearers in general and upon members also? And what about those ministers in the Christian Reformed Churches who openly (more or less) express that they do not agree with 1924?

Radio Broadcasting in Southeast Iowa.

As some of our readers undoubtedly know, the combined consistories of Oskaloosa and Pella Protestant Reformed Churches have for some time, in fact for slightly more than a year, been sponsoring a radio broadcast in central and southeast Iowa. We thought you might like to hear a little about our experiences.

In the first place it should be pointed out that our broadcast is somewhat unique in that we do not have time on a public, commercial station, but rather on a private, all-religious station. Perhaps for our readers in general we can give the best idea by saying that this station, KFGQ in Boone, Iowa attempts to pattern itself after the well-known Moody radio station, WMBI in Chicago. This we were informed was their policy when we first attempted to buy time on the air.

In this same connection of course, not being a commercial station, they may not sell time, so we do not buy time but they give us time and we contribute freely, a sum that we have agreed upon to the Boone Biblical College and other related institutions of which also the radio station is a part.

In common with most religious broadcasts we have had a very poor mail response. This all the more so in our case because we have not been able to offer copies of the speeches on the air as the two ministers who carry on the work of this program could not as yet see their way clear to typing out the copies needed and there is no money available for printing or mimeographing by a commercial concern. Added to this is the fact that this is a religious station which has the effect upon the mail that when a person writes in they do not often single out a single program but rather inform the station that they enjoy its religious flavor, its religious songs and music and the messages that are brought. So we labor under the handicap of not knowing exactly what the results may be, at least in as far as the radio audience is concerned.

You understand, of course, that this type of station made our work somewhat more difficult or shall I say somewhat different perhaps than it would have been on a regular commercial station. Then you buy time and the time is practically your own, and with a few necessary restrictions you may say what you please on the air. Here, however, we were dealing with people that were very much interested in the messages that were brought, we were confronted with a listening audience that was almost entirely religious (in the broad sense of the word) and which in addition was almost entirely of the well-known Arminian, dispensational, and “fundamentalist” type. Now certainly we might never compromise the truth, neither might we hide the blessed light of the Word of God as it is expressed most clearly in the Reformed faith. But Rev. Gritters and the undersigned both felt that here was room for Christian psychology or shall we say for Christian “common sense”. Therefore also our messages, at least in the beginning, were of the type that emphasized the fact that only in the way of God’s election, of God’s irresistible grace, of God’s preservation, etc. was there any hope of salvation at all. Thus we attempted, by showing them the beauty of the Reformed truth as we may see it, to point out the truth of Scripture, the tremendous comfort which is ours when we embrace that truth, by the work of the Spirit in our hearts, and thus also tried to win any that might hear us, first of all into listening further and secondly, and if God gives His blessing also with the hope that perhaps something more positive might come out of it. As we said above, our audience reaction was disappointing. And yet we were not discouraged, for to our surprise our greatest reaction came from those who are connected with the station itself.

In order to present this picture clearly I will have to acquaint you a bit with the history of the “Boone Biblical College and Related Institutions”. Before the turn of the century pastor Crawford, a United Presbyterian minister, came under the influence and for a time worked with D. L. Moody. From this contact Pastor Crawford broke his ties with the U. P. church and began an independent work in Boone, Iowa. It began as an orphanage, an old people’s home, a church and a school for the training of the orphans, and finally also a Bible school for older students. Later a radio station was added some 25 years ago. But it was an independent work and never became large and financially solvent. When Pastor Crawford died some years ago the only one left to take up the work was his daughter Miss Lois Crawford. She serves as director of all the work as well as bringing the messages at the church when a guest male minister cannot be obtained. There is no regular church membership at this church, everyone is welcome and hence also no definite organization behind it. Rather interesting is the fact that none of the workers in any of the institutions is paid but all live as a family, receive their food and board and clothing (if such is donated to the institution) but for the rest receive no money for their work. As Miss Crawford informed us—they live as one big family.

Now we noticed that the first few months we were listened to rather critically but gradually there was a feeling of trust and confidence awakened so that now there is no supervision of any kind over our program. But this is not the most interesting.

For some time we were given to understand that our Protestant Reformed radio messages were appreciated greatly by the station management. Then some three months ago in a conversation the director of the station, Miss Crawford, stated openly that she had begun to see, especially through her contact with us, and hearing the Word as it. was preached by us, that her father had made his fundamental mistake when he had forsaken the United Presbyterian Church in order to begin an independent work. This together with the fact that they are deeply interested in such things as church discipline, the office of elder, Christian schools and the emphasis upon the family makes for an interesting work.

Recently it has begun to be felt by many in our constituency that the meager mail returns really do not warrant the continuation of our efforts on this station. This also with a view to the fact that reception for our own people is marginal. In preparation for this we spoke to the station management along the lines of the fact that because of the slight listener response we would probably not be on the air there after the month of March.

Imagine our surprise to hear repeatedly over this station in the past few weeks the significant phrase, “We desire to keep this worthwhile program on our station. It is however imperative that there be a mail response if this is to be the case. Please write in if you are hearing and enjoying the Protestant Reformed Hour.” This unsolicited request for mail response is still being made by the station—not only upon the conclusion of our regular broadcast but also throughout the week. Already there have been a number of cards and letters in response.

What the future will bring we do not know. Whether we shall continue on this station we do not know. But this is certain once again that among God’s children the pure Word of God, which is the Reformed truth as we hold it and preach it, is always recognized and appreciated. May God give us grace to continue to proclaim His truth through the preaching of His Word.