What is Coming to our Synod?
From the Synodical Agenda we point out the following:
God bless our Synod and give those delegated the spiritual ability to discuss and decide all things impartially and objectively in harmony with God’s Word and the welfare of the Churches.
Christian Reformed Statistics:
From the 1949 Yearbook of the Christian Reformed Churches we take over the follow statistics:
And from the Wachter we take over the following breakdown of the last mentioned figure.
Foreign and Indian Missions—21
Education (Calvin College and Seminary,
High Schools, Ann Arbor)—22
Miscellaneous (Banner, C.P.H., R.B.I., Chaplains, Radio, Mission Secretary, and No Congregation—9
Controversy May Be a Duty!
“Controversy in religion is a hateful thing. It is hard enough to fight the devil, the world, and the flesh, without private differences in our own camp. But there is one thing which is even worse than controversy, and that is false doctrine tolerated, allowed and permitted, without protest or molestation. It was controversy that won the battle of the Protestant Reformation. If the views that some men hold were correct, it is plain we never ought to have had any Reformation at all! For the sake of peace, we ought to have gone on worshipping the Virgin and bowing down to images and relics to this very day! Away with such trifling. There are times when controversy is not only a duty but a benefit. Give me the mighty thunderstorm rather than the pestilential malaria. The one walks in darkness and poisons us in silence, and we are never safe. The other frightens and alarms for a little season. But it soon clears and it clears the air. It is plain Scriptural duty to ‘contend earnestly for the faith once delivered to the saints.’ ()” This by J. C. Ryle in the Southern Presbyterian Journal.
Pictures Of Christ. . . .
Recently an attempt was made to portray the distinctiveness of Calvinism in Art. To this attempt in itself together with its supporting writers and critics we do not call attention particularly, referring those who might be interested to the recent issues of the “Presbyterian Guardian”.
But in connection with the debate on this subject our attention was particularly drawn to part of the criticism offered by Prof. John Murray which applies not alone to the above subject but to the whole field of pictures of Christ, to which, by the way, we are being subjected more and more. Especially is this true of our children, with their Bible Storybooks, Bible ABC’s etc. We quote the following:
“It is supremely imperative that every conception we frame respecting our Lord should be true and every emotion we entertain pure and holy. If we hold that pictures of Christ are legitimate then it is because we consider that to some extent they minister to the framing of a proper conception of Him and to the cultivation of devotion to Him, in a word, that intelligent devotion is in some way promoted thereby.
“We must also avow that our knowledge of Christ and of the devotion owing to Him is derived from the Scripture. Now it so happens that the Scripture does not provide us with data respecting the physical appearance of our Lord. No one today knows what His appearance or likeness was. Any picture, therefore, is the work of the artist’s imagination and there is no norm or test by which we may determine its correspondence with the reality. This is an exceedingly serious matter. We all know how our conception of a person may be influenced by that person’s physical appearance. The same holds true with reference to pictures purporting to represent the Savior. Particularly is this true in the case of children and also of adults with certain types of mentality. In certain instances we may be sure that the conception entertained is very deeply affected by the picture or pictures. The conclusion is surely apparent. By pictures of Christ we are laying ourselves open to the influence exerted by something that has no warrant in the only source we possess from which our conceptions of Christ are to be derived and the only norm by which they are to be determined and corrected. It is surely criminal to subject ourselves or others to such an influence. Deflection from truth in our conception of mere men is bad enough. But deflection from truth in the conception we entertain regarding our Lord is the sin that lies close to idolatry.”
Certainly we agree with Prof. Murray and well may we as parents (and perhaps also as individuals?) be on guard against the ever-increasing trend to present Christ visually in pictures.
From an article in Moody Monthly entitled “What shall we do with Television”, we quote the following:
“Taking the offerings of radio and television as they now are, let us look to the responsibilities which Christian parents should face in training their children to meet these forms of technical progress. It is just as well to introduce the problem of movies, comic magazines, cartoon strips, and the field of children’s ‘literature’, as no family can successfully ignore them entirely. What is the Christian parent to do to equip his child to meet the world? There are positive approaches to be made here. A negative program, or the refusal to face it entirely, merely hands the youngster over to the other side that much sooner.
“First of all, the parent must see that the child has so many wholesome interests and such definite Christian experiences that he has little time for the trivial and worldly pursuits. To be concrete, although our two older children are ready for school, they have practically no interest in cartoons, as we have never bothered to introduce the funny page of the newspaper. We read instead from chosen and lovely books, especially the Bible, and they would rather turn the pages of these books than the less attractive and undesirable comics.
“We purchased a small inexpensive Victrola for them when they were just old enough to operate it, and have stocked a library of lovely and educational records which they play whenever they choose. The radio, they understand, is our instrument, and they listen only to the things we choose, which happens to be largely news, classical music, plus story hours and other programs from WMBI.
“We have a projector and screen for our own colored slides, and the occasional motion pictures they view are travelogues or the educational pictures they see in school. They simply do not know there is anything else so far.
“As they grow older, we plan to introduce family games, travel, hikes, bike trips, and also to familiarize them with all the attractive opportunities for young people to have a good time in our church. . . .”
Certainly we may well take a lesson from this activity, also with regard to the radio and television (when it comes) so that our homes may remain free from that spirit of evil which is everywhere surrounding us today.